Thursday, October 31, 2013

Insomnia Chapter Seventeen Thousand

I'm awake again when I should be asleep. I slept too much during the day yesterday and am now paying for my daytime slumber. I haven't had enough energy even to record anything decent on my TV, so I'm stuck with On Demand and the very limited pickings that are on now. Were it not for Comedy Central there would be positively nothing worth watching, but Comedy Central had the Daily Show during the last half-hour and now The Colbert Report next, so I will not perish from lack of mental stimulation.

My parents do not think I should participate in any Halloween festivities tonight (as in sixteen or so hours from now). I will take their opinions into consideration, but this is very likely my last Halloween here in the Halloween capital of the west coast. One of the freshmen has a wheelchair from the campus health center that he keeps forgetting to take back. I'm not sure why he has it. He's not even sure why he has it. It's probably safe to assume that alcohol is somehow related to how the wheelchair came to be in his possesion, but beyond that I really cannot even speculate. In any event, the guy has offered to push me all over the off-campus community. Since I cannot walk very far, I may take him up on his offer.

My pseduoaunt and pseudouncle went to a costume party tonight. They took their niece [Jared's little sister] with them, as they went as a gypsy couple, and the niece was Baby Maria, the blond gypsy in Greece. Her mother braided her hair into several small braids last night before she put her to bed so it would have almost twenty-four hours to get all messy, then pulled a bit more of the hair out with a crochet hook to make the hairstyle more authentic. Then she dipped the ends of child's braids into diluted brown tempera paint to make it look as though the hair had been dyed brown months ago but that no one had bothered to keep the dye job current. Then the mother gave her a stamp pad, stamps, and paper to play with so her hands would be suitably filthy, and they gave her popsicles to eat, so her face was filthy as well. My pseudoaunt wore a colorful skirt and bare midriff blouse with hair scrunchies from the 90's down her arms. My pseudouncle allowed temporary dye to be put into his hair to darken it, and didn't shave for two days. He supposedly looked the most authentically Roma of all of them.

My pseudoaunt said they stayed a little longer than they had planned to stay, and Jared's little sister, who is staying with them tonight, fell asleep in the car on the way home. My pseudoaunt would not put the little girl to bed in such a state of filth, so my pseudouncle had to hold her head up while pseudoaunt bathed her and scrubbed her hair. They managed to get most of the paint out of her hair and all the filth off her body. She's a very compliant child, and she slept peacefully while they scrubbed her, brushed her teeth, put her pajamas on, and dried her hair. They're planning on having a child fairly soon if Mother Nature goes along with their plan. I certainly hope they aren't harboring any silly delusions about their own child being similarly docile, because the kid they were scrubbing and drying in her sleep is one of a kind; their own child will scream his or her head off if they even attempt such a feat. I know I would have if someone had tried to mess with my sleep at that age. Little kids may not be crazy about the idea of going to sleep, but once they're asleep, you'd best leave them alone unless there's a fire or equally urgent circumstance.

In the few minutes since I began typing this blog, I've made up my mind: I will take in the Halloween revelry [as a spectator]. John and Erin won't like it, but they really need to get lives of their own so that they do not have so much time to obsess over what I'm doing on any given night. I'm eighteen and therefore old enough to think for myself and to make my own decisions, even if they are stupid decisions.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to make your own stupid decisions.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pleasant Grove [Accused] Killer

Gypsy Jillian Willis

Since I'm stuck at home recovering from pneumonia this week, and I've finished all major homework and cannot practice either instrument until six days from now, I've been following the Martin MacNeill trial. I'm something of a true crime buff anyway, but this trial is a bit more personal. I've spent considerable time [ but no nights because that's where I draw the line} in the neighborhood where it happened. I worked one day as a paralegal in the Utah County [Provo] courthouse, but in a different division and courtroom. Even if i didn't care about the case my interest would be piqued, but in this particular case I have a morbid interest.

When I was first in the area the summer after the Dr. Martin MacNeill's late wife was found lifeless in the bathtube of the master bedroom suite, no one told me about the incident. Eventually I learned of it and started asking questions. Even though no charges were even pending and as far as the authorities were concerned nothing was even suspicious in the woman's death at that point, neighbors were already talking, and my ears are always open. No one had any great answers for my questions, which heightened my sense of forbiding.

I've seen Dr. McNeill. I've seen Gypsy Jillian Willis, his mistress, who was a witness in the trial today. I've seen miscellaneous family members who shall remain nameless because they never did anything wrong and certainly don't warrant mention in some random blogger's rantings.

Today on the witness stand in the trial, in addition to Gypsy Jillian Willis, were her parents. After they testified on the trial, Dr. and Mrs. Willis answered Vinnie Politan's questions on his Headline News program. I felt incredibly sorry for the couple. They were extremely apologetic regarding their daughter's actions even though nothing she did was their fault in any way. When pressed, they expressed feelings that their daughter was influenced by Dr. MacNeill, although they were quick to state that she was a consenting adult. These people were unusually classy under most difficult and unpleasant circumstances. I really hope that they're allowed to return home to Iowa or wherever it is that they now reside to live their lives in peace. They've been interrupted enough.

EDITED TO ADD ONE OBSERVATION: There seems to be a bit of confusion as to one point. Pundits are bringing up when Gypsy told others that Michele Macneill died. This can be construed in two ways. A) When, according to Gypsy Willis, did Michele MacNeill die? I believe this is the way gypsy Willis' parents understood the question when they answered it. B) On what date, or in what month, did Gyspy Willis actually verbalize to others that Michele MacNeill had died? the pundits ar letting this discrepancy remain unclarified. people are understanding this question in one of the two ways posited here. the two questions are very different. While clearly Gypsy Willis knew exactly when Michele MacNeill died and she was being untruthful if she suggested any date or month other than April of 2007, suggestionsfrom her that the death had happened at an earlier time would have been done to pain herself or Martin macNeill in a more positive light. On the other hand, if she was actually telling people two months prior to Michele MacNeill's death that Michele was dead, it is highly incriminating both to herself and to Martin MacNeill. The two suppositions are entirly different, and the pundits are missing out on this.

I do want to state that the scenic mountain meadow backdrop behind Dr. and Mr. Willis doesn't look much like what I saw outside the Provo courthouse, although I haven't scoped the entire ara looking for angles and scenic views. Maybe that's the real view somewhere out there.

My pseudoaunt and pseudouncle are totally caught up in this case. They lived in a nearby community at the time, and lived in the actual town later. Psedoaunt taught in the city where this took place. Pseudoaunt's first name is Jillian, and the people who work in pseudouncle's hospital have taken to calling her "Gypsy Jillian." (Pseudoaunt is figuratvely telling political correctness to go to hell and is dressing up as a gypsy for Halloween this year. She's going to braid her niece's hair so the niece can be Baby Maria from Greece.) Pseudouncle is constantly switching patients' TVs to Headline News during his workday to catch up on the trial, and pseudoaunt records all the action each day even if she watches it live. God forbid that something momentous might happen that pseudouncle misses.

If I were not possibly still harboring a germ or two, I would go watch the action with pseudoaunt. She has cystic fibrosis, and something like influenza has more serious ramifications for her than it does for most people. My dad says I can go to her house and watch the action with her on Friday if I continue to improve at the rate I've presently improving.

This blog is ended. Go now to love and serve the Lord and to give up soap operas if you are normally so inclined, because the real-live soap opera on Headline News is much more compelling.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Everyone's Favorite Senator Ted Cruz

one of the many faces of Ted Cruz

I shouldn't post pictures of Ted Cruz because just looking at them makes me angry, and looking at pictures of him probably evokes a similar reaction in many of my readers. Donna suggested that viewing pictures of Senator Cruz probably made me sicker and caused me temperature to rise. I wouldn't rule it out. For that reason and many others I do not go out of my way to view pictures of the very silly man, but I come across them from time to time without any effort on my part.

