Saturday, December 27, 2008

Books Galore!

Now that Christmas is over and the New Year is full speed ahead, I have composed a tentative reading list for the year. Here's what I've decided to read so far:

1. "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ," by Jose Saramago: My friend Pete got this book for me last year for Christmas and I have yet to read it. He kind of yelled at me when he saw this book sitting on my crowded book shelf, so I feel like I need to knock this one off first. I'm really excited to read it though, and be exposed to a different perception of Christ, outside of the Christian realm.

2. "Chomsky on Miseducation," by Noam Chomsky: I just got this book, and I can't wait to read it. One of my major passions in life is education, and I am excited to hear Chomsky's prescription for the educational erodication in America, and what educational reforms are needed to collaborate with democracy.

3. "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals," by Shane Claiborne: Claiborne's "Irresistible Revolution," helped me to develop my own religious path and helped me realize that it's okay that I'm not following the same path that my family has. It made me realize that I'm not doomed to chill with Beelzebub for all of eternity just because I'm an advocate of social justice. But, I will say that there are a lot of topics where I disagreed with Claiborne, but that was even more encouraging to know that I could formulate my own stance on religion rather than just going along with some "radical" for the sake of being "radical." I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, and am excited to read what Claiborne has to say about the practice of prayer, and how it might help develop my personal prayer life.

4. "The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is," by N.T. Wright: Although I don't necessarily subscribe to Wright's theories on Revelation, I think that he will have some great things to say about Jesus. And is there such a thing as reading too much about Jesus when you're a Christian? I don't think so. This book is a part of a series of Wright's all focused on the life and teachings of Jesus. I got turned on to Wright after my Pastor, Bob Whitaker, read from Wright's book, "Simply Christian." A must for any Christian.

5. "Assassination Vacation," by Sarah Vowell: I love history (especially if it deals with presidents), and I love listening to Sarah Vowell's segments on "This American Life." It kind of makes me mad that she beat me to the point in capitalizing on this market of witty, historical writing, though, but I'll still support her. This book discusses the first 3 presidential assassinations. (Can you name the 3 presidents?). As the year progresses, I hope to get to Vowell's latest book, but we'll just have to wait and see.

6. "Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America," by Paul Tough: This book discusses social activist Geoffrey Canada's educational program, Harlem Children's Zone. I'm excited to learn more about Canada's organization. Also, Canada's educational program is admired by President-elect Obama, and is a source of inspiration for Obabma's educational plan.

7. "Me Talk Pretty One Day," by David Sedaris: I've only listened to this book on tape. Never read it. Decided I should read it. I got some of my family members Sedaris books...should be interesting to see what they think.

8. "Chronicles of Narnia," by C.S. Lewis: My interest in "Narnia" has been rekindled. When I was younger I was scared of the "Narnia" books, solely based on the creepy BBC television special. Mr. Tumlas and Mr. Beaver were bed-wetting material.

9. "The Narnian," by Alan Jacobs: Biography of C.S. Lewis that my brother got me a couple of years ago. I wasn't that interested in Lewis at the time, but (as mentioned above) I've become overwhelmingly intrigued by Lewis and his imagination and spiritual interpretations. This book should be perfect for satisfying my curiousities.

10. "Franny and Zooey," by J.D. Salinger: A favorite author, and yet I've never read this book all of the way through.

11. "Maggie Cassidy," by Jack Kerouac: Again, a favorite author, and yet I've never read this book all of the way through. And since it carries my name, I feel somewhat obligated to read it...just like I felt obligated to know the songs, "Maggie May" and "Maggie's Farm." But, I also think it will be a great book, considering it takes place during the high school years.

12. "Tender is the Night," by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Again, a favorite author. A few summers ago, I read a buttload of Fitzgerald's work, but, unbelievably, this one slipped through the cracks. I lov Fitzgerald's character development, and how he can suck you in through the traumatic lives of his characters. I love it.

13. "Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice," by Kevin A. Ring: My brother got me this book for Christmas. He loves Scalia. I don't. But, I will say this: Scalia is a judicial enigma. Just when you're ready to write off Scalia entirely as a complete imbecile, he goes and does something like his opinion in Morrison v. Olsen, and totally blows your minds. (discussing separation of powers issue...sorry, total nerd moment) With that, I will say I am interested in reading more of his dissents, and digging deeper into the legal psyche of Scalia.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Praise Reports

On the first day of advent Bob (the pastor at the church I attend) challenged us to keep a list of praises for every day of the advent season. "I don't know what it'll do, but I do know it can't hurt," he said. I was all for this idea. One thing that I have learned in my spiritual life is that when I am praising God for the things that He has done, things start to open up in my life, things make sense. But why haven't I learned to do this all of the time rather than when a spiritual leader tells me to do so, or when I am in dire straits (or listening to Dire Straits)? Because I'm an idiot and think way too highly of myself. Probably one of the biggest problems I have in my spiritual journey is surrendering to Christ and realizing that He's in charge; not me. I've always cherished my imagination, but I've come to realize that it gets me into trouble. I create these whimsical ideals in my mind of how my life will turn out or how certain circumstances will be, and then when they don't unfold exactly like I imagined (because they're in the realm of reality) I crash. A lot of the problems I face as a result would be resolved if I would just allow God into my imagination and my mind creations. (one good thing about law school is that I can definitely see how it's making me approach life in a more rational and analytical way. I just need to learn how to balance this with my imagination and creativity and let them work together rather than make them battle it out for the role of main perspective). But when I don't visibly recognize God in my life, I just think that He's not there, or if He is there He doesn't know what He's doing. This is really cheesy, but I watched the first and second "Chronicles of Narnia" last night, and there were 2 parts that really got to me. First, when Aslan goes and sacrifices himself for Edmond and Lucy and Susan follow him to the altar. Susan says, "He must've known what he was doing." In case you don't know, there are a lot of comparisons that can be drawn between Aslan and Jesus. This is one of them. Even though we don't understand what God is doing, He knows what He's doing. When He's not there, He knows what He's doing. The second part was in the second movie when everyone is looking and waiting for Aslan to return but they have just concluded that he has abandoned the Narnians. When Lucy says that she sees Aslan, no one believes her and she doesn't go on to find him. When the others finally admit that they need Aslan and send Lucy, the only one who believed that he was there, to find him and seek his help, Lucy goes and encounters Aslan. When she asks where he's been, he simply responds, "You saw me. Why didn't you come after me?" Lucy responds, "Because I was scared. I didn't want to go alone." Whoa. Okay, that is some heavy shit when you think about it. Lucy saw Aslan, but was afraid to go to him because the others disbelieved and she didn't want to take the journey alone. I'm getting chills just thinking about the religious application of this. And no, I'm not reading Christianity into pop culture here. "Narnia" is saturated with ideas about faith and the Christian walk. These two just jumped out at me and my current situation in life.

This past Sunday, the church bulletin included a paper with all of the praises submitted by the congregation from the previous Sunday. When I looked over the compilation, I became overwhelmed and just started crying. There was something powerful about seeing all of the ways that God has provided for other people, and seeing so much positive reflection on God. I struggle because I find myself in situations where I am surrounded by criticism of my beliefs, and even though I do appreciate such outlooks because it challenges me to look into what I truly believe, it can become tiring and discouraging. But seeing so much positive reflection on Christ made me see another side of my beliefs; that God loves us all. I've hung the list up on my fridge.

I plan on sharing my personal list of praises at the end of the advent season, but, in the meantime, I figured that I would share some things that I have been praising God for lately.

1. Friends. For some reason, God has decided to bless me with such a wide variety of individuals who, for some reason, care about me. Every single one of them is unique, and I love it. My best friend, Stacie, has been there to see me be tough and let everything roll off my shoulders, and then turn around and start bawling my eyes out because I can't handle it anymore. When I need it, they make me laugh. They put up with all of my bathroom talk. Last week, my friend Becky made me laugh in talking about the walk through of her new house. "The guy that lives there now is definitely a larper. I turned the corner and there was a big taxidermy wolf in one of the rooms and there were battle axes hanging over his bed. I think it's inevitable that there will be a residue of larping when I move in." My friend Pete can make me laugh more than anyone I've ever met. He doesn't even have to do anything and I start cracking up. We've recently crossed over into feeling comfortable enough in our friendship to discuss bowel movements (and anyone who knows me knows that I love talking about bowel movements). Pete and I were gchatting while I was binging on a chipotle burrito:

me: okay
got the burrito
it is paaaaacked

Peter: pack it in your gullet

me: i do not want to take part in the bowel movement that is about to follow after i gluttonously partake of this burrito, but i guess i have no choice

Peter: dude that thing is like the size of a medium cat
and you are gonna poop it out
i pray to god that you didn't get a bag of flaming hot cheetos with it, or you will be experiencing what sailors call "the red tide" or, "red skelton dropping by"

Peter: "watching some red dwarf"

2. Family. My family and I are VERY different, but I love them all more than anything else in my life. My dad told me that I had to limit my time with my nephew because he's afraid I might influence him too much; we're that different. I honestly think that the only reason why we're so different is that they are closet weirdos/dorks, whereas I'm right out in the open about my weirdness and dorkdom. When i was a kid I used to talk to the Mrs. Butterworth's syrup bottle. Very precocious, afternoon tea conversations. Then I would get very angry at her for not responding to me and I'd storm off from the breakfast bar. The next morning, I'd come back and go through the whole routine again. One day last year, when I was going through a rough time at school, my brother Anthony sent me a text message with a picture of a Mrs. Butterworth bottle and a caption which read, "I'm sorry I didn't talk to you when you were a kid." While I was sitting here composing this blog, my other brother Andrew sent me a text message which said, "On Christmas will you play battleship? I've been wanting to play it for some time but no takers." He knew I would accept the invitation. That's the thing about Andrew and me. We're never too cool for battleship.

