Back to Normal

I wouldn't say we are back in a routine, per se. But the days are taking on some normalcy.

We went to see King Kong and about midway through, someone pulled the fire alarm to get better seats. Everyone had to evacuate and we had to wait about a half hour for the show to start again. We had arrived at the theatre an hour in advance to be the third through the door and had perfect seats. Some guy went crazy when we tried to return to them. The holiday season can really bring out the reverse of peace and love in some people. (We were all o.k. with the seats we ended up with and the son of the guy who made an idiot of himself apologized.) So funny. I've never had anything like that happen before...

We enjoyed some quality time with Scott and the family. I've been splitting my time at work between working on burning the photos and studying for the actuary exam. I'm going to be focused on that for the next couple of months. It is going to be a real challenge, and one that matters.

I decided to use Mark's last name and today, I started that. I couldn't really use it on the honeymoon because all the reservations were made under Christensen and all my travel documents were still Christensen. So today at work, I switched my paperwork, let everyone know what to call me, and started answering the phones "Officer McCowen." It sounds so odd. I hope I get used to it. I have to wait for the legal part until after I take the exam or I'll get disqualified from taking it.

What an amazing season we have had this year. It really stands out as one for the ages.

If you have any stories from the wedding I would love to have them. I realized that the stories are usually about what went "wrong" because it stands out against the backdrop of beauty and elegance that one hopes the event will reflect. However, I also consider those "hiccups" to be what sets off the day as so miraculous. Since I know (for my part) how many very important things nearly didn't happen, it makes how beautiful and perfect it was all the more amazing and reinforces the view that things can go wrong and still be exactly right.

I think being flexible is the most important human quality. Change is the only constant.


Wrapping Up

The butterfly farm was one of the best things we did. We walked through the gardens where so many very beautiful butterflies were flying all around us. A really pretty blue one let me hold it in my hand. We got some great pictures and souvenirs. We had a cool taxi driver who talked to us a lot about Costa Rica, answered some of our questions, and was very friendly.

We did end up going to the zoo. We missed out on seeing the animals in the wild because all that stuff was scheduled for the days that Mark was sick and by the time he felt better, we were in a different part of the country outside the rain forest areas. (As I mentioned before, we did see big iguanas and a couple of white-nosed coati.) I really wanted to see a parrot, a toucan, and a monkey. The zoo, like most in Central and South America, caged their animals too narrowly - which is great for spectating, but terrible for the animal - they did have a lot of programs to support humane treatment and reduce trafficking of exotic animals as pets, which was good to see.

After running around town, we went back to the hotel. Mark's tummy was hurty so I went to dinner by myself. It was a special menu for Christmas Eve, and many people including myself had not thought to make a reservation, so I ended up sharing my table with a couple from El Paso. We shared a nice conversation, an even better four course gourmet dinner and some tropical drinks. Mark came down for a moment to get the room key and sat down and joined us for a few moments.

Our flight was very early, so we tried to tuck in early. This would not be, however. People were setting off fireworks, caroling and otherwise celebrating nearly all night long all over the city. We got up at 4:30 a little red-eyed and went straight to the airport. What an adventure. America West is really slacking. They didn't have signs up for their desks so noone knew where to go, no one came to check us into our 8:15 flight until 7:00 (they say show up so many hours early...) they didn't start boarding us until 7:45 and even then it was to put us on a bus and truck us out to the plane where we actually walked out onto the tarmack and up the ramp into the plane - an Airbus seating 5 across - tiny. We watched our own DVDs and our 5 hour flight flew.

Once home, it really started to seem like Christmas day. The McCowen house was simmering with those wonderful smells and dinner was almost ready. We ate a big, scrumptious (thankfully normal homecooked) meal. Of course we were excited to impart all the details of our trip, so we gave a little showing of our video footage, a photo slide show, and demonstrated all our souvenirs. We snacked on chocolate covered cashews and papaya. And after all that, we opened presents together. It was great. Some very priceless moments. (Aubri will be glad to know that we got a new office chair. Her comment when she saw the one we were using went something like, "Mommy, the chair's head fell off and it's buttcrack is showing.")

