Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Survey

Questions about B.J., answered by Amy, and commented on by B.J.

1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?

Her: On the TV, Seinfeld, So You Think You Can Dance, or whatever movie off the AFI top 100 list that we're watching. If TV=his computer, then X-Files or Star Trek
Him: That's a good answer.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? 

Her: Caesar
Him: Caesar.

3. What's one food he doesn't like? 

Her: Onions. The man despises onions.
Him: onions (voice of derision) onions

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What does he order? 

Her: Gin and Tonic, but he's been known to order the occasional Blue Moon or scotch.
Him: Gin and Tonic


5. Where did he go to high school? 

Her: Patrick Henry High School in Virginia
Him: Patrick Henry High School in Meadowview, VA. Wait, Emery, VA. I forgot. You got it right anyway.

6. What size shoe does he wear? 

Her: Eight? I think?
Him: Eight and a half.  *censored*


7. (There was no question seven, so we are making one up) Where would he like to spend his time when not at home?
Her: A coffee shop, or the comic book store.
Him: At a coffee shop


8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? 
Her: The reuben, easily. The only thing that would beat a reuben is a reuben with bacon.
Him: Reuben. Meh on the bacon. The club sandwich would be a close second.


9. What would he eat every day if he could? 

Her: Cake. 
Him: Hamburger. But cake is good. I was thinking of more substantial foods.

10. What is his favorite cereal? 

Her: Captain Crunch with Crunchberries
Him: Captain Crunch. With Crunchberries to be specific. (There's kinds of cereals, there's Captain Crunch, Crunchberries, Peanut Butter Crunch, Christmas Crunch, and Home Run Crunch. There's also the holy trinity of breakfast cereals: Count Chocula the Father, Frankenberry the Son, and Booberry the Holy Ghost.)

11. What would he never wear? 

Her: Sandals, particularly flip flops. Not even to take out the garbage.
Him: Sandals and a wife beater.

12. What is his favorite sports team? 

Her: The Detroit Redwings
Him: The Detroit Redwings.


13. Who did he vote for? 

Her: Dude, nobody's business.
Him: Don't put that.

14. Who is his best friend? 

Her: Me, of course. If you're asking about people who aren't me, then it's Jeremiah.
Him: It used to be Shane but he disappeared. Now I think of you.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?

Her: I'm a horrible backseat driver. I'm getting better, but he still hates it when I comment on his driving.
Him: *Pleads the fifth, noting that this is a trick question and my answer is correct.*

16. What is his heritage? 

Her: Welsh
Him: Welsh, Scots-Irish and Cherokee

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake? 

Her: The kind of cake where you call his mom and ask her to bake it instead of me. Or the kind that they have at the grocery store. (I know he loves red velvet, so I would ask for that kind first.)
Him: Carrot cake, devils food cake, pecan pie (That's not a cake!), red velvet cake, coconut cream cake...

18. Did he play sports in High School? 

Her: He played baseball and was way cute in the uniform.
Him: Yes, baseball for two years.

19.What could he spend hours doing? 

Her: Reading, writing, or anything involving a bookstore. Also, the comic book store.
Him: *censored* Read comic books.

20.What is one unique talent that he has?

Her: He puts up with me. Nobody else has managed that to date.
Him: I don't have any talents. I can imitate people pretty well. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good things about unemployment

I'm in no danger of becoming an Pollyana, but unemployment does have a few benefits.

1. Sleeping in - After months of waking up daily at 5AM, sleeping until 8 feels decadently lazy.

2. Free time around the holidays - My niece is coming down for Thanksgiving, and since I won't be working, I'll have plenty of uninterrupted time to play with her.

3. Lunch with husband - Beej has been coming home every day for lunch. It's a refreshing break to hear how his day is going and talk while it's still light outside.

4. Reading - I have been using my public library again! I'm back to several hundred pages a week, as opposed to what was becoming a habit of a book every couple months.

5. Easy appointments - Now that I have no other commitments, I don't have to squeeze any appointments in. I can schedule them more or less at my leisure.

Now that all that's said, somebody please hire me!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Carve a Pumpkin

Step 1: Assemble tools and move breakables out of the way.
 
Step 2: Disembowel the pumpkin.


Step 3: Make bad jokes about cannibalism
 


Step 4: Collect innards and separate out seeds for flicking at each other.


Step 5: Begin to carve.





