Impatience, thy name is...

Patience is a virtue, so they say.

I wish it was one I had neatly stowed away in my back pocket where I could easily access it without much effort. Alas. Neither patience nor a back pocket do I currently have.

I just asked myself, on a down-the-rabbit-hole kind of whim, what are my easily accessible, already achieved/conquered/don't-have-to-work-on constantly virtues. Nothing came dancing into my mind. This is worrisome [unless, there are no such things? but this surely is not the case]. For what virtues, if any, am I known? ...however, that is another topic for another day.

Ah, patience. Or, far too often, impatience. Impatience, how well I know thee.

When I am about to read a book, I first read the inside flap [if there is one], then the back cover [if it is a descriptive one], and then the first one or two chapters. At this point, I generally have gained two pieces of information:

  1. I now know the author looks nothing like I imagine s/he should, along with the fact that they most definitely need to update their headshot.
  2. I now know the gist of the story. I know the main character. I have a decent idea of the story setup. I can already picture the conflict that will come in Chapters 5-18. I can predict versions of the resolution come the epilogue.

What I do not have, however, is certainty. I like certainty. [If the desire for certainty was a virtue, my pockets would be proof of my virtuousness (not virtuosity, mind you).] In this case, I can remedy my uncertainty, and ofttimes I do just that. It just takes 30 seconds or so to skim the last chapter, see how everything ties up, and then...! Resume reading at Chapter 2, in a much more content [albeit, mildly ashamed] state of mind. 

My worst [and quite recent] incident was with a 5-book series. I behaved pretty well through Book 1. But then Book 2 hit and there was so much miscommunication and distraught thinkings and unfair happenings that I was fairly sure my happily ever after was irreparably dashed [Why, no, I don't get so caught up in books that I feel as if their world is my world and their troubles are my troubles. Why do you ask?]. So I did the unthinkable. I skimmed the last chapter of Book 5. Good news? Well, I-. I mean, they get everything worked out and it's almost okay that all the terrible things happened in Book 1. And 2. And 3... etc. Bad news? I felt as if I had just committed a heinous crime. My lack of patience got me again.

This, obviously, is also an issue with other entertainment-y things. When I watch a movie or football game or television show and there's already information on the ending, I want to know it. Spoilers do not deter me. Spoilers invigorate me. I am an impatient soul.

One video game that rather appeals to me is the Harvest Moon series. Be a farmer? Check. Own a cow? Check. Harvest an orchard by head butting trees? Many, many checks. Get a spouse, have some kids, save the world? CHECK. Yet, I'm entirely too impatient to fully, fully enjoy the game. I'm always wanting to "get to the good part." 

In my most recent Harvest Moon adventure [which was actually quite a long time ago], I managed to save the world, find a fellow to marry me, and even have a tiny baby who sends up 3 hearts every time I shake a rattle at him, but then... Impatience banged down my beautiful farmhouse door [that I even had upgraded to level 3!]. I wanted my kid to grow up so I could see the different characteristics he would have [which differ depending on who I married, my preferences, etc. (just like real life!!)], but it was going to take sooo looong. Regardless of the fact that a "year" only consists of four 28-day "seasons" and not actually 365 days. Regardless of the fact that my kid would "grow up" in about a "year's" time. Regardless of the fact that this was just a game that held no real importance or meaning or any type of lasting value. I became so impatient with making the days go by that I finally just had to stop playing as I was no longer enjoying the experience. My impatience ruined it.

The sad thing is, these examples are really not that big of a deal. They're mostly harmless and have no bearing on Real Life things. But they are a tiny glimpse at the impatience that too often is bubbling right beneath the surface of my baseline "It's all good" mentality. It often is all good. I feel I'm a decently easy-going person. But let it be something I care a ton about or something I don't really care about at all or someone who just isn't fitting into my selfish idea of Ideal At This Moment and... poof. Impatience, thy name is Sharayah.

On very, very rare occasions, this monster grows a second ugly head. I will be impatiently stewing about Things and Such and I see others with these Things and Such and... I envy them. It is typically just a sliver of a feeling. It is typically just a split-second reaction that I can quickly squelch. But still, it's there. Impatience-bred envy. Not a pretty sight. 

So. What to do.

For me, sometimes airing things out, verbalizing it [of sorts], just confronting the dirty facts is enough of an impetus to get a grip on things. I'm a decently rational person. I know what things fall into the Good and Admirable box and what things fall into the Nasty box. Impatience leads to discontent. Discontent leads to ingratitude. It's like a chain of monkeys in the Barrel of Monkeys game, but much less friendly. I dislike the monkeys that belong in the Nasty box/barrel [and oddly enough, I'm not much of a fan of monkeys in real life... For someone who thinks even baby possums are kinda cute, this is an odd thing].

