Sunday, August 29, 2004

Spare the rod, kill the child.

In light of my current music situation, I've been tuning in to a local contemporary Christian music station on my way to school. We'll call it Jesus Radio. I used to listen to a bunch of Jesus Radio CDs growing up, and I really like about 25% of the stuff they play. About 50% more is tolerable, but the last 25% is beyond all hope. The worst is the lovey-dovey commercials they insist on playing. Usually they consist of some stay at home wife lamenting on how much she loves her big strong man to bring home the bacon while she has his dinner waiting for him at the table in the spotless house she labored over all day. A good portion are also Dr. Dobson or the like telling me how I should raise my non-existent kids and if I don't buy the latest book, my kids will be heathens beyond measure.

This one commercial the other day actually made my jaw hit the floor. I'll try to paraphrase as best as I can remember. [For anyone who's ever listened to Jesus Radio, you lose a lot in reading it and not hearing the dramatic voice intonations and such. It was really a lot worse than it reads.]

Radio Host: When children aren't given boundaries, they get into all sorts of trouble. It's our responsibilities as parents to give them direction. Take for instance the man who waited out a terrible thunderstorm with his family. When the storm was over, he opened the front door to survey the damage in his front yard. One of the power lines leading to his house had been knocked down and was sparking on the front lawn. Before he knew it, his 5 year old daughter ran from behind him straight toward the pretty sparking wire. The man yells, "No, stop." She keeps going. He yells again, "Stop now." And she doesn't listen. A couple seconds later, she grabs the wire and is electrocuted to death immediately. How tragic that he never taught his daughter 'No' or 'stop', and for this she died.

The moral of the story is (1) The man is responsible for his daughter's death, and (2) unless you buy the Jesus Radio promoted child-rearing book, your child is destined to die a horrible and tragic death.

Let's just stick to the music shall we.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Alone in my Movie.

It took me a while to get over the stigma of going to the movies alone. It always had such a negative connotation until I finally sucked it up and went. And I discovered that I prefer going alone to having someone else tag along. That way, I get to choose the movie, the time, and more importantly, I don't have anyone trying to talk to me during the movie.

I only came to this realization after many attempts at getting someone to accompany me to a movie I wanted to see. My family's movie choices are diametrically opposed to mine. If I went with my parents I'd end up seeing something along the lines of Fivel Goes West or Harry Potter. (They don't watch R-Rated unless they're Heidi pre-approved). And I've been on too many dates where the movie selection includes Jurassic Park 42 1/2 or Blown Away. (Which my sister and I, who were double dating that night, walked out of for 20 minutes and our dates didn't notice.) But anyway, back to the original intent of this post.

I caught a matinee of "Garden State" today. Loved it. You should see it. Really. Go now.


I love Sitemeter for the wonderful random information it provides me on boring days. Today for instance, I checked and I had referrals from 3 blogs I'd never heard of. I followed the links and I was pleasantly surprised to see guest poster Energy Spatula recommending my blog on another site. (Energy Spatula is the fabulous writer of Will Work for Favorable Dicta. ES, I probably don't comment enough on your blog, but it's definitely one that I check daily for humor and wisdoms. And I'll take this moment to make a request for the next Just Because post: Christian Bale. /end asskissing.)

Back to Sitemeter, I can also click on individual visitors and see where they're at and how long they spent on the blog. Today, some poor soul at spent 58 minutes browsing the blog. It's a sad, sad world when anyone prefers this blog to something more productive they could be doing. What usually weirds me out is the person at who spends 1-2 hours on my site weekly. I'm hoping that this person simply forgets to close their browser and isn't an Indiana government employee collecting data for some indictment impending in my future.

Then of course, there's the weirdness of starting back to school and seeing people whose blogs I read but rarely speak to in person. It's so odd to see them walk by and know that I can know so much about them, but they may not even know I visit. This also works against me because I never know if someone else has been to this blog and may know the random stuff I post here. While I obviously don't care if they know (this is after all a public blog), it still puts me in a weird position of not knowing. If that makes any sense. I should just end this post before I start getting philosophical or something.

