Monday, January 31, 2011

The Healing Power Of Mystery Case Files

Do you remember being young and not always getting on with your siblings?
There being nine of us, I'm sure our mother wanted to run away from home on a regular basis, there were so many combinations of "s/he's picking on me!" we could get into.
Naturally, as we've gotten older, we have less of those incidents but the last two still living at home have their moments. When R3 left on his mission we joked with the others that if we saw a mushroom cloud coming from the desert area we'd know what had caused it.
Nearly two weeks in I've been surprised at how well they've adjusted. Part of the credit I believe is due to the Mystery Case Files series of games. They're hidden adventure puzzle games, simple on the surface but very easy to get addicted to. There are a lot of bonus features in each game that aren't necessary but add another level to the play.
IHW and LBO are spending a decent amount to time together working the games out. It's charming to see and good to know that when they pass the dramas of high school they are likely to become friends in the same way the other seven of us have.

This is me and I'm for whatever works.

Friday, January 28, 2011

All The Rage

I just thought of a brilliant new diet theme. (Along the lines of The Grapefruit Diet or The Hallelujah Diet.)
I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and my kittens followed me. They ALWAYS follow me into the kitchen to see if there is food for them involved in the excursion. As a bonus if they hear rustling noises they climb the cabinets.
What a great way to track our snacking habits!
The premise is to only eat when the kittens go in the kitchen by themselves. They have little snacks all day long and drink a lot of water.
Think about it; it's rare to see a fat kitten and all they do is lay around and sleep the whole day.

This is me; I call it the Kitten Diet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Six Of One

Why is it that the person in the car next to me can honk like they're on fire when the car in front of THEM didn't take off from the green light in less than two seconds and yet if that same person is texting, fixing their hair or something when the light turns green and the car behind them honks, there are middle fingers flipped and hand gestures out the window?

This is me, appreciative of the variety and diversity in the city where we live, but not a fan of the hypocrisy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ode to the Voyaging Wifey

Wifey, wifey where art thou wifey?
Hast thou sojourned to the far desert wastes
In search of the white whale in metal encased?
On a deep secret project of purpose unknown,
questing for foodstuffs and hay bales of renown.
Wielding phone, fax and Internet and building aright,
ventures and project to keep home safe and tight.

Keep it real babe. Love you, miss you. Good luck on the mission and come home safe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From The Vault

In lieu of a real post, I give you this:
A picture from long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Back before I got this great haircut, back before certain people were married and/or expecting children - not me, don't worry - back when Tarzan wore his flash drive around his neck even when he wasn't at school.
(Oh wait, never mind. He does that now and with even more stuff.)
From those days when things were less stressed, less complex, we were younger, more wide eyed and innocent.
Ah, those were the days.
This is me and Tarzan, three years ago.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

God vs Science

(I like that even if this whole discussion is fictitious it was a calm, respectful, logical debate. No anger, no yelling, no fear. I wish that more of us could have discussions and less hating.)
The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
"You're a Christian, aren't you, son?"
"Yes sir," the student says.
"So you believe in God?"
"Is God good?"
"Sure! God's good."
"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"
"Are you good or evil?"
"The Bible says I'm evil." (I don't agree with this part here but I know that it's considered standard in Christianity.)
The professor grins knowingly...'Ah Ha! The Bible! He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?"
"Yes sir, I would."
"So you're good..!"
"I wouldn't say that."
"But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't."
The student does not answer, so the professor continues.

"He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?"
The student remains silent.

"No, you can't, can you?" the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. "Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"
"Er... yes," the student says.
"Is Satan good?"
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. "No."
"Then where does Satan come from?"
The student falters. "From God."
"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"
"Yes, sir..."
"Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?"
"So who created evil?"
The professor continued, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil."
Again, the student has no answer.

"Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?"
The student squirms on his feet.

"So who created them?"
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question.

"Who created them?"
There is still no answer.
Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.

"Tell me,' he continues onto another student. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"
The student's voice betrays him and cracks.

"Yes, professor, I do."
The old man stops pacing.

"Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"
"No sir.. I've never seen Him..."
"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"
"No, sir, I have not..."
"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"
"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."
"Yet you still believe in him?"
"According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist... What do you say to that, son?"
"Nothing,' the student replies.. 'I only have my faith."
'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. "And that is the problem science has with God.. There is no evidence, only faith." The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own.

"Professor, is there such thing as heat?"
"And is there such a thing as cold?"
"Yes, son, there's cold too."
"No sir, there isn't."
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet.
The student begins to explain.

"You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?"
"Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation.. 'What is night if it isn't darkness?"
"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?"
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester.

