About This Blog
A blog about my life, universe, etc. At any given time you might find something endlessly interesting or just me ruminating on something else, which no one (not even myself) finds interesting. That's the way blogs go, I suppose. Anyway, I was eleventh in line, and you weren't. Hah!

About Me
Columbus, OH
Political Score:
Temp @ JPMorgan Chase
Ohio State University
Political Science, International Studies
High School: Home Educated
Reading, standing in line for things, writing, research

About My Family
My mom is a
lawyer in Pickerington; my stepdad and dad are computer guys, and my stepmom (who works with my dad) is an engineer. My sisters are, in order of age, a photographer, an artist, and a person too young to have her own website. My brothers are, in order of age, living up north, and again, a person too young to have a website. At some point soon I'll be collecting links for my aunts, uncle, and cousins. ^_^

Message Services
(Please see the notes below the Comment Policy before sending me a message)

My CafePress Designs

Even More CafePress Designs

Star Wars: Episode 3 Line (Hollywood)
My Star Wars Line page

NaNoWriMo 2007:
My Novel: Cipere Lumen

Official NaNoWriMo 2006 Winner

NaNoWriMo 2006:
My Novel: The Manatee Conspiracy

Official NaNoWriMo 2006 Winner

NaNoWriMo 2005:
My Novel: Beyond the Cliffs of Kefira

Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Participant

NaNoWriMo 2004:
My Novel: sul Okyar tir taTz'ileea

National Novel Writing Month

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Something Fun  
My new CafePress store was fun to make. Seriously. You think I'm kidding? Go make one yourself. So not joking. Admittedly, so far I've only sold anything to Jackie, who refuses to admit she bought the stuff. I'll get it out of her yet. It's all stuff that promotes my Spoiler Free philosophy, which would be why it all has this logo on it:

No Spoilers Any Time

Some of it just has the "No" circle with the "S" inside of it. BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT. This thing was fun to make. Go make your own. Now!


Monday, September 27, 2004
Hold that tent, please  
Okay. The selection of tents at Wal-Mart isn't really spectacular. I'm going to look around at some sporting-goods discount places, because while I'm willing to spend $20 on a tent, and I'm willing to get a "backpacking" tent, and all that, I'm not willing to pay $20 to get a "junior" tent, $60 to get a GIANT (aka NOT really "backpacking") backpacking tent, and there's kind of nothing in that crucial middle ground at the House of Wal. Hmm. That didn't really work well.

Anyway, I'm home-bound tomorrow until at least 6pm, and my focus from now until I have car access is going to be... STAR WARS. WOOT!!!


I'm Going to Buy A Tent  
And other news:

-- I updated my resume (see the sidebar), with the Disneyland stuff per mom's suggestion, and the new Steak 'n Shake stuff.
-- I'm definitely going to Lizz's "Partay" in Michigan. Leaving Thursday, back on Sunday. That's why I need the tent. I'm trying to plan my wardrobe - it's hard committing to just two t-shirts. Sigh.
-- I REALLY hurt my toe kicking a flashlight. It hurts a lot. I don't recommend kicking flashlights. Fortunately it was already broken (the flashlight). I hope my toe isn't (broken, I mean). Argh. How can you even tell if a toe is broken??
-- I picked up a shift for next Monday (a week from tomorrow). I'll be updating the SarahFinder before I leave, with all the changes...
-- I'm REALLY pumped about Institute starting this week. WOOHOO!!!
-- I'm really annoyed and sad about having to miss church this Sunday. I'm changing my work availability on Sundays to "after 6pm" instead of "after 4pm". I really don't want to work Sundays at all. Sigh.
-- I'm going to start writing emails and letters to radio stations and newspapers in the Ohio area about the Line. Woohoo!

That's about all I've got at the moment. Blogging has provided a useful interlude to let my toe stop hurting so much. Now I'm off to Wal-Mart (car will be gone from 6am-6pm tomorrow).


Sunday, September 26, 2004
Something I hardly ever talk about on the blog, but probably should,  
Is home education. It's probably not obvious to casual readers of this blog (like all the visitors I still get from that one California Insider mention), but I was home schooled from seventh grade through high school graduation. I'd like to consider myself a home education success story. Certainly I did all right on the SAT and ACT (1380, 29). There was a tough transition into college, but that was a lot of "hey there's no one here to make sure I'm actually showing up to class..." and "wow, I'm 16, and there's 50,000 people here and tons of interesting things to do" and all that other growing-up stuff. I was over prepared for my humanities and language classes, in any case, and tested into an accelerated math program (I didn't show up to half the classes -- for what it's worth, if you see anything other than an "A" on my transcripts, it's because I didn't go to at least one and probably more like 15 class sessions; there is no college-level class that I've taken, attended all the classes, and NOT received an "A" -- so I ended out switching to the regular Calculus series after my first "D").

Having said that, let me tell you a little bit about the particular form of home schooling that I personally went through (I should tell you now that what I did doesn't bear a significant resemblence to the programs that Caroline and Laura have done, mostly because I started after 7 years of public school, whereas Caroline started after just a year of public kindergarten and Laura has never attended any other school -- also, I'm the oldest, also known in Family Studies classes as "She Upon Whom We Shall Experiment!")

There are a couple of phases here, and some of them I'm including because they're an important part of the overall not-in-public-school aspect of my education, even though they occurred before I was enrolled at either Stowers or Eagle Rock Elementary.

Phase I: "Teach Your Baby to Be BRILLIANT"
This would be the Glenn Doman/Suzuki phase of my education, which occurred from "way earlier than I can remember" (Mom, did you do the "listening to music during the pregnancy" thing?) through around the time of my parents' divorce (though I still sort of had Suzuki-ish piano lessons from Mom through elementary school on an irregular basis, thanks to custody quirks). Basically I did Suzuki piano, the "Teach Your Baby How To Read" curriculum, the "Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge" curriculum (BITS!!!), and the "Teach Your Baby Math" curriculum. We went to Philadelphia when I was a toddler and I had off-the-chart type reading skills (I believe that I was able to read before I could walk, though that's another "hey, Mom, am I right?" issue). I also had a big fat ZERO in physical skills because they couldn't get me to even WALK the running course. I was stubborn. Heh. Anyway, I attribute my good verbal memory (you know: read it once, remember it FOREVER) and bizarre estimations-at-a-glance skills (at Disney I would look at a disorganized assortment or pile of irregular plastic toys, make a random guess as to how many I'd need to fit our very arbitrary quotas, and then turn out to be exactly right, or at least within one or two units of being right) to the Doman books. I also wonder if I'd be better at reading music and worse at remembering the lyrics and music to my favorite songs if it hadn't been for Suzuki.

Anyway, that lasted until I was 3 or so.

Phase Two: Welcome to Aldersgate Academy
The second phase started when I was 11, and was basically the result of a confluence of three different trends. The first trend (probably the most relevant for my purposes) was the general lack of quality high-challenge public school options for extremely well-prepared smart kids over 10, particularly (though hardly exclusively) in Auborn Hills, Michigan. I went in in January of 1992 to be tested, to make sure I was ready for their version of seventh grade (I was being transferred to my mother's custody after five years with my dad -- during which time I had attended a Highly Gifted program for kids with very high IQs; there are about 300-400 slots in the Los Angeles Unified School District in this program -- that article, incidentally, mentions Mrs. Muraoka, who was my 2nd-4th grade teacher). As far as I remember, they wanted me to go into the high school, or at least 8th grade, after taking the test, and there were some concerns I'd be bored with the English and humanities classes they had at those grade levels. There was talk of going to 9th grade -- and I was a 5'1" 11 year old who had been with the same tiny group of 30 or so kids for five years.

The second trend was my sister's education. My parents (mom and stepfather) hadn't had kids in public school living in their house since I was in 1st grade seven years earlier, and I guess the kindergarten curriculum didn't impress them. They started talking about other options, including home schooling.

The last trend involves a total fluke in Michigan's teacher hiring rules. My mom had been a public school teacher in math (grades 5-10, I think), English (7-12, including students 5+ years behind grade level), and various humanities and social sciences, like Psychology (her college minor). But her degree is in Music Performance. So that's what Michigan schools could hire her for -- and they weren't exactly hiring music teachers in 1992 (I don't think anyone's been hiring music teachers, since before I started elementary school...) She spent a very long time looking for teaching work, to no avail.

So by March/Mayish, I guess, things were looking somewhat desperate, and my stepfather made a command decision -- "look, just home school them."

And that's what we did. I got word, and started getting really excited about the idea of a school situation where you could go as fast as you wanted and study what subjects you really wanted to. I told all my friends (and everyone else) that I'd be taking the SATs in a year (I didn't, which really annoyed me for the next four years, until I DID take them) and that I could probably be in college way before any of them (I was, though I'm also STILL trying to actually get my degree [paperwork... which I haven't been DOING, and need to be...], whereas most of them have graduated -- Anna at MIT, Ben at Princeton, the other Ben at UCLA, etc.) I recall some people being rather jealous at the time -- it was like a dream come true. A school where you could read any book you wanted? Sign me up, yesterday!

