7:46 PM

Feb 27, 2009

That's the moment I got my LSAT score.

86th percentile

I'm not completely sure how to react.

Vocabulary Lesson #14: Roll The Bones




Feb 26, 2009

On Tuesday, I called a university in Mobile, Alabama. I got voice mail:

"Thanks for calling. We are currently closed for Mardi Gras."


So, I called a colleague who lives in Georgia.

Me: "Did you know the university is closed today?"

Him: "Yeah, well, it's Mobile. They claim they invented Mardi Gras. The whole town shuts down for the day, and usually part of Wednesday, too. Even the public school district closes, and the city."


Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon. I'm in the car, running to the store to grab some lunch, listening to an audiobook. The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith, about philosopher Isabel Dalhousie, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh, mind you. And I hear this:

"Mobile, Alabama, . . . invented the Mardi Gras. New Orleans thinks they did. But they're wrong."


Of Sorrow and Sin

Feb 25, 2009

It’s almost as if there is a strain of Christianity that holds that sorrow is an aberration caused by a fault in its sufferer and therefore must be remedied. This fix usually involves . . . a remonstration to pray more and perhaps to read a spiritual book.
. . .
For many of us, the last mistake we want to make in that situation is to tell the wrong Christian friend how we really are, that we just feel beat up and forgotten and not at all where we thought we would be. In our darkest times, we just can’t bear the resulting lecture.
. . .
[I]f everyone around you is pretending like he’s happy and life is bliss then you’re inclined to pretend the same thing. Wouldn’t it be a shame if our churches were filled with far greater sorrow than we knew, only most of us were hiding it for fear of not fitting in?

-Tony Woodlief, Is Sorrow a Sin?

Antici. . .

Feb 24, 2009

I haven't talked about it much here, mostly because I didn't want to jinx it. Stupid, I know.

On Saturday, February 7th, I took the LSAT. I had studied for over a month, with varying degrees of success. My mood vacillated between enthusiasm and despair. The real problem is a combination my own ridiculous desire for perfection and an excessive degree of self-criticism. God bless Handsome for putting up with me.

That weekend morning, I was anxious. No surprise there. My biggest fear was being the oldest person in the room, which was alleviated by a handful of others my age or older. And then there was the ice-breaker.

One perky pre-law student from UT thought we would all relax a little if we shared our names and majors. *snort* Ohhhkaaay. Had to be a cheerleader. Or a sorority sister. So cute.

Anyway, we proceeded to break the ice. There was the guy who planned to take the LSAT till he got a perfect score . . . because his dad was paying for it. There was the sick girl who ended up coughing through the exam. There was the dumb guy who had to ask how to fill in the little circles . . . below his name. One conspiracy theorist who believed the LSAT was a plot by the LSAC to sell study materials. And that other guy who didn't realize you could study for the test and then proceeded to freak out. And, finally, the much older lady who sat in the wrong seat and delayed the exam for a half-hour, because the proctors decided to retrieve, recount, and re-distribute the exam folders in the proper order.

What a motley crew.

Five hours later, I felt surprisingly confident in my performance. And completely giddy at finishing it in good time - which is really the hardest part of the LSAT. I floated on a cloud for a couple days after it was over.

In any case, exam results are due later this week. I'm feeling a little anxious. Only a very little. At least, I haven't thrown up. Yet.

Update: March 2, 2009. That's the big day that test results are emailed. T minus five days and counting.

Jennifer + Handsome Sitting in a Tree

Feb 19, 2009

How long have you been together?
Together for 15 1/2, married for 8 1/2.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We spoke on the phone once before we had our first date. The first time I saw Handsome, I forgot my name. Really.

Who asked whom out?
Can't remember. Probably him . . . I was a bit more shy back then.

How old are each of you?
I'm 35, and Handsome is a bit older.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
That's a hard one. About the same I think. I have one sister; he has one brother. We don't see either of them as much as we'd like.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
This usually revolves around our respective work loads, and how much time our jobs take away from each other. We are really jealous of the time our employers consume. And really, we'd be happiest going to work together every day. At the beach.

Did you go to the same school?
Not even close.

Are you from the same home town?
Again, not even close. We met in my hometown, but his family had only lived there a few years.

Who is smarter?
I think Handsome is smarter. And he's creative and funny. I read a ton and have a steel-trap mind for details and trivia, but he processes data and information and finds conclusions faster than I do.

Who is the most sensitive?
Me. Without a doubt.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Mangia Pizza. If you're ever in Austin, you must eat here.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Venice, Italy. That was a trip.

