Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Call Me Remiss

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's to all my friends and family. I promise I will get those cards sent out soon.

I have never been late to send out Christmas cards before and I hope never to be late again. This year has been interesting, long and somewhat difficult. I've spent a lot of time thinking and not much time writing. But do not worry. I will get back to regular blogging. Really, I will.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Out Of Touch

I found this article about the media's response to religion to be enlightening and interesting. Perhaps that's because it is a more moderate view than the one often taken by evangelicals. The writer does not argue that the media hates God and religion. Rather, he argues that the media fails to understand the influence of religion in our society and dismisses it because they believe religion is quaint. It just got me thinking.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Such A Long Time

This post is just an update with more intellectual stuff to follow (seriously).

1. I had a job interview a few days ago and it went well. For me, that's spectacular.

2. I did win NaNoWriMo with 60k words and counting. I plan to finish the draft.

3. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving visiting friends down south a ways.

4. Christmas is going to be a Grinch this year for me and mine. I only hope I can get gifts out to friends and family in January.

5. I continue looking for a job with a lot more focus than I have ever had before.

6. Happy Thanksgiving a little late.

7. It looks like I'll be taking a couple tough classes come January. I'm kind of excited to be moving on with that.

8. I was on CNN. Too cool.

9. Here an Obama, there an Obama, everywhere an Obama. Obama.

10. Why don't people remember Ebenezer Scrooge for his generosity after he redeemed himself?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Theaters Near You

I decided to post my inflammatory thoughts on the movie Twilight since I went to see it yesterday. I had no good reason to see this movie. I have not read the book . . . However, I am a fan of Buffy and Angel and other things of the vampiric fiction genre. Somewhat.

First, if you think Twilight is going to be anything like standard vampire fiction prepare to be disappointed. There is no garlic, holy water, stakes or coffins. In fact, it attempts to mock those ideas. I say attempts because while it did get many titters from the giggle squad (i.e. vast host of teenage girls), it was actually pretty lame in the jokes arena. Sometimes I think the giggle squad were laughing at things the rest of us did not notice. Not to criticize them. I was once a teenage girl and had impossible crushes -- Mr. Darcy -- and a need to giggle. Come to think of it, I only chuckled. Giggling is impossible for a female tenor unless I try to giggle in a falsetto. Back to the subject now. To add to the attempt to turn vampire fiction on its head our vampire -- Edward -- has shiny skin when he's in the sun. He calls himself a vegetarian because he only drinks blood from animals. Don't think too hard about that one. That's about as much background info as I can stomach to write.

Things I did not like about the movie were these:

-All of the characters were flat and impossible to know.
-It seemed the theme was a praise of obsessive love or obsession, yet the villain of the story also carried an obsession for the object of Edward's desire (Bella). Confusing? Methinks so.
-The conversations were interminable. I mean, interminable. If you look up interminable in a dictionary you will see a picture of Edward and Bella talking. Yawner.
-It m o v e d a s s l o w a s m o l a s s e s i n J a n u a r y.
-Cliche after cliche after cliche after cliche. I cannot begin to name all of the cliches.
-It was very predictable.
-Big, gaping plot holes. For example, Edward tells Bella that he can read minds, except for hers. He never explains why or even theorizes on that subject (despite the interminable conversations). Also, Edward tells Bella that he has been waiting for her for many years. The wtf of this moment is never clarified.

Things I did like:

-The soundtrack was beautiful and kept the movie flowing.
-The cinematography was gorgeous.
-The landscapes were beautiful.
-Damn good special effects for not being, well, special effects. They did not use any CG.
-It turned some of the vampire cliches on their heads in a humorous manner (by using other fantasy cliches unfortunately).
-It was enjoyable to watch but not intellectual enough for me.

In short, it's up to you if you want to see it. I am no fangirl, but I did not hate it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ways To Save #1

I have decided to start a new series. I call it "Ways To Save." You know all about the poor economy right now. This is one of my small contributions to people who need to find ways to help with budgeting in these down times. So, here goes my first post.

You can save money if you do not buy vitamins. Read this. The neurologist writing makes the clear point that a healthy diet is all you need. Supplements do not do anything (except in specific cases which he describes) for the most part. Supplements are also freaking expensive. My recommendation: avoid them.

Note: Calcium is not mentioned in the article or the studies described and as far as I know it's a good idea to take calcium supplements if you're unable to have dairy (like me).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Every Hill

You may have heard the phrase, "Some hills are not worth dying on." Maybe you haven't. Maybe somebody I know made it up. Either way, it's a good phrase -- unless you happen to find a hill worth dying on. For clarification's sake, you could also say that some things are not worth fighting for, or you should pick your battles. Or you could just say "Give up and lie down in the dust like a dog because you're not going to get anywhere with this one, okay." Some BS isn't worth hiding behind.

No, I'm not writing this to sound resentful and angry. Frankly, I am not angry. I am thoughtful. I spent the last year and a half holding onto a dream, a principle. For the first time in my political life I fought the losing battle in full knowledge of what I was doing. Most of the time I don't think other people understand that. That would explain why they tell me I will never win no matter how much I do. That would explain why they say that some hills aren't worth dying on or I should pick my battles. That would explain the shakes of their heads. It's not that I go around spouting off about my political beliefs all the time. It's rather that I have some misunderstood beliefs -- I almost said unpopular, but that's not true.

Let me tell you a story. In the winter of 2004 I interned at a congressional office in Washington, D.C. The man I worked for was one of the few true fiscal conservatives to get into office in 1994 and not change into a big spender. He really cared about the issue of spending cuts and smaller government. There was one issue in particular that he wanted to cut so as to reduce the budget. It was a pretty unpopular stance, but he took his stand. I was given the job of getting the word out to the press. This is not a glamorous job in case you were wondering. I spent hours proofreading press releases and painstakingly faxing them to all sorts of publications in the hope that some reporter would write an article about the issue. It worked. We actually did drum up more discussion of the issue than my congressman had in previous years -- so the legislative assistants told me.

The day of the vote arrived and the congressman I worked for was on the floor of the House debating all day. You would not believe the phone calls I had to listen to when all his constituents decided to watch C-Span at once because they had nothing better to do. I tried to watch some of the debates but missed them somewhere between talking with the old lady who just wanted to talk about decency on television (she heard the f-word at midnight) and the old guy from Alabama who claimed the CIA was populated by commies who were putting cameras in walls to watch us (as if we do anything of that much interest to a government agency). Anyway, the congressman was brilliant.

At the end of the day he came back from the vote and I asked him how it went. He told me the numbers. To my surprise his initiative lost big time. I mean, it was a huge vote against it. I was stunned. All those hours I had put in trying to get support and it was over without any fanfare and without even a decent vote in its favor. Everything I had done was for nothing. And I had never suspected for a moment that my congressman was going to lose.

After he went back to his office (busy, busy man) I asked one of the other staffers why the vote in our favor had been so low. "It's higher than it was in any previous year," she said. "We never expected to win this one, but we make it an issue every year. Maybe someday people will get the message."

That's when I learned the most valuable lesson I learned over that long semester in D.C. Sometimes you have to fight the losing battle and show your face to all the world as if you know you're winning. Why be bummed out and down about something that you care about? When you know you're right you should be happy about that. And when you show others that you are going to fight the good fight no matter the condescension around you then they can think of nothing more to do than shake their heads as if you're an idiot. But they will never feel the satisfaction that comes with knowing yourself to have done everything you could for a cause that was well worth losing to advance. Some things are bigger than a full ballot box. I'll take my stand on that hill.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Coming Up With Stuff

I have lots to write about, but before I start my rants I think you should read this guy's words. Kind of inspiring, really. Take note of some of the comments afterward if you have the time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Predict

By the end of 2009 every tax bracket will be facing a hike. Go ahead, bet against me. I'll take your money and send it to the government come tax time 2010.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Vote Is In

I voted this morning. It is my right to keep a secret of who I voted for. So, I will.

I have taken the tact of sitting back and watching this election. I still cannot predict the outcome and I am not going to try. It has been fun and somewhat depressing. Rest assured, this is a great country and we will get through no matter who our prez happens to be.

As for me and mine, well, let's just say the man in the White House does not decide whether I enjoy my life or not. So, I'm gonna go out there be happy and try something fun today.

Halloween Update

We had about 25-30 kids come to our house on the night before Halloween -- I almost wrote Halloween . . .

Best joke:

Cute kid: "Why does Dracula drink blood?"
Me: "I don't know. Why?"
Cute kid: "Because champagne is too expensive."
Me: "Haha."

Worst joke (I heard this one twice):

Cute kid: "What is Dracula's favorite dog?"
Me: "I don't know."
Cute kid: "A bloodhound."
Me: "Oh, bad."

