Dec 31, 2006

Happy New Year All!

My favorite part of New Year's Eve is the part where everybody gets together and sings "Should auld acquaintance be forgot hmm la la la la laaaa? Should auld acquaintance be forgot dee da dee da dee dooooo?" Even though it's an internationally well-known song, the total number of people that know the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne is roughly eight. And I'm acquainted with none of them. Unless I've forgotten.

Dec 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein Dead

I've heard way too many people say today something to the effect of "He deserved worse than a quick death for what he did." Often these comments are accompanied by desires to see Saddam tortured with chemical weapons and the like. It's justice! He did this to other people, he should get the same punishment! An eye for an eye!

Great plan, guys. Let's bring ourselves down to Saddam's level. The only reason the current Iraqi "government" has a right to execute Saddam is the moral high ground they have because they have not done the terrible things Saddam did.

I listened to a brief review of the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein on the radio this morning. It was odd to hear clips from before we invaded Iraq. It seems so long ago those days when the majority of Americans thought Saddam was a major threat to the peace of the world. I remember sitting around the halls of West Lafayette High School and talking about weapons of mass destruction.

Sometimes I find the most ridiculous ways to waste time

I spent a good chunk of tonight making the dining area a living area and the living room into a dining room with Ed Page, of all people. Including a good chunk of time creating an end table, of sorts, out of books and cardboard. I had way more fun with it than I'd ever admit to.

I'm going to have to have people over for dinner one of these nights while I have a proper dining space.

Dec 28, 2006

You can just add this onto the last post:

6. The exhibit titles From Caspar David Friedrich to Gerhard Richter: German Paintings from Dresden should have included an artist from Dresden that wasnt Friedrich or Richter or changed the title. The "" makes things seem like they have a whole plethora of paintings from Dresden, but it is just the two artists.

7. It's nice to look at the paintings and sculptures of naked women and know that I look approximately like that naked. I don't think anyone has seen me completely unclothed since I hit puberty and I don't see that many naked women in my world, so there's always that little bit of insecurity that I'm abnormal and don't even know it. An art museum is one of the few places I can stare at pictures of naked women and feel comfortable with it.

8. I often spell the word "museum" as "musuem". It's unfortunate.

P.S. I found Friedrich (like most artists who do primarily landscapes) rather useless, but like Richter quite a lot. Of course the people I was with laughed at Richter's paintings, and made jokes about how they could do the same thing in an hour and it's amazing what they'll put in a museum these days.

Meditation by Gehrard Richter (1986)

Dec 27, 2006

Art Museuming

I went with some friends to the Getty yesterday. Conclusions:
  1. There are some people that like art museums and some people who would prefer to play ultimate sweatshirt-tied-into-a-ball on the lawn near the art museums. Everyone I attended with was of the latter sort. I love them all dearly, but I do not recommend this sort for someone who wants to actually...look at art.
  2. I like being in charge of things. I don't do it often enough. I like being the one who planned our schedule and did all of the driving.
  3. Art museums are fun places to fashion-watch. Everyone there is either an artsy college-aged kid or a Japanese tourist. It's fun to see what both are wearing.
  4. I like Impressionism.
  5. I think I would like to have one of those beds with the huge canopy and drapes around it.

Dec 21, 2006

You'd think I'd learn, but:

Same story as yesterday except today it was the Doritos in the gift bag. There are very few foods out there that I just plain don't like. There are a few that I don't especially care for, but near nothing that I don't get at least some pleasure out of eating. However, I HATE Doritos. The last time I enjoyed a Dorito I was in 4th grade. But when there's food just sitting can't stop yourself. I'm such an idiot. Get this Cool Ranch flavor out of my mouth pronto! Why am I out of gum?

Note to my fellow Ridgecrestians: I'll be in town tomorrow until the 28th. Call me if you want to play.

Dec 20, 2006

Worst Idea Ever...well, probably not ever, but still a bad one

Today my boss handed out little Christmas packages to everyone and they included, among other things, a 16.9 oz plastic bottle of Coca-Cola Classic beverage. I am not a soda drinker. I've had soda twice since I moved to Provo in July. Root beer with pizza on a date and some sort of lemon-lime soda at the ward Christmas party. Every once in a while I think it's a good idea to have some despite the fact soda is disgusting. My stomach always hates me afterwards.

I definitely haven't had Coke in at least half a year and non-diet Coke has been even longer. But with the boredom at work and the bottle sitting right there all day it was tempting. And then I left my water bottle in the break room and I'm always so thirsty, and there was no resisting. I drank about a mouthful.

I'm going to be sick to my stomach all day. I can't believe that people drink this stuff on a regular basis.

On a completely unrelated note. I'm embarrassed to announce that I'm wearing the same shirt I wore a week ago today. I'm generally more careful about this sort of thing, but for some reason I've had a very hard time remembering what I wear everyday lately. I could tell you everything I wore yesterday, but the day before? I really don't remember anymore. And it used to be that I could tell you essentially everything I've worn down to underwear for the entire month. And the only reason I even realized I wore this shirt last week was it was looking at this blog. Because it was indeed the shirt that I was wearing backwards for the whole day without noticing on the 13th. Humiliating.

Person of the Year

Yesterday Time announced their Person of the Year for 2006, and it's "you" or really: us. At first I thought it was pretty lame, but after reading the aritcle and thinking about it, I like it. The world has been revolutionized very quickly into this web community where you and I have our place. The popularity of sites like Wikipedia and YouTube and Myspace has exploded and suddenly everybody's a part of a mass cultural movement. It's amazing really. Never has the world been this connected to itself. The sheer amount of information and entertainment on the internet is mind-boggling. And it'll be nice in future job interviews and resumes to be able to say that I was Time's Person of the Year.

Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion? The answer is, you do.

And Than Shwe will just have to wait another year to have this shot at glory:

Dec 19, 2006

Predatory Lenders / Should I quit my job?

I work for a cash advance/check cashing company and I don't like it. I like the people I work for, but the company is a different story. We're very careful with our interest and as far as I can tell, we don't violate any usury laws, which is one of the biggest problems with advance payday loan companies, but while what we're doing isn't illegal, it's not a good thing, either. We don't provide a service to society.

John Edwards (who I've loved for a long's the young idealistic ones that get me) on predatory lenders:

We aren't maliciously predatory, but we're still giving people loans that really don't pay off for them in the long run (or at least aren't worth it for 98% of our customers).

Also the check cashing side of things: it's like asking for forgeries. I've dealt with plenty of them. It shouldn't be legal, it's too easy of a system to abuse.

Here's the question: if I don't support a company's existance, is it moral to work for them because I like the hours and money?

After working with several hundred people in dire financial situations, I can definitely agree with the John Edwards on the bankruptcy thing. "It was easy for Congress to characterize bankrupt families as 'deadbeats' and ignore the reality that more than 90 percent of all bankruptcies are due to medical emergencies, job loss, divorce or a death in the family." There are a lot of good people that turn to our company to deal with some medical emergency, etc., and end up having to declare bankruptcy because they can't ever pay us and other people they owe money to. It's horrible, but it's good when they can declare bankruptcy and get that fresh start because they're in such a deep pit.

My part of the job doesn't feel amoral because I'm just working in collections. They've already agreed to pay and then they haven't, so I'm making sure the justice is met. But that doesn't mean I don't hate that people get the loans in the first place.

Dec 13, 2006

I just noticed that...

the shirt I have on right now is on backwards. It doesn't make a noticeable difference, so I'm good to go, but still...

Dec 11, 2006

I just want to see Bill Pullman and Will Smith save the world from hostile alien takeover, is that too much to ask?

"I know everything about film. I've seen over 240 of them." -Dwight Shrute of The Office

I'm not a huge movie person. I haven't seen many. I very rarely watch movies on purpose, only when it's the activity planned by the people I'm with. And in general my family and friends aren't tremendous movie people, so I don't get much. Or maybe it's just that the movies I see tend to be the family or old classics variety and I've watched plenty and just missed out on many of the popular movies of my time just because I didn't really grow up in that sort of environment. I'm not sure. I wish I'd thought to keep count.

The Scene: class party in Mr Ganner's science class, 7th grade, Murray Middle School
What Happenned: I watch Independence Day up until the point where Will Smith's plane crashes in the middle of the desert.

The Scene: party for the apartments that won the dress up contest at the disco skating activity, last weekend, Bro. and Sis. Boyce's house
What Happenned: I watch Independence Day up until the point where Will Smith's plane crashes in the middle of the desert.

One of these days I'll see the end.

Dec 8, 2006

NYC Trans Fat Ban Passed / Unnecessary Government Control

Note: I actually wrote this on Tuesday, then didn't post it because a) My arguments weren't as well-developed as they could've been if I'd thought to put more time into it, and b) I wasn't sure how much I actually agreed with myself in the end. But I'm posting it today because a) I feel like I ought to have something new up and don't feel like writing anything else, b) I still have some serious points in here that are part of my fundamental political make-up, and c) Even though I always plan on it, I'm not actually going to go through and write this better, and I'd rather not have yet another draft sitting around that I always feel guilty for not fixing up and posting.

