Friday, April 27, 2007

Kindergartener

Crazy Jane is going to her kindergarten orientation today. Actually, she probably won't get too much orienting, but Persephone has to go to find out how to do the whole "virtual school" thing. It's a way for all the commies and fascists who hate state-run education to home school without taking state money away from the local schools. Everyone involved gets the thing he cares about most. It's a beautiful thing.

It's not quite homeschooling, since the district is still setting the curricula, but Persephone isn't as hopped up on homeschooling as I am. She thinks she wouldn't know what to do. So this is attractive to her because someone else is setting the lesson plans.

Crazy Jane starts "classes" in August.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"This Is Why I'm Hot"

Last month I had to go in and talk to my faculty adviser, who game me a B in micro last semester even though I think I earned an A. As I was leaving, he said, "You're going to be getting a letter from us because you're getting some money." That was all he said. What is that supposed to mean? I hadn't applied for anything. Maybe they were just giving out ten dollar rebates or something. So I said thanks and left.

Then this Tuesday I went to International Trade and my professor gave me a letter from the department and said, "Congratulations. I hope you can make it to the dinner." I had no idea what he meant. So I went out in the hall and read the letter, and the Economics Department is giving me a scholarship for next year, and they're presenting it to me at the department awards dinner next week.

That is all I know so far. It could be for six dollars or for a billion. I guess it could even be for a negative amount, like a special punative tuition rate. Who knows? So I don't want to get too excited about it, yet. Also, they have given me no indication why they chose me. Did they pull my name out of a hat, or did someone in the department nominate me, or what? I guess I'll find out at the dinner on Tuesday.

But I'm kind of excited about it. I don't want to be a jerk and all, but I think it's pretty cool. I like to think that the faculty members all have man-crushes on me and are cutting three staff positions to afford the massive cash payout I'll receive, but that's probably not the case. I just hope I get some sort of oversized check handed to me. Even if it's just for twenty bucks, I've always wanted to take an oversized check from someone while my picture was taken.

I wonder if they are expecting me to say anything on Tuesday?


Title evidently from the eponymous song by something called Mims. Is this a person or a group, or a portmanteau for "miniature Sims"?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Now a Major Motion Picture

When society gets off its ass and finally gives me the recognition I deserve by making a movie of my life, I'm pretty sure that the last seven years or so will be completely omitted. They might have a little something about being a missionary, and then the next scene will be far into the future from right now.

This part of my life, the part I'm living today, is completely unnecessary in terms of the overall development of my life story. I could have stayed in bed all day today and nothing would be different. But instead I had to come to work, where everything sucks, walking to the bus in a drizzle, and then riding the bus with some stinky guy.

Monday, April 23, 2007

"If You Go Straight Long Enough / You'll End Up Where You Were"

Modest Mouse rocks.

Earnestness is embarrassing to witness. Why? Because you're not emotionally involved the way the other person is. So all of a sudden you come across someone who is pulling his hair out in desperation, frustrated by some corporation or some government program or just his particular life, and you look away to save yourself the embarrassment.

So why do I keep writing a blog? What can I have to say that won't make the people who know me uncomfortable? I feel passionately about some things in my life. Those are the things I want to write about, but those are also the things that will embarrass you folks who are reading this. So in the name of civility and decorum and whatnot, I should just say nothing at all.

When someone asks "How are you?" he doesn't really want to know.


Title from Modest Mouse's song "3rd Planet."

Friday, April 20, 2007

"Pick Up the Dog Doo / Hope That It's Hard"

Joe Walsh doesn't quite rock, but he's pretty cool. John Walsh doesn't really rock either. But he helps catch criminals, and that's pretty cool in its own way. Justice rocks!

This place is going downhill fast. As long as I've been predicting disaster, I really think it's upon us now, and I'd be surprised if things could last into June.

I'm about to finish a project today, and I didn't have any other work lined up. I was sort of looking forward to getting laid off this weekend, but my supervisor told me what my new project will be on Monday. I'm disappointed that I still have a job.

Again, I blame BTO. You rat bastards. "I love to work at nothing all day" indeed. I'll give you something to work at. [motions to nether regions] You can start by working hard at THIS, idiots!

But seriously, we're all doomed here.


