Monday, April 30, 2007

Interesting blog: I saw him give a speech a while back. Check out his bio--what had you accomplished by the time you were 19?
I finally got around to watching Who Killed the Electric Car?. It's completely insane the lengths that car companies went to to take these cars off the road. And our government is not much better. Sure, we're "addicted to oil" but where are the realistic plans to wean ourselves off our dependence on oil? This documentary is shocking and at the end I felt genuinely sad that electric cars never got a chance to catch on.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another Saturday and I have had the house all to myself for the day. I really like this. Too much alone time can do damage to one's soul, but in smaller doses it's definitely restorative. I can listen to music and watch whatever TV shows I want. The Soup was really funny today.

I also haven't listened to music in what seems like forever. Pandora is way cool. "King of Pain", haven't heard that one in a while. That song is unintentionally funny. "There's a skeleton choking on a crust of bread." What?

Some job-related decisions have come up and they have forced me to start thinking about what I really want out of a job. And I really don't know. I mean, you can't just sit around reading books and blogs all day, you gotta find something useful to do. In general, I'm not very ambitious when it comes to having a career. Is that bad? I'd rather be happy than "successful" by the world's standards. I don't want to be living on the streets totally useless not being able to get a job. But at the same time, I don't want to have a job that I hate that I do just for the money.

What about having a job that you doesn't challenge you, with the view that you use the job to fund other aspects of your life? A "day job" with the other job being, for example, writing on your blog?

It relates back to the advice of my favorite song: you get what you give. The more you put into a career, the more you'll get back. But right now I don't know how much I want to give.

Friday, April 27, 2007

-I finally finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. All I can say is wow. Some big things happened at the end. It gets surprisingly dark for a kids book.
-McAfee VirusScan is possibly one of the most annoying products ever made. It takes about an hour to scan all my computer's files. Then I run SpyBot to delete things it missed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last night I watched the American Experience about the "Summer of Love" in 1967. Every time I watch TV programs about the '60s I'm amazed that all that stuff actually happened. I used to think it was silly--people dressed in tie-dyed shirts, taking acid, living in communes-- but now I don't think it was silly at all. Idealistic, maybe, but not frivolous. People really thought they were going to start a revolution. And they did, in a way. Supposedly PBS is going to make the entire program available to watch online soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Moved away

So strange when someone moves away, you expect her to come into the room any second the way she used to, like nothing has changed, like she isn't thousands of miles away.

This isn't like going back to college. I don't know when I'll see her again. Has it really been nearly a year since she moved back home? This was most likely the last year we'll ever live under the same roof. I'll miss watching Conan and The Office and debating about our lists of most-hated celebrities. I'll miss finding her asleep on the couch when I get home from work. I'll miss our conversations driving to and from church every Sunday, listening to country and rating the pastor's sermons. She always made me laugh.

My sister is one of the least sentimental people I know so I won't go on and get all melodramatic, just say that I'm going to miss her much more than she knows.
Coolest name ever for a band: AC Slater.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

From yesterday, NMK's post on using a newsreader.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My life has been on hold for the past week or so as I tried to put together a draft of a research paper. I'll try to come up with some better posts now that that's all done with. It seems so weird to me that I once had so much time to devote to TV, blogging, reading, Internet and piano, all at the same time. Lately I haven't had much time for any of the above.

Anyway, the latest tidbits from the scrap heap that my mind is lately:
- My sister is moving to New York City on Saturday. I'm really sad about it. It's a slight consolation that I'll have a place to stay if I ever visit NYC. I'm also jealous that she will get to read the local print version of the New York Times every day.
- Mary Astell is my new hero, after reading excerpts from Some Reflections Upon Marriage. Very radical for 1700.
- I now have a newsreader. Thanks, NewMexiKen.

