Friday, August 31, 2007
Part of the old school, you like both historical sites and crazy
amusement parks. You like saying the word Commonwealth but couldn't really explain the
concept or how it applies to your life. You like five-sided shapes, five-cent pieces,
and possibly anything else having to do with the number five. Every now and then, you
discard chaff from yourself that you just don't feel you need. And since you've been
wondering... yes, there is a Santa Claus.
Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Or as the update on the website puts it:
With the agreement of the parties, Federal District Court Judge Carlton Tilley of the Middle District of North Carolina today ordered St. Andrews reinstated into full membership into the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) until further order of the court. This action by the parties and Judge Tilley means our college will continue to be accredited as the case continues in Federal Court. Importantly and as specified in the order, St. Andrews students remain eligible to receive state and federal financial aid and full credit for their course of work.
This shall remain in full force and effect until further order of the judge.
OK, back to my very busy day.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Hat tip to Above the law
a. Why he was arrested. (OK, that one is more rhetorical. I guess what I really mean is "What kind of cops have nothing better to do that guard bathrooms?")
b. Why he pled guilty rather than making up some kind of weird but not impossible excuse. ("Those shoes looked like my campaign manager's, so I was messing with his head. I admit it wasn't a very politically correct or mature joke to play, and obviously I'm really sorry, but it was really spur of the moment silliness rather than an actual proposition."* is the first excuse to come to mind after two minutes of thought. I'm sure a political spinmeister could come up with something better.)
*My experience is that homophobic humor is uncommon but not unheard of among congressional staff members working for Conservative congressmen. I can totally see some legislative assistant for some midwestern R doing this to his friend.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Drove back toward home.
Looked for nearest beauty supply store, found it closed.
Stopped at second beauty supply place looking for hair dye, they didn't have it.
Went to shopping mall.
Wandered mall aimlessly for two hours, finding no new clothes I wanted to wear. Bought embarassing number of Dead Sea Salt skin care products from Russian saleslady who would not let me do otherwise. On the upside, my hands feel nice. Downside, Sephora doesn't sell hair dye either.
Went toward home, bought rotisserie chicken for me and soup for the Sick CSO.
Crashed on bed, ate dinner, watched CSI rerun and did a bunch of data entry of wage information for one of my claimants.
Finished dinner, turned off TV, drew up settlement documents for second claimant.
Talked to LinguistFriend for an hour, mostly about law school nervousness.
Dyed hair auburn with hair dye I had around after all.
Made lame attempt to clean up bathroom, which always resembles a murder scene after I dye my hair. Will complete cleaning tonight.
Woke up, watched episode of "Cold Case."
Did two loads of laundry.
Came to work, arriving half an hour early.
Am I justified in feeling just a bit like Jack Bauer?
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
It hasn't helped that today has been steamy hot with the sort of heat that seems to stick to one like wet clothes.
I've hung around with my leader friends for a bit, also spent some time to myself, reading, working on a sexy piece of short fiction, trying to get some of the frustration out. (The youth were doing a ropes course all morning.)
I was buckling down to tolerate a campfire and singalong later on when a storm broke. Now the whole camp is soaked in a hard rain and the heat has faded. Something about the stormy outside has calmed my insides and I'm listening to the youth brainstorming a covenant and I'm feeling relaxed, focused and finally cool.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Jana-who-creates is back, so life is improved on that front. I went out to lunch with them this week and as I sat down in the car, I looked over at TheGnome and said:
"Gee, you've grown! You look old enough to have a wife and kids!"
TheGnome gave me a puzzled, offended expresion, "I'm only SEVEN!" he reminded me sharply.
ZombieKid was similarly adorable, though I'm sure JwC got tired of having the "Just because CC likes the Zombie face does not mean we do it in the restaurant" talk with him.
Anyway, I'm telling you all this because I'm going on a youth retreat where I may not have signal, so I might not be posting for a bit.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
It's a good place that has made a difference in a lot of lives. They don't train people who grow up to be famous or rich, which is likely a big part of the college's financial problems. But I've seen a lot of dumbasses, potheads, rednecks and fuckups go there and turn into salesmen, elementary school teachers, nurses and non-profit workers and for a small southern school that's not a bad record.
