My new haircut feels great. I got up at 7 this morning to go visit Mrs. Thorp. I'm keeping it long for the winter, the first time I have ever gone in to see her and kept it long. She was happy; she likes it long.
On the way home I was listening to the Awake With Jake show on WCPT - Chicago's Progressive Talk. A guest was referring to a past case in which a government official facing indictment was allowed to reach into his frozen campaign funds in order to pay for his lawyer. This guest also said that Mr. Blagojevich is being allowed the same privilege.
Now, regardless of what, when, and how he did anything, doesn't this seem a little unfair? Apparantly this is allowed under the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment guarantees counsel for the defense of the accused. That is great; everybody should have that; I agree. But why is he allowed to delve into normally frozen funds in order to pay for a fancy lawyer? Shouldn't he be appointed an attorney like anybody else? Why does he get to dig into his frozen assets? This seems like yet another privilege that a rich person with power in America gets to create and enjoy.
What do you think is fair in this situation?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
My new haircut feels great. I got up at 7 this morning to go visit Mrs. Thorp. I'm keeping it long for the winter, the first time I have ever gone in to see her and kept it long. She was happy; she likes it long.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sometimes I daydream and wonder what it was like in the hundreds of other times in mankind's history where political corruption ruined a state, even an empire. People may or may not have thought the world was over. If they panicked, they eventually found out that it was only a passing, unfortunate situation. Like a terrible thunderstorm, while in the midst of it, chaos is everywhere and one wonders if it will ever cease to be so insane. When the storm fades, moves on to another part of the world, things are often more beautiful than ever.
I find it fascinating to see how freaked out Americans are.
The simple fact is: the world carries on. Our lives carry on regardless of the financial situation of a country or even our own family. Sometimes I wish we could all just be broke. The distractions would be gone. Then it would be all about food, water, and love.
What do you long to see in this world?
I'm not a whimp! Why do I need this little bag to carry my sandwich to the car(I don't get oil and vinegar)? Every time I go to subway (a couple of time a week in between classes) they shove my sandwich and some napkins into a plastic bag and I slip a couple fingers through the tiny hole and walk out to my car (I eat at the school). Well I stopped taking the bags! I few times ago I just politely said, "I don't need the bag." Well, I don't, do I?
I don't think I do. It is one thing, anyway, if I am walking back to my car, and back into the school building to sit, eat, and chat with some friends. Maybe some people wouldn't like to carry their sandwich in-hand all that way. I don't really mind, frankly. It isn't that big of a deal. It is another thing entirely when a Subway shopper takes their sandwich in the bag and walk 10 feet to a booth and takes it out again!! Right? lol. Whether you're a tree hugger (whatever that means these days) or not, do you really need a bag for a single sandwich? I can tell you from experience, they are not hard to carry, even with one hand.
What do you think about Subway's plastic bags? What do you think about plastic bags in general?
Monday, December 1, 2008
Everyday, before every class, there is a little competition in the parking lot for the closest spot. Cars whizz up and down full rows, and the drivers crane their necks to glimpse an open space first. As time goes the competition moves further and further from the building, but some extremely hopeful drivers can still be seen scanning the rows nearest to the building. Does it seem right that two people can go from having great conversation and laughing together in class to holding animosity towards each other over a 9x18 foot piece of pavement? Would you feel proud of yourself if you aggressively sped up to and into a parking space to beat another driver only to get out of your car and see that he parked one car over? Now how do you feel walking into the building with them near you? (I've seen it happen; it's funny [and kinda pitiful] when it's not me who stole the spot.)
Today, for the first time, I parked at the edge of the parking lot and happily fought the chilling wind and snow over the next 500 feet to the building that my next class was in. I survived. Now, I'm not saying you always have to park at the very edge of the parking lot. I did because there were probably about 10 spaces left in the whole thing, so I thought 9 other people could have the closer ones (mine was the only space left in the last row). I worked on my patience(which could be a lot better) and thought about the people's days that might be made all that much better.
