Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tonight at work the power went out for about 20 minutes. It's strange what people do in that situation. Since all of our work depends on computers, none of us could do anything work-related, but the emergency lights came on so we weren't in total darkness. It was sort of like recess at school. One person played games on his cell phone. Another person did a sudoku puzzle. Across the room someone started throwing a ball into the air and catching it. And then the power came back on and we all went back to staring at our computers. The end.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Police will reunite for the Grammys. I have dreamed of this day....

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm currently reading The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. I've only gotten as far as the prologue but already I like what he has to say. Here is a man who really gets the purpose of government. Of his experiences talking to ordinary citizens of Illinois during his Senate campaign, Obama writes on page 7:

"No blinding insights emerged from these months of conversation. If anything, what struck me was just how modest people's hopes were, and how much of what they believed seemed to hold constant across race, region, religion, and class. Most of them thought that anybody willing to work should be able to find a job that paid a living wage. They figured that people shouldn't have to file for bankruptcy because they got sick. They believed that every child should have a genuinely good education--that it shouldn't just be a bunch of talk--and that those same children should be able to go to college even if their parents weren't rich. They wanted to be safe, from criminals and from terrorists; they wanted clean air, clean water, and time with their kids. And when they got old they wanted to be able to retire with some dignity and respect.

That was about it. It wasn't much. And although they understood that how they did in life depended mostly on their own efforts--although they didn't expect government to solve all their problems, and certainly didn't like seeing their tax dollars wasted--they figured that government should help."

If this were a speech I'd stand up and applaud right about now.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Random thoughts

  • I feel like my life hasn't been this busy in years. Three college classes + part-time job + this blog + everything else. But it's good to be busy.
  • My sister is going to Washington and New York for four days. I wish it was me.
  • I'm tired of the cold weather.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Here are some good guidelines for blogging from a post on mistersugar:
"Blogging, at its best, is a conversation....I write as if I’m going to meet my audience the next day, and I only write what I’m prepared to defend. "

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I woke up and looked out my window this morning to find everything covered in snow. Some of the predicted snow finally made an appearance. I don't know whether I'm excited or scared since I'm probably going to have to drive in it.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Sunday night I watched Tootsie again. This is a movie that I think about sometimes in my life. There are certain situations where I ask myself, Would I put up with this if I were a man? Would Dustin Hoffman in drag put up with this? It seems many women have the problem of being "too nice", and the world would be a better place if we spoke up more.

Changes at TIME

This article explains a lot about the changes in TIME magazine:
"Time Inc. management, on the advice of consultants from McKinsey, is trying to cut costs, reflecting the brutal realities of the mass magazine business. At the end of the month, there will be significant layoffs at the magazine division, and it will not be limited to cuts among Time's 280 editorial employees. Other magazines in the Time Warner division will re-engineer and cut as well.

At Time, [managing editor Richard] Stengel has moved swiftly. In the past six months, the huge rate base of Time magazine has been cut by almost 20 percent, the street date has been moved, and at the end of the month, the standard editorial model — a centralized, well-paid cadre processing every bit of copy that appears in print — will be kaput, replaced by a leaner enterprise built on star voices who will presumably get less editing.


To do this, [Stengel] is prepared to eschew Time's historically Olympian editorial voice, and its penchant for cover articles that track trends in lifestyle, and instead present point-of-view journalism, booking 'revered economist Jeffrey Sachs' and 'great modern historian and Harvard University professor Niall Ferguson' as contributors."

This is really, really sad, since I liked TIME magazine the way it was just a few weeks ago, when it had news articles about things I was interested in instead of a bunch of essays by people I don't know of about things I don't care much about. I can't imagine that many of TIME's readers were complaining that the magazine had too many news articles and not enough opinion pieces. I guess it shows the complete illogical nature of the corporate world, where it's all about money. So much so that they'd dismantle the traditional format they've had for so many years and go with something completely different.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Photos of El Paso

Photos of El Paso taken on a much sunnier and brighter day a few weeks ago:

View of I-10, the border, and Juarez, Mexico from a UTEP parking lot

UTEP parking lot with view of Franklin Mountains in center

Looking down from Scenic Drive

East view from Scenic Drive

Downtown El Paso with Juarez in background

Facing west
If you get a chance, check out the National Geographic Channel In the Womb series. I've gotten hooked on watching these. They're really amazing. The one on dolphins and elephants is good and so is the one on multiples.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Many weeks delayed, but here are some cool pics of snow in my backyard:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


It is SO COLD. Check out the 5-day forecast and the forecasted high of 35 degrees on Friday.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Great post on bluishorange about art.
An excellent way to spend $10: donate a bed net through Malaria No More.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Time, aging, etc.