Cutest joker:

A tiny little girl dressed as a fairy: "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
Me: "I don't know. Why?" (Thinking she would have an original answer.)
TLGDAAF: "Because he wanted to get to the other side."
Me: "I thought you were going to say something different. Haha."

In all, I had a blast. When there were groups of kids each one would grasp my sleeve in turn and say in a very serious manner, "Can I tell you a joke?" or "I have a joke to tell you." They were very somber about the solemn duty of joke-telling. I gave them all good candy and lots of it.

I'm such a sucker. Kids are adorable. I did have a few teenagers come by as well. Fortunately, they had really good costumes so I rewarded them with candy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What The Halloween?

I learned recently that Iowan children do not go Trick or Treating on Halloween. No, they go crawling all over lawns begging for candy and telling dumb jokes the night before Halloween. Here we have an absolutely perfect week weatherwise and Halloween is on a Friday evening. Not even a school night. What more could you ask for?

I don't know. I'd like to ask the little beggars to stay away from my house while I'm trying to watch my Smallville. This season is a gem so far. A gem. But no, I'll have my tv on and I'll be handing out candy to small children with sticky fingers. Plus this is the flu season. Maybe I should dress up as a mad scientist and wear rubber gloves.

The other odd Iowan tradition is that children tell jokes instead of saying, "Trick or treat!" I thought this sounded like tons of fun. Until I found out that Iowans hand out candy the night before Halloween -- a Thursday this year. Now, I'm not cruel enough to shutter my windows and sit in the dark house all evening. Especially since I risk getting my house egged or saran-wrapped before morning . . . I'll give out the candy. No problemo. I think I'll take a page from my buddy Tracy's book, however. In short, I could give bad candy for the stupid jokes and good candy for the funny jokes.

I'll be going to the store tomorrow morning to get the candy. I guess I'll decide what to do for sure at that time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Word: Nanowrimo

Next month is National Novel Writing Month. This will be my fourth year taking part in the illustrious endeavor to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. This year I will be exploring the lives of amoral artificial intelligences as they accidentally destroy the fabric of the space-time continuum. Exciting? You bet. Strange, dark and psychologically disturbing? I guess I'll find out.

In my efforts to find a job I have come to the conclusion that this might be a bit of a lost cause. I mean, after all, the economy is in a slump and only the most experienced are getting hired. It puts a person in a bad mood. Especially since I have a lot of job experience and I can learn just about anything in a couple weeks -- with or without a [blank] for Dummies book.

Fortunately, November has become my favorite month of the year. It's almost here and it's sure to brighten my mood. Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement in something you do well. I write well. I love the exercise of creation. I get to start all over again on an entirely new work of fiction every November. I get to immortalize people in my life who have passed on or moved away. I get to control my own little universe. I get to write. Few things in life compare well to the writing high I get in November. It's difficult even to sleep because I am so happy I don't need as much sleep. I am always at my best in the most blah month of the year (things are just starting to get cold and nasty, you know).

My favorite part of Nanowrimo is the fact that the solitary act of writing has become a group sport. I write all month surrounded by other writers. It's like going through a battle together. We laugh, we cry, we get frustrated, we dance in triumph. All together. Nothing draws human beings together like the long journey of a shared trial. I am so excited to be doing this again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Check In, Check Out

I forgot to write about the third presidential debate. It was fun and funny. I'm still not voting for either of those guys though. It didn't change my mind one bit -- if you take into consideration that I have yet to make up my mind about the presidential election.

In the spirit of healthy political humor I would like you to check out this youtube re-cut of the first debate. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Funny Thing Is . . .

I remember a year ago people were telling me why I shouldn't care about the economy and why we didn't need a candidate who understood the economy. I was rooting for Ron Paul along with all the other crazies who know something about economics. I listened to so many people dismiss the economy as an unimportant issue. It's only a year later.

Ah, the irony.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blame Feminism

I am grateful to the feminist movement for paving the way for women in the workforce. If I couldn't go out of the home and work I'd be bored, angry and probably alone. I don't think anyone would want to be around me. My mind is just too active to be content at home. Feminism has benefited the treatment of women overall. Yet there is one area of the feminist movement that's a big pet peeve of mine.

This may sound shallow but I am an attractive woman. I am pretty, insightful, funny, and intelligent. I like to dress up without overdoing it. Nobody of the male sex ever tells me I look nice or have a cute top on or my necklace is pretty. At least, not unless I fish for the compliment and I don't do that because it's immature. People tend to laugh at my jokes (the less obscure ones). People seem to like me. So, that's all okay. When I am out in public I attract quite a few looks and some catcalls or comments from gross-looking alpha males -- and not gross-looking ones -- who I don't even know. This gets old. Really. Fast. On the one hand I am mildly flattered that they noticed I'm good looking. On the other I would prefer some respect. This may not sound like much of a dilemma, but hear me out.

It seems that in this crazy, mixed-up world it's okay for a man to make a gross sexual comment to an attractive woman. However, it is not okay for him to tell a female friend that she looks nice today or something more benign. This frustrates me to no end. I mean, not that I don't get enough compliments from Craig and not that my self-esteem depends entirely on my looks. But, you know, if I have to hear the offensive comments it would be nice to have them balanced with the thoughts of nice guys. I blame 1990s feminism for this problem. It was then that compliments became sexual harassment. Someone should have climbed up on a soapbox 15 years ago and reminded the world that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The same goes for compliments.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


The second presidential debate was nothing more than a real yawner. I'm amazed I managed to watch the whole thing with only a few short zone-outs. My attention span must be a part of humankind's newest and greatest evolutionary advances. Here are my impressions:

1) Yawn. McCain seemed tired at first.
2) Yawn. Obama repeated himself constantly.
3) Yawn. McCain picked up some energy after the first half hour.
4) Would McCain stop accusing Obama and start explaining his own presidential vision.
5) Yawn. Would Obama stop talking? Please?
6) Yawn. Okay, McCain, finally, some detail. And a joke. Good. Make Tom Brokaw the butt of your first debate joke. I like it.
7) Yawn. Lots of softball questions. Obama likes to obfuscate, but I'm probably the only one who noticed that.
8) Yawn. Um, I think McCain won on foreign policy again. No knock-outs though. Double yawn.
9) "What don't you know and how will you learn it?" Yawn. Come on Tom, you can do better than that. How could you let a question like that into a serious matter like a presidential debate?
10) I watch presidential debates for entertainment. I actually felt like I wasted my time for the three laughs I got out of watching this one. Yawner.

Friday, October 03, 2008

My B-Day

My birthday is today. Go me. I am turning 27. For the first time I am realizing that I am in my late twenties. So weird. Still, I want to experience every age and guess what? I get to experience every age. Time doesn't stop for any of us. Here's to a good birthday for me.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Me, At A Party, Sort Of

So, I've told you how I drive my car in the snow. I am darn good at that. I know all the tricks of the trade. For example, shift into neutral if you're trying to stop and you start to slide ominously close to the rear end of the car in front of you. The wheels will stop turning and believe it or not you will stop. Note: this trick does not always work with 100% success; once I had to shift into neutral and steer into a snowbank on the curb to avoid rearending someone. Not to digress. Okay, wait for it . . . I have never told you about how I am at a party.

I don't really go to parties. That's probably the main reason I don't talk about going to parties. Did you know that in my entire college career I never attended a party? Did you further know that I have never been intoxicated from alcohol use? Did you further know that one of my friends used to tell me I had obviously escaped from a nursing home and had some really good plastic surgery done to make myself look younger? Okay, so, one of those lines is only half true, but I'm not going to tell you which one. Suffice it to say if you ever find me at a party I will have to put the blame on quantum tunneling. I would never knowingly go into a situation like that.

So, I was going to say, since I am a social oddity I don't do too well at large events with lots of people. Recently, I attended a church picnic with my husband. It was fun until I decided to tell a joke. Our new vicar from church was leading a short devotional to close the evening's festivities. He asked a simple question: "What is the meaning of life?" I responded by shouting -- twice, because nobody got it the first time -- "42!" Of course, nobody got it the second time either. Then one person started laughing and confirmed that no, Esther is not crazy, she's just the queen of obscure references.

Boy, I felt stupid. Yeah, I'm here all week. I don't even need alcohol to make jokes like that.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Obligatory Presidential Debate Post

Okay, okay. Nobody has said anything about this, but I know you're all dying to hear me discuss the first presidential debate which took place this past Friday. Here are my thoughts:

1) Obama got his ideas about the economy and the financial crisis across better than McCain.
2) McCain actually answered the question about what he would cut in light of the -- now failed -- $700 billion bailout.
3) Obama needs to memorize the name on his bracelet or not wear the thing.
4) McCain pretty much blasted Obama over the idea of talking with rogue nations "without preconditions."
5) But Obama did hold his own. No great gaffs.
6) Obama really is a Marxist.
7) McCain is not a Republican. Seriously.

