By elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. -George Carlin
Question #90974 posted on 02/22/2018 11:26 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is your favorite stairwell on campus and why?

-HFAC C286

A:

Dear HFAC lover,

The SWKT stairwells. Sometimes it takes forever to catch the elevators in the SWKT (or there's too many people waiting for them and I hate social interaction think I won't fit), so those 209 steps to my office are keeping me in shape.

-guppy of doom

A:

Dear Harris,

There are quite a few staircases I like, but nothing beats going down the stair case in the Life Science Building. Why, you ask? The only time I go down that staircase is walking back from campus at night. Not only is it a cool staircase, but it's inside, warm, has wifi, and it means that I am DONE with school for the day.

Peace,

Tipperary

A:

Dear HFAC,

On the north end of the Benson by the NICB is a staircase that goes up to the roof. When I worked as a custodian there, one of my jobs was to sweep that staircase, and one day in particular the door to the roof was left unlocked, so naturally I took advantage of that.

Besides that one cool moment, hardly anyone used that staircase so I would sing to myself in there while I worked, so I have some fond memories of working in the Benson. By all other accounts it's a nondescript staircase, but I'm a fan.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear HFAC,

The prettiest staircase on campus is probably the one in the middle of the JFSB, that spirals up through the whole building. I mean, as far as useful staircases go, it doesn't even make the list, but it's certainly nice to look at (especially from the basement). 

-Alta

Question #90965 posted on 02/22/2018 10:54 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've noticed a lot of people don't seem to care about washing their hands when taking the trash out, even if it's bathroom trash. I don't quite understand this. Gross vegetable bits, stuff that's fallen on the floor, feminine hygiene products, possibly condoms for married people, washing your hands and avoiding touching the doorknob on the way in and out make sense to me. So I turn to you all with some questions:

1. Do you wash your hands or do anything to prevent your doorknob from being icky after taking out the trash?

2. Is it actually okay to skip washing your hands? Like, what's the germ/disease risk factors?

Thanks,
hand washer

A:

Dear Hand Washer,

I am a clean person, but not the most clean person. I've described previously how I get annoyed at people who refuse to grab the bathroom door handle unless they use a paper towel. To an extent, I get where they're coming from, but I find the practice unnecessary and a waste of paper. 

You could probably guess, then, that I don't think twice about not washing my hands after I take out the trash. I guess, in my view, while gross stuff does go into the trash, that doesn't automatically contaminate the entire trash can. Most of the liner is still "safe," in my view. If something in the trash brushes up against my hands in the process of taking it out, I'll probably wash up, but otherwise it's completely not a concern (in fact, I didn't realize that some people actually did that until you asked this question).

As far as when you should wash your hands, this feature by the CDC suggests washing your hands at the following times:

  • Before, During, and After preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and After taking care of a sick person
  • Before and After treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

(That feature also gives hand-washing tips so you can make sure you get the best clean.)

I feel pretty good, because I already follow all of those guidelines. "But Frère!" you protest (too much), "You don't wash your hands after taking out the trash and the CDC says to!" To which I respond: "Semantics! Touching garbage doesn't necessarily mean touching a garbage bag!"

Maybe that's foolish of me, but I don't get sick all that often, so I feel pretty good about my handwashing decisions.

-Frère Rubik

A:

Dear person,

I'm with you. I wash my hands and clean the doorknob after taking out the garbage. In fact, I usually only take the garbage out before showering. Also, I always put the clothes I was wearing while taking the garbage out in the laundry. It's probably really excessive but garbage bags and bins freak me out.

-Sheebs

A:

Dear Hand Washer,

I ALWAYS wash my hands after taking out the trash. For me the main issue is that I have to touch the lid of the big trashcan outside, because for the trash itself all I touch is the outside of the bag, and the outside of the bag was only touching the inside of my clean trashcan. But even if I didn't have to touch the lid of the big trashcan outside, I would still wash my hands, because that's what you're supposed to do after handling trash. I don't take any precautions about not touching the doorknob, though, because any time I leave the house and then come back in (and touch the doorknob in the process), I'm going to wash my hands anyways.

-Alta

A:

Dear hand washer,

I always wash my hands after taking out the trash. However, I don't usually do anything special to avoid touching the doorknob, unless my hands touch the actual trash. Honestly, considering how many germs are on your textbooks and phone, just touching the liner of a trashcan doesn't even compare.

-guppy of doom

A:

Dear Hand Washer,

Y’all can judge me for this, but usually I don’t wash my hands except after using the bathroom or handling raw food. It’s not on purpose, I just don’t think about it. And so far I haven’t contracted any weird diseases, plus I’m hardly ever sick, so I see no incentive to change my ways.