So please, keep St. Andrews in your thoughts.
I went to elementary school with Dan Quayle's daughter Corinne. THAT was a family nobody gave a shit about, and the Obama girl video is so mild by comparison.
Seriously, Obama, suck it up, and don't let your six-year-old watch TV unsupervised.
The Jepps drove 325 miles to Great Falls for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity, Key said.
That the family had to drive to (population: 56,690) Great Falls, Montana because all of the hospitals in (population: 1,019,942) Calgary, Alberta were full does not make me excited about Canada's much-praised nationalized healthcare.
To me it begs the question, if we were to get nationalized healthcare, where would the Canadians go when they REALLY needed something...
Monday, August 20, 2007
But I don't even know what to root for in the case of the pedophile blogger. I'm not sure why he is choosing to express his desires they way he is, and while again, the photographing the girls in a public place is legal, I can understand how awful that must be on the parents.
I guess I still view his actions as legal, but I wonder what kind of person you have to be to make that much of a spectacle of your own perverse desires, knowing said spectacle will create pain and fear. I'd like to think that the choice this man made came down to something a little more complicated than:
"It would be fun to put this stuff all over the internet, but it would cause a lot of innocent people a lot of pain and worry that I will hurt their innocent children. Oh well, I'll go for the fun..."
But I'm having trouble seeing how it does.
Your Score: Mostly Hobbes
You are 30% Calvin and 70% Hobbes
You've got elements of both Calvin and Hobbes, but over all, your sensible side wins out over your wild streak, and you tend toward the tiger. As the picture below indicates, the head is the first place that people usually turn to the darkside (i.e. Calvin): symptoms include irresponsible behavior and crazy ideas. You're liable to both. But beneath that you have a heart, a sensitive side, and this more often than not carries the day.
|Link: The Calvin Or Hobbes Test written by gwendolynbooks on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
I have no idea how I have become the one who is usually pretty grounded in many of my friendships. But I have.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Art, and how to create it. Also horseback riding, which I haven't had a chance to do since college.
2) would you rather jump off a building yourself or push someone else off?
Jump. I've tried, actually, but I don't have the guts.
3) when your computer auto-updates and asks you to restart, do you do it right away or do you click 'later' a couple times first?
I click Later, often until it MAKES me reboot.
4) if you could plant one idea in everybody's head, what would it be?
Be decent to each other.
5) if there were a zombie apocalypse tomorrow and you slept through it, where would you go?
If I was the ONLY survivor? I don't know. Probably go wander around a museum for a while, then completely fall apart mentally. If there were others, I'm sure we'd figure something out. I've thought this through pretty thoroughly, actually, and I'm certainly the right kind of tinkering fix-it person that a postapocalyptic society would have desperate need of. This does produce the occasional Walter Mitty-esque flight of fantasy. Well, maybe more than occasional.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
2. I will respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. Include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in your own post.
5. When others respond with a desultory comment, you will ask them five questions.
Here's my response to the questions I was asked by Fishy
1) do you talk to objects that you work with (when other people might hear you)
Yes, most often my printer, who sometimes has to be coaxed to do his job.
2) what do you want to have done before you die?
My friend Katy-the-Wise says that the meaning of life is to figure out what’s important and work to preserve and promote those things. (Paraphrased)
That sounds good to me.
3) what do you do to keep your mind flexible?
Blog memes? Seriously, I read a lot and I find myself trying to figure things out. I have a pretty analytical approach to life anyway, so lack of thinking is rarely my problem. I’m always analyzing situations and trying to figure out why people think and feel the way they do.
4) what do you like about working with the UU youth group?
One time, the kids were upstairs in the service and Jana-who-creates and I were preparing the room for youth group. An awkward teenager I don't know very well came in and was talking to us because he didn't feel like going to church.
I needed a folder from the RE office upstairs.
“Hey,” I said to the youth. “If you go get the YRUU folder from the RE Office, I’ll give you a dollar and Jana will give you advice on being cool.”
“Ok,” he said. When he brought me the folder, I handed him a dollar. I expected Jana to say something like “Watch Buffy, imitate Spike” or something else silly, but she regarded him seriously and said,
“What do you need to know?”
