Inferior Imitator

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

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Forgive me stalkers, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last post.

And you're not getting much of one today, either, I'm afraid. I'm in a grumpy mood. Between oodles of family time and work infringing on my four-day weekend, I feel less than rested. I'm leaving in two hours for St. Joseph for an audit. I should be back Thursday evening.

Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. I think I will go eat my last piece of pie.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I love my Hawkeyes. I love football games, I love tailgating, and I love winning. The game Saturday was the best one this year. After getting our hats handed to us by Arizona State and Michigan at the beginning of the season, we came back and won seven games in a row to share the Big 10 Championship with Michigan. We don't get to go to the Rose Bowl, because Michigan beat us, but it's still nice to be champs. All the yelling and the chanting and the crowd on the field at the end of the game...I was just so proud. Mark my works, Drew Tate will be a Heisman candidate in two years. The way that kid rolls out of tackles and still manages to find a man...just gives me chills.

And they're rebuilding the south stands. They started tearing it down, supposedly the night after the game, but I didn't hear anything. Which is good, I suppose. I got a letter a while back "Dear Neighbors of Kinnick Stadium..." detailing the construction schedule: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. six days a week, all winter - good thing it will be tax season soon and I'll be at work most of those hours. They're also adding two inches to all the stadium seats, from eighteen inches to twenty inches. So my seat may not be in the same place next year. I'm debating whether to start buying a pair of tickets instead of just one. This would be the time to do it. What if I start dating someone? This is one of the things I'd have to drag him to. Or 'drag' him to. Hopefully he won't be a reluctant fan. Wouldn't that be funny if he was, though? The girl having to drag the boy to football games. In the meantime, who wouldn't want to come to a football game once in a while?

I'm somewhat of an obnoxious fan. I went shopping with Mom yesterday afternoon, and I was seriously admiring the bibs at Scheel's. And the Kinnick throwback jerseys, and the wall prints, and the flags... Come on, wouldn't I look cute in those bibs?

One final thought: as part of our post-game festivities, we stopped by the piano bar, where where were having dueling pianos. I'm definitely making that place one of my new regular hang outs. It was so much fun. The guys just pounded on those keys and had some great song selections. And anyone who ends a great night of bar hopping with "Piano Man" is tops in my book.

Friday, November 19, 2004

My cold seems to be manifesting itself one symptom at a time, or I'm getting another one. I started getting congested last night, and today I'm all sneezy and blowy. There's got to be at least one other person out there who just thought "Blowy would be a funny name for a dwarf" after that last sentence. Anyway, if I go home and actually take care of myself tonight instead of going and seeing if I can suffocate myself, I might feel better in time to go stand in the cold rain for four hours tomorrow. Whaddya think?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

From my post on the WD under "When is it Socially Acceptable to Have Faith?"...

I received an email from my uncle, including the following excerpts from a conversation with a friend, "I'll never understand partisan politics. It's never about what is good for the country, it's only about whether republicans win or democrats win. Democrats cannot impose their will on republicans anymore than republicans can impose their will on democrats. So why do both sides continue to try?...Politics don’t seem to be a 'different means to the same end' anymore." And I see his point. Neither side is willing to give up ground, because it would mean "losing". Both sides see only hate on the other side, and not understanding (and sometimes the unwillingness to understand - see the phenomena of talking past each other on talk shows) where the other side comes from contributes to the generalizations and petty nitpicking that contribute to the "faith is stupid" attitude.

I can't help but think things would be so much better if each side was not so convinced that their way was the only way and the other side might have some valid ideas and concerns. If they truly worked together, they might come up with a solution that is mutually acceptable. Not perfect, acceptable. The Iowa Senate is exactly divided 25/25. There's no legislation on how to deal with a split house, and they had to figure out how to share power equally. I am estatic. I think it means that a lot more thought and viewpoints and compromises will be required for legislation, and I think that the good of the state will have to become more of a factor than any party platform.

But back to the question of faith vs. reason. How long have I been struggling with this question? The only way I've been able to truly reconcile this is to separate the church from God. That solution isn't going to last long, but for now... How can I condone amending the constitution to specifically point out a group of people and say, "You're less of a person than we are." That is exactly what the church advocates. But is that what God would advocate? My reason says no. My faith wants to say no, too. But that's not what the church says. So here I stand. Is it selfish to want to be able to have the choice to have an abortion? I want the ability to choose, but I hope to high heaven that if I were in that situation I would not choose to kill my child. What about stem cell research? There's all these embryos, frozen, and they could be going towards research, but their lives are precious. If these lives were so precious, why do they sit there? Do these embryos have souls? They are neither dead nor alive. Why do we allow IVF that creates them in the first place? It doesn't sound reasonable. What would God want? I can ask that question of any 'controversial' issue. What does God want? What information do I have to figure that out? What information do I trust?