The newest family member, my nephew, does nothing but make me happy. When I came back to Ft. Wayne for Thanksgiving, I went straight to my brother and sister-in-law's house to see Dominic. The minute I saw him, he smiled really big, like he remembered me. I got really choked up. It was one of the best feelings I've ever experienced in my life. He just brings so much joy to my life. I find my mind wandering to thoughts about him, and how excited I am to get back up to Ft. Wayne just to hold him and watch him stare at his little penguin toy with such curiousity. Here he is:




I can honestly say that in vocalizing and recognizing the wonderful things that God has done for me, I have experienced a joy that has been missing, a clarity of mind, and a reassurance that everything's going to work out for good, and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gchats between nerdy law students

My good friend Pete and I were gchatting today while I was trying to do research & he was sitting in his Federal Criminal Law class & we were both not actually working on the task at hand when we created this incredibly nerdy dialogue. I laughed out loud multiple times in a public place while Pete was unable to keep a poker face in class. The first part of the conversation dealt with a deal devised between Pete and I where I would make a huge bowl of frosting and he would have to take it to his federal crim law course and eat the whole bowl with a big spatula during class. Just shovel & slop it into his mouth. This is more of an "inside joke" between Pete & I (and Jim).

But then the conversation shifted into a little gchat gem. Pete mentioned how his professor's wedding ring looked like a super bowl ring. I said that it would be funny if it were a SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States) ring that was given to him on account of deciding a landmark case. From there, nerdy legal hilarity ensued. This might not be funny to you, but it sure was funny to me!

Peter: that is ridiculous
bradley's wedding ring looks like a superbowl ring
1:41 PM varsity marriage squad
me: haha!!
1:43 PM are you sure it's not a superbowl ring? i bet it's a SCOTUS ring
Peter: haha
1:44 PM jim said rehnquist probably gave it to him
i think it's his birthstone
me: haha
1:47 PM what do you think a SCOTUS ring woudl say? i mean, if he clerked during a landmark case i bet they would make a ring similar to a super bowl ring, but w/ the case on it
like, ROE V. WADE CHAMPIONS
1:48 PM Peter: haha!
1:49 PM it would be awesome if the whole trying of the case was like a football game
with all the clerks drinking gatorade
and dumping the cooler of gatorade in stevens' face as soon as he finishes reading the opinion
1:50 PM me: hahaha!!!
Peter: everybody slapping each others' asses as they walk by and pushing each other's heads and stuff
1:51 PM me: haha
1:52 PM can you imagine the post game interviews?
w/ Queen's "we are the champions" playing
1:54 PM Peter: "i really think that for stevens, especially at his age, it was a matter of keeping his intensity level high, and he delivered. he was out there the whole case, just consistently bringing home argument after argument. it goes to show you how much he wanted it, and he did it baby, we did it, WOOOOOO!"
1:55 PM -Clarence Thomas

9 minutes
2:04 PM Peter: "I have just one word for you about what this case was all about, and that is DEFENSE, baby, because if there is one thing that Roe and her team can do, it is put memos on the desk, time and time again. We won today because we didn't back down under that pressure, we kept our intensity level high, and we wanted it, baby, WOOOO! WOOO! WOOOO!"
-Wade
2:05 PM me: wait...i have to catch up
2:06 PM HAHAHA!!
2:07 PM "I'll tell you one thing that I know is true. There would be no way that we could pull out this W if it weren't for you, the fans, filing your amicus briefs. This one's for you!"
-Wade
Peter: dude i am having a poker face MELTDOWN right now
i sit in the front row in this class




Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Have a Hankering, not a Hankie

I rarely/hardly ever want anything. Lately I've harbored that rare feeling that hardly ever occurs where I actually want something. I used to act like everyday I was writing/trying out for/starring in a film adaptation of a musical. I want to act like that again. It was really fun.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Things of Excitement

I woke up on Sunday morning have no forewarning that Daylight Savings had taken place. It was very quiet. I stumbled around in my morning stupor, which is very similar to the pleasant awakening that Snow White experienced, and made my way to the bathroom to get ready for church. Upon opening the door to the bathroom and stepping out into the kitchen while putting my glasses on for the first time all day, sort of rubbing my eyes, I noticed the daisy clock hanging on the wall set at 9:00. But my alarm had been set for 8:00? What happened while I was sleeping? Even though it was an hour, it felt like I was in "Back to the Future," for lack of a better analogy. I guess this is just part of the excitement of being a Hoosier & a newbie to the Daylight Savings Club.

Two people over the last week have told me they saw me on the tv. Looks like I'm going to have to deduct 5 more seconds from my time of pending fame. Rats. It is exciting to be seen on CATS though. I think that my soundbite on elections & voting methods is just the beginning.

I have formulated my proposed schedule for next semester. Here are the course titles:

State & Local Government Law
Race, Law, & American Society
Constitutional Law Colloquium: The "Original" Culture Wars
Law of Democracy: Voting Rights
Seminar in Race, Law, and Education

I'm really glad to get out of international law courses. I think these courses are a bit more tailored to my interests, so I'm really excited. I'm particularly excited about my seminar in race, law & education, since I have now made up my mind that I am going to focus on education law and become a high school teacher. Alright!

Tomorrow is election day. I look forward to this day more than any other...except for maybe Groundhog Day. But the fact that it only comes every four years makes it a rare occassion that doesn't lose its luster. I'm printing off my map of the US, writing down the number of electoral votes per state, and getting my blue & red crayons ready. I think the one part that I'm looking forward to the most is Larry King. If any of you caught his performance in the 2004 presidential election, you know what I'm talking about. You could tell he was up way past his bedtime. He turned into this extremely curmudgeonly election day Scrooge, and it was charming. I fell in love with him that night. I just wanted to help him put on his slippers, floor length stocking cap, and one of those big t-shirt night gowns that men used to wear. I wanted to tuck him in and read him "The Little Engine that Could," as he forgot all about the controversy in Ohio and starting snoring in a "mee mee meee" manner. It's things like this that remind me of why I love politics and law and government. I'm so excited! (Pointer Sisters plays in the background as I dance around the law library and everyone stares)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Level 7 Elf Ranger

It's official. I'm going to Hell. I have been committing many tiny sins while trying to break out of the full nelson put on me by a giant orc while traveling through the shadow lands of the fallen saints. I have transformed from a law student to an ambitious level 7 elf ranger dealing in dungeons and dragons.

Anyone that had an evangelical upbringing knows that dungeons & dragons is completely off limits. For the past year a friend of mine has tried to get me to play D&D, but I have refused because of the fear that I will go to turn to a pillar of salt upon immediate contact with any dice with more than 6 sides. But about 2 weeks ago, when I was swimming in tetris pieces, I was introduced to a new facebook application, "Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures." My friend would read aloud the happenings of his encounters, and I found myself intrigued by the stories charting his journey to become a level 10 drow ranger. I wanted to go on these adventures, or at least create a character that could have a little excitement in her life. On am impulse, I threw away an entire sunday school's education on the damning nature of D&D and joined the ranks of all the others marking their path to the underworld, and I was loving every second of it.

While on my fall break and hanging out with my family, my mom and best friend noticed on my computer screen that I had a tab open to my D&D adventure. My best friend was ashamed to have such a nerdy friend, and my mom was worried that I was on going to become demon possessed. She told me this story about how her cousins used to play D&D and are terminally damaged because of it. She never really explained what was wrong with them, except that they were weird. Then, in the midst of my attempts to explain the harmless nature of this online game, my mom pulled a major guilt card, "Maggie, what is your nephew going to think of his aunt that plays D&D? You don't want him to know you play dungeons & dragons." Low blow.

I guess I didn't feel as bad about playing the facebook version because you literally do nothing. You choose a character, choose an adventure, then click "update results" whenever it's convenient. Then, if you want to, you can read what happened to you in that stage of the journey. It tells you what you rolled, even though you were nowhere near any type of rolling numerical device. It's great. And, you help your other friends when they're in need. I've healed many of my friends numerous times, or given them that extra bit of encouragement they've needed in order to finish their adventure. Best of all, it has given me a network of *real* friends that also play tiny adventures. We just laugh and laugh and laugh.