It felt good knowing that other students would be happy to get a close spot and not have to walk as far. I mean, I have no trouble walking. I have long legs, plenty of layers on to keep warm, (I don't even get cold super easily) my skin doesn't instantly dry out like some people's can, so why can't I assume that someone else needs those other spots more than I do? Well I can, because I love people! And I will keep assuming that people will gain something from such an act! I was patient and felt pleasure(the joyous kind) in a parking lot! :]
Would you park a couple spaces further from your grocery store so that someone else can have a shorter walk? Or do you think helping people in this way is a bit extreme?
And a couple unrelated, humorous parking/parking lot vidoes from YouTube: An actual story: Andrew's Parking Rage + BBC Coverage of the Rage Malcolm in the Middle clip: You Don't Have To Take That Tone
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I find it so fascinating when people are irritated or made uncomfortable (to say the least) by the idea that they are old. What is so bad about being old? At many of our jobs we swear by written and unwritten rules of Seniority, but we dread reaching our XXth birthday. We should be proud to be old! If a 35-year-old parent knows soo much more than his or her 11-year-old child, why doesn't a 55, 60, or 87-year-old know that much more than the parent? Old people are wise, they've been around the track many more times, they know things that younger people just don't, and often can't.
In Andy Rooney's old age, he released a little list of "I've learned..." quotes. One of them was "I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person." Being old has to rock! Then you'll know everything! And you can just sit back and chuckle at all of the young people running about doing silly things with their lives (but hopefully you'll take a break to steer one or two a little straighter). I mean, will looking X years younger really make that big of a difference in...anything?
An amazing thing that old people can do in particular, and without even trying, is humbling people. I get do disappointed with myself when I'm engaged in a conversation and I forget that the others in the discussion probably know as much or more about the subject than I do. I tend to forget about this until after I say something stupid. I can just imagine the elder people smiling inside while they listen to me. They probably think things like "Haha, I wonder why he thinks I don't know this...oh yeah, he's 19!" or, "What can I subtley say or do so that he'll feel so silly later." At least, that's what I think they should be thinking after I'm make a fool of myself. My fellow blogger, Robert, posted something along similar lines the other day. He describes his feelings much differently, but I identify with his words extremely well in Down!, Ego, Down!
But you know, I said I get diappointed with myself, but really I'm glad. Sure I feel like an idiot, and I sort of carry on with my tail between my legs (thats me humbled), but it's all part of learning. We have to feel less than 100% great in order to figure out how to deal better the next time that happens. Personally, I am excited by the idea of being old and super wise. However, that doesn't mean that I will forsake the time that I have until then. Who knows if I will make it past tomorrow... (My post about death: To Live Is To Love)
What do you think about growing old? Are you looking forward to solving many of life's puzzles, or are you too worried about your face and Social Security? :]
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
You know what song I keep wanting to sing? "Christmastime is here!!" from A Charlie Brown Christmas! Today I went out in our yard and clipped various evergreen branches for my mom's annual vase arrangements. Oh the smells! The crisp, chilly air (don't worry i was bundled up), my cat chasing nothing through piles of dry leaves, the evergreen branches, Christmas is coming!!! Oh I can't wait! The other day my mom and I hopped on amazon.com and bought our favorite version of A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim, the old school one). I haven't seen it in a while, but we both agreed that it should be part of our collection.
And yesterday I woke up to see little patches of snow on the ground! Oh that was enjoyable; that means sledding seasons is near! Except, I don't like it when it snows a bit and then melts. Or if it is too cold to melt it just sits on the ground and you can still see the grass. And my mom made backlawa yesterday! She only makes that for the holidays. It's an Arabic dessert, similar to backlava. Sweet and salty and cardaminy, mmmm. I love the Christmas season, I love people, and I love Jesus.
What do you find yourself looking forward to when the Christmas season is approaching?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
A Vending machine talked to me today.
I was strolling down a hallway at Waubonsee, and I caught the marquee out of the corner of my eye. I glanced at it and stared as "HAVE A NICE DAY" rolled across its petite digital display, perfectly timed for me to walk by. Now, I have seen this before, but I had actually been using the machine then. This time I wasn't even paying attention to the lonely thing and it wanted me to have a nice day! Awww...
What really bothers me is that I have passed by the same machine so many days before this one, and I totally left it hanging. I thought it was pretty funny. I'll have to be honest with you; it actually brightened my day lol. Although, I must disclose that it didn't totally "make my day", or I'm afraid you'd assume that I was having such a bad day that only a box full of candy and chips could cheer me up.