It wasn't really like that, though. Mom came from the perspective of having taught a lot of students in a traditional school, and there were certain, ah, "trappings" that appealed to her. So we rented a school room (actually a two-room storefront in a five-unit shopping center thing -- the front was Mom's teacher desk and Gene's consulting business desk, and the back room was our school; the dirt parking lot in the back was our playground during "recess"), walked to school each day (it was about five minutes from the house) in our blue-courdoroy-skirt-or-jumper-and-white-blouse outfits (my sister Caroline is permanently biased against courdoroy, and jumpers), said the Pledge of Alleigance, and then sat down to schoolwork. I used mostly books from the local junior college bookstore, our family library (10,000+ volumes, including the Great Books, Jr. Great Books, National Geographics from every year after 1967 and most years after 1945, and the Encycopaedia Brittanica), and my mom's cool educational finds. The one I hated the most, bar none, was the sentence-diagramming book that looked it came from 1970. Also, the history books (which we still have someplace) that smelled gross and were incredibly biased. I had to do things like read 20 big novels a year (writing a report on each) and 20 non-fiction books, too, chosen from a list Mom made (structured so that I'd have to read some Dostoevsky, some C.S. Lewis, some politics, some philosophy, etc.) There was also a lot of the "read the chapter, answer all the questions in the back of the chapter, then take the test based on the chapter" stuff, especially in the sciences and math. I hated Geometry more than anything else, unless you reminded me how much I hated Biology. I'm terrible at visualizing shapes, and I faint at the mention of blood (that's why I picked Marine Biology for my biology requirement for my bachelor's degree -- even though I get severe motion sickness on boats, and I knew I had to do a field trip on a boat...) I also got graded in Music and PE, on the basis of participation. Mom didn't mind giving me "C"s, as in Music in I think my tenth grade year (I was supposed to do 30 minutes of piano practice per day for 180 days -- I ended out with a total of I think 68 or 70 hours, mostly done in the last three weeks of the school year).

But there was some flexibility. I was able to beg off of taking any more Spanish in 9th grade, though Mom made me pick another language. I tried French (we used a cheap "learn French for your vacation" book and CD for the trial phase) but learned how much I hated French (that book smelled really bad, too -- it's a chemical smell I only find in glossy paper textbooks) and switched to Latin, which I didn't apply myself to nearly as well as I wish I had, especially now that I'm really more interested in genuine language fluency. I did the first two years of this system (7th and 8th) in one year, by completing Mom's set of requirements fast enough; I was already young for my grade going in (born in late October) and had always been the youngest or almost-youngest in my class (excluding kids in grades below me -- almost all of elementary school was spent in either a 2nd-4th mix class or 5th-6th mix class). Anyway, I turned 13 two months into my 9th grade year.

I want to say that this vaguely lassaiz-faire yet still fairly strict phase of homeschooling lasted right up until we moved from Connecticut to Ohio (we dropped the uniforms back when we moved from Michigan to Connecticut right before 10th grade). That's when things got serious (at the beginning of eleventh grade).

Phase Three:Hey, You Remember That Whole Future Thing?
Yeah. So we trucked along, and I for one became bizarrely unfocused on the future, i.e. college. I'd always idealized college in my mind. It was this Ultimate Mecca of True Intellectual Bliss. It was ten thousand people who all wanted to do nothing more than read good serious books and then discuss them intelligently, who loved Star Trek and thought 90210/New Kids on the Block was the dumbest thing ever, and wouldn't dream of spending recess playing handball rather than reading. In other words, college was full of people just like I was when I was 9, except that the people there were way smarter, way cooler, and taller. Much, much taller. Their height couldn't be exaggerated; there was no way some idiot sixth grader would intimidate them, because they were all taller (and also smarter and cooler) than the sixth graders. Mind you, I was smarter than the sixth graders who terrified me when I was 9, but I wasn't really sure about that, and they were much taller than I was. I was really focused on height as a kid.

Anyway, in the absence of terrifying 6th graders and interminable "you can't sit at the benches, PLEASE just go and PLAY for crying out loud" lunch hours and mandatory fire drills and everything else that made me want to cry when thinking about going to school each day (tests didn't bother me, homework only bugged me when I put off doing it, and once I memorized my multiplication tables, math was only a minor crisis -- I'd have much preferred staying in the classroom and doing schoolwork to facing recess, or the school bus), The Future In the Form of The Heaven That Will Be USC or Some Other Good College wasn't the most pressing escape in my mind. I didn't need one nearly as much anymore, and what I did need I got out of reading and watching Star Trek.

That all changed right around the time we moved from CT. First, we became active in the church again, which meant I started Seminary (the high school scripture study program the church runs). Second, I started looking at colleges I might want to attend -- and realized exactly how much they cost (and how little I had to pay for them!), and what needed to be done to get into them, and what I might like to major in, and all that stuff. I took the SAT and did well; then I found out that my then-dream school, Notre Dame, required home school students to take five SAT-II subject tests before being considered for admission (believe it or not, that's why I never applied to Notre Dame). I took the ACT because Ohio University (in Athens) required it, and did almost as well as I had on the SAT (SAT breakdown: 770 Verbal, 610 Math; ACT breakdown: 32 Reading, 32 Writing, 30 Science, 24 Math) I did a few college visits: to Hillsdale (a top competitor in my mind, as they had politics and morals I agreed with and welcomed home schoolers), to St. John's in Annapolis (which left me feeling very weird -- all the students were very avant-garde, they all smoked, etc. -- even though the curriculum was a dream come true), to Ohio University for interviews with the directors of the History and Physics departments, and to Ohio State for a generic admissions interview at the Honors House. I applied to Ohio State, Ohio University, and Hillsdale, and was accepted to all three (OSU put me in the Honors program; Ohio University did not -- I think in part because I told the Physics director that my Physics textbook was Creationist, from Abeka Books). I should point out that I might have gone to college after 11th grade (i.e. at the age of 15), but at the time I was intending to be a dual major (History and Physics) in the Honors department (that's why I had to get interviewed by BOTH directors at OU), and my mom thought I should take a full year of I think Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry beforehand. It was probably overkill in the end (I think I would have done better to do upper-level math at an actual community college, which is what Caroline and Laura have done/are doing), but I'm glad I wasn't 15 when I moved into the dorms. As it was I was one of the 20 or so youngest people at Ohio State (the average freshman is 19), and one of the very youngest in the dorms. My first roommate was 19 (and taller than me, sigh).

Anyway, the last two years were filled with lots of testing (which I hadn't done since elementary school, really). I took the State of Ohio 9th Grade Proficiency test, because the local superintendent wanted to try and get me a "real" diploma from Bucyrus High School (I passed easily, but because I hadn't ever enrolled at BHS, I wasn't eligible). That day I took the test, interestingly, was the first time I went inside of a public high school (other than visiting my mother's workplace as a first grader). That experience was all I needed to vindicate the home education decision (though I was even happier about it after I got through my first day in Honors English 110C).

They were also filled with lots of "oh, you need to get this done" stuff -- second-year Latin, a year of four different sciences, that sort of thing. The focus was less on interesting books and "think this through and write in your reader's journal using these six questions" and more on the kind of stuff you usually do in high school (as far as I know, it was all junior college level stuff, though -- Wheelock's Latin Grammar and such). Bizarrely, though, I also got to use some more personally-gratifying activities for school (which helped my grades -- PE for 11th and 12th grades was my Irish Dance practice), and I got to volunteer in the community (I did two weeks of Recruiting work with the Navy in Mansfield for Sea Cadets, and worked for 8 hours a week for about a year as a reenactor/docent at the Ohio Historical Society). There was less to do in the way of "normal teenage" stuff, compared with our time in CT, though (in Connecticut I was a part of the Naugatuck Teen Theatre's innaugural production, "Fiddler on the Roof" -- we moved to Ohio in the week that they had the first meeting for "Jesus Christ Superstar"), though I still did Sea Cadets (and actually became Lead Cadet in the Mansfield unit -- if I join the Navy or Coast Guard I'll automatically be an E3 from all the work I did there) one weekend a month. I also volunteered at the Los Angeles Children's Museum during my summer in Los Angeles with my dad, between 11th and 12th grade.