So, I guess I'm on my own adventure to Hell. But maybe God will take it easy on me and only send me to a tiny Hell.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To My Fellow Hoosiers & To My Fellow Candidates for Carpal Tunnel

Okay, so there are quite a few notifications to Indiana residents about the option to vote early. If you have the opportunity, you should definitely take advantage of this. Here's the deal. Do you all remember that big deal in Florida in the 2000 election that ended in a Supreme Court decision ultimately deciding who our president was? And, do you remember how in 2004 our Buckeye neighbors were still an uncalled state until about noon the next day after election day? I'm sure you all have been paying close attention to the election & the polls, but Indiana is being considered a "battleground state" in this election cycle for the first time since history can remember. I think the last time Indiana was even close to possibly being a blue state on that electoral map was when Kennedy was running for election, and even then it wasn't a 6% margin of difference (as I last saw for the Indiana electorate). I'm not saying that will necessarily happen here in our Hoosier state, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry. So, it would be better to get your vote in now, counted, and not discredited come election day. Security is key. Also, it's just more convenient to go on any day other than election day. The polls are a messy room. Oh, and congratulations for being at the forefront of the political campaigning. Maybe next presidential election we'll get the candidate commercials broadcast here!

Now, I think I'm getting carpal tunnel in my right hand. Since I'm experiencing some of the warning signs, I figured I would share some of the activities I partake in so that you might be proactive in your own fight against carpal tunnel. So, if you do any of the following, please do them in moderation!

1. crochet
2. typing really fast on a computer
3. playing lots of tetris
4. playing piano/keyboards
5. holding your pen & hi-liter strategically with the same hand so that you can easily switch off between the two while you're reading
6. playing lots of text twirl & scramble
7. snapping on my way to a rumble with the sharks

Friday, October 10, 2008

blast from the past

I wrote this little ditty around this time last year. I read it again the other day & I thought that maybe I would just post it. I have a lot of things that I've been wanting to post but I haven't gotten around to actually sitting down & putting them in writing. So, until I have the time to provide new material I'll just throw up some old stuff. Also, I just scored an Alaska quarter. It's really cool. It has a big bear pawing a salmon or something. It's amazing. I think it will be a good accessory for my Sarah Palin Halloween costume.



As we sat and watched the fireworks I was hoping that you would look over at me and see the wonder in my face and be so enraptured by my childish outlook on life and then I would feel your eyes staring into my soul looking over the charts and documents to make sure I wasn’t just tricking you and that I was actually what you were looking for and I would turn to see what was going on and we would finally confront what we were too scared to admit, but when my ploy to get you to confess your crime failed I retreated into myself and tried to act like I didn’t care, and got up and left and said I wanted ice cream like I was a little kid who should be rewarded by her parents because she did something spectacular and no one gave her credit and her parents could feel her pain and dejection so they wanted to comfort her and take away her sorrow, until you took my hand when I slugged you in the back in a jesting manner and wouldn’t let go and I was caught off guard and I was transported from that steamy 4th of July night surrounded by kids with sparklers moving in slow-mo being watched by their parents digging through the cooler for more beer to the seasons to come where you would still be holding my hand while it rained golden and sapphire leaves from the sky and we were wearing mittens, which we must struggle to try and link our fingers through the mass of wool gathering our fingers together, and scarves and dressed as though we were Indian corn and strangers walked by with their dogs and we were still holding hands, unashamedly. But then I got carried away and wanted more and started swinging our hands as though you were my teddy bear and not my future love and you pulled away because you felt it, and I felt it, and we rode back in silence because we were too afraid to confront our reality and the possibility that our lives might actually be good because we were so complacent with our misery and reluctant to trade it in because we wouldn’t know how to live happily. And now we stand across the street from one another waiting for the pedestrian signal to give us our cue to go forth on our paths empty-handed, bundled up, and staring at each other heading in the exact same direction but not wanting to recognize the fact that we would be perfect together. We were so damn independent; so fucking selfish. Why do we feel that we will never find our soul mates? Why do we act as though we were the only creatures not meant to have a soul mate when we believe so much in the idea and concept of the meeting of the souls, and the truth is the two people who feel as though their destiny didn’t leave room for a counterpart are actually made for each other? And so we go on portraying to the world that we’re happy as we are and that nothing will get in the way of us achieving our dreams and fulfilling our destinies and all of that cliché shit that you’re fed as constructing the meaning of life from 3rd grade on when they start breeding you to be young professionals and give you address books so that you can start networking, and we never let anyone know that what we say are our dreams are really just a ploy to let others think you’re better than them and that you’re a strong person when all I really want is for you to hold me and to admit that you miss me and to call me out when I’ve made up a word on the scrabble board and tried to get away with it and to actually support that look that you have in your eye every time I catch you looking at me when you think I’m not paying attention and when I look back and we’re caught in each other’s venus flytraps and we just sort of give in after being suffocated because the sensation of dying feels better than the pain of denial or even worse acceptance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Celebrity-a-Likes

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of faculty members at the law school that could pass as celebrities, not just in looks, but in sounds. You don't really hear of celebrity sound-a-likes very often, so it was quite the ordeal when I realized that I had at least 2 celebrity sound-a-likes teaching me the law of this fine nation.

While lecturing on hate speech in Constitutional Law, I noticed that my professor had a certain twang about his voice that sounded very familiar, like the voice of a character that was often a part of my Thursday night television line up back in my youth. Celebrity Sound-a-Like: Larry David as George Steinbrenner on "Seinfeld."

Later that night, I headed off to my legal professions class to spend the next 2 hours listening to a man who sounds like Harold Ramis, more commonly known as Dr. Egon Spengler from "Ghostbusters," but he doesn't sound like the Harold Ramis of "Ghostbusters;" he sounds more like the older, portlier Harold Ramis that makes a cameo in "As Good as it Gets." Interestingly enough, there are similarities in appearance to the more rotund Ramis & my legal professions professor as well, but the voice is what's more astonishing.

I don't know what it is about IU school of law & its propensity towards hiring individuals that resemble public figures. Perhaps it draws in more prospective students. Since I get to enjoy these celebrity look & sound-a-likes every day, I figured I would share the wealth. But it's not going to come that easy! Here's a little game. Below you will find a picture of an IU law professor next to a picture of an identifiable celebrity/public figure. See if you can figure out which one is the professor & which one is the public figure. Be careful! It gets tricky! (I wanted to post more, but blogger wouldn't let me...)







Sunday, September 14, 2008

Surreality

About a week ago I was hanging out with my friend Megan, sharing our list of favorite blogs and whatnot when we were struck with longing taste buds and growling stomachs. Luckily, Bloomingfood's was right around the corner with friendly faces and curried lentils. We leashed up Megan's dog and brought her along for the trip. Scout the dog was oh so happy to be outside of the apartment in construction, and head back to the co-op for round 2 that day. We decided that we might as well sit outside and enjoy the scenery while we ate, so Megan brought Scout over so that she could see us and feel a bit more connected, regardless of the communication barrier which exists between humans and dogs. Sounds like a pretty nice afternoon meal, right? It's amazing how quickly things can happen. I am still a bit stunned by this whole experience. A bit too surreal, and some top of the line comedic material that Larry David would love to get his hands on.

Scout started barking. Barking and barking. I didn't think anything of it, probably because my hunger was blocking any of my sense and not allowing them to function properly. We just talked right over her. But apparently others didn't have the same patience that Megan and I had.

Scout: "Woof! Woof!"
Megan: "Scout!"
Old Lady with menonite hair (bitchily): "Why don't you just tie the dog up next to you!"

"Oh, okay. Sorry," replied Megan. Scout soon joined us, up close and personal, while we ate. I awkwardly attempted to keep conversation going after the confrontation, but Megan seemed a bit distracted and aloof as a result. I didn't know what to do. I felt weird even taking bites of my salad.

"I think we should leave," Megan finally said.
"Oh, okay. Yeah, sure," I responded, a bit relieved thinking that maybe once we started moving and getting blood pumping it would be so tense. I placed my fork in the dirty dish tray and off we went. After we turned the corner and were no longer in site of the other dining patrons, Megan unveiled the source of tension.

"So, that woman that yelled at me is my gynecologist."

What an odd run in. Your gynecologist lecturing you on how to deal with behavioral issues of your dog. Gynecologists should stick to cervixes. Especially when they're jerks in real life.

We're walking and talking about this lady parts doctor when I see my neighbor, Wyatt, with his son's dog, trying to get into a car parked on 7th street.