Step 6: Light!


Step 7: Make allusions to Count Von Count from Sesame Street and Harry Potter having inappropriate relations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Due Process

I wanted to write a new blog entry, but all I can think about is how sensitive adults can be.

That and the Manson murders.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Mandarin Game

A couple days ago, I remembered a diversity training game that we played when I was in RA training. It was called the Mandarin Game.

It's set up with everybody sitting in a circle. (When we played, it was a big circle, with easily sixty people.) The premise is that there is a little old Mandarin Chinese man somewhere in the world. As the jury, the group must decide what the Mandarin's life is worth.  As the game progresses the criteria changes. The Mandarin goes from a middle aged healthy rich man to an old man on death's door. The rewards for killing him include everything from world peace to global financial stability.

If you make it through the game without deciding to kill the man, an envelope is read, telling you that the man was one who would cure all diseases and bring peace to the world. By killing him, you would have had peace, but under the rule of a cruel totalitarian.

I was remembering how much I hated the ending to that game.

For me, the ultimate flaw is that ending. It was the slap in the face to people who'd decided that world peace was worth ending the pain of a man who would die in a week anyway. I remember a sophomore telling about a family member in the army and pleading with the group to think of the lives that would be saved instead of the one who was lost. I remember feeling smug because I'd done the "Christian" thing and argued to not kill the man. (Ironic, since Christianity is based on one guy taking the fall for everyone.)

Most of all, I hate it when you teach that diversity has a right and a wrong answer.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote:

"Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world - "No. You move."

-Captain America to Spiderman

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Charles Bukowski

“Let it enfold you”
either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you
when i was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb,unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious
upbringing.
I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
sun.
I trusted no man and
especially no
woman.
I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and aout
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at, i had no male
friends.
I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
grandmothers,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents, spain,
france, italy, walnuts and
the color
orange.
algebra angered me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
fake
and flowers were for
pansies.
peace an happiness to me
were signs of
inferiority,
tenants of the weak
an
addled
mind.
but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
me
that I wasn't different
from the
others, I was the same.
they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
grievances,
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
advantage,
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
empty,
darkness was the
dictator.
cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
rooms
just staring at the
knobs of some
dresser
or listening to the
rain in the
dark.
the less i needed
the better i
felt.
maybe the other life had worn me
down.
I no longer found
glamour
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into
sorrow.
I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
poisons
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the
asking.
I re formulated
I don't know when,
date,time,all
that
but the change
occurred.
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
out.
i no longer had to
prove that i was a
man,
I didn't have to prove
anything.
I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
cafe.
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
beautiful.
then - it was
gone.
I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.
I've missed too many
days.
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, "i am going
to have to let you go"
"it's all right" i tell
him.
He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children.
expenses, most probably
a girlfreind.
I am sorry for him
he is caught.
I walk onto the blazing
sunshine.
the whole day is
mine
temporarily,
anyhow.
(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,
disillusioned)
I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of
happiness.
I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels,breasts,
singing,the
works.
(don't get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
itself-
this is a shield and a
sickness.)
The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
gas
again
but when the good
moments arrived
again
I didn't fight them off
like an alley
adversary.
I let them take me,
i luxuriated in them,
I bade them welcome
home.
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
ugly,
I now liked what
I saw,almost
handsome,yes,
a bit ripped and
ragged,
scares,lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby's
butt.
and finally I discovered
real feelings for
others,
unhearleded,
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the toteboard waiting for
me)
I saw the shape of my
wife's head,
she so still,
i ached for her life,
just being there
under the
covers.
i kissed her in the,
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
drive.
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more,
drove down the
hill
past the houses
full and empty
of
people,
i saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back
at me.

Apple Store -1

Last night was a disappointing evening at the Apple Store. I'd been unable to burn a dvd on my Macbook Pro, and troubleshooting pointed to the dvd write head needing replacement. I made an 8pm appointment at the Genius Bar, and arrived at the recommended 7:55pm toting the computer, power supply, and dvds I'd used, and secure in the knowledge that I had seven months before the Applecare warranty expired.

I checked in, and was told that the service appointments were running a few minutes behind. B.J. and I spent about twenty minutes browsing cases, software, and messing around with all the new software. Periodically, employees would offer assistance, which we declined, mentioning each time that we were waiting for the Genius Bar.