Regarding photos of Ted Cruz, not everyone is photogenic, and today's society places far too much emphasis on physical appearance. That being said, Ted Cruz looks goofier in most of his pictures than anyone I know. I wouldn't want someone following me around with a camera and snapping a picture every time I made an expresion that looked even remotely doltish, but I doubt most of us could give a camera so much fodder as does Senator Cruz even if we made conscious effort to look absurd every time the camera clicked. If the man is trying to look silly, he is succeeding.

One of the faculty members on the cellist's adjudication panel last night emailed my mother to tell her how well he thought I played when accompanying the cellist. My mom doesn't ordinarily boast about my skills because hers are far superior, but she said she did email him back that I played last night with a temperature of almost 103, and that while she didn't see or hear the performance, she would assume the cello recital was a conservative showing of my ability as a pianist.

My fever is slowly abating. I checked it a couple of hours ago, and it was 101.8. I would think it should be gone by tomorrow or by Monday a the very latest. I'll still probably be out of classes for a few days after that because pneumonia always leaves me zapped, but by the end of the week I sould be well on the wayto recovery. I still don't know about Halloween plans, but I cannot justify jeopardizing my health just to witness young adults making drunken and drugged out fools of themselves.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to rid yourselves of any and all signs of illness so that you might enjoy the upcoming All Hallows Eve.

Friday, October 25, 2013

a Halloween celebration somewhere near my university from some previous year

I've been following the murder trial of Utah doctor Martin MacNeill, who allegedly gave his wife a cocktail of powerful drugs before she was found lifeless in a bathtub a week or so after she underwent a facelift, reportedly at his urging. This occurred in Pleasant Grove, Utah, where I spent a portion of three summers during my youth. The homes of two close relatives of my hosts in Utah were located close to the MacNeill home, and just knowing something creepy, whatever it was, had happened there was enough to cause me to feel very uncomfortale at either of the two Pleasant Grove homes.

I feel sad for everyone involved in this rather eerie situation. I hope that the outcome of this trial will allow the surviving victims in the situation, whoever they may be, to have some closure and peace.

Even though my temperature is still hovering between 102 and 103, I was able to play for the cello recital at my university earlier this evening. I think I was powered mostly by adrenaline, but I was over-prepared for the recital, so even at 80% capacity I was most likely good enough to impress the panel. At the very least, I did nothing to detract from the cellist's performance . I don't have any details except that the cellist received his grade and that he aced the recital. I left right after the performance without staying for any of he reception, but the cellist texted me with the information. I'm glad that I played for him, and I'm also glad that it's over. It's daunting for me to play for someone in a high-stakes situation when I'm operating on diminished capacity. My mom wanted to play for me, which didn't exactly bolster my confidence, but my dad told her to leave me alone -- that I would play for a little over an hour and then would be finished with all obligations for the rest of the week. My dad went with me because he likes the cello as much as I do. He thought the recital went very well, and he's a relatively tough critic.

I will do absolutely nothing for at least four days. The professors of my Monday and Tuesday classes always record and post their lectures, and the health center has notified all of my professors that I am not allowed to attend class. I hadn't missed a class prior to last week, so I can afford a little downtime. My professors don't want a flu epidemic this early in flu season; if I and the few others who are infected show up all over campus and share our germs, we could start an epidemic that lasts for entirely too long, so everyone is happy to have me stay home. I had to get special clearance to attend the rehearsal last night and the recital tonight even though I stayed pretty far away from everyone at both events. Someone is supposed to give the keyboard and music rack of the pianoI played a thorough cleaning before Monday.

I'm somewhat drugged because I had a steriod injection plus some strong cough syrup to stave off any major coughing fits or wheezing duing the recital. It worked well, but it's starting to hit me now. I consumed major caffeine right before the recital to give me a burst of energy, but I'm crashing now. I carried juice, 7-up, and crackers to my room in case I wake up needing something in my stomach and I'm too weak to make it downstairs.
I have a feeling the next few days may crawl, but I will make it through the weekend. It would be nice to see a little of the Halloween revelry next week, but if taking myself into the situaion would be hazardous, I'll skip it. One must prioritize, and the prospect of observing drunken revelry probably shouldn't be too high on my list.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

You can tell just by looking at the picture that Ted Cruz is whining in this mug shot.

Ted Cruz is arguably the biggest threat to democracy and to a decent and functioning society that we have in our nation today.

I have bronchial pneumonia, but i'm on really good drugs, so the illness should soon be history. my parents apparently did not agree about my dad's decision not to gie me antibiotics as a precaution. My dad follows CDC guidlenines and doesn't give me drugs before I develop a bacterial infection because he believes his ownership of a prescription pad does not make me special. My mom thinks he should have looked into his crystal ball to see that I would become more seriously ill without antibiotics.

Even though I have a 103 degree fever, which is a full degree below where I was last night, I played for the cellist's rehearsal, and there's no reason to believe I won't play for his recital tomorrow, although I do have my mother as a backup if something goes horribly wrong.

Good night to anyone who comes across this page. I will be back after I rest for another 24 hours or so.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I WILL Beat This Thing

not actually me, as the hair is too dark and too straight when I'm too sick to straighten it, but you get the idea

My temperature was manageable all day, but tonight it's right back above 104 again. My dad says if it shoots up again tomorrow I need to take antibiotics and probably to get a chest Xray Friday morning. I will hope it is gone tomorrow. My dad could get away with giving me antibiotics earlier, but he's very conscientious and follows CDC recomendations on any given illness before giving antibiotics. Doctors worldwide need to follow the protocol if they don't wish to create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. With this particular strain of influenza or whatever it is, five nights of moderately high temperature has been determined to be a normal interval of illness. Once the fever reaches day six, it has exceeded its limits, and there is probably secondary bacterial infection. I would prefer that it go away, although taking a three or four pills a day is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

Today's midterms were a minor inconvenince -- a mere blip on the radar screen. They tests were more or less as I would have written them had I been givn the privilege of creating examsfor the courses I'm taking. I studied all the right material. Actually I studied all the material, but I agree with what the professors chose for inclusion on the midterm exams.

Tomorrow early evening I have a dress rehearsal for the cello recital. My mom will show up too just in case I get sicker and she has to play for the recital. She doesn't need tobe there to play the music. She's probably played it all bfore, and she could have played it perfectly withou ever having seen it before, but if she's actually called into service, the cellist will feel more at ease knowing that she attended the rehearsal.

So I will sleep all day tomorrow, then play for the rehearsal. Then I'll sleep all day Friday, then play for the recital. Then I'll sleep all day Satruay and Sunday, and I'll hope I'm able to drag myself to classes on Monday.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to sleep until your sleep is reclassified as hibernation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

still Fighting This Bug

She looks just about how I feel right now.

I'm still fighting this rather pesky bug. My temperature stays between 103 and 104.4. It's in the high 103 range most of the time. I have two midterms tomorrow and one Thursday, but I'm going to take all three of them in at the health center tomorrow in order to minimize the number of people I potentially make sick. The professor for my Thursday class trusts me not to contact anyone in the class with information about the exam, and I will not betray her trust. My dad is paying three graduate assistants to give me the exams. (Yes, I know my dad is a generous person, but keep in mind that he hasn't had to pay for one cent of my education up to this point. He's getting off very lightly when it comes to financing both my education and my brother's.) They don't have to stay in a room with me while I'm actually taking the test. I'll probably just sit in a lounge chair outside if the weather is still nice. Then I won't be germing up an office. I'll meet the grad student assistants at the health center and they'll supervise my belongings while I take the tests. I hope to start at 10:00 and finish by 1:00. It's easy money for the grad student assistants. They can be on their computers the entire time. All they need to do is certify that I had no access to my computer or notes and that I didn't cheat.