Who has the worst temper?
I think Handsome does. He thinks I do.

Who does the cooking?
That would be me. I love spending time in my kitchen. Handsome can cook, but he doesn't much. Usually he loiters in my kitchen, and I usually kick him out. Poor guy.

Who is the neat-freak?
Me, again. It's a compulsion.

Who is more stubborn?
Three for three. When I believe I am right, there isn't much on the planet that can change my mind. I'm trying to get better about it, though. You may find me saying, "it is possible that I am wrong about this, but I doubt it" or "I am willing to be wrong here" or (occasionally) "it's possible that you're right." That last one doesn't happen too often.

Who hogs the bed?
Handsome, most definitely.

Who wakes up earlier?
I do. Mostly because my work requires earlier hours than Handsome, but also because he's a serious night owl.

Where was your first date?
Pleading the fifth. I am not willing to reveal this information.

Who is more jealous?
Neither of us is the jealous type. Well, not jealous of other people. We are equally jealous of things (jobs, school, etc) that take excessive amounts of time.

How long did it take to get serious?
For me, about thirty seconds. For Handsome, a bit longer.

Who does the laundry?
Mostly me, but he is completely capable and willing to do so. He even separates the delicates, hanging them to dry. He's very conscientious.

Who's better with the computer?
Handsome. Without a doubt. I don't want to know how it works or why it works; I just want it to work. Handsome likes to rebuild computers from scratch, experiment with software, test the limits of computing power. I *heart* my geek.

Who drives when you are together?
Mostly me. Because I want to be a race car driver.

Tag: Leah, Lucy, Jeff, anyone/everyone else who drops by and wants to play. You know what to do.


Feb 18, 2009

Last night wasn't a great night.

First off was my foul mood. Mostly attributable to the miserable fog that hung on all day yesterday, and also because I'm a real brat who likes her own way.

Things got better after a long walk with Handsome, though he did have to put up with the previously mentioned mood. That man is worth his weight in gold, I tell ya.

Got to sleep (relatively) early only to have incessant chewing gum dreams. All night long.

And finally woke this morning with a crick in my shoulder. Odd place. And it's inhibiting my range of motion, and it hurts like hell.

But. But! But, it's a beautiful, glorious, gorgeous spring day.

Wishing I was out there in the middle of it.

Side note: Is any one else mildly amused by the phrase Stimulus Package? No? Just me, huh? Well then. Guess it's just Jennifer's inner 12-year-old boy snickering, again.

Little Cat Feet

Feb 17, 2009

Spring sneaked in sometime after midnight, bringing buds and leaves and new green growth. It didn't burst into bloom like other years, silenced as it was by quiet fog and drizzle.

But the plum tree in the back yard is covered in tiny white dots this morning, and the red bud around the corner is lit from within.

The world alive.

Unnecessary Burden

Feb 16, 2009

"[A]t a time when millions are struggling to hold onto their homes and jobs, Democrats, in the name of stimulus, want taxpayers to cover the cost of:

· Golf carts, electric motorcycles, and ATVs

· $300 million for new government cars

· $1 billion for ACORN-eligible block grants

· $50 million for out of work artists

· $165 million to maintain and build fish hatcheries -- $165 million for fish hatcheries.

· $1 billion for the Census

I defy anyone to explain to me how $1 billion for the Census will stimulate the U.S. economy.

So a stimulus bill that was supposed to be timely, targeted, and temporary is none of the above.

And this means Congress is about to approve a stimulus that’s unlikely to have much stimulative effect.

That’s why an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office actually predicted a potential sustained economic decline as a direct result of this bill.

And that’s why I can’t support it.

This is one of the most expensive pieces of legislation Congress has ever approved. Including interest, as I’ve said, it’s expected to cost $1.1 trillion. To put that figure in perspective, consider this: if you spent $1 million a day, every day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn’t have spent $1 trillion. This is an extraordinary sum of money. It deserves an extraordinary level of scrutiny."

-Senator Mitch McConnell, KY (R), A Three-Point Test

The Book Nerd

You all know I love to read. But did you know that when I'm not reading a book, I'm often listening to one? Like when I'm cooking dinner or cleaning, I'll often have an audio book playing. Handsome even got me a set of speakers with an iPod dock for the kitchen, so I can indulge my favorite pastime. (See: romantic)

Anyway, last night, I'm listening to Hot Six by Janet Evanovich, when the story comes around to the part where the protagonist is taking her dog out for an emergency walk after he had eaten two boxes of prunes. (You only think you know where this is going.) Suddenly, the very bad bad-guys drive up, grab the dog, and zoom away. Mayhem ensues.