Ironically, I had cookies, Wheat Thins, and gummies for lunch (but from Jewel, they were Buy 1 Get 1 Free!!).
What would you do? Respond verbally, ignore it, smile, or be offended?
Monday, November 17, 2008
To me, it seems that it is much, much easier for a million people to pay 1 cent each than for 1 person to pay $1,000,000. It also guarantees that everyone is covered. Dozens of countries around the world have universal healthcare or some form of it. Shouldn't we?... I have recently viewed Michael Moore's SICKO. I recommend this movie to everybody. In it he showed us the wonders of universal healthcare. Even if you had to wait in line, wouldn't you, for free healthcare? Besides, not everybody has to. In many countries with national healthcare systems there are hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies as many as there are Starbucks! And in England, you can get any amount of any drug for $10 at the pharmacy! And upon leaving the hospital, they PAY you for the transportation costs in getting there.
One woman who developed severe respiratory problems from working on and near Ground Zero after 9/11 went to Cuba with Michael Moore where she cried when she found out that she could purchase an inhaler for roughly 5 cents instead of the it costs her $120 here in America. She mentioned that she has to buy them twice a month, and because of her problem she is unemployed. She also has a family to feed, but she has to suffer in order to live under our healthcare system. People literally die in our country because their treatment is not approved.
Also in England, the healthier a doctor's patients are, the MORE he gets paid! That is incredible, but oh so logical! Should i really be amazed by these things? I'm ranting, i know, but i'm angry. It is just a horribly, sad, greedy, manipulative, exploitive situtation. I hate it.
The Huffington Post: Universal Health Care Saves $$
What do you think about our healthcare system compared to national care?
Friday, November 14, 2008
It reminds me of the summer of 2006, though. A 15 year-old friend of mine died that June. Many of my friends who knew him, and I, were on a mision trip in Oklahoma when we heard about it. We were singing "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt Redman before we got the news. Ironically, some lyrics in the song are, "You give and take away, you give and take away, but my heart will choose to say 'Lord blessed be Your name!'" The following is the second half of a paper I have just finished writing. It is long, but it tells how Stan died, and my many thoughts on the matter of life and death.
I was with him at a birthday party only days before the trip. We talked and played volleyball in Cassie’s back yard; he was laughing and being awesome as usual. Stan was not my best friend, but I knew him fairly well. He was also younger than I was, but I respected him above my other peers. I admired the way he cared for everyone, regardless of his or her “coolness” rank. We all identified kids who were overweight or had poor socializing skills, but Stan actually talked with them. In my eyes then, he acted as if they were as good as the rest of us; he was just being nice. In his mind, I am sure now that he was not pretending that they were equal. When I did not understand just how equal we all are, Stan set a great example. He easily fit in every “clique”, but could not have cared less if none existed. The cynical notion that he was “too happy” was the only negative attribute anybody could claim that Stan had. His words during conversations or in P.E. were positive and encouraging, especially when others failed to be. “Hey you can’t get ‘em all!” he would say when he saw that someone was embarrassed after making a mistake, or “That’s alright, mine was way worse than that!” Unfortunately, I did not appreciate his value until he was gone.
My eyes sank with a puzzled thought, “He’s…dead?” I did not understand it. I could not grasp the idea. I searched for some sort of answer. Instead, the overhead bulb blew, and along with it went any chance at rationality. Now the only light that was coming into the room was through the open door. The adults told small groups to split off into the other rooms to pray, but I did not want to go out there yet. Thankfully, my group was in this room. Still in utter disbelief, I lapsed into another dimension. My brain was nearly jammed, hardly capable of focusing. I lifted my heavy limbs and slogged towards the wall opposite the exit. I collapsed onto the swamp-colored carpet under the big windows. The brick sent a cool chill down my back. It woke me up a little. I turned my head to the right and noticed that I was several feet away from my group, but I stayed against the wall.
I stared down at the floor with my eyebrows furrowed. I tried to think logically. “Okay Stan is dead. But…why? He was such a good kid. I mean I know people always say that, but he was! He made everybody smile. He was always laughing, or playing some fun game, or making somebody feel better. What good is he dead? This doesn’t make any sense. His parents must be devastated. Why would this happen? He’ll miss the rest of his life. All of the people he knew will have to go on without him. I’ll never talk to him again.”