I hope to be back in the dorms next week, as Halloween in the dorms and in the off-campus community is unparalleled. On the night before Halloween, little kids from the community (the families who live by campus are usually a bit underprivileged) will trick or treat in the dorms. I will make up little goody bags for the children and will make sure everyone in our part of the dorm has candy to give them. That means I'll have to provide extra so that the freshmen may eat some as well. My aunt Ilianna is paying her daughter-in-law to make popcorn balls and candy apples for the freshmen. My aunt can't make them because she's going to Europe later this week and will be here for almost a month. She says she has the free cookie business covered. As long as the freshmen don't all get sick at the same time, it should be OK. I'm doing my part by staying out of the dorm until I'm better.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Maria, the sweet little girl found in a gypsy dwelling in Greece

I have a raging fever of 104.2. My throat is more scratchy than sore. I'm developing a cough, and my head is throbbing.

I would like to go to class tomorrow but my dad and my aunt say it would not be fair to the other people in the class or to the person or people who might sit where I had been sitting when the next class met in the room. It bothers me to miss classes, but I haven't missed any yet. I have two midterms later in the week and will have to go to class then, ready or not. I could get a doctor's note, but I don't like to do that. I think professors are skeptical of such notes.

I read about Maria, the poor little girl found in the gypsy settlement in Greece. Her blond and blue-eyed coloring gave her away as not belonging to the gypsy family who had her.
I really wonder where they found her. I hope the authorities find her real parents very soon.

I read with interest of Dick Cheney's fear that terrorists would electronically tamper with his pacemaker. To me that seems far-fetched even if it was in a movie plot or Law & Order episode or whatever. On the other hand, perhaps such actions are not just the stuff of movie and TV seies plots and maybe I'm the one who is naive.

So I'm presumably housebound until Wednesday, when I have two mid-terms. I won't even bother practicing my instruments, as I've found it doesn't do much good to practice when I'm sick. I'll just stay in bed and rest as don't really feel like doing anything.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to stay away from any nasty flu germs.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Enough Is Enough

The Fall 2013 Edition of The Big Push has officially concluded. About two hours ago, I typed the final words on my one remaining essay, printed the document, and sent it electronically to my professor. All I need to do for the remainder of the quarter is to show up and to complete three midterm exams, for which I've studied, and four finals (three of my courses have no midterms or finals), for which I have thoroughly prepared and need only review the material.

It's good that I've finished my work, as I have a scratchy
throat, a headache, and a bit of a fever. If I get sick, I can do so in peace without fifteen million assignments and textbook and related course readings for five classes hanging over my head.

What I have is not likely to be strep. It's more likely a classic cold or flu, possibly with some croup or bronchitis thrown into th mix just for a little added excitement. My Aunt JoAnne, who is an ENT, said she will come to check on me tomorrow. I have a few comfort-related pills stored away, but I don't like to take anything very potent without running it by someone who knows more than I when i'm sick, as opposed to when I'm having pain from some past injury. in the case of an old injury bothering me, I take medicine exactly as prescribed.

I have just two classes on Monday, which I will try to attend, but I will come home to sleep if I'm sick. There's no point in making the entire dorm sick needlessly. I have just over three weeks until my senior recital in piano.
I'm feeling reasonably prepared for that. everything hass been memorized for months. Once I finish my piano recital, I'll be able to focus on my violin recital.

I am the piano accompanist for a guy's cello recital on Friday. I will surprise him and not take his check. I am not sufficiently in need of the money to take it from my fellow students who are struggling more than I. If the cellist were a trust fund baby, I'd take the check, but he's not.

This blog is ended. Gon now to love and serve the Lord and to pay your piano accompanist even more than the going amount . . . if you're a trust fund baby.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The House Is Divided

Last night a stenographer on the floor of the House of Representatives chamber overtook the microphone and shouted gobbledy-gook no sequitur sentences, starting out with "The House is divided."

She continued her rant. “He will not be mocked! This is not one nation under God. It never was. The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under god! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons! You cannot serve two masters! You cannot serve two masters! Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ."

All of this went down during the vote to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, and was rather unsettling to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who were present. Anyone kooky enough to spout such madness in the decorum of a House roll call is probably sufficiently off-kilter to do all sorts of things.

In an interview with the stenographer in question, Dianne Reidy, and her husband, formerly a Pentecostal minister in Florida, credit for the inspiration belongs to the Holy Ghost, who, according both to her husband and her, rather directly dictated the verbiage for her shout-out. If I'm correctly understanding the interview, the husband knew his wife was going to do the House floor call to repentance or whatever her announcement was, and did nothing to dissuade her. I suppose metal detecters and similar security measures presumably in place at the Capitol building are a very good thing. I, for one, am very glad this woman was not able to enter the House chambers armed. Our government has had more than enough bad publicity in recent weeks without this incident, but at least it did not end in bloody carnage.

Anyone who reads this is free to disagree,but I think the woman is bat-shit crazy. Perhaps her conduct to this point has been beyond reproach. In the climate of today's political arena, however, caution must be exercised. What happened last night could have been ugly.

I'm following the trial of Martin MacNeill, who has been charged with the murder of his late wife. She was found unconscious and presumably dead inthe bathtub of their home about eight days after undergoing a plastic surgery procedure. I've been very close to the home and have actually seen MacNeill in person, though I have never spoken with him.

Right now The Big Push is on in full force. I got a bit of a jump on it by knocking out three papers in the three preceding nights. This Big Push should be relatively short-lived as Big Pushes go, which is fine with me. I still think the idea of knocking out any assignment that can be done in advance is a sound idea. The practice has served me well throughout my high school and college enrollment.

I'll read a bit more, write one more research paper, compose two essays, and call it a day, possibly as early as tomorrow. I'm not complaining about my light academic load this quarter. God knows the hours of practicing I must put in will more than compensate for any ease in academic difficulty and workload.

This blog is ended. go now tolove and serve the Lord, but all of us would appreciate it if the religious zealots would keep any religious rantings you may have in your radar off the floors of the chambers of legislative bodies of our goverment.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

your tax dollars and mine

the fiasco as it unfolded

I really should be asleep, but I need to comment on a topic so I won't forget it.

Did anyone else read or hear about the Walmart shoppers whose EBT cards erroneously had no limits? The infamous and concience-deficient retailer's local management clearly knew there was a problem but continued selling their merchandise away to the conscience-deficient recipients.

Who ultimately pays for this? Will the computer glitch allow the government to pinpoint who defrauded the goverment of what? Will those people be charged with welfare fraud, or will they get away with it because of the banking system that allowed it to happen? Will they perhaps not get anymore entitlement aid until what their cards paid out equals what they should have received, however long that takes? Will their children go hungry while they play with new toys and their parents play with their own new toys while waiting for aid to kick in again?

As much of a hassle as it would be, does anyone else see the need for the government to issue vouchers for rent, food, and clothing to these people rather than handing them cold hard cash or debit cards? I believe the very worst of what happened was in Louisiana and not where I live, but since it's funded by the federal government, that is my money, too. I've been paying federal income tax since I was fourteen. What I've paid is not a whole lot, but I have paid it, noetheless. I resent my hard-earned money being deducted from my paychecks so that Walmart could allow themselves to profit along with the lawless benefit recipients from this admittedly unbelievably incompetent error.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the lord and to get some sleep, as I intend to do.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Lens Through Which I View Things: Trying To Be More Open-Minded to Diversity and to the Practices of Others

I don't know if these are all of the pastors featured in "Preachers of LA." It seemed as though there were more, but it may have been my imagination.

I'm very happy to be spending one more night in the familiar and comfortable surroudings of my room at home. I'll return to the dorm immediately following classes tomorrow and probably will do whatever practicing I can do in the dorm. I cannot afford to do that often, as the quality of any practice I get in is less than optimal in the dorm, but it is sometimes important to be social.

Tonight I caught a bit of a TV program on Oxygen that I did not know existed. It's called "Preachers of LA." I don't think it's supposed to be funny, but it is in its own way. Most of the pastors featured in the show are inner city pastors. I can accept that these pastors need to run differnt kinds of churches than ones I've ever attended in order to have a ministry for the people they feel called to serve, and I think diversity is a good thing. I'm guilty of sytereotyping them and assuming that because most of them are black and from a relatively similar theological position, they can get along with one another.