Who do I plan to vote for? I don't know. It's a quandary for an old school Republican with libertarian leanings like me.

Now I Get It Part 2

I would like to finish my thought from the previous post. I watched the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu.com. At first I thought it was cheesy because it had the typical good vs. evil fantasy element going on. There was the Chosen One: Buffy. She had her mortal and completely evil enemy: the Master and company. All the vampires wanted nothing more than to destroy humanity so they could have their "old earth" back. Every few episodes we got what I like to call a "monster of the week." In short, some random character who would likely never show up again came into the show to kill off a few people and then get slaughtered by Buffy. It was always the same. You knew who the bad character was within the first ten minutes of the show. Believe me, I am good at sniffing these things out. The excellent horror elements and cinematography kept me watching through most of the first season.

Then I saw the episode entitled "The Puppet Show." I thought it was a monster of the week episode and it was obvious who the bad guy was: the live puppet. Like, duh. Lo and behold, Joss Whedon surprised me. The puppet character was a good guy. I won't give anymore info away, but that episode kept me watching into the second season. At that point the characters began to develop. The Buffy and Angel relationship became extremely interesting. Then Spike (played by James Marsters) showed up. And here, for once, was a vampire who didn't want to destroy humanity. Finally, I saw Joss Whedon's brilliance come to fruition.

You see, despite some of the cliche, Whedon does manage to make likable, intricate characters. Their dilemmas are not just melodrama. It may take a while to see that (e.g. Buffy's feelings about not wanting to be the Chosen One). But the complexity does show up and when it does it is worth the wait. The humor was a bit forced in the first season, but in the second it makes me laugh at almost every joke. The show can be so irreverent. I love it. At first I said I would never buy any Buffy. Now, I might. I would also like to watch Joss Whedon's Angel. And, frankly, I have a better appreciation for Firefly and Serenity. At the same time, those last two pieces of Whedon's creativity needed more time for development. Great concept, not enough time to discover anything more than the intrigue of the ideas.

I like substance in story telling. I would say Joss Whedon has that. It just takes him a little time to get comfortable with his creations. That's why Firefly got cancelled. That and it should have been aired on the sci-fi channel not Fox.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Now I Get It Part 1

I have often wondered why so many people adore everything in television or cinema which Joss Whedon had anything to do with. Many of my friends and acquaintances were big Buffy and Angel fans back in the day. They probably still are. Then there is Firefly and Serenity. People attend conventions dedicated solely to the Firefly universe. Yeah, I enjoyed the series when I watched it. It had excellent characters and concepts. It was intriguing and scary. But, you know, I can only watch the same 14 episodes so many times before I have to put them on hold for a while. The problem with Firefly is that it didn't pick up. It's a cult classic. I repeat, cult classic.

Up until recently Firefly and Serenity were my complete exposure to the mind of Joss Whedon. I saw two episodes of Buffy when I was a sophmore in college. They were from the first season and I didn't care for it that much. Recently a friend of mine mentioned Hulu.com as a good place to watch tv for free. I'm a sucker for cheap tv and movies -- no money spent on cable or direct tv here. I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on the site. It is amazingly well written and surprisingly poignant for a comedy short. Intrigued I decided to check out some Buffy. I pushed through the first few episodes which were mildly entertaining. You know, that show really picked up in the second season. I find myself caught up in it. I might have to rent or buy more seasons (only two are on Hulu).

I always try to avoid going in for fads. Hence, I waited until J.K. Rowling had written the 6th Harry Potter book before I read any of them. Of course, I didn't like them, so I turned out to be correct about that fad -- I think. With Joss Whedon's stuff I might have been wrong to ignore the fad. I enjoy a good story and he is a good storyteller.

Still, the discovery of a good story -- even one that's been around a while -- is never lost on me. I see my opportunity and I am taking it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Face To Face

Today I would like to take some time to mock the internet. Yes, that's me. I utilize the world wide web for information gathering, email, and blogging. I even made a friend online. Now I'm gonna sit here and diss part of my world. I see the irony and I know how easy it is to pick on technology. However, there are certain things for which the internet is a poor substute: i.e. friendship.

I have moved three times in the past 3 years. Albeit the third move was five miles away from the place I lived after the second move. It still requires new habits. For example, I don't get to go to the laundromat anymore with my overloaded bags of dirty clothes. I started chatting with one girl who worked there. I mean, we weren't friends or anything, but she was pleasant and interesting. I enjoyed getting to say a few words. I enjoyed going to get my coffee while she kept half an eye on my stuff. Now I do laundry at home alone. It's convenient. Plus my washer and dryer work much better than their coin-operated counterparts. Yet it feels like I am missing something. I am missing face to face contact. The grocery store is the same story. I decided to do my shopping at the store where I used to go. It's only five miles. Sometimes the managers will open up another check-out lane just for me. The guy at the meat counter always knows what I am going to get before I ask. No, I don't have deep conversations. Yes, I do get treated like some kind of VIP and I have an excuse for human contact.

I am not a total loser. Sorry to burst your bubble. I do make friends rather easily despite my shyness. I enjoy the company of almost everyone I meet. Even the people I dislike I can learn to accept. My nature is to find the good in people. People are interesting and unique. They are fun to watch and even more fun to interact with -- I sound like an a.i. or something . . .

The online community can be a lot of fun too. I get a kick out of reading humorous blogs. I read a lot of news and editorials. I like to read comment threads in people's blog posts and watch the back and forth. Still, something is missing. I find myself wondering, what do these people look like? What facial expression might this blog author have had when he or she wrote that post? Wouldn't it be more entertaining to have an entire conversation with somebody or several somebodies? I know there is a lot to the virtual world. Blogging alone can include video, audio or written word. Then there are webcams and those are very useful if a loved one is far away.

All these innovations still miss the face to face discussion. The enjoyment of being in the presence of a friend cannot exist in the virtual medium. Internet just can't take the place of real people and real places. Furthermore, I do better with my blogging when I am having real experiences and hanging with my real friends -- no offense to you computer people -- then when I am isolated and get most of my daily interactions reading stuff online. So, I guess this was my long-winded way of telling you all to quit reading my blather and go make a friend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here I Am

I am such a bum. Again. I know. I tried to swear off my bum-hood about a year ago. But it came back. I guess I will have to start working on that again.

I quit my job as many of you know. Now I am in the process of not only getting a new one, but figuring out what it is I really want to do for a career. So far it's looking like I might go back to school. I am not sure. I am tired of analyzing and analyzing.

That's me. I always analyze everything. I take my good old time. I sleep on it. Then I think about it all day. Then I sleep on it again. There are factors I know I need to consider that I have not considered. I have to keep thinking. Eventually the path will become clear.

No, it won't. The truth is, sometimes you have to make a decision based on how well you know yourself and your interests. Nobody can make that decision for me. I need to take a step forward. But that would mean I have to stop analyzing and start doing. That's scary. Freaking scary.

Someone once said (I paraphrase) that if you think something through carefully enough the answer will become clear. Whomever that was I wish he or she had not said that. It is good to think things through. But frankly, thinking just leads to more thinking. Thinking is not what I really need to do in terms of getting a new career. At least, not at the moment.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My First

Craig and I are in our new house. I have already got used to it. I feel like I'm home. Finally. To stay. I don't want to move away from this town. I know we will outgrow this beautiful house someday. It is the perfect first home. Perfect. It has two bedrooms of decent size, one and a half bathrooms, a very large living room, a formal dining room, and the friendliest kitchen you can imagine. Everyone who has come into this place has seen its potential. It's just adorable.

The move was interesting. We didn't get a moving truck because a) we didn't have much furniture to move and b) we had to move in the evenings after Craig got off work. Many of our friends in the area came and helped us move stuff into the house. I didn't realize how many friends I had until we found ourselves in a bit of a pinch here. They just came out of the woodwork to help. We got out of our nasty, centipede apartment with the moronic, upstairs neighbors a little over a week ago. I feel so free.

There were few mishaps despite the abnormal nature of the move itself. One of the mishaps included the loss of about 65% of our fine china. The good news is it's a replaceable pattern and you can find good deals on it online.

I spent our first few days in the house catching up on my sleep. That is, after several of my family members stopped by and after we drove to Kansas and back for a wedding. Busy, busy, busy. I am finally breathing a sigh of relief and getting back to the job hunt. Oh, didn't you know? I quit my job. It was a good idea. I am going to find a job that will lead me on my chosen career path. Not quite sure what that is yet, but I have some ideas.

