16 November 2009

It's time to quit

Learned how to play "All My Loving" by the Beatles tonight at guitar class. Last week was "Hey Jude" - I need to practice more, they are not as easy as some of the others we've been doing. I miss my piano. Guitar is fun, but it just doesn't give me the same sense of release as the piano did.

Christiana and I have survived week one of the P90X workout - 83 more days to go! I'm sore, but I've been sleeping so much better because my body is exhausted every day. I'll post before and after pictures when I'm done.

School is going well - only a few weeks until finals. And when finals are over - I'm going to quit smoking. Yep, it's true - I bought the patch and everything. I think I'll probably blog more often while I quit, trying to find things to keep me occupied.

Here's a picture of Christiana and I with the kids - we got Jameson a santa hat to wear but he kept trying to eat it. Funny that he was perfectly content when I put him in a pink tu-tu last month... Anyway!

Have a good week everybody

20 August 2009

my views on healthcare reform

I am not writing about Obama’s healthcare reform plan. I’m not debating about the different arguments of republicans or democrats or the faults or merits of their plans. I am writing about what I think.

Christiana told me of a man in the army who was very republican, anti government healthcare, etc. That is, until he found out he has MS. Since it’s considered a preexisting condition, the army doesn’t have to do anything about it. So suddenly he’s going to be kicked out of the army with no insurance and a lifetime of medical needs ahead of him. Now he is all for universal healthcare.

There is another man in the south that started up a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to drive children to doctors appointments, because their families can’t even afford to drive them there.

Maybe the bills going on right now about healthcare reform are flawed. Maybe it should all be thrown out and started over again. But it SHOULD happen. Just because you disagree with HOW something is being done doesn’t mean that the cause isn’t worthy. Healthcare for everyone; that any man woman or child can go see a doctor if they are sick or in pain. Why wouldn’t we want that? Because it means higher taxes? I do not enjoy paying taxes any more than anyone else – but if ever there was a cause worthy of my money, this is it.

We think it’s so noble when we hear of doctors volunteering their time to go to third world countries and help the people there. In fact, we think it’s such a worthy cause that many of us make donations so they can do this! So I ask you, why not here? Why would you do that for a stranger and not your neighbor?

Perhaps I am biased. I am, after all, one of those millions of people who know that when my insurance contract runs out – I’m going to be in big trouble.

My point is this: You can disagree with how people are going about healthcare reform. You can argue that this isn’t the way to do it. But please don’t blanket the entire idea with a sense of impending doom. Stop arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong and this person said this. It IS a worthy cause. If we can spend billions of dollars to pay for a war, and hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out financial firms, we can damn well spend some money to get kids in to see a doctor.

So many people speculate on the possible negative things that would happen if we implement healthcare reform. It’s true, some of these worries even have some merit. But we know what will happen if we don’t do anything. People are just going to keep dying.

If you’re reading this, then you’re my friend or part of my family. You’re an intelligent person, with a kind heart. Use that intelligence to find solutions instead of arguing and forwarding emails warning of the evils and possible downfalls.

That’s all. I just wanted to get that off my chest.


09 July 2009

Petitioning the Academic Council

I have a dilemma.

My biology professor has offered to get me an internship at the University of California next summer in a biology lab. I'd be doing my own research project, and it pays! It's pretty much perfect.

In order to be eligible for this internship, I need to get my next 2 biology courses done. One this fall, one in the spring.
The biology I need to take this fall has a co-requisite of a certain chemistry class, which would normally be no big deal. The problem is, the chemistry class has a prerequisite of either Chem2 or high school chemistry.

Problem with taking Chem2: I don't have time! If I take chem2, I won't finish my requirements in time for the internship.

Problem with high school chemistry: I didn't take it! I joined the army instead!!

So I have to petition the college Academic Council this coming Tuesday and convince them to, as my adviser put it, "ignore their own policies and make an exception just for you."

Basically, if I fail, the internship goes to someone else and I lose the opportunity of a lifetime. I do have a 4.0 on my side - but that only gets you so far. My adviser advised me to get a letter from my professor in support of this plan - unfortunately, he's speaking at a big biology conference at the Burgess Shale right now and I have no way to get a hold of him.


Any great ideas as to how to make myself look as smart and dedicated as possible?


01 June 2009

every beginning is another beginning's end

It's finals week. I just finished my biology lecture exam and the lab practical. Only 3 more finals to go this week and I'm done with the semester!!

At least... I get one week off, the I start summer semester. I do believe it will be like this for the next several years.

So, sorry I haven't been posting anything exciting - it's cause I haven't done anything exciting. Study study study.

Jameson is growing at a steady pound a week - I think he may get a bit bigger than we thought...


