Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So, Big Gulps, huh? Well, see you later!

By Robison Wells

I'm moving this week, and I'm trying to finish a book, and I'm trying to get ready for school, and my head is about to explode. So you'll have to forgive me for the lack of one blog-length coherent thought. Instead, you'll get three short, unrelated ADD thoughts.

First, as preparation for BYU's MBA program, I've had to take a couple of online classes. The first was accounting, which is, in the words of Monty Python, "Exciting? No it's not. It's dull. Dull. Dull. My word it's dull, it's so desperately dull and tedious and stuffy and boring and des-per-ate-ly DULL." The other online class, though, is quantitative analysis (statistics). I know it'll make me sound like a nerd, but I love statistics. (I've always been kind of a math fan--once, more than ten years ago at a call center job, I built my own surveying equipment out of office supplies, and then made up trigonometry problems to map out the office. N-E-R-D.) Anyway, I find stats absolutely fascinating. Regression--and here's another nerd confession--has always struck me as somewhat magical. Simple number crunching can not only tell you whether two real-life things are related, but also how related they are and whether you should care about them. An Excel spreadsheet that tells me what I should care about? Sign me up, baby!

Second, another preparation for BYU is to take the Career Assessment tests. I'd taken tests similar to this one before, back when I was at Salt Lake Community College and had no idea what to do with my life. (As you can see, they didn't much help.) The results told me that I ought to become either paid clergy (probably because I'd just come back from my mission) or a chemical engineer (because… I have no idea). Anyway, the BYU test has been much more helpful and very eye-opening, and it told me my strengths and weaknesses. I was most pleased with one weakness in particular, because no one has ever quite captured my mindset so succinctly:
"You would fit best in an organizational culture that is a bit reserved and on the polite side. In such companies, departments, and teams, a lot of the work is done independently, behind closed doors -- or at least with some privacy and allowance for focus and concentration. Boisterousness and aggressive behavior definitely run counter to the norm in this kind of culture. People who thrive in such organizations generally view social and business 'networking' as a chore to be avoided or minimized, rather than as a fundamental part of work. Your tendency in this direction is very strong."

Third, a recent article on Meridian stirred up a little controversy this week on the blogosphere. The author cites a couple old quotes from George Q. Cannon about how novels are bad for us, and how we shouldn't read them. For example:
"Works of fiction have been sent forth like an overflowing flood, and the public taste has become so vitiated thereby that everything virtuous, truthful or heavenly is unpalatable, and is rejected with disgust."
And also:
"From the character of a man's reading, one may tell just what he is full of. Is he filled with sickly sentiment, heated imaginings, dreamy unrealities — this condition being brought about by his reading?"

A lot of people have argued about the article, but I've decided to take it to its next logical step:

I'm happy to present the Cannon Awards! Awards for the worst of LDS fiction! We would set up a website and a nomination form, but it's just a foregone conclusion that Jeff Savage will sweep all categories. So, congrats to Jeff! (No, this isn't true. James Dashner won some awards, too.)

UPDATE: I just got a surprising email. Yes, the Cannon Awards are just a joke.


At 6/26/2007 2:03 PM, Blogger Jon said...

So, when the books are given the Cannon award, are they loaded into an actual cannon and blasted into the atmosphere? (a la Hunter S Thompson?)

Is it possible to take the BYU Career Assessment test without attending BYU? I'd love to see what my results are. =)

The downside of taking an online stats class is that you don't get to see the hot girl come in every day at the same time, framed by the sunlight....

At 6/26/2007 2:42 PM, Blogger Josi said...

1--I have no idea what statistics are other than the fact that 8 out of 10 people agree with me.

2--so basically the assessment is telling you that you hate people and want to take care of your own crap without helping anyone else with theirs? I can relate.

2--I've got a nomination, but I can't spell it. Is it i before e except after F or e before i in front of the T? :-)

You're awesome Rob--hang in there. Oh, and did you get your air conditioner?


At 6/26/2007 2:55 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

That is seriously funny, Rob -- I needed that today.

At 6/26/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

Cannon awards, eh? That's freaking brilliant. Where do I sign up for the Robison Wells fanboy club?

At 6/26/2007 8:06 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Hahahahaha! I'm with Tristi. We need more laughter.

At 6/27/2007 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the Cannon article at Meridian and from the closing paragarph I learned that: writers of romance novels and their works are evil, while writers of humor are just a little above the ground, while writers of ghost stories (Dickens) and little girls coming of age (Alcott) are virtuos, lovely and of good report. Most of you reading this are in big trouble...

At 6/27/2007 5:07 PM, Anonymous robisonwells said...

Jon, I think you have to be enrolled to take the test. The MBA office had to set me up in their system before I took it.

Josi, we haven't started looking for an air conditioner yet. We move on Saturday, and then we'll start pestering move-outs to buy their used ones.

Matthew, there's no fanboy club, but Crystal Liechty talked about starting a fangirl club called Wells' Belles. You could totally join that one if you want.


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