Monday, December 25, 2006

Some Long Overdue Pictures

Since my blog has been so devoid of visual content as of late, I thought I would mix it up a little bit with some great old family photos, from back in the days when we all felt a bit more photogenic.

Nips make you strong! Or so say Melissa and my cousin, Suzanne, in their bid to become the Nips Spokespeople.
Sarah and I when we were very young.

Melissa had a superhero birthday cake. And she carried her Snoopy with her everywhere.

Let me just say this right now, it will be a shame if Sarah, Melissa, and I never have children. We have good genes to have cute children. I mean, not to be conceited about it, but look at some of these pictures:

That is Sarah and our Irish Setter, Rusty.
I was cute too.

Of course, as can be seen above, Melissa was the cutest of all. Look at her in the pool, below:

Yep, the three of us were such cuties. I bet if more men saw us as babies and as children, then they would want to date us, marry us, and have kids with us. Because we were cute. Of course, we have to thank the ones who gave us such good genes.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Even funnier still...

Check out these gems shared by Seattle Times readers regarding their storm experiences. Makes me miss the days of listening to WCOA talk radio in Pensacola and hearing the lady talking about an alligator that, "done crawled up in my backyard."

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

There certainly are alot of Chicken Littles running around Seattle. In what could only be compared to a weak tropical storm (if it were about 40 degrees warmer, that is), the entire Western Washington region has today proven how ridiculous an area can act in something that doesn't even amount to a natural disaster. I have learned today how much I don't want to be here should something significant ever actually happen, like an earthquake of major proportions.

Granted, I am fortunate because I didn't lose power, and my drive to work was incredibly easy, but half of my office didn't show up at all today. I just went out for lunch, and it is an absolute comedy of errors out there. People have forgotten the four way stop rule when a traffic signal is out. People are out clogging up gas stations and stocking up on ice (it is 40 degrees outside, mind you and it is forecast to get even colder this weekend). I feel like I am a genius because I had the common sense to fill up my tank of gas yesterday, when all of the gas stations had power.

Once again, I am reminded of how a little foresight goes a long way to staving off disasters. For example, so many people are without power, and all of the relevant utilities operations are saying it could be days until power is restored. Perhaps if the people here ever thought to cut the trees away from power lines, then some of this could have been avoided (I know right in front of my house there is a tree that grows directly through the power lines). I know road crews in Florida are pretty diligent about that. Generally, that diligence is why weak tropical storms in Florida don't cause widespread power outages. I have to comment on the work ethic of some of the power crews here too - I just went to Jack-in-the-Box for lunch with my paralegal, and watched a crew across the street. There were 5 people - two holding signs, one in the bucket repairing the line, and two people standing around smiking. At that rate, it is going to be months for them to restore power here.

Maybe I am just trained from living on the Gulf Coast; only I haven't lived there since high school.

Get a load of some of this silliness from the Seattle Times.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Continental Drift Divide...

I think it must be the end of the world in the Pacific Northwest. That is what the weather is telling me. First we had the floods, then the unusual snowfall, now the windstorms. Tonight we are supposed to have sustained winds at tropical storm force level. I did not sign up for this. If I wanted to lose power and spend an evening by the light of a flashlight, then I would have lived in a place where it is warm enough to swim in the water. What weather calamity is left now to suffer?

Here is something to be thankful for . . . awesome female friends. In the past couple of days I have been able to speak with several of my friends from BYU days. On Monday evening I spoke to Charelle, in SLC, on the phone. She just got engaged. I hope that she plays Backstreet Boys at her wedding, for old times sake! This girl is so awesome, that even a sniper on the roof of the Capitol in DC fell in love with her from a distance. That is a story for her grandkids. I also spoke to my friend Suzanne, in DC, who is busy saving Africa with training programs and projects that actually work. She is actually using all of her acquired Africa knowledge, whereas, I just keep reading and learning without ever doing much of anything anymore. Knowledge has become a possession to me, instead of something that has moved me to action. Talking to Suzanne reminds me of how much I need to do. Then, last night my friend Camille, in Boston, called me. She is an amazing writer, and talking to her was just another reminder of how nice it is to speak to someone who thinks so similiarly to the way that I do.