-a writer

Question #90957 posted on 02/22/2018 7:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

As a guy, what are good ways for me to flirt? I feel like I probably know how, but I just haven't been REALLY interested in a girl for a while, so I haven't really had anyone that I really wanted to flirt with (except for a girl who already knows I like her and sorta kinda friend-zoned me for now, so I'd rather not annoy her by flirting). I think that flirting for me usually looks like giving the girl a compliment (mmm maybe a bad example because I do that to lots of people) or lightly teasing her or just making jokes. But is there anything else I should keep in mind?

Also, like I said, not really interested in anyone right now. So how interested should I be before I start flirting with someone? (I have accidentally led people on before and that is not cool.)

-Mr. Single

A:

Dear friend,

I think that there are a lot of different levels of flirting here. But most of it, in my opinion, has to do with the amount of attention you devote to someone. We all notice when people take the time to care about us or to specifically make an effort to talk or spend time with us. That's what flirting is all about. If you think you might be interested in someone, be interested in them! Get to know them, make an effort to care, and have sincere and earnest conversation. Honestly, do this with all the people you meet, because that's like, being a good person. But if you start to think you're interested in someone, make a more concerted effort to spend time with her or talk to her. People will notice when you are making a concerted effort to care about them, compliment them, and spend time with them.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

A:

Dear Mister,

If you had asked me a month ago, I probably would have said that flirting is generally fun and harmless, and a good way to gauge interest between two people.

However, in the last few weeks I've been dealing with a man who flirted with me despite having a girlfriend. And while I knew about the girlfriend, and would never do anything to disrupt their relationship, I still started to have feelings for someone who showed such sincere and flattering interest in me. And that has not been the most fun thing to deal with. So I would say that flirting casually isn't a bad thing, but you shouldn't consistently flirt with someone who you aren't genuinely interested in dating.

But overall, I think you're on the right track when it comes to male flirting. If you're flirting casually, just getting to know someone, then teasing and compliments will go a long way. When you find someone you are actually interested in, then simply paying attention to her is going to make for the best flirtatiousness. Make eye contact, and initiate physical contact. Pay attention to what she likes, and draw her into conversation. Make her feel important. When you're moving past the casual stage, you want to sincerely get to know her, so while joking around will still make for a good time, you also want to communicate your desire to get to know her better.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Mr. Single,

Sounds like you have a good grasp of the general concepts. But honestly the most attractive flirting I've ever participated in was 1) asking real questions about things that are important to me 2) witty banter 3) verbal acknowledgement of chemistry/attraction etc.  

If you don't know whether you really like a girl, but you think you mightjust talk to her and get to know her. That's not flirting. It's being a human being to another human being. 

Babalugats

Question #90966 posted on 02/22/2018 6:42 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can someone remember/find out what the name of the green Spanish grammar book is titled that missionaries use in the MTC?? I'm thinking of the book that was in use in 2011, so I bet they've changed by now, but I just remember that textbook being excellent.

I guess similarly, does anyone know what the German-speaking missionaries use? I'm not talking about the MTC-made textbooks, but rather the third party textbooks that were used.

-Someone who just realized how long ago he was in the MTC

A:

Dear Former Missionary,

That would be The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice by Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman, and yes, it is a fantastic practice! I made a goal to do all of the exercises in the book by the time I finished my mission and I think doing so really helped when I was a missionary. 

I don't know about any German books like that, though, and I don't have anyone to contact on this one, so someone else is going to have to pinch hit for me here.

-Frère Rubik

A:

Dear RM,

I asked my cousin who served in Germany, and he told me that they used German in Review by Kimberly Sparks and Van Horn Vail. For what it's worth, my cousin said that he would definitely recommend it. 

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

Question #90962 posted on 02/22/2018 6:42 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are there any pink water towers in the US? My daughter always asks on road trips to help her find a big pink city water tower, and so far we’ve had no luck. I’d love to know if there’s any town with a pink water tower!

-Cassie

A:

Dear Cassie,

There's one in Illinois, where I'm from! In Calumet city, they've got a pink water tower that they're so proud of that it's featured on their small Wikipedia page.

The bonus is that it also has a smiley face on it!

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

Question #90951 posted on 02/22/2018 4:18 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do you know of any way to get a comprehensive list of all your job positions while at BYU, without having to go through old pay stubs and try to find the dates? I'm hoping there is some way to do this on MyBYU...

-Former Employee

A:

Dear Ex-Employee,

I held this over so long because I really believed that I had once done this, but after a lot of searching I'm fairly certain that I just looked though my old paychecks. I don't think they have a list anywhere, sorry. If anyone knows better, leave a correction!

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

Question #90922 posted on 02/22/2018 4:13 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

In The Silver Chair, Jill and co. go to the Underland where the Green Lady rules over a bunch of earthmen. After the Green Lady is defeated, the Underland gnome people go to a lower underworld called Bism, their homeland, which is supposed to be a beautiful and magical place.

