Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

For Thanksgiving, the words of Abraham Lincoln:

"It is the duty of nations as well as of people to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sin and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord!

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven, we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity, we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those whoa re sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the heavens."


Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I'm thinking of boycotting testing until Michelle comes back. We went through forms last night for the first time in weeks, and I could barely remember them, and my technique sucked, big time. We have not done technique regularly since Ethon started running class all the time. Ethon runs a wonderful aerobic/sparring class, but we need balance. The yellow belts who are testing right now just don't have the knowledge of technique that they should. I really hope Michelle is ready to come back next semester. Hear that, Michelle? Come back! We need you!

Monday, November 24, 2003

WOOOOHOOOO!!!!! What a great weekend! The game was just as good as I thought it would be. When we kicked that last fieldgoal to make it 27-21, I was sure they were going to march it down for a touchdown and we would lose by a point. We were sitting on that end of the stadium, and our guys...our guys stopped them at the 5-yard line, right in front of us, 3 times. GO HAWKS! We made so much noise. There were so relatively few of us, but we made a lot of noise. My ankle is even sore today because of all the jumping around I did. It was just so much fun! I got the best picture of part of our group, with the scoreboard in the background.

Josh is headed into surgery this morning, because they found out he fractured part of his skull with that kick to the head. So I'm going to have to figure out how to get a hold of his parents later on today, so I can find out how he is.

And now that I notice that I've mentioned Josh in almost every entry so far (what's up with that?), I have to clarify that Josh and I are not dating. [tongue] He's one of my closest friends, but I don't feel that way about him. It's been kind of nice having a guy friend again. I haven't had that since Billy. Next year is leap year again, isn't it? So it's been almost eight years since he killed himself. I always wonder if he decided to do it on leap day to spare us the anniversary of his death, or to make it more memorable. It sure does make it tougher. Now I always get to hate leap day.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Angel was incredible last night. I mean, it was so good already, with the Spike/Angel dynamic and the flashbacks with Dru, and then, the last 30 seconds...[spoiler=Angel 5.8-highlight to view]LINDSEY! [/spoiler] I couldn't believe it. I screamed at the television and went to call Josh. I had to squeal to someone.

Josh and Brian want to do a reality television show for their next series after they finish with the sketch comedy, and asked for my help, since I'm the reality-TV whore. I'm kind of pleased, and kind of excited. I'll have to spend some time brainstorming as to what will be cheap and not too time-consuming. They want to do something The Amazing Race/Fear Factor-like, neither of which I watch (a girl's gotta have standards), but I'm sure I've got some ideas floating around somewhere.

And I am so incredibly excited for this weekend. I hear Madison is a great place to go to a football game, and it will be incredibly more so if we win. It should be a good game, though, if the team gets over the flu. I can't believe they played that well last weekend while they were so sick. Guys. [rolleyes]

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I got a phone call in the middle of half time Saturday. I couldn't get the right buttons punched, so I had to let it go to voice mail. It was my sister, crying, and I couldn't get a word she said, and I kind of freaked. When I finally found a quiet place to call her back, she told me her fish Barbeque died. Now before you go all "Whew, just a fish," let me tell you, it's amazing how attached you can get to a fish. I had Harold for two years (both Harold and Barbeque were bettas), and I was devestated when he died. I never did get another fish. But Emily had Barbeque for three years, and he had a lot of personality. Leave it to Emily to get an insane fish. The thing would leap up and bite your fingers when you tried to feed it. I always said he would end up jumping out of his bowl and committing suicide. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. So we're going to have a fish funeral in my backyard here sometime soon since Emily doesn't have one (he's awaiting burial in the freezer).

A moment of silence for Barbeque.

And...we're done.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Sticker shock! It's that time of year again to review health insurance and flex spending accounts. Our health insurance coverage is going up 73% over last year. I do have the option of going with less coverage, higher deductible, more out-of-pocket costs, etc., which helps. I don't tend to have much health problems (thank the Lord), so it's doubtful that I would have to use it, but in the back of my mind, I wonder about that off-chance that something catastrophic would happen. Fortunately, we just had to go through this at church, choosing a new coverage plan. I learned the best way to look at it is ask, "What is the worst case scenario?" If I can stomach that, then go with that plan. So I'm thinking of going with the lower premium, higher deductible plan. I have to decide by the end of the month, so I have some time to think about it.

But this throws my flex-spending calculations all out of whack too. I was developing a system, dammit. And over-the-counters are now covered. Which is sweet in the sense of 'they're covered' but now I have to estimate how many colds I'm going to get next year. Who thought this one up? 'Use it or lose it' sucks, big time.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Imagine thirty companies. Imagine that each of them has two checking accounts, and we have records going back to 1997. Now imagine tracing outstanding checks from month to month for each company for each account. That's what I did this week. Day in, day out. This is MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING! Why would you not cash a check? Why? It's money. And do you have any idea how many people do not cash checks? Neither did I, until I started doing this. There's millions of dollars sitting out there, lost. In Iowa, after three years - one year for paychecks - if you can't find the owner, you're supposed to turn the property over to the state so the state can find them. In the meantime, the state gets the use of the money and the interest earned off of it. No wonder the states want custody of this money. I searched on my name at the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt. No treasure for me. (Some of the other states have this, too, FYI) But the State of Iowa hired my firm to help it go audit companies to see if they have unclaimed property they're not reporting. Yay, us.