"So what point are you making, young man?"
"Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed."
The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time.

"Flawed? Can you explain how?"
"You are working on the premise of duality," the student explains..."You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it."
"Now tell me, professor.. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"
"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do."
"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?"
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed..
"Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?"
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

"To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean."
The student looks around the room.
"Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter. 'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir..So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?"
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers.

"I guess you'll have to take them on faith."
"Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,' the student continues. "Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?"
Now uncertain, the professor responds,

"Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."
To this the student replied,

"Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."
The professor sat down.

PS: the student was Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein wrote a book titled God vs. Science in 1921...

This is me and nicely put Al old boy. Nicely put.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Called To Serve

My brother, R3, left this week to go on a mission for the church.
(This isn't the "secret" project we are working on.)
He's the second boy in the family but the eighth kid. My first brother is only the second child so it's been a while since we've sent a missionary out and the rules have changed just a teensy weensy bit.

Just when you think you know what to do...
But we did get it done, all the shopping and exchanges on things we bought earlier thinking that's what he would need, and packing and hugging and crying and joking and celebrating.
It was an interesting weekend.
But we're glad he's getting to go, is able to go and is happy to go. He'll have a fabulous time and then ROAD TRIP! when he's finished and we can go pick him up.
He may shoot me when he gets back because he dislikes having his picture taken but an oldest sister can not commemorate such a huge event without at least one:
This is my mind, boggled that he's old enough to leave home. Where does the time go?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Think Something Is Missing Here

Does anyone know what might be wrong with my laptop keyboard?
When I type anything - the program does not matter - I will hit the key the letter is on but it won't come up on the screen. I have to go back and correct each and every sentence.
Not to say I am a perfect typist in any sense, but I hit the correct key more often than it looks like.
It is not always the same keys either. Sometimes the space, sometimes the punctuation, sometimes not.
It's a little frustrating. Does this sound serious, or does my keyboard just need a serious cleaning?

This is me and it's made me look inept when I comment on blogs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Flair For The Dramatic

Ahhh Tarzan.
Great teacher/librarian though he may be, it's possible he missed his calling in life as a news anchor, a tabloid writer, a politician, you know...someone with a flair for the dramatic.
He's been passing it around in phone calls and then with the post yesterday that we have a "secret project" in an undisclosed location and all manner of other mysterious phrases.
And the rumors are flying.
Let me relieve the pressure that is weighing on your minds.
We are not moving, we are not pregnant - though apparently everyone else is - Congratulations to PhatFiddle, Liezel, QC, SBB, M2 and PIT! - that is a lot of babies for this year - we are not splitting up, we are not adopting, we are not remodeling the house, we are not even trading in our cars for new ones, we shared our trip information already, we don't have any new animals.
We will be filing our taxes early this year if that's of interest to anyone.

This is me and it's just not as exciting as Tarzan makes it sound.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hearty, Tomatoey Congratulations to Phatfiddle and Liezel!!!!!

I was on my way home from our secret headquarters where Jane is currently busily working on our secret project and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a text from Mama Bear (aka Gamma Gamma) announcing to the world via text message that my brother's darling bride had just launched upon a new career in the pasta sauce industry!!! I knew the Liezel was very talented on grow side but apparently her talents on the production side of the equation merit recognition from no less than the world renowned Prego company!! I've always been a Ragu man myself but am willing to switch brands to support family. This is definitely an exciting development and we look forward to ongoing developments regarding this news in the coming months. We now return you to your regular blogger who has been sequestered for an unstated period of time, at an undisclosed location following unconfirmed reports of the aforementioned secret project.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Weird Dream #38

Tarzan left at 5:30 this morning. That's the norm for him. I don't always wake up and when I do it's usually not a big deal to go back to sleep. This morning I didn't fall asleep right away and I contemplated getting up and doing work - this is the instinct I should have followed - but it was cold out in the hall and so warm under my blankets, so I stayed in bed. After some time tossing around I decided that if I wasn't going to go back to sleep I could read my book. As I reached over to the nightstand to get my book I smacked my hand against the side and woke up.
I was dreaming about being awake, doing what I was doing while sleeping.

This is me and that's the most surreal dream I have ever had. Ever.