Until the introduction of Bism, it just seemed that it was a clear allegory to the underworld or hell - led by a vain wicked ruler with an army of goblin-like minions. But it turns out that the minions aren't all that bad after all, and are more at home in a bright and colorful deeper underworld.

Given that the Narnia series has heavy Christian themes, what do you think the symbolic significance and meaning of Bism and it's inhabitants is?

-Dr. Shasta

A:

Dear Orange,

I would have to agree with Anathema on this question. C.S. Lewis writes with an overtly Christian overtone in the Chronicles of Narnia series, but he doesn't always have a super direct meaning for each thing in the book. The symbolism of this instance feels a lot more generally symbolic. From this section of the series I got a lot of themes about freewill, and about spiritual bondage. The minions that live in the underworld are people that are subdued and forced to act differently than they would otherwise. In C.S. Lewis' work The Screwtape Letters there is a theme of being in the grasp of the devil, and living freely, depending on the choices we make. I think that the theme here is a lot similar, the minions are just freed by an external power.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

A:

Dear Grape,

Thought I don't profess to claim that I know what C.S. Lewis' symbolic intention was in writing about the Bism, I can offer a Christian themed interpretation: Heaven is defined by the presence of light. It is the things which bring us away from the light and into darkness--no matter where that darkness lies--that truly is Hell. 

As far as the goblins go, perhaps the message contained there is that we should not be quick to judge those whose situations have forced them to be less than they are.

Thank you for asking this question. Though I did not go in great depth in my answer, I love all the Chronicles of Narnia, and it brings me happiness to see references to them, and be given the opportunity to think on them.

~Anathema

Question #90738 posted on 02/22/2018 7:24 a.m.
Q:

Dear F.R.I.

*a bell tinkles, the winter's sun's rays stretching across the room from the crack in the blinds are suddenly filled with whirls of dusty motes*
*a man approaches, and reaching into his pocket, tosses a quarter onto the gas can*
Frère Rubik, from the shadows: "You know, I'm not actually Encyclopedia Brown."
Man: "Oh. I'm sorry, I I uh guess my mysterious entrance was unneeded then, I'll uh, go then."
Frère Rubik: "Wait! I can still try your mystery! I'll have a show down with E.B. any day, and win!"
Man, taken aback but excited: "I hope you can, this has strained my understanding of the universe for 7 years! I will tell all."
Frère nodded, and the man began.

October of 2011 was uneventful and not remotely extraordinary, except for the pumpkins which appeared on my porch. They kept appearing in batches, four or five at a time, all types of pumpkins mind you, white ones as well, most of ordinary size. This happened several times, there were over a dozen (and pumpkins ain't cheap!). I had no idea where they were coming from, or how they were appearing on my porch. My parents assumed they were for me, as my little brother at the time had few friends, and none capable of driving (I myself was in my senior year of high school). With over a dozen and not wanting to waste the pumpkins, I hosted a pumpkin carving event with several friends and neighbors, all remarking at the odd circumstances in which the pumpkins had appeared. My friends are not the sort to do pranks, and if so, no one has ever come forward all these years, and I don't believe it to have been a prank. Even whilst carving several more appeared on the porch, which we discovered upon our return from the neighbors! Perhaps there is an order form online from whence some poor pumpkin-desperate soul knew not the law of sunk costs and kept ordering more and more pumpkins in hopes they would get a delivery, never thinking to check that they'd properly addressed their orders? There was never a note, and I'm afraid that is all the information I have on the case, which I turn now to you, good Frère. What is the story of these pumpkins?

-Corsica S.

A:

Dear Corsica S.,

First of all, I deny that the aforementioned conversation ever happened. Of course, that's probably what I'd do if it actually did happen. Then again, I would also do that if it really didn't happen. SO WHICH IS IT?!?!?!

(That feud with Encyclopedia Brown is legit, though. Like, the only Encyclopedia Brown mystery I've ever read was solved by the fact that most clothes dryers are front-loading and not top-loading, and the smarmy way in which Mr. Brown explained that particular fact has filled me with loathing towards him ever since.)

Now, here's the unfortunate truth, dear Corsica: this case is colder than a cold cut in the refrigerated section of a Cold Foods Market in Wisconsin that's buried in ten feet of snow with a helping of liquid nitrogen on top. It's cold. SO COLD. I'M SO COLD WHY IS IT SO COLD OUTSIDE IT WAS JUST WARM LIKE A WEEK AGO AND NOW IT'S FREEZING AND I—

*ahem*

What I mean to say is, there's not a lot of evidence here, and it's been a long time since the incident occurred. I mean, October 2011? Was I even in college then? Oh? I was? It's taken me nearly seven years to graduate? Oh? That's nearly enough time to complete two undergraduate degrees? Well okay then.