Today we made our first furniture purchase for the house. A desk chair. This is not just any desk chair. It's all leather and it has a high back and it swivels and it can be raised and lowered. It's cool. I got it for super cheap at a consignment shop. A consignment shop that is pretty, darn close to my new house. I love this town. Oh yeah.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I am moving to my new house. I have the keys. Yes, that is way cool.

However, I am also rather quiet on the blog front as consequence of the move. I will write when I can. And if I live through this. I am so tired.

Back to work now.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

One Small Step

I have decided to embrace the fact that I am an intellectual and not an academic (I'll define the differences between those words in a later post). No more time spent wondering why my grades didn't add up to my intelligence. It is time to stop wishing I was like everyone else (everyone "normal"). The time has come to face one of the ways in which I define myself.

If you have kept up with me at all then you have probably noticed the number of posts lately that suggest I am searching for something. Seeking is my theme of late. I have spent the last several months on a journey to understand my direction in life. It would have been nice to have discerned my place in the world a long time ago. However, I was not raised in a way that helped me come to terms with my talents and potential. For example, I mentioned I am an intellectual. There are many circles where it is not a good thing to be an intellectual. One of them often happens to be Protestant Christianity in the Midwestern United States. The herd mentality infiltrates all parts of society. In evangelical Christianity it encourages a certain reliance on experience rather than rational thought. Unless you're a Calvinist, that is. Then it encourages an arrogance about why no one else can understand how deep you are.

I was raised in a Reformed (i.e. Calvinist) church for a time then moved on to a less intellectual place. I was taught to disagree with Calvinists. Believe me, I have argued with the best of them from a very tender age. Anymore I just won't talk about the Calvinist idea of "predestination." Yet it shaped so much of my understanding of faith. You see I was taught to consider the intellectual Christians to be wrong and theology to be unnecessary. I learned to feel disgust toward those who consider or question the Bible's teachings in a non-dogmatic manner. You're just not supposed to do that as an evangelical -- it is shameful. Instead you just go out there, tell your story, knock on your doors, leave your tracts in restrooms, and get offended. When someone asks you to defend your faith you say, "But I found God in this way . . ."

Well, that's not good enough for some of us. Especially those of us who notice other possible reasons for quote unquote religious experiences. What if all that laughing and falling down were a psychologically induced response and not caused by the Holy Spirit? I know. I blaspheme. People always tell me not to "limit" God when I say things like this. I ask you, why doesn't it limit God to assume that you will always have an emotional high when you worship him? What about the days when he just feels far away? Am I supposed to interpret God based solely on my feelings about him? Some days I almost hate God. Some days I want to ask him a thousand angry questions. I am not Job. I cannot accept all of my sufferings without wondering how God could love me and let me go through some of the things I have been through.

Am I weak in my faith because I doubt God at times? Well, yeah. I'm only human after all. I recognize that I am finite. I have a strong intellect, but not infallible wisdom. Some things I do have to take on faith either because they are too big for the human mind or because I do not have enough knowledge to understand them. That is no easy task for a person who likes to be right.

It is okay. I accept that I am an intellectual about my faith, my life, my God. About the people around me and the ideas they espouse. It's not an evil thing to doubt and question. God gave me a brain, after all. Why should I be ashamed to use it? Perhaps he gave me a brain so I could weigh the evidence for and against his existence. So I could consider the logic of his judgments and actions. If so then he also gave me faith and hope. He gave me the need to rely on something bigger than myself. Myself can be a bit of a mess sometimes, after all.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Writing Around

I guest blogged here and here today. They're on the same blog, of course. I wrote my thoughts on who will win the presidential election in my current state (Iowa) and the state where I grew up (Michigan). Go read if you like

No, I am not endorsing a candidate with my comments. Just writing as I see it.

Snake Oil

So, apparently snake oil sales are back in vogue under a different name. They're called herbal supplements. Buyer beware.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Craig and I officially became homeowners last week on Friday. Like, whoa. I'm not sure what to say. I really like my new house. I can't move in until mid-August. But it's still my house.

Send on the housewarming gifts!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Will The Real Joker Please Stand Up

I take it back. A while ago I was horrified that Heath Ledger was going to play the Joker in the new Batman flick. You see, I am a purist. I expect an exceptional person to play the Joker. His character is the most complex and well done villain in comics -- my personal opinion. I worry that an unworthy actor would make a mess out of the character. Let me list some actors who I think would do a bad job as the Joker: Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins (even when he was young), Ben Kingsley, and Daniel Day-Lewis. Essentially, I didn't think anyone could play the Joker and do him justice.

Boy, was I wrong. I am always willing to admit when I discover that I am wrong. First, of course, I have to discover that I'm wrong, then I'll admit. Heath Ledger (RIP) made the best Joker ever set to film. I eat my words now. The Joker he played was very much as I would think he would be if he were a real person. He lies constantly, his ideas are bizarre, grotesque, crazy and random. He is the extreme of Batman's madness and the perfect enemy for the Dark Knight. He is a force of nature -- a stroke of genius. As a comics partial geek I was impressed.

It's nice to have a film director take Batman seriously for a change. That's what Christopher Nolan has done in these two movies. I am sad that he will have to recast the Joker for the next movie. He may not find someone who can play the part so well as Ledger did. On the other hand, I hope he does put the Joker in the next movie. The Joker is as necessary to Batman as the cape and the batarangs. The Dark Knight is truly the best in the franchise so far. They didn't eliminate the Joker nor go into a lengthy origin story for him. I think it was a wise move and I've got my eye out for what Nolan will do next. If he destroys the Penguin like that idiot Tim Burton (I consider Batman Returns to be Burton's greatest cinematic error) I'm gonna have a few choice words for him. . .

Anyways. Go see the movie. It's worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Different Perspective

The combination of politics and psychology in this psychiatrist's opinion fascinates me. I have long wondered about the public hatred for GWB. Not that I approve of much of his actions as president. However, I have legitimate complaints. I don't sit around talking about how he looks like a monkey. Nor do I actually hate him. I merely disagree with some of his policies. As a young voter I also have enough memory to know that a lot of Bush's actions gain precedent from the actions of his predecessors (Reagan, Bush the elder, Clinton) believe it or not.

Of course, the articles talks about a lot more than the general animosity against George W. Bush. It's quite interesting even if I don't understand all of it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What Does This Mean?

As I kid I was taught that I have a destiny and I am going to fulfill that someday. It's a rather simplistic notion as I look back upon it. I never questioned the idea. Frankly, I doubt a lot of kids would question such a notion. You lean on adults to tell you how the world is. If they tell you the world is what it is not, well, who are you to know the difference? The more I think about it, however, the more I believe the destiny doctrine -- I coin the phrase -- is both naive and destructive. It places an expectation in a person that one should wait for the appropriate moment to react to a particular event. An event that you will somehow recognize because God is going to shoot down a light from heaven to let you know about it. Or something like that. Not that God cannot come and get you if you walk away from your calling. I am not contradicting that idea. There are far too many biblical examples for me to knock down the fact that God does call people to specific purposes.

However, not everybody gets a burning bush. You might notice that the people who get those moments are the most reactive rather than proactive people in the whole Bible. I mean, look at Moses. He tried to help his brethren, ended up committing murder, tried to cover it up, and ran off into the desert to hide from it. He had no plans to return and rescue his people. How do you get through to someone who reacts to his calling with fear? Burn a bush and yell at him. Sounds good to me.

On the other hand, consider Jesus's parable of the talents. Nowhere does it say the master explained in excruciating detail what each servant should do with his money. It just says he gave them the money and went on a journey. He expected them to use the money to produce more money. Maybe the idea of an explicit destiny is incorrect.
A calling is different from an absolute destiny. A calling allows for free will. Destiny doctrine is fatalistic. It even suggests you cannot accomplish your work until you receive that explicit voice of God. It does not take into account that things change as you live your life. If you go along waiting for that epiphany I doubt it will ever come. You have to make a decision to follow a dream. You have to develop yourself and continue to make positive changes. You cannot hide away expecting your opportunities to walk up to you and ask if you are ready to join the game. Destiny doctrine is a rigid teaching that I have heard at many evangelical churches. I think it's a human response to a human idea. We want to believe that our lives have a purpose. Yes, they do. But it's okay to make that purpose happen.