Reality Bites

Following complaints from safety groups and parent organizations alike, GM has pulled a commercial which spotlighted a 9/10 yr old boy driving a Corvette recklessly through city streets. The groups had complained that the commercial may give kids ideas and encourage them to 'borrow' their parents' cars and take them out for a spin.

Now I don't know about all of you, but my parents have never owned any car remotely as appealling as a Corvette. When I was 10, it would have taken something much more than that commercial to inspire me to take the 89 brown Dodge Caravan out on the town.

In your own words.

I've started thinking that this year's stalker book could be a bit more entertaining if it included personal quotes like high school yearbooks used to. I never had the joy of the yearbook quote because my school didn't do such a thing. We found more joy marking how many times the girl had been pregnant or how many children the guy had fathered. Much more appropriate for my small town school.

Anyway, I've been trying to think of quotes each of us are famous for, but I think it's going to take me some time getting back into the swing of things to remember some. It's been such a long summer break that I've forgotten everyone's quirks. The only few I've thought of so far are:

1. Seriously.
2. At least you can get married.
3. Ommigod.

Ok, not very creative, but I'm working on it.

In the Market

I've come to the realization that I'm sick of listening to most of my CDs. This is almost fatal considering I spend between 2 1/2 and 3 hours driving everyday. So I find myself on in the hunt for suitable music. And I'm taking suggestions. You can see a list of some of my favorite artists on the left of the page. I like all sorts of music (minus rap/R&B) but find myself pulled toward alternative/folksy music, usually by male singers/groups.

The floor is now open for nominations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Say again?

At the McDonald's drive-thru today there was a sign that read:
We accept 1 coupon per visible customer.

Which immediately spawned 2 questions:
1. Has someone come through and claimed that they had an invisible customer in the car?
2. Has this happened so frequently that the McDonald's employees felt it necessitated a sign?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Olympic sized addiction.

I may be suffering from a slight addiction to the Olympics, which is resulting in my not getting sleep. This past week, I had a 40 hour class at school which required me to be on the road by 6:15 a.m. The earliest I got home all week was 6:30 p.m. Just in time to eat dinner before the Olympics started at 7:00. And of course I can't turn the TV off or go to bed until Bob Costas signs off at 11:00. So if I was lucky, I was sleeping from 12 to 5 at night.

And I must say it's caught up to me. I slept unusually long last night, even for me. To top it off, I have a sinus infection that's making my world oh so pleasant. But enough about that.

My biggest problem this week has been staying unspoiled for the Olympics. My dad has no patience, so he checks online for the results, and then spends the whole night heckling me. I swear if he said "I know who wins" one more time I was going to throw something at him. I made it relatively unspoiled, except for the NBC nightly news, which would report the results in the middle of the show. Which didn't exactly make sense to me, since NBC is the one airing the Olympics, and I figured they'd rather have people tune in to watch. Then I figured, since most of the results have been positive, they either figured that (1) reporting them would make people want to watch more, or (2) they're going to get huge ratings no matter what they do so why not report them anyway. I'm guessing if the rest of the world is anywhere near my level of Olympic enthusiasm, the second is likely true.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Death becomes us.

(Preface: I haven't been on the net all week, and after just catching up, I noticed that Lawren has already talked about what I'm talking about in this post. But since I don't have anything else to post about I'm leaving it up because it gives the appearance that I updated within the last month.)

As if it wasn't creepy enough that you can buy your burial plot and gravestones ahead of time, Costco is taking it to the next level. The store is now offering ready made coffins/caskets for those who will be thrifty until the day they die. The wooden boxes sell for a mere $750 and are available in a variety of different colors. You can visit your local Costco and find them next to the mattresses. You may want to rush out now and buy your favorite style as there is no word whether the fall or winter lines will include the ever popular lilac model. I'm thinking of getting mine now and letting it double as a coffee table until I need it. I could use the extra storage space.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


A Kroger commercial airing during the Olympics discusses how families struggle everyday to fight against hunger. It then says that Kroger will donate money to a hunger bank for each medal the U.S. Olympic teams wins during the olympics: $1000 for Gold, $500 for Silver and $250 for Bronze.