Beyond that, I should also point out that, in previous F.R.I. cases, I've had some sort of documented evidence to go off of. I'm not saying you made this up, but without anything substantial, I can't really make a crack in this case.

Maybe one day the F.R.I. will open up a division related to cold cases, but right now the thought of cold cases just makes me remember that one winter in Florida where the wet cold penetrated every layer of clothing and I could never get warm. I COULD NEVER GET WARM.

With my apologies,

-Frère Rubik, dashing off to wrap himself in a blanket and sit in front of a fire with a warm mug of cider

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Tell me about the library ghosts.

-The Exquisite

A:

Dear Exquisita, 

Look, this is really bad on our part. When you asked this, I thought it would be a good idea to try and get it out before Halloween. Halloween. It is obviously nowhere close to Halloween now.

Before I get into why this took so long, let me just answer your question proper: there are three library ghosts. One resides in the Primrose International Viola Archive (PIVA), located near the Music & Dance section on the fourth floor. Another is located in the Harp Room, which is adjacent to the PIVA. The third ghost is the most interesting of the three because it is the ghost of a dog, and it resides on level zero of the library. For a little more information and a couple of pictures, you can check out this Universe article, but here's the skinny on each of the three:

  • One day a student noticed an old-looking chair in the Harp Room which wasn't supposed to be there. They moved the chair out. Some time later, the chair was back in the room; they moved it out again. Try as they might, they couldn't keep the chair out of the room, and all of the Music & Dance employees denied moving it, so they came to the conclusion that there was a ghost that liked to sit in that room and in that specific chair. 

  • The PIVA ghost is a little more subtle; most people just tend to sense an otherworldly presence in the room or generally just feel weird. Some people say they've seen a ghost, others say they've heard footsteps. The creepiest haunting, in my opinion, is when one employee said she was turning off the light as she left the room and she felt someone else's hand on top of hers. Downright spooky, if you ask me.

  • Nobody has reportedly seen or heard the ghost dog, but in the basement of the library you can see the imprint of a set of pawprints in the concrete floor. The prints are in the middle of the floor, and they appear out of nowhere and vanish without a trace. Ghost dog is, in my opinion, the coolest of the library ghosts.

So here's what happened: I have always wanted to see the ghost dog's footprints, and it is sometimes possible to get a library supervisor to take you to the basement to see them. When I first learned of the ghost dog, I told my old roommate Addison, and he led an intrepid group of PR students to take pictures of it and write up a story for his class journalism contest. I knew it could be done, but I also knew the circumstances had to be right. While I was waiting for my attempt, the Lone Musketeer proposed a trip to the PIVA room to investigate the ghosts there. She and the Entomophagist and I formed a crack ghostbusting team and went over there, but when we got in the room there were a bunch of other people around and we felt a bit awkward (though that did not stop us from taking a picture of a suspected ghost, which may or may not have just been me with my sweater over my head). We walked out and took a blurry cellphone picture of the Harp Room chair, but then people had to leave and that was the end of that. 

I've held on to this answer for so long because I really, really, really want to see the ghost dog, but it's been so long now that, even if I do see it someday, this question should be freed from its torment in the inbox and allowed to roam the archives at its leisure.

Sorry for the wait again! Happy ghost hunting!

-Frère Rubik

A:

Dear Exquisite,

As a newbie, meeting up with other writers to ghost hunt would be a violation of my probation. But I can recount a library ghost hunt I did about a year and a half ago. Perhaps with multiple data points you will find your research a bit closer to conclusive. 

My coworkers and I were big into sharing paranormal stories, listening to EVPs, and discussing the residual energy absorption potential for sandstone. You know. Just office things. A friend of ours had shown us a video he had taken in which disembodied music could be heard coming from the Primrose International Viola Archive after hours. Intrigued, determined, and perhaps a little bit bored, my buddy and I decided to investigate the 4th floor of the library.

Not having any special clearances we decided to meet up after dark but well before closing. I think that was our first mistake. We did a little research beforehand to produce optimal creep-out factor and maximize bias. We found an article in the Daily Universe which armed us with a good idea of what to look for and a mild case of the heebie-jeebies. Finding the empty PIVA room locked and dark, we were a little disappointed. So we did what any self-respecting paranormal investigators would do. We tried speaking to the ghosts from outside the door, listened, took some selfies, listened some more, and then headed to Denny's. 

I now realize we probably hadn't established the best conditions for paranormal phenomena. The library was still pretty busy and the hallways were still lit. My EMP detector app shockingly turned out to be phony. Plus, we couldn't even get in the room. 

It might have been the shadows from shapely furniture in a semi-lit room. It might have been the altar-like display of rested violas. It may have been the dark portraits on the far wall. But the PIVA room definitely had a creepy vibe. I think it's definitely worth investigating again, especially if you find a completely legal and approved way to get in after-hours. 

Babalugats