(Quick profile summary: Wyatt. Looks exactly like one would expect a "Wyatt" to look. Listens to classic rock post-loud clanking weight work out which shakes the picture frames in my apartment. Never listens to music while he works out. Smokes. Heard him & his son fighting around Christmastime about Wyatt's inability to be "grown up," which is why all of his relationships fail. Uses a fleece Indianapolis Colts blanket for a curtain. Enjoys making hamburgers, the aroma of which floods my apartment and provides me with a pleasant surprise when I come home from school late in the evening and smell ground beef seeping through my vents.)

I usually try to avoid Wyatt as much as possible because it's always an awkward conversation. Once I spotted him, I started thinking about how I would approach this situation. While Megan continued to vent about the mean gyno I began to play out in my mind different strategies on how to deal with the ever-approaching Wyatt encounter. "I could just talk the whole time that we walk by him & act like I just don't even see him because I have something really important that I'm saying"...Okay, if he doesn't look up I won't say hello; if he does then I'll ask him how he is, but I won't stop walking. It'll be a brief, mobile exchange. Darnit, he looked up."

"Hey Wyatt, how are ya?"
"Well hey, I'm do-"

Wyatt's dog was not on a leash. While I initiated the conversation I thought, oh, these dogs will probably smell each other and we'll have to stop for them to be friends for a few seconds. That'll just make things even more awkward. But instead, cordial sniffs were traded in for vicious fangs. Wyatt's dog lunged at Scout and attacked her. Megan freaked out. Wyatt yelled at his dog. I stood there, wondering how I didn't come up with a plan of action for "dog fight." But no, that was not the end of it.

Megan, full of frustration from the previous incident with Dr. Rude snapped at Wyatt.

"Why don't you keep your dog on a leash?!"
"Well, I normally DO keep my dog on a leash, but I had things to do and I couldn't put her on a leash!"
"Well, it's inconsiderate to me, my dog, other people, and your dog to not have a leash on her!"
(Maggie, stage right, slowly trying to inch away from both parties with a certain cringe on face)
"Yeah, well what's inconsiderate is not picking up your dog shit and leaving it out in other people's yards!"
(Maggie, a little further up on stage right, wondering what the heck kind of comeback that is?)
"I DO pick up my dog shit!" (point, Megan)
"Yeaaaah, well fuck you!"
"No, fuck you!"

We started towards the crosswalk. I didn't know if I should say goodbye to Wyatt. In a 12 inch voice, I leaned over to Megan and said, "That was my neighbor, Wyatt, the one I was telling you about."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Warning: This Blog Full of Emotional Ranting

I don't normally like to use my blog as a diary of sorts, but I figure if there's something that's so overpowering occurring in my life, then I have justification for writing about it.

I think I've cried more over the past 7 days than I have in my entire life. This morning, I was plagued with not wanting to get up and go to church. When I got to church, my eyes wouldn't stop welling up with tears, and my throat burned so badly I couldn't sing. I just kept feeling the urge to leave because I didn't want to be seen crying, but something kept me there. Bob (the pastor) started a series on the challenges of faith in following an unseen God. A flood of convicting thoughts rushed my brain.

Something that I've been struggling with over the past year or so is the idea that I can control what's happening and have no need to rely on God. We're fed to believe that we can direct our lives; that we're supposed to be suspicious of things in life and we can and should predict what will happen next so that we stay in complete control and everything remains safe. I figure, hey, I can handle this. But just when I get comfortable with me being the director of my life, everything blows up in my face. Why? Because I didn't trust God. I didn't need Him; everything was great without His contributions. Then what does He do? He humbles me hardcore. I come running back to Him, urging for Him to intervene. Why can't I just learn my lesson and admit that in reality I am not competent to face these hardships alone? Deep down I know that, but I constantly deny God His role in my life.

And the thing is, when I do come begging, admitting that I don't know what to do, He steps in and takes on His role. He was just sitting there waiting for me to acknowledge Him. I can't help but think "I don't deserve Him." After what I've done, how I've treated Him, I don't deserve God's intervention. Why on earth would He be willing to come back after my repeat offenses against Him? I guess I am feeling guilty because I am realizing what it feels like to be treated the way I have treated God over the past year. He wants to be there; He wants to help me; He wants to care for me; but I resist, believing that I can do it on my own. How painful this must be for Him to constantly be rejected when He just wants to give me the best that He has to offer. And He doesn't begrudgingly intervene. He hops off the bench, embracing the challenge of cleaning up the mess I've made. And once again, I am truly humbled.

I said the other night that I felt like I was not struggling with my faith in Christ, but my reliance on Christ. Today's sermon helped me realize that when I'm not relying on God I'm not exercising faith in Him. The two are inseparable. Faith is complete reliance and belief that even though I might not see, hear, or feel God in my life, He is still a force that needs to be recognized and relied upon. Because, how can you rely on someone in whom you don't have faith?

The sermon closed by posing a few questions to think about in application to our own lives. The one that struck me the most was "Why do we trust ourselves, but don't trust in God?" My answer is that I'm so stuck within selfish and sensory physical boundaries that I'm not willing to step outside of myself to recognize that an unseen force far beyond my comprehension in terms of grace and mercy and love could possibly exist. I'm not willing to just leave my life in the hands of something I've never tangibly experienced because I need the security of limiting my life's potential to the common, convenient, and comfortable. What's sad about this is if I would be willing to just have complete faith in Christ's command then my life would be nothing less than far beyond what I could have ever imagined for myself. I'm limiting myself by not relying on God. My hope is to be less of the "Doubting Thomas" type and more of the "Father Abraham." I want to go to my grave having the strongest faith that the unfulfilled with be fulfilled (even if I don't get to see it). You know, you think you have this shit all figured out...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Dream of Swayze

I usually try to find something good in everything out there. There are a few things that, no matter how much I try, I just can't beyond pure hatred. The list is rather short, but in a way the brevity of the "hate list" provides for intense levels of disdain for the particular items.

Things I hate:
1. Brussel Sprouts
2. When people have a "bubble" in their throat (some phlegm gets caught, forming a bubble that changes the individual's speaking voice, making it more muted & Kermitish)
3. The words "Yeast" and "Moist"
4. Dinosaurs (love to hate them)
5. Geese
6. Patrick Swayze
7. Feet

This post is going to focus on #6, Mr. Swayze. I don't know what it is about Pat, I just really don't like him. I think a major influence on my opinion was the "Chippendale's" skit on SNL with Chris Farley. He was legitimately trying to be sexy, regardless of the fact that he didn't have to put forth huge amounts of effort next to Farley's ingenious performance of unsexiness. It was almost as if he was purposefully trying to make Farley look even worse, while exalting his own flawless muscular structure. He just doesn't seem to have a sense of humor. Also, I really don't see him as a fantastic actor. Sure, "Dirty Dancing" is a cinematic classic, but throughout my years I have always been frustrated with Johnny, thinking he was just flat out annoying and not in the least attractive.

The problem is that my subconscious has cursed me with 2 Swayze dreams within the past 3 weeks. These weren't any normal dreams; Swayze didn't just make a cameo but was front and center. He was a love interest. Dream one: I am teaching at my old middle school. I have my hair in long, braided pig tails and I go down these stairs to an area that looks like a pool and a New York subway. I stand down there for a second, then start to walk back up the stairs in a crowd of people. While jammed amidst strangers, someone starts commenting on my pigtails and sort of hitting on me. It turns out that it's Patrick Swayze. I am completely grossed out and ignore him. I walk faster towards my destination. When I get there, Barbara Bush is at a circulation desk in my old middle school gymnasium. We start talking about very philosophical topics, and Patrick Swayze tries to interject some words in the conversation in order to impress me, but what he says is not very intelligent. Barbara and I just look at him with blank stares. He feels a bit dumb and walks away. Barbara gives me advice that he's no good.

Dream two: I have a sister. We're living in a doll house, meaning there is no 4th wall. My sister and I are both in dating relationships. I am dating Patrick Swayze, she is dating this guy that I really this is an awesome dude. She's actually in love with Patrick, but I somehow convince the cool dude to ask my sister to marry him because I really want him in the family. After he proposes and she says yes, I announce that I am going to break up with Patrick because he's just a little too stupid. My sister becomes irate because she is now trapped in a relationship with someone that she doesn't want to marry when she actually wanted to be with her sister's boyfriend, or should I say ex-boyfriend. I feel like conscious me was trying to tell the character's in subconscious me's play that they should all just switch and be happy. I don't think subconscious me was happy with the plot suggestion.

They're not the greatest dreams, but they still made an impression on me. Why is Patrick Swayze making repeat appearances in my dreams? Not only that, why are they romantic repeat appearances? Usually you can connect the dots between things going on in your actual life with the things that appear in your dreams. There is a clear synapse between reality and subreality. But here, there is just no reason for it. And especially, there is no reason for it twice.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Have it Your Way

Earlier this summer I was strolling down the sidewalk when I saw the remnants of a drunken hunger raid carelessly discarded approximately ten future paces in front of my path. I approached and quickly assessed the sample. Half eaten; two buns, which were no longer stacked on top of one another but were "open" so that one could see the contents held within; an all-beef patty, significant smaller than its bun case, and covered by a slice of cheese that initially tried to melt but did not succeed; wilted pickles; and little onions diced into tiny cubes that left an imprint on the underachieving cheese. Based on the evidence, I was able to conclude that this was a cheeseburger from the well-known fast food chain, "McDonald's."