I have been pretty lucky to know some pretty amazing people in my life. It is just too bad that they all live so far away.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So many memories...demolished

I saw this in today's Deseret News regarding the planned destruction of Deseret Towers at BYU. It all starts with "W" Hall.

My freshman year all started with "W" Hall. I may have lived in the penthouse of "U" Hall, but "W" Hall is part of what made my freshman year so memorable; particularly the second floor of W Hall. Now, the memory of those halls is being reduced to rubble.

In the picture, that is the back side of Gubler's room being torn away. So sad. Visiting hours will never be the same again.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Diamonds are for Drill Bits

I saw the movie "Blood Diamond" this week. I know that some reviewers have been hard on the film because in their opinion it is better suited for a "lecture hall" than an entertainment venue (from Entertainment Weekly). I am sorry, but the only way that the average American is going to learn about any important issue these days is through the popular media, not through lectures given by learned academics who can give in depth analysis on the issue. I would certainly bet that the 2 1/2 time of the film exceeds the total length of time given to the war in Sierra Leone by CNN at the time that the war was actually taking place. I think what is most appalling is that so many reviewers have reduced the movie to a "message movie", and who potentially file the abuses and calamities pictured under the category of "goofy" or "cliche" (go to Rotten Tomatoes to see some of these reviews). I have to state that in a year when it has taken alot for me to actually like a movie, I thought Blood Diamond was extremely well made, and well-acted. I am a big Leonardo and Djimon fan, and they both excelled, in my humble opinion. Granted, there were a few lines of the film that I thought were taken to excess (I understand Americans need their messages not in subtext, but was it really necessary to have a villager stating, "Oh, I hope they don't find oil here), but by in large I thought it was remarkably well done. The political message was embedded in the story of the film, which is as it should be. Particularly tortuous to view are the scenes of the RUF's child soldiers, but after reading some books regarding child soldiers in Africa, it was portrayed as it should have been. Sometimes, I think that things should be made brutally obvious to an American consuming public who buy first, think later, if at all.

Now, anyone who knows me certainly knows that I have maintained an intense dislike for diamonds for quite some time. Cynically, my outright dismissal of diamonds can probably be traced to certain events at Brigham Young University, but my dislike congealed together in law school when I wrote an essay, and also a letter to the editor, regarding why I thought BYU students should be more cautious before purchasing that special ring for that special someone. I won't rehash my conclusions in that letter here. The war in Sierra Leone ended some time ago, after all. Nonetheless, my conclusions remain the same. It has less to do with the fact that I will never own a diamond and more to do with the fact that people should be less inclined to buy into media campaigns for products, turning some object into some notion of "pure eternal love" when that object isn't even that rare, and has been used to perpetrate and finance terrible abuses. I mean, wars for oil are bad (and breed some horrible atrocities as well), but at least people aren't holding up that junk and stating that it represents something greater than what it actually is. Its value is its function. Diamond wars are wars over nothing - not wars over functional resources (I doubt people are so violent when it comes to the mining of industrial diamonds), but wars over advertising-assigned values. Thus, children were losing their arms and legs for nothing except so some chick could show off her rock to make her friends jealous.

I just have to say, though Blood Diamond, with The Queen, and The Last King of Scotland, were probably my favorite movies that I have seen thus far this fall. The movies that I enjoyed but didn't love are Stranger than Fiction, and The Fountain. Most of the rest have just been complete junk.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Driving Lessons by Kant

I think the worst part about moving to a city where I now have to commute in traffic is just how frustrated I get with having to drive, or rather, how frustrated I get with other drivers. I thought about this last night when I was driving home from work, and yet again, I was stuck behind another selfish slowpoke driver owning the left lane when he was not passing any vehicles on the right. The vehicles on the right were all passing him. I looked to the far right of the freeway, and there were practically no cars in the right line. This is a routine occurrence on the roads here in Washington State, as people customarily ignore the "keep right except to pass" signs posted on the shoulders and in the median. Because of this driving phenomenon, I have found myself becoming extremely conscious of not using the left lane except when I am passing other vehicles. I figure, I cannot get upset when other drivers don't follow the rule, unless I follow it myself. Last night, as I was thinking about this, I started to think about my other driving rules that I follow, knowing it makes my commute longer sometimes, but if I break the rule, then I would be hypocritical.