Today New York City passed a ban restricting restaurants from serving food that contains trans fats. And I hate it.

Trans fats are bad for you. That's fine. But NYC's government has no right whatsoever to ban that sort of thing. The role of a government ought to be to make people as free as they can be. A government should only ban things that people do to infringe upon others' freedom (theft, rape, etc.)

However, I'm not as libertarian as I pretend to be. I'm all for the government meddling in our lives, I just think banning things that don't directly hurt other people's freedom is the wrong way to do it.

I'm even all for the government putting time and money into fighting trans fats. But a ban in restaurants is not the answer. If they want to require that every person who eats food containing trans fats to sign a paper ("I acknowledge that what I am eating will destroy my body") that's great. If they want to require that every dish containing trans fats have a giant scarlet "T" attached to it, that's fine with me.

Education is a stronger way to deal with something than banning. It isn't as effective if the goal is to keep people from doing something, but it has the moral high ground. It is more liberating instead of more controlling, while still helping solve the problem.

And education has it's effects. Cigarettes have always been legal in the US for adults, but through the education system, surgeon general warnings, and other government programs, their use has gone way down. In 1965, 42.4% of US adults were smokers. In 2004, that number is down to 20.9%. I don't see why this wouldn't happen if, for example, NYC put the money used to make sure no resturants are using trans fats into teaching people why trans fats are bad for you and what foods contain them.

If NYC provided public health care (an issue I can't make my mind up on, but that's a different story...) then I could see justification for a ban on trans fats in restaurants.

Issues where my stance is roughly the same:

  • Marijuana: It should be only allowed in small amounts and kept illegal for minors, but legal. And of course more into the education side of fighting marujuana. I'm pretty sure the government would still save money on this.
  • Speed limits: They are useless. And law enforcement is bogged down with that sort of thing is. The right direction to go would be to make it much harder to get a driver's license. I have a roommate with a driver's license that expires in 2053. It's irresponsible drivers at high speeds that cause problems, not the high speeds themselves. Or perhaps we could have speed limits, but the only time they are punishable is when someone going too fast
  • Prostitution: I don't think prostitution is a good thing, certainly, but what right does the government have to make it illegal? It ought to be illegal for minors, and the health and emotional risks involved should be highly stressed in required high school health classes, but the sexual practices of consenting adults, paid or non-paid, is not the government's realm.

"Illegalize" ought to be a word. "To make something illegal"...opposite of "legalize". It would come in handy.

I think I would be okay with a law banning restaurants from serving trans fats to minors, though that's kind of an odd direction to go with that.

Dec 6, 2006

However Many Random Thoughts I Can String Together Before They Get The Phones Working Again

  • There is no better way to fall asleep than with a kitty curled up and purring next to you. Actually, I'm pretty sure there is, but it's still a good way.
  • The useful thing I did at work today is introduce Mario to cougarboard and teach him how to put BYU football pictures as his desktop background. Today is almost as useful as the day I got to share my extensive knowledge of lice killing/preventing with Jennifer.
  • Yesterday I put my profile on a bunch of online dating websites. Not with a single shred of seriousness, just for kicks on a quiet night at work. I'll probably delete them within the next week. Or run off with Grillmaster101, the 34-year-old man in a cowboy hat who winked at me on You never know.
  • It's somehow become my Thursday morning habit to eat a hamburger around 10am-ish. I come home from the temple and all I want is a hamburger.
  • Today I was the recipient of a miracle. I shook a bottle of barbeque sauce with a loose lid and it ended up all over the kitchen, but not a single bit was on my clothes or even body anywhere.
  • But then I dripped mustard on my sweater ten minutes later.

Dec 2, 2006

A few minutes left to ramble

It's a very slow day at work. Hardly anbody is here. And the majority of my mental capacities have been concentrated on trying not to pick the huge scab I have on my elbow (rugburn...never put a fleece blanket over a magazine on the ground...).

Our breakroom is generally amply supplied with plastic- and paperware for our use, but somehow everything ran out at the same time. I ate my lunch (leftover Panda Express) out of a cup with chopsticks I constructed by taping together coffee stirrers.

The song "2 Become 1" is coming from my coworker's cubicle. I can't wait until Monday.

Nov 30, 2006

I know I've developed far more worthwhile skills since, but..

I used to be way better at Bejeweled, Tetris, and Minsweeper when I was in high school. This makes me sad. Or rather, I choose to be sad about this.

Nov 29, 2006

How About I Just Curl Up and Die Right Now?

It's that time again! At least twice a month (often more than that) my brain goes on an embarrassing memory rampage and I want to quickly disassociate myself from every human being I've ever had any contact with.

There's a classic Dave Barry column from the 80s that describes this phenomena quite well:

Your brain cherishes embarrassing memories. It likes to take them out and fondle them. This probably explains a lot of unexplained suicides. A successful man with a nice family and a good career will be out on his patio, cooking hamburgers, seemingly without a care in the world, when his brain, rummaging through its humiliating-incident collection, selects an old favorite, which it replays for a zillionth time, and the man is suddenly so overcome by feelings of shame that he stabs himself in the skull with his barbecue fork.

At the funeral, people say how shocking it was, a seemingly happy and well-adjusted person choosing to end it all. They assume he must have had a terrible dark secret involving drugs or organized crime or dressing members of the conch family in flimsy undergarments. Little do they know he was thinking about the time in Social Studies class in 1963 when he discovered a hard-to-reach pimple roughly halfway down his back, and he got to working on it, subtly at first, but with gradually increasing intensity, eventually losing track of where he was, until suddenly he realized the room had become silent, and he looked up, with is arm stuck halfway down the back of his shirt, and he saw that everybody in the class, including the teacher, was watching what he was doing, and he knew they'd give him a cruel nickname that would stick like epoxy cement for the rest of his life, such as when he went to his 45th reunion, even if he had been appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the instant his classmates saw him, they'd shriek: "Hey look! It's ZIT!"

And I'm far too much of a chicken to write the moments I'm trying not to think about right now in this venue. But just know: I'm a shame to the human race.

I don't know what the answer is.

A post that's really had me thinking from...well, from the ex-boyfriend's best friend's blog (Even though I don't personally know him, I've long enjoyed Mac's blog and I've added a link to it on my site because a) he discusses interesting things, b) he updates fairly regularly and I don't have enough friends that do that to keep me entertained, and c) it's an attempt to make it look like I have male friends, when we all know that I don't (this is also why I have a link to Jeff Lund's blog, even though he's on a mission in Brazil and obviously won't be updating there).):

For a long time it has been a dream of mine to teach in a school like this. I'm sure it would burn me out quickly, but if I could help a single student make something better of his or her life, it would be worth it. There are so many kids out there who have no idea of their potential, and if there was any possible way that I could help them reach it...I don't know if I could do much, but it's certainly a cause that's worth putting a full effort into.

I'm going to school to be a teacher. I forget this too often. I get so caught up in the little bits of school: I'm writing this paper for a grade. Grades are horrible motivation for me. I've never been able to care about them that much. But I really want to teach. After parents, I would say school teachers have the most influence on who a child grows up to be. And it's not just helping people get a diploma (which undoubtedly helps their employment chances). Learning brings confidence like nothing else does. Confidence changes lives, making success feel not completely out of the question.

I don't know how to recover situations like the New Orleans Recovery School. The problems in harder-off areas is the complacency. The attitude is what needs to change the most; kids need to be excited about learning. I don't know how to change that. But I know it's changeable. Though I've never been complacent about learning, I've certainly had my phases of complacency about school, and gotten out of them (only to fall back in again and again, but that's a different story). Goal-setting and looking at the big picture do wonders, though. I'm going to be a teacher and change lives...okay, back to homework.

Snow, snow, I love it so.

Yesterday we had our first serious snowfall of the season. I love it. There are some major icicles hanging above the window in my bedroom and I woke up to the sun shining off of them. (Because our bedroom window is always open ever since the day we moved the desk underneath it...I tend to forget this often, but luckily I generally don't change on the side of the room that the view would be unobstructed.)

I love the sound of snow compressing under my shoes.

I love the snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.

Nov 27, 2006

A typical BYU single's ward sacrament meeting...

starts out with the girl who reads Footprints in the Sand and ends with the guy who credits the win over Utah to the fact that more BYU players pay tithing. Windows of heaven and all that.

I recall being told once in elementary school...

that Betsy Ross invented the five-point star. I'm pretty positive that it was a flat out lie. They do that in elementary schools sometimes. And some of the lies (like the classic "there are no dumb questions") are still told by college professors. It only encourages the dumb-question-askers who are going to be talking too much anyway.

According to my own can't-fall-asleep calculations and the flags of the world poster that hangs by my bed, five-pointed stars are featured on 25.7% of the world's flags.

Nov 25, 2006

Rise And Shout the Cougars Are Out!

I just spent the last several minutes jumping up and down in my living room and hearing the yells of joy coming from BYU housing all around me.

BYU 33, Utah 31

Our last touchdown in the last zero seconds of the game.