But the interesting thing I learned, is that legally, gift certificates do not have expiration dates. If they go unclaimed, the store is supposed to report it to the state as unclaimed property. So if I go into a store with an expired gift certificate and they won't take it, I'll just say, "Fine. I'll wait three years until you report it to the state as unclaimed property and claim it then. And if you don't, I'll report your ass and the state will put you on its list to be audited." Audited. What a great word. Strikes fear into the hearts of the most stalwart.

And a HUGE congratulations to Josh for placing first in forms and third in sparring at Nationals. I'm so proud! The poor guy did not go unscathed, though. He took a spin hook kick to the head. His right eye is all swollen and purple and blue and the whole side of his face is yellow. It hurts me just looking at it. But [woohoo] for placing!

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Not too bad. Getting another entry in. In fact, I am quite proud of myself.

Thursday, since I was in Des Moines anyway, I hopped up to Ames to visit my brother. I finally got to see his dorm room, and where all the hicks hang out. [wink] I took him out to eat, and then went and saw Matrix: Revolutions. Lew had to explain it to me: the Oracle/Architecht thing just threw me all off. The first thing out of my mouth was "Okay. So...what happened?" I think I've got most of it, but it may take a few more viewing of the three movies to grasp it totally. Too much thinking for a movie, dammit!

Saturday I set the VCR for the Iowa game since my parents don't have ESPN, and my sister was having a slave labor party for various wedding tasks. We put together the invitations, envelopes, and painted terra cotta flower pots for the centerpieces. My shoulders ached so bad, but we got a lot done. I can't believe how much is done already, and the wedding isn't until May. But then, Mom has really thrown herself into this, I think partly to compensate for no longer having any kids at home. Neither Mom nor Dad are ever home. And they wonder why no one comes to visit. Anyway, the entire time, I'm like, 'don't tell me how the game's going, if you tell, you're getting a spin-hook kick to the head.' Like I can kick that high, but they don't know that. [grin] Then Dad comes walking in the door, "Have you seen the eclipse?' And I reply, "I thought they said there were going to be too many clouds and we wouldn't be able to see it." Dad says, "Only clouds are over Iowa City tonight." Arrrrgh! Never, ever record a game. Ever.

Aunt Judy and Uncle Dan invited all the cousins over for Sunday dinner, which we had been trying to do for almost two years now. It was really nice. Besides all the incredible home made food, it was nice to catch up, especially with Cassie, who I never get to see anymore, and never ever without Calvin and Malea. I love my godson, but he is the most wild spitfire of a child I have ever met, and you don't get a word in edgewise. Ironically enough, most of the dinner conversation revolved around her brother Jacob and how much he's screwing up his life. Compared to the rest of the world, I suppose he's not doing so bad, but compared to the rest of the family...let's just say it's hard being the black sheep.

Uncle Dan showed us the video from their Grand Canyon trip. I guess the debacle of my Grand Canyon trip is far enough away that I don't remember how bad it was, because now I really want to go back. I went in August of 2001 as part of my farewell-to-school-hello-work trip, and it rained the night we spent at the bottom. They had to close the trails for three weeks because they were so damaged, and we had to climb out on those trails. It's all about the story, right? I swore I would never do it again: my feet hurt so bad, I woke up crying that first night. Must be that repression thing we do so well.

I have apple cake waiting for me, and I still need to pack. More business travel, this time to Hampton. I wonder if there's anything to do in Hampton?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

So, here I am. With a blog. I've jumped on the bandwagon. Now that I have one, what I'm going to do with it is another question all together. How much I'll post (especially considering my woeful excuse for a written journal [rolleyes]) and if I'm at all interesting are yet to be determined.

Today wasn't necessarily the best day to start this, especially since I'm going to be gone sporadically for the next couple weeks. I knew this Unclaimed Property training was going to be a pain in the ass. So far, these things are not within a respectable distance, which means overnight travel. I'm such a homebody. Travel does not agree with me, and as such, I do it the least amount possible. And when I have to do it for work, it makes it even worse, and sort of makes me resent my job. I want to be good at my job and I want to be dependable, so I don't want to whine and complain too much. I hate being whiny, but I also want to make sure in no uncertain terms that I despise business travel. Mom's suggestion to take a couple Tylenol PM before bed did help with the waking up, but the nightmares were worse. I dreamt I was possessed, and I have never been that terrified in my life, even when I wrapped the Prelude around a light pole. The projectile vomiting was bad enough, but not being able to scream for help was horrible. All I could do was pray to God, and it felt like He had abandoned me. If that's a taste of what hell is like, I shudder to even contemplate what it would be like for eternity.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Yes, it's CPE, and yes, I have to go all the way to Des Moines, but afterwards I'm headed up to Ames to see my brother Lew. We're just going to go eat, since he's got a test Friday that he has to study for, but I'll at least get to see his room and meet his roommate, and we'll be able to make plans for the Wisconsin game. And that I am definitely looking forward to. Everyone says Madison is a great place to attend a football game, even more so when the Hawks win [grin].

Shout out and good luck to Josh, who is leaving for Seattle tomorrow morning to compete in the Tae Kwon Do National Collegiate Championships. He's put in a lot of hard work training, even giving up beer. Now that's dedication. Bring me home a medal, Josh!