As I proceeded on my way, I continued to think about this hamburger. I became intrigued by the thought that I could pinpoint the source of a hamburger, an all-American delight, simply by its structure and accessories. The diced, cubed onions instantly caused a light to go off in my head that this was a McDonald's burger. No doubt about it. No other restaurant dices their onions. Now, let's switch things up a bit. What if the hamburger on the street had a tomato slice instead of ketchup, a dab of mayonnaise, onion slices, and a SQUARE meat patty? Or, that there was an interesting odor that accompanied the burger, like it was FLAME-BROILED? How about if the hamburger was not a standard-sized hamburger, but very small. Almost as though you could fit it in your pocket And there wasn't just one of these burgers, there were about seven. What if, when I walked by the hamburger, I instantly got diarrhea just from looking at it? (see answers below)

Is this something that I should be proud of? That I can identify a hamburger on the street, sans signifying wrapper? Should any of us be proud of that?

On another hamburger note, I left the sidewalk burger puzzled as to how it got to that particular location in town. For those of you that know Bloomington, this hamburger was on 6th street, right in front of Vintage Phoenix Comics. There is no McDonald's anywhere remotely close to that location. I can only think of 3 McDonald's in Bloomington as I sit here, and I'm sure that I could only think of 3 McDonald's on that particular day as well. One, on North Walnut as you're heading out of town, right by the bypass. Two, across from College Mall. Three, on the west side, across from the movie theater and next to the Scottish Inn. None of these are within drunken sidewalk distance. I'm completely baffled.

Answers to fast food burger quiz:
1. Wendy's
2. Burger King
3. White Castle
4. Rally's

Have if Your Way

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

legal gift registry

As the summer winds down and wedding season starts to dwindle, I've been taking some time to reflect. As the number of my single friends & family members is slowly being outnumbered by the married, and as I continue to remain in the ranks of the single, I've seen my attitudes towards weddings & all that comes along with them evolve. The biggest problem I've had with weddings has been the gift registry. Don't get me wrong, I think that it's a great invention for both guests & the married party, but I found myself struggling to cough up money & invest in the lives of my loved ones or having a break down in Target as I tried to decide whether I should get the dishes or the sconce. Not to be a doomsday thinker, but with the average number of divorces as high as it is, it's hard for me to not think that my gift will just cause frustration rather than joy as the two fight over who should get the tea kettle in the settlement.

Now, like I said, as I am slowly becoming the minority in my group of friends and am embarking on my life long journey as the crazy cat lady that just loves her work too much/her students are her children/etc. as my chances of getting married continue to slim down, I think that I should get some gifts. I feel that I am justified in this request because, if you think about it, what is the percentage of this population that graduates law school & gets a j.d. versus the percentage of this population that gets married? It's much rarer to come across someone who achieves higher education than someone who gets married. And really, how many of those who do get married end up getting divorced & married again? My j.d. will last a lifetime once I achieve it. I can decide not to use the j.d., but that doesn't mean that I lose it. I'll still have it. Forever. I think that deserves a present.

When people get REmarried they're most likely going to expect more gifts. I can only get my j.d. once. That means that I'm only expecting you all to get me a present on one occasion, and one only. That benefits you more so that if you have friends that get divorced & remarried.

I like to think of myself as a pretty kind person. Even though I've made it clear that I do not want to be an attorney at a firm, that does not mean that I have not received the same education as those individuals. This also means that I will be capable of helping you all with your legal problems (and who doesn't have legal problems). This will all be pro bono work. I think the least that you could do is to perhaps pay it forward in the form of a kitchen-aid before you even receive my free legal services. Also, let's consider my current state of debt. It's only going to get worse. I'm a single woman trying to get started in this world. At least if you're married there's someone else to help you out. I'm all alone out here, and I will most likely have to use my soul as collateral. Perhaps I'm being a bit elitist here, but I don't know why someone would not want to invest in a bright young woman's future. How bout it, folks?

That being said, I have recently created a "wish list" at skymall.com. If you'd like to take a peak, you're more than welcome. I hope you don't take this the wrong way. I'm just saying, how is receiving a doctorate not as big of a milestone as getting married? I think I have just cause to create a registry just for myself, and if Target tries to say that I have to have 2 people in order to create a registry I'll just sue them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

return to blogging & tales of the co-op

It has been brought to my attention that I have not posted a blog since May. Some have rubbed this in my face by bragging that they are "winning the blog post race." I can't really pinpoint any particular reason as to why I have not been posting blogs other than the fact that I just feel "blah." I couldn't find any other word that more accurately describes my current state of affairs than "blah." I love to write. Any kind of writing, except poetry. That's not my thing...that's Dave Segedy's thing. But I haven't felt any desirous need to write or when I do write I'm not passionate about it. I guess that's what they would call "writer's block," but I think what I'm suffering from is "life block." This happens to me quite a bit and I pop out of it like Punxsutawney Phil on February 2nd, but it's taking a bit longer than usual this time around.

Anyways, a friend told me that I should start writing again regardless of how I feel when I'm writing or how I feel about what I'm writing just to force myself to get back with the program, so that's what I'm going to try and do. Also, I have to write another blog where I am representing other ladies and if I do poorly there's no telling what they'll do.

So, I work at Bloomingfood's every once in a while when they're in a cooperative crunch and need someone to scan multiple fair trade items and spew out PLU numbers like a Russian Mathematician. While working yesterday, I had a customer come through my line purchasing a big jug of strawberry milk yogurt. I went through my usual shpeal.

"Do you have a member number?"
"Nope, but I'm a very old man. Does that get me anywhere?"
"Sure does. You get a 5% discount on your purchase, all day, every day."

The man didn't appear to care about the 5% discount. He was on a mission. A mission to use a "good line" or so he thought. It was as though he had been waiting his whole life to become an elderly man so that he could use such a "joke."

"They say you are whatcha eat," he said, hardly able to contain himself.
"Uhh, I'm sorry?" I responded, wondering where this came from & where he was going with it.
"Ya'are whatcha eat. That's what they always say. What'd I eat to get to be a very old man?" He responded to my puzzled tone & bewildered expression, disappointed that I didn't feed into his punchline by initially responding, "Well, what'd you eat to get to be very old?"

I stuck to my routine, even though I was a bit distracted by my mind trying to figure out what in the world this all meant.
"Here's your receipt, sir," leaving in the dust anything involving colloquial aphorisms.
"Thank ya very much."
"Oh, you're welcome."

What does that mean? What did I eat to become a very old man? A friend suggested that perhaps he ate a very old man. That makes the most sense, and if you look at it literally, and even figuratively, that might be the only way that it makes sense. When I think about this aphorism, I think that it tries to express something more about the individual's personality. You see someone eating an apple, you think, "Oh, they must be sweet, because an apple's sweet & they say you are what you eat!" Or, "Wait, he eats unsweetened chocolate? That's so bitter! He must be resentful about something because you know what they say...you are what you eat!" But this man took the phrase and applied to a whole new characteristic realm. Does that mean that if you eat old stale bread or drink expired orange juice that you will become old? Doesn't everyone become old regardless of what one might consume? I'm still confused.

To make this customer/employee exchange even more of a labyrinth, the manager of cheeses & other products was behind me filling out some forms. He mistook the man to be saying "dirty" instead of "very" old man, which would alter things immensely.

"I'm a dirty old man, does that get me anywhere?"
"They say you are whatcha eat, so what'd I eat to become a dirty old man?"

Mike turned around right after I said, "you're welcome" to the "dirty" old man and in a fit of disgust said, "Yea, you're welcome...to not have to continue to ring up his or anyone else's groceries if they every say something like that to you again. And I'm serious."

At first I giggled, because that is my initial reaction to anything in life. But then I became even more confused because I didn't understand why Mike was so upset about the man proposing that he ate an old man or some old food product to become old, since you are what you eat. I thought about clearing things up so that Mike wouldn't be so worked up, but I think he soon forgot about it so I just let it go. I still had to figure out what in the world just happened with the customer now that I figured out why Mike was so pissed.

This experience got me thinking about another good grocery moment that I had about 2 weeks ago. It was Customer Appreciation Day and the store was a maniacal mess of hipsters, heath-conscious, and herbal zealots all trying to make a purchase of $50 or more in order to get a free light bulb.* I was a scanning fool with my trusty bag man Scott by my side. He was amazing. Anyways, this elderly woman comes up to my register and very sweetly & ever so gently looked at me, reached her hand out to hold mine and calmy said, "You're out of time."