Monday, January 10, 2011

BCS Insanity

The BCS Championship Game was tonight.
Oregon should have been my favored school - if my team can't go at least support the team from the same conference right? - but they did not look as fast and snappy as they did during the season.
Not to say I like Auburn better - that knee to the face deal by Eric Smith was not cool - because I can't really get behind any of the SEC teams, except maybe Alabama - that's for you Elizabeth - so it was less than enthralling to watch.
At least until the last few seconds. What is that about football? Screwing around - entire scoreless quarters - until the last 45 seconds and suddenly everything is so serious and important. Maybe part of that is the announcers. They become really intense in the last minutes of the game.
Oregon: 19
Auburn: 22
This whole post season thing has been a little bitter knowing my team couldn't go to any bowl game this year - or next - no matter how well we played. I have been asked about the BCS sanctions - stemming from some players on the football and basketball teams taking money and/or houses as compensation from agents while still in school - against USC and as usual my opinion has a couple of sides.
The sanctions are the following:

  1. The aforementioned ban on any post season games for two years.
  2. The loss of ten athletic scholarships a year for three years to make a total of thirty.
  3. Forfeit of the 2004-5 season including the reversal of the championship win of that season.
  4. Four years probation, which means the BCS will be observing the program to see how it's going.
  5. There were rumors that The Heisman Committee would ask for their trophy back but they never did.
On the one hand I think there definitely needed to be a fine/penalty/sanction handed out. College ball is college ball, a place for amateurs and it shouldn't behave like a professional league. (Let's ignore for the moment that gifts are given to many players at a lot of universities, including the SEC.) Theoretically, these athletes are there to get an education and their abilities on the playing field enable them to pay for that education. It's only a means to an end.
On the other hand I'm not sure what the BCS administration expect to gain by instituting the punishments the way they did. The athletes being punished are the ones who weren't even in high school when this all went down. The scholarships are being taken from players who might not get to go to college and they haven't done anything wrong.
On the other hand what can the BCS do to a guy who's already graduated and making buckets of money on a professional team? Their best option for making an example of a school who allows the rules to be bent and broken is to hand out a fine and limit scholarships so the school will not chance this sort of thing happening again.
On the other hand, does everything have to be rescinded completely? Why not just add an asterisk at the bottom of the page like they do when an athlete takes steroids and breaks a record. It's not like taking the money/house changed their ability to play the game. And what about all the other players on the field who didn't break the rules? They should still be able to claim a perfect season and a national championship title.
I hope these sanctions will do what they are supposed to do and remind the college players and their coaches that it is just a game, and game that is allowing them to get one of the best educations available in the country and to follow the rules. So we don't have to do this again in a few years.

This is me and I'm mostly over it. Mostly.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Guess What?

No really, try and guess. I dare you.
Never mind, you'll never get it.
*I* am still having a hard time with it and I was there.
Last night Tarzan left one of the drawers on the dresser open - he was in a hurry to sleep? I don't know - and the kittens had a field day, rolling in his shirts, playing, pulling clothes out. It was crazy.
When we woke up and started restoring things we found that the drawer wouldn't close all the way. As we were searching for whatever was in the way I found I was missing a few items from the drawer next to Tarzan's, even though they don't connect at all, unless you pull out both drawers, completely. How the kittens moved things around I do not know.
Cats are insane. Cuddly and cute but insane.
So we pulled out both drawers and tucked in the back were some articles of clothing. Socks, T-shirts, the usual and the very last item I plucked out was...
Wait for it...
The swimsuit I couldn't find over four years ago when another cat got into the same drawer and caused me to notice the suit was missing.
I found it!
It is completely unbelievable because I have searched that particular drawer and surrounding area SO. MANY. TIMES but apparently not the far back corner of the drawer next to the one I put it in.
Tarzan uses that drawer every day, so it's amazing we haven't ever had difficulty closing it before and then here we are.
I have since moved my swimsuits to another location. And I will be double checking all the drawers are shut before we go to sleep. Every night I will be checking.

This is me in need of a beach. And some warm weather.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Weird Dream #37

It was one of those long and involved dreams where each new event and situation melts into the next one and you're not sure how it all went together when you wake up.
I was walking through a train station and I tripped on some guy's suitcase. As I was setting it back up the director came over and suggested we try it again. As I returned to my starting cue, with the director, I met Aaron Copeland who was coming through to get ideas for the theme music.
After a few more takes the director realized he had mistaken me for the real actress - who had just showed up - and he got very upset and left. We - I don't know who was with me, maybe my agent? - also left.
We went out the wrong door though and couldn't find the elevators so we had to go back through the halls of compartments to the main room, wait for the take to be called and watch nearly everyone I know be in the scene.
I met a famous dude on my way out of the building and he took me to an awards show where there were a lot of musical numbers, singing, dancing with one in particular by the cast of Men Of A Certain Age - we have never watched that show - and Bing Crosby where in they all get naked.
Then I woke up. But not before I realized that Tarzan had been beside me for the entire thing.