17 April 2009


Apparently the blog cut all my pictures in half. I will have to fix that later - I have to go to school now. Check back this weekend for the other half! :P


Beach Pictures

Stairs to the beach are closed this time of year so the seals and have their pups


Baby seals



The Cove










I'm never more at home than when I'm up in a tree :)



10 April 2009


Well it's been far too long since I've written. Life gets busy.
While Christiana was in Germany for 5 weeks I spent the majority of my time studying. I've gotten excellent grades on all of my tests and midterms, and feel confident I'll get a 4.0 this semester. I'm especially enjoying my biology class - definitely the right major for me.
While in Germany Christiana got to go see some sights, but what I'm most jealous about is that she got to go sledding on a famous ski run in the Austrian Alps. She had so much fun, I wish I could have been there with her. But, there's always next time, and I'm glad she had some fun to keep her occupied while she was away :)
A couple days after she got back, we flew up to Seattle to visit our families. My father was having his 60th birthday party. He rented a large dance hall and about 100 people showed up. He's very much into the Seattle waltz scene and there were some incredible dancers there! Christiana and I got out and did some dancing as well, it was fun. She's quite elegant :)
We got to see the rest of the family, too - all the kids are getting so big! It's crazy. It was nice to see everybody.
Now we're back home and enjoying the quiet. We went to the beach the other day and that was nice. Yesterday we went house hunting - it's amazing how expensive this area is. $250k just doesn't get you what it should! We'll see how that goes...
In any case. Hope you're all doing well! I'll get some pictures together to post soon.

-Dylan James

17 February 2009

To you, Lover

A building protects from a storm much the same way that you keep me from my own storms; but more than just a building - a home - full of warmth and comfort, and love. A shelter in every sense of the word.
I wake up in the morning to your smile and you whisper that breakfast is ready. Perhaps it seems a small thing, since you must make breakfast for yourself anyway. But it is not a small thing to me. It is one of a thousand ways you show your love for me every single day.
You quiz me on my homework even when I’d much rather be doing something else. Your persistence is sweet.
You calm me. Your voice and your gentle touch as you play with my hair.
I adore you when you’re sleepy. When I come to bed late and you roll over and say “Hi Misterman” as you fall back asleep, this time on my chest. And I lay there running my fingers through your hair and find myself not wanting to sleep after all. But just to lie there, and be happy.
You’re going to be gone a lot this year. You’re leaving in 4 days. That ache I felt when you were in Iraq comes back in sharp stabs when I think about it. But then I remember you’re not going back to Iraq. You’ll be just as out of reach; but you’ll be safe. And that makes all the difference.
I love you. And I’ll never stop.

-Dylan James

The Pinnacles

Rock formations and caves from an old volcano.
The flash from the camera makes it look like in there - but believe me, with how deep inside we were - there wasn't a single big of light without our headlamps. Very fun. Almost couldn't fit through some of the passage ways with a backpack on - but I'm glad I was wearing it. Saved my back from getting soaked from the dripping water!

09 February 2009

Etymology sounds like a medical field. I digress...

After completing my first week of the semester, I've come to these conclusions:
1) My brain was not made to learn a foreign language.
2) Better luck understanding a black hole than a math teacher's sense of humor.
3) Biology is good. Biology is very good.

Funny story:
In math class I sit next to a firefighter. We were discussing Schwarzeneger's new mandatory 2 day/month furlough for all state employees. Since she is a state employee, I asked what she thought of it, expecting her to be disgruntled. Instead, she said:
"I think it's great! Think of it this way - It's not like we can just close up shop and not show up for 2 days. We're firefighters. So if I take two days off one week, one of my co-worker's gets paid overtime to work them for me. Then the next week, I get paid overtime to take his spot. So we're working the same number of hours as before, but we're making more money. Schwarzeneger didn't really think this one through."

I was quite amused.

In other news, it looks like I won't be going to Germany after all. What with school being so expensive and I haven't been able to find a job yet. So Christiana will be going by herself. 5 weeks isn't anything compared to the 15 months she was gone before - but I'm still not looking forward to it. Especially since she'll be gone for 9 weeks this summer, too. But, such is life. At least I've got school to keep me occupied. Speaking of which, I've got to go there now.

Hasta maƱana


08 February 2009

12 January 2009

Pepe Le Pew and Poisonous Mangos

Pepe Le Pew

If I was swimming and saw a shark, I’d know to float on my back and hold very still. If I saw a mountain lion, I would know to maintain eye contact, stand very tall, and back away very slowly.

But what do you do if you come face to face with a skunk? I’ve had to figure this out recently because it seems that my friendly neighborhood skunk enjoys roaming my back yard right about the time I go out for my last evening cigarette.

The first time this happened, I froze. I didn’t want to startle him. But eventually I looked down and realized my cigarette was out and I hadn’t smoked any of it. Was I going to sit like this all night? So I went from 0-60 and ran inside the house and closed the slider behind me.