This commercial bugs me. While Kroger is making a valiant effort in donating, why are they basing their amount on something so arbitrary as how many medals the U.S. team wins? Will people be less hungry if the U.S. only wins 5 gold medals instead of 10? Are people less valuable if Michael Phelps only gets a bronze in the 100 fly instead of a gold? This commercial doesn't even make sense. A lot of times organizations will give money based on how much money the average public raises or on how many bottle caps or something they can collect. How does anything I do affect how much Kroger is going to donate. I can't control how many medals are won.

It would have been better had Kroger just said they were giving a flat donation in honor of our athletes. This whole basing it on how many medals are won is just asinine.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Rural living.

On the front page of the Jesus Town paper, one of the lead headlines is "Crop tour on Monday." Apparently, if I want to go visit and awe at the corn and soy beans in the county, all I have to do is show up for the bus tour and they'll drive me to selected farms throughout the area. Sometimes I forget how rural the Jesus Town really is, and then something like this drags me back to reality.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Waste of time and money.

I saw the newest M. Night Shyamalan movie tonight, The Village. I'd heard from some people that they enjoyed it. I didn't. I thought it was predictable and a waste of time. So save your money.

Also, 6 teens sat across the aisle and talked at full volume throughout the whole film. It was at the Jesus Town cheap theatre so apparently they didn't mind spending $3.50 to come in and talk the whole time. I thought the people behind us were going to go over and deck them. I would have paid more to see that.

Traffic Nightmare

The Jesus Town is one of those rural Indiana towns that has exactly 1 highway that runs East/West through it and doubles as main street. We also have 1 interstate that runs East/West a few miles south of town. Whenever something happens on the interstate and they have to shut it down, they re-route the traffic through the Jesus Town, thus binding up traffic between the high school and the Wal-mart. This actually happens quite frequently because the stretch of the interstate that passes through the Jesus-Town exit is documented as the most dangerous stretch of roadway in the state.

Today, just west of the Jesus Town on the interstate, there was a major accident. I saw pictures on the news and it's quite possibly the worst accident I've seen in these parts in years. There were 6 cars, an RV and a semi involved. At last I heard, it was a multiple fatality accident, the details of which will be on the evening news. They had to shut down the interstate, as well as the other highway that runs under it because the accident happened on the bridge. They were re-routing traffic eastbound through the Jesus Town, which happened to coincide with another accident. There was a major accident on the Jesus Town highway, just down the road from my house, in which they thought there was a fatality. So they had the highway, which was already the only thoroughfare for the interstate traffic, shut down in both directions. I just headed to town, and though both accidents were over 4 hours ago, it's a nightmare. There were backups in every direction, semis stranded in intersections, and generally cars headed in every direction down the back streets. I just pray that no accidents happen in town if people get impatient.

After I heard of the accidents, I did the genetically encoded thing of needing to call and account for all family members. I don't usually do this, but when the accidents are so close to my house, I always just feel better if I do. I only needed to make one phone call, to the sis, because she had taken care of the rest. The bro and the bro-in-law were both working the highway accident and the parents are up in Indy. Which makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

Update: The bro just walked in, and contrary to what I heard earlier, there was a fatality at the highway accident he and the bro-in-law worked. And he said that there was another major accident about a mile up from that highway accident while they were working it. In all his brotherly concern, he just asked me not to go out on the roads today. Which I won't. But I will say a prayer for the families.

I'm 86% sure this is the title of this post.

My sister finally had her ultrasound last week to determine what she's having. Once she found out, she proceeded to tell all of us that she's not letting anyone know. I for one thought this was unfair since I've had to listen to her gripe every week about how she doesn't know and needs to know. And I pretty much told her so. They caved a bit because the bro-in-law, J, called and told his parents. So they felt obligated to tell my parents. I offered that J should be able to tell all his siblings and A could tell all of hers. This almost worked until they realized J was an only child.