“Well, sometimes I want to talk to someone about something, but it’s not their thing and they are interested in something else. How do I talk to them about stuff I like, and how do I talk to them if they like totally different stuff?”
She started out explaining that sometimes the secret was to connect your interest to something they like, explaining that she reads comic books and can usually find a comic book about anything that might interest anybody else. Build a bridge between your interests and something they care about.
I then explained that people loved to talk about their interests, and if you get someone else talking about something they like, they will like you more and you will probably find that what they are talking about sounds pretty interesting just because the talker is enthusiastic.
I was just screwing around when I said my friend would give the guy advice on being cool, but I think we really helped him, and in a way that I wish somebody had helped me when I was 15 or so.
That's what I like.
5) if you had to grow all your own food, would you be a vegetarian rather than raise and slaughter your own meat?
Hmm… I’m awfully lazy. I might starve. More seriously, I find myself imagining some combination of eggs, fruit trees and fish. I suck at fishing, but I think I could learn.
Monday, August 13, 2007
My father is not a tolerant guy by the UU definition of the word. He told me once that he believes homosexuality to be a genetic disease and that homosexuals were to be pitied because they could never feel for one another what he and my mother felt for each other.
(Seventeen-year-old CC was tempted to respond “What? You don’t think homosexuals can be indifferent?” but refrained.)
Now to UUs, that theory sounds pretty intolerant and awful.
But as anti-gay theories go, the “yes, homosexuals are born that way, but lots of people are born with evil urges they have to control to function as a decent person. God gave them a test and they shouldn't fail it” argument at least makes sense. While there’s a whole lot of opinion mixed in, it fits the facts and is internally consistent. (As well as setting up a parallel to pedophilia that conservative types use to imply connection. My impression at least is that pedophilia is no more a choice than any other sexual attraction, the people we think of as evil are the ones who act on it.)
I don’t at all get the “homosexuality itself is a choice” idea. I’ve known a lot of proud gay people, but I’ve also known some miserable gay people who would do anything to be straight. The idea that, say, teenagers would choose to join the group with the highest adolescent suicide rate in America floors me. It simply doesn’t make sense.
I’ve known gay people who led lonely lives for fear that telling their families the truth would mean they would be shunned by everyone who cares about them. I don’t get why anyone would choose that.
It’s a pretty standard conservative tactic to simply dismiss any scientific evidence that the arguer doesn’t agree with, so I’m sure the studies showing differences in brain chemistry don’t trouble the people who came up with this theory.
Some/Most of the people who make this argument are simply stupid, the sort of people who just don't think things through*. But my understanding is that there are rational people who feel this way.
What would be the motivation for the choice? Does anyone who grew up Conservative Christian know?
*I've asked the smartest social conservatives I know, none of whom read this blog, and gotten answers that were all either variations on the "genetic disease" theory or expressions of indifference to the sexual orientation itself, but desire to keep the laws as they are.
My dreams have recently been pretty standard insecurity stuff. I'm trying to join some sort of law student sorority, for example, and haven't quite passed the hazing.
Last night's dream was really involved. A good friend of mine had become an insurance adjuster for workers' comp claims. I was happy to be working with her, but I was troubled by a death claim where the facts just didn't add up to the accident the company was claiming. It sounded to me like their employee had been murdered.
I told my friend, and she went around asking questions and suddenly she was dead. Her ghost was haunting me, instructing me to find her killer and solve the case. TheCSO vigorously complained that if I were going to hold down a job, go to law school AND solve a murder case, I wouldn't have any time for him. Fausto and Linguist Friend were involved, too, in a way that I don't completely recall.
"I feel like I'm sresponsible for your death," I sniffled at one point.
"Yeah," the ghost said, "You are"
Around then, the dog started making a bunch of noise.
Friday, August 10, 2007
It's actually really nicely done and beautiful, but something about the... well... anyway, it made me laugh. Turn on your speakers.
Tell me if you react the same way.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Needless to say, husband and wife end up in divorce court.
And the husband is suing 1-800-flowers.