This has happened a couple of times, and seems to work. But the other night things changed. My porch light went out, so I didn’t see him sneaking up on me. Okay, he wasn’t sneaking up on me; in fact, I don’t think he even realized I was there. Out of the corner of my eye I see something moving by my foot. Before I realize that it’s Mr. Le Pew, I automatically jump a little bit. He in turn jumps about two feet, landing perfectly with his raised tail to me. It’s amazing how fast the brain can analyze a situation when it needs to. I decided I didn’t have time to open and close the door – so I just ran. It wasn’t until I was by the car that I realized all the other doors were locked, and I had to go back in through that one. So I walked back hesitantly, found that I’d startled him just as bad and he, too, had run away.

I built a fence around my back yard the last couple weeks, but he just digs under it. It looks like I’m going to have to find a way to co-exist with that little bugger.


In other news, I took my math placement test; I didn’t have to take English because I’ve already taken several English classes. I was surprised to find that I’d tested into Algebra. In eight grade I took a pre-algebra class – and haven’t taken a math class since. But I suppose that little bit of studying the night before did me well.

I can register for classes on the 20th – I’m going to take Biology, Algebra, and Advanced Emergency Care. Then next quarter will be math, biology, and chemistry.

Poisonous Mangos

In still other news – my wife and I apparently have developed an allergy to mangos. Did you know they are in the same family as poison oak? Needless to say it has been a painful couple of days – but steroids seem to be taking care of it. Damn you store for having a sale on mangos!! I shake my fist at you.

The weekend wasn’t a total loss, though. It was 72 degrees so we went to the beach and combed for beach glass. It’s about time to start boogie boarding again! 

I have an acupuncture appointment today. I’ve never done it before, but my chiropractor thinks it could help reduce my level of pain. *Crossing my fingers!*

Oh, and I’m going to interview at Home Depot for a part time job while I go to school. Not much money, but the discount is worth it! I’ll be able to start adding to my power tool collection hehe.

Have a good week!
-Dylan James

08 January 2009


For the last couple years I've been considering and slowly working towards a degree in psychology.
A couple weeks ago, however, I stopped to ask myself: Why?

The simple answer:
Well, psychology is easy for me. I've always been able to read people and understand why people do things. I'm good at getting people to talk and helping them feel relaxed and safe. I analyze people's decisions and actions without hardly any effort at all, and usually without meaning to do so.

I wasn't satisfied with that answer. Just because something is easy doesn't mean you should spend your entire life doing it. So I delved introspectively to find the real cause of my desire to choose this career path.

The deeper answer:
Often times helping other people with their troubles relieves some of my own. When I'm delving into someone's mind - I can see things so clearly. It's like looking down on a maze and guiding them out of it; for I have the bird's-eye view. I think that part of me hopes that somehow by doing this I will be able to find my own way out of the maze.

The understanding:
I realized what a defeatist attitude I had. It's not like something horrible happened to me and I need to work it out. If that were true, psychology would be a perfect field to explore. I had settled for learning to deal with pain - when instead I should be focusing on fixing it. That's like hating yourself for being overweight but never doing anything to change that fact.

The solution:
I doubt that medical science will solve the mysteries I yearn to learn in my lifetime. But, that doesn't mean I shouldn't try. There are several biomedical fields that could potentially offer up solutions. Genomics, cellular biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, etc.

I don't know if I have the intellectual potential to pull off a career in the biomedical community - but there's no reason I shouldn't try. So, starting in February, I'm going to start taking some biology and chemistry classes. If I grasp the concepts and pass the classes, I'll keep taking them. If I fail, I'll take them again. If I end up having to accept that my mind doesn't work that way - I can always fall back on psychology.

Like I've always said - time doesn't change things; people have to change things. And I very highly doubt that many biomedical scientists are making my challenges their research priority.

So I'm off to register for school.
Wish me luck.


06 January 2009

Web Mastering Skills

Does anyone have any cool web design skills? You know, like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills... Ahem. Moving on. The point is, I'm creating a website. And after hours of random fiddling I've realized that I know as much about web design as my grandmother knows about Paris Hilton. That is (I hope) not very much.

I'm a big do-it-yourself type. I don't like being taught, I like figuring things out. But I'm a big enough man to admit when there may be a slight chance that I might need a pointer here and there. Possibly...


The end.

My new home *sigh*

I'm sure it'll go down in the history books - the great journalspace crash of 2008. And to think the world kept turning...

In any case - this will now be my new "what's new in Dylan's life" blog. If you're an old JS friend and want to read my more personal journal, it's on another site so just message me.

Otherwise - you're stuck with silly pictures and stories that may entertain you but don't really have a moral to the story. Hmm.. Mindless entertainment. A truly exploitable concept..

-Dylan James