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.