Faith and reason. Sometimes they do seem mutually exclusive. If I have these questions, how much more do non-Christians have these questions? At what point do I abandon reason and just have faith? At what point is it irresponsible to do so? I can't just not have a position. It seems like the consequences of being wrong are so great. Politics and religion. Such a tricky balance. Neither Christians or non-Christians want it to be a tricky question, but for different reasons. All or none. If there's room for religion, how much? What values do we want espoused in our legislation? What determines what kinds of values are appropriate to be espoused in our laws and which aren't?

I think I'm better at asking questions than answering them. I don't expect answers, and I'm really not sure there are any. Sometimes I just wish I was a cat, and my only worries were food and naps.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Being sick is not the best way to lose 6 or 7 pounds, but I'll take it. I woke up Sunday with a sore throat and achy tiredness. I guess I took something else away from the job site other than a job well done. I slept and rested Sunday and Monday, and now I'm back at work, worrying about charge hours and how much time I'm spending on this audit. I don't have much else to do, so I'm putting extra work into this audit, which isn't good for our realization. Gary told me today that if we can't find work for me to do, I have to go to St. Joseph in Missouri, because that office needs help. Which I suppose is better than Indianapolis, since it won't be more than a week, if that.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I learned how to frame a house today. My arm is gonna kill me tomorrow, but I had a blast and contributed something to my community.

Today was my first volunteer day at Habitat for Humanity. The family we are building the house for is a woman and her five children, who immigrated here from Niger. I've got the construction bug bad. I was so happy to buy my own home, and here I get to help someone else do the same. This project is completely run and staffed by women. There were maybe a couple guys on site for consulting purposes, but the general contractor, sub-contractors, all the professionals and all the volunteers are women. Kick ass!

I got to the construction site at 7:00 in the morning, and it was COLD. Fortunately, it warmed up once the sun rose, but I was glad I had all those layers on. I was also glad I still had the coveralls from my Halloween costume. I wore two t-shirts, one long sleeved, one short, long underwear, shorts, overalls, coveralls, a flannel coat, three pairs of socks and gloves and a hat. Lowe's donated all kinds of free stuff to us, too. A bandana, baseball cap, nail aprons and t-shirts.

I spent most of the day in the basement, building and putting up walls. We had to nail the walls to the ceiling, and nailing up is harder than...who knows but my arm already hurts. I also got to run the cement driller to screw the walls into the floor. Hee!

I can't believe how much we got done in one day. All the walls are framed, and we also started insulating. They'll put the tresses and roof on tomorrow. I'm not going to go tomorrow, but I'm hoping I'll get to come and help some more on this project. And many more in the future!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Never mind that last post. The box was on my front doorstep that evening when I got home. I got to watch Rainbow Brite save the world from eternal winter. Yay! Dude, I'm going to be Rainbow Brite for Halloween next year. I'll have to start now on my costume.

I wish people would quit bringing food to work. Monday it was monster cookies, Tuesday it was trail mix, today it's fudge. Fudge! How am I supposed to stay away from fudge? I'm feeling especially fat lately. If I could lose twenty pounds...I think about what it would be like if my thighs didn't rub together when I walked. I could be comfortable wearing skirts without hose. I wouldn't have to have patches in the crotch of my jeans.

What brought this on? I think it's my mood improvement. I still use food as comfort, and when I'm in a crappy mood, I eat. Then I gain weight and feel fat. Ugh. That and I'm somewhat inspired by The Biggest Loser. I still hate the predatory aspect of it, but I really admire the contestants' will and dedication. I want the will and dedication. I want to push myself.

My ultimate goal is 160 pounds. I think the first 10 pounds or so will be easier, because I drift down to 170 pounds every once in a while. I just need to pay attention to what I'm eating, and add a couple days of excercise a week. And put a little more effort into TKD. I haven't been pushing myself as hard lately as I usually do. I did last night, and it felt really good. I want to feel that good more often. So I'm doing this. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Never order anything over the internet right before the weekend. I think I'm spoiled, though. Didn't it used to take 6-8 weeks for things to arrive when you ordered them by catalogue? I chose Super Saver Shipping (who wouldn't - it's free!), but it can be slower than standard shipping. I ordered Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer from on Wednesday. I got the shipping email late on Friday. I checked the tracking this morning, and it's still in Lexington! It's been sitting there since Friday night! I want my movie!

I remember going to see this in the theater. I especially remember the scene where Rainbow Brite and Starlight ride the rainbow in outer space and save the world, because I got goosebumps. It was one of the most beautiful pictures I'd ever seen. It's funny what affects you like that when you're seven. I felt the same way when I saw the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. The music, the way the 'camera' 'moved' through the forest...I was enraptured. Even after I've seen that movie fifty times, I still get a little thrill from that opening scene. And I still tear up when the Beast dies, but don't tell anyone.

I am impatient to watch this movie again. There are a lot of movies that we watched over and over again that I'd like to get my hands on. Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure, The Hugga Bunch, The Secret of the Sword...I don't know why these marketing departments have not capitalized on this. I love that I'm able to get my hands on my favorite 80's shows, but faster! Faster!

I have no patience.

