Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chiasmuses on a Sunday Evening

My parents go to sleep pretty early, sometimes 7:30 in the evening, and I'm left with not much to do but watch the television on low volume (barely audible) or else read (which I really like!). One of my more recent past-times is exploring all the stuff in my old bedroom--the stuff I haven't looked at in years. I find weird things that remind me that I really didn't have very good taste in clothes; that yes, I have loved writing for my whole life; and that I had funny looking ears as a little kid! :D

Tonight I found myself in the closet drawers looking through some of my mission stuff. I wanted to find some drawings one of my friends did for me while I was serving, but instead I came across some poems that I wrote while my companion was sick. At the time I was particularly interested in chiasmuses. If you're not familiar with what a chiasmus is, I'll get a simple definition from wikipedia.

Wikipedia says, "In rhetoric, chiasmus is th figure of speech in which two clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the two clauses display invertedparallelism. Chiasmus was particularly popular inLatin literature, where it was used to articulate balance or order within a text." In other words, a chiasmus is a type of poetry or writing that is reflective. The end matches the beginning, and continues from both ends until they meet in the middle. The scriptures are full of chiasmuses. Here are a few simple examples:

Mark 10:31:
    a. But many that are first
    b. shall be last;
    b. and that the last
    a. shall be first in all things.
A complex chiasmus, i.e., a-b-c-c-b-a, comprises more than four lines. An example of a complex chiasmus is shown in John 17:6.
    a. I have manifested thy name unto the men
    b. Which thou gavest me
    c. out of the world:
    c. Thine they were,
    b. And thou gavest them me;
    a. And they have kept thy word.
What amazes me is that some chiasmuses are pages long and comprise entire chapters (in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon). Because of the interest I had in chiasmuses, I decided to try a few. Afterall, I had a lot of free time on my hand, and what better way to express my feelings than through writing and poetry? Here are a few of them, which I never bothered to title:

Chiasmus #1

a. Those who serve
b. Jesus Christ
c. shall laud his fame
d. and pronounce
e. His works
f. to all nations.
f. Many nations
e. shall behold His works
d. and shall shout,
c. with glory and honor
b. to the Messiah,
a. and they shall become His servants.

That was my first attempt! I think it went pretty well, so I thought I'd try one a little more personal:

a. Taintless in spirit are the pure in heart, and their motives and desires are righteous and virtuous--being the ways of God,
b. but art thou, oh God, mindful of thy children?
c. The afflictions that torment even the grandest of souls are many, and joy is fleeting.
d. It departeth quickly at times
e. and escapes the eyes and ears.
f. Oh, my God
g. Hedge not up our way, but the way of our enemies,
g. that our enemies may not prevail and stand above us victorious.
f. Holy Messiah
e. Seeing Thy hand and constant interventions we behold thy goodness,
d. and they refresh us.
c. Our afflictions, thou sayest, shall be but a moment, and our joys soon everlasting.
b. Truly Thy watchful eye guides our paths, even our very movements
a. and the pure in heart are reclaimed by their faith and works, and they shall sit with thee, restored and holy forever!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation

This song means SO much more to me right now, after my last test!

I Guess Einstein Was Right!

Yesterday was one of the most surreal days of my life. It was filled with a bunch of potentially stressful things that weren't necessarily stressful, but that really isn't the point here. My point is somewhere in the middle of the day when I was trying to take a nap, and the time/space continuum must have bent or folded or compressed in around me for a while and offered me a little extra (and needed) sleep.

So I had just gotten done with a final. It was one of those really EARLY finals starting at seven a.m., which, in my opinion, make absolutely NO sense whatsoever! Anyways, I came home, goofed for a while, and decided I had about an hour or so to take a nap before the rest of the day's activities. I laid down at about 11:40 planning to wake up at 1:00.