In the end I am talking about myself here. I have taken a circuitous route to reach the place where I am. The truth is, I will never have a fulfilled life until I make the decision to pursue the interests that I really enjoy. I will never be content until I give up the idea that somewhere out there my fate is waiting to grab me by the throat and pull me into the right path. Frankly, I need to remind myself that proactive is better than reactive. One might say, proactive is the new reactive -- for me, at least.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Citizens Of Blank

One of my college professors used to give short soliloquies on how we should not identify ourselves as citizens of any particular nation. He said we should be "citizens of the world." I remember thinking, "What does that even mean?" every time he said that. My student evaluations reflected my confusion on the subject. As I ruminate, I remember that the idea of being a "citizen of the world" and not of any one particular country has become old hat. At least, since I was a kid. The term itself is so vague that I do not think I can actually define it in a blog post. I can, however, diss it to my heart's content.

I am not here to point out why any particular country is better than any other country. I like my country best because it's where I was born. I am a part of my nation. I am invested in its political process, its laws, and its people. I speak the language primarily spoken here. I discuss and debate values based upon a common upbringing with those around me. In some senses, my childhood was not very common. I do not understand the desire to go out and make another country's culture into my own culture. This has become a popular practice of late. I am not sure why; although, Allen Bloom had a lot to say about that. I am interested in learning about other cultures. Sometimes other cultures annoy me -- I notice only the children of Mexican descent trying to sit on my parked car when I look out the window, for example. Sometimes my own culture annoys me -- hugs are practically illegal here. At the same time, I respect other cultures for what they are and only make value judgments based on obvious moral wrongs (e.g. human sacrifice). I also appreciate many of the distinctly American notions that we bat around on an everyday basis.

One of the things I love about my nation is private property laws. In the U.S. we get a lot of crap thrown at us for being "materialistic." But that is part of what we are. Frankly, we started this country because we got fed up with paying taxes. We like our stuff and we don't like other people trying to take it away from us. That's not really a problem. I mean, buying a house is a right of passage to adulthood. I'm fine with that. I just bought a home and will move into it within the next two months. I'm stoked. I plan to make sure it's secure and well maintained. You know why? Because it's my house. My own property. It's important to me.

That's really the bottom line of why I care about the country where I was born and the place I have made for myself in my own community. It is mine. I have moved from place to place a lot. I have finally found a good place to call my home. I like it because it belongs to me. I want to make my community a better place because it's a part of my life. I appreciate many things about my country including the rule of law and the right to vote.

Today was chosen to be a day of remembrance and celebration. It's not a day to remember all the things I hate about my country or all the horrible things my government has done. It's a day to remember what I value about my country and why I will continue to work for its betterment. It's a day to remember that I am a citizen of the United States of America and that does have meaning. It gives me a sense of identity that being a "world citizen" never could. I know who I am based partly on the fact that I live in this place and I comply with its rules. I try to change the rules I disagree with, yes. And I appreciate the fact that I am free to work against the laws that disrupt my moral code. I appreciate the fact that I can go out and suggest everybody vote for a guy just because I agree with his principles -- and even though I always knew he would never win. I really love my country.

I am not a citizen of meaninglessness. I am a citizen of the US. Now, for some fireworks . . .

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Return To Daily Grind

So, my husband and I took a vacation this week. I was away from internet access for 6 days give or take a few hours. Pretty cool. We had a wonderful time. Now I'm back. So, I'm off to unpack stuff. Have a good evening.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Me

Today is mine and Craig's third anniversary. It's a beautiful day even if it rains. I am going to spend the whole day with my husband. So you won't hear more from me for now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Awkward . . .

So, this morning I was in the shower and I heard some loud thumps. I didn't think anything of the noise because our upstairs neighbors are about the loudest people you can imagine. They walk around like elephants, have screaming, yelling fistfights in the middle of the night and sometimes drop articles of clothing onto our deck. Naturally I assumed the thumps came from above me. After I finished my shower and toweled off I realized that there were some noises coming from inside my apartment. Scary. I knew that maintenance might send in a crew to patch up a plaster hole in our ceiling. I hoped that the intruder would be just one small immigrant being paid to do a job that Americans won't do. Several small immigrants laughing at the unprepared resident and speaking a language I don't know would have been a bit too much. I was wondering if I should peek out of the bathroom or just wait until the person was gone.

Then it occurred to me that if someone was robbing my apartment I would not want them to find me naked in the bathroom on their way through to check the medicine cabinet for controlled substances. I had brought my pajamas with me into the bathroom -- no I don't always do that. So, I got dressed in the pjs quickly and opened the door.

It was just the dumbest evar maintenance guy patching the plaster on our ceiling.
Any of the other maintenance guys would have noticed the sound of the shower running and come back later. I had been all set to say, "What the hell are you doing in my apartment?!" With outrage. But seeing that young idiot all I could muster was a confused, "Hello?"

Yes, he apologized, claimed he thought no one was home, and finished quickly. Then he left. Yeah. Awkward.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pick Your Friends

Life outside of school is very different. There are bills to pay -- including loans that were once deferred. Logistics to determine. Vacations to plan. You have to take care of your property. You always have to provide your own meals. Luckily for me I would rather eat cooked crickets than go back to cafeteria food. You also have to plan stuff to do because you're not always studying. Another major difference between college/highschool and "real life" is the making of friends.

In college we were all alone and knew no one. We were always looking for friends. Plus, we were always around one another. We would go hang out at midnight or start a movie at 2am and it was just fine. School is a whole different world from where I am now. Now I have to make the effort to get to know people. I have to make a conscious effort. When I am around new friends I have to tell myself, "Esther, you need to ask them questions and listen." Not that I am a bad listener. I am just used to friendships that flow along like a river. Outside of school friendships are more like climbing a mountain.

For other people this might not be so difficult. But I didn't learn to make friends until I was in highschool and then it was a crash course. I was homeschooled. Yeah, I got "socialized" some. But the whole bit about exerting myself to befriend other kids never really came up. Studies were always the most important thing. Frankly, studies are somewhat useless if you can't deal with people on a regular basis. Just my opinion. I recently realized that I have never taken matters into my own hands to seek and pursue a friendship since my freshman year of college. And that was the only time I ever did that. I kept all those friends -- which is great. However, I only got to know people other than those few close friends on a superficial level.

Yeah, I had a few people who were proactive in their friendships toward me outside of school when I was younger. Without going into detail let's just say those friendships did not always end well. At this point in time I prefer to be the initiator. Why? Because I know what I am looking for. Because I have good judgment of people. I trust myself more than I trust others. My friends don't have to be just like me. They do have to be people who give back into a friendship in a positive way. At my age, it's really strange to be having to put myself through a whole new education. But that's how it goes. I never learned to make friends in an environment where people other than myself already had all the friends they needed. Now I have a lot to learn. Lucky for me I am a very fast learner.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The World Turns

Craig and I finally have a house. Yes, to friends and family, I will send photos as soon as I get myself motivated. Move in will not be until August, most likely.

I do live in an area of Iowa where we have had flooding nearby. I am safe and okay. I live above the flood levels.

Ron Paul has ended his presidential bid. However, there are more things to come. Updates on that later. I will be changing some of my blog to reflect RP dropping from the race.

J'onn J'onz died in a recent DC Comics story arc. I am pretty darn ticked and very sad. Martian Manhunter was/is my all time favorite superhero. They had better bring him back from the dead soon. That's all I have to say. I am now going to put that into a strongly worded letter and mail it to DC Comics.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Not In Control

If you know me well then you know I hate not being in control of my own situation. Of course, probably very few people know that. I generally hide that fact. It's a fear thing. How many of us run around proclaiming our fears to others? Ha, just me and I know it's probably a bad idea.

So, today I was driving to work. I was watching far ahead of myself and traveling toward a green light. I suddenly realized the car in front of me had stopped. I braked. I stopped in plenty of time with almost a whole car length between me and the stopped vehicle. I am not a tailgater. Woot for defensive driving tactics. Anyway, I thought it was strange that so many cars were lined up behind a green light not moving. I checked my mirror and saw that the car behind me had managed to stop as well. I thanked my lucky stars. Suddenly I heard a crunching sound behind me. My car was still, but the crunching sounded loud. I looked in my mirror again and saw that three cars back some idiot had not been able to stop in time. He rear-ended the next car which rear-ended the car behind me. Which was coming straight at me. I quickly moved forward to give the guy room. Lucky again. I didn't get hit. Traffic started moving. I thought about stopping even though I was one minute late to work. I saw a cop pulling over to the accident. Plus all three cars were pulling onto the side of the road to get out of the way of traffic. I guess nobody could have been too hurt.

It was weird. I've been very shook up all day. It just reminded me of how little control I have over people around me. My reflexes are good. But I always think there will come a time when they won't be good enough. Or maybe, when I'll be the car right in front of the idiot who couldn't stop. I have always been able to avoid car accidents -- lessened the impact of the one I was actually in by acting quickly. What will I do when I can't stop something like that from happening? Knowing me I will replay it in my head until I become OCD about the fact that I couldn't do anything to prevent it. I'm like Superman or something . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All Good Things Must Be Remembered

I dedicate this post to my blogging buddy Little Cicero. In three days his blog will expire (according to his statement, not mine).