Pastors can't all get along whether or not they hold similar theological views and share ethnicity. Furthermore, status as The Lord's Anointed notwithstanding, it takes a certain level of healthy ego for anyone to appear before a congregation on a weekly basis and attempt to function as a spiritual leader to the flock. I doubt that it matters what the denomination or ethnicity. You could fill a room with Mormon bishops, Catholic priests, Episcopalian or Anglican priests or vicars or whatever they're calling themselves these days, or Methodist ministers, and you would have the same sort of jockeying for position. Such behavior certainly isn't unique to the black Christian religious culture.

There's an added dynamic in their ethnic group possibly being more forgiving and more open to the idea that their clergymen are only human and can err just like anyone else. Extramarital liaisons of varying sorts happen in all of Christianity, Judaisism, and presumably every major and minor world religion. Black evangelical Christianity is somewhat unique in that a pastor typically continues to function in a clergy role.
Maybe the situation is truly that the people are less judgmental and not that their standards are lower in term of what they demand of their clergy. Or perhaps middle class white church congregations demonize "sex sins" while the African-American Christian community is more realistic and even more Christ-like. I really don't know.

Still, it gets my attention when I see a bishop sitting on the piano with his Baby Mama, rubbing her bottom. Maybe I just find such behavior in front of any third party to be unconventional because I was raised with the white middle class ethic of keeping intimacy behind closed doors. If they're just as happy as my parents and are not harming anyone else by their actions, who am I to say it's wrong? I'll leave that for a higher power to decide, but I probably will never engage in similar openness in my own life no matter who I marry.

I need to get to campus early tomorrow to practice for two hours with my cellist before my first class. I really want his recital to go well, and I really want to impress his adjudication panel with my skills as a pianist. Three out of his five adjudicators will be my piano adjudicators. I want any preconceived notions they have before they walk into my recital next month to be good ones.

This blog is ended. Go now to love and serve the Lord and to watch "Preachers of LA" if you get the chance and haven't already seen it. It is most enlightening.

Elephant Crushes Zookeeper in Missouri Zoo

I would assume this is Patience, although it could be a stock photo.

A 62-year-old zookeeper was crushed to death by a 41-year-old three-ton female elephant named Patience. (Attempts at humor regarding the ironic nature of her name are not appropriate at this time.) The elephant paused in the tunnel or shoot connecting the elephant barn to the elephant exhibit area. The zookeeper --specifically the elephant manager -- reached in with a training device of some sort. The elephant apparently grabbed the device and pulled the man into the elephant enclosure before he could or would let got of the device.

The zoo does not plan to euthanize the elephant, nor, according to reports, is any disciplinary action planned. Such was the wording of the zoo's press release. While I find absolutely nothing remotely amusing about this incident, I find the part of the release concerning disciplinary action somewhat odd. were disciplinary action to have been taken, against exactly whom might said disciplinary action have been? The deceased? Against the deceased's subordinate employees, who pulled the elephant off the man as soon as was humanly possible? Against the elephant, as in putting the elephant in time out a day after the attack, or perhaps a civil judgment against the elephant, which might include punitive damages? While elephants are legendary among animals for their long memories, conventional logic would dictate that Patience would not have had any idea why disciplinary action was being taken against her after much of an interval. Moreover, I seriously doubt Patience's neighbors in the elephant enclosure would have been deterred by any action taken against Patience.

I understand that zoo officials had a tough call to make in deciding whether or not Patience was to be euthanized, but surely safety concerns rather than thoughts of retribution, justice, rehabilitation, or punitive action guided the decision to spare the elephant's life. (For the record, this elephant had displayed aggressive behavior prior to the attack. It must have been a tough call to make, and I do not envy those burdened with making it. They are likely to face second-guessing regardless of their decision, as they were pretty much damned if they euthanized the elephant and damned if they did not do so.) Who wrote that press release, anyway? How much is the author of the release being paid? Even if the salary is minimum wage, I would venture that the employee is overpaid.

My sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the deceased.

This blog has ended, although I may return at some point later in the day. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and to be mindful of the sheer force with which Mother Nature has endowed elephants. While they may appear docile and be portrayed as such in works of fiction, such is obviously not the reality.

Freshmen and creepy movies are enough to ruin a weekend.

Between Jurassic Park in my room [because my brother couldn't bear to watch it alone] and freshmen who were invited for dinner last night but extended their stay to an overnight sleepover, my weekend has been stolen -- time lost that I will never regain. I was able to vouch for the stragglers and reassure my parents that they wouldn't escape with the silverware, so my parents didn't have to guard the door and shake everyone down before they left late this morning.

My brother came home today home and was watching Jurassic Park. I was on my laptop catching up on correspondence in the family room until Jurassic Park started to freak me out. I moved into my bedroom. My brother got lonely, so he came into my room,sat on my recliner, grabbed the remote control to my TV, and turned Jurassic Park on in my room. I told him that the reason I had exited the family room was to get away from Jurassic Park. He argued that I was missing the really cool part. I just tried to block my view as much as I could. I hope I don't have Jurassic Park nightmares.

As predicted, we didn't get rid of all the freshmen last night. One boy and seven girls stayed over. We had enough beds and sofas for everyone. My parents cooked breakfast and packed lunches. Everyone was gone by 11:00 a.m. That gave me a little time to rest up for The Big Push and to put in five hours of piano/violin practice.

I'm caught up on studying for this week, so I'm just practicing instruments today and tomorrow. I'll return Monday in time for class because I'm spending Sunday night here. My Aunt Ilianna will have more cookies for me to deliver. Last week she made a huge batch of chicken soup for the kids when they were sick, and put it into crock pots in the main downstairs lounge. The freshmen ate it all. I think my aunt should quit her volunteer job as a school nurse at a local parochial school and just take care of the kids in my dorm. My fellow residents are more appreciative of her efforts than are the children in the parochial school, and any time she spends is time I do not have to devote to their care and well-being. She's a pediatric nurse practitioner who has successfully raised four kids. As such, she's far more qualified to help these freshmen than I am. She fills in for various personnel at the university health center from time to time, as does her husband, an OB-GYN who is also board-certified in emergency medicine.

I start The Big Push on Thursday, but with just a bit of luck, it could be over by Monday, as I have fewer academic courses than I've had, and I've gotten a bit of a jump start. I will only practice enough that I will not lose any skill or dexterity where my instruments are concerned -- maybe an hour a day on each instrument. A local catholic organist asked me to fill in for several masses next Sunday. I don't have time, but my mom wants them to keep calling me when they have openings, so she's going to fill in. She's a far more skilled organist than I am.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and be careful with cheesy movies from the late eighties and early nineties. The special effects are not realistic enough to fool you but are, nonetheless, still capable of producing serious nightmares.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Glenn Beck, the Donald, and Mr. Potato Head

Separated at birth?

My pseudouncle sent me a link to a site where Glenn Beck, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Potato Head, is quoted as essentially encouraging parents to physically rough up their children as a way to teach them to believe in God and to teach them to be tougher. The only consolation is that anyone who takes Glenn Beck seriously is probably such a wack job that he or she is more than likely already engaging in such barbaric practices.

One of Donald Trump's favorite enterprises, the Miss Universe corporate entity, has stirred up recent controversy. The reigning Miss Universe, former Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo, has been charged with some form of indecency for posing with shoes or some similar iniquity at the Taj Mahal. (It seems that every news article about the incident reports it differently.) If India were not such a misogynistic nation, it would leave the poor young woman alone and charge, if it needed to charge anyone, the people responsible for carrying out the photo shoot or, for that matter, Mr. Trump himself. Pick on someone your own size, Hindustan.

Whatever crime it is with which Miss Culpo has been charged supposedly carries and up to two-year prison sentence. I doubt any women's prison in India is exactly Camp Cupcake. With the frequency of rape even on the streets of India, and with the light sentences for the small minority of rapes that are actually prosecuted in the country, it's not much of a stretch to think that any woman incarcerated in an Indian prison is in grave danger of being sexually assaulted by male prison officials. This is a nation that doesn't take significant measures to protect women from bride burning, sometimes even for the reason that their new husbands are unsatisfied with their dowries.