We played some cards and games, mom baked some cookies and the guys had some good conversation. Overall, it was very nice. When we got home, I talked to Evan on the phone until I literally fell asleep.

A few notes about the wedding...

The wedding photos came out really good. DJ really captured all the emotions and highlights. I'm going to burn them to disk along with a little travel highlights slide show and send them out relatively soon as wedding favors... I'm not sure how soon, but before school starts up again or never would be a good guess. If you came to the wedding and don't want a CD of all the pictures let me know. If you did not come to the wedding and do want a CD of all the pictures, let me know. I am posting the very best on a post-wedding website that should be ready fairly soon. When I get it set up I will link to it from here.

Thanks again to everyone who helped. Particular credit should go to Mom, Pat, Don, Eva, Paula, Brandy, DJ, Huff, Ben, Evan, Tiff, Lindsey, and Jenn.


Last Day Here

Well... here we are. It's Christmas Eve and I'm sitting on a private balcony overlooking an amazing tropical garden back where we started this whole adventure. Yesterday we checked out of our resort hotel at Sugar Beach right after breakfast. That place really went beyond our expectations. We had an amazing three days lounging and saw more tropical wildlife there than we did in the rain forest... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We drove and drove and drove. The roads. My goodness, someone could make a fortune in government contracts if they decided to repair, or in most cases pave them. The unpaved ones were the blessings, because at least you can grate a dirt road and don't have unexpected feet deep pot holes to contend with. Deadly. Driving the longest distance of any day we journeyed, and in this case, through mountainous passes in which unmarked, we were never certain whether we were even on the right road. (Hard to be sure if you are on a major interstate when suddenly it seems like the road has only been used to herd cattle.)

Don't get me wrong. The driving might have been our favorite part, despite the discomfort of actually doing it, we saw some of the most lovely parts of the country. We went through a really cowboy area where everyone was on horseback and had leather-holstered machetes (or were out in the feilds machete-ing away.) One guy was hitchhiking with a 12 inch knife on his hip. (We didn't pick him up.) These cowboys have a swagger that reminds me of home in a way. My dad would've loved it.

We paid my trumped up traffic ticket at a national bank in Liberia and made our way to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Finding the forest was a little tricky. When we got frustrated, we stopped at an Italian place for lunch. We ordered pizza expecting little personal sized ones and got two full sized pizzas. (Mine had gargonzola cheeze, asparagus, mushrooms, and motza with a homemade sauce... Mark got ham, both were wood-fired.) So cool. We ate outside and they served the pizza with flavored oils. One had hot peppers, and was actually so hot that even a little drop of the oil on the pizza made the bite flame with smoke out your ears. It was great. (I could have discovered this before I finished my diet coke.)

But we made it to the Cloud Forest and went on a short hike. We didn't hire a guide. We only had a hour or so before the park closed (at 4:30 pm... we left Sugar Beach at 8 am. That's how long it took us to drive approximately 200 kilometers.) We did pass some groups on the trail that had a guide. One guy was doing bird calls to try to get a quetzal to call back. They had a scope to view through. I watched for a while, but no birds were calling back and I was having a very hard time not laughing. This guy was doing some pretty good bird calls. The hike was really, really amazing. We went to a waterfall and then circled back to the beginning. There were some really lovely plants, a Ferngully tree that really amazed me, and moss and those rope-thingys hanging from everywhere. No one should miss how pretty the rain forest is. It started raining a really soft mist just as we left. We were trying to beat the sun down the mountain because these switchbacks were pretty daring and of course, there are no street lights. We didn't quite make it, but we got the worst of the pass behind us. When we finally made it to the freeway, some truck was backing up the traffic for miles going only 5 mph. We followed him for about an hour. Very agrivating because this road was paved and sans pot hole. We could've gone 80 kpm easy and should have been the easiest part of the drive. We drove up and down the streets of Atenas looking for our hotel. At this point, we had been driving for 12 hours. The hotel was not well marked and we spent about an hour looking for it. When we finally found it, it lacked amenities. It didn't have shampoo, or a tub (just a stall,) air conditioning, a tv, a coffeemaker, anything. And the plumbing was the kind where you have to put the paper in the wastebasket. It was actually more expensive than the all-inclusive resort. If it had been cheap, we probably would not have minded the lack of amenities... but it was priced at about four times what you get, so we were not excited about staying two days. (We reserved the "master suite" which was so small I kept hitting the walls on accident changing my clothes. -- We were expecting this to be the nicest place we stayed.) As soon as we woke up this morning, we checked out cancelling our second day on the chance that we could find something else. We drove around town for a while and I called the hotel we stayed at the first day when Mark was sick. It was very nice and he sort of missed out on enjoying the gardens. We got a room and relaxed a little.