Merging is another common example. I hate people who see others patiently merging into the back of the line and then speed down to butt into someone in the front of the line of cars at the last possible second. I get in the back of the line. Did these people who speed down and merge at the last second not go to kindergarten? Did they not learn the various rhymes about cutting in line like, "No butts, no cuts, no peanut butter haircuts?" Perhaps not. But in any case these people are the exact kind of people who it is very hard for me to like in life - they have no common courtesy or concern for anyone else's welfare beside themselves; they are just trying to get ahead in life.

This is what I determined last night: when it comes to driving rules, Immanuel Kant was right. No one should drive in a manner that they couldn't universalize to every other driver on the highway. If everyone wait in line, then the line would go faster because there wouldn't be people cutting in at the last minute. Whereas, if everyone tried to cut in at the last minute, then there would just be a mess of traffic accidents.

My problem in life is also my salvation - I see everything in terms of the possibility for universal justice. I thought that I had become so jaded in recent years, convinced that justice was impossible, because in my job as an attorney, it has become rare to see any notion of justice in the courtroom. Perhaps that is just not the proper venue for justice. Adversarial systems make no sense to me. Nonetheless, there is still a bit of an optimist in me, believing that there can be some rational basis for right and wrong, no matter how naive that may seem.

On an unrelated note, last night I went to the information session at UW on their library and information science masters degree program. Just walking on campus made me giddy, because I just love universities so much. I love everything about the idea of higher education. If I could spend the rest of my life affiliated with an institution of higher education I just think of how content I would be.

Don't get me started on the universal good of libraries...

Monday, December 04, 2006

L'Etat C'est Moi

I haven't posted in awhile. I have witnessed some exciting events lately. I actually was in Utah for Thanksgiving and attended the BYU/Utah football game. It was the first BYU game that I have been to since my freshman year of college. Throughout most of my BYU experience, I had a hate/hate relationship with the BYU football team. During the Luke Staley year, I actually wrote a Viewpoint in the Daily Universe to express my disgust with the very notion that BYU was deserving of a BCS bid. Nonetheless, despite my antagonistic history towards BYU football, I managed to put it behind me for the purpose of supporting my alma mater at the game. I even wore a BYU sweatshirt! Of course, I attended the game with three Ute fans, so that made it even more fun when BYU pulled off the victory in the end. I have to admit, it was an exciting football game, even for my jaded, hard to impress, sports sensibilities.
While I am on the subject of sports - I am so excited that it is now college basketball season, and North Carolina has an excellent young team to watch. I was able to watch two games this week - UNC vs. Ohio State and also vs. Kentucky. I think I love Brandon Wright, the freshman, the most. He has such freakishly long arms, I am just amazed what he can do with them.

Some non-sports excitement - the weather in Seattle was the talk of the town last week. I think it snowed a couple of inches, and practically the whole city shut down. I still braved the elements to go to work, and it was quite humorous to watch all of these Washingtonians trying to drive in the snow. My years in Utah trained this Southern girl in the art of icy driving, enough to laugh at those less versed than myself in that area.

My new career ambition (If the library science thing doesn't work out): AP European History teacher. Lately, I can't get enough of studying European History. I just finished a biography of Elizabeth I and am making my way through the new Antonia Fraser book on the women who affected Louis XIV. I find myself obsessed with Royal Family trees, trying to understand how everyone is related to each other. It is just this really weird phase I am in.