Nov 23, 2006

I Love To Eat The Temple: Part II

You may recall the fateful day freshman year that Melanie and I made a replica of the Salt Lake Temple out of sugar cubes:Well, on Sunday we totally outdid ourselves. It was Melanie's genius idea.
It took basically my entire day. But it was worth it.Yes, those are cheese cubes. (That people actually ate! They didn't have to know that my hands had been all over it all day.)And yes, that's me looking really creepy. But as chief architect, I think I deserve to look however I want.I know that it's not technically a competition. But we definitely won sweet swap. (Don't worry, we had legitimate treats provided as well.) Do try this at home. It's a good Sabbath activity. I recommend using something softer than cheddar, it was tough to work with. The mozzarella worked nicely, though.

My thanks go out to Ellie, who was the only person who took the project as seriously as I did. Without her, it would've never happened. Emilee and Melanie totally pooped out only two hours into construction.

Nov 22, 2006

I feel like such a moron...

So I thought that my uncle was coming to pick me up tonight to take me down to St. George for Thanksgiving. When I talked to him he said he'd be here at eight to pick me up. I got off work an hour early so that I could walk home in time for them to get me. I waited at home for an hour and a half and finally called to see what was up. Apparently he meant eight tomorrow morning.

And everything I have to do is in my cubicle at work. I thought that I wouldn't have any time to do anything until I got back to work on Friday because I'd be in St. George the whole time. So I'm home alone with no school supplies and without the book I'm reading and without the supplies for a little project I'm working on that I'm not going to announce to the public yet (which would've been perfect for tonight because I have no roommates home).

I wish people would use military time. It makes a thousand times more sense.

I'm thankful for the U.S. and A.

I often associate American patriotism with the person who drives a pickup with a gun rack and the bumper sticker that says "Support Our Troops" next to the one that says "Bush Cheney 04" . This person believes that the war in Iraq is the same thing as the war on terror. And it turns me off in a major fashion when it comes to patriotism. Loving America is the job of the ignorant. Thanking God for this country is for...them (you know exactly what people I'm talking about). The pickup also features Calvin peeing on Osama bin Laden.

But when it comes down to it, I'm so blessed to be living here. And this Thanksgiving I'm putting it towards the top of things that I'm grateful for.

A month or so ago I had dinner with a group of friends that included a girl from Belarus. She has a brother who attends the national university there. A year ago, there was a rally for the president of Belarus and all of the university students were supposed to attend. Her brother already had a ticket for the train home that weekend, so he didn't go. When he got back, all of his stuff had been confiscated and he was told he was not allowed to stay in the college dormitories anymore because he hadn't attended the rally for the president. Rent was too much elsewhere, but he was able to bribe an official and stay in the dorms anyway.

A few weeks ago we had elections in our country. Plenty of people are unhappy with the results, as with any election. But the people that were fairly voted in will take their positions and there will be little ado about it. The system is stable and people don't question it. They complain, but nobody's trying to overthrow the government. Elections are not this tidy in many places.

A few days ago China unblocked Wikipedia for internet users across the nation. And then blocked it again. Can you imagine living somewhere where the government has such control over what you can learn? Even when they unblocked Wikipedia, certain subjects were blocked that were too sensitive to be allowed.

A classic quote from Dr. Murdock (my 20th Century China professor last year): "We have Chinese government officials come here all the time. One of these times ask them how many people died in Tienanmen. And then BYU security will get really mad because you're provoking a guest. But do it anyway."

It could be a lot worse. We've got some good things going for us. I love the United States. There are some good people, some beautiful places, etc. I'm trying to be more grateful for it.

Nov 21, 2006

Pack It Up

It is time to decide what to wear for the days in St. George for Thanksgiving. The rules for packing clothes when seeing my family:
  1. Pack as many new clothes as possible so that my sisters can think I'm cool.
  2. Pack at least one item that my mother might question, so that I can either get away with it and therefore feel like I'm not a scandalous dresser, or assert my independence with something like "I'm twenty years old, Mom, I think I can dress myself," when she questions.
  3. Pack at least one item that my mother will definitely not question, but think is adorable so that she doesn't think she has failed as a mother.
  4. Pack as many accessories and smallish clothes as is reasonable so that my sisters can borrow them and love me.
  5. Pack at least one item that rouses nostalgia, such as a pep band tee or a piece of jewelry made at Girl's Camp, so that we can have those fabulous trips down memory lane.

The trouble is, I'm not going to be there for very long. I've got two outfits to try to get all the rules in. Three if you count pajamas.

Don't Judge Me

This is the first time I've ever done one. And Rach and Laura did it first. And I'll admit they're fun to do.

And I'll admit that I re-typed all of the last questions so that they aren't in all caps. You'll notice on Rachael's and Laura's that starting at question 21 the questions are in all caps. It's important to me that these things are consistent. Now it would make more sense to make the first questions all caps, because there are less, but capital letters make it look like somebody is angry.

But I digress, onto the quiz:

1. Someone knocks on your door at 2 a.m. Who do you want it to be? Wouldn't he like to know? But really...anyone who isn't a serial rapist/killer, which would definitely be my first suspicion.

2. Your boss tells you he/she will give you a $20 raise if you'll do your job naked. Would you stay? I'd work naked for free if it were socially acceptable; clothes are an inconvenience.

3. Put yourself in a nutshell: It's a little crowded, but cozy. And I'm enjoying the smell of pistachio.

4. Have you ever seen a ghost? I doubt it.

5. Are you happy with your body? Almost always.

6. A reason you would move to Iceland: I love moving. And saying the word "Reykjavik".

7. A place you've lived that you miss: West Lafayette, Indiana.

8. A job you would never do no matter how much you were paid: I'm pretty sure I could enjoy any job there is out there, particularly if I was getting paid well, but I wouldn't do anything that goes against my morals: stripper, drug dealer, collector for an advance payday loan place that preys upon people that "need it now" and then screws them over with interest...oh wait.

9. A band that you thought was cool when you were 13? *NSYNC (but let's just be honest and admit that at the ripe ol' age of 20, I still enjoy a good round of Tearin' Up My Heart or the like from time to time).

10. You have a nightmare. Who's the first person you think to call? I've never thought to call anybody because of a nightmare. Ever. I don't even know. It would depend on what sort of nightmare.

11. Do you want to have kids before you are 30? Yes.

12. A memory from high school: Of course the immediate response to this is "Noooooo!!! Aghhh!!!" as the flood of embarrassing memories comes pouring in, but we'll stick with a happy one. Namely, talking to Mr. Conaway all night on the way to New York. I love that man. (Though last I heard of him, I was told he recently highlighted his hair, which is just another clue that he might not be as straight as we'd all like to believe he is.)

13. Ever had a crush on one of your friend's parents? No. (Has anyone ever answered yes to this one? I mean, much as I adore Larry the Luminous, I've never thought of any friend's parent as crush material. Ever.)

14. Naughtiest thing you've done at work? Skinny-dipping in the RB pool when I worked custodial there. Hands down.

15. Do you look more like your mom, or your dad? My dad.

16. Something you've always wanted to learn how to do? Spell the word "guarantee". It trips me up EVERY TIME.

17. Still friends with your exes? Yes.

18. Where you'd like to be in 10 years? Happy. Other than's pretty negotiable. Plans for that far in the future never come to fruition anyway; life doesn't work that way.

19. Something you learned about yourself this year: I need to get to work.

20. What do you want for your birthday? How about for Christmas? I can't think as far ahead as my next birthday. First five things that came to my mind: a tool set, an atlas, a big box of crayons, Boggle, and a subscription to Newsweek. I'm sure there are plenty other things; I'll get to work compiling the annual mile-long wish list here soon.

21. Three things you did today: Bought fruit and crackers for my work snack supply (Who knew that they make whole wheat Ritz? I haven't tried them yet, but find it an intriguing concept), talked to my boss about my options for switching to part-time or an earlier shift or quitting my job (finally worked up the guts to do that decisions yet, but I've discussed my options, so that's good), walked at least a mile barefoot (I walk several miles a day, but every once in a while still think it's a good idea to wear uncomfortable shoes).

22. Last item you bought yourself: Since nobody cares about food, cleaning supplies, etc., we'll go with the latest impulse buy. I'm really into coffee table books (I think it's an under-used but truly great form of expression) and bought Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife about a week ago.

23. Do you have an ornament hanging from your rear-view mirror? Do I have a rear-view mirror? No.

24.What did you have for breakfast? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That's totally a legitimate breakfast in my book. Creamy peanut butter, peach jam, and wheat bread, to be specific.

25. A celebrity you have a crush on: While I think many celebrities are attractive, none are at the "crush" level.

26. The last three bands you saw live: The Format, The Rentals, Burroughs High School Symphonic Band (I needed something, I've only seen two real bands live in my life).

27. How many hours of sleep do you get each night? Seven-ish.

28. Have you ever been tied up? Probably.

29. What do you wish you were doing right now? Don't think I'm weird, but I wish I were doing homework. I've been on a school kick lately. But homework requires too much thinking to do during work, so I'm plugging away at this ridiculous quiz instead.