Concluding Stuff: I Got to Design My Own Diploma!
One cool thing almost no public high school student ever gets to do is decide what their diploma is going to look like. But I got to pick everything, right down to font sizes and the placement of the signature lines. We had the graduation party on May 31st, 1997 -- which is why that's the date I use for forms that need it. Ohio State called me one day, while they were trying to put me in as a Political Science major: it turned out that they didn't have an official graduation date for me, because someone had removed the extremely impressive transcripts my mom drew up for my five years of home education, and that's where the date had been taken from. I had to look up my own resume to figure out what the "official" date was; it was an utterly arbitrary date (I'd been done with my work for weeks), picked as much because it was a Saturday as anything else. I got a job at the Wendy's in the Ohio Union (the student union near the High Street border of the OSU campus) and worked there all summer, driving down with my stepfather each morning (he worked in Newark at the time), doing 40 hours a week and getting to know all the professors and advisors (the Ohio Union is the closest source of fast food for all the departments I've majored in -- History, Political Science, and Physics -- the Honors College, the University College freshman orientation offices and admissions office, and most other academic buildings on campus, other than the medical school and Dept. of Athletics). I found out I'm scarily good at "upselling" and really good at counting money and a lot of other things that my home schooling hadn't really covered yet still somehow prepared me for. Hmmmm...

Anyway: Back to Today
That turned out to be a LOT longer than I meant it to be. It also took over an hour to write, which just shows that writing when you bother to fact-check and look up URLs takes a lot longer than writing by the seat of your, uh, pajamas. Yeah.

Anyway, I'm going to try and make a more concerted effort to talk about home schooling stuff some more. In the meantime, go look at Brian's Education Blog. And Homeschool & Other Education Stuff. They're both in the BlogRoll and have been for a while.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Starlight Jar explanation  
So it turns out that I (and you'd think this would be obvious, but it's not) never actually explained my Starlight Jar. Heh. Thank you, Aimee, for pointing that out...

My Starlight Jar is currently a plastic cup from Steak 'n Shake, that is holding all the donation money for the Starlight Children's Foundation, which I am supporting as part of LiningUp.Net (a group that lines up for Star Wars in Hollywood, CA, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, for six weeks prior to each movie). My site that explains the whole thing from my perspective is here.


Liveblogging "Lost"  
I thought I'd try my hand at genuine liveblogging. I've picked the series premiere of "Lost", which has Dominic Monaghan, also known as the second-hottest member of the Fellowship of the Ring, in a costarring role.


This post contains MASSIVE spoilers for the premiere of ABC's Lost. As in, I talk about just about everything that happens in the show, or rather my reactions to it. I don't recommend reading this until you've seen the episode.

-- Weird beginning. I guess they wanted to get a good "this is a bizarre and wrong situation" feeling to start out. I mean, a guy in a suit in the jungle. With a golden retriever.

-- Ah, our hero. "Jack." Goes in, keeps his head, takes one (well, twenty) for the team -- then walks off to the middle of noplace to take care of his own injuries.

-- WOOHOO! Dominic Monaghan!!! He looks drugged out. Suppose that's to be expected.

-- Ewww. "Could you please stitch my wound?" I'd rather be the lady in labor. I think this girl would too.

-- While I'm not watching the wound-stitching, let me just say that I'd hope real people in real life would have the sense to MOVE AWAY FROM THE BURNING PLANE AS BITS OF IT START EXPLODING. I'd hope that would include the drugged out guy, the fat guy, and the lady in labor.

-- Oh, he looks evil. And he's smoking. That can't be a good sign. Mr. two-shirts-on-at-once is either the cause of the crash, or the cause of a lot of problems later on.

-- I guess the lady in labor was just freaking out.


-- DOMINIC SPEAKS!!! And he's building a fire.


-- I am also done with medical school stories. MUTE on. Did the girl die? I don't really want to know. His 'dealing with the fear' speech is supposed to make us think of how well he coped with the airplane thing. It explains why he's the only person who thought to get away from the burning plane...

-- WOOT!!!! Dominic writes on his hands again!!!! I told my mom about that last week.

-- Oooh, domestic crisis. Did they break up on the plane, or is she just obstinate due to stress and stuff?

-- The fat guy offering food to the lady (not) in labor. She's Australian! Heh. And he's off to give food to someone else.

-- Awww, a dad and his kid. And what looks like a couple from China (??) He's being awfully creepy and dominant.

-- Doctor boy treating the seriously wounded. I don't think the guy's going to live, but the effort will help make wound-stitching-girl like him more.

-- Doctor boy is the oldest kid from Party of Five. Matthew Fox. That's the guy from Party of Five, right? I'll check IMDb during the commercial.

-- Doctor boy is ALSO FLYING BOY. He's a Mary Sue. I can feel it. The girl is acting like he's one. Ah, her name's Kate.

-- Loud noises in the jungle? Oh, predators. So not fun. Dominic looks bold and yet, apprehensive.

-- COMMERCIALS!! Time to upload and check IMDb.

-- YUP, he's from Party of Five.


-- Ah, the expected flashback. I was sort of expecting the crash to come first. It wasn't a really *good* trick, but hey, whatever works.

-- That's why he only had one little bottle of alcohol... and why he had that look on his face when he pulled it out of his pocket.

-- So was it a terrorist or crazy person or something?

-- THAT'S what I call turbulence. I hope this part ends quickly; I already have enough issues flying as it is.

-- Ah, thank you. Much better.

-- They're going to go into scary-sound jungle to hunt down the cockpit. Kate and Jack I mean.

-- Wow, stealing the clothing from the dead sure didn't take very long. I mean, getting to that point. At this rate they'll run out of food AND be committed cannibalists by the end of the premiere episode.

-- Ahhhhh... crazy man...with the orange trick I've always hated. I guess Kate hates it too.

-- Dominic is borrowing sunblock! Woot.

-- Ah, okay, domestic-stress girl is just in denial.

-- They really should get to dealing with the bodies. Disinterrment is easy. Burying stinky three-day old bodies is not.

-- I think I would shoot myself rather than listen to this band. DriveShaft. Yeah. Shoot myself. Well, deafen myself temporarily anyway.

-- THEY ARE IN JURASSIC PARK. I am anticipating raptor attacks at any moment.

-- Crazy guy is still crazy. Woot. Dominant Asian (Chinese??) Jerk is possibly crazier; at least crazy guy is enjoying himself.

-- Where is the T-Rex already?

-- Aha, the rest of the plane. I was more expecting something the size of, say, a lunar module. I think Dominic/Charlie is reconsidering his desire to come along on the expedition...

-- Oh, how lovely... using the bodies of the deceased as a form of leverage.

-- Locked cockpit... dead bodies emerging. Yeah, I definitely wouldn't have volunteered for this mission. Unless of course it turns out that the Dominant Asian (Chinese?) Jerk, Fat Guy, Not-in-Labor-Lady, et al are all going to get eaten by some huge evil predator.

-- Heh, the pilot is alive-ish. Stupid TVGuide ruined THAT surprise. I know better than to read spoiler-infested rags.

-- Wow, the pilot is actually REALLY alive. And he knew where the transciever was, which would be more helpful if it were actually functioning.

-- He's not so alive anymore. Stoooopid giant noisy predators.

-- Two things I don't believe: 1) these three characters could successfully run away from anything this presumably dangerous and survive to tell the tale; 2) that chick (Kate) would run faster than Dominic OR Matthew Fox. She'd better turn out to be a long-distance mud runner.

-- I can't blog effectively during scary/tense secenes, even when I know they're just using the "Jaws" trick on me (no clear view of the monster). I'm too busy covering my ears (even, bizarrely, when I have the volume on MUTE).

-- I might have to see that firefighter movie. It has Joaquin Phoenix. That's actually commercialblogging, right there, but I had to say it nonetheless.

-- Ooh, Kate's going to go find Our Hero Jack.

-- They are really in Costa Rica. I'm not kidding. That is COMPLETELY Jurassic Park. More the park itself than Site B.

-- Hey, it stopped raining. And there are pilot's wings in the mud. AND a pilot in the trees above. And OHJ emerges unscathed. Pilot appears to be eviscerated. Did OHJ get the better deal? I'm not really sure.

-- Preview for next week -- wow, that hour went fast.

-- Looks like rebel guy is indeed a huge trouble maker.

-- And it looks like they're on some kind of demented prison island. Possibly with dinosaurs and/or creepy genetically enhanced monsters.

-- I'll watch next week. I'm still mostly watching for Dominic, but I'm now approximately 25% interested in the show on its own merits.

I fixed some of the formatting, added some links at the beginning, etc. I'm still on the lookout for typos but I doubt I'll make any significant edits after this point.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Starlight Jar Updated, woot!  
I updated my Starlight Jar again. I'm up to $7. I don't think the minimum donation will be more than $75; if it is $75, then I'm almost 10% of the way towards the minimum. Woohoo!


Sunday, September 19, 2004
Temple Blogging?  
Okay, okay, that sounds... well, kind of wrong, somehow. But I'm sitting here listening to KZion, and (finally) taking some time out to read about/contemplate the Temple, and I thought, 'Hey, why not blog this?' Now, sure, you all could up and give me a bunch of excellent and depressing answers to that question, but I'm going to trust you to not do so. In other words, if your first inclination upon reading this entry is to tell me I'm not really a Christian, that my faith isn't legitimate, that temple worship or Mormonism is the work of Satan, or what have you, please go somewhere else. Thanks.