When CC's favorite mystery writer Margaret Maron wrote this story, it was a jewelry store thank-you note and the husband ended up dead.
I'd say this guy got off lucky...
who doesn't really see this lawsuit going anywhere, though the publicity might be bad for 1-800-flowers' adultery business, which might well be considerable. Also, she thinks that people who can't come up with something like "Oh, THOSE flowers... Didn't I tell you my secretary's mother died?" on the spot have no business having affairs.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
He wanted $40.
I got him down to $30.
For a purse made of $5 worth of material.
With a label that's worth $350 if it fools people.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
I, for one, thought that was nuts.
I get the occaisional migraine headache and I imagine myself lying happily on the bed in darkness, savoring the sensation of a spike being driven in behind my eye, and I find that a little hard to believe.
Though migraine headaches strike me as the yellow jackets of the ailment world, awful and entirely without benefit, most pain does serve a purpose, essentially as the body's way of saying "hey, cut that out!"
I found myself thinking of my friend and her claim today in the hibachi restaurant. There was a family with two children over at the next grill table. Their hibachi chef began his routine the same way all Hibachi chefs begin, by slathering a thick squirt of oil across the grill and set it afire, sending
flames leaping three feet high across the grill.
The smallest kid, who was about three, let out a squeal that shook the restaurant. The older kid leaned back, but didn't make a sound.
Of course, it's possible the little kid's parents were inveterate campers or had a lot of candles around and the kid had learned to fear big fires. But I was more inclined to believe there was something instinctive there.
Some fears are certainly learned. My guess it there aren't a lot of upper middle class people who fear the police as I do.
But I think some fears are inborn.
Also, one would think that if fears came from cultural conditioning, it would work the other way and positive feelings would come from it too. To some degree, that's true. But every cultural cue exists than clowns are happy and fun, yet I've known several people, notably my sister in law, who found clowns scary as children. (Indeed, BoingBoing did a bit on Sesame Street routines that scared people as kids and got many entries.)
So that's what I'm thinking about...
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
"They always shoot the dog, you know," I thought to myself, thinking of our sweet, submissive Basset Hound and trying not to imagine her blood speckling the blue bathtub she likes to hang out in.
I'd first seen the blue lights as I drove down the hill into the little valley my house sits in.
"I wonder why there's a roadbloack right there," the CSO said, indicating the two police cars blocking the road not twenty feet past our house. We live on a corner, and I turned and drove slowly past our side yard, wishing our housemates hadn't been housesitting. I could have called them and asked them what was going on, if there were police searching the place for one of my brothers. Of course, my brothers know that I would turn either of them in if they ever came to my house to hide from the law. But the police don't know that.
I had intended to turn around in the cul-de-sac half a block down, but there was another cop car in it. There was some sort of police van at the end of the block. And a helicopter was in the sky.
We were both thinking it, but I think it was theCSO who said it,
"I wonder what Jason's done now."
We both, I think, assumed that Oliver's being tucked away in prison meant that any assault on our property by the SWAT team was Jason's doing.
I think I've mentioned this before, but having felons for brothers really sucks. A common post-law school route is to work in either the prosecutor's office or the public defender's office as both give one lots of trial experience quickly. I have trouble imagining myself in either, or maybe I could do both. When a SWAT team has thrown your mom to the ground in handcuffs, yet you know about some of the shit your brothers have gotten away with, it's hard to get up much enthusiasm for fighting for either side.
We drove past another police car and again my whole body clenched. They were the hunters, I was the prey. I was sure of it. It was gratifying that none of them followed me. They usually do. I'm a very careful driver, my friends say I "drive like Grandma." Actually, MY grandma drove like she was on fire, but then she quit driving before Jason and Oliver were much more than frequent visitors to juvie.
When you're a Smith, you drive carefully, because you've been followed by a cop watching for probable cause to stop and question you about your brothers' whereabouts. Which is not to say that when questioned, I don't tell the cops everything I know. I don't want my brothers out on the street any more than anyone else.
It's that police habit of following me that really scares me. And the house searches.
And, of course, the one person in the metro DC area whom I would feel totally comfortable calling at 11:30 at night and asking for a place to stay for a slightly irrational reason was at the beach.