30. Who's the first person in your phone book in your cell? Bishop, Emily. It's alphabetical, you see.

31. Last time you witnessed a fight: I've probably witnessed a fight before. I can't think of any, though.

33. Do you like your hair pulled? Rarely. Only if it's braided.

34. Three places you would like to travel to: I have a list even longer than my lifetime reading list. Three places randomly selected off this list: Angkor, Rome, Boston.

35. Do you know how to ice skate? As long as no sharp turns or going backwards is required.

37. Something you like that's out of the ordinary: The smell of skunk.

39. What do you think of Brad Pitt? I don't think of Brad Pitt. Somehow he's on the "boring" list of celebrities for me. There is no rule to how someone gets onto the "boring" and "interesting" lists. But pretty much every celebrity fits neatly into one of these in my mind. The only way Brad Pitt is interesting is in his connections with "interesting" Angelina Jolie and "interesting" Jennifer Aniston.

40. The friend you have the most in common with: Emilee is exactly the same as me as well as my polar opposite. We have more twin outfits than you can imagine, have shared a bedroom for five semesters and sometimes share toothbrushes.

41. What color are your toenails? Surprisingly: bare. I don't think I've gone a week with unpainted toenails since I was 12. But I have this week. I don't know why.

42. Last person you talked with on the phone? My mother.

43. Do you own anything with a skull on it? No. I don't think I have since the day I got rid of my pog collection.

44. Have you travelled to Europe? It's on my to-do list.

45.Three people you would trust with your life: My dad, Tim, Allison E.

46. Last movie you watched: Step Up (the worst/best movie ever).

47. Where were you when you had your first kiss? I can't remember what the park is West Lafayette.

49. Last board game you played: Imaginiff.

50. Leather or lace? Definitely lace.

51. Have you ever had a black eye? It seems like I have, but I can't think of any specific time. I've given someone (Laura) a black eye before, can I get half-credit for that?

52. Where do you rent your movies? I practically never rent movies...wherever is convenient.

53. Do you know anyone in prison? I have a couple debtors (through work) in prison. Does that count?

If you notice the layout/color scheme changing constantly...

I'm playing with my blog today. The goal is to have settled on something when I leave work today, so we'll see what happens.

Nov 17, 2006

Four Unconnected Thoughts

  1. Free food: one of the most powerful forces in our society, motivating the laziest of mankind, mobilizing entire nations. But the trouble is you must eat it because it is free. You're not going to say no because it's free and you know that you'll be hungry later and the food that you'll eat later will be food that you bought with your own money. I wasn't hungry when they brought out the pizzas. Four slices later and I'm still not hungry.

  2. I had a dream last night that my ward was a unit fighting in a war and we were sneaking up on the enemy only to be found out because some guys were cheering too loudly over a football game on a portable TV we brought along and the enemy threw white fruit snacks shaped like Disney princesses at us. The game was Ohio State v. Michigan. Michigan won 24-17.

  3. Two places that I would love to visit: the Jewish museum in Berlin and the Georgia aquarium.

  4. While I recognize that it's utterly ridiculous, every time I hear "Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don't think I can take it, 'cause it took so long to bake it. And I'll never have that recipe again. Oh, nooo!" my thoughts are always, "I know exactly how you feel Richard Harris."

How do I still have an hour left of work?

I spend my days kind of working and mostly reading stuff (I hate the word "stuff", but nothing else fits) on the internet. The morning begins with the news and related research. It can go anywhere from there with my attention still fixed. But the last couple hours of work...there's nothing left to read about that will hold my interest and I'm halfheartedly reading the blogs of friends of friends that I don't care about or...looking up the nutrition facts to everything I've eaten in the last week or some such ridiculous and pointless activity. Most of it involves learning facts that will never come in handy but will stick with me forever, while I still routinely forget my siblings' birthdays.

The first recorded use of "Joy to the World, Barney's Dead" was in Foster City, CA. (Wikipedia on anti-Barney I ever got to that subject beats me.)

Nov 15, 2006

A Theory

Two mysteries of life: 1) When you put four socks in the wash and at the end of the process only have three, what happened to the other sock? 2) Just one load of laundry produces enough lint that you'd think you'd miss all of that fabric on your clothes...where does it come from?

On the way to Salt Lake on Saturday, I learned of a theory that must be given merit on the sole basis of creativity: there is a vast conspiracy between cotton growers and dryer manufacturers. Dryers are all equipped with a sensor that finds socks and pulls one out each load. This sock is then incinerated and the byproduct is deposited on the lint catcher. So people have to buy more socks. Cotton growers are either paying or blackmailing the dryer manufacturers for this. I hope it's blackmail.

Thank you Matt and Brian.

P.S. I safety pin my socks together when I put them in the dirty clothes basket. If you aren't doing this, do it. It'll change your life. I'm told that it prevents the dryer from sensing it as a pair of socks.

Not Again...

I'm trying to do schoolwork, but am so sure that I'd rather be doing something else that instead I've been rocking back and forth in my chair and staring at the computer mouse for...too long. And that something else for the moment is move to a cabin in some remote part of northern Minnesota, purchase a typewriter and three kittens, not speak to another human being for a year, and emerge from my cocoon with the finished manuscript of the next great American novel.

I talk like this too much even though I know it's not that interesting and I know it's not that uncommon and I know what I want is not only unreasonable, but generally not even what I want.

Things I crave: change, recognition, protein, a cause.

Nov 14, 2006

More Stressed Than I've Been In A Long Time

Every week at work they have a stress management class that meets for a half-hour. It basically consists of a lady telling you to get more and more relaxed as she counts to ten slowly over and over again.

I've never gone because it seems like a waste of time. Work has never stressed me out. But today is my birthday, so I thought I'd treat myself to thirty minutes of relaxation. Bad idea.

I don't know what to blame it on. Maybe I'm getting sick and just sitting there thinking about nothing brought out the symptoms that I'm too busy to notice in the real world. Maybe it's my low blood pressure and relaxing like that meant my body wasn't getting the blood it needed. I don't know, but during that session and now an hour later...I feel horrible. I'm nauseated and I'm seldom nauseated. I have a headache and I haven't had a headache for years. And I never have menstrual cramps this late in the cycle, but they are definitely there. I honestly thought I was going to pass out or vomit during the entire class. It was awful.

And the lady was convinced that I must be one of those high strung people that can't handle relaxation and wouldn't believe me when I told her that I have no problem relaxing in normal situations and it's just this situation that somehow causes me to think nothing but "lower back pain" and "dizzy".

Nov 13, 2006

It's for insurance? Who knew?

I've wondered about her for ages, but not enough that I've ever paid the immense amount of attention required to figure out what is going on in her commercial. A bit of an explanation from Slate:

"Erin Esurance has become a bit of a sex symbol for a certain kind of dude." What is this certain kind of dude? Is touting pink hair and insurance policies a good method to get men?

"Oh, it took Bell to make the telephone ring...

And it took Edison to light up our way. Oh, it took Robert Fulton in a steamboat to go chug-chug-chuggin' down the bay. Howe knew how to make a sewing machine. The Wrights knew the right way to fly. So when you're spelling the word Am-er-i-ca: don't forget to dot the 'i' for the inventors, don't forget to dot the 'i'!"

I want to continue ("George Pullman made the sleeping cart for railroad trips at night. Lou Waterman made the fountain pen so everyone could write..."), but it's not going to get it any less stuck in my head, I've already written far too much, and nobody cares except perhaps Rachael.

I've had a fine Wikipedia session investigating American inventors that started as a legitimate homework-related activity, but has now consumed half-an-hour of my day when it should've been a quickie. But imagine the horror when I looked up rotary printing press and "It was invented by William Bullock." My entire life I've been singing that it was Richard Hoe! But never fear, I figured it out: Bullock improved the rotary printing press during the 1860s that Hoe invented in the 1840s. Both can be cited as the inventor just depending on which step of the matter you consider the true invention of the rotary printing press. Whew...

Remember that phase during childhood when you wanted to be an inventor when you grew up? And wasn't it a shame when you found out that it's not a legitimate occupation? You can't major in inventing. You can't set up an inventing shop and make a living off of it. It was a bitter day indeed when I found out that it needs to be a hobby or directly related to some other occupation.

Nov 12, 2006

Adventures with Laundry Boy

It has long been an unspoken rule of my apartment complex that people do not talk in the laundry room unless absolutely necessary. Yesterday I figured out why. Decision: The laundry room is not a good place to try to make friends.

Random guy in the laundry room (from here on out referred to as "Arnold" even though I never got his name): Man, it's cold outside.

Me (folding a huge t-shirt with a hole in it, turning my back to him as I assume this is the end of the conversation): Yeah.

Arnold (putting various wet clothes into his dryer): So what apartment do you live in?

Me (thinking "oh no, he's trying to have legitimate conversation and I'm working on this pile of t-shirts," going to my dryer to pull out something feminine so that he doesn't take me as a pile of t-shirts person, deciding on a brown dress): 328.