Title from Joe Walsh's song "Life's Been Good to Me So Far."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Someone Done Put a Television On Top of a Typewriter!"

I feel so technologically savvy. I'm sitting underneath a tree on the lawn across from Bailey Hall and I'm on the Internet. Oooh, look at me! I'm on the Internet outdoors, baby! Yeah!

But seriously, look at me. I'm on the Internet outdoors, baby. Yeah.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Takin' Care of Business"

How much of my dissatisfaction with my job can be blamed on Bachman Turner Overdrive? I mean, when they sing, "If you ever get annoyed / Look at me; I'm self-employed / I love to work at nothin' all day," who can't help but think, "Hey, that sounds nice"?

Thanks a lot, BTO. You've ruined my life.

Study Habits

Update: remember when I said I was reading A Godly Hero instead of studying Money and Banking, and I had a test in Money and Banking the next day? Well, I got the test back yesterday, and I got 32 out of 35 (91.4%), so I think everything worked out pretty well. In fact, for the final I'm going to do nothing but read about William Jennings Bryan. I figure I should get about a zillion percent.

The weather is very nice in Kansas now. If I'm going to complain when the weather sucks, I need to be free with the props when the weather is great. We walked around Potter Lake on Sunday afternoon, and I've gone running two nights in a row now. We ate ice cream downtown Monday night. So for this great weather I'd like to give a shout out to God. What up, God?!

But work still sucks, and that's where I am today. If God has something to do with that, I should temper my cheering somewhat.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Service Auction Economics

Our ward had a service auction, and I'm intrigued by the economics of it. Basically they raise money for the Young Women to go to Girls Camp by having members donate goods or services and then auctioning them off.

What is so fascinating to me is who spends how much money. If I donate a service that costs me ten dollars to provide, I am giving ten dollars. However, not all of it is necessarily going to the girls. If that service is auctioned off for five dollars, I've given five dollars to the girls and give dollars to the winning bidder, who has donated nothing, since he's won a service in return for the five dollars he gives to the girls. If that service is auctioned for fifteen dollars, though, I give ten dollars to the girls and the winning bidder gives five more.

So it's possible to end up with a loss of value if the cash value of what the girls receive in auction sales is less than the cash value of goods and services volunteered for the auction. The bidders could be taking value the girls would have received if everyone just gave cash.

But most things don't sell that way. Most people donate services and then buy goods and end up giving the girls more than just cash, and it's more fun, too. But it's still super interesting to me. But I guess that's why I'm going to school for economics. Because I'm a nerd who's interested in things that everyone else finds boring.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Freezing

The air conditioner is on. It's nine-forty in the morning and forty-three degrees outside, but the air conditioner is on in here. When I got to work this morning, the front door was propped open and a fan was blowing outside air in the door.

Our front door is equipped with one of those chimes that ring every time the door is opened. About a month ago a coworker of mine discovered that, if you bump the door really hard, it makes a slight dinging noise. I told another coworker of mine about it. A couple weeks later, a different coworker discovered it and the one I told acted like she had never known this before. Why does no one listen to anything I say?

Then my supervisor decided he would break the door chime so it would do nothing but chime every time the door was opened. (Previously chiming had been a setting which was always off. Now it's the default.) When the people who sit by the door (and no one is closer to the door than I am, both physically and metaphorically) complained, he tried to fix it with some tape. The result was that the door lets out a pathetic half-ding when opened.

Three weeks ago, when the toilet backed up onto the floor again (yes, AGAIN!), they had a guy come in and spray the carpet with some irritating chemical and then turn a carpet fan on directly behind my chair. Then I got in trouble for not being productive that day.

If they wanted to make my workplace so irritating that I would quit, what would they be doing differently?

The air conditioner has been continuously blowing for fifteen minutes now.

Speechless

Why don't I have anything to say anymore?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Politicking on a College Campus

So they are having student body elections at KU this week. Actually, the parties have been campaigning since January, but they didn't get around to formulating platforms until Spring Break. So I stopped by their booths yesterday to see what each coalition supports.

There are three groups, and they each have a main issue. The first group wants to subsidize STD testing at the student health center. (Something tells me that this isn't an issue at BYU's McDonald Health Center.) The second group wants to change the dorm room meal plan accounting system. The third group wants to allow people to take a class credit/no credit and then turn that into an A if they actually earned an A.