Come 8:30, we sat down to play I Spy on the children's computers, which was by far, the highlight of the night. At 8:45, my patience ran out, and I snagged an employee to ask what the hold up was. He responded by apologizing profusely, saying my appointment had been canceled. Regardless, he worked me in, and fifty minutes past the appointment time, I sat down at the Genius Bar.

Ten to fifteen minutes of troubleshooting later (trying different DVDs, checking the system log, etc), Mr. Genius went to the back and returned with a replacement drive. In order to eliminate software issues entirely (as a last ditch effort before authorizing the repair), we booted the laptop off an external HD and burned from there. Surprisingly, the burn worked perfectly.

I left the Apple Store after an hour and a half with instructions to do an archive and install and a reminder that the store was closing for two weeks of renovations, and I would need to go to another store for any further repairs.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Things that make a bad week better

1. A new haircut
2. Batman: The animated series
3. Agatha Christie novels
4. Frog in a Blender icy
5. New pictures of Lexi eating noses.
6. Griffin Clarifi iPhone case
7. Pandora.com
8. Funny people on twitter
9. Candles
10. Husband who does all of the housework and still puts me to bed at 9:30

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quarter Life Crisis

Washington Post Article

Regarding a quarter life crisis:

Dear People Currently In Crisis,

In the immortal words of Drew Carey, "You say you're pissed off that life didn't turn out the way you wanted it to? There's a group for that. It's called 'Everybody.' They meet at the bar."

The crisis will subside after a while.

Love,
Me


----------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Baby Boomers making fun of the Quarter Life Crisis,

You created the mid life crisis, and that's equally pathetic.

Love,
Me

P.S. (I'm not even touching the fact that you helped get us into this economic mess.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

More book reviews

Again, continuing from this post.

#9 His Dark Materials
First, His Dark Materials is a series made up of three books "The Golden Compass", "The Subtle Knife", and "The Amber Spyglass". This makes it a crappy addition to this list.

The Plot: Two kids and their metaphysical representations run around doing everything metaphorical the author could think of. Then they go kill God.

The Good: The first book in this series is the best of the three. The author creates a lovable main character in Lyra and I found the portions that dealt with daemons charming.

The Bad: This is obviously a response to the Narnia series. The similarities (new worlds, talking animals, creation metaphors, strong female villains) are a little bit in your face. I got the impression that the author decided that subtlety was overrated by the third book, which is when the 'killing God' bit went from an interesting, albeit heavy handed topic for a children's book, to the stick that the author chose to beat his message into the reader.

In addition, the third book becomes more of an adult love story, which breaks the themes of innocent loyalty and friendship that have been paramount up to that point. It was a disruptive decision, and one I wish he'd left out.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of five for The Golden Compass, 2.5 for the other two books. Probably offensive to some who can't tell the difference between reality and books.


#53 Cold Comfort Farm

The Plot: A society woman goes to live with her redneck relatives at Cold Comfort. She neatly arranges life around her to her liking.

The Good: Clever language and a plotline that was written to be tongue in cheek. The author succeeded at writing a very amusing book without seeming like she was trying too hard.

The Bad: The book is a little slow at the beginning.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5. Charming! I especially love the cows.

Keeping up with myself

I feel more like a grown up this week than I have in a long while.

I was in Minnesota this past weekend, visiting my niece, Lexi, who is an unnervingly smart baby. (She's five months old, and trying to talk.) My favorite thing to do with her (aside from teaching her oral acrobatics) was to take her outside onto the front porch and watch the outdoors together. Lexi doesn't like being bored and she's quite content when watching the fascinating outside world. I never thought I would be as captivated as I am by a tiny hand grabbing my thumb and toothless gums drooling on my knuckles.

The rest of the week has involved me stepping forward to take more responsibility at work. Seventy five percent of the time, I feel like I'm drowning under the mounting piles of paperwork and 'Idontknowhowtodothis' panic, but during the other twenty five percent I feel like an adult who is doing their job.

Who knew that self awareness can be brought on by not breaking the baby and doing your damn job?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The deitrius of fifty years.

I spent last night at my grandfather's house, helping my aunt clean out a couple of bedrooms. (Grandpa is getting some longterm houseguests.) The following is a brief list of some of the items we found.