If it were I who was charged with such a crime in India, I could simply not go back if I were fortunate enough to have left India before being formally charged. Miss Culpo, however, has a greater quandary. She is, after all, Miss Universe, with a contract full of obligations to fulfill. Idiot Donald Trump can force her to go just about anywhere until the terms of her contract expire. If she chooses not to accede to his travel itinerary, she could conceivably face major domestic litigation. If she travels anywhere else, she could face deportation and possibly incarceration in India.

I didn't even know who was the current Miss Universe until this non-scandal hit the news. My mom told me that when she [my mom] was a very young child, normal people used to actually watch the Miss Universe pageant on live television. It's difficult to believe the Miss Universe pageant was ever relevant. I wouldn't have a clue when or where to find it on TV without googling.

India needs to worry a little more about the corrupt activities of its politicians and leave poor 21-year-old olivia Culpo alone. If someone absolutely must be charged with desecrating a sacred site or whatever offense this heinous government is attempting to pin on Miss Culpo, it needs to start at the top of the Miss Universe pageant corporate ladder instead of harassing the unfortunate woman who was doing as she was told to do by her bosses.

Savage misogynists, take a page out of Jocelyn Elders' handbook and screw yourselves!

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to keep your shoes away from the Taj Mahal and keep your children away from Glenn Beck and his maniacal child-rearing advice.

Strep Invading the Dorm

I'd be willing to bet even without a culture that this is a strep-infected throat.

Just when we had most of the freshmen on our floor going to classes, there's now strep in the dorms. I'm telling the freshmen that they should probably reduce their studying for a day or two, but they really should not miss more than one day of class. Some of them think that because they have health center clearances to miss up to three days, that's a good idea. The health center clearances are worth less than the paper on which they're printed in that regard. Professors don't care about doctor's excuses for missing classes, and they slow done for no one's illness. It's excusable to miss class until one has been on antibiotics for 24 hours, but then the freshmen really need to be in class. If they just go to class and try to pay attention and take notes for the two to five hours of classes they have, that's worth more than six to twelve hours of trying to study and make sense of someone else's notes. If they have P.E. classes and attend with their doctor's excuses, they can sit through the class without participating in the activity and not have the nonactivity counted as absences because of doctors' excuses, or they can make up the P.E. class with one-page papers related to the course for each class missed. Physical activity classes should be the least of their worries.

The health center actually came to our dorm and did throat cultures on as many of us as they could corral in two hours because it was more efficient than bringing the entire population of the dorm into the health center. our floor isn't the most infested floor of the dorm, but neither are we the least infested. I knew I didn't have active strep throat but I could have been a carrier, so I let them swab my throat. Because of my health history, I was offered antibiotics in case I come down with symptoms after health center hours so that I don't have to wait ten hours before starting medication. I filled a prescription to have on hand, but as long as I'm healthy I won't take it. I will not contribute to creating an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria.

My mom says I write about the freshmen as though they are lab rats. The truth of the matter is that if I were not rodent phobic, I would probably prefer to deal with lab rats. I'm typing with headphones on so I will not hear the whining freshmen, who are most obnoxious when they're ill.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and keep rodents and sick freshmen out of my proximity.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Amanda Knox Retrial

I've somewhat loosely followed the case of Amanda Knox, who was studying in Italy when she was accused of, tried for, and convicted of the slaying of her roommate. At some point, she was retried, acquitted, and released. She very smartly got the hell out of Citta Dodge, or however one might say "Dodge City" in Italian. I didn't closely examine the evidence and am far from an expert on the case, but I cannot help wondering just how many times the Italian government believes they are entitled to try a person for the same crime.

Ms. Knox doesn't seem to me to have the overall impression of a killer. Maybe that's just because she's pretty, although I like to think I'm capable of looking beyond that. In the interviews I've seen, Amanda Knox is fairly relatable. She's like the people who attend class with me (not necessarily the freshmen who were surrounding me until about ten minutes ago, but like my more mature classmates). I wasn't convinced at all by Jodi Arias, although I never thought she was all that pretty, and nothing about the way she looks, talks, or carries herself is in any way reminiscent of my classmates or relatives.

As sucky as our justice system seems to be, sometime we take the presumption of innocence for granted. It's a great idea and to me an essential one for a civilized society, but not all of our nation's counterparts agree with its premise, including much of Europe. Under our system, guilty people do walk out of courtrooms on occasion, but I wouldn't have our system be any other way. I wish justice weren't weighted disproportionately in favor of the wealthy or attractive, which is probably inevitable, but, for the most part, our system gets it right in a majority of cases.

If I were Amanda Knox, I would never leave the U. S. for the rest of my life. Extradition treaties aside, no other nation will attempt to safeguard her rights as much as will the nation of her birth. As someone who presumably enjoys world travel or she wouldn't have been studying abroad in the first place, this may be very difficult for her, but she would be wise to consider that her world-traveling days are over.

I never had time for studying abroad built into my educational plans. Many people have done it and have had fantastic life-changing experiences. Some of my cousins have studied in Europe and Australia. While I've spent my life staying out of significant trouble, it would be just my luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up in an international incident. I'm probably being a complete wimp, and I'm sure I will travel out of the U.S. again. I suppose being in the wrong place when a crime goes down could happen to me right where I am, but if it did, I'd prefer to take my chances while having all the rights afforded a person in the U.S.

I woke up at least one wing of the dorm with a hellacious nightmare last night. I didn't feel as guilty as I thought I would. I've lost enough sleep due to marijuana smoke, drunk and barfing neighbors, and all the issues that come with living among freshmen in a dorm. If they lose just a bit of sleep due to my screaming, it still won't come close to evening the score. Just the same, I'd prefer not to have more terrrible dreams anytime soon.

I am NOT your dorm mother!

how I wish every weekday morning looked outside my dorm

Even though I'm maybe one month older than the median age in the dorms, I'm becoming a bit of a caretaker. It's an odd role. Some people, in getting out of the clutches of their parents, have a tough time with the freedom and don't use much common sense. This is mostly an issue with drinking, but it's also a problem in terms of kids who stay up too late, which I also do, but then cannot get up and make it to class. I refuse to be anyone's alarm clock. They'll have to get themselves to bed and up and to class. I don't stay awake in the common areas because i don't want to encourage anyone else to do that. I can get away with doing it because I'm disciplined enough to force myself out of bed whether i'm tired or not, but it's much harder for the kids who have never had to get themselves up. I will make a bit of noise just in case they're really not waking up as opposed to wilkfully sleeping through alarms, but that's the extent of my human alarm clock responsibility.

In terms of drinking, they're going to drink. I cannot stop it. I encourage them to put off as much as possible until the weekend, and drinking isn't a new activity to most of these people, so getting wasted practically to the point of alcohol poisoning is neither necessary nor excusable. Nearly all of the freshmen here have almost all had considerbly more drinking experience than I've had. I do hand out Excedrin in the morning, and I keep good orange juice in my fridge, which I share. I need to ask my uncles about that "Chaser" stuff. I've heard it works, but maybe it's not a good thing for college students. Perhaps the fear of being ill or hung over is what keeps their drinking within a safe range, and if they thought they would have no consequences to face the next morning, it would be dangerous. I'm merely speculating. Regardless, I'm not buying the stuff for them. I would like to know whther it's a good idea to recommend it or not.

I'm a little young to be the dorm mother, and the senior residents are not sharing their paychecks with me, so I will limit my responsibilities. Still, if I see someone obviously struggling, I will try to help. I've been able to help get several students' grades in chemistry from barely passing to reasonably high. I feel more qualified to offer academic assitance than life skills assistance. It's a bit funny, but if these people knew I spent most of my final year of high school in a psych ward, I don't think they would be clamoring for my guidance. What they don't know does not hurt them.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and go to class. Getting notes from the world's greatest note-taker is a poor substitute for actually being present for lectures.