Now, I want to let you know up front that the three articles I'm going through tonight are all on the Church website, here:


Go there and read them in their entirety; they explain a lot of different stuff about temples.

First out, there's the article by President Hinckley, "Why These Temples?" Some of the stuff that stuck with me, followed by my comments in italics, follows:

-- the answers to these questions are not found in the wisdom of the world.
This one is something I have to remind myself of a lot; I'm very academically minded, and I sometimes place too much emphasis on the powers of reason and logic, to the detriment of my spiritual health (and sometimes even common sense)
-- a place of holiness and peace shut apart from the world.
I'm a huge fan of peace, aren't you? ^_^ Seriously, I think this benefit of the temple on earth needs to be remembered more; the idea that there are places that literally not of this world -- places you can go and be at peace -- is terribly comforting at times, especially if you're like me and really stink at creating truly "out of this world" spaces in your daily life...
-- it is not a matter of secrecy. It is a matter of sanctity.
This is something that I think sets a lot of people off -- the notion that we're keeping things secret. That's probably part of why the rumors of idol worship and blood sacrifice still have traction amongst nonmembers; what you have to remember is that there are things that are too important to be discussed on the internet, or on TV, or even at your favorite restaraunt, and the temple ceremonies are just one of those things
-- the spirit within each of us is eternal.
Hey, this is one no one should ever forget... it's something I'm trying to work harder at remembering when things in my Daily Life threaten to overwhelm me...
-- earth life is part of an eternal journey.
this one, too, of course -- this life is a test, a lesson, a trial; whatever. The point is, it's not all there is; there was stuff before this life, and there will be a LOT more stuff after, and when we act like we don't know this, we can get our priorities really messed up...
-- parents are partners with God in bringing to pass His eternal purposes.
Something that I think I'll paste on all my kids' foreheads, when I get around to having kids -- certainly something you want to remember when Junior shrinks your favorite cashmere sweater and turns all the whites a nice dusty pink...
-- their relationship and that of their children will not end with death but will continue in eternity, provided they live worthy of that blessing.
So you'd better be nice to your parents, because eternity is a REALLY INSANELY LONG TIME...
-- the opportunity to come into the temple and partake of its blessings is open to all who will accept the gospel and be baptized into the Church.
Don't yell at me for the stuff after the word "all", you knew it was coming. Anyway, if you're really determined to find out what's going on inside the temple, please feel free to come unto Christ first.
-- there's no compulsion in the work of the Lord, but there must be opportunity.
In other words, if my deceased family members are really offended that I've had temple work done for them vicariously, they can feel free to tell Jesus that themselves... somehow I doubt that'll be what they decide to do, but the door is only open for them to make that choice because of those vicarious ordinances... heh...
-- Revel. 7:13-15
What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence come they?

These are they which have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple

Just a little telegram from our favorite New Testament Revelator...
-- here we set aside our own selfishness and serve for those who cannot serve themselves.
One of the biggest reasons for temple work is the welfare of the souls of mankind; ensuring that your grandparents and parents and spouse and children and grandchilren are able to partake of the blessings of an eternal family is exactly what temples are all about.

Next, the article from Pres. Boyd K. Packer (currently the acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve), "The Holy Temple":

-- we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience.
See the above thing regarding coming unto Christ, please. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray. Really. Go on, go right now. This post will be here when you get back.
-- they are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared.
Something I've experienced more than a little of -- getting information I wasn't really ready for or willing to accept -- and can testify is a really crummy, confusing, self-defeating kind of experience. I'd rather wait a little longer than is necessary, to learn some major Eternal Truths, and be fully prepared when I do, than rush into deep and murky waters without so much as my bathing suit on... to use a metaphor that's not only somewhat confusing, but not entirely appropriate for the spirit of the conversation... heh.
-- faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord.
I'm working on it, I'm working on it! Seriously; the faith and repentance and worthiness things are sort of a continually-trying-to-improve, doing-this-one-day-at-a-time things. I don't know for sure if I'm worthy at this point, but I'm certain I'm better now than I was two months ago, and I was better then than five years ago, so that's good... you can probably see for yourselves how much I'm lacking in the maturity/dignity department; thankfully I've been baptized and confirmed already, or this would be a really depressing self-analysis.
-- no work we do gives us more power.
I just think this is a really powerful statement. No, the pun wasn't intended, it's just 5am here (as I finish this post).

And lastly, for tonight, is Elder James E. Talmage's "A History of Temples":

-- Beth Elohim
The name in Hebrew that translates most directly with the Latin ancestor of the word "Temple". Means "house of the Lord".
-- the best, if offered willingly and with pure intent, is always excellent in the sight of God.
I think I'm more susceptible than I should be to self-criticism and doubt; this is something I need to keep in mind when I get down, particularly about my own spiritual progress.
-- first temple, in Kirtland, OH, March 1836 (D&C 109)
and the next temple in OH was dedicated in September, 1999. Took a while to get back out here; are we living worthy of this blessing in this temple district? I know I need to be better about that... I remember when the Prophet announced the temple, in 1998; he asked us if we would use it and make sure we really deserved it. I think we should remember what that moment felt like (well, the 7,000 of us who were there) and try to keep that feeling with us when they remind us about temple sessions (that goes for unendowed members too, like me). I remember a youth temple trip in 1996; it was an eight hour drive to Washington, DC. We got to go about once a year. It was an incredible experience; we felt so lucky to be able to go to a temple at all. Now we have one practically in our backyard; we should be going all the time... and we're not.
-- the offering must have been called for, and both gift and giver must be worthy.
I think this is very important... it took some 160 years for enough worthy people to be in Ohio to warrant a temple here again, after the Saints were first driven out. We need to keep being worthy of this blessing... we know the temple itself is worthy, but is our service in the right spirit and all that? How about us? We were worthy then; was that just because we were in tribulations and having to work so hard to do the temple worship we could get done, because the temple was so far away? Are we letting the proximity to our temple here in Columbus make us weak? I hope not, but if we are, we know how to fix it...

Okay, I could write more, but I also need to sleep before Conference, and I can't really do both. Hopefully all that stuff will be of benefit to someone other than me -- but if it isn't, that's okay, because blogging it really helped me sort out some of my thoughts on this topic. Good night, all...


Saturday, September 18, 2004
Public Service Announcement  
Hey, folks, please consider make sure that while you are raising children, before they get to be of an age where they're off eating at restaraunts by themselves, you teach them to give their servers a tip. In most states, servers recieve less than minimum wage (in Ohio, it's $2.13/hour). We live off of our tips. When seven or eight groups of five or more young teenagers eat at a restaraunt and take up a total of three hours of five servers' time and energy, and then leave a grand total of $1.85 in tips, that translates into slightly older teenagers and young adults not having enough gas to get home. Please make a note of this.

Yours sincerely...


Friday, September 17, 2004
My political compass score  
It totally occurred to me that I've never put my political compass score up. Let me remedy that now.

There you go.


I have the most useless pair of scissors ever  
And the will to use them on... well, nothing at all. They're useless, you see.

As it may be clear from the above sentences, I'm very bored right now. Due to a conspiracy of scheduling interests, my family is off doing interesting things (law school, seeing a movie) while I sit around, wait for my clothes to dry, and contemplate the Truth of My Existence, which is that I have nothing concrete to do until 6:30pm, which is when I leave for work.

I don't really feel like talking about politics right now; I can't update my Starlight Jar logo until after I work and earn that next dollar (it's a point of truth with me; I don't want to have that logo be merely "accurate" -- I said I'd put in a dollar after working and earning $10, and that's what I'm going to do). I don't feel like playing The Sims (though that's probably what I'll do -- my new Sim, Elisabeth, is supposed to be working on her network of contacts, and her vacation isn't working as well towards that end as I'd like it to) or Age of Empires, or whatever. I'm not even in the mood for a solid few hours of scriptural reading, though I REALLY should be, as I want to get caught up before Stake Conference and I'm trying to meditate more on Temple-stuff before Conference starts (we had the 5th anniversary of the dedication of the Columbus Temple, which dedication I missed due to being on my internship in DC, on the 4th -- anyway, the Temple is going to be the focus of the Conference, I believe).

In any case, I just got through another fifteen minutes by writing this post, which I'll count as a victory. Now, the shower calls to me, 90 minutes earlier than it should. Glarphg. At least I can drive myself to work today (thanks for car use, Caroline!)


Tuesday, September 14, 2004
CNN On Blogs...  
I'm sitting here watching the Paula Zahn Now segment on blogs. They started with some of the file bits (the Daily Kos and Glenn Reynolds interviews from the DNC), and now they're talking to Bob Johnson from FreeRepublic, and Reynolds. Both seem to be coming off well -- Johnson in particular fits *perfectly* in the TV environment, which makes sense since he's the FR official spokesman (at least, that's how CNN billed him). But the InstaPundit is doing well, too.