"What?!" I responded, flabbergasted that the Grim Reaper manifested itself in the form of a kindly senior citizen supporting her local growers guild. I thought to myself, why on earth would God choose today, of all days, to take me home? It's Customer Appreciation Day! Doesn't he see how insanely busy it is? What will they do without me? Then I thought, waaaait a minute missy, if anyone's out of time it's you. Look at you, you're old. I've got nothin' but time, ya hear?

"THYME," she said slowly & loudly as though how she was speaking it would substitute for spelling it. "Like the spice."

"Ohhhh, we're out of THYME. I get it."



*did you know that those light bulbs that aren't supposed to use up as much energy & are better for the environment contain mercury? I had no idea. So be careful when you dispose of them, even though that will probably be in 9 years since that is their estimated life span, and you (and I) will probably forget about taking cautionary discretion.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Live in the Now

It seems that there is a trend of human fascination in the future. I think that goes along with being intrigued by the unknown, or really the unknowable. In elementary school there always seems to be some assignment where you have to complete the thought of "In the future ___." It wasn't necessarily a test of your knowledge of the state of the world but usually a test of your imagination. The future is an outlet for the creative mind. The future is a dream world, with world peace, tube portals that suck you up & transport you from Chicago to Amsterdam in 1 minute with no delays, humans talk to their animal co-workers, and the earth is a desolate ghost town in the universe.

Perhaps the fact that the future is so malleable is the reason why creative institutions obsess over the concept and exaggerate its existence. "The Jetsons," "Back to the Future," and other movies, books, and tv shows all seem to envision the future in very similar ways. Food magically appears, cars & other forms of transportation fly, float, or hover, space travel is easily accessible, robots & button pushing does everything for you, and everyday attire involves overwhelming amounts of metallic textiles, crazy geometric formations, and seem highly impracticable for the work place.

I think it's interesting that this portrayal of the future seems to cross generational lines. I mean, "The Jetsons" was created in the 1960's, "Back to the Future" was in the 1980's, and even though about 20 years elapsed between the 2, there's a common thread in the object of the future. I don't know if these depictions were meant to be a parody or and exaggeration of the future, or if these people really imagined that these elements would manifest themselves in the coming years. But I have to say that when I think about the future, I think of it as a highly metropolitan space life with lasers and robots and lots of gadgets that save me from doing any manual labor ever as I lounge around in my crazy metallic jumpsuit, since jeans no longer exist, much like the creators of these shows and movies thought of the future. Regardless of what year it is, this future is timeless & will always exist just out of our reach. "Oh, I bet in the year 3000 they'll be a water park on Venus that knocks Indiana Beach of the map." These kind of things.

But here's the thing: We're living in the future. I said this one time and the people I was with just laughed at me as though they were expecting me to say something completely ridiculous for the sake of their enjoyment. But seriously, these things that generations have always thought would have in that unreachable future are happening in our lifetime & our generation. Within my life, we have reached the unattainable and fantastically impractical future that we have always dreamed up. This thought dawned on me one day when I went to Target & I saw that they now have these picture frames where you don't even put a picture in them. You just put this chip in them & then pictures just appear & they change out like a slide show. Now that is the future. It scared me a bit. It made me realize that the future of Doc Brown, Martie McFly, and Astro was a-knockin'. Then, when I was in Ft. Wayne this past week I saw on the news that a robot conducted the Detroit Symphony. Not a person, a robot. A real-live robot. And he said things that a person would say. An eloquent, educated person. And he did a really good job. That's the future, and it just happened 5 days ago. And you can't tell me that segways aren't crazy futuristic transportation instruments that you colored in on your "this is what the future will look like" project. Oh! And let's not forget about Deep Blue, the computer that beat a Russian at chess. It beat a Russian...at chess! Americans can't even beat Russians at chess. And it's been over a decade since that happened. So really, we've sort of past the commencement of the future. Now we're in the thick of it.

I guess I'm kind of disappointed in the future. I had such high expectations for it, and now that it's here it's kind of a bummer. I expected so much more, as my 2nd grade project revealed. Plus, I always thought that the reason we had the future was to create a life that we believed could never be. And since society is disproving that thought by proclaiming that it can be, what are our little imaginations supposed to do? I guess a positive is that those hovering skateboards from "Back to the Future: II" are just around the corner. I will anxiously be awaiting their arrival at Target.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A time to be studying, a time to spend your day answering absurd questions in order to find out if you are a drunk diva or a crunk chick

My summer break has officially started. As much as I yearned for this time since September when it last concluded, I wish that it weren't here. I'm afraid I got my Grandpa's disease where I feel like I have to constantly be doing something. I guess I don't know how to relax, or how to function as a relaxed human being. I mean, I'm pretty laid back in personality, but when it comes to activity & function, I need to be doing something constantly. Tuesday night after we played a show I realized that I had nothing to do the next day, since I had spent all of monday cleaning my apartment from base board to ceiling trim. I mapped out a master plan for wednesday, involving a day spent reading, at the park, possibly exercising, baking, lots of stuff. When I woke up the next morning the sky was almost the same hue as it was when I went to bed, but now it was shedding its spring coat all over the earth. No park. I had no idea what to do with myself. I decided that since I had all of this time inside, I should use it by doing something productive like spending time with myself and really focusing on me & trying to find the answer to the question, "who is Maggie Paino?" What would the answer be to that question on jeopardy? I wanted to know. So, I dedicated the next 4 hours of my life to self-reflection...via online quizzes. You know the ones; they clutter up myspace & facebook pages with their philosophies on how that individual portrays a caramel apple strudel because he/she is such a sweet person that people, but people can only handle in certain types of situations but when others do get a little taste of him/her, they're addicted for life. I started goofing around on this website during my finals because I just wanted to do anything but study, obviously. I took a quiz called "how much do you weigh?" Now, to me this just seemed like such a ridiculous quiz to take. How on earth can they tell me how much I weigh without either being an analog or digital scale, or a carny? I answered questions regarding how much fast food I eat & how often I exercise. My result--I weigh 160 pounds. 160 POUNDS. Then I took a quiz of equitable absurdity called "are you pregnant?" Is your period more than 3 weeks late? Are you a woman? Are you bloated? (I got kind of nervous when I had to answer yes to that one) Have you taken more than 2 pregnancy tests that all resulted in "positive"? Luckily, I'm not pregant. Phew.

So, in my 4 hours of blog quizzes, here's what I learned about myself:

I have good spelling
My eyes should be brown (luckily, they are)
I have quite good cell phone etiquette
If I were a sandwich I would be a grilled cheese (but I think I would go by the name "cheese toastie)
I'm 76% Good
My life is rated PG
People definitely like me
If I were a cheesecake, I would be a key lime cheesecake
The animal that I was in a past life was an otter
If I were a shade of green, I would be apple green
I'm from the plant Neptume
My 1996 themesong is "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette
If I were a punctuation mark I would be a Question Mark (and I get along best with the Comma)
I will keep my New Year's Resolution
My scent is "pumpkin pie"
I really know my state capitals (I think the quiz was a little disturbed by how good I was)
I'm not ruined by American Culture
I'm a bad date
Out of the most recent former presidents, I am most like George H.W. Bush
My celebrity boob twin is Paris Hilton

As I continued down my path of self-evaluation and enlightenment, I found that not only were there quizzes telling me who I am, but there were also quizzes that would tell me how to live my life, & answered all of the tough questions that I've been facing as I begin to "grow up." This was great! All I had to do was answer a few questions, and then they would tell me what I should do! Where should I live? What kind of car should I drive? What kind of dog should I get? What should I be when I grow up? What higher educational degree should I get? (it said I should get a j.d., so it looks like I'm on the right track) What shade of lipstick should I wear? What April Fool's prank should I play? What color should my blog background be? This was great!

Then, as I got about 3 hours 45 minutes into these quizzes, I started to wonder about their results. Like the quiz "how happy are you?" Was that honestly how happy I was? Or the fact that I should have brown eyes. Could they have made a mistake? I started to doubt everything I had learned about myself that afternoon. But then, in a glistening moment of serendipity, I stumbled upon another section of quizzes that I could take. "How happy are you, really?" "What color eyes should you have, really?" It's like they knew that I was questioning their authority on these topics! So, I'm really supposed to have blue eyes? I knew it! It's a good thing I took this second quiz to make sure!

One thing that I was thoroughly impressed with is the quiz creator's ability to come up with ways to make someone feel like they really were a powdered devil's food donut with star-shaped sprinkles. Not only that, but the fact that they can pull so many things out of an inanimate object & personify it to the point that an individual feels so empowered by the fact that they represent a certain type of shoe. Seriously, think about it. It's just a very admirable skill in my book.

There was one question I came across that I had quite a bit of trouble answering. I believe it was a part of the quiz "what is your theme song for 1996?" The question asked:
Which artists do you like the best?