McGriddles = yummy

I have to give a positive review to McDonald's McGriddles breakfast sandwich. Instead of a bun or biscuit, there are two pancakes that contain beads of syrup. It's a marvel of food engineering in that it tastes like a complete pancake, egg, and bacon breakfast. Probably could have done without the gross-looking processed cheese, but overall it's definitely worth trying.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More from last week's Time (can you tell I'm behind on my magazine reading?): Lev Grossman's essay on data addiction. Grossman says Twitter is like "the cocaine of blogging or e-mail but refined into crack." lol

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Beginning of Time's cover story from last week on America's broken-down army: "For most Americans, the Iraq war is both distant and never-ending."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cat's out of the bag

Check out p. 37 of El Paso magazine's April issue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More random thoughts

- Never get a filling. Or never get a cavity is better advice. Every time I chew something the wrong way my tooth hurts. I really need to take better care of my teeth.
- I've just spent several hours making a book review more "specific" and "concrete".
- Does anyone out there use Technorati? Is it any good? How about Kinja? I'm looking for a way to go to one site and read blogs that have been recently updated.
- As for changes to this blog, I've added a site meter (to verify that there are about five people who read this site). Also I've changed the comment option so that I don't have to approve everything before it gets posted.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Chicago is AMAZING. I was excited to be going anywhere, but especially a big city like Chicago. There are two things you notice when you fly in to Chicago: Lake Michigan, which looks more like an ocean, and the buildings. It’s hard to contemplate how tall even one of those buildings is, and in downtown Chicago they're everywhere, building after building, as tall as mountains.

We (a large group of relatives and I) and I had only two days to spend in Chicago after my cousin's wedding in South Bend, so we had to choose our activities wisely. Sears Tower and Wrigley Field sounded cool, as did the aquarium and the natural history museum. But for me there was really only one must-do on my list: go to Harpo Studios where the Oprah Winfrey Show is taped. I mean, I watch the show every day, and after that I read O magazine, and watch my Oprah’s 20th Anniversary DVD…well, you know what I mean. How could I go to Chicago and not visit Oprah?
But Harpo Studios seemed out for the first day, since we got there in late afternoon and the family had made plans to go to Navy Pier.

Below, the view of Downtown from Navy Pier.

After that my dad and my sister and I went walking on our own down Michigan Avenue. The stores on Michigan Avenue (aka the Magnificent Mile) are world-famous, they’re huge, and the lit-up window displays are fantastically stylish: Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, a huge Borders store. It seemed like every store I could ever imagine wanting to go into was there, selling anything I could ever want. I had never seen stores like these--well, only on TV and in movies.

But my eyes lit up most at the Ghirardelli chocolate store, which turned out to be right across the street from the Hershey’s store. Ah, I had stumbled across the chocolate corner of Chicago. It turned out that the Ghirardelli store sells chocolate, of course, but it’s also an ice cream parlor selling the most delicious-looking chocolate sundaes I’ve ever seen. Too bad I was so full from dinner that I couldn’t even contemplate eating one. An employee was handing out samples of dark chocolate with caramel filling, so I munched on that instead. The place was packed, and we waited in a long line for my dad to order a strawberry malt (who orders a strawberry malt in the Ghirardelli chocolate store? Go figure). Besides being packed, the store was heated to the point that the chocolate started melting in my hand.

As we stood around waiting for our order, I glanced around the store. The employees were making sundaes behind a wooden counter in an extremely efficient manner. I looked at the couple in front of us, the woman carrying a baby in one of those Baby Bjorn contraptions. There was a small area of tables in front that was completely full with people laughing and talking in the very warm store. And something hit me. These people aren’t tourists--they’re just ordinary Chicagoans out for some ice cream on a Sunday night. They can go down to Michigan Avenue anytime they like. Instead of the neighborhood Baskin-Robbins, they go to the Ghirardelli store on Michigan Avenue. Wow. Just one of the benefits of living in a world-class city.