LC, as I call him, has been a worthy blog friend for several years now. I still remember his first comment on my blog. I remember laughing at it. After a couple more similar comments I began to think I would never be rid of this annoying, highschool boy. Perhaps because I am too nice a person, perhaps because I attempt to see the good points in everyone -- I don't know -- I linked to LC's blog. I kept up with his writings and commented. I never directly said anything insulting. Over time I began to realize that my first impression of LC's comment missed the story by a lot. Yes, he is young. Yes, he has no problems with self confidence. However, he is also a very thoughtful young man with a pretty good head on his shoulders. LC is always willing to listen to the opinions of others. But he doesn't change his mind with every comment from a passer-by. He holds to his convictions. He argues in favor of them. He modifies them at times. He is a worthy writer. He puts his heart into his writings whether they are correct or not.

I am sorry to see him go. Very sorry. I know, he's still going to be around reading and lurking. But I will miss his writings on his own blog. I will miss his philosophy rants even though I generally disagree with them. I will miss his jokes. I will miss the long comment arguments he managed to spark from time to time. I have known few people as thoughtful and introspective as LC. I appreciate his sensitivity to his readers even when they are morons. I predict one day he will be someone great. Maybe not well known -- in anything other than a George Bailey sort of way -- but he will definitely give back to his community and world.

Here's to you my fine friend. *raises glass* Only you can't have any, you're not old enough to drink.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My 25% Latino Makes All The Difference

I just discovered this blog about Stuff White People Like. I have not been so amused in a long time. It's all so true and so hilarious. I am reminded of many of my white acquaintances at the very white college I attended. I guess I fall into the category of the "wrong kind of white people." Because I only like a few things on the blog and for totally different reasons than those given.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Was Wrong

. . . and I'm not upset about that. David Cook is 2008's American Idol. So totally awesome.

I Predict The Finale

I think that David Archuleta will win American Idol this year. Why? Because he's a baby-faced 17 year old who appeals to all the teenage girls out there. Besides that he's a little emo and has a gorgeous voice. He's just the right kid at the right time. Personally I find his performances somewhat painful to watch. He always looks like he's about to choke or collapse because he is so dang nervous. He does always hit the notes spot on, I'll give him that. After each performance I wait for him to say something about "world peace" or "people who are worse off." He's like a little blue-eyed, bleeding-heart broken record -- plus he cries on stage after every performance. Not that I have anything against people who care about such issues. I care about things like that. I am not dumb enough to think one person singing a song is going to change much, however. And little David is. He just works well in an appearance oriented world on an appearance oriented television show (to which I admit I am addicted).

If things went my way David Cook would win. I doubt that will happen. He's already a rockstar as far as I can tell. He is comfortable with himself and comfortable on stage. He has a versatile voice. He can sing off-key and it sounds beautiful. David Cook has the harder, grittier, bluesier side to rock music down pat. His performances are mesmerizing because he never goofs up. Sometimes he picks a crappy song. Sometimes he seems a little arrogant. But he puts every foot in the right place and every facial expression works. Cook has only cried once and it was after one of his more stunning performances. He is always sincere and he likes to change things up, try new things and take risks. That's how he made it to the top two. He knows himself well and will take the risks necessary to prove that. I don't think he has any vague ideas about what he's doing. He is having fun rocking out and he's got personality to boot. I think that if he loses tonight -- and he will -- he will have a recording contract underway in no time.
I would totally go to his concert. I'll buy his cd. I can't say the same for his opponent (about the concert and cd, not the recording contract).

So, you know what I'll be doing this evening. What are your plans?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Have To Write A Blog Post

I have been working on a thoughtful post for several days. Here's hoping I finish it sometime soon and post it. In the meantime let me fill you in on how my life is going.

I am still waiting for the stupid bank to sell me the house I want. They take forever and a day.

I am reading that book "What Color Is Your Parachute?" and doing all the exercises. I decided it's time I figure out what I want to be now that I'm all grown up. Jumping from job idea to job idea just isn't working for me. I want to figure out what will keep my interest for at least 10 or 15 years. So, I'm doing a lot of thinking and processing. I have been thinking about grad school for a while. But I really want to take a step back and make sure that's where I want to go. The only problem with this process is the time it takes. I have the patience of Job when it comes to everyone else, but not for myself. Far too much of a perfectionist, I guess.

I am reading John Scalzi's "The Android's Dream" and it is funny.

In Smallville news the season finale was this past week. Guess what! Lana's gone! I have never been happier. She exited Clark's life. It was actually kind of sad and anticlimactic the way they broke up. I had always wanted her to get eaten by a White Martian. So much for dreams coming true . . .

Election what? I don't know what you're talking about? I haven't been keeping up because I have no interest in any of the candidates. Also, wtf is John McCain talking about global warming and how he's not going to abandon the cause when the value of our dollar is sinking down the toilet? I mean, people. Perspective. Puhleeze. Global warming is caused by the earth's core heating up and sunspot activity. I don't think taking a few cars off the road are going to change that. Science is such a lost art.

Oh yes, and my car broke down this past week. Fortunately, it was a small problem and it didn't cost much to fix.

Last week my church had a long term ministry planning workshop and it was kind of cool. I made a couple new friends (finally). So, yay for me on that. The news isn't all bad. See.

Back to work now.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It Seemed Relevant

I found this interesting article on women's mental health issues. It seemed relevant and excellent. Society has a way of stigmatizing women that is often ignored. It's nice to hear a positive message once in a while.

I'll leave you on that note with an inspiring quotation:

After awhile you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul, And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't mean security, And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises, And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child, And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans. After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure... that you really are strong, that you really do have worth.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Really Want To Know

This is a question for my male readers. First, I'll explain myself. I was only asked out by one guy (major, effing jerk -- and I said "no") ever. I was 19 at that time. No other guy asked me on a date. Craig and I ended up dating because I asked him out. So, here I am. I am cute, funny, pretty and extremely intellectual. I was homeschooled, but I knew a lot of guys my own age when I was 16-20 (started dating Craig at 20). I was reserved, but not shy (I'm shy now). Am I intimidating or something? If you met a girl who wasn't clingy or desperate or annoying is there another reason you might not ask her out? What is it? This is a hypothetical question so think from the hypothetical standpoint that you are single if you are not when you answer it.

No, I'm not traumatized or anything. I'm a happily married woman. I am intensely curious, however. So answer the question already.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Incidents At Random

Craig and I made some new friends this past week on Sunday. This other couple at church invited several families over for a cookout including us. We had never met them before because our church has two different services. We attend the early service, our new friends attend the late service. So, we went to rsvp for the get together they were hosting. Since we had never met we decided to introduce ourselves. The husband is G., the wife is J. After introducing ourselves G. noticed Craig's rather conspicuous guitar coffin case. "Is that a guitar?" he asked. Craig replied in the affirmative and then I said, "No, it's actually stolen money and drugs." With a straight face. Okay, win one for first impressions. Fortunately, my new audience laughed. Yeah, I won't be saving that line for a job interview.

Sven called this morning. Yes, I was confused too. He told me he was from the Netherlands and he wondered if I could help him. He was trying to reach [insert random gas company whose old phone number now happens to be our home number]. I explained that we were a residence, but I did have the current number to [insert random gas company whose old phone number now happens to be our home number]. So I gave him the number. He told me that [insert random gas company whose old phone number happens to be our home number] should be paying me a fee for fielding calls. I totally agree.

No further news to report. Things are fine here, just fine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On One Condition

The worst thing a person can do to another is offer conditional love. I submit that it is the cause of much sorrow and darkness. Perhaps the greatest cause. I would rather be hated than be the recipient of conditional love. To say that affection will only come if the object of affection does what the giver wants is a sentence of living death. You think I am being too extreme? Well, let's partake of an example then.