This is me and that was none too soon.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Chocolate Nail

Perhaps only someone in the construction business would see the humor in this - I told some friends and they gave me the "okay...crazy person" look - but I was highly amused. Amused and also impressed that they would use such quality chocolate in their custom made chocolate nail:
Oh that's right, a chocolate nail. From the construction company who built the facility where I volunteer every Thursday. The head honcho guy took a fancy to me - probably because I knew what he was talking about with exits, accessibility and stuff - and he sent me a chocolate nail.

This is me with a chocolate nail.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

If I Could Talk To The Animals

Today was the day we communed with the animals.
We needed to check out of our hotel around 11am but the ferry wasn't leaving until 3:30pm so we had some time to kill.
First we wandered over to the library again so Tarzan could return two of the books he'd already finished - how does he DO that? - and outside of the building a cat passed by who looked exactly like Mikey - one of my cats. While Tarzan perused the books I petted the cat, scratched her head, she rubbed her face on my leg and just as I was about to take a picture - so as to compare to my own cat when I got home - a crazy old fisherman wandered by, scared the cat away and started talking to me about how the cat doesn't ever stop and talk to him and we continued on through the lack of fish in the waters this year and hoping that 2011 will be better for him.
We spent some time at the beach, enjoying the quiet, eating some really nice ice cream and Tarzan pulled out the leftover pizza from last night. The crust was kind of dried out so I crumbled it up and fed the pigeons, seagulls and sparrows who were hanging out. The seagulls had a sort of power struggle going on and I was reminded several times of the scene in Finding Nemo with the "mine! mine! mine!" chorus.
Birds must have some kind of telekinetic powers because before the crumbs hit the ground there was an entire flock at my feet begging for more.
This guy showed up, first in the tree:
Then right next to me on the bench:
I dug out all the crumbs I could find from our bag for them until we spotted the sign saying "please don't feed the birds."
Of course there was a guy playing with his two dogs right under the sign reading "no dogs on the beach" so I didn't feel too guilty.
Fortunately birds also have a short attention span and they flew off to find other things.
Except this one:
I think he was hoping for a fish rather than a cracker.
Then on the ride home there were two dogs on the boat - poor things have to wear a muzzle - and their owners were all over the care and keeping of chocolate labs.

This is me with the end to a really relaxing vacation.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

When We Went Out

This is a crazy little place. After the cutest breakfast ever:
Tarzan and I went on a walk this morning to "see what we could see." This island has beaches, of course:
But also mountains:
And since it's only 8 miles wide at the most there are some steep streets:
The vehicle of choice is a golf cart. Nearly every house is at the top of a flight of stairs:
And terraces are all the rage:
Still it's gorgeous when the sun's out, like it was today:
With all the modern amenities:
That big building behind Tarzan is a movie theater and a casino. It's closed now because it's winter.
And leave it to Tarzan to find the library before we were out of our room for five minutes:
And darned if he didn't check out half a dozen books. Now I have to find a place to pack them for the trip home tomorrow. He is such a librarian.
We wandered through a Von's Express which was slightly larger than a gas station snack shop - with a deli - and sat on the pier looking at nothing in particular:

This is me and I could live here for a while.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Just Off The Coast Of Home

If you remember, when it was time for our tenth anniversary last November the hotel we had planned to visit had removed the one item we were anxious to see, so we scheduled the celebration at a different establishment and with timing being what it was the next opening
So Tarzan and I packed up this morning and left the rainy, cold and dark Jungle, though there was a lovely rainbow at the dock:
And arrived at the dim, rainy and slightly colder island just off the coast:
It's a cozy little inn where we are staying, impeccably clean - which I like - very charming with the cheese and crackers served in your room every evening and movies to borrow at the desk - space is at a premium so there isn't a place to eat at the inn. In fact, there are only seven, eight? rooms in this place. The bathroom is tiny - which I did not expect from the description - but the fireplace is awesome:
The bed is fantastic - not your usual hotel bed:
So I think we'll be very happy here until Wednesday.
It is the off season - this is very much a tourist trap of a town - so quite a few things are closed but still picturesque:
We'll go out tomorrow and see what's available for entertainment purposes.

This is me and we are celebrating.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's been a calm sort of day, this first day of the new year.
We watched The Rose Parade - I have to give them credit for not giving in to sponsors unlike some other parades I could name - and then The Rose Bowl game. Yay TCU.
We chatted with family. And though she can't ever separate the two events she shouldn't be forgotten just because she's a party gal and decided to be born on a holiday.
Here's wishing 2011 will be good to you and your families.

This is me and I vow to do better this year on the blog thing.

From Whence You Cometh