After much whining on my part, I pulled out my trump card. I've volunteered to babysit for free every Thurs and some Fridays this fall. I told them if they didn't tell me, that I'd up my charge to an hourly fee. And they agreed to pay me. Then I reminded them that my mom (who was sitting there smiling this whole time) will slip up or will try to buy something gender specific while I'm with her so I'll figure it out. But to no avail.

But knowning my sister, she wouldn't last long. I think she lasted 8 more hours, and she told me in a round-about way that the baby was the opposite of what she had thought it was. Since I knew what she thought, I figured it out pretty easily. Then she told me that I can't tell J I know, because he would get mad. So I have to act like I don't know, and I promised not to tell anyone else. And that includes the blog.

I can understand her hesitation to reveal it, since her doctor isn't exactly the most trustworthy at guessing. He told her friend that he was 99% sure she was having a girl, and she had a boy. So the sis is thinking that he could be wrong with her. Afterall, he told her he was 94% sure. Where the heck he pulled 94% I'll never know. I could understand 99 or 95, but 94? He's going to do another ultrasound in a week to "be sure." My sis is hoping his nurse will do it since she's the one who finally told her friend the doc didn't know what he's doing. (We all know the nurses know more anyway, right Kelly?) He also told her she was 25 weeks, when my sister argued that she was 28. And then 3 weeks later told her she was 31. My sis was more impressed by the fact that she was right then by the fact that the baby grew 6 weeks older in 3 weeks.

But I can't not like the doctor, as much as I want to. He, after all, is the one who brought me into the world. Then again, he was the one who told my mom I was due Dec 10th, and then when I didn't come, he said I was due Jan 15th. So no one's really sure if I was 2 weeks early, or 2 weeks late.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Honduras: The Virus

I'd be remiss if I didn't find time to talk about the one souvenir we all hoped we'd left in Central America. The virus of a lifetime, as a fellow traveler called it. With less than 3 days left on our trip, we started dropping like flies. At first, it started with one, who was hooked to and IV and we assumed it was a simple case of dehydration. But when we started having 2-3 more laying around on the couches and rushing for the bathrooms, we knew we were in trouble.

What we didn't know was that "new guy" who joined our group from the outskirts of the country, had been sick when he joined us. He didn't bother to tell us that he was spending 2-3 hours a day hovering in the bathroom. And we found out the hard way.

What really sucked was that with all the flushing of toilets, we ran ourselves completely out of water. So imagine yourself trapped in a living space the size of most living rooms, with people running to the bathroom every few minutes, you can't flush the toilets, and as always, the toilet paper goes in a trash can, not in the toilet. Yes, it was as fun as it sounds.

Thankfully, I wasn't hit as badly as some others. The others have had intestinal problems out both ends, as well as other flu-like feelings. My symptoms consist of lightheadedness, dizzyness, confusion, hot flashes, and a fever. And I use the present tense because I'm still suffering. Mostly I feel like someone beat me with a baseball bat and left me in the middle of the woods. I'm only up for about 4 hours at a time, and those days where I push past that, the next day I find myself sleeping 12-14 hours at night, and unable to even remember where I was supposed to be or what I was to be doing.

And as far as I know, we're all still suffering. I of course can't go to the doctor and ask him to test me for things, since student insurance never covers that type of thing. But one other person has went, and they eliminated most things and told her it's probably a virus that we'll all just have to wait out. Let's just hope I outlive this thing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In the news.

Living in a small town, not much action happens around here. So when something does, it's broadcast all over the news in the 'big town' next to us. The other day, the Jesus town led the news with 3 stories.

The most disturbing story was that the body of a 20-something yr old man was found in a drainage ditch along the highway. And when I read it in the Jesus town paper I realized that it was found along the highway behind my house, and less than 1/4 mile down the road. They still haven't identified the body. It kinda creeps me out.

Unfortunately, my psuedo-cop brother didn't work that day since he was attending the race, so we didn't get any inside scoop. I swear, what are the benefits of having him around anyway?

Works for me.