Okay, now they're done (I liked Prof. Reynolds' last words -- "this has been blogged to death, and they should admit their error" pretty much sums it up for me, too). The next bit is going to be about Wonkette (they just showed some more of that DNC footage, with her "rougage" vs. "dessert" quote), so I'll be going back to the History Channel or something. I thought the segment on political blogs was interesting enough, in the sense that it got to the key points, didn't dither about with (much) silliness about how bloggers are immature/chaotic partisan/pajama-wearing amateurs, and hey, I got to see such classic names as USS Clueless (we miss you, Steven!) and IMAO on TV. Woot. I find it interesting (and maybe a little annoying) that the blog story is the way they get into mentioning the CBS document deal. With respect to everyone at PowerLine, LGF, Free Republic, etc., this isn't a blogging issue. This is a truth-in-public-discourse issue, and should be the lead story, with a hearty nod to the blogosphere in the process -- not the other way around. Right now, the blogosphere doesn't need the respect and welcome from the main stream media nearly as much as the issues at the heart of this situation need to be recognized, acknowledged, and dealt with by that media.

In other words, if CNN would devote 20 minutes to a line-by-line analysis of the forgeries in prime time, I'd be happy to forego seeing my favorite blogs on TV for at least a month. Maybe two. Come on, guys. Like they told me at my church youth conference in 1998, the world is watching!


This isn't a debate...  
This is a slaughter (credit:InstaPundit). This so-called "Rathergate" is already decided for everyone who's paying attention, and at this point I'm calling it a complete fiasco and closing the book on the matter. It's a mopping up action now, getting the word out about what happened to those folks who don't use the Internet when they want to get news, consoling those interns who need to find a way of making the last three months not look like a complete joke, etc. CBS has had the equivalent of fifteen eternities to respond to this, even by the low standards of old media news cycle; there is no way they have a cogent argument to make defending these memos -- and even if they could come up with pure gold argument, no one is listening anymore. The First Lady is saying they're forgeries. This is Laura Bush, people. Doesn't anyone remember how much she hates political speeches? I mean, for crying out loud.

I've been waiting with extraordinary patience over the last four days, for a robust rebuttal by CBS, of some very convincing evidence, and time has run out. I doubt many disinterested observers would dispute the notion that more thought has gone into their idiotic low-yield non-responses, than went into the forgeries themselves. I don't think many people would care if a full-scale investigation were launched at CBS now, except for the brute satisfaction of seeing people get fired for this utter screw-up. Oh, and the amusement of seeing the rest of the old media having to cover this without using weasel words or tactics.

What's really inconceivable to me is that this was so easy to disprove. Is CBS used to passing things off that are this patently absurd? What about the rest of the old media? I mean, these broadcast organizations have been around for 75 years or more, and have only be subjected to serious (albeit somewhat inconsistent) fact-checking by a truly decentralized network of independent journalists and commentators (i.e. bloggers) for a little less than 4 years, by my calendar (even less if you're looking for the kind of 'critical mass' of bloggers reached after Sept. 11th). For the most part, the blogosphere ignores the traditional 6:30pm news broadcasts, as near as I can tell, favoring the blogger-friendly 24-hour news channels. I rarely see any commentary, positive or negative, about what is said or done on 20/20, or even Ted Koppel. What could be slipping by while the blogosphere is freaking out about something asisnine? Memes tend to be fleeting; we're all busy people and there's a lot going in the world and none of us (well, almost none of us) are getting paid for this. Is anyone keeping an eye on what has turned out to be the 3-foot-tall brachiasaur (the full sized ones survived almost entirely because they were so huge)? I mean, sure, the pickings are slim in terms of actual meat, but a lot of the less-aware omnivorish types are still getting their entire diet from these species, and behooves the more alert members of the pack to, you know, figure out what the wee beasties are up to.


Pajama Blogging?  
Okay. So a few days ago, Joe Klein decided to disparage the blogosphere by accusing the lot of us of wearing pajamas while we blog (okay, okay, not exactly -- what he said, according to the InstaPundit, was "Bloggers have no checks and balances . . . [it's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.") I've been thinking about this for a few days, debating whether or not to issue an official Pajama Position Statement. I've decided to err on the side of "it's no one's business what I'm wearing -- or not wearing -- while I do anything, including blogging." If you can't see me, and you just can't cope with your inability to ascertain whether or not I'm fully dressed, please take my official invitation to go away. If you think you might be able to cope if only you could have a firm mental picture of what I'm probably wearing (so as to be sure of the high quality of my posts; as everyone knows, clothes make the blogger), here's your image. I want you to keep it clearly in your mind whenever there seems to be the slightest ambiguity as to the state of my outfit. Really.

Next time you see any kind of typo or grammatical error or anything, I want you to blame the sleeves of that dress, because it's a killer typing when your hands are covered in embroidered lace.

Seriously, doesn't anyone want to get past the dumb-yet-sticky lessons of the 1960 election; i.e. the part about how looking and sounding good makes you win debates (and elections themselves) when you don't deserve to? I thought that was one of the great things about the internet; it's easier to judge people by the content of their character and the quality of their ideas (and their thoroughness and exactness and hmmm, truthfulness?) when you aren't distracted by the cost of their clothing, the skill of their makeup artist, or the quality of their HDTV signal. You can't explain the popularity of Matt Drudge or Glenn Reynolds with an appeal to the aestheticly pleasing site designs they use (particularly Drudge, whose site is amongst the ugliest I visit). And I think 95% or more of their audience doesn't know what either man looks like (OR what they're wearing at any given moment). Even folks like Virginia Postrel succeed for reasons vastly more relevant than what their sites look like (and I think we can all think of beautiful sites that no one goes to).

Anyway, even throwing out the (I think very valid) argument that it's no one's business what I'm wearing at any given time, I think it's even more important to recognize that the Internet can take away a silly-yet-persistent factor in how reliable people think a source is. I'm not exactly rooting for everyone on CNN to start wearing Bart Simpson t-shirts and sipping beer during the video clips, but it can't be a bad thing that people aren't rating their information on the quality of the presenter's tailor's workmanship.


Hey, I could do Song Lyric Tuesdays!  
I like Eugene Volokh, and I think the Song Lyric Sunday thing is cute (especially because it inspires me to play these often really random songs on my computer, which is always fun).

I don't actually think this will be an every-Tuesday thing (I am trying to avoid any promises-of-continuity as much as possible, because it's like setting myself up for failure). It just happens to be Tuesday today, at least on the East coast (and in Ohio, which as I will now remind our California friends, is not on the East coast), and so today's song lyrics are for Song Lyric Tuesday. Just wait until Song Lyric Decembers!

As you go through life you'll see,
There is so much that we don't understand.

And the only thing we know,
Is things don't always go the way we planned;

But you'll see every day that we'll never turn away,
When it seems all your dreams come undone:

We will stand by your side, filled with hope and filled with pride.
We are more than we are -- we are one.

Even those who are gone are with us as we go on;
Your journey has only begun.

Tears of pain, tears of joy; one thing nothing can destroy
Is our pride, deep inside -- we are one

We are one, you and I; we are like the earth and sky:
One family under the sun.

All the wisdom to lead, all the courage that you need
You will find when you see -- we are one.

It's from The Lion King II, and sung by Matthew Broderick (yes, that Matthew Broderick). It's on my "Inspirational and Happy Music for Sundays and Such" playlist. It's really a sweet song, and it appeals to my underdeveloped yet still somehow surviving sentimental side. Sometimes I think that the real reason I was able to fit in mentally at Disney (when I didn't strongly identify with the classic characters or storylines, being a mostly-1990's movies/Disney TV toons/"MMC" fan) was because the music really makes an impression on me. Anyway, this song is a great one for doing retrospective pages about happy experiences in your life (as you might guess, the page I'm talking about is not about my time at Disney). Which is a great way of transitioning us to my announcement: my new Star Wars line page.

Which is right here.

That's where you'll find my Starlight Jar updates, links to all the folks at the Line whose website addresses I actually know, and (eventually) links to all my essays about the Star Wars fan experience (including my much-anticipated philisophical discourse on the True Meaning of Being Spoiler Free). Now, I know that at least one person came here from LUN yesterday, and another person likely from the line (or someone who knows me pretty well -- you searched Google for "Lloannna" after all -- but not well enough to have a copy of my blog address) was here too. I bet you were both here looking for this page, which wasn't technically going to go live until after I recieved some feedback. But you know what? Let's live dangerously. The layout and content may change if someone has noticed something I haven't, that needs, well, to be changed. Let me know if you're that person.