1. My uncle's first driver's license
2. A wooden cane (Nobody in my family has ever used one.)
3. My aunt's nightgown from when she was ten or so
4. A newspaper clipping from 1989 about exercises that you can do in the workplace to reduce stress
5. Four copies of weight watchers enrollment packet.
6. Three bow ties in various colors
7. Cedar shavings
8. Three large garbage sacks of fabric
9. Two large rubbermaid containers of pictures, both black and white and color
10. More newspaper clippings--every time one of her grandchildren made it into the paper
11. My aunt's paper on Adolf Hilter
12. My uncle's papers from grad school
13. Greeting cards from all over the country
14. A set of postcards from Alaska
15. My Grandmother's wedding dress...still pristine.

We only finished two pieces of furniture and half of a closet. There's still an entire other room and a half to handle tonight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Song

Here's a link to download "You're Pitiful", Weird Al's parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful".

Song

If Blunt and his record company weren't jerks, they could actually be making money off this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm disappointed

I'm disappointed in the results of a recent situation on facebook.

Someone who used to be a close friend of the family made a disparaging comment about the method that my home church used to choose their senior minister. Apparently, they forgot that facebook is public, and in making your opinion known, you give up the right to insulate yourself from people who disagree with you.

As a result of whatever disagreements occurred--disagreements that I did not see at all--not only was my mother and father defriended, but I was too. Not only was I defriended by the lady in question, her daughter did the same.

People, this is how feuds start.

I am very disappointed. First that such a disagreement was handled in a public forum, completely against any and all teaching of Scripture. Second, I am disappointed that my families' opinions were projected on to me and I was "punished" for them. Finally, I am extremely disappointed that someone who I've considered a friend for ten years, felt the need to join in such a pointless and escalating gesture.

EDIT: I was not the only one defriended. My entire family, including a brother who hasn't lived in the area for ten years was too. The only thing left is to sprinkle salt on our router.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

About what I thought

My Political Views
I am a right social libertarian
Right: 6.06, Libertarian: 3.54

Political Spectrum Quiz

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Book reviews, consolidated

The Time Traveller's Wife

The Plot: Henry has the ability to spontaneously travel through time. He travels to meet Claire from the time she is six until she her death in her 80s. The book describes the developing relationship and Claire's struggles as she continually waits for Henry to come back to her.

The Good: A clever application of the device of time traveling, with excellent address of the paradoxes created. The relationship between Claire and Henry is very real--initially I felt it was a little pediophiliac, but Henry and Claire's characters develop together. My favorite thing about the book is the sense of helpless omniscience that time traveling bestows upon Claire and to Henry. They struggle with how to handle knowing pieces of what will happen (because it has already happened to them) but being unable to change anything.

The Bad: The supporting characters don't have the same substance to them that Claire and Henry do. (A minor complaint, but I couldn't put nothing.)

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars. I can see this book being perfect for discussion groups.

The Little Prince - How special it makes us when we're loved!

The Good: It reads like a childrens' book, but has the depth of a parable. I love the story of the little prince and the fox. It reminded me of all of the cliches about your partner not being perfect, but being perfect for you, but in a much less irritating way. Thankfully, there's precious little preachiness. I wonder if Shel Silverstein was influenced by this.

The Bad: Nada

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bridget Jones's Diary

The Plot: A British chick calls herself pathetic a lot, then gets over it.

The Good: You actually start to like Bridget

The Bad: You don't really want to like Bridget. Especially since you lose all sympathy for her when she ends up marrying a hot millionaire.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5. Easy to read, but the movie is practically the book verbatim.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I am more upset about Billy Mays than I am about Michael Jackson.

(And I'm not upset about Billy Mays.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HTML question

I want to extend the width of the blog entries. Is this where I do it?

#main-wrapper {
line-height: 1.4;
float: $startSide;
padding: 10px 12px;
border-top: solid 1px #fff;
width: 428px;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */
/* Tantek hack - http://www.tantek.com/CSS/Examples/boxmodelhack.html */
voice-family: "\"}\"";
voice-family: inherit;
width: 404px;
}

Something other than books

I'm in the process of learning how to cook. As a reasonably intelligent person, I flatter myself that I am generally capable of reading a recipe and translating that into real world results. However, I've come across several challenges that nobody ever told me about.

1. All ovens do not cook at the temperature specified. If a recipe calls for ten minutes at 350, I need to bump it by 25 degrees or add an extra couple of minutes. This was discovered by trial and error and some very late desserts.