At the "local" Starbucks last night, they were advertising that they were hiring people to work part-time. The sign by the applications said that if you work at least 20 hours a week, you'll receive full benefits including: medical, dental and vision, and discounts on coffee and products. That's more than a clerking position at a law firm will offer me. And since I only have class on Monday and Wednesdays this fall, that leaves open a Tues, Thurs, Fri, and a Sat that I could work 20 hours. It's all very tempting.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Honduras: Translation problems

While we were in Honduras, our Spanish skills were decidedly lacking. A couple of us had taken Spanish in high school, and one of the group had spent 3 months in South America. So outside about 4 of us, communication was a trip.

A girl on our trip, K, kept asking people to excuse her. We were building a house and had to do a lot of passing by each other, so she would just use what she thought was the Spanish phrase for excuse me: Escuchame. What she didn't realize was that "escuchame"actually means "listen to me." So the entire day she had been passing by the Honduran workers telling them to "listen to me" and when they paused to listen, she'd just walk right by. I never heard her do this, but I did catch a lot of them staring at her like she was crazy.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Bimbo Bread products are the Wonder Bread of Honduras. The company advertises bread all over the country via billboards like this one.

For those who don't read Spanish, it reads: Bimbo; Always Rich, Always Fresh.

As you can imagine, we had a good time with this saying all trip. My friend G would say, "The Hondurans like their bimbos the same way I like mine. Always Rich. Always Fresh."

Sounds like a bad pickup line waiting to happen.

Honduras: The Airport

We flew into the Tegucigalpa airport on the Continental flight of the day. When we left, the departure and arrival board behind the counter listed exactly 2 flights. One incoming, and one outgoing. What we weren't told until after we had landed, was that the Tegucigalpa airport is considered the most dangerous airport in the world to land at.

I knew something was up when the flight attendants began taking their seats long before you could even see the ground below us. Then the turbulence kicked in. I'm not a big fan of turbulence, but I can handle it better than others. I was seated on the aisle, and noticed that the plane was see-sawing back and forth. I'd look out the window on the left and I could see land at wing level. Then it would disappear, and I'd look out the right window and see that we were barely clearing the mountains on that side. Honduras is a very hilly/mountainous country, and the wind whipping around the landscape bumps the jet all over the place. I finally stopped looking out the window and tried to block out the sights and sounds of people all over the plane utilizing their vomit bags. It was quite a trip.

We then landed on the sole runway at the airport, taxied to one of the 4 gates, and deplaned from both ends of the 737. We took the stairs from the plane down to the ground and then walked across the "parking lot" into a long, bare room that was their immigration. There were 2 men sitting at one end, and we were lined up waiting to go through them. The room looked like it was straight out of a 1950s movie, and I had to look back through the door to make sure the plane we landed wasn't a prop plane.

But we cleared through immigration, walked through the door at the end of the room, and we were in the luggage claim room. The conveyor belt was coming in from the side of the building, and the luggage would go around this 20 foot conveyor, and one guy would take the luggage off before it went back out the side of the building. He stacked it neatly in the corner, about 15 suitcases deep and 15 wide, so you had no way of getting to it or figuring out what was yours. Once we collected our luggage, we walked 15 steps to customs where they stood at tables and went through luggage. Once we stepped outside, it finally hit me that this airport was in total the size of the atrium at our law school.

When we left, we found out that it was slightly bigger, but not by much. They had individual airline counters inside and a Wendy's and some souvenir shops. But still, quite small scale. The ticket agents didn't have to ask where you were flying since each airline only flew one flight out a day. All flights arrive and leave between 10 and 2, and if it's raining that day, they shut down the airport. Afterall, this airport is named for a pilot who failed to successfully land the plane and crashed into a barrier at the end of the runway so they don't take any chances.