Monday, September 13, 2004
Time to Keep On Strengthening The Good...  
This month's charity may interest some of you even more than usual. It's an organization founded by one of the widows of Sept. 11th, and devoted towards helping children with autism, and their families. It reminds me in a lot of ways of the Institutes Mom and I went to in Philadelphia when I was little. They do interviews, training of the parents for long-term care (sound familiar to anyone yet?), and in-person therapy in the short term. The name of the charity is The Brent Woodall Foundation For Exceptional Children. And for this one, you can donate time and effort if you can't donate money.

Anyway, I hope that everyone who stops by here will go stop by THERE, too. What are you still reading me for? Go! Now!


Sunday, September 12, 2004
I like "of the moment" stuff...  
I think it complements my complete inability to be genuinely spontaneous in person. And it's an ironic feature of my site, because most of my "of the moment" things stay the same for days, weeks, months, or, in one case, almost a whole YEAR, before being changed. ^_^ That's why I made it an "of the moment" feature set, rather than "of the hour/day/week/other defined time period" feature set.

Anyway, I'm going to make a scripture of the moment, AND a quote of the moment, addition to the sidebar. Just try to stop me, I dare you. I'm waiting. No? Okay then, here we go.

The current (and for the immediate and undefined future) scripture of the moment is...

Helaman 4:23!!!

And becuase of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy, and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgements of God did stare them in the face.

An awesome quote; it comes just after the "War Chapters" in the Book of Mormon. Basically, the Nephites (our heroes; the descendants of Nephi, Sam, and others faithful to God from the beginning of their time in the Americas) have been caught up in the Rightesousness -> Prosperity -> Pride -> Suffering cycle, and they've been prideful and haughty and mean-spirited and ALL that good stuff. They've also become weak, allowing internal contention to distract them from keeping the borders safe. I love this scripture because of that last line, which really struck me when I read it. I wouldn't want God's judgements to stare me right in the face, if I were them.

Now for my quote of the moment. Unlike the scripture of the moment, which I will keep to just the LDS standard works, this could come from anywhere -- church authorities, other scriptural works (e.g. the apocrypha), books I like, friends, whatever. If I can link to the source, I will, but I suspect there won't be a whole lot of online sources for this thing. I'm too much of a dead tree fanatic to give any online source that much space on my sidebar. ^_^

This moment is going to be devoted to Ezra Taft Benson, who spoke in April, 1986, in a conference talk called "Cleaning the Inner Vessel":

Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.

It's a great quote, and there's a ton of other great stuff on either side of it (in fact, about enough great stuff to fill an entire conference talk -- imagine that!) It was, unsurprisingly perhaps, mentioned in one of the sites I use to prepare for Gospel Doctrine each week, LDSLiving.Com. I chose it over C.S. Lewis, but only just, so I'm going to include the honorable contender's words, too (don't worry, I'll probably quote him before Christmas):

As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.

That's from Mere Christianity, a book that's been on my must-read list for WAY too long. It was also quoted at LDSLiving. Something to think about, eh?


Today is Sept. 12th...  
For various reasons, including the fact that I was in bed being lazy until almost 10am on Sept. 11th, 2001 (reminder to my sisters: when important things happen, WAKE ME UP) -- actually, I was doing that about four feet from where I'm sitting now, where the treadmill is currently (long story) -- Sept. 12th, 2001 sticks more firmly in my mind than the 11th does. My mom and stepfather were on the road to a genealogy conference (in I think Illinois), and had called us the afternoon of the 11th to let us know they were alive and were going to continue driving to the conference (we were really mad at them for that). Anyway, I watched TV in my pajamas until very late at night, and then got up the morning of the 12th around 5am, and decided it would be a good thing for my younger sisters (and me) if I went and bought milk and donuts. As I recall, the girl at Tim Hortons was in total shock -- and the lady I got the milk from (it was I think a UDF, or something, I'm probably wrong) couldn't make change. The streets were utterly deserted, and it just felt like a totally different country from the one I had lived in on the 10th. That feeling of wandering around the area in my mom's Buick, worrying about the airport (it's about 10 miles away, and we can watch planes coming in to land; we know right away when a new flight pattern is established) and just feeling so massively jittery (previously the closest thing to that jittery, that I'd felt, was the mornings before I took the SAT and ACT -- that feeling was NOTHING compared to what I felt on the 12th), is what stuck with me most. And it's never gone away; just ebbed and flowed with changing circumstances (it gets a lot higher when, for example, I go to a Presidential appearance). It's like the day that never quite ended, for me; the feeling didn't go away when the local news stations started talking about the five or ten gas stations that were charging $5 a gallon, the feeling didn't change when I finally got the motivation to go and re-read that part of "Debt of Honor" by Tom Clancy, which was the very first thing I thought of doing on the 11th once the immediate shock had set in and the capacity to analyze things had resumed. I still have to blink when I see the present-day WTC site, because part of my mind insists that it's still burning, because that's what it was doing on the 12th, which is the day that never ended. Randomly: I have no real personal memory of the WTC while it was standing, the one trip we took into the city when I turned 13, we spent the whole day in Central Park and the surrounding area, and I was frankly so preoccupied with things at street level that I hardly looked up; I felt for a while like I wasn't qualified to feel upset over the thing being destroyed, since I had no previous awareness of what it even looked like.

Anyway, for me, Sept. 11th is when I formally "remember" stuff (watching memorials, like the one Glenn Reynolds linked to today, listening to the lists of names, etc.), and the 12th is the day when I really feel the stuff I felt at the time. It's the psychologically harder time for me; I'm always much better during the funeral than before or after, I guess you could say. I have a harder time feeling detached, unemotional, analytical about the whole thing; today (the 12th) I won't be able to bring myself to watch a Sept. 11th video at all (my sisters, for what it's worth, spent yesterday mostly watching Ben Hur -- Caroline was actively avoiding the memorials on TV). Yesterday was the day when I could go to work (my first real day out of training, BTW -- I get to keep my tips now) and be glad that I was helping to make sure the terrorists couldn't destroy our way of life; today I'm glad that the only thing I have to do is go to church, and maybe sing in the stake choir for conference next week.

So, today's a good day to focus on stuff that's better than it was three years ago, for me. Oddly, I've come full circle -- I'm back in my mother's basement; in a month will be the third anniversary of my first day of work at Steak 'n Shake (I was actually officially hired by the same manager twice, three years apart, at a different store this time than the last), and the end of my 30 day probationary period at Steak 'n Shake. There are changes, of course -- now I have even more friends in far away places, who I can't see. ^_^ No, now I'm more mature, more focused, more stable -- which is a good thing, because now I'm almost 24 instead of almost 21. Now I'm trying to hold down a job and go to church and pay attention in Sunday School, and finish what I start, because those things mean something to me, and not because I'll get a good grade or make my parents stop bugging me, or whatever.

Today I'll start paying tithing again, something that I didn't do (for a lot of really dumb reasons) while I was working at Disney. And I'll sing hymns and do all the other things I know I should do (which I knew I should do, last year, but I wasn't doing them anyway).

Today I'll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and wake up at a reasonable hour, and not be tense and scared that more than four hours of sleep is impossible to achieve. Every year that part gets easier, and feels more wrong (last year was worst than 2002 or, I suspect, 2004, because I was in the Disney fog and things were just... wrong).

But I think I'll try to leave figuring out the mess above, not to mention all the other stuff that I haven't figured out the words in order to write down, to some other day. Because today is just... I don't know. Hard.


Saturday, September 11, 2004
Fighting the INDUCE Act,  
Is, I think a Worthy Cause sufficient to get a spot on my sidebar. (see an analysis of the INDUCE Act here) Right now, the link in the sidebar goes to these guys:

image from http://www.savebetamax.org

My favorite part of their site (besides the one where you sign up to call your representatives and Senators -- the call in day is next Tuesday, so sign up ASAP) is the quotes section. They quote Mr. Rogers!

Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been 'You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.' Maybe I'm going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important.

There's a lot of other good reading there, now go to it. ^_^


Friday, September 10, 2004
It's not just CBS that needs a good talking-to...  
No sir, Entertainment Weekly, that paragon of mediocrity in a field hardly known for it's outstanding committment to journalistic integrity and basic human decency, is just asking for a smackdown. Fortunately, about 150 of Wil Wheaton's readers are willing and able to provide it (note: there is some mature language on Wil's site). Now, I'm not one to condone or advocate an un-Christian approach to dealing with slights and insults, but in this case, I think a good old-fashioned complaint letter is in order (I sent this email today, to letters@ew.com):

I just read the blurb you call "Whiner of the Week" in this week's edition. I have to tell you that I stopped buying Entertainment Weekly regularly some time ago, and I'm even more satisfied with that decision today than I was at the time. I suggest that you take the time to actually read the words of authors you criticize and mock, before actually putting your unfounded assumptions into print where thousands of people can see you prove just how unprofessional you are. In particular, I'd like to welcome you to read more than the first thirty pages of Wil Wheaton's most recent book (and any of the pages from his first one, "Dancing Barefoot"), so that you're more adequately prepared to present him with the apology we all know he deserves for your treatment. Your future success depends entirely on your reputation amongst your audience and sources; egregious misrepresentations like this one will only hasten your downfall. And I, for one, won't be sorry to see you gone, as your magazine is currently occupying space that would be more beneficially allotted to, well, anyone else.