2. The most difficult part of cooking isn't cooking. It's having everything ready at approximately the same time. I'm sticking with meals that have an entree and a microwaveable vegetable. The last time I tried to make two food groups at a time, the eggs got cold and the waffles were undercooked.

3. Healthy food is only healthy if you pay attention to the number of servings. Two hundred calories a serving only counts if you can eat just one serving.

4. Complicated things are simple and simple things are bloody hard. I can make an incredible cobbler, but I delegated scrambled eggs to B.J. after an epic failure.

5. Make things you aren't sure about early in the marriage. Your loving husband will eat it all and proclaim it good. By the time he demands good food, you'll have had more practice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Books, revisited

The previous list I was referencing is just too bulky. I've pared it down to just the books that I haven't read.

I've also decided on a couple of new rules for myself:
1. A book must get read within two weeks unless it is ungodly long.
2. A book can be checked out from the library a maximum of three tries.
3. If the book is unread after the third attempt, it will be replaced on the list with a book that I like.



9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - N
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - N
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - N
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk - N
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - N
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - N
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens - N
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - N
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh - N
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - O
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - N
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - N
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - N
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - N
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - O
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving - N
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - N
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - N
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - N
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth - N
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - N
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - N
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - N
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt - N
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy - N
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - N
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - N
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville - N
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - N
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - N
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - N
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - O
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome - N
78 Germinal - Emile Zola - N
80 Possession - AS Byatt - N
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - N
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - N
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - N
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - N
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - N
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - N
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery [in french counts double] - N
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks - N
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - N
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - N
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - N
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - N

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recently, I've found myself wishing for a small digital camera. B.J. and I are making plans to go do some of the fun things that we've had stored up for a while, and I'd like to document some of this.

List:
-The Muny (we have tickets for Annie on the 27th)
-The Funny Bone (trying to decide whether or not to go to the one in Fairview Heights or the more popular one)
-The Zoo (I am going to pet a sting ray)
-Live Concerts in a Bar (check!--multiple times)
-An Actual Concert (curse you budget for not accommodating my wish for Coldplay tickets)
-Poetry Readings (done one, and another next weekend)

None of this is very exciting or out of the box, but it is a list of the things that we haven't been able to do individually. Having a built in partner makes everything easier to conquer.

Any suggestions for fun or cool things to do in St. Louis?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Photos

Wedding photos are up at flickr. More to come in the next week or two.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memories

What I remember about my wedding:

My dad feeding the bridesmaids grapes with airplane noises. Grandpa tearing up at the bouquet charms. The bustles on the dress breaking every ten minutes (and the ensuing standing around with my skirt over my head). The absolute gorgeousness of the flowers. How difficult it was to sit down (and Kim giving me the tutorial on leaning back and squeezing my ribs). The moment my heart started beating faster--when we got in the elevator to go upstairs. The feel of my Dad's suit. Turning on Grandpa's mic. Grandpa moving around the order of the ceremony. Lexi screeching during the song. The groomsmen giving us scorecards on the kiss. Forgetting my flowers on the way back down the aisle. How long it felt it took to bustle the dress in the foyer. Saying hello and hugging everyone. Forgetting that Mueller was Mueller (sorry Mueller!). All of us being completely disorganized for the family photos. My skirt catching on the sidewalk in Downtown St. Charles. The hilarious pictures we got (especially the guys). Stealing Brian's aviator sunglasses. (I was SO cool) Stopping for Sonic. The cake being late. Feeding Lexi icing. Catching Mom crying during the father/daughter dance. Not being able to find B.J. to leave. Losing the marriage license. Uncle Charlie acting as a hilarious emcee. Rebecca falling down trying to catch the bride. Jones soda. Finding the marriage license.

Most of all, I want to remember the things that didn't go according to plan, because they are what made the day perfect. I had my best friends around me...people who came from all over the country to share in our happiness. I married my favorite person in the world and I am so grateful.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dune




This is book #52 referenced in this post

The Plot: A child messiah leads a guerrilla war against the enemy clan who killed his father. Also, something about spice.

The Good: The descriptions of the Freman culture, and the concept of 'the spice'. The addition of lolcat memes are a plus.

The Bad: WTF actually are Paul's abilities?

The Verdict: 4/5 stars. One of the better space science fictions I've read, but it gets docked because I prefer my sci fi to focus more on characters and less on scenery.