It's January and it's already warm. I see the sun shining a little more brightly. The spring semester is coming up and I've signed up for three classes. At times like this it's like I can almost see the time passing by right in front of my eyes. And I want it to stop. Not like I'm over the hill at 24, but I fear getting older. I feel like an overgrown college kid when I see people who are 18. Last year on my birthday I really felt like only a few months had passed since my last one. I felt like not much had changed about me at all in a year. I heard a song lyric the other day, "Every year is getting shorter", and I understood exactly what that meant. When did that happen?

And then today I watched the documentary 49 Up. I've really enjoyed watching this series. In a way it is sort of like a high school reunion or a reality TV show about aging. But after I finished it I realized, why do I need to be watching this when I can just look at my own parents and see the same thing? The subjects in the documentary are nearly the same age as my own parents. I only have to look at old photos and rummage through my own memories of them to see examples of people aging over the years. There are pictures of them in their 20's, so young and full of life, my dad with his still-dark curly hair, smooth skin, and chubby-cheeked grin, my mom with her long, straight dark hair and beautiful wide smile. Once I saw a picture of my mom at my exact age and I joked with her, "Mom, you were just a baby back then." Then their 30s. My parents were both 30 when they had me. In pictures of when I was just born, they look so young, so excited to have this little child and be on the cusp of starting a family. But somewhere along the line came the parents I mostly remember. The parents who were constantly stressed and tired--Mom the disciplinarian who always seemed to be nagging me and my sisters for some thing or another and Dad coming home from work in his jacket and tie, spent after a long day.

Then the years after the divorce. Tough years. And then now, where it seems they are both a life away from the way they were in their 20s and 30s. It seems they are both much more relaxed now than when they were when I was growing up. My mom especially seems so much more sure of herself. In the last five years, I think she has really come into her own. She's a savvy businesswoman and is working on a master's degree. She has shown me that there are definite advantages to getting older and that there are always going to be new challenges to face.

And thinking about all this makes me wonder, Is there such a thing as the ideal age? I think if someone asked me that right now I'd say that there's good and bad to every stage of life and there's not one perfect age. And, of course, it's different for every person. But I remember when I was in fifth grade, one of our writing assignments was to say what age would be ideal and why. Most of my classmates picked 18 or 21, I guess because you can buy cigarettes or alcohol. I picked 30. I thought 20 was too young and 40 was too old. And my teacher, this really cool lady who was probably in her mid-30s at the time, agreed with me. She said by that time you've settled into a career and probably a marriage, or decided not to marry. I think I have held on to that idea a little bit through the years. Though I am really dreading getting older, I'm sort of looking forward to that milestone of stability. Maybe somehow 30 will be the magical age where things will make more sense, relationships will fall into place and I'll finally see, ah-ha, that's what I should be doing with my life. Maybe at 30 I won't feel so insecure about myself. I guess I'll have to wait and see to find out.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Thought I'd answer this even though I wasn't tagged with it. Via feeling listless.
1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Is it sad that I can't think of anything?
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No and yes.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin, a girl, in November.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt, in January.
5. What countries did you visit?
U.S., Mexico.
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Greater sense of direction.
7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Nov. 8, the day my second cousin was born. I saw her in the hospital just after she was born and it was pretty amazing.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Mustering up the courage to go back to school. This was pretty cool, too.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Didn't do enough. Too much time spent as a couch potato.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I think I had a cold once or twice.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Blue corduroy pants.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Oprah Winfrey.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
George W. Bush.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Season finale of Project Runway.
16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
"Boston" by Augustana
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:happier or sadder? Happier.
Thinner or fatter? Thinner, I think.
Richer or poorer? Poorer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Had more adventures.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
20. What was your favorite TV program?
"The Office"
21. Do you dislike anyone now that you didn't dislike this time last year?
Not that I can think of.
22. What was the best book you read?
White Oleander by Janet Fitch.
23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Pretenders.
24. What did you want and get?
The chance to go back to school and do something different.
26. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Pursuit of Happyness.
27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went out to dinner with my family. Age 24.
28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A journey to some incredible far-off place.
29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Pants (jeans or cords) and solid-color T-shirt. Hoodies were very big in 2006, too.
30. What kept you sane?
Music. Listening and playing piano.
31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
*Blushes* Rafael Nadal, tennis player extraordinaire.
32. What political issue stirred you the most?
War in Iraq.
33. Who did you miss?
My dad.
34. Who was the best new person you met?
Various people from work.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006?
It pays to take risks sometimes.
36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"But when the night is falling
And you cannot find the light
If you feel your dream is dying
Hold tight
You've got the music in you
Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget you only get what you give"
-"You Get What You Give" The New Radicals