Gotta love the sound of columnists and editors squirming in their seats. For heaven's sake, how long will it take people to figure out that annoying the heck out of geeks, nerds, and intellectuals with internet connections is just... bad for one's sanity?


New Link of the Moment!  
And it's sort of related to the last one (which banner will now go into the Worthy Causes section, incidentally):

One Trilogy to Rule Them All

Enjoy. ^_^


I have to have this shirt  
Really, I do.

Seriously. It's like food and water, only more important.


Forgery of Bush Documents? Maybe...  
This story is all over the blogosphere today. It's at LGF, the Command Post, and of course, PowerLine, where it all started (as far as I can tell). Special thanks, as always, to the InstaPundit, who tipped me off (may he stay at the top of my MyYahoo! forever ^_^). Thank goodness for RSS.

LGF superimposed a Word typed version of the document and the PDF from CBS (oh yeah, should link to them too, eh), and they matched almost perfectly (see the LGF link above for the images). InstaPundit has more on the various angles of this story, as always. My take? Cautious pessimism (I for one don't think it's a good day when media giants are revealed to be bad actors in the political arena; I'd be a lot happier if these things were true documents, because I don't think that if they were true, they'd be very relevant to the Bush campaign, which already admits that Bush's behavior in the 1970s wasn't what it could have been).

I posted this comment to LGF, in any case:

I'm curious, has anyone attempted to come up with a good set of arguments that would suggest these aren't forgeries? First rule of debate team, know what the other side's arguments will be. In this case, what will CBS say when they stop with the "we stand by our sources" nonsense? I'm fighting any urges to get excited about this until things play out more; this is serious stuff.

Anyway, some research/factoids/things to consider:

-- National guard units drill on Saturdays. And Sundays. That's kind of the thing with the National Guard (one weekend a month, two weeks a year); don't assume that there wouldn't be a secretary or some drilling reservist who could type stuff (not saying that they did, just saying it's not strictly impossible)
-- the 111th Texas ANG (via http://www.ang.af.mil/units/angsites.asp?state=TX) is currently at 14657 Sneider St, Houston TX 77034; 281-929-2544.
-- FWIW (not that much, probably), after a few years as a Sea Cadet drilling with the Navy Reserve, being the stepkid of an Army (then Navy, then Army) Reservist, assistant genealogical researcher, and past intern doing research on how the US Information Agency was established in the 1970s (I also did some records management stuff in the City of Anaheim with documents from the same era) I take a look and these documents just smell wrong. They don't even look like things I got in Army ROTC, from my commander and instructors, in 1997, for heaven's sake. And has anyone been in the national guard before? You don't exactly get the best available equipment and resources...
-- on dates: in a lot of records settings, including genealogy, the ##MON## (or now, ##MON####) is preferred, because it ensures zero confusion amongst the three variables (day, month, year), and it eliminates the potential of apostrophes and commas turning into "1". Commas are the bane of researchers. Death to commas. :)It's ingrained in me just from doing genealogy to never use commas in dates -- I can't see someone who's made it to LTCOL who would use them, especially in actual military correspondence/memos.

I liked the analysis here. Anyway, the Washington Post will have it on the front page tomorrow, according to InstaPundit, so it appears the developments will be out in the open starting tomorrow.


Thursday, September 09, 2004
A little bit of opinion...  
To get one's blood flowing. I wrote this today to Edward Wasserman, who wrote this article (reg. required), which included lines like this (hat tip: InstaPundit):

It's hard now even to write for publication without being aware of just how thoroughly what you say is going to be inspected for any trace of undesirable political tilt and denounced by a free-floating cadre of rightist warriors.


If we give prominence to this story of carnage in Iraq, will we be accused of anti-administration bias? And - here it gets interesting - will we therefore owe our readers an offsetting story, perhaps an inspirational tale of Marines teaching young Iraqis how to play softball?

and, the money quote:

Resisting undue outside influence is part of what news professionals do. But it's hard enough to get the story right, without holding it hostage to an open-ended negotiation with zealots who believe they already know what the story is.

Anyway, here's my note in reply.

Mr. Wasserman,

Hi. I'm one of those bloggers that sometimes fact-checks things I see in the newspaper or on TV. Actually, I fact check things I see on blogs, too. I've been doing that since I was a child, because I was taught to critically analyze the information presented to me before accepting it. The difference between now and 1985 is that my analysis isn't floating around in my head, on the pages of my journal, or in a conversation with my parents -- now I can put it on my blog (or in the comment section of someone else's blog). In any case, I'm not suspicious or hostile, and I'm not much of a right-winger, and I don't think I already know what the story is. In fact, a good chunk of the people who blog are left-leaning (e.g. Daily Kos, Kevin Drum), and a good chunk more are at best idealogically outside of a strict Democrat-Republican spectrum (e.g. InstaPundit). I think you'll find, if you do some serious reading of blogs, that the writers in question have a firm committment to the truth, and a particular disregard for media professionals who've decided they're the only ones who get to define what the truth is. I'd have to classify any news professional like that as someone who's trying to exert "undue influence" on how I see the world. Personally I'd rather know what's really going on, than not be sure that I know what's going on, but be confident in the knowledge that my sources are professionals who've gained the approval of editors I'll never even meet. And I prefer to read the opinions of someone who's open about his or her viewpoint and biases, who provides quick access to their sources, critics, and supporters, and who's being openly fact-checked by ten thousand people with internet connections, than someone who chooses to stay behind a veil of feigned objectivity, on top of a pillar built of pure imperious self-importance.

In any case, I hope you'll do some serious investigation of what blogs and other online commentaries are really like (i.e., actually read them), before you cast aspersions on us and those who've decided to be responsive to the views and interests of their readers. It'd only be professional.

I'd also add, now that I've had time to think about it, that there's nothing wrong with trying to remember to be balanced, and that it shouldn't take angry or annoyed letters or blog posts to prompt or provoke that effort. Okay, now I have to go to work. But there you are!


Fun with being annoyed!  
That's right folks, I wrote some complaint letters today. Or rather emails (I know they're less effective, but I don't have a printer hooked up to this computer). To: Bravo, Lincoln National, National Collectors' Mint, ThermoSpas, Sony, ICOS (makers of Cialis), Aveeno, Sprint PCS, Insight Communications, and SofaExpress. Why? Because of those horrible commercials for "Miami Slice" that they (Bravo) insist on running during my favorite shows (i.e. "The West Wing"). Everyone else on the list is someone who puts their own commercials on during the same programming hour (at least today). They're gross -- syringes moving underneath people's cheeks, the sound of liposuction machines doing their thing, etc. I change the channel to avoid seeing/hearing them, and I thought that maybe those sponsors would want to know about it. ^_^

Anyway, I feel better now. And I don't feel hypocritical when I complain to other people now, knowing that I've told the people who can actually DO something, how I see things.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004
I'm rejoining the ranks of the gainfully employed...  
In about 45 minutes. Today's supposed to be a short orientation thing; 90 minutes tops. We shall see. ^_^

UPDATE: That was fun, and quick. I got scheduled for training, filled out a bit of paperwork ("You know you're back in Ohio" moment: Steak n Shake doesn't have direct deposit!), did a crossword puzzle ("12. Paychecks are distributed every other _______"), got my apron/tie/nametag, etc. See the SarahFinder for scheduling updates (in other words, I now have a place where I'm expected to be, that isn't my house, again!). That's all for now.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004
This whole "trying desperately to reset one's internal clock" thing is kind of fun. I originally intended to stay up till 11pm, which would have put the total at 27 hours of wakefulness, but that's out of the question at this point. Right now I think I can make it through the next 54 minutes and the rest of this re-run of the West Wing, and then I'm going to let myself SLEEP. I should be awake by 9am tomorrow. ^_^ Eastern time and everything.


Monday, September 06, 2004
Hi, Ed  
Thanks for commenting on my post. Oh, and thanks for posting the video (it's in the comments to this post) of the protestor being escorted out of Nationwide Arena the other day. For what it's worth, I think you can see the (still very cute) Secret Service guy doing exactly what I said he did, i.e. escorting the protestor out. I was sitting about twenty rows down from where that doorway they exited from was (my sisters might be able to help me out -- section 110 or something?), and over in the seats next to the stairs for the next door (in other words, a triangle with a moderately oblique angle would be formed if you drew one, amongst points represented by me, the guy's starting position, and that -- oh heck just look at the graphic below)

Anyway, there wasn't a clear field of vision from me to the door. The part of the video that you're likely most concerned by, and seem to be referring to, takes place when they're at the top of the stairs going up to the door, which meant that I also didn't get the advantage of that cool 15% grade or whatever it is that allowed me to still see the guy when he was 15 feet above my head level AND that far away, anymore. As a result, while the problem you're talking about (which I'll get to in a second) took place right around the green dotted line in my drawing (which stinks, I know), I didn't see anything past the blue line (or thereabouts; the blue line was a little closer to the green line in reality but hey, this is a hand-made done in five minutes). Not counting all the people (some of whom were standing, a lot of whom had signs and such) who were between me and the "action." More to the point, I never saw anything past that moment when the guy started waving his hands. Maybe, 0:33 in the video.