A. Michelle Branch, Fefe Dobson, Kelly Clarkson
B. Counting Crows, Sarah McLachlan, Sting
C. Maroon 5, Good Charlotte, Alanis Morissette
D. Fountains Of Wayne, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jewel
E. Tori Amos, Norah Jones, Indigo Girls
F. Nickelback, Dido, Coldplay
G. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, Garbage
H. Christina Aguilera, Shakira, Nelly Furtado

What kind of groupings are those? Yeah Yeah Yeahs & Jewel? Nickelback & Coldplay? I would be quite perturbed if I were Coldplay & I was included in a group with Nickelback. Or Garbage & Blink 182?

So anyways, all in all, my summer break has started out successful. I've learned so much about who I am & what I should do with my life from here on out. I'm glad I got all that serious stuff out of the way so that I have plenty of time to have fun this summer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

that's what mom's are for

To my mom:

I don't know which is more comforting. Is it the fact that you have consistently sent me something by post for the past 2 1/2 weeks because you know I love the feeling that comes from getting a personalized letter in the mail? Or is it that you "exed" out "today" in the pre-printed card and replace it so that it would say, "I hope 'the week' is the hopscotch kind." I also enjoyed the coupons that you included for the next time I need to buy vitamins or fabric softener. I know the source of my thriftiness. Could it be the fact that you sealed the envelope with a sunshine sticker that came with every order of the old shaklee vitamins you gave us as kids at breakfast time; which you decorated my lunch sacks with when I decided that it was uncool to have an actual lunch pail and wanted to "brown bag" it like everyone else. You wouldn't let me be a lunchtime conformist. Maybe it's just the fact that you still have these stickers after 18 years.

I guess what's most comforting is knowing that when I call you and say that I just need you to talk, you talk. You don't ask me questions, you just talk like a little kid on a bus sitting next to an elderly woman and chatting away about your new pinwheel or the dog you saw at the park. And you don't limit these gabby excursions to conform to your schedule or your sleep or you 30-minute hula hoop exercise routine in the morning. You'll talk whenever, wherever. That's pretty cool.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What Would You Do For an Ex-President?

Due to the actual existence of a primary season, Indiana has actually seen some action on the political battlefield, and Bloomington was on the front line yesterday. Former President Bill Clinton made a stop in Bloomington to campaign for his wife's nomination. When I heard the news, I knew that I had to do whatever it took to guarantee my attendance at the rally. Indiana is such a dust bowl of political action, mostly due to its established role as a staunch "red state." Most democrats won't even come near the place. Actually, I don't even think there's an established Democratic headquarters in Ft. Wayne. I think the handful of donkeys just meet in someone's living room.

So, I found out the details of Clinton's rally and penciled it in. I bailed out of school at noon & rushed over to Assembly Hall to secure my place in line, like I was waiting for tickets to "Star Wars." I'm not good with numbers, but we were definitely within the first 100 attendees in line. There were multiple button salesmen & some t-shirt salesmen. There were Hillary protesters & Ron Paul supporters picketing. The line wrapped around like an extra-long shoe lace that someone just pulled out of their Chuck Taylor & carelessly discarded on their bedroom floor. It was exciting. It was nice to actually be in that political environment that I love so much.

Bill was supposed to speak at 2pm. The doors didn't open until about 1:30pm. We got really good seats. James Mann started the wave while winding up the inclined ramps that take you from level to level in Assembly Hall. There was a crazy lady with drawn on eyebrows, Phil Spektor hair, & a black velvet cowboy-fringed jacket sans female bolo tie in front of us that cut about 15 people in line just to sit in the back of the auditorium. We got situated. The dudes were having fun, trying to get the crowd pumped. It was now about 2:10pm. I then realized that I hadn't eaten since 1pm the day before. I felt like I was going to throw up my internal organs, just before I passed out. The guys were tossing off their coats and sweatshirts as they worked up a sweat playing air-guitar to Lenny Kravitz being played over the loud speaker. I quickly mustered the strength to gather their discarded coats to cover my shivering, convulsing body. It's now about 2:45pm; still no Bill. I figure that the gum that I had been chewing for the past 2 hours would provide me some nutrients if i just chewed it harder. Luckily, my jaw was involuntarily chattering so I didn't have to exert any more energy into trying to make my chops smack. 3pm: my vision starts to go foggy as an unidentified human figure approaches the podium & the crowd starts to cheer. "Oh good," I thought. "Oh wrong," was more like it. This unfunny IU student got up to try and keep the buzz that was generated from the Mann/Felton/Dixon generated wave. "Does anyone have any candy? Even a peppermint would suffice." I asked. "Nope." "Do you want me to go get you a pop?" "No, I'll be fine. You might miss Clinton if you go get a pop. Plus, it's $3. That's ridiculous." 3 minutes later, as I felt myself slipping in & out of consciousness and wasn't strong enough to stand up to let a girl pass through the aisle to go to the bathroom I ask Mike if I can borrow some money to try & muster the strength to climb the stairs to the concession stand to purchase an over-priced 20 ounce bottle of sugary pop that had the lid permanently removed. "No, no, I'll go get it." "No, I can do it. I'm fine" That's my typical response to everything. I can pretty much guarantee that those will be my last words. "I'm fine." Anyway, Mike got the sprite and I slowly started to sip it in between gag reflexes. "Is it helping?" "Well, I'm able to see again." 4:00pm. Still no ex-president.

Finally, around 4:30pm, Bill arose from behind the curtain. I was really excited. He was such a great speaker. He has this way of taking such complex societal concerns and explaining them in a way that even a Purdue alumni would comprehend. (I don't know. That's all I could come up with. My contracts professor always slams on Purdue grads.) This is truly a gift. I think this is one area where Hillary lacks, & she's lucky to have Bill around. She's slowly figuring out how to do this, but Bill is a master. The other thing that impressed me with Bill is how socially magnetic he was. He was explaining why he was so late to show up and at one point said, "I was in Bedford, and was done speaking, but I just have a problem that I can't help but shake people's hands." And it's true. When he finished his speech, President Clinton darted off the stage to congregate with "the people." It was almost like, okay I've done my wife's business, no I want to do my business." He beat the crowd to introductions. It was incredible & exhilarating. I was a Hillary fan before going to hear Bill Clinton, but his speech secured my vote. As pathetic as it sounds, hearing Bill talk about his wife and what she has done with her life instilled a re-exhilaration into my soul that was much needed. I understand what I'm doing in law school.

So, what would I do for an ex-president? I would skip out on an entire day of classes during "crunch time" before finals, stand in line for 2 hours, teeder between consciousness & unconsciousness as I slowly slip into a coma, and spend $3 on a pop. That's what I would do to have my faith restored through the words and actions of an ex-president.

Also, when I got home last night I had plans to attend the Why?/Prayer Breakfast show at Bear's. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to make it over there. I was pretty bummed. I guess "missing a good show" could be tacked on to the list of things that I would do for an ex-president.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Missed connections

While studying today, one of my friends from school came over and started talking to me. I was quite relieved to talk to someone because I was about to reach my quota of life in contracts. He said, "I can't study anymore. I don't want to study anymore. I just want to fall in love and brunch." He then proceeded to tell me that this upcoming wednesday he has a date with a girl that he has never met. Apparently, his roommate posted a personal ad for him on Craig's List as a joke and a decent girl responded, so his roommate is going to fix them dinner & be all matre'de. We got to talking about Craig's List. Did you know that there is a portion of Craig's List called "Missed Connections"? It's completely dedicated to people posting about someone that they see on a regular basis or have seen in passing that they wish they would get the nerve to talk to them, or wish they would've talked to them while they had the chance. It's weird to think that Craig's List has a whole section dedicated to the documentation of lost opportunities and individual hesitations. People post their hopes on Craig's List, but it's like they preemptively acknowledge that they lost their chance and that moment will never return. It's just sad to me. Granted, some of these people post their "missed connection" simply because they want to hook up (even though there is a whole nother section of Craig's List entitled "Casual Encounters" for these individuals), there are obviously some individuals that were truly impacted by such a happenstance encounter with an individual that they didn't even approach. For example:

"At the Field Museum today our eyes met, more than once. I felt it. I know you did too as you caught me, looking for you around every corner of the exhibit. You looked stunning in those black boots with your green jacket tied around your waist. All I could manage was a smile as we both were leaving. Give me a shout back to save me from wondering..."

"We kept on eyeing each other even though people sat next to us. Wish we could have introduced ourselves."