It is Christmas Eve and everyone is very festive. They are setting up for the carnivals and parades during the Semana de Santas (Holiday week.) We ate at Denny's and returned the car. The car rental place shuttled us back to the hotel where we got showered and ready for the day. Today we plan on getting a taxi out to see a butterfly garden, the zoo, and if time permits, the "world of insects."

Tomorrow we fly home early. It would be nice if we could just stay on vacation for a month like the French do. We are having an amazing time.


Sugar Beach is Sweet

Yesterday was one of the best days I´ve had all year. Mark is better... he was starting to get better the day I last posted, but since then he has gotten to the point where he can really relax and enjoy himself. We have had such a blast! We alternate between holding hands walking on the beach, sitting in lounge chairs reading or watching the waves come in, sitting in the hammock by our patio and taking our meals with a beautiful panoramic view. Everything has fresh avocado in it.

We have seen some pretty crazy wildlife. I saw a coati (some cute long tailed rodent) walk past my hammock with a french photographer in tow. I saw a friendly one early that came up and licked my hand but this one was pretty scared (there was a guy with a bikini swim suit stalking him, so I don´t blame him.) We have also seen some very large lizards. I think the bigger ones, over a foot long, are iguanas. A couple were very, very bright green and as big as my forearm.

This has been fantastic. It´s hard to believe that we only have a few more days left. I think we stay here for one more night and check out tomorrow. On the way to the coffee plantation where we stay for the following two nights we are going to catch Monteverde Cloud Forest and a rain forest. The next day we want to see some butterfly gardens and one of the animal exhibits... a snake or crocodile farm, the ¨world of insects¨ or something like that. We already saw some kind of grasshopper as big as my hand.

I wish sitting on the ocean was a career.

More Later...


Mid-Honeymoon Update

Well, so much to say. Tabacon was really worth it. We relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of the place. Neither of us had ever gotten room service before, so we got Mark some ice cream and that was fun. The food is really good. So far, Mark hasn´t been able to eat anything, so I am enjoying this stuff myself. The flavor is unique - some kind of blend of Europe, Spanish (but definately not Mexican) and a strong influence of the tropical environment. I have tried many new things.

The evening we arrived at Tabacon, I went out for steak San Carlito style while Mark laid in bed feeling terrible (this is a recurring theme, so far). We had a balcony at Tabacon, and I sat out there and wrote in a journal after dark and drank coffee. It was really pretty. The volcano actually errupts. I don´t know why this is a surprise from an active volcano, but basically, I wasn´t expecting to be able to hear it. It sounds like thunder. The jungle is a noisy place at night. Lots of creatures come out. It was really peaceful to hear the mix of frogs, crickets, birds, and whatever else was out there.

The next morning I went to the buffet, which was amazing! Enchiladas for breakfast! Fresh tropical fruit, cut or in a smoothie, cheeses, delicious pastries (I had one with some kind of coconut and fruit filling) palm leave wrapped tamales. Everything was terrific. I can´t describe. Anyway, I got some pictures. Mark felt good, no fever for a few minutes in the morning so we went for a short walk. He gets wiped out quick, so I walked him back to the room. Luckily we had this huge bath with water piped in from the hot springs, so he took lots of baths. (And thank heavens for cable television).

I went down to the springs. Talk about hot tubbing. They had thousands of little rivers connected by waterfalls with many different pools of varying hottnesses and mineral contents. I sat under a waterfall and let it hit my back (very powerful) for