Monday, October 7, 2013

back in my home-away-from-home

These chocolate chunk and marshmallow goodies look like just some of the cookies Auntie baked for my new friends.

I wussed out and spent last night at home instead of returning to the dorms. I still made it back to campus in time for class with ease. I came home after class to practice. Just before I was preparing to return to campus, my not-biological-aunt Ilianna had brought ten dozen freshly baked cookies for me to take to the dorm. My PseudoUncle has her convinced she's going to singlehandedly wipe out homesickness in my dorm, or at least among those who frequent my floor of my dorm, with her cookies. It's a win-win proposition. I walk into the dorm with cookies and instantly become more popular, and Aunt Ilianna is too busy to be right in the middle of PseudoAunt's and PseudoUncle's business.

Tomorrow after class I'll go to the Pseudos' home to practice piano and violin. PseudoUncle works a very long day tomorrow, and PseudoAunt gets a bit lonely. She has to be very lonely to willingly listen to six hours of my practice, but she says she really wants me to come. I'm not practicing in a practice room in the music building because I do not want the competition, even i they're tecnically not competition, to know where I am in my progression, what I'm playing, or anything else. I'd hate for the guy I refused to trade concert dates with to steal my encore or my modern piece, as he has a recital about six days before mine. If he started right away, he could perfect either one of those pieces. If he thinks of either of them on his own, so be it, but I do not wish to be his inspiration.

I don't have any studying to do at the moment, so I'm in a common area being semi-sociable. My mother would say it's antisocial to type a blog in a common area, but my mother was raised in a different age, when computers were larger than minivans and one could not multitask while typing into one of those dinosaurs without risking blowing up a building. I'm carrying on simultaneous conversations with roughly seven people while typing this. Typos will surely appear. I'll try to fix them later.

This week should be neither great nor disastrous. My goal is to go into The Big Push (my "continuous except for class and short sleep breaks" study-and-work-athon until all readings and assignments for the quarter have been attacked and overcome) not unusually worn down. It's unrealistic to think I'll be well-rested, but I'd rather not be exhausted before the ordeal even begins.

The Friday following The Big Push, assuming it ends before then, I must accompany a cellist for his senior recital. The cello produces one of the most beautiful sounds found on Earth, and the cellist is particularly talented. I could not pass up the chanc to accompany him. He makes me sound better than I am, and three members of his adjudication panel are also on mine. If they walk into my recital with preconceived notions regarding my level of greatness, I shall not complain. Call me an opportunist.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to wipe out homesickness in dorms one cookie at a time. Who gives a $h!t about the freshman fifteen? It's a myth. I've lost weight since moving into this dorm.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

It's time to be asleep, I know, but I'm developing pattern of falling asleep fairly late. At first it was anxiety that kept me awake. Right now, in my own home with it's reliable and high-tech alarm system, alerting us to fire, carbon monoxide issues,and any posible attempt at intrusion (we've been told that because the police department receives financial support from our alarm company, we receive priority in response time if all other factors are equal). I don't know how often all other factors are are equal, but even if such is true, the practice doesn't seem terribly legal. Unless the company paid for a specific officer whose first responsibility was to the subscribers of our alarm company, I don't see how the practice would be anything but bribery. It would make sense to have a couple of security officers (ideally police academy trained, deputized and armed with tasers at the very least) stationed nearer various sections of our greater metropolitan area for fast response time. Even this could press the bounds of legality.

I think our alarm system itself is a greater deterrent to criminals remaining on the scene in the event of a burglary than any law enforement officials themselves would be, although if the intruders knew that law enfrocement would not break any land-speed records in getting here, they might take the time to poke around in search of what it was they had come for, and might not be terribly impressed by the bells and whistles of our security system, although if they noticed the many cameras that are activated by the alarms, unless they wore heavy disguises, they might wish to make a hasty exit.

I, on the other hand, was and am quite impressed by the bells, whistles, cameras, and everything else the system hadand continues to have to ofer. We had a demonstration shortly after dark on the evening of the day the system was installed. Neighbors and law enforcement were given the precise time the dry run would occur so that law enforcement would not respond and neighbors would not be unduly alarmed. The neighbors did, in fact, show up on our lawn shortly before the demonstration to witnes the spectacle. Never in the history of the neighborhood had anyone installed anything with half as many bells and whistles.

For the run-through of what would happen should an intruder appear, an alarm company employee rattled our front door, which didn't set off the larm initially, but he then kicked the door with a bit more force. My dad was worried he would either weaken the door to the point that a two-year-old kicking a soccer ball into it by accident would break it in the future or the employee would actually kick a hole in the door and we'd be stuck with a boarded-up door until a new one coud be ordered and intalled, but our doors are steel-reinforced. Someone could conceivbly break the locks by kicking hard enough, but even that wouldn't be easy, as anyone messing with the handle or lock fixtures, or any significant pressureon them, will also activate the alarm, so the bells and whistles would start long before anyone achieved entry to our house.

Anyhow, almost the entire neighborhood was sitting on our lawn in their own lawn chairs awaiting the festivities. It reminded me both of neighborhood gatherings for fireworks displays, which were legal in our old county but not here, or of when Clark Griswold first activated his Christmas light display for all to see in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We, the family, were sitting huddled in our dining room, per instructions from the alarm company, so that we could be prepared for our participation in the reenactment. The kicks in the door set the system in motion. Loud klaxon wails began sounding. Bright spotlights began cricling the property, and a particular strobing light flashed brightly at the site of the attepted entry. Loud speakers instructed the intruder, "To the person attempting unlawful entry into this building: Remain in place exactly where you are. The police will arrive shortly to assist you. DO NOT attempt further entry into the residence." (As though that's going to happen. Either the intruder will proceed as quickly as possible with his break-in, or he'll be miles away from the area before any law enforecment personnel could possibly arrive, unless he [they] happened to be parked around the corner enjoying donuts and coffee at the opportune moment.)

While the outside speakers and lights were doing their thing, making impossible any possibilty of sleep that anyone might get if the alarm were activated during anyone's sleeping hours,
Perhaps that's the goal. If an actual intruder activated an alarm, you'd want your neighbors to know even if it did wake them up. By the same token, conscientious neighbors would want to be awakened if their neighbors' safety or property were being threatened. So though it seemed like overkill, it was good overkill, if there is such a thing. the inside speakers werre asking us if we were OK and instructing us to relocate together to as secure a location in our home as possible. We locked ourselves in a downstairs closet that has a strong door and double-bolt for this purpose. Soon the demonstration was over, and all the neighbors applauded.
My mom immediately brought out folding tables and chairs, along with drinks, and the pizza delivery man showed up shortly. All the neighbors were invited to stay for pizza and ice cream as repayment for the interupption and inconvenience the "trial run" had caused them. This ws fitting, as it was the second day we had moved into the house, so it was the perfect chance to become acquainted with our neighbors.

Sinister forces, however, were at work. Not all alarm companies thoroughly vet their employees before hiring. A rogue employee alerted his criminal element that an alarm had just been tested that day. Their rationale was that an actual break-in might be ignored by the alarm company, and justifiably so, as being confused with the trial run, even if the time was after midnight and an actualtrial run had alread taken place. A response operator might therefore be justified in not automatically alerting the local police. The local police are also alerted automatically by the activation of the alarm itself, but as a squad car is dispatched, a dispatcher also waits for contact from the response operator. The response operator, as part of the small-scale crime ring, told the police dispatcher she suspected it was the dry run or drill but that those responsible for implementing it had failed to alert her in the office. The police dispatcher said she was sending out a squad car just the same. The response operator attemted to dissuade her, but the squad car arrived. Meanwhile, one of our nieghbors, who was and is is our local police chief, parked his own squad car directly behind the car of the intruder, who had been dumb enough to park in our driveway, so that the intruders' only means of escape would had been by foot. Shortly after, one squad car showed up, followed by another. The police chief watched for the driver to emerge from the car. When she did, on the passenger side, attempting to make a run, he tackled her and cuffed her.