Next Up: #19 The Time Traveller's Wife

Atonement

#50 from this post is complete.

I wanted to start off my reading endeavors with something lighter than Dickens and in stock at my local library.

The Plot: A girl accuses her sister's (secret) lover of trying to rape her cousin and is very sorry about it (eventually). She (maybe) tries to make ammends.

The Good: The concept behind the plot and the perspective through which it is explored is cleverly done. The twist in the epilogue is interesting, to say the least.

The Bad: The book loses momentum in the middle, as (ironically) the author seems to have far more connection with the portions narrated by his female characters.

The Verdict: A good book, but not a story that I imagine translates well into film. I won't be seeing the movie. 2.5/5 stars

Next up: Dune (#52) by Frank Herbert

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Done!



EDIT: This was taken with the camera on a Macbook Pro which reverses the image. It is in fact our left hands.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ancedotal

About three weeks ago, I saw a sign on a Mexican restaurant, advertising their Cinco de Mayo party.

It said "Cinco de Mayo party -- May 1st and 2nd!"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hot or Not 2

HOT: A morning latte when I have to wake up at 5:30.

NOT: The design of the lid that encourages spilling.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

100 Books

Put an (X) next to the ones you've read and (N) next to the ones you haven't. (O) means you have the book but have not read it yet.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - X
6 The Bible - X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte -X
8 1984 - George Orwell -X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - N
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - N
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller - X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - N
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk - N
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - N
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot - X
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - N
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - N
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens - N
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - N
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh - N
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - O
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - X
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - N
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - N
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - X
34 Emma - Jane Austen - X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - X
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - N
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - N
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - X
42 Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - O
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving - N
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - N
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - N
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - N
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel - X
52 Dune - Frank Herbert - N
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - N
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth - N
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - N
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon - X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - N
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - N
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt - N
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - X
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy - N
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - N
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - N
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville - N
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - N
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - N
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - N
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - O
76 The Inferno - Dante - X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome - N
78 Germinal - Emile Zola - N
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -X
80 Possession - AS Byatt - N
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - N
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - N
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - N
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - N
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - N
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - N
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery [in french counts double] - N
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks - N
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - N
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - N
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - N
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas - X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - N


A few observations:
- You don't need to list the Complete Works of Shakespeare and Hamlet on the same list.
- Somebody loves Thomas Hardy to excess.
- If one must include Austen, one is sufficient.
- It follows from the previous that this list was compiled by a woman, and probably a single one.
- I am astoundingly remiss at reading the Russians.
- And apparently modern literature as well. My total score was 50/100.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today, I am sitting in my apartment, watching Firefly, waiting for our new furniture to arrive (should be another 20 minutes), and typing this on an unsecured network.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hot or Not #1

HOT: Technology, particularly the devices that let us choose how to communicate with people in a number of ways. I can call someone, text, email, or instant message, all from my cell phone. About the only thing I'm missing is morse code. (And I suppose I could tap the phone against a metallic surface.)

NOT: Poor grammar and abbreviations in text messages. Nearly every phone comes with a full QWERTY keyboard these days. Let's use them correctly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

An update of sorts

As the biggest thing in my life currently is WeddingLand (27 days and counting), the following update about my life will deal primarily with that. If you don't want to read it, then don't.

Last week looked like it was going to end on a bad note. My wedding coordinator/role model had to back out of the wedding, leaving me to find somebody capable of corralling both Posse's, both families, and a couple hundred people with only a month to go. I have not yet succeeded at this task, but I have some good leads. This is yet another opportunity to remember and practice my motto: "As long as I end up married, everything else can go diddle itself." Thanks to some awesome friends (shoutout to Ricky and Jess!), the week ended happily with the arrival of our first wedding present. They did an awesome job of zeroing in on the thing that would turn my funk around -- I have friends from all over the country (literally), who are coming in to celebrate with me. Not only that, my best friend ever is flying in for a three week sabbatical from Nicaragua (where she's working to start up and run a library) to help me get everything together.

Seriously, how lucky am I?

This weekend gets a gold star on the productivity chart. Beej and I are taking possession of our new apartment on Thursday, so we had a lot of paperwork and first inspections to do. I really love our place. It's bright and airy, and I got to meet a couple of our new neighbors. They have a black and white bulldog, so we'll get along really well.

In other news, congrats to Genny and Kim who took the FE this past weekend and I am sure rocked it. I raise my imaginary glass to them.