After sleeping a little while, I woke up naturally and looked at the clock. It read 12:35. Perfect! I still had a good 25 minutes to sleep, so I immediately dozed off again. Shortly thereafter, I woke up again, and the clock read 11:55! WHAT? In my delirious, half-conscious mind, I simply thought, once again, "PERFECT!" and realized how beautiful of a nap I was having. I was a little bit weirded out though. I gently dozed back to sleep again.

Not long after, I woke up a third time and the clock said 12:25! What was HAPPENING?!?! I decided to make use of this twist of fate and time that the universe had disposed upon me, and went back to sleep.

When my clock finally went off, I rolled out of bed and laid on the floor. My phone clock read 12:56. My clock and phone definitely aren't set to be in sync, or n*sync, if you will. I laid there a little longer, said a prayer, got up, put on some clothes, and then laid back down. All of this took about what I would say is four or five minutes, but when I looked at my clock again, it still read 12:56!

Maybe I was high somehow, or maybe, just maybe, light-speed theory was coming into play. According to the equation:

Time proper is relative to the integral of the derivative of relative time over gamma. Gamma is expressed as:

Equation relating speed of light, speed of object and constant, gamma

You can see in the first equation how they substitute gamma in for the rest in the final equality. Well, time proper, which was my own reference frame, was not coinciding with the relative time that the rest of reality was experiencing for some reason. What appeared to be 1 hour of sleep for the world may have, in fact, been 3 or 8 hours of sleep for me. This means, that I was moving at normal momentum while everything else was traveling at high speeds around me. In the second case, I was the one moving at intense speeds, while everything else was stationary, but causing my time to be slow.

Just a theory... a ridiculous one, yes, because finals are over, and I'm bored, but a theory nonetheless. And I'm kind of mad at myself that I've actually become a physics nerd after this semester.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BYU Scholarship Application

Not only is this essay exactly 300 words, but it's also only one grammatically correct sentence!

Essay #1
Please write a brief biographical sketch about yourself. Limit your response to 300 words.

As I sat at the computer, struggling to organize my thoughts on how to write a biographical sketch and understand exactly what a top-notch, state-of-the-art scholarships committee would require of a man not yet 22, distracted by the sound of a baby crying in the distance and an earlier meal that just wouldn’t seem to digest, knowing that not even a Dickens novel could encapsulate the array of characters that make up one Dallen Kistfeldt, I knew a committee of educators, handsome and intelligent devils that they are, picking from amongst hundreds—maybe thousands—of applicants, uniformly writing the same dribble, wouldn’t want to hear all the mumbo-jumbo about how I grew up in a small town with my school-teaching mother and older brother, making my way through Payson High School and captaining track and cross-country teams—no, they wouldn’t care to hear about my mission to San Jose, California; and as I reached for the fruit decorated tumbler of Juicy-Juice that sat next to my monitor, it became clearer and clearer to this home-spun, humble servant of the meek and down-trodden, that a successful essay about my math award for outstanding achievement in AP calculus, or my credentials as an amateur pilot at UVSC, or my love for sculpture and aspiration to become an author seemed quite out of reach; and, almost falling victim to a nasty case of discouragement, which creeps in so quickly and hits suddenly like a cold breeze or a flaming arrow to the breast…no, I think I’ll just sit back a moment, kick up my feet, stare at the imitation Rembrandt hung thoughtfully by the landlady on the library wall, and be satisfied in knowing that at least I, Dallen Kistfeldt, whose mama never taught him the word fail, did not buckle under the awful weight of conformity.

... I didn't get the scholarship.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sacrament Meeting ~ Christmas Special

I have a really hilarious roommate named Greg. I think I find about 95% of the things he does either quote-worthy or awesome enough to stop what I'm doing and just watch. Sometimes when he and I are in a boring meeting or having a hard time focusing, I'll look over to see him feverishly writing in a big, black notebook he carries around. So often I find myself wishing I could just get a glimpse at what he's doing. I've been trying to sit next to him, and when I do, I find that he creates the most amazing notes, plans, and lists. He makes business plans and agendas, builds school schedules, budgets his money and time--anything he thinks of or realizes needs doing. Sometimes these will even be coded so nobody is able to understand them except him! One of the best things I ever saw was him listing off all the types of weapons he could think of. It was then that I realized the meeting we were at was, yes, that boring. Greg's list of weapons had a few sub-lists too, like "Names of Actual Swords", like Excalibur, and "Names of Actual Guns." I tried to throw in a couple suggestions, and I found him more than willing to jot them down!