The neighbors, they had hoped, might just assume it was an annoyingly sensitive alarm that still needed to be tweaked and ignore it. Furthermore, the would-be intruders had some inside knowledge from the trial run. They expected us to run to the downstairs restroom again, which was a foolish assumption.Why would we not have a secure location upstairs for nightttime, when most break-ins occur. My parents quickly gathered us into their closet, which is reinforced, and locked it. They were in communication with the plocice from theland line, though there i cell pohone capability as well in case the land line is cut. The intruders had the information that my father was a doctor. While most robbers or burglars won't turn down money or easy-to-carry valuables, what these robbers sought were drugs of the narcotic variety. This came out in questioning as each participant tried to place the blame on the others.

The remaining two on-site participants were quickly captured by officers from the other squad cars as the would-be robbers tried to vault the fence to the backyard, which they should have known better than to attempt, as their only reason for attempting entry by breaking a front window pane in an area where the window panes are individual and are separated by rows of wood was that they knew the fence was weight-activated as well. You may have a few Hannibal Lectors in real life, who are smarter than the average Cal-Trans worker or officil, but, by and large, criminals are not among our smarter segment of society. At least these criminals were not.

My parents fired the alarm company, who apologized profusely but said they had no way of knowing the employee was dishonest and had criminal connections. He had, in fact, a prior felony conviction for breaking and entering. Because the company could not produce any documentation that any workers' backgrounds had been checked with anything beyond consultation of worker-provided references, and not even that in most cases, the police advised them that they would be fighting a losing battle if they attempted to hold may parents to their contract. The police also advised them that it would be wise to pay the bill for the replacement of our small window pane when the bill was submitted to them.

The small window pane was replaced that night by the next-door neighbor, who does mason work as a hobby and had matching glass and a cutter in his garage. He was encouraged to write up a bill for the upper range of the going rate for providing after-hours service. He didn't want to charge my parents, but they convinced him that it was the alarm company who would pay.

So after my second night in the house, I was so freaked out that I had to move back in briefly at the loony bin, and then for a week with my pseudorelatives, before I was ready to move back in at home. By that time, my aunt had finished decorating my new room. The night of the attack, I was sleeping in the guest room.

This is not at all what the blog was suposed to be about. Perhaps tomorrow I'll attempt the intended topic, and I'll try to stick to it. Before publishing, I'll have to edit the title.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and if you really feel that the only way you can do such is through criminal activities, at least be a smart criminal and not a moron.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Final R & R before the Steady Grind of Acadaemia Takes Hold

only a slight exaggeration of what my parents' living room conceivably could look like next Friday night; fortunately, they have a big living room

I'm enjoying a kick-back weekend. I am practicing six hours each day,but am not studying. This is my final period of relaxation for a few weeks.

Next Friday I'm hosting my floor and anyone who spends enough time on my floor to read the posted invitations, or at least those who haven't gone home or elsewhere by then, for whatever food my parents come up with and a movie or two. Matthew was going to come home, but when he heard my dorm floor was coming, he opted out. It was a smart move on his part. I know how these evening party things work. Some of the attendees will consider it the party before the party because nothing's a real party anymore unless booze is served in large quantities. My parents won't let people under 21 drink in their house. (Their exception to this rule is my half-bottle of Guinness 2.5 times per week.)

So some will leave right after their stomachs are full. Others will hang atround to consume all the ice ream and cookies they can scarf down, figuring that they can have access to booze almost any time, but homemade cookies and free ice cream with multiple toppings are a rare commodity. Others will be missing the comfort of home and will linger and fall asleep on sofas or just not leave. My parents will cover the sleeping ones with blankets and send the others to empty beds around the house, or will even drag out air mattresses if necessary. In any event, I'll still be hosting at least seven or eight and probably more for Saturday morning breakfast. My parents will take care of the food, but I will be expected to at least be physically present. If I'm lucky, they'll all be gone by noon, and I'll have the rest of Saturday and Sunday to practice and rest and fortify my physical reseves in the event of future marijuana events or even viruses and other miscellaneous bugs (last year there was a major strep outbreak) which may strike the dorm. (If I see a dorm epidemic of anything starting, I'll be out of there for however long it takes the epidemic to be over. Even though I really need, for the sake of life experience and in preparation for next year, there are advantage to having my parents' home close to the university.)

On Thursday of the following week, after my last class, I will leave the dorms and return home to start the Big Push. Because of the nature of this quarter's courseload, I expect to be able to complete the Big Push by Tuesday of the next week at the very latest; Monday night is more likely. All things -- including DVRed episodes of Judge Alex -- must be temporarily put on hold. Following The Big Push, I'll sleep for two days solidly except for the classes and lessons I must attend. Then everything will be back to normal. I'll resume the 6 hours of daily practice, which my mom thnks should be cut down to no more than four hours at least every other day by now, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up my six hours of practice yet. (My piano professor thinks I'm being a bit OCD as well, but he'll be really glad I was so OCD when it's time for my recital and I'm not freaking out on him because I actually know my program.) My piano and violin professors have both been put on notice that I will not have practiced much the weeek preceding that week's lesson, and both are fine with it. My piano professor in particular thinks it's a great idea to get a jump on the quarter's work, and wishes more students would be proactive and not such procrastinators.

So this week it's time to kick back and watch a little Mormon Voodooism that they call General Conference. We have it on in the background and monitor just to see if my grandfather shows up at the lecturn. If he does, we grab various nerf objects and soft projectiles from the sports closet. Each time my grandfather says aything that is pattiularly rude, stupid, or mean, we throw our object right at his face. the person who hits him squarely on the face the most times right after he has made a particularly odious remark wins a twenty-dollar bill, which I assumecomes from my dad's wallet. I can't compete with either a former high school quarterback who still has a pretty good arm (dad) or NCAA Division I pitcher (brother) so although I do throw the objects, I'm mostly content with hurling the most creative obscenities. 9Out-doing my dad in this department isn'tmuch easier than throwing better than he does. He's a natural when it comes to husing the language of a sailor.) It's like the one of two times each year (General conference occurs 2 times a year) when my mom is not offended by filthy language from my brother or me, particularly me.

This blog has ended. Go now in peace to love and seve the Lord, and if you show up at my house on Friday night, I'd REALLY appreciate if you left before the following sunrise, but even if you cannot quite manage that, before lunchtime would be nice. I'll even pack a sandwich, soda, and leftover cookies for you to take along in a doggie bag.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

this week has gone on for long enough and needs to end very soon

Would YOU really want to take your chances with what has been in machines such as these? I didn't think so.

I've been to every class, met every student or client, met with those for whose recitals I will provide accompaniment, and met my new piano professor, whom I much prefer over the last one. My issues with the previous prof were not personal, but she had a favorite student who was not I. I had to change lesson times more than once because he needed her time. The fact that i refused to change my piano recital date for his benefit was something she couldn't handle gracefully. It's much better this way.

My new piano professor is a doctoral student at USC who is functioning as adjunct faculty here. He doesn't have a lot of clout, but I don't need a professor with clout. My concert date and adjudication panel have already been selected. My grading will be determined by the panel. I just need someone who is good and can give me tips as I perfect my remaining two works. He plays better than my old prof did, so I trust his advice at least as much as hers. Also, I believe I'm his top student. I'll get a little more time and attention from him than I would have from the previous professor, who had another favorite, although I'm not looking for preferential treatment; I'll settle for being treated fairly.

My new professor is handsome and is twenty-six. I'm not certain for which team he bats. My mom asked why I would care either way. I'm fairly certain she thinks I'm crushing on him. For the record, I'm not.

I'm still at the dorm. I was social until about ten minutes ago, at which time I decided to pack it in for the night. I spent entirely too much time helping people with their chemistry assignments, but I really didn't have anything better to do.