I told the woman from the third group that none of these issues affect me. I don't have an STD, I don't live in the dorms, and I don't take my classes credit/no credit. Showing her skills (or, as the kids say these days, skillz) as a politician, she immediately transitioned into an issue that DOES affect me, which is information technology.

Now, you have to understand the weather here in Kansas for the past two weeks. After some of the most gorgeous spring weather anyone could ever dream of, it turned nut-freezing cold last Tuesday and has barely warmed up to nut-numbing cold. Add to that the drizzle that started yesterday. So this woman, Hannah, was dressed in a parka and couldn't work her lips very well because she'd been outside for so long. While we were talking, though, the second coalition had two girls running around campus in Jayhawk string bikinis to raise support. (Again, not a staple feature of BYU student campaigns.)

I tried to show my contempt for such political shenanigans by concentrating more on Hannah while she talked. (I'm pretty sure I'm going to vote for her tomorrow, although the Bikini Party's plan of textbook renting is intriguing.) But if someone saw what I saw yesterday and then was asked to develop a one-sentence summary of KU students, it would probably be something like this: "The average KU student is an irresponsibly promiscuous underclassmen who can't get good grades and makes decisions based on who's dressed like more of a whore." And that is a pretty accurate summary.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Swill Connoisseurs

If I have to listen to one more idiot analyze the properties of their favorite brand of horse piss, I'm going to scream. Instead of saying vapid things like, "It's got a really fruity aftertaste that cuts through the hops flavoring," why don't they just save some time and say, "I'm an alcoholic"?

I have a very clear memory of one day in high school when I thought, "I want to get out of here and into the real world, where people aren't so hung up on defining themselves with the latest trendy item." Then I got into the real world and saw that I was full of crap. Everyone acts like a fifteen year old until the day they die. Teenagers establish who is cool by who has the newest CD or something like that. College students establish who is cool by who drinks the most or sleeps around the most. The moron people I work with establish who is cool by who has tasted the most exotic beer. I hate people.

Presidential Libraries for Non-Presidents

I've been reading Michael Kazin's book A Godly Hero about William Jennings Bryan instead of studying economics (I'll let you know how that works out for me after my exam in Money and Banking tomorrow), and I think there should be "presidential" libraries for Will Bryan and for Barry Goldwater.

These two men dramatically altered the American political landscape just by running for president, even though they were never elected. There are many men who actually win who don't have as great an impact as these two. Without Bryan, there is no FDR, no LBJ, no HRC. Without Goldwater, there is no Reagan or Bush (when Bush feels like it).

So I think the National Archives should open branches in Lincoln, Nebraska and Phoenix, Arizona combined with museums to these two guys. Isn't that what they did at the new Lincoln museum in Springfield, Illinois?

Friday, April 06, 2007

"When I Have Nothing to Say My Lips Are Sealed"

Talking Heads rules!

I've run out of things to say. I haven't had a column I've really wanted to write for over a month now. Instead I just put down 450 words and send it in to my editor. But nobody's being entertained by it. Much like my blog.


Title from Talking Heads's song "Psycho Killer."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Quit My Job Down At the Carwash / Didn't Have to Write No One a Good-Bye Note"

They Might Be Giants rules!

I want to tell you all about how my workplace keeps have sewage spills, and then they bring in these harsh chemicals and enormous fans that make it impossible to concentrate, and about how I just got in trouble today for not being productive last time we had such a disturbance, but the actual explanation of it all would take too long. I hate this place.


Title from They Might Be Giants's song "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Conference Weekend

I told Persephone yesterday, "Every six months I spend a weekend sitting through ten hours of church, and every six months I think, 'I've got to find a new church.'" She said, "You're not really kidding."

But seriously, TEN HOURS?! Can't they spread that around? Why not have us all stay after church for one hour every month to watch some broadcast conference talks, and then every six months have us come to conference for four hours? Why does it have to be all at once?

And the craziest part is, it used to be longer. When I was a missionary I found an old conference report from 1976 that had talks from a Welfare Session the Thursday before conference weekend. And didn't someone say something this weekend about walking into the tabernacle during Children's Conference? Because kids like to sit still for hours on end.