Takeoff is almost as eventful, and sometimes scarier. My mom pointed out as we were taxi-ing that there was a sign at the end of the runway that said "ALTO", or stop in Spanish. Funny. They taxi the plane to the end of the 1 runway, rev the engines on full blast, and then release the break. Once in the air, the plane ascends quicker than any other flight because you have to clear the mountains that surround the city. And the flight attendants talk throughout the whole takeoff, I'm assuming so that you're listening to them and not thinking that your life is coming to an end.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Pregnant Pause

I always thought that the phrase in the title was simply a literary anecdote. Yet it became more literal than literary last week.

The day we were leaving for Honduras, it was 3:30 in the morning and we were hanging out under the canopy at church waiting for our ride to the airport. We were just a chit-chatting and the subject came up about how I was carrying all that medical equipment with me.

Me: It's going to be a bit hard explaining why I'm carrying this fetal heart monitor in my backpack.
My mom to everyone else: Well, you know she's pregnant right?

At this point, I knew that my mom was talking about the missionary lady we were going to stay with, though the way it came out, it sounded like she was talking about me. So I waited, debating whether to clarify or let it pass. I chose to clarify.

Me: She's talking about V, not me.
Everyone else: Huge sighs of relief.
My mom: of course they knew I wasn't talking about you.

Only they didn't. My friend G was standing next to me, and he later told me that the first thought that went through his head was "Oh my Gosh, Heidi's pregnant", and then turned to the woman next to him and tried to change the subject. Which was all the nervous mumbling that followed my mom's announcement. Considering we were leaving on a mission trip and standing at the church in the Jesus town, it's amazing I wasn't struck down by lighting just because some people thought it was true.

Later in the week, a friend of the family said that her first thought was that I was going to be having a little Chinese baby. (And this without her even knowing about the Chinese massage fiasco). So I became the butt of most jokes. We had in-line water heaters that would suck so much power that the lights would dim. So the saying was that since we were conserving water, we had a two dim-limit when showering. Which thus became the name of my fictitious Chinese baby. At various points throughout the week, someone would turn to me and in all seriousness say, "Just think of two-dim." It's a good thing I have such a good sense of humor.

She's Back

I'm back, alive, and with plenty of stories to tell. But as always, I'm as tired as I could ever imagine and don't have time to start in with them all just yet. But lucky for you, I have the day off tomorrow to catch up on blogs I couldn't read while I was away and to begin posting the numerous snippets from the past week and a half. Highlights are sure to include: cockroaches and scorpions, gringos in a pickup, tearing down and building a house, the 2 day plague, running out of water with the 2 day plague, carrying 60 lbs of corn, lost in translation, cell phones, toilets, and being in beautiful landscapes and surrounded by unimaginable poverty. My favorite though will be up first tomorrow, and you'll just have to wait for that.

So I hope that whets your whistle and has you coming back for more.

And thanks to Amanda who graciously stepped in to keep this place alive. Though she apparently wasn't able to blog as much as she liked, she now owns the record to the most comments ever to a single post on this site. But who's counting.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Welcome home, Heidi!

Here's to hoping you had a great time and a rewarding experience without any huge scary bugs, which is what I would worry about most if I were going to Honduras...

Blogging Breakdown

Okay, I realize that I said that I would pick up Heidi's slack while she was away, and I have since let down anyone who has popped over here in anticipation of a new post. Sorry about that, but I had a little run-in with the oral surgeon last week and have spent the last several days in a vicodin-induced semi-coma with a face that only remotely resembled my old self. Not a good excuse for not blogging since I was not working, but believe me when I say that if you think I was misinformed in my last post, you really wouldn't want to read anything I had to say last week. My thoughts did not extend much deeper than noting that I don't care for Dr. Phil's mustache.

Speaking of my last post, I was eloquently corrected by Energy Spatula over at Will Work for Favorable Dicta regarding the boob jobs and the military. There's a great post from Thursday, July 22 called "Soapbox Alert" that brings to light the positive motivations behind the offer of plastic surgery to members of the military. I would link here, butI haven't learned how yet (been slacking on that, too). However, the post is well worth the read if you're so inclined to look beyond the surface of the MSN article. And besides, Will Work for Favorable Dicta is one of the most amusing blogs I've come across, so if you haven't been there, go there.