I'm heading home tomorrow morning after I meet with my violin professor. I don't have regular Friday appointments with him, but he needed to cancel earlier in the week, and my head was still throbbing, so I was happy to accommodate his need for a change in schedule. I'll be out of here and back home before noon. i need to do laundry, and i don't entirely trust the residence laundry facilities. i know it's unlikely I'd every catch anything from a washing machine, and impossible to get pregnant unless I did something along the lines of having sex in the machine, which I don't plan to do. i can't know for sure that someone before me didn't do something along those lines, though. I'd have to run an empty bleach cycle before I put my own clothing or linens into one of those machines. It's easier just to take my laundry home. I actually have my own mini-unit, which isn't all that small but isn't industrial sized, in my bathroom, or I can use my parents' very large washer.

This blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to try not to retain the mental image of people having sex in washing machines.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

someone is having reefer madness on the balcony directly below my window

I have a headache. I've learned that, for me personally, anyway, second-hand marijuana smoke is not an effective headache remedy. It's sad because the weather is perfect for leaving an upstairs window open at least a crack, but that's not an option tonight. Where is the senior resident who is on duty and for what does he or she think he or she is being paid? To kick back in the easy chair behind the counter and watch movies? Apparently. I'm not risking ratting anyone out for smoking pot or anything else just yet, as I don't wish to become known as the village snitch when I still have the better part of an academic year to spend here. Why can't these idiots just drink like everyone else around here does?

My head is absolutely killing me, and I don't have anything I can actually take for it. Aspirin and ibuprofen eat holes through the lining of my intestines, and acetaminophen is less effective a warding off headaches than Skittles or Reese's pieces would be for me. I was trying to tough it out because my parents are out of town tonight, but I've already tossed cookies three times. I'm deciding whether to call Uncle Scott, Uncle Jerry, Uncle Michael, or Chairman Mao. I can drive myself to their homes, and none of them would have gone to bed yet. it's just a matter of who is likely to have good drugs on hand. Either Uncle Michael, because he gets migraines, or Chaiman Mao, because his wife gets migraines.

I'm tossing a coin in the air. Heads, I call Uncle Michael. Tails, I call Chairman Mao. It's tails. I have Chairman Mao on speed dial.

Chairman Mao told me to stay here and he'll come, because after waiting so long before treating the headache, I need an injection if I want anything effective, and I won't be able to drive afterward. I could ask one of my neighbors to drive with me and transport me home, but it seems unwise at this point to give the freshmen around me the idea that they should drive my car. I know nothing of any of their driving habits, and not much more about their drinking habits.

{Twenty-one Minutes Later] Chairman Mao has come and gone. He has an emergency sticker and can park right by the dorm. I suppose they keep him on call in case someone gets stressed out right before finals and has to be talked off a balcony railing. He smelled marijuana and called security, so the party one floor below and to the left of my window is coming to an end as I type.

No one will be detained. The guys may be potheads, but they're not complete morons, and security did its usual "call upon the services of a town crier" before they show up to take any action. The guys had plenty of time to take their laughing grass elsewhere. I hope security doesn't bug me with questions, as I'm finally starting to feel drowsy.

Next year the guys who were on the balcony will be somewhere like the OK Chalet off campus. Unless they roll their weed and light it up while they're talking to the county sheriff's deputies, the deputies usually have bigger fish to fry than catching a few amateur reefer connisseurs. The neighborhood has people selling heroin and using their laptops to make counterfeit bills. Apprehending users of Prince Albert in a Left-Handed Can is not a very high priority for the local law enforcement. I do wish the happy hempers would find a better place to smoke their goofy green shrubbery than almost directly below my window, as it does nothing to help my headhaches and possibly contributes to or causes them. There are roughly twenty-four balconies attached tothis dorm alone, not to mention the other seven dorms right here, and God only knows how many all over campus. the balcony they chose doesn't even have an ocean view, and the beach is only about 100 yards away, for that matter.

This blog has ended. Go now to love and serve the Lord and to smoke your funny cigarettes as far from me as possible.

back in the dorm but not yet sleeping well

This is the sort of thing I'm dreading.

I came back to the dorms last night. I went home to practice for about five hours in the early afternoon, then came back on campus in time for dinner. My mom has a real thing about wanting me to eat either at home or in the cafeterias. She says that my uncle is spending so much for my meal ticket at school that it's a complete waste for me to survive on fast food. She says she understands why my friends and I might occasionally want to go out, but that dorm food is much better than it used to be, and that until I get food poisoning from something they serve me here, at which point we'll revisit the issue, she wants me eating in one of the cafeterias here (we have several from which to choose). She said that I'm more than welcome to eat anything at home or to take food from home with me. She just doesn't want me single-handedly keeping the fast-food industry here in business.

This upcoming weekend I was going to be inviting the floor plus anyone who hangs out on our floor enough to see the posted signs to come to my house to have dinner and ice cream and to watch a movie. No one seems to be going home yet this weekend, but some are the next weekend. My mom suggested it might be better to wait until the next weekend because homesickness is more likely to hit on a weekend when a lot of people are going home, and that though it will be a smaller gathering, it will do more good for the people who do come. She said I can have an all-out bash with everyone later, like maybe right after my concert or perhaps even sooner.

She said she remembers feeling really down the first weekend that almost everyone but she went home for the weekend. Her dad lived in Nebraska at the time and her older sister was in Vegas with her husband, and she had nowhere to visit. I'm lucky in that regard. There's probably always someone here who is either genuine family or like family that I can visit.

I have two more days of new classes this week, at which point I will have been to every class at least once. I think I'm delaying The Big Push until the weekend of the 17th. It will actually start on the evening of the 16th this quarter, as I have no Friday classes, and should be my shortest Big Push ever.
I may be able to cover it in five days, as several of my classes involve more practical work than reading, writing, or other forms of projects. Since most of my memorization for my Englih Practicum is already done, it's mainly the Anglo-Irish literature and the History of Mexico over which I must toil. I have a few small writings and readings for conducting, accompanying, and vocal/instrumental coaching, but those are very minor compared to that to which I've grown accustomed. I've already read all the course reading material for those classes. If you have basic theory down pat and you have a bit of common sense, and you have the skill to manage the practical exams or evaluations, you're fine in those areas. I'm not taking anything for granted.

I hope the poor piano and violin students who ended up with me as an instructor really want to learn to play the piano or violin, because they're going to learn whether they want to or not. Mine are all music majors, so they really shouldn't want a poor letter grade in a music course on their transcripts. My students will be evaluated by faculty in the department. I receive my grade before I have to give theirs. If I don't get an A because of any one of them, there's no way the person who robbed me of an A is getting anything better than a C. The evaluators are relatively lenient, and the students have to log in practice time with a department receptionist and have to practice in the music department's practice rooms for it to count toward their required practice time. If they haven't logged in the required time, it isn't held against the student instructors, and the students themselves automatcally receive between a C and an F unless they freaking blow the faculty member away with their proficiency. One of my students already knows how to play the piano and just is taking the course to prepare to pass the piano proficiency exams, so that one is already in the bag for me, as there are no pre-tests.) I can be a little more laid back in the vocal coaching. It's all freshman and sophomore voice majors I'm coaching, and they're all motivated and well instructed, as they all either have my mom or one other vocal professor who's really good. The vocalists evaluate me in addition to my evaluating them, so I need to be really nice. I'll be nice to my piano and violin students as well, but they WILL learn to play piano or violin at least to a minimal degree.

I haven't yet mastered the art of falling asleep easily in the dorms. I'm almost desperate enough to try headphones. My room doesn't have the flashing lights if an alarm goes off (some of the more recently updated rooms do)so I'll need to ask my neighbors to pound on the walls if there's an alarm. I could get in serious trouble if I were caught staying in my room during one of the burnt popcorm-induced drills, or God forbid if it were an actual fire. I need to ensure that there is a plan in place if the headphones, if they're not too uncomfortable, actually block sound to the degree that I could sleep through an alarm.

this blog is ended. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord and to find the perfect balance between alrms that block out ordinary dorm noise and those that endager you in the case of fires.