Today was our ward's Christmas musical. The choir was going through a set of hymns and a narrator was reading from the scriptures, and through it all I found myself having a bit of trouble focusing. I grabbed meeting's program and wrote on the back, at the top of a big open space, "Please list the names (by species) of as many water-dwelling mammals as possible!" Greg immediately took the challenge, and soon Sara and a few others were throwing in suggestions. I'm including this list on here because, frankly, I was amazed at how many items they came up with! Sara was jotting down things I had never heard of!

  1. Whales: Blue, Killer, Sperm, White, Beluga, Pilot, Right, Hump-back, Spinner, Beak-nosed, Moby Dick
  2. Dolphins: Bottle-nosed, Spotted, False, Yangtze, Indian River
  3. Seals: Leopard, Fur, Elephant
  4. Otters: Sea, River, Giant
  5. Muskrat
  6. Beaver
  7. Platypus
  8. Fishing Rat
  9. Manatee
  10. Hippopotamus

Bear in mind that this is by no means the complete list. It went on and on and on! But after a while, things started degrading. After some of the following, I got into one of those moods where I couldn't stop laughing, and I ended up butchering "I Stand All Amazed" for everybody around me.

  1. Frog Mario
  2. Davey Jones and his motley crew
  3. Jonah
  4. Navy Seal
  5. Aqua Man
  6. Mermaids/Mermen
  7. Waterworld's Domestic Population

It's reasons like these that I can confidently proclaim: I have the coolest and funniest friends in the world.

The official Cloverfield trailer

I don't know what to think of this one yet... but it has "awesome" potential!

Friday, December 14, 2007


I won't even tell you how long it took to get that Superman thing on there as a header and the words to be centered. HTML is cool and everything, but the person who invented it probably is a sick twisted basement-dwelling geek who hates the world and loves seeing people get frustrated and confused.

UPDATE: Yes... this used to be my old header. It took me four hours to make it work, then Rachel showed me how to make a real header in about three seconds and with the click of a few buttons. UGH! But you know, I appreciate those seemingly-wasted hours. They taught me that, yes, I, Dallen Johnson, am capable of dedicating myself to completely meaningless and useless tasks! haha

Header anyone?

I've been sitting here for about an hour and a half trying to figure out how to edit my blog header and insert my own pictures, but every time I load a picture on, it squishes it down and it looks ridiculous! I've seen Kendall's and Rachel's and theirs look awesome, but I'm at a standstill. I've worked with html, picasa, googlepages (which I may actually like better than blogspot) so we'll see how things work. Dang headers!

Bourne vs. Bauer

My roommate Nathaniel is hopelessly in love with Jason Bourne. I think most people I know are, and for good reason. I have to admit, he is pretty darn cool... and I would LOVE to suddenly realize I'm a government agent with all these cool abilities that make me basically indestructible. I remember the first time I watched The Bourne Identity and Bourne wiped out those three German cops pretty much out of instinct!... now that rocked!

Maybe only a few others would agree with me, but you know what... I just don't think Bourne holds a candle to Jack Bauer. Maybe it's just me: 122 hours of Bauer and Palmer and Chapelle and Nina and terrorist conspiracies and multiplot craziness (sometimes nine scenarios at the same time) has created my bias. Bourne just hasn't earned my attention anymore, especially with the director's ever-shaking filming techniques! Yes Bourne is cool, but Bauer beats Bourne!

Bauer also beats beets and Battlestar Galactica!