I found out why people cry when someone close to them dies. The injustice was overwhelming. I could not handle the fact that so many bad things would happen because of this. I thought about how people could become depressed. Mr. and Mrs. Janik would be heartbroken, their only son, and a huge part of their lives, was gone forever. I could not see how it was fair, why it should happen, so I cried. When I heard the news, my eyes had sunk in blank sadness. Now, I was miserable about everything. My heart sank to the floor, and my face fell into my hands. I cried and cried and cried. I was so distraught I could hardly focus on what exactly was so sad anymore. It was all just bad, bad, bad. “Nothing good can come from this,” I kept thinking. Every time I recalled a reason for my crying, I cried even harder. I imagined Stan’s parents sitting side-by-side on his empty bed, weeping. I thought about Ryan, Stan’s best friend since their early childhood. Whom would he hang out with after school everyday? I became overwhelmed with grief for Stan, others, and myself. I fell into a stupor as my heart sank through the carpet, through the concrete even, and the tears kept rushing down between silent sobs. I felt so bad it seemed as if the world was over. I thought nothing could be done to fix this upheaval in my heart.
I cried for about two hours, and I was exhausted. I did not think I could cry any more. I overheard the group to my right talking about how he died. By that time, they had received more information. They said he had just come back from the gym and went to his room. His parents said nothing out of the ordinary happened. He said “Hey” to them and went to put his bag down. His dad, Stan Sr., went in to ask him how his workout went and found him laying on the bed, Stan’s his heart had stopped. He was born with an enlarged heart, and nobody ever knew. I felt like crying again, but I could not any more. My head was so gloomy with depressing thoughts. My eyes were open, but they were cast downward and out of focus. I imagined his dad going in to see him, expecting to see him sitting on his bed and looking up to smile at him when he walked in. Instead, he saw him laying to his side with an expressionless face. This was his only son.
I thought about how young he was, how quickly it happened. He was so healthy. I cannot ever remember him being sick. When he had his shirt off for soccer practice, it was obvious that he was in great physical shape. He also ran harder and longer than anyone; nobody could match him. I found myself sometimes observing that he went unnecessarily fast towards the ball because he would overrun it. That is just how much energy he had. He never wanted to stop either. He was never glad that a long grueling practice had ended; he made jokes about running another perimeter. Everyone else moaned and trudged to the parking lot.
Nobody could have predicted that the most energetic, positive kid in school would go so quickly and so soon. “Oh man,” I thought, “If Stan could go so suddenly, I could too. I’ve always heard that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, I guess it’s really true.” I was shocked. The only way I could express this new feeling was with a wide-eyed “Whoa.” “I could die on the way home…man, I might not even wake up tomorrow…” This was big. I was not ready to go. “No way, I don’t want to die yet. I don’t even know if I’ll make it into Heaven.” I was not a horrible kid, but I sure was not as loving as Stan had been. Then, it came to me: “All I need to do…is obey God. All He wants us to do is love the people around us and give him praise. Life is just that simple.” The guilt made sense now. It was God’s way of letting me know that I hurt someone. All of my past feelings of remorse and regret flooded into focus. I did start crying again, but because I was ashamed. I realized how selfish I was. I had wounded so many people. I was mortified. I definitely needed to make some changes. I broke down and told Him how sorry I was for everything, all of my cruel words and deceitful actions. I stopped crying. “That’s it!” I nearly exclaimed aloud. “That’s why Jesus is our savior. I’ll always be imperfect. As hard as I try from now on, I’ll never be able to do everything that God wants me to do and not do everything he doesn’t. But that’s okay, because Jesus died so that we can always be forgiven. I just have to believe. Well I believe!” I told God that I would try my hardest to do what is good. I told Him that I wanted to put my focus on Him and other people. I realized that He just wants us to be happy; so, if I do what he says, then I will be happy, and I will be helping the people around me to be happy too. Because of Stan’s death, I realized that I needed to change.