Arnold (fiddling with his quarters, depositing them into his dryer): Ah, a third floor-er! How's it living up there?

Me (thinking "what kind of a question is that?" flapping the dress in the air to get the wrinkles out, laying it on the counter, going for a skirt):'s good. Top of the world, really.

Arnold (leaving): Haha, I bet.

Me (grateful he's leaving so I can fold my underwear without a male right there): See ya.

I get back to business and am heavily involved in a tricky entanglement of a thong and tank top straps when he unexpectedly comes back with another load.

Arnold: So what time does your ward meet for church?

Me (frantically throwing the tangled mess back into the dryer, pulling out a pair of jeans which is far less uncomfortable to work with in front of him): 9am.

Arnold (loading his clothes into his dryer practically one item at a time for no apparent reason): We did that last year, but now we have 1pm.

I pull a sweater out. A pair of socks and a pair of panties stick to it long enough to get out of my dryer, then fall to the ground. He notices something fall and reaches down meaning to help, realizes there's a lacy pair of panties involved, springs back up as if it were a tarantula, and CRACK! He hits his head hard on the open dryer door.

Arnold (acting as if nothing had just happenned, quickly dumping the rest of his wet clothes into his dryer): Well, see ya around!

Me (trying not to laugh because he's trying so hard to play it cool): Are you okay?

Arnold (briskly exiting the room): Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm fine. See ya!

Nov 9, 2006

Walrus Mustache Ought To Go

Don't ask me how I managed to do this, but today is the first day in my life that I've seen a picture of John Bolton. They never said on NPR that he was mustachioed. I had no idea. He looks completely different than how I imagined him, and I now have to re-evaluate everything I ever heard about him with this face attached.

The main point of this post is it's an excuse to use the word "mustachioed". These opportunities don't come as often as we would all like and must be seized before they slip away from us.

And I'd like to point out that I haven't made a single reference to Bob Boisvert in two paragraphs involving mustaches. Believe me, it was tough.

Nov 8, 2006

Best Day Ever

First the perfect weather, then Rumsfield announces his resignation, and then management brings in disinfecting, scrubbing, citrus-scented cleaning wipes. I think I'll burst with happiness. That smell that has forever been in the fridge and microwave in the break room should say its prayers. When is my next break?

It's funny, I'm known as the neat freak in the office but at home I'm Messy McGee. Both of those people are me, just different parts of me. I have it in me to be a neat freak because I'm very detail-oriented, particularly when it comes to the way things look. However, I don't need organization or cleanliness; I just think it's fun to produce.

Sports Voting

A nice, non-controversial, semi-election-related story I liked from Morning Edition today:

"Hey I just voted 18 times already today for the NHL comeback player of the week, the poker all-stars, and whether or not my baseball team should try to buy a Japanese pitcher. Let somebody else pull the levers for my governor or senator; I've done my job as a responsible American voter."

Who knew there was a minor league team who had fans vote for the starting line-up? Who's awful idea was that? Though apparently it wasn't that serious of an idea when it started out. According to a Boston Globe article about the team, "The project's backers said they were surprised they could persuade a real baseball team to play along." Democracy at it's finest.

Oh my heck, what is with this state?

Not really surprising, but the front page headline of Deseret Morning News today is "Utah Stays Course" in big bold letters. Way to keep...positive? I'm sure there's a subtitle somewhere that says something like "Dems Take Control of House: Are Our Children Safe?"

Nov 7, 2006

I'm not actually quitting my job

Sorry to those that thought I was serious. I'm not quitting my job, not for at least another month, that is. I was just talking because I'm going through one of those horrible restless phases of life where I need something major to change soon. And will I be like this my entire life and is that wrong? I'm not into stability.

I slept on the couch instead of my bed on Saturday night, and that was enough change to tide me over for a few days.

Nov 6, 2006

Now I Get It...

I just had a really good moment. I just figured out that Tenochtitlan and Teotihuacan are two different cities. Those dang Aztecs and their similar sounding names (Teotihuacan is much older than the Aztecs and was in ruins during the beginnings of the Aztec empire, but the name that stuck with the city is the Aztec one). Whenever I've heard either Tenochtitlan or Teotihuacan in the past, I imagine this city that has the Pyramid of the Sun in it and is half-an-hour's drive northeast of Mexico City, but also somehow the basis for Mexico City. And I imagined that it was a Maya or maybe Toltec city that must've been taken over by the Aztecs later. That's the only way I could figure the non-coorelating dates. Except they talk about the Aztecs building their city practically on a lake...and there is no lake in site when you see pictures of the ruins of this city. So you can see the confusion I've had. Not that I've spent a ton of time thinking about it (or else I would've figured it out long ago, I suspect), but still those "Ohhhh....I get it..." moments are some of the best we get in life.

This is not as life-altering as that day a few years ago when I realized that the Balkans and the Baltics are two different parts of the world (how did it take me until my first year of college to finally get that?), but nonetheless one of those things that you find out and feel this huge sense of relief that comes from understanding.

I'm teetering on the edge of going into an extensive history lesson about these two cities, but I'll spare you because a) probably nobody cares, b) it'll mean that I never finish writing this and it'll join the already overflowing world of draft posts I've accumulated and c) if someone honestly wants it, wikipedia (ah, that blessed website!) will do the trick:

I'm leaning more left by the second...

It's been a long time since I've had a good political discussion. Meaning a discussion with people that know what they're talking about. It was Emilee and me representing Gandhi versus Steffanie and Owen representing Hitler.

Melanie comes into the room for a second and says, "Andrea, I need to talk to you." I go into her room and she says, "I don't want to get into involved here, but: Steffanie and Owen are for No Child Left Behind??!! Are you kidding me?!" Because let's be honest, the only good thing about the act is it has a nice name. Because I'm not for leaving children behind, of course.

I'll admit my deep dark secret: If there was not an explicit church stance against it, I would be strongly in favor of legalized gay marriage. It makes so much more sense to me for reasons I won't discuss here, because my real stance is just to trust God on this one.

I lose respect for people when I hear things like, "I don't see how any good Mormon can justify voting Democrat." And this is from a guy who wasn't born and raised in Utah and swears he would never raise his kids in Utah. Your typical Utah natives are much worse. It's a rampant problem that I've always had issues with, but has become really grating since coming to BYU.

It's weird to be on the liberal side of things when most of my life I've argued the other side. A big part of it is the natural inclination to have all sides represented, and you have to be the liberal if you want all sides in on the conversation in this state. But I need to spend more time constructing arguments to get any good at this; I intend to spend some serious time researching political theories over the next bit of my life so that I can be a proper liberal. And then move somewhere liberal and be the best conservative you ever met.

Nov 3, 2006

Des Moines

It's one of those tired of everything kind of months. I'm considering moving to Iowa. Or changing my major to math. One or the other.

But I'm not quitting my job until after November 8th. I'm counting down to that day as if it were Christmas. You see, if someone has promised payments, but we haven't gotten any for three months, then we can sue them. When I started here, I got a ton of debtors that had their checks returned on August 8th, because that's when I first got my own pool of debtors. There are still a good 30-40 people that had checks returned on the August 8th that haven't paid in full in my pool. I of course don't have the right info for all of them, and some of them are faithfully making payments, but...there are still quite a few people that I get to go legal on in five days. I can't wait. You get your money a lot faster when you're garnishing their wages. And then I won't have to deal with them any longer. Yes, I'm a cold calloused collector.

But after November 8th, I'm off, you hear me?

Nov 1, 2006

All Hallows' Eve

Your normal Halloween festivities. Nothing too exciting to report. Everyone dressed up at work and didn't work really all day. And ate too many donuts.

My coworker Rozy: You can tell which guys work in the software department because they're wearing Star Trek and Lord of the Rings costumes.

I have a confession to make. I realize that this will cause many to judge me, but, nonetheless: I was once Spock from Star Trek for Halloween. But it gets worse: All of my siblings (or most anyway, I don't remember if it was all or not) were also Star Trek characters. But it gets worse: We decorated our wagon to be the Starship Enterprise and took that around with us. But it gets worse: Inside the wagon we had a cassette player playing the music from Star Trek. And I think it might've all been my idea, though I don't remember that clearly.

My million-year-old U.S. History professor last year on Halloween: It's a shame nobody dressed up for Halloween today. I would've done it if I was allowed to. Some of those Darth Vadar masks they have these days...whew, realistic.

And the evening ended with a program about exorcism on the History Channel with Emilee that completely freaked us out. I think I prefer the evenings that end with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant kissing on the streets of New York to the evenings that end with demon-possessed people crawling and writhing around on the floor.

Oct 30, 2006

Reese and Ryan: Another One Bites The Dust

They were my favorite Hollywood couple. Seven years of marriage is a long time for young celebrities, and we always said they'd be one of the few that would last. But no, they announced their separation today. They are such pretty people. And far more classy than your typical Hollywood romance. And by all accounts, fabulous parents. It's a shame, really.

Oh well, it's still good to know that Ryan Phillipe is single. Because let's recall (how could anyone forget?) that he was my celebrity match on my Matchmaker in 10th grade. That means we were meant to be.