Monday, November 08, 2004

My weekend was emotionally productive. Last week, I was especially down in the dumps, and I couldn't figure out why. After some alone time (special thanks to Chelsea for taking my Nest shift) and strangely enough, the football game, I was able to put my finger on it and come to terms with the cause of my mood. I feel much better now.

My kitchen table is still an avalanche waiting to happen, but I feel better.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I had a 45 minute conversation with my mom last night about the election. She said she had a hard time sleeping the night of the election because she was so afraid Kerry would win. We had a very productive discussion on the balance between Christian concern for the direction of the country and oppressing minority groups. I have a hard time believing that legislating moral values will do much to change the hearts of people who believe they are being discriminated against. But my point was that the conversation was a give and take of ideas, and I think we both came out with a little better understanding of the other side.

I'm just in the middle of being sick and disgusted of people's lack of respect for our elected leaders, on both sides. I may not agree with their policies, but I no longer wish to resort to childish teasing and jokes. I don't believe that being a public figure automatically gives us license to perpetuate that. I don't mind exchanging ideas in a comedic way - I think the Daily Show does a wonderful job of walking that line, but so few people do. I can't help but remember that one scene in the West Wing when Martin Sheen is interviewing Lily Tomlin and he respected her previous scathing disagreement with something he had done, because she had referred to him as President Bartlett. She disagreed with him whole-heartedly, but she still had respect for the office. I think the exchange of ideas would be so much easier if both sides knew that the other side respected them. I don't think most people know how to disagree with someone but still respect them.

Politics is an excercise in compromise. I may be an optimist, but I'm also a pragmatist. The election is done and over with, and we have to live with the results. I find it useless to bitch and moan about the past like it can be changed. Do we enter a new phase in American history? Maybe. Will things get worse before they get better? Most likely. But I'm willing to believe in the system. I'm not convinced either Democrats or Republicans have the "best" plan for America. I believe there are faults in both plans. Now that I have to live with the Republican side, I'm willing to let them work. I'll oppose the things I think the worst and settle for things I don't think so bad. I'll fight the conservatization of the Supreme Court with every fiber of my being. I'm willing to let Bush try privatization in Social Security, because I believe there needs to be either a fundamental shift in funding or a fundamental shift in the purpose of the program. It may not be the best approach, but at least it's an approach. But I refuse to sit and sulk because the guy I voted for didn't win.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I think I'm giving up hope that anyone that I vote for will win. Sure, in my younger days I voted for Chuck Grassley and Jim Leach and such, but this is my third presidential election, and I have yet to vote for someone who won. Part of that is my stubborn insistence on voting Liberarian whenever possible, but I'm kinda disappointed in that I'm never on the winning side. It's a little demoralizing.

So congratulations to President Bush on his re-election. I don't agree with a lot of his approaches, but much of the electorate does, and I will respect him because he is the President. I would be content if he uttered just one sentence: "In hindsight, after discovering no weapons of mass destruction, invading Iraq should not have been as high on our priority list." I think that is what bothered me the most. I hope that President Bush will learn to re-evaluate his courses of action, and adjust when needed. I hope that when Bush has to replace many of his Cabinet members and advisors, he will replace them with people with many different points of view, so he can get a more well-rounded picture of the situation. I hope that the election "mellows" the Bush administration. But that might be asking too much.

In conclusion, Smarties are one of the best candies ever.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I was a busy little beaver this weekend. I decided to rip up my carpet after all. I will never have carpet again. The dust that accumulates under carpet is enough to make you shudder. Pulling up the carpet was the easy part (except for getting it out the front door - heavy and unweildy). It was prying up the carpet tack and a couple hundred carpet staples that was the time consuming part. Ugh. Something happened to the carpet padding under the staples. It's like it melted or something, because it was like hard candy pieces trapped under them. I had to use a screwdriver-like tool to pry the crap out before I could pry up each staple. I also found remnants of the previous carpet. Some kind of shag, but I found way too many different colors to be anything less than gaudy.

I really like it with the wooden floor. The only thing is, some idiot didn't put a drop cloth down when they painted, and wasn't too careful, either. I guess when they knew they were putting down carpet, they decided to have some 'fun'. Bastards. I could try and clean it up with Oops or paint thinner or something, but it might be just easier to refinish the floor. It's still in pretty good shape, but there's some kind of faint pattern in the varnish. I would need to do it eventually anyway. May as well be sooner than later.

I got all the furniture in the room except for the recliner. And the desk/table, which is currently housing my computer in the spare room. The recliner is now in the kitchen, which I kinda like. I've eaten breakfast there the past two mornings. I've got both couches in the living room, which I like also. I'm having second thoughts about giving up the couch for a while. I couldn't put the TV where I wanted to, because I couldn't get the cable through the floor. They must have put the end on after they threaded the cable. So before I have someone come out and redo the cable, I'll try it in the other corner.

I made a 'website' with FrontPage with pictures, but I can't figure out how to get it uploaded. Ken, HELP!!