18 October 2006

A Week+ without Blog Posts

Um, yeah, sorry about that. I've been sick, dazed, swamped with homework, shopping in Park City, etc. So, here's some stuff that should have been posted, but wasn't.

Forum Notes (10/10/06)
Wow! That forum was completely amazing. If you didn't watch it, you should be greatly ashamed. And then you should go watch it.

I really liked his idea of the "mobilization of moderation." I can't remember where I heard this statistic--perhaps in a US government class--but most people in the US will self-identify as moderate, and yet when time comes to do something about it, we go for the extremes. I think this problem comes from a lack of trust for "the other side." In theory, we know that most of us think in the middle, but just to be save, better to stay as far away from their side as possible. We really need to mobilize a moderate middle that's really willing to compromise and work together.

I also felt very validated that he mentioned an idea I blogged about for the last forum--that what we mistake for tolerance in our society is really apathy. The real path to tolerance is not through losing any standard of correct behavior. Rather the opposite: we must hold to a standard as firm as any. The real key to tolerance is charity, Christ-like love, in which we can care about and love everyone in such a way that we are always seeking the best for them. We view no one as our enemy, only as misguided friends.

And next week (24th) is also a forum. Interesting. I thought they only had forums once a month. Oh well. I like forums way better than devotionals anyway. Devotionals = Sunday school. Forums = clever discussion of scholarly topics that can apply to the gospel.

Divine Comedy Show (10/13/06)
I am a huge advocate of Divine Comedy. I think what they do is good for the BYU student body. At a university where everything we do is viewed with eternal perspective, we sometimes get too serious about things that don't particularly matter. We mistake our culture for our doctrine.

Humor is definitely a power tool for social commentary (see Robert Kirby, SLTrib columnist). And Divine Comedy does it well. There were quite a few skits employing the stereotypes of liberal and conservative Mormons, which I thought were hysterical. The portrayals were overdone just to the point where you realize how silly we are for categorizing people in these ways. The Boy Scout merit badge skit was simply awesome: the book burning merit badge, liberal spotting merit badge, and polygamy merit badge were my favorites. :D Nice skit playing off of the recent "offended by dance" letter in the Daily Universe, featuring the "Guide for when to be Offended, Mormon Edition." It's only funny because it's true. This is the kind of humor that can really do something powerful. It changes how people act and think.

Dating Comments (10/15/06)
It's pretty much established canon in our stake that the Sunday school lesson during ward conference will be a lecture on dating. No, it's not as bad as it sounds. Last year's was wonderful: we got to watch a clip from Hitch, and then have President Keech tell us the we should go on more frequent dates with less pressure. His focus was that we have shrunk the "dating continum" such that asking a girl on a first date has become almost synonymous with capital-D Dating, which is only a small step away from being engaged. We need to spread it back out, so that a first date is just that: a date. (I admit to being guilty of perpetuating this problem, but that's another story.)

Anyway, this year's was equally good, though a little more serious since it was President Brenchley, but still. Here's the highlights reel: "Brethren, we want you to be going on one date a week for the rest of your lives." (The feminist side of me wishes he would have extended such a challenge to the women, but then I remember how much I hate asking guys out and go back to my traditionalist senses. Anyway, theoretically, if all guys asked someone out once a week, this should work out to one date per girl. Unfortunately, I can attest this is not the case.) Remember Elder Oaks' 3 P's of dating: paired off, planned ahead, payed for. (Of course, "payed for" doesn't necessarily mean spending money. The implication, though, is an activity that one person is in charge of arranging for. If there's money involved, it shouldn't be "hang-out style"--everyone pays for themselves--at least until significantly later in the process.) Get to work! What's wrong with spending time and money on getting to know a person, even if you don't intend to marry them?

Excellent Idea (10/17/06)
Speaking of dating, I'm always on the look out for fun and random things to do, but I think the idea of a improvisational desert night tops out as the best idea in recent memory. Yes, it even tops sardines in the HFAC and graveyard games in the Provo cemetary. Given my organized nature, I feel compelled to create an organized version of the rules. Try it out! This could be the new . . . tupperware party? Alright, that sounds lame. Nevermind, because this is definitely cool.

Improv Desert Night
Players: 4 individuals/pairs/teams

Basic cooking supplies, specifically flour, sugar (white, brown, powdered), butter, oil, milk, eggs, baking powder/soda, salt, cornstarch and vanilla, in quanities large enough for four recipies
Cooking equipment, including mixing bowls, saucepans, whisks, spoons, and pans
1 kitchen
1 secret ingredient per team, in quantities large enough for four recipes
1 cookbook per team
10 dollars per team

1. Select a time and place for the desert night. Find the largest kitchen area you can.
2. Before the event, compile and circulate a "Prefer Not" list for secret ingredients. Survey the participants for allergies and general dislikes. Encourage participants to be kind and not choose anything on this list as a secret ingredient.
3. Before the event, each team should choose a secret ingredient, Iron Chef style, which each team will be challenged to include in their dessert (eg. graham crackers, cranberries, peanut butter). Keep this a secret from the other teams.
4. Each team should bring a reasonable quantity of their secret ingredient to the event--enough to make four recipes of a size to serve everyone in attendance. On game day, once all teams have arrived, have each team announce its secret ingredient.
5. Teams will then have a short brainstorming session (10-15 min) to decide what type of desert they would like to attempt. The goal is to include as many of the secret ingredients as possible. Each team can use its own cookbook for ideas, but no one elses. Don't rely too much on the cookbook. Come up with unique creations. No spying!
6. After brainstorming has finished, head to the grocery store for a ten minute, ten dollar shopping trip. If a team needs any ingredients for its recipe other than the basic cooking supplies and the secret ingredients, this is the time to get them. Don't forget specialized cooking supplies. Ten minutes only! Those who are late will be severely mocked.
7. Back at the kitchen, the cooking madness begins! Teams have one hour to finish their dessert. Stovetop and oven space is first-come, first serve.
8. If at any time any team's recipe needs help, they may shout "May the Kitchen Gods have mercy on my spatula!" The other teams may choose to help them out or ignore their pitiful pleas. There's no reward or punishment for doing so.
9. When the time limit is up, each desert will be sampled by all. Each team will be scored on a scale from 1 to 4 (1=worst, 4=best) in the following areas:

  • Use of Secret Ingredients (one point for each used)
  • Tastiness
  • Presentation
  • Creativity
  • Sportsmanship
10. The team with the most points wins! Bask in your bragging rights as the master desert chefs!

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