All that to say: I laughed so hard, I couldn't catch my breath. And poor Handsome comes running down the stairs to see if I'm okay - only to find out I'm laughing at a book. And laughing harder telling him why I'm laughing.

Handsome: "You're such a nerd. Cute, but nerdy."

Frightening Irony

Feb 13, 2009

Orchard Park police are investigating a particularly gruesome killing, the beheading of a woman, after her husband -- an influential member of the local Muslim community -- reported her death to police Thursday.
. . .
Detectives have charged her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder.
. . .
Muzzammil Hassan [the husband] is the founder and chief executive officer of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004, amid hopes that it would help portray Muslims in a more positive light.

Source: The Buffalo News

Some thoughts:

1) Portraying Muslims in a positive light! Really? Are you sure about that?

2) Mr. Hassan is being charged with 2nd-degree murder. Second degree - meaning NOT premeditated, NOT planned, and NOT a crime of passion. Folks, she had a restraining order against him (whatever that is worth). 2nd degree this was NOT.

3) The catch-phrase of the TV station is "Connecting People Through Understanding." Words to live by.


Feb 12, 2009

Today is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. One-third of the western world is grateful for his contribution to science; another third thinks he got it wrong, and the final third don't know what the rest of us are talking about.

What I find most interesting, though, is that his theory is yet another story that explains where everything comes from. Each species has adapted to its environment in response to stresses in nature, resulting in the wide variety of life on our planet. Plausible enough.

Ancient Zulus thought the Ancient One came from the reeds and from them brought forth the people and the cattle.

Ancient Finns believed that the world was formed from an egg that was broken.

Ancient Egyptians couldn't decide. Either Atum arose from the primordial waters; Ra arose, either in an egg or a blue lotus; or Ptah spake the world into existence.

Ancient Cherokee believed all the animals lived in the sky and a water beetle created the land.

Ancient Hebrews, as well as modern Jews and Christians, believe Yahweh spoke everything into existence from nothing.

With all those kinds of stories, Darwin's little theory isn't nearly so unimaginable.

Source: Wikipedia

Finally, Something Useful

Feb 11, 2009

Google Earth Leads Man to 'Buried Treasure

Is there golden treasure buried in a South Texas creek?

Using Google Earth, a Los Angeles-based musician named Nathan Smith thinks he's found a lost treasure ship that sank somewhere north of Corpus Christi during a hurricane in 1822.

But the owners of the land won't let him dig — unless a court rules that the muddy creek is indeed "navigable waters," in which case the federal government decides.

Vocabulary Lesson #13: Marathon

Feb 9, 2009



Cherry Lifesavers

Feb 5, 2009

The automatic air freshener in the Ladies Room has been stuck in the "ON" position for three days.

I wonder if you can get high off room deodorizer?

Tax Dollars at Work

Feb 3, 2009

A few provisions in the current version of the economic stimulus bill:

$246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film (heaven forbid they have buy it themselves. especially with all the quality movie-making these days)

$650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program (because the country will come to a screeching halt without TV)

$248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters (furniture? really?)

$600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees (they can't buy their own cars like the rest of us?)

$400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STDs (we've got priorities)

$75 million for "smoking cessation activities" (because they've proven to be so successful in the past)

$6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings (billion with a B, folks)

$125 million for the Washington sewer system (now we know exactly where our money is going)

And there's so much more.

Offensive and Ignorant

Feb 2, 2009

Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.

From The Times of London Online

Recommended further reading: Eugenics and Other Evils


Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. Unless you live in Texas, where there's only three more. And if you watch "Groundhog Day" tonight, you reduce your sentence to just two more weeks of winter.

The alternate ending for "I Am Legend" is phenomenally better than the theatrical-release ending. Phenomenally better. Makes it a film worth seeing twice.

Insomnia is frustrating. Worse than the nightmares. T minus six days and counting.

Can you believe that Mardi Gras is in February this year? That seems wrong somehow.

I've had just about enough of the cedar pollen already.

Self-congratulation is somewhat acceptable in single sentences. Occasionally. Sending out photographs of your awards and spending twenty minutes talking about it is called gloating. It's unattractive. And just plain rude.

I really wish I could remember that one thing I forgot yesterday. I remember exactly where I was when I said it, what we were talking about both before and after. But, it's like some cosmic eraser wiped out thirty seconds of my memory. It's unsettling.