After a night’s rest, I woke up determined to see Harpo Studios. My father and my sister and I took a cab ride through the city and arrived in a nice neighborhood at what turns out to be a rather non-descript building. It wasn't what I expected. Surprisingly to me, it’s not a tourist destination—there’s not even a gift shop inside. But still, I was *so* excited thinking about Oprah Winfrey herself walking down the same sidewalks and possibly inside working on her next show. There was a guy in a ticket booth in the entryway who gave me a card so you can call for tickets to a show. Outside, I took pictures in front of the sign and my jaw dropped when I recognized the parking lost where Oprah gave away cars to the entire audience. Here's a picture of me and my sister at Harpo. Check out my smile of pure joy:

I suppose the real highlight of the visit came when I spotted two Harpo employees standing outside smoking cigarettes. I tried to make small talk with them. They seemed nice enough, not too annoyed by me the super-fan. We ended up talking about the weather, but they had to go back inside before I got to ask them what I really wanted to know, things more along the lines of “What is Oprah really like?” But at least I can say I met some people who know Oprah, which is quite possibly the closest I’ll ever come to actually meeting her.

My mission accomplished, we headed to Millennium Park, which has the Cloud Gate sculpture, basically a bean-shaped mirror sculpture. The underside is particularly fascinating. You can see different views of the people around you, sort of like looking at different camera views: one far up overhead, one close up, and one that looks like everyone’s mashed-up together. Very post-modern. I loved Millennium Park, so much so that I took about a million pictures of it:

This is the amphitheater at Millennium Park:

*Sigh* I think I’m in love. Obviously, I was very impressed by my day and night in Chicago, to the point where I sat in the hotel Sunday night and contemplated packing up my things and moving there. Seriously. It didn’t seem like much of a stretch to see myself occupying some tiny apartment, walking to the El station in my wool coat and leather boots, having lunch at one of those hot dog stands, strolling through Millennium Park on weekends. There must be tons of stuff to do in Chicago, sports events and concerts and museums to visit, great shopping, restaurants to try, but honestly, those things don’t even appeal to me that much. Even walking down the street is exciting in Chicago. Just being there right in the middle of so much energy, absorbing it all, must make you think differently about yourself. Like you’re a citizen of the world, you're able to shape your own destiny in a place where just about anything can happen.

The trip was way too short. It was difficult heading back to El Paso so soon, knowing that world is out there. As much as I love this city, it’s no Chicago. Our attempts at sophistication seem quaint in comparison. El Paso’s Downtown has about two tall buildings, neither of which is really that tall. There’s no El train, there aren’t people from every nation in the world walking down the street, there’s no Ghirardelli chocolate store. I do love El Paso and I normally hate when people are down on the city and whine about how “there’s nothing to do here,” but going to a city like Chicago I can understand why they say that, and I can understand why so many young people leave El Paso in search of bigger and better things. It just made me realize more so than ever that El Paso is not the center of the universe. But I guess that’s why people travel, to gain perspective, which I definitely did.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

According to this article, "A poll conducted for the Wright Institute found that 91 percent of us have a soft addiction that keeps us from feeling satisfied," a soft addiction being "ordinary behavior that, if overdone, can wreak havoc on your life." Soft addictions include procrastination, watching too much TV, overeating, and surfing the Internet excessively. I'm thinking a soft addiction is actually a harsh-sounding name for a bad habit.
Internet access has been limited lately. Somehow everyone in my family is now home during the day and we all share one computer, so I haven't had the opportunity to come up with my usual output of amusing posts. Things I've made a mental note to post about in the past few days:
- Woo hoo, Florida won!
- This book sounds kind of interesting. Not that I haven't read all this before, but from the description it sounds like it does a good job summing up what I and a lot of people I know are going through.
- deserves a mention. What a cool way to donate money.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I picked the final two

Currently ranked No. 16 on El Paso Times Bracket Mania. We'll see where I am tomorrow if Florida wins as I predict them to.