My favorite tv show is Smallville (I'm sure you all knew that). The relationship on Smallville that most interests me is the one between Lex Luthor and his father Lionel Luthor. It portrays the results of conditional love. I know, this is fictional, but stories can often illustrate to us what we find confusing in real life. When we first meet Lex he is the subject of his father's will. Lex is strong willed and emotional. He desires to be a good person and the audience cannot help but like him. Lionel is ruthless in his treatment of Lex. He places Lex in charge of a Luthor Corp plant and demands Lex achieve perfection in all his business dealings. Lex tries passive aggressive strategies to bypass his father's inflexible standards. Somehow Lionel is always one step ahead of Lex. It's like a horrible game between father and son. Nothing Lex does is good enough for Lionel. Lionel pits Lex against himself just to teach Lex how to be strong. We get a few flashback moments between Lex and Lionel. What we learn is that Lionel has always told Lex that he is weak and pathetic. That's how he tries to be a good father to Lex. Even when Lex does the right thing Lionel can find some mistake in it. Lionel himself is committing the greatest mistake a father can commit: conditional love. It is a mistake that teaches Lex he must be a perfect son or forever live ashamed and angry. Later in the series Lionel turns his life around and tries to reach out to his son. He is eventually able to offer the unconditional love that Lex never knew. But then it is too late. Lex is a bitter young man who refuses to believe his father could love him. Lex has taken conditional love to the next level. He distrusts everyone around him. He drives away even his closest friends because he constantly manipulates them in order to keep their friendships. And they tire of it. He is a lonely, sad, dark, obsessive, manipulative person.

So I repeat, the worst thing you can do to another human being is offer love based on their performance of your standards or wishes.

At the same time unconditional love can be taken to an extreme or used in an unhealthy manner. It's kind of like the battered wife principle: don't allow the abuser back into your life without proof of full repentance because that's unhealthy. Don't allow someone to take advantage of you just because you love them. Limits must exist in order for unconditional love to work. Those limits, however, should never be more important than the love we have for those around us. First offer the love, then the limits. If you go the other way round the person will probably never realize you care.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do Not Want!!!11!!!

Warning: This post contains a major Smallville spoiler. If you are not watching Season 7 and you intend to get it on dvd you and watch it later than you may not want to continue reading. Remember, you were warned.

**Spoiler Space**

It was one of the best Smallville episodes I have ever seen. It was on par with Justice from Season 6 where several JLA characters team up to take on Lex Luthor. It was on par with the episode in Season 5 where Clark lives a day twice and Jonathan Kent passes away. It was better than the Season 6 finale where we are duped into thinking that Lana Lang has died (that would have been the best episode ever if only it had been true -- take the emo Lana, take it and go). It was even better than the Lexana wedding -- which was mainly good for reasons of writing and execution than storyline. The opener was the most stunning and intriguing opener I have seen on any Smallville yet. Lionel Luther died before the theme song. I cannot believe it. My favorite character is gone. I think he might be my all time favorite tv show character. John Glover's portrayal of him was so poignant, so ruthless, so amazing. Everything Lionel did was in character. Thus, it was in character for him to die the way he died: at the hands of Lex Luthor. Lionel never would have expected Lex to go that far. Not even when he hated Lex in the earlier seasons. I was stunned. I am stunned. I actually cried. Yeah, I'll get over it. But I don't know how I can keep watching without Lionel. They took the best part of the show.

Then again, Clark stepped up to the plate like the hero he is meant to be. That was encouraging. And Lex has become superbly evil. This could make the show worth watching. Having so many main characters has got to be tough on the writers. The elimination of Lionel Luthor may help them focus on Clark becoming a superhero and Lex becoming the biggest baddie ever. Who knows? This could be good. *sniff* But that doesn't mean I have to happy right now. . .

Ah, Logic # 15

I link to this article concerning the autism/vaccine erroneous link because I think the dissemination of accurate information on the internet is important. Also, because it is a very logical article. One of the best I have seen on this subject. I especially enjoyed the bit about getting information on the internet. People, there's a lot of crap out there. Try to use common sense.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


In which Star Trek: The Next Generation episode did Data ask Captain Piccard to deactivate him? No, this is not a trivia question. I can't find the episode and it's making me bonkers that I can't remember which one that was. If you know, please tell me.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"I Have A Bad Feeling About This"

Emotions are an interesting concept. I say this partly because I have sequestered most of my emotions. I tend to be extremely logical. To a fault in fact. Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series and I would get along very well. We both make the same mistake, we fail to evaluate the emotional level of those around us. The question then becomes, how did I get this way? Did I, like Spock, choose to emulate the behavior required of me? Did I ignore my emotions because I was taught that they are unacceptable and perhaps even evil? A Vulcan does not have emotions. A Christian should control her emotions.

It all sounds eerily the same does it not? We are societally afraid of our emotions. Especially in the Christian evangelical setting. The strange thing is, there are many in evangelical churches who rely solely on their emotions to understand God. You know all those slogans about how Jesus is "my best friend" and we have "to be on fire for God." (By the way, if you're on fire you should stop, drop to the floor and roll around to put the fire out, only then should you continue reading this blog post.) I am not writing this to condemn or vilify Christian evangelicals. I think there are many good things that they do. Outreach is definitely one of their strengths and I applaud them for it. On the other hand, I am pointing out a logical anomaly in their doctrine.

Many evangelical churches despise the notions of doctrine and theology. Yet these are important things. Wars have been fought over different interpretations of biblical passages. You cannot convince me that doctrine and theology should be ignored in favor of experiences. I am not saying we should wage war over it now, heck, we have freedom of religion so we can discuss it freely. I encourage a positive response to the questions of what different doctrines mean. I am merely pointing out that doctrine is important (not all important, no, not more important than God). I do not think it is possible for humans to know everything about God. There are things we have to accept. At the same time, the wishy-washy drivel you sometimes learn in church is not helpful.

It is not so much the positive aspect of that drivel that I want to discuss. It is more the negative aspect. The continual need to tell the youth that their feelings are invalid or they should be ashamed of them. The fact is, obsession is a problem. Feelings are not. They are feelings, neither wrong nor right, but simply there. It is healthy to accept them for what they are and discuss them without hurting anyone. It is also helpful for parents to teach children how to express their feelings appropriately as they grow older. What would you rather have: A child who throws her ice cream cone on the ground because she wanted a piece of gum instead of ice cream (I can't justify her decision, no)? Or a child who says, "I really wanted gum not ice cream"? Okay, duh. The second alternative. Well, telling the child that she is spoiled and cannot have everything she wants is going to get you the former. Telling the child that you love her, you understand why she wants gum, but today we are having ice cream might still get you a tantrum. But it won't get you a child who goes through the rest of her life believing her needs are invalid and she should be ashamed of them.

There is nothing wrong with feelings. Even feelings that are rebellious toward a parent or authority figure. The fact is, children need to know they are individuals. They will never learn to live with their independence if they are not allowed to disagree. Pulling away from an angry child or withdrawing as if hurt when a child disagrees is damaging. In a rather evangelical sounding statement, I submit that God would not do that to his children. Even if he could not agree with us, he would not walk away to a distance or make us believe that we are always guilty of something (even just having a feeling). Why is it that evangelicals treat the youth this way? Not just in their own homes even, but everywhere? There could be many valid reasons. In fact, I am open to hearing them if you wish to join in the conversation. I am expressing my opinion and my hope that things will change for the better. That is all.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

People Are Gullible

This post is meant to precede a series of my thoughts on religion in the U.S. today. I would draw your attention to this article found on the NeuroLogica Blog. It's an interesting description of how psychics ply their trade (i.e. dupe people so they can make money).

After reading the article linked above I felt creeped out. This is not because I ever believed in psychics. Personally, I think it's all hogwash. This is because I have known preachers of Christianity who have employed the same methods to get money from people and have called it the gift of prophecy. I do believe that God can speak to us today. I am not denying his power. But I also think that most people who claim to be prophetic and then utter vague incantations that could be applicable to anyone are frauds. Most of what they say is geared to get a bigger offering. Or they might actually believe they are prophetic. That is possible. Let me try an example to help you understand. If you tell a Christian that she "reads the Word a lot" and "should remain strong in the Word to accomplish her destiny" then you are certainly not saying anything new or unheard of. Chances are if the person identifies herself as a Christian then she does read her Bible a lot. The whole thing about "destiny" is vague and inscrutable. It does not mean anything. For the record someone who claimed to be a prophet actually gave me the above "prophecy." Personally, it did more harm then good. I went around wondering what the heck that meant and where that left me for a couple years after that. I could have actually been doing something useful. But no, some weirdo said something that didn't make sense and my upbringing had taught me not to ignore such people.

Now, however, I am a different person. Aside from the fact that in Revelations it suggests that prophecy has ended, it's illogical to pay attention to every bit of reasoning that comes from the mouth of someone who claims to have a prophetic gift. Many Christians act like someone is an "unbeliever" if she questions the words spoken by a "prophet." I would say no. Paul did tell us to test the spirits. I consider it a matter of common sense. Why believe everything someone says? Especially when there is no way to prove them wrong. People who claim to be prophetic are often believed -- for a while at least -- by evangelical protestants. I have seen this time and again. Someone claims to have this "gift," stands up and makes a prophecy. The time for the prophecy runs out and nothing happened. Unless, of course, you search the news and stuff. You can always find something that will coincide with the prophecy and could be what the person meant. Yeah, I call bullsh**. If there are multiple events that could be interpreted as the prophecy, but nothing definitive than it's obviously not sensible to go on listening to every word that person says. Furthermore, I have known several people who actually make stuff up to reinforce others opinion of them. They lie. It's a sad commentary on today's religious culture in the U.S.