So. What to do.

Patience with others is Love. Patience with self is Hope. Patience with God is Faith.

The internet attributes this quote to a man I don't know with a name I can't pronounce, but I think the message is spot on. For me. Right now. And probably in the near future when I feel, yet again, those bubblings of impatience when things don't go the way I want them, when I want them. God's plan is superior to anything I can possibly imagine on my own. Time will show this to be true, in spite of my impatience.

And now these three things remain:  faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This is the goal. Patience with others, patience with myself, and [most of all] patience with God. Faith, hope, and love. Perspective is everything.

And... From the looks of our spankin' new background, I would say that fall is blissfully upon us! There is so much happy this time of year I could just squeak. I love fall weather and fall nature and fall everything. This comic rings true with me, and I just don't understand it. I think it's just because of how happy everything is. So, I'm okay with it not making complete rational sense. Fall is awesome sauce.

To me, 'edgepigs and fall go hand in hand.


right around the corner

Well, the frustration involving that small result I was trying to prove is over. It turns out that what we wanted to prove is only almost always true. Without getting into too many details, we were trying to prove something about a particular family of graphs, in fact, these graphs, and (to make a long story short) it's not always true. It's almost always true, but (and this will make more sense if you click those links above) it's not true when the number of triangles is 16. It's true for any other number (7? sure. 10,856,321? yep.) but not 16. Oy. Anyway, the way we found this out was actually by talking to another guy who was working on a similar (but more general) problem. He let us help him finish his paper, (which was very generous of him, because I know he could have done it himself) and the (much better than what we were originally trying to prove) result will likely soon be published. It's already up on arXiv, so feel free to check it out. So, we weren't able to prove exactly what we were trying to, but I'm still going to be published.

Sharayah tells me this is not really enough for a full blog post. I guess it's not interesting enough on its own. Or, at least, it's not very entertaining to read about. So. I will try to do better.

A few years ago (before this blog!) Sharayah and I went to New York the day before Thanksgiving. Why the day before, you ask? Isn't the parade the day after we went? Well, yes. We actually wandered around New York all night so we could get a really good spot to watch the parade. It was a really good time. You can read all about it here... oh right, it was before the blog. Well anyway, it was a good time and quite the adventure, so we're doing something similar this year. We're going up the day after Thanksgiving this year. Right. So, we're not watching the parade (at least not in person), but we're going to go explore all the fun Christmas stuff around the city like last time. And, unlike last time, there will probably be a blog post about it.

You can ask Sharayah about the title. It was her idea (I asked her for one, because I couldn't think of anything), but once she explained to me it made perfect sense.

you make beautiful things


thoughts on the throne

The time has come. It must be said.

I generally like to space out my weird, just give it in small doses, a little here, a little there. I figure I'm doing a service for humanity by not unleashing the Forehead Scrunching Oddness in two consecutive posts.

And yet. I fear I will forget to mention this pressing issue [yet again] if I put it off [yet again]. So. My apologies. But I just need to get this off my chest [and it's Friday and that means the end to another work week and sometimes letting out a little weird does wonders for one's sanity] and it may as well be done here and now.

Toilets. Why must you torment me.

There are round bowls. There are elongated bowls. There are really elongated bowls. There are seats that are flat. There are seats that are convex. There are seats that are concave. There are short toilets. There are tall toilets. There are really tall toilets. There is no lack of variety when it comes to such delicate matters of the <insert bodily organ>.

Variety is good, no? Diversity is key, right? Tolerance and acceptance of all toilets is the battle cry heard on the streets! [Probably not your street.]

And to all that, I say PSH.

Some may call me a toilet snob as I have what may seem like ridiculously high standards when it comes to my expectations of toilets, but really... No. I just expect a toilet to fulfill its duties... as I take care of mine. Is that so much to ask?

I want my feet to touch the floor.
I don't want my back up against the seat cover.
I want to be able to sit without feeling the need to balance.
I don't want to flush and feel water [fresh and clean or otherwise] land on my feet, legs, hands, or really any body part.
I want to be able to reach the toilet paper without having to stand up [I guess this may just be more of an overall bathroom experience kind of requirement, but I think it's an appropriate mention].
And most of all, I don't want fall in the toilet and/or feel the sensation of being stuck in the toilet.