Life had meaning now; it is more than “me, me, me”. Through Stan, God taught me to obey Him. In the same moment, when Stan’s heart stopped beating, true life passed into mine. Stan’s passing showed me that we are here for a time, we love and do what we are meant to do, and we leave. I do not know how long I will be here for, so I must act each day as if it is my last. Yes, it was unfortunate that Stan had to leave so many people behind, but it was his time. He did what he was made to do, and he did it well. God felt that Stan deserved to come home to Heaven. I see this now. To this day, I am inspired by the death of my friend, Stan Janik. “You give and take away!” The words from the worship song came true. His physical end sparked a spiritual beginning for me. After that trip, I discovered my favorite Bible verse: “All things work for the good of those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Stan’s life and death gave me hope in a more rewarding life through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. I am now motivated to humbly love others which also makes God happy. I will strive to be a better person for others’ sake until the end of my life. Some day, because Stan did his job, I hope to reside in Heaven.
What do you think?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
My class wasn't until 11 lol. So I had some time to spare. I headed up to an open computer lab and hopped on a computer. Before i gave a 10 minute presentation in class I wanted to use the restroom. Upon opening the bathroom door (don't worry, nothing gruesome was there; the facilities are very clean) I noticed that the lights were out, but only for a moment. They sensed motion and flicked on within a couple of seconds. As I did my business I wondered how long they stay on for without detecting any motion.
How weird would that be if you walked in and someone had been in here for so long, and had purposely not turned the lights back on, that you turned them on with your own motion only to realize 3 minutes later that there was somebody in the stall next to you. I thought this and immediately looked for any feet anywhere else on the floor. I was relieved, and I chuckled to myself. :]
Have you been in either place? If not, what would you do?
Posted by Timmy at 12:44 PM
Our laundry room is connected to the basement. We have weights and a washer and dryer in there along with paint, tools, the furnace, and water heater. Our cats' beds are also in the laundry room when it is too cold for them to be out at night. The room is closed off by a door, but there is an inch and a half gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. Somebody alllways leaves that light on too. You'd think they would at least consider that the cats want to sleep in the dark too, if not that reason, how about the fact that there is no need for the light to be on once you leave! A slim streak of light seems to find my eyes from under that door every single night lol. Oh boy it irritates me lol. And those are just the lights that affect me when i sleep. They leave the hall light on, the outside lights on...we live across the street from a farm!
And the ladybugs!! They're everywhere! The creep in every autumn! I had to flick one off of my alarm clock as i was setting it last night! lol I don't find them so irritating though. They're kind of funny, and they don't really bite. I just flick em and hear them tink off of something.
Anyway, I am a believer in learning from everything. So, now that I have vented, I will take this light thing and use it to become a more patient person. Sound good? I think so too. After all, if I can't get something good from it, what am I doing to myself? Probably just making myself angry and causing more stress. Right? Well, toodles!
Can you relate? Or are you the one leaving lights on at your house! :]
Posted by Timmy at 9:22 AM
Monday, October 20, 2008
“EVERY man is sufficiently discontented with some circumstances of his present state, to suffer his imagination to range more or less in quest of future happiness, and to fix upon some point of time, in which he shall, by the removal of the inconvenience which now perplexes him, or the acquisition of the advantage which he at present wants, find his condition of life very much improved.”
We are all always dissatisfied with something going on in our lives. This is understandable. In fact, this is an excellent attitude to have so long as we look upon each problem in a positive, progressive manner. However, we often neglect constructive thoughts and actions in order to focus on a point in time by which we suppose that our discontentment with will be all better.
“When this time, which is too often expected with great impatience, at last arrives, it generally comes without the blessing for which it was desired; but we solace ourselves with some new prospect, and press forward again with equal eagerness.”
All the while, we concentrates on that time arriving, ignoring solutions as they bob under our noses. Then, when this better time finally comes, it is rarely what we expected. We didn’t put much effort into actually solving the problem. Somehow, we imagined that we could will the dilemma away. So, we comfort ourselves with a fresh suggestion. We simply focus on another point in the future with a new, more profound enthusiasm that things will be different.
“It is lucky for a man, in whom this temper prevails, when he turns his hopes upon things wholly out of his own power; since he forbears then to precipitate his affairs, for the sake of the great event that is to complete his felicity, and waits for the blissful hour with less neglect of the measures necessary to be taken in the mean time.”
Posted by Timmy at 9:39 AM