Time to go knock out some more tasks on my to do list. Remember to drink your Ovaltine, kids.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gay Marriage

Who should be able to marry? What about Christians and non-Christians ("do not be un-equally yoked")? In any event, despite whatever your personal views, preventing gay marriage is a losing battle.

The biggest protest against gay marriage is what I've heard called 'the sanctity of marriage'. It's true, marriage done right is sacred. Sadly, marriage in America hasn't been sacred for a long time. Divorce rates are at an all time high, and even in heterosexual relationships, open and polyamorous marriages are becoming more common. A man and a woman being married does not offer their relationship any innate protection from immorality and sin. The sancity of marriage is based on a relationship as God has designed--if your only requirement for what makes a marriage blessed by God is the genetalia of the participants, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

The fact remains that regardless of what the majority of the people may want, as homosexuality becomes more acceptable* [It will. If you believe it is sin, then a sinful society will embrace it. If it is natural, then the barriers are nothing but prejudice], you will begin to see fewer arguments for marriage being a right for some, but not all.

The only viable solution that I see for saving the word "marriage" (since that is what we are arguing over. It is impossible to mandate people from boinking whichever consenting adult they choose.) is as follows: the goverment will no longer issue marriage licenses. The state will offer civil unions to any two adults who wish to enter into a long term partnership. Romance will not be a factor, however, each adult can only have one such partnership at a time. These unions will cover ALL rights previously afforded to marriage--legal next of kin, shared resources, tax breaks,etc. (Civil unions will also be as difficult to dissolve as divorces are currently.)

Marriage will become a solely religious ceremony, with no legal implications.

Remember, compromise. If you feel the need to regulate who people boink, and are up in arms about a word, then you need to give something to get something. Gay people can have all of the benefits (and drawbacks) of "marriage", but they won't be able to use the word "marriage" as your church defines it.

Meanwhile, focus on other avenues of protecting and strengthening relationships. When we raise mature and independent adults who have the ability to commit to and keep their promises despite adversity; when two people prepare for a life changing decision-aligned in their unchangeable beliefs and compromising on all else, bearing with each other in love; when we offer our support to couples and use our relationships as open examples, sharing difficulties and triumphs; when love is treated less like a feeling and more like a committment and a sacrifice; and when the benefits of a long term partner, dearer to you than yourself is celebrated--when all of this is the norm of a marriage under God's blessing and created by His template--then and only then, can we say that we have protected the sanctity of marriage and have earned the right to fight for the word as well.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Things I like

Here are things I like lately:

1. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" by Black Kids
2. The sunroof in the Vue.
3. Flip-flops
4. Beating a level in Mario
5. Completing things on my wedding to-do list. (We ordered the cake on Friday.)
6. Getting a hug from Noah (B.J.'s nephew)
7. The Genius feature in iTunes
8. Friday afternoons
9. My continued independence from Facebook

Monday, February 2, 2009

There is a new addition to the blog roll. Check out my friend Tori. Best start reading before she gets famous.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cool Like

I enjoy Sunday mornings.

My fiance and I usually attend the early (8AM) service at our church. B.J. has to work at ten, so we eat a quick breakfast together before he leaves.

I am starting to value alone time more now than I remember at any other time in my life. Sunday mornings are the only time during the week when I have the house to myself. I don't do anything exciting-today I cleaned my room and started backing up my music to my external hard drive. I get the dogs to myself; I get to watch my tv shows off the DVR; I get to read without interruption and play whatever music I like as loud as I like.

B.J. and I are looking forward to having our own place to live, where we can enjoy time together (and even by ourselves on occassion). Until then, I have a standing date with iTunes and the DVR on Sunday mornings.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Updates and Miscellaneous

I was attempting to write something about productivity, but I've got nothing. In lieu of that, here's some randomness:

-The chairman on Iron Chef America cracks me up.


-I get a tingle when I think about productivity, especially checking items off to do lists.

-Suddenly I have several more followers on twitter. I don't know what I'm saying, but it is making me internet popular.

-Ace of Cakes is on, and I have a fiance who just got home. Time to abandon the blog in favor of real life.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm scanning some pictures for my grandfather's retirement/60 years in the ministry celebration. Here is my favorite from today:




This is my grandparents at their wedding.