Is that so much to ask?

Yes, I know that an ideal toilet for me would probably not be an ideal toilet for someone else. But I bet if you asked Average Joe* if he had a toilet preference, he would probably just say, "As long as it's clean, I have no preference." And if he doesn't have a preference, why not make the average toilet one that satisfies the preferences of someone who does have a preference?  Like me [said like Shawn Spencer, of course].

When I was a kid, I remember thinking that one day, oh one day, I would grow my adult legs and never again would I have that feeling of being hopelessly stranded atop the toilet. That day never came. I remember thinking that one day, oh one day, I would never again have to look down at a strange toilet and question, "Will I fall through that hole or get stuck in that hole or sit gloriously atop that hole? And if, worst case scenario, the former, what is the backup rescue plan?" Sadly, I have yet to see this day. I always need a backup plan.

So, what's the point of all this ranting and reminiscing and tales of dashed hopes and never-to-be-realized dreams?

Dear Jason and Sharayah of the Distant Future,
When you decide to build your own home and you come to that seemingly unimportant decision of choosing toilets for your bathrooms, don't shirk your duties! Go to Lowes or Home Depot and try some toilets on for size and comfort. Try option 1. Or maybe option 2. Bring a book! People watch! Just sit and put in some time to make an informed decision. Don't let your dignity and self-respect get in the way of lifelong toileting satisfaction. The choice of a toilet is not to be taken lightly as some studies say an Average Joe quite possibly spends up to 3 years on the toilet over the course of his life. Three years, you guys. Make the comfortable choice.
The Toilet Snob

P.S. FYI, this is a no, this is a no, and this is a Oh My Gosh Yes.

As a very, very, very slight justification for this post and its not exactly tea-party-in-the-sunroom-chitchat topic: Today's work consisted of a more than normal amount of bathroom/toileting/definitely-TMI typing, so it triggered my brain and this post was the only thing I could think to write.

I also feel compelled to mention that about halfway through writing this particularly enlightening post, my brain told me that now was an excellent time to tackle the topic of society's [inconsistent] obsession with tolerance/acceptance. There would be a perfect segue with some workable analogies and it would kill two birds with one stone. But, alas, the slightly normal part of my brain kicked in. And for the sake of every person who doesn't want to be compared to a toilet, you're welcome.

Last note... Just in case you thought that the title of the post referred to something a little less bathroom-related and a little more God-Throne-related, here's an obvious yet often overlooked thought:

We like to imagine what heaven will be like. What will it look like? What will we look like? What will we do? Where will we live? Will there be relationships? Will we hang out with friends and family? Will we eat? Will we all become amazing harpists and have shoes made of clouds?

I know I like to use my unbelievably limited mind to imagine about the greatness of my Forever Home. And yes, I am silly enough to think that all of my earthly thoughts and desires can somehow be pertinent to my life in eternity. I am only human after all. I don't like not knowing things, and there's so much I don't know. But! that's okay! I don't need to know everything about heaven. I don't need all the guesswork. There's only one definitive thing that I truly, truly know and it makes the answers to all of my other questions completely insignificant:  Jesus is there.

What else matters?

Just goes to show, if you make the right toilet choice, they'll be lining up outside your door.

*Average Joe, in this case, may be Jason.


Columbus Day

So, I guess tomorrow is Columbus Day. Like most people (I assume), I don't care much about Columbus Day. I don't celebrate or anything. Heck, I didn't even know it was tomorrow until 20 minutes ago when I read an article about Columbus.

I've heard some strange things about Columbus before. I heard he lied about being Italian and stole someone's identity. I can't remember why he would do that, and I don't know if it's true. I know he wasn't really trying to prove that the world was flat, though I've heard that for some reason they still teach that in elementary school. Well, today I read a very strange and disturbing article about Columbus, and I thought I'd share it. It's located here. Just a note - I don't think there was any profanity in that post, but I know there's plenty of it elsewhere around that site, so if that bothers you then only read the one article.

Anyway I don't have much else to say about it. I don't know how much of it's true (though the author does cite a few sources). I don't think there's really anything we need to do about it. Maybe don't view Columbus as a hero, if you do, but I doubt anyone really does anyway. I just thought it was an interesting read.

That over with, if people could pray for my dad that'd be great. His bad foot/ankle (which never fully healed, though he has been able to walk despite the pain for several months) has broken again. He's supposed to see his orthopedist tomorrow morning and probably have surgery later this week.

kp ps: let it be known that today is day 1 of operation clean as we go.