I don't know. I think that this is just fascinating stuff. So much so that I'm having a difficult time sorting out exactly what I want to say about all of this. Maybe it's because I can relate to these missed connections so well. Not necessarily in the realm of experiencing this overwhelming emotion in passing with a stranger (although I've definitely experienced this before. I mean seriously, haven't you?), but just in life in general. Or in relationships in general. I feel like there are so many relationships, whether it be with family or friends or dudes or dogs or whatever, that I have let be missed connections. I either don't take the initiative to keep up with the relationship, or I just let my passive and insecure nature overcome me and keep me from actually pursuing or pushing a relationship to that deeper level with another person. I can think of maybe 2 or 3 people that I have actually worked at the relationship and set aside my apathy to really strive for a connection. That's pathetic. Why do we get so guarded and so nonchalant about these kind of things? I mean, seriously, one little step could pretty much alter your entire fate. Think about all of these people on Craig's List. They realize that, which is why they are now trying to backpeddle fate to see what might've been. I don't know. Maybe I should've waited to write this when I wasn't so brain dead and actually had the time to sort out my thoughts.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't want to have any missed connections in my life. Or, I guess a more accurate declaration would be that I don't want to have anymore missed connections in my life. I think this is going to be a bigger task than I realize. You know, you just have to go for it. Who gives a rip. (what does that mean? Is it short for something? I never really knew.)

Oh, also when I was reading through these I rather narcissistically wondered, "Are any of these about me?" I know that's incredibly self-centered, but seriously, you can't help but wonder. It's weird to think that maybe I was someone's missed connection, or that I was the person that left such an impact that they went searching for me on Craig's List. It's incredibly flattering, if you think about it. Someone was so intrigued by you that they are looking for a way to bring you into their life. I know to some degree it could reach a level of stalkerdom, but it's still pretty crazy. I wouldn't mind being someone's missed connection; the only downside is thinking about the fact that you're not as hung up about the situation as the other individual is. Except if it was a mutually missed connection. My friend that I was talking to actually said that he knows a guy that posted a "missed connection" and the actual girl responded. They ended up dating for 3 years or so. Pretty incredible. As someone on the site said, "I know it's pretty stupid for me to post this, but it's Craig's List so anything can happen!" or something along those lines.

Also, this got me to thinking, I shared a moment with a dog yesterday. It had his head sticking out of the backseat passenger window of an older Honda Civic. It was a beagle. I really like beagles. Should I post this on Craig's List? I'm so lonely, I shared a moment with a dog.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What's Your Metaphor?

This pretty much sums up my life right now. You could substitute pretty much any element, accessory, weight control attempt, extracurricular activity, hope, or dream for the balloon animal that I am trying to wield and control to form some impeccably made teddy bear. Yep.

Maggie






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Does This Thing Have 4-Wheel Drive?

What I got for Christmas:

slippers
fondu set (for cheese!)
a palm pilot that is strictly for the use of presenting me with sudoku puzzles
an orange peeler
a star cookie cutter
a "law school survival kit" (which will come in handy if I'm actually in law school this next semester--complete with a red swingline stapler)
my grandma telling me that she would disown me if I actually got a tattoo, literally, out of the will disown me

My brother got a wii for Christmas, and we decided to create lots of little mii's to run around. We made Teddy Roosevelt, Rudy Giuliani, Kim Jung Ill (spelling?), and one of those kids you always see on the commercials asking for donations for the village (we called this one "adopt mii").

I just saw a 3 second clip from the remake of "King Kong" and I think I might want to see it. The girl that Kong lusts after looks really happy when Kong snaps her out of her apartment and carries her around. She's not screaming; it's quite to the contrary. She's rather enjoying herself and almost looks like she's going to turn the movie into a musical.

My brother was reading the paper today and saw an article about a guy in Frankfort, Indiana that just bought a truck for $25,000 and he paid for it strictly in coins. Quarters and dollar coins. That's 100,000 quarters. And this isn't the first time he's bought a car in coins. He bought a dodge ram and a dodge neon 13 years ago for $34,000 and paid for those vehicles in all coins. I've decided that I'm going to stop using my debit card and paying strictly in coins from now on. I'm going to embrace the fact that the US mint has provided us with those beautiful Sacajewa coins.

the johnny appleseed of coins

My Christmas Wish for Dinociety

Yesterday I was at Soma thinking about what I needed to be thinking about when studying for my Torts exam when I ran into a my fellow law student and friend, Pete. I went up to Pete and asked, "Hey Pete, how gung ho are you studying for tomorrow?" "How gung ho?" he replied. "Well, right now I'm looking up the Bedford Wal-Mart on Google Maps so that I can go and pick up an N64 with 27 games that I bought off of Craig's List from a redneck guy who thinks that I'm some homosexual internet predator. So, about that gung ho." From there Pete and I decided that we really didn't need to study and we talked about other stuff as if we had a life outside of law school. it was kind of like imagining kids talking about the stock market with their plastic cash registers. Pete asked me what I was going to ask for for Christmas. I had no idea. That's nothing new for me though because I rarely want anything. I feel like my dad used to get and might still get mad about me never wanting anything for Christmas or my birthday. So I decided that this year I would start thinking of stuff that I wanted." Here's what I have so far:

1. a counter--like what they have at theaters to find out how many more people they can let in. They make a clicking noise. I would just go around counting things all day long. That would make me oh so happy.

2. one of those things that you put your deposit in at the bank when you go through the drive-thru. That tube; not the tube that sucks it up, but the tube that has that revolvable lid and smarties used to magically appear from within.

3. an N64 with Mario Kart, and Zelda; and I want my brother to play Zelda while I just sit and watch him beat it.

4. saddle shoes

5. more kitchen toys; preferably more little gadgets for baking. I really want a sifter. I used to play with the one at my grandma's all of the time. I loved that thing. I also want a wooden spoon. Recipes always call for me to use wooden spoons, and I never have one.

6. Tickets to one of the Spice Girls reunion concerts

Also, yesterday I went to Backstreet Mission to look for something to do, and I found this book called "If the Dinosaurs Came Back." We all know my stance on dinos, so I'm not going to get into that, but lately I've been kind of warming up to the little guys. (babies, dogs, and dinos...weird) Anyways, this book has just gotten me even more confused about the whole race. Here's what the book says dinosaurs could do it they came back (my thoughts are in parentheses):

-carry your dad to work and back (but not your mom?)
-we wouldn't need lawn mowers (don't families have neighbor kids or their own kids for that?)
-house painters wouldn't need any more ladders
-they would scare away robbers (this is probably the best contribution they would have, really)
-they would make it easy for farmers to plow their fields (don't farmers have kids for that?)
-they would help lumberjacks chop down trees (I don't think any more trees need to be chopped down)
-they could help fire fighters put out fires (weren't dinosaurs scared of fire? I thought cavemen always used fire as a defense mechanism against the ferocious creatures. And what about fire breathing dinosaurs?)
-they could help build big skyscrapers (come on, dinosaurs aren't that big)
-they would make great ski slopes (is this reliable? I can just see so many tortious law suits as a result of dino slopes)
-they could take swimmers on rides at the beach (and then never come back...)
-they could rescue kites stuck in very tall trees (okay, this one is good too)
-mountain climbers would have new mountains to climb (mountain climbers have new mountains to climb when they come home and their wife wants a divorce because that mountain climber's never around)
-they could be a big help at the circus (I don't understand...)
-they could help librarians get books from the top shelf (apparently ladders no longer exist, even though dinos are chopping down enough trees to produce ladders for painters, librarians, and firefighters)
-dentists would have plenty of teeth to work on (the picture of this one has a dentist lying inside a t-rex's mouth on top a bed of bottom row molars--that's just not safe)
-giraffes would have someone to look up to (animals don't care about heros. we care about making animals into heros, like Simba)
-they could push away rain clouds so the sun would always shine (first of all, clouds are not made of mallow puff and therefore cannot just be shoved around. second of all, if it didn't rain we'd all be dead. way to go dinos)
-they would make great pets for people who love dinosaurs (this is supposedly the best reason of all. did this person not see Jurassic Park?)

As Becky pointed out yesterday, it appears that dinosaurs would be taking away a lot of jobs. Dinosaurs would become the new Chinese, or the Indian (from India) for the U.S. I think I want to like dinosaurs, but it's just not working out.

Jesus is My Homeboy

You know how sometimes you just don't want to go to church because it just sounds boring and you know you have so much to be doing for the day and it's all rainy and gloomy like it usually is on sundays (which I always thought God did that on purpose to test your dedication on the sabbath) and your sinuses are all swollen and you have 4 really big exams and you're surrounded by people who are non-stop studying and you just don't have time for God? Those are the best times to go to church. We sang this song today at church. How could this not just make you happy and thankful for everything that God has done so that you could be so busy in life? I was a little disappointed that I wasn't back home at church so that I could just jump up and down and clap and run around like those crazy people used to do (that's what you get when you grow up in a church with a pentecostal background with people speaking tongues all around you), but unfortunately I go to a church with a methodist background and they're so suppressed. Why wouldn't you go buck-wild when you sing this song and realize what you're singing?

I'm so ready to study 24/7 for the next 2 weeks and kill my exams now. Yeah, this song is the shit.



In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My comforter, my all in all--
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For every sin on Him was laid--
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground his body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again.
And as He stands in victory,
Sins curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine--
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death--
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hel, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or cals me home--
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.