I drove, taking little suburban streets, to my parents' house. No cop cars and my brother's dog was still very much alive. My folks' house smelled like cigarettes and something stale, much as usual. I started to feel better. TheChalicemom asked theCSO to fix her furnace. I drove us back using an even more convoluted route, theCSO saying comforting things the whole way.
He was right, I hadn't done anything wrong. But having the wrong brothers has always equated significant inconvenience and needless pain.
When we got back to the house, the cops were gone. The door hadn't been knocked in and there was no note from the sheriff.
I have no clue what the issue was. Maybe it will be in the paper, maybe I will never know. But Rebecca the Basset Hound is OK. And I'm lying in bed typing this as theCSO gently rubs my back. I'm hoping that the adrenalin will ebb away soon so I can sleep.
I turn to look at theCSO,
"You sure must have loved me to marry into this family."
"Yeah," he says, "You keep that in mind."
Thursday, August 02, 2007
And I totally miss her. (FWIW, I also miss Zombie Kid and TheGnome. I have to put together a big package for TheGnome's 7th birthday, which is two weeks away. SmileyDave remains in town and theCSO and I have invited him over for a beer, but he has been sick.)
Anyway, I hadn't had a chance to call JwC until tonight. And pretty much the moment someone picked up the phone on the other end, I sat in cat pee. Like, one of the cats had peed the lovesac as a protest to some percieved injustice.
But the thing is, I really wanted to talk to my friend, and it was getting late already since she couldn't talk until ZombieKid and TheGnome were asleep. And tomorrow is Friday and TheCSO and I might go do something, and Saturdays are always a bitch to plan...
So I wiped the cat pee off of the lovesac and sat down on the floor, still rather fragrant. And then my friend started talking about minigolfing with the kids and I started talking about how restless I've been feeling and the world pretty much washed away on a tide of talk about our wacky relatives and plans to attend the Ren Faire together en masse and whether her enthusiasm made CC a Ren Faire geek.
And an hour later, we were giggling and talking about secret worries and I was offering her a job that doesn't exist yet in a law firm that hasn't heard of me and we were both getting tired and I realized I still stank.
We rang off and I got the lysol and the febreze, all the while thinking that there were few people in this world whom I would sit around smelling like cat pee to talk to just because I hadn't had the chance to hear that voice in awhile and I missed it.
May all your friendships, be cat pee friendships.
Now I'm off to take a shower...
and usually find The Christian Century in particular to be a useful and well balanced source on events in the progressive Christian world.
I was dismayed to find in the News section of the current (July 24) issue of the other CC a post-Portland article under the title “Racial, multicultural tensions still beset Unitarian Universalists”, from the RNS news service. It is not possible to review it in detail, but I think that it is reasonable to say that the article puts a somewhat negative spin on a number of discussions of racial issues within the UUA, and at recent GAs. Probably the best-balanced statement cited was that of UU minister Manish Mishra, who was paraphrased as saying that “the church and its leadership are sometimes unfairly blamed for issues that affect “all of white liberal America.”“
Racism is, of course, a world-wide problem, not just an American problem, not just a liberal political or religious problem, not just a UU problem. Since I grew up in a liberal white family in an openly racist part of this country, since my father taught in a historically black college, and since my former wife and I raised an adopted black child from the age of two months, I have some awareness of this problem and I have a personal investment in racial issues. Those are the assumptions that my adopted black son invoked when he called on Father’s Day this year and thanked me for saving his life (his words) through my support of him during a hard passage in his life in recent years.
Most persons of color are better qualified by experience to speak on these issues than I am, so I usually leave statements on them to others. However, there is a higher-order issue in terms of the place of issues of race within the UUA that needs to be addressed. Although the UUA can (and I believe that it should) act and exert influence on various levels to ameliorate racial problems, a political /social topic such as race is not and cannot be the primary focus of a religious organization such as the UUA. President Sinkford has made the issue of racism a more active issue at the UUA. Sinkford, probably more than anyone else, can make this a productive discussion, but to do so he must aim at specific concrete goals and situate the discussion of these issues appropriately within the primary religious mission of the UUA