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Quote from Must Love Dogs:
"I love this Internet. It's part fantasy, part community, and you get to pay your bills naked."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Shyness vs. introversion

Interview with Jonathan Rauch, who wrote a great essay about introverts. (via kottke) Mentioned in the interview but still unclear to me is the difference between shyness and introversion. Says Rauch:

"To me, shyness implies a real reluctance to be socially aggressive or assertive. It's very difficult for shy people to put themselves out there if they need to. For introverts, it's never easy to do, but it's more a matter of reluctance to expend the energy, because it tires us out."

My view from things I've read on the subject is that introversion is a personality type while shyness is more of an undesirable trait. Shyness is something that can be changed, but introversion is something fundamental about your personality that is probably impossible to change. You can be an introvert and not shy, I suppose. However, it seems like there's a close connection between the two. I can't think of a person being shy who is not an introvert. To me, it seems introversion lays the groundwork for shyness.

Further on, Rauch says:

"I think that's probably a core introvert characteristic that you and I have in common and which can probably be distinguished from shyness per se—that small talk takes conscious effort and is very hard work. There's nothing small about small talk if you're an introvert. But we're good at big talk."

I think the point he's trying to make is that introverts don't have a hard time expressing opinions if it's something they're interested in, but they do have a hard time coming up with social banter. But isn't that exactly why people who are introverts become shy? They have a tough time engaging with people because the small talk needed to get a conversation started doesn't come naturally to them. Which leads to frustration and a reluctance to want to put themselves out there again. It's like shyness is a pitfall of introversion that you have to work to avoid.


  • Eat less junk food
  • Exercise more
  • Practice piano more often
  • Write something cool
  • Be more observant
  • Read at least one great novel
  • Do more outdoors things
  • Make a career plan
  • Learn Spanish

Easier said than done.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

When did it become a fad for kids to have skates in their shoes? I see these everywhere I go. According to Google, they're called Heelys and were apparently one of the hottest Christmas gifts of 2006. I like the slogan: "Freedom is a wheel in your sole".

Monday, January 01, 2007

That was fast

I'm happy to report that Wal-Mart is already selling Valentine's Day candy.


I'm reading a story where the main character has a line where he says that most people are good except for a few who are just plain jerks. Is that true? I know there are jerks out there, but are the rest of us generally good? One of my political science professors put it this way: he raised his hand down the middle of his head and said in his Polish accent, "Man is half good and half bad." I can buy that, coming from a man who fought in World War II. We all have this dual nature, that in some ways we're kind and good-hearted, in others we're selfish and greedy. At different times, one or the other nature wins out, sort of like the angel and the demon sitting at each shoulder. In the Christian tradition, only God is good and we're all sinful and need to be redeemed. True or not? Can there be goodness apart from God? I suppose you have to define "good"--if "good" means that you are a law-abiding citizen and are reasonably nice to the people in your life, then I think most of us are good. If good means "not evil" then most of us are good. But if by "good" you mean living without sin, following all the laws in the Bible to the letter, and having complete purity of heart, then none of us are good.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, Internet.