Sunday, May 29, 2011

Growing Up on Tatooine

CRAZY JANE: Dadda, do you wish there were movies about when Luke and Leia were kids?

A RANDOM STRANGER: Not really.

CJ: Why not?

SUPER-HOT 111: They probably didn't live that exciting of lives, [Crazy Jane]. Luke just lived on his uncle's farm.

ARS: All he had to do for fun was go into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters and bull's-eye womp rats in his T-16.

later that same day

SH-111: We spend too much time analyzing Star Wars in this family.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What Not to Say to Me

When you're a member of the Ward Council and you see me get off a bus, asking, "Are you just getting off work?" is a good indicator that the Ward Council has no idea what's going on in my life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In the Quiet Car No One Can Hear You Scream

I saw this news story as a "click here to watch the video" link, which I hate. I want to read the news, not watch a failed actor tell me the news. So I searched for the relevant terms and found the print version of the story here.

I ride a shuttle bus six times each week, and I'm amazed by the behavior of my fellow passengers. It's not posted as a quiet bus or anything, but I think for reasons of privacy, you shouldn't think of a bus ride as phone chatting time. If you do, you run the risk of some people (like me) thinking you're an idiot when you yell out things like, "I went to the Journeys in the Fairfax mall, and I'm glad I don't work there, because their shoes were lame!" or, "I was thinking the other day about how I'm almost 20 now and I just thought, 'Oh, I'm so old!' I see these high school seniors and I think, 'You are all so immature!'"

This semester I've had a pair of sisters who listen to their music out loud and sing along. One of them gets on the bus as soon as it arrives at the stop while the other won't get on until it's pulling away, and then they get in an argument about whether the second sister almost missed the bus. Then the dance party starts.

I know a guy who rides the train every day in the quiet car, and I have to believe he would have stabbed this lady in the neck long before 16 hours had elapsed. And Anderson Cooper would have hailed him as a hero.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Plato on Old People

"Yes, and the most ridiculous thing of all will be the sight of women naked in the palaestra, exercising with the men, especially when they are no longer young; they certainly will not be a vision of beauty, any more than the enthusiastic old men who in spite of wrinkles and ugliness continue to frequent the gymnasia." - Book V of The Republic

I don't know about this book. It is filled with hair-brained ideas for pages on end, and then Plato pulls out a wonderful bit of absolute truth, like this opinion on the old guys at the pool who walk the locker room with their towels around their necks. Oh, they have towels, and they even realize they should be worn around something, but that that something might be the waist has never occurred to them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Hate the Word "Chonies"

I pretty much covered it all in the post title.

"Silence Like a Cancer Grows"

The things I've been wanting to say lately weren't really appropriate for my blog. I know we've had this (one-sided) conversation before: what should I post and what should I hold back, and the consensus usually is "Say what you need to say," but that consensus is dumb. I can't say whatever I feel like, because some of my readers know me, and anyway no one wants to hear it anyway. The astute reader will know how to interpret several weeks of blogging silence from me, and that's just as good as actually saying it.

So here's what's happened in the past few weeks: I did not get the China job. But if I wrote about every job I didn't get, this blog would require 50 posts each day. I got hired to teach microeconomics in July at my school. This is both good news and not-so-good news. Good is that it will give us money and be advancing my career. Not-so-good is that it isn't enough money to keep the five of us alive, and it's two months away.

I have been told I'll be teaching a class this coming fall and spring, but I haven't signed any contracts for that yet, so it's still just theoretical, I guess. The good news is that that position comes with a tuition waiver, which will greatly reduce my debt load when I graduate. The not-so-good news is that I feel like the restaurateur that Wimpy keeps promising to pay Tuesday for a hamburger today. It's like God is granting me blessings in reverse order: "If you somehow manage to survive to 80, you'll then win a million dollars. Good luck getting to 80, though, on soda crackers and Diet Mr. Pibb."

My semester is nearly over. Two classes shouldn't be a problem at all. One class is a horrible catastrophe. The professor wanted to "help you learn how to write research papers," and then responded to e-mailed concerns with, "Yeah, that's a problem," and left the country for the last two weeks before the paper was due. I was really looking forward to filling out his teaching evaluation, but of course he never gave them to us. Depending on how poorly that class ends up, the teaching job offers might be revoked.

I had an allergic reaction to a topical medicine that left my legs covered in a horrible rash. A month later they still itch all the time.

My bishop called me in for a chat, but it turned out he really just wanted to tell me I wasn't doing my calling well enough. The chatting was just some window-dressing.

Since I'm halfway done with my doctorate, they're giving me a master's degree. I'm graduating this week. Just like how when I ask to be invited over to watch a sporting event, my requests to borrow a master's hood from my previously-graduated friends in my department have shown me that I have no friends in my department. I had to buy a hood.

My mother- and father-in-law are thinking of flying our family West for some time this summer. My kids are incredibly excited about it.

If things go the way I want them to go, I'll be finishing five books this week: The Republic by Plato, Understanding Isaiah by a collection of people with last names beginning with "P," The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, Grk and the Hot Dog Trail by Joshua Doder, and Amazing Monty, by a woman named Horowitz (I believe).

I'll try to get back to normal, blogging and corresponding and whatnot. I know I have to talk to JT this week; I'm not ignoring you, I'm just finishing my classes up.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Celebrity Death Match: Plato vs. Angela

"But what do you say to flute-makers and flute-players? Would you admit them into our State when you reflect that in this composite use of harmony the flute is worse than all the stringed instruments put together?" - Plato's Republic, Book III

Monday, May 02, 2011

Something Our Wedding Was Lacking

Last Thursday my wife and I experienced our tenth anniversary. (We didn't celebrate it until Saturday, because my oldest son was born on our anniversary, and he's totally bogarted the date.)

Here's something our wedding day didn't have:

A wedding banquet, attended by the two families, concluded with a ritual attempt to drag the bride from her mother's arms in a pretended abduction. (Cicero, by Anthony Everitt, p. 62.)

It's too bad, really, because I'm totally stronger than my mother-in-law.

Fun "my son was born on my anniversary" joke I used on my bus friend last week: "I told the doctor, 'She can't push until we're married.'"

Just for any home math experts, he was born on our third anniversary.