My favorite of the methods some so-called prophets use to gain credibility is the argument against those infernal "unbelievers." The person will hold their religious meeting -- seance-- and then they will see someone walk out of the meeting less than halfway through. The person will then come up with multiple stories concerning people who "don't believe" and who have "already gone home to gossip about this meeting." Essentially, the "prophet" wants the followers to realize that they are special for believing in his meeting. Frankly, it's creepy. People who have to put others down in order to reinforce their own reputations are up to no good.

On the other side of things I have known people who are overly critical of other Christians beliefs. Again, sad commentary on today's religious culture. But perhaps not completely. The fact is, we have the freedom to believe what we want to believe in this country. That is a huge plus. So long as we have that freedom I cannot dismiss everyone I disagree with. Religious freedom is one of our most important rights. So go on, believe what you believe. I would never make a law against your gullibility.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Another March Post

I found this interesting medical blog a couple months back. I have been meaning to link to it for some time now. I believe the best article I have read from it is this one. It talks about the problems between doctors and patients arising from differences in perspective. Of course, this is more about American health care than anything else. The blog often critiques various alternative medicine (including homeopathy, life energy stuff, acupuncture, chiropractic etc.) techniques. I think it's a valuable resource because in my younger days I was given to understand that some alternative medicine is legit. After spending some time studying the persuasive mumbo jumbo of "traditional healers" and remembering some of the things I have heard advocates of alternative medicine say I am convinced that most of them are frauds. The rest are well meaning quacks. The bottom line is that they advocate for treatments which are not based on science or any kind of clinical trials. Some of these treatments have been around for a couple hundred years without adjusting to the current body of biological knowledge. Don't be fooled.

The problem still remains, however, of the impersonal and rigid manner in which medical doctors treat patients. I have to say the eye rolling thing some doctors do when a patient refuses a treatment is just plain annoying. I hate it when my doctor corrects me before I have finished my thought. Not that he does that very often, he's a pretty nice guy. But still I am not some idiot patient who isn't going to listen to the doctor because I think he's in some sort of conspiracy to poison me. Something else I dislike about doctors is when they fail to finish their thought. They say something like, "Maybe you've had asthma for years and didn't know it." Then they stop and never explain the statement. So annoying. Then there's the propensity to treat people like they are hypochondriacs if their symptoms do not match with others. Who doesn't hate that? Why can't doctors assume that some of us just don't fit into the definitions of normal? I, for example, rarely have side effects from medications other than dry mouth. It's weird, but it's me. However, I did have a very bad reaction to a certain asthma med known as Singulair. Several times my doctor has asked me what happens when I take Singulair because I listed in my profile that I am allergic to it. After I get done explaining that it causes me to have asthma attacks he gives me this look which says, "I don't quite believe you." I would add that my doctor is probably one of the nicest MDs I have ever met. If even he has some of the annoying tendencies than it is no wonder people are often inclined to seek out methods of treatment based more on the personality administering the treatment than the science -- or lack thereof -- behind it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Does Uranus Have An Aurora?

The title of this post is an actual question from the game Trivial Pursuit (the original game). I am not making this up. You can't make this sh** up. No, you can't.

Speaking of Uranus, I am currently taking a certification class for becoming a med manager. I am learning that if I continue in my job I could end up giving people medications in all kinds of interesting ways -- and places. Time for a new job? Methinks soon it will be.

House hunting is going along. We came close to making an offer, but then the house was purchased out from under us. Kind of sad. But logic had already told me it was the wrong time for us to buy that particular house. Someday it will be the right time and we will find another house just as beautiful and enormous. In the meantime, a smaller, cheaper house with low property taxes and a low energy bill would suit me fine.

All I seem capable of are random updates on my blog. Let me just say that aside from class, more work and house hunting I am working through some overdue troubles of the past. Part of it is related to shyness and finding friends in my area. Nothing to fret over, but I would not mind the prayers of those of you who pray.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long Time, No Write

I went from posts concerning nothing but politics to no posts at all to random updates about what I am doing with my life. I have been very inconsistent with my blog lately. Rest assured, I am here. Things are just happening a lot and I have less inspiration for writing than I used to have.

House hunting is going. Definitely going. It really takes a lot of work to do this.

One of my favorite American Idol contestants got voted off this week. Bummer. Amanda Overmyer, I hope somebody out there signs you for a record deal. I would love to go to your concert someday.

Work is long and a bit dull. It's got to the point where I know what I am doing, there's nothing new to do and now it's boring me. I have to decide how long I am going to put up with this before I find a job that will not bore me after only 6 months. Like my last job, I could have done that one for a few more years without getting bored. It was always changing.

Politics, politics. I am not as up to date as I should be. Frankly, the presidential contest between two real Democrats and one pseudo-Dem got rather dull. I have less motivation to get out there and pay attention. I think I'll go back to reading foreign policy a lot and checking the status of the economy.

On the Smallville front (yes, I reserve the right to rant about my favorite tv show) I am excited. The storyline just got much more interesting. For those of you who read my post about Smallville jumping the shark a while back, well, it didn't really. It just pretended to jump the shark. It's back on track and more complicated and emo than ever. I love it!

Writing is slow going. I keep getting too tired to put in much time on it. And I am not sure where to start with editing so many novels. I keep going from novel to novel trying to decide which one to focus on. Then I think I should just start a new one. Ah, me. It's time to institute some self discipline.

In other news I have been reading a lot about alternative medicine lately and have come to the conclusion that it's mostly quack. I might write a post on that sometime in the near future.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I Have A Problem

I become easily obsessed with American Idol. So, tonight I watched the guys sing and tomorrow the girls will sing. I will not be watching the boring Thursday show in which we find out who got voted off. Why waste an hour of my time when I can check out the website on Friday?

Here are my thoughts on the competition this year:

-There's a really cool rocker chick named Amanda and I hope she stays in at least until the Top 12.
-Mr. Australian guy is just not doing it for me. Why do people like him?
-Ditto on Mrs. Irish girl. She has amazing vocals and always picks the wrong song.
-What's with the cute, teary eyed kid who can't stop talking about people less fortunate than himself and singing sad songs? He's turning into a parody.
-The tall, blonde girl named Brooke is fun to watch. They call Simon "Mr. Happy" every time she sings because of his "washing up liquid commercial" speech in which he described her singing as "happy and yellow."
-I have a tough time deciding between David Cook and David Hernandez, but this week it was definitely David Cook.
-Either Syesha or Asia'h could become my favorite female Idol this season.
-The guy with the dreads has a beautiful voice.
-Ramiele is my favorite girl. Here's hoping she picks a good song this week (not like last week when I couldn't vote for her because of song choice).
-Why does Danny dance? Someone should tell him to stop trying . . .
-Whatever happy pill Paula's taking is starting to frighten me.
-Randy never stops talking about singing and performing technique. Wait, that's how he's always been.
-Simon is still the voice of reason and after Paula's long, flowery speeches I really like to get the opinion of someone who does not have an open mind.

And those are my thoughts on American Idol this year. Enjoy the show.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Where Am I?

I am totally here. I just don't have much to say. I thought I would post an Oscars commentary. But I just didn't feel like it. I'm glad Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor. Why didn't Ellen Page win Best Actress? Stupid Academy. Anyway, I was going to give out my own set of awards, but can't seem to come up with anything funny enough. So whatever.

I was going to post some commentary on the election as it struggles along. I do not have much to say. I am sad that I will not be able to feel proud to vote for anyone this November. That's the way things look at least.

Looks like I might be getting a house soon. So that's exciting. And time consuming. I am going to be working more hours starting next week. Not too much more though. But it will bring in a few more bucks and that's always a good thing.

I will try to come up with an actual intellectual post in the near future. In the meantime, I am alive and around. But my brains are definitely smelly.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


It looks like torture may not be all it's cracked up to be. I'll be the first to admit that I always thought torture worked. I didn't like it and I certainly don't agree with using it, but I assumed it worked. Otherwise, why do it? The answer lies at the end of the article where it states:

'"The larger problem here, I think," one active CIA officer observed in 2005, "is that this kind of stuff just makes people feel better, even if it doesn't work."'

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro Resigns

Fidel Castro resigned today. He's still not dead.

My favorite quote from the article is this:

"Fidel Castro is widely expected to retain a strong voice in the country's strategic decisions for the time being."

No kidding. That's the understatement of the century. Fidel Castro is going to keep as tight a hold of his power as he can until he's gone.