The Most Horrifying Thing I've Seen To Date

I'm not going to lie about something of this kind of importance: I love the song Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler. Nothing like an 80s power ballad when you need something that's high emotion and fabulous to sing along to. And of course everybody in the world connects with the line "Once upon a time I was falling in love. Now I'm only falling apart." I've never even figured out precisely what the song's about (what really is the relationship here?). But that doesn't mean it doesn't sound like the story of my life.

However, this doesn't mean that this song cannot be a source of great trauma. The other day my roommates and I thought it would be a good idea to watch the music video. Worst mistake of my life. See what I mean:

Aghh, the glowing eyes and flying choir boys!! Horror!! And the...dancing ninjas? Not to mention Bonnie Tyler's hair (though that's to be expected).

After seeing the music video, those "believed to be Belgian" passengers that are suing Air France for having Bonnie Tyler sing on their flight (I'm not making up this story, read it) suddenly have my full support. My reaction a couple months ago when this happenned was "Oh please, don't you have something more important to worry about? Like making waffles?" But now that I know the trauma that the song is capable of producing, I think they have a very strong court case.

Oct 28, 2006

I hate to admit that I'm bored with it, but...

There's a BYU game on right now, but I'm doing homework. I check every few minutes to make sure we're still winning, but I can't get into this one. It's the third quarter and the score is 24-0. We've slaughtered our last four opponents and I think this will be a fifth. And while it's nice to win, I'm getting tired of not even having close games. Not since losing to Boston College back in week four have we even been down at any point during a game. We need to be losing at some point in the game to make winning any fun. I want to play someone harder.

Except Air Force just barely scored...perhaps I shouldn't wish too hard. 24-7.

Oct 27, 2006

Everything In Its Right Place

I'm always done with my work way too quickly now that I'm working the noon to eight schedule. I don't know it's any different than the nine to five. I used to have a big list of things to do at the end of the day for the next day, but with this schedule I'm spending seven to eight drawing pictures on my white board and alphabetizing check copies that I'll never look at again and writing really lame blog posts.

I love my cubicle. I've had very few spaces in my life that are completely mine. Everything has a place in here and it stays there. And I keep it looking pretty and looking organized and get plenty of comments "Wow, you're workspace is perfect," and the like. You think I'm exaggerating. But I'm not. It's a good space.

Oct 24, 2006

Hillary Hilarity

"You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don't know why Bill married her... "

After hearing this, I was a little disappointed to find pictures of a young Hillary Clinton and discover she wasn't ugly at all. I wanted her to be hideous, and believed she was as soon as I heard it. Not that Hillary's GOP Senate opponent John Spencer is the world's most reliable source on how attractive she was in her younger years, but, I mean...look at Hillary now, it's easy to imagine an ugly teenager becoming that woman.

And let's face it, her current cheeks do look like plastic surgery has had its way with them. But apparently she had those cheeks in college.

It's not a bad strategy to accuse your opponent of plastic surgery. Let's recall how John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election due to all the Botox jokes. Or maybe it was because he didn't have a personality, I forget.

My roommate Steffanie: I would fight to the death to keep that woman from becoming president. I'm more serious than you think I am.

Where's My Delicious Coffee?

Yes, Isaac was eventually on last night. I love Isaac Mizrahi with all the love that I can possibly have for a gay man. I wish he were my best friend. And we could go shopping together. But the bad news of the century is: Giovanni was nowhere in sight.

Oct 23, 2006

Barack Obama: One Of The Good Guys

There are policies that I disagree with him on (affirmative action and abortion, for example), but I love Barack Obama. He's intelligent, a fabulous speaker, and I believe one of the few politicians that's really in it to help people.

Born to a Kenyan father and a white mother with no particular wealth and living in Indonesia for a few years during his childhood, he knows what poverty and prejudice look like. It's a typical American dream story, he worked hard and learned a lot and after breaking out of the party lifestyle of his early college years ("Junkie. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.") eventually graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. And is now a US Senator.

He's only a junior senator, but has been a political media darling ever since the 2004 DNC keynote address, of course. There's a reason for that: it was a great speech. Even Republicans had to agree with that. And now there's talk of him running for president or vice president. He was on the cover of Time last week next to the title "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President". I think it's a pretty long shot because there's not a ton of history to judge him with. We have little evidence to see what he'd be like as a leader. But he's only in his mid-40s for crying out loud, and perhaps his inexperience is a good thing. Something new and fresh and enthusiastic. It's all a lot of speculation at this point, of course, but still, he's one to keep an eye on.

On America's place in the world:

American leadership has been a mighty force for human progress. The steady march of democracy and free enterprise across the globe speaks to the steadfastness of our leadership and the power of our ideals. Today we face new and frightful challenges, especially the threat of terror. Never has it been more important for American to lead wisely, to shrewdly project power and wield influence on behalf of liberty and security. Unfortunately, I fear our once great influence is waning, a victim of misguided policies and impetuous actions. Never has the US possessed so much power, and never has the US had so little influence to lead.

We still have the chance to correct recent missteps that have put our principles and legacy in question. Indeed, it is imperative to our nation's standing and security to do so. It will take a change of attitude and direction in our national leadership to restore the values and judgment that made and kept our nation the world's beacon of hope and freedom.

On blue states and red states:

The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states. But I've got news for them. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states. There're patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all defending the United States of America.

On what the working class wants and knows:

Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach our kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things.

Plus he's cute. And his daughters are adorable:

Oct 17, 2006

I'm actually scared of a lot of things...

Eight things that scare me:

  1. Using the word "definitively" in writing. What if someone accidentally reads it as "definitely"? I've totally made that mistake's too easy of one.
  2. Janet Jackson.
  3. Plastic jump ropes.
  4. These aspects of driving: parking, merging, yellow lights.
  5. Angry people. They don't have to be angry at me, angry at anything is terrifying enough.
  6. Playing trivia games or "name this band" or any of those sorts of things. I'm generally pretty good at them, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make my stomach churn with nerves.
  7. Men.
  8. Permanent marker.

Eight things that don't scare me:

  1. Silence. I love even awkward silence most of the time.
  2. Insects, snakes, spiders, etc. They're small and you see them all the time. The only creatures I'm afraid of are alligators/crocodiles and sharks.
  3. Public speaking. Even though I'm not what one would call a good public speaker, I enjoy being the center of attention and people having to listen to me.
  4. Storms, earthquakes, tornados, etc.
  5. Michael Jackson.
  6. Calling strangers on the phone. My work has gotten me out of that fear in a hurry. Calling people I know is still a different story, though.
  7. Moldy food.
  8. People thinking I'm weird. I'm afraid of people thinking I'm dumb and I'm afraid of people thinking I'm ugly, but I really don't have any fear at all of people thinking I'm weird or nerdy or any of that sort of thing.

Oct 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Bad luck for the general population today means good luck for me since my job is essentially ruining people's lives, yes? Maybe I'll get the necessary employment information for people I've been trying to sue for weeks now, or maybe I'll find a new address or phone number for someone we've lost contact with and still owes big money. Let's hope.

Oct 12, 2006

Woman Talk

The room I work in contains eight cubicles. Each of these cubicle houses a woman, which means there is a lot of relationship talk in this room. Four unhappily married (Adriane, Jennifer, Jane, Arlene), one divorced and bitter (Jessica), one happily living with a boyfriend (Celeste), one happily single (me) and one who hardly speaks any English, so I have no idea (Natalia). Lots of husband bashing goes on in this room, and I have to say, it does little to make me respect my coworkers. It's kind of sad, really. I don't know many details about everyone's situation, but I do know that Jennifer's husband has sent her flowers thrice since I started working here, and she's never even grateful. Things like that.

Jane: I think there's something wrong with my husband's phone, I've been getting texts that say "I love you," all morning from him, it's driving me crazy.

Jessica: So are you going out with Jose tonight?
Adriene: Jose? No way! Jose's my husband; you're thinking of Victor.
Jessica: And you're in love with Victor?
Adriene:No, he's just a sancho, I'm in love with Rick.
Jessica: Oh.

Celeste: Brandon and I have talked about marriage, but it seems like people just start to hate each other when they get married, and we're so happy with what we are now.

I have no evidence in this room to counter that, Celeste.

Oct 9, 2006

North Korea and Nuclear Weapons

It may seem like a big deal, but I'm having a hard time being super concerned about North Korea's nuclear claims.

Remember in 1998 when Pakistan announced it had successfully tested nuclear weapons and all they got was some international scolding and then got to just keep their nuclear weapons and nothing changed? Not many are seriously worried about Pakistan launching any kind of nuclear attack these days, because there's no reason. Hating India is not good enough to attack them with the kind of power that would have near every nation in the world hating them. And for North Korea, hating South Korea or the US is not enough reason either. The retaliation that would come from launching a nuclear attack would be quick and overwhelming. North Korea's regime would be out in a second. And as much as North Korea's leadership likes to put on the face of being absolutely insane in order to get what they want, I believe they're smarter than that. Having nuclear capabilities is a trophy case of wrestling awards in the living room. Impressive and intimidating, but not threatening.