Best of 2008

Best of 08 - Entertainment
Music
This was the year of unexpectedly learning more about music, thanks to my fiance's encyclopediac knowledge of anything that can be loosely construed as musical no matter how horrible it is (Flaming Lips aka Herpes Band, I'm looking at you). (I, in turn, have introduced him to the magic of boy bands, Christmas music, and top 40 pop rock. You're welcome, Darling.)

1. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Coldplay has been calling their previous three albums a trilogy, making Viva La Vida the first of a new era for them. Overall, Chris Martin's lower register and the cd's more overt beat give this cd a more rock-like feel. I'd tell you my favorite song, but any of them (except for Strawberry Swing) could qualify.

2. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
I don't think this was released in 08, but I bought it last year, so it counts. A bluesier Fiona Apple, Spektor presents some alternative vocal acrobatics. (Uh-America sounds like she's being punched in the gut.) I prefer the softer tracks, especially Samson.

3. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
This was the first cd that I bought with B.J. around (and the first I've bought in a store for YEARS, bless iTunes). He picked it out for me and told me that I didn't have to be ashamed to own it. It has become my favorite falling asleep music while ironically making me feel like clapping. Try No One's Gonna Love You or Islands on the Coast.

4. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
I really have no idea what they're saying, but it sounds pretty. Flightless Bird, American Mouth is a standout to me.

5. Kate Nash - Like Birds
A British singer, like a more indie Lily Allen (Smile). Her lyrics are more like a poem than a song with two verses and a traditional chorus. Nash is a lighter version of angry chick music, and it's no secret that I like music with angry women who curse a little bit. She also sings with a British accent, which is apparently rare. Foundations and Nicest Thing are my favorites at the moment, although Mouthwash is catching up.

Honorable Mentions (may or may not be from 08)
Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues (One of my favorite bands. Like Vines is a better cd.)
Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (This album haunted me for months. I'm glad B.J. actually owned it so I didn't have to keep humming it forever)
The Veronicas - Hook Me Up (Good album, but don't watch the music videos. They'll ruin it.)
Radiohead - In Rainbows (I'm not really familiar with this cd, but I love 15 Step enough to put it on here. Way to be, Thom Yorke.)
Charlotte Sometimes - Waves and the Both of Us (How I Could Just Kill a Man - great song)

Movies that I saw but am not going to rank because I don't want to
City Lights - A Chaplin film
Twilight - Shut up, okay? I know. I KNOW. But they have slow motion rock star moments. And the soundtrack is GOOD. I'm allowed one bad movie to throw on here. (And if you make fun, I will delete your comment and burn your house down.)
Coconauts - Marx Brothers
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Aliens? Really? Oh Harrison Ford, how you have fallen.)
Ironman - Stuff blew up. Was cool.
Wall-E - Probably my favorite of the year. I have Wall-E and EVE to act as cake toppers for the wedding. Be jealous.
Pan's Labyrinth - I can see why the critics wet themselves.
The Other Bolyen Girl
Helvetica - a VERY interesting documentary and no, I am not being sarcastic, Internet.
The Ninth Gate - better than the book
Modern Times - another Chaplin movie

2008 Recap

Oh, what a year 2008 was. The beginning of the year started off just as expected - returning to Rolla for my last semester of undergrad with my job offer in the bag. I traveled to the northeast for the first time (arriving in Rochester, New York for NEACURH), had my first paper published (ND Microwave technology, second author), had my second conference paper (teaching STEM outreaches to middle school students, first author), and became an emeritus everything of my honor society. The middle of the year was a whirlwind. After months of back and forth, a friend became my boyfriend and then, in short order, my fiance. I found out about a new niece (Baby P) and a new nephew (Baby Jones). I graduated from college and started my first full time job. Eight days after I began work, I was sitting at a desk in Indianapolis, where I would stay until Thanksgiving. I visited New York and disliked it. Shortly thereafter, I got an iPhone. B.J. started work the Monday after his birthday, and we worked things out long distance. The last few months have flown by in a flurry of work, wedding planning, and running back and forth between families. 2008 was Grandpa's last year of preaching full time and the entire family congregated to hear his last sermon.

This year, I have a lot to look forward to. In early spring, I'll meet my niece for the first time. At the end of spring, I'll be switching my name, moving out of my parents' house, and check a different box on some forms. My little sister starts college in the fall, and B.J. will make more progress towards his masters degree.

Here's to HOPING for some major CHANGES and all that rot.