In any case, regardless of what I saw, you can see in the video that Cute Secret Service Guy was politely escorting the whole time. The person who did all the grabbing and pulling was, it looks to me, one of the (dozens/hundreds?) of Columbus police officers assisting with the event. Don't blame the Bush campaign, the Secret Service, or me. In fact, I wouldn't waste our collective time talking to the Bush campaign, the Secret Service, OR me about it -- instead, ask the Columbus Police what was going on. Everything I saw in person made me think higher of the campaign, the Secret Service, etc., and raised my contempt of the protestors (not by much in that case, I already had a lot of contempt for them for being disruptive and rude; the "Heil Bush" thing brought it from a level of 85 out of 100 to maybe 92-93). If you started out with a high level of contempt for the campaign, the Secret Service, etc., and a low level of contempt for the protestors, I don't wonder that this video hasn't changed your mind.

The fact that Bush was speaking reasonably and articulately and the protestor was shrieking what amounts to "hey, you people are all Nazis", not only deserves a nod to Godwin's law, it also makes me even less inclined to let the actions of one Columbus police officer change my opinion significantly.

Incidentally, Ed, is that your real email? If so, how long ago did you get it; I signed up for AOL in 1992 or thereabouts, and they insisted on long usernames even then. In fact, that's why I went and created the username "lloannna." I'd be interested in getting to know anyone with an email like that.

Which reminds me to ask that if you're going to put a nonsense email in your comments, folks, please use one that's so obviously fake, no one would ever think of using it to send a reply (i.e. nobody@icantsay.foo). Just because you and I get it doesn't mean that all the people who get to my blog by hitting "Next Post" will.


A NEW and IMPROVED kind of letting a day amount to nothing whatsoever!  
Yes, that's right, folks, I found a way to ensure that an ENTIRE DAY -- a perfectly excellent holiday in which we are free to do whatever the heck we wanted, a day for which I had actual plans, goes completely to waste. Let's just say that the result has you waking up right at official sunset.

Next time I'm so setting my alarm clock, I don't care if it IS a holiday.


Friday, September 03, 2004
Today, not so fun.  
Well, for every positive experience there must be equally horrific ones, apparently. First up, the Russian school massacre:

I don't have a whole lot to say about this that hasn't been said better by someone else already; I'm listening to the translation of tonights NTV broadcast on C-SPAN. This thing actually came to an end (at least the beginning of the end) right before I went to bed -- I watched for an hour on CNN and then gave up around 6am EST because I knew this wasn't going to end well by that point. They interviewed what I think was a reporter on NTV (I'm not able to see the TV screen from here), who said he had been hoping that the government could have ended things more peacefully. I guess there's still room for optimism for some people; I find myself extremely pessimistic about terrorist incidents these days.

In any case, (via Instapundit) the Command Post has the details for the Russian embassy in Washington DC (for condolences and the like), and offered the graphic below for people to link to the US-based charity organizing relief funds (the charity link came from the Russian Embassy originally).

Russian Embassy:
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007

Actually, that's all I really want to talk about right now. Instapundit has some other stuff regarding media bias and so forth; if you have time check him out (follow the links).


Today has been fun!  
I've accomplished so few things, it's a bit silly to even claim to have been AWAKE on Thursday. In fact, I wasn't awake for all that much of Thursday; though I didn't go to bed until 4am, I also didn't wake up until 6pm. Yeeeah.

Next time, I'll make sure to get a good night's sleep (3 hours, admittedly, was better than nothing, which I've also done) before going to see the President of the United States. I mean, I knew it would be tough, physically and psychologically demanding, etc.; I just didn't act like I knew it. As a result, beyond the fact that my body has no idea what time it is, that I'm still dehydrated (and sunburnt), and I haven't eaten in over 24 hours (I think that has to do with the whole my-body-doesn't-know-what-time-it-is thing), I also don't have a REALLY clear memory of exactly what it was the President said when he showed up!!

For what it's worth, though, if you go take a look at his planned remarks for the convention last night (which I'm listening to on C-SPAN right now), the speeches were very similar. The Ohio crowd was VERY enthusiastic, though, moreso than the convention crowd I think. I mean, the President, Mrs. Bush, and Jack Nicklaus (sp? he's the golf guy) had to stand around for about five minutes before they could say anything, the crowd was cheering so much. Part of that was because they were a little behind what the crowd expected (the tickets said the doors opened at 1pm, the volunteer we got our tickets from said to be there by 11am, we were there at 10:20am, we were seated at 1:30pm, and the President spoke around 5:30pm -- we were in our car two blocks away at 6:24pm), and because of the buildup (they stopped in the middle of Debra Pryce's remarks to show a live feed of Air Force One landing -- and again cut to a live feed about thirty to forty minutes later, when the motorcade arrived at Nationwide Arena). But also, I think these were also just highly motivated people. The arena was about 80%-90% full, which was awesome (they said there were over 21,000 attendees; the arena seats 25,000 and all the seats except those in the upper balcony were full). There were only two protestors inside (one left -- or at least shut up -- of his own accord, the other one was about 20 seats away from us, and was escorted from the arena by a cute-and-courteous Secret Service guy, while shouting hoarsely "Heil Bush!") and about forty outside; clearly, the anti-Bush crowd is further north. Or possibly asleep (I was overwhelmed by the lameness of the opposition on this occasion).

Anyway, the crowd cheered for about 35-40 seconds every 3 or 4 sentences. Almost every declarative statement, and every question, and ALL the exclamations, were rewarded with applause; about every fourth time we applauded, everyone stood up, too. They cheered at a level greater than what I heard on C-SPAN for the President, for Chris Spielman, Debra Pryce, and the golf guy. They pretty much displayed the convention crowd's presidential level of enthusiasm for a (really cool, btw) video about Kerry's flip-flopping, which was presented around 4pm. And, of course, apprpriately excessive amounts of happiness were displayed for the Pickerington High School Central band (alas, someone in the event staff thought it was the Pickering, Ohio high school band -- the President and Debra Pryce both got it wrong, two hours apart from one another), particularly when it played Ohio favorites (the Buckeye Battle Cry and Hang on Sloopy especially). You could tell the crowd was worn out by the time the President showed up, though; they were hesistant in figuring out whether or not to clap for the golf guy when he said that we were working towards peace for the world.

The main impression I came away with regarding the President, is that he seems much more real and much... cooler, better, or something like that, in person. His style isn't really good for TV, I don't think; he connects better with audiences when the audience is actually there. I'd say that on a comfort scale of 1 to 100, where a TV interview is maybe a 20, the State of the Union is a 50, and the convention is a 75, he was at a 90-ish level. Mrs. Bush seemed a little shocked/overwhelmed by the reception they got (it probably doesn't help, BTW, that Mike DeWine told us he was sure we'd be even more welcoming and energetic than Western Ohio was last time the President stopped by -- Buckeyes live for competition, especially in-state and against Michigan), but she handled it well I thought (she didn't speak). They seemed much more like a normal couple, like people I see at church, than any other political person and their spouse than I've seen. They also seemed much more normal than the Clintons or the President's parents. In any event, I am bizarrely happier with supporting the President now than I was before. I had some reservations about him in terms of leadership/personality, before, but they don't bug me much now. And I know it's not just a "wow, I saw him in person from only 500 feet away!" reaction, because there are politicians and celebrities I've gotten MUCH closer to, and even talked with, who didn't leave me with this impression (don't worry, Tom, I liked you too).

In any event, the appearance was a lot of fun, but exhausting, and we weren't prepared mentally, physically, or in terms of you know, bringing a lunch (or even eating breakfast first). I liked the President and am happier about planning to vote for him than I was. Now I'm going to go find something to eat.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004
It's more than just a song, it's a... ummm, well, it's something that I keep inflicting on this blog.

Today I moved my Google AdSense stuff up, created and placed a graphic link to LiningUp.Net, and sort of made things a little bit neater and organized in the sidebar. I'm trying to track down an error IE keeps saying is on line 39 ("object expected"). It's kind of annoying, especially because sometimes it says it's on a different line. Oh, and I'm adding a link to the RSS 2.0 feed, which I forgot to do yesterday. Also, I'm trying to work on a solution to the annoying "first post of the day at the top" problem. It's probably the one big thing I regret about the early days of this blog. ^_^


Because only so many people can be eleventh in line.