The only legitimate concern I can think of is that of a country leaking a nuclear weapon to terrorists...the only people that are crazy enough to use one. But I don't really see it happening. With very few nations out there with declared nuclear capabilities, it wouldn't be too hard to figure out where it was coming from, and then that country would be squashed into oblivion.

There's even some truth to the idea that nuclear proliferation makes the world a safer place. It's the Cold War syndrome: try to match the other so that neither will attack. If nations have the ability to turn major cities into parking lots with one bomb, they are not going to use them if they know that the country they're attacking will come back with the same force. So everyone sticks to "civil" conventional weapons.

It's too bad that we have to put sanctions on North Korea over this. They should have some sort of punishment, and military involvement is most definitely not worth it and just saying "bad North Korea" does nothing, so economic sanctions is really all we can do. But I hate that the country is gettting even less money in while its people are starving. The people are starving while the regime puts their funds towards weapons programs. That's the real crime. Not having the weapons, but putting money that could be going to so many better things on weapons.

Something I've never understood: why in the world don't more nations have nuclear capabilities? The US had them for 50 years, and we can't possibly be that technologically ahead of other nations. I understand that there are many nations out there that don't want nuclear weapons, but how are there still people that are trying to do it and can't?

Oct 8, 2006

Those quizzes that we used to do on the bus from Seventeen magazine in 8th grade and now thanks to the joy of the internet can take far too many of

I know they're really lame. But I spent basically my entire day doing these things with my coworkers on Saturday, and really, I still have to share, even though I know nobody cares. Take all answers for what their worth:

Who's your celebrity style twin? Jessica Simpson (except I hate fake tans)

How girly are you? 44% (I hope that doesn't mean the other 66% is masculine.)

What city do you belong in? Paris (C'est vrai!)

Is your ex over you? All signs point to your ex digging you! (Are you really?)

What kind of sexy are you? independent sexy (their nice way of saying "anti-social sexy")

What fall fashion trend should you try? pencil skirt (on my shopping list now)

What foreign guy should you date? You should date a Japanese guy! (I could've sworn all my answers were pointing to Europe, but I guess the quiz knows me better than I know myself.)

What do guys think of your hair? sexy, desirable and hard to please (except my hair's kind of boring)

Who's your inner pop princess? Kelly Clarkson (better than most, I suppose)

Are you attractive? You attract a good amount of guys. ("Good amount" is too ambiguous for me, that could mean I'm not attractive, oh wait, but I am)

Are you a socialist or a capitalist? 16% capitalist and 84% socialist (I was very surprised to come out this socialist, I think of myself as approximately half-and-half)

Who's your inner European? Spanish (well I do enjoy a good night of flamenco dancing followed by some flan)

What's your kissing style? sensitive kisser (true enough)

Are you a girl or a woman? woman (I wish this one had been one of the percentage answers, because of course I'm "not a..."...actually to prove I'm a woman, I'm not going to quote Britney Spears)

What kind of a girlfriend are you? You are an understanding girlfriend. (Hear that boys?)

What kind of intelligence do you have? Your dominate intelligence is linguistic intelligence. (then how come I agonize over speaking and writing?)

Who's your celebrity boob twin? Paris Hilton (I like this quiz because it's based on one scientific question instead of all of this wishy-washy stuff. I wear the same bra size as Paris Hilton, that's all there is to it.)

What's your dating speed? You are a look before you leap, yellow light dater. (boring, it's always bad when you fall in the middle, even if it's definitely true)

Are you high maintenance? You are medium maintenance. (boring)

What kind of dog should you have? A beagle. (I don't like dogs all that much, but I like beagles...)

What fashion designer should you wear? Moschino (a do-able option).

The end. Let's's kind of fun. And you're thinking about taking some of these quizzes yourself aren't you?

Oct 7, 2006

"Cult"-ural Differences

Just let me rant about a pet peeve of mine for a moment:

This world is full of rampant abuse of the word "cult" There's no set criteria that makes a religious movement a cult or not. There are all of the normal signs that makes a religion cult-like: the charismatic leader, the weird rituals, etc., but no combination of cult-like attributes makes something definitively a cult. The abuse tends to happen in relation to trying to prove a religion is not a cult, even though that's impossible.

The most basic definition of the word "cult" in regards to a religion is just any religious group. Various dictionaries and encyclopedias add their own take on the word taking the negative connotations of the word into account, but there is no standard definition. What those connotations mean vary from "outside the mainstream" to "excessive zeal" to "ritualistic", depending on who you ask.

Latest subject where you hear it all the time: Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda's Growing in Grace movement. You hear people on the news arguing if it's a cult or not or describing the religion as "bordering on cult-like". But it means nothing because the word "cult" is not a's just a word.

When people call Mormonism a cult people get up at arms: "No it's not!" But who's to say it's not? There's nothing about Mormonism that makes it not a cult, as with any other religion. So if people want to call it a cult...okay. I don't like the negative connotations, but there's nothing that can make it not a cult definitively. And the same goes for any religion.

I personally don't like using the word in relation to any religion, it's too iffy and too touchy. However, I love using "cult" in relation to just excessive zeal about an idea or person. Like the cult of the Mac, or the cult of the offensive, or the cult of those people that for some reason can't drive in the right lane even if they're going 30 mph on the freeway or are going to make a right-hand turn in two seconds.

And I know that this post has the lamest title of all time, but I couldn't stop myself. I promise you that I'll try to avoid puns or anything like unto them in the future.

Oct 6, 2006

The Most Puzzling Issue Concerning the Foley Scandal

Why in the world does Rep. Hastings go by "Doc"? Who runs for Congress with that name? And then wins? Richard Norman Hastings had a nice Congress name. It sounds like a solid American. Dick Hastings is a good Congress name. Nothing wrong there. The name "Doc" to me (and I'm sure I'm not alone in this sentiment) means either one of the seven dwarfs or the name of a small business owned by a man who enjoys hunting and NASCAR (something like "The Lube Doc").

Oct 5, 2006

Nothing like a miscreant Republican to make you want to vomit....

Sometimes I read or see or hear things that I really wish I hadn't. The IM transcripts of Rep. Foley and a teenage boy's sexual conversations definitely fall into that category. I would've been fine knowing the story without reading those details.

Oct 3, 2006

If Only...

If I could have any occupation in the world, I would be a dancer, a writer, or a musician. You can tell my period's going to start any second now because I've just been crying through the BYU devotional featuring a bunch of our dance ensembles. Crying because I wish I could express myself by dancing. I'm honestly jealous. When I watch good dancers, all I can ever think is: "What have I been doing with my life? I should've dedicated myself to dance long ago!" And of course the same thing happens to me when I'm reading a great work of literature ("Why am I not slaving over the next great American novel right this second? I need to get to work!") or watching/listening to a great musician perform ("Why did I stop piano lessons in 8th grade? I need to re-learn piano and flute and take up guitar and violin and french horn pronto!").

I'm not especially good at just saying how I feel, but it's better to be able to show it with movement or music or written words that are supposedly about other people anyway. It's a more ambiguous way to express, and feelings are such ambiguous things that describing them directly with spoken words never feels sufficient.

I could be a dancer, though, right? I have a good sense of rhythm. And I'm not too short and my boobs are small enough. Sure I can't touch my toes or run a mile without being very out of breath, but I can work on the flexibilty and endurance and strength. Why did I not continue with ballet after 5th grade? Whyyyyyy? This is how I feel about it::

Sep 28, 2006

It's Thursday Today

For some reason it was impossible for me to convince myself yesterday that it was not Thursday. I told at least two debtors that had payment arragements for Friday, "Make sure that gets in tomorrow," and then hear them go, "I can't do it tomorrow, I said I could pay Friday," and then have to appologize and say I meant Friday.

And all morning I was anticipating watching BYU play TCU in the afternoon and had to keep telling myself that it was tomorrow. But all that telling myself didn't stop me from having a brief freak out moment at 16:30 when I looked at the clock and thought "We've been playing for half-an-hour already and I haven't even looked at the score!" And then AGAIN walking home from work I felt like I needed to get home quickly because a game was going on. I knew it wasn't if I thought about it logically, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to be watching football right then.

And I was surprised to see Emilee home last night because I knew she had an orchestra concert Thursday.

So today feels Groundhog Day-ish. I've already had a Thursday this week. But today I really will watch BYU beat TCU (hey, I'm believing, and if they lose it's because you're not believing) and attend Emilee's orchestra concert and wait on my debtors that get paid Fridays...instead of just thinking that I should be.

Sep 25, 2006


Two days ago was the first official day of fall. The trees haven't started turning yet and the weather hasn't decided to be cold yet (she flirts with the idea, but apparently isn't ready to make any sort of commitment), but that's all coming and it's a glorious time.

Autumn is most definitely my favorite season and here is why (in no particular order):

  • Clothes: I'm always very tired of my summer clothes by the time fall gets around, and it's the best to finally break out the sweaters and jackets that I've been missing for several months. It's really the cutest season to dress for: spring and summer you dress for comfort, winter you dress for warmth, but fall you dress to look good. Fall is time to get back to business after summer, so the dress is less casual and that's great. Casual clothes are comfortable, but never quite as flattering and are rarely as interesting as nicer clothes. And all of those classic neutral colors that will always be my favorite to wear fit with the season better than any other.
  • Football: By far my favorite sport to watch. I'm not a fanatic, but that doesn't mean that every year about mid-summer I don't start counting down the weeks until kickoff. It's really a great time of the year. It gives something to talk about to many a male and provides plenty of entertainment.
  • My birthday: Even though these days it's not as exciting as it used to be, it's certainly a good thing to have a day when everybody feels obligated to be nice to you and wish you a happy day. And it's always good to be one year older. Especially for me, as I'm young for my age (meaning basically everybody I associate with is older than me). It's always a feeling of catching up to turn another year. This year it'll be good to be not nineteen. I know it's just a number and technically not that big of a deal, but twenty is a big one to me. All of my friends are in their twenties and I'm still an infernal teenager.
  • Leaves: I love the colors and the rustling and the big piles. So pretty and so fun. Towards the tops of the mountains the colors are changing and slowly creeping down. I can't wait for them to get into the valley.
  • Thanksgiving: What better holiday than the one where you get to stuff your face guiltlessly? I love pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. And I love being in Grandma's kitchen with five thousand other woman working on something or another. And I love lying around groaning about how much I ate but still slowly consuming a piece of pecan pie. I love turkey sandwiches for the next week or so every meal. I love the beginning of the holiday season and listening to Christmas music for the first time for the year (the music that I'll of course be dying to get turned off by the end of the holidays, but breaking it out for the first time is still a treat).
  • School: Now I don't really like school, but I like being in school better than the summer (summer's only good for two weeks and then I start needing a purpose in life again). And the first couple months of school are nice because I'm still in the motivated stage of things (the rest of the year is unfortunately a big slack-off). I like the structure of school and it's not feeling old until about late October, but then soon enough Thanksgiving break comes along and I'm revitalized until the end of the semester. I don't like the second semester of school ever, except maybe the first week. (And of course I'm not really doing school this particular fall, but it's still a good part of the general autumn experience.)

Sep 21, 2006

Would You Do It?

I keep on changing my mind whether I would eat a roach to cut in line or not. I'm very brave when it comes to eating things and when it comes to bugs. Best I've ever done was a choclate-covered cricket, but I'm certainly willing to step that up. And I'm certainly into doing things that not many people have done. I'd be almost worth it simply for the sake of telling people that I've eaten a live hissing cockroach, forget the cutting in line reward. It's just the live thing that gets me...I couldn't kill it in my mouth. Matter of fact, I can't kill cockroaches in my house with a shoe. I'm a total sissy when it comes to killing anything other than a mosquito (I'm pretty good at flies as well, but it still kind of makes me sick). And it's not that I personally can't do's tough to see my father kill a spider, for crying out loud.

But I still think it's a brilliant idea on the part of Six Flags. I've spent enough time waiting in amusement park ride lines in my life that I'm in favor of any way people can earn a spot to the front that doesn't involve a faked handicap.

Sep 20, 2006

Thomas Prays

My little brother Thomas is a doll. And he's at that really fun age where he's learning a few words every day and just getting the concept of this whole talking thing. I just got an email from my mother that included this little tale:

"We were eating a bowl of cereal when unpromted, he said with his eyes closed the way he does for prayer, 'Guba guba Daddy, Daddy, Mommy, guba guba Jesus, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Amen.' Then he opened his eyes and proceeded to eat his cereal."

Man, what a cutie.

Les Amoureux aux Poireaux

I've been attempting to decorate my cubicle of late and having a grand time with it. Yesterday I put up a print of this photograph. Yes, I realize it's your typical mid-century cutesy couple photo that adorns every girl on the planet's space, but I can't help loving that sort of thing, okay? It's part of that second X-chromosome and can't be fought. And having something like this up makes me automatically friends with all my female coworkers. When I was hanging it up one came by, "Oh that's such a cute picture! Are you in love or are you married?" It wasn't meant to be an "either you're one or the other" thing, but it sounded so much like it that we laughed and then she sighed, because she's not in love with her husband. And for the record, I'm not especially in love with anyone this week. I'm mostly just in love with the idea of being in love in Paris in 1950, which I assure you is not an abnormal sentiment.

Sep 19, 2006

Most Boring News Story Of All Time Sweeps The Nation

Nice to know that with all the things going on in the world, including a breaking story in Thailand (which I'll admit is far more interesting than the same ol' Mideast issues and the same ol' US politics scene), the most popular story on is "No suicide or homicide in Anna Nicole son death".

Clap For Him!

Good news for those Isaac fans out there: Isaac Mizrahi was on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me this weekend to play "Not My Job" the game where you take experts in one field and ask them questions about a totally different field (like asking fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi about the sport of tractor pulling). And besides the joy of hearing Isaac's voice again and the joy of hearing him on the best NPR program of all time (yeah, it's even passed up A Prairie Home Companion in my esteem), we found out that Isaac's show is going to be starting a new season on Style in October. Oh how I've missed him!

Filming for the show starts tomorrow and runs through October 13th...anybody want to go to New York with me sometime during the next few weeks? Oh man, the dream is either a) he sees me in the audience and says "I love your shoes." or b) he answers my question during "Sketches and Answers" (still trying to think of a good question, but I'll have a good one, I assure you).

Sep 14, 2006

Comparision Essays and Why They Should Not Be Assigned

I'm a slow writer and it's killing me on this freaking term paper. Perhaps I'm too critical: I'll type a page, then delete a page, then type another page, then decide that I hate the way I've organized the whole paper and spend the next hour changing everything around and re-writing and re-writing. And I've been working on this for so long and the only part I like is the introductory paragraph.

I hate comparison essays. They always feel so forced. How can you organize one, anyway? I really can't figure out a way to do it without sounding strained. And I do not want mine to come out feeling like the sample papers that my professor posted for us. I know they're the sample papers, so supposedly that's what I should shoot for, but they both suck beyond reason. They sound like comparision essays, and though I realize that's what this is supposed to be, comparision essays take a whole lot of disguising to keep from sounding like a fifth grader is writing. An actual sample will show you what I mean:

"Although Abigail Adams and Mary Todd Lincoln each had ancestors who were landowners and politicians, and though they each grew up in a well-to-do family, their backgrounds were more dissimilar than alike. They lived in a different era and region, and a whole different family environment."

Now the ideas aren't necessarily bad (not brilliant, but not bad), but you read that and think "Oh, I'm reading something that's comparing Abigail Adams and Mary Todd Lincoln." much like you would think "Oh, I'm reading a Christmas wish list." So obvious and so elementary school. It's the list of things similar and then the list of things different and then the list of things similar and then the list of things different's awful. And when every single sentence has the "Person A and Person B both did whatever, however, Person A did this, while Person B did that" structure to's awful. And when it's just a listing of facts about the two parties organized into what's similar and what's different and no analysis at's awful.

I realized about mid-day today, though, the true reason why the sample papers sucked and why my paper sucked at the time: no thesis. Or at least no real thesis, because "Henry Knox and Joseph E. Johnston had many similarities, but also many differences," is not a thesis. So I've luckily remedied that problem in my paper ("Understanding the lives of Ann Lee and Mary Baker Eddy reveals how and why their respective movements came about and how they fit into the greater American religious experience." which isn't amazing, I'll admit, but work-able) ...which I really ought to get back to...

Sep 13, 2006


Sometimes I wonder why nobody hangs out with my immediate family at extended family functions. And other times it's blatantly obvious: If you wanted to recreate basically the entire weekend we spent together in St. George for my grandparent's 50th anniversary, you simply need to:

1. Find a little girl's shoe covered in mud and leather butterflies and name it Patricia.
2. Throw Patricia into the creek.
3. Run down the creek shouting "Patricia! I'm a'comin'!", etc.
4. Rescue Patricia ("Oh no, she's not breathing!", etc.).
5. Sole/soul puns.
6. Rinse.
7. Repeat steps 2-6. Endlessly.

Though we of course worried that Patricia was either the favorite shoe of a little girl who can't sleep because she misses her shoe or evidence in a missing child case, she was a good playmate.

One downfall about Patricia, however, is she violates a law that I've long campaigned to be put on the books: I believe that people should not be allowed to wear more than twelve minus their age butterflies in one outfit. For every butterfly over the allowed limit, they must pay a fine of $100, but not be required to remove it. So perhaps the two or three butterflies that are pulled off tastefully every five years will be worn, just with an extra price attached. But really, think of the fashion crimes that would be stopped and the revenue that could be garnered from Mariah Carey alone! (especially considering that the twelve minus age puts her starting out well into the negatives).

But now that I think about it, it's more that my immediate family doesn't choose to hang out with our extended family than the other way around. We have our own specific brand of fun that we believe is superior to all others. But it seems better to be a little odd than to be snobs, so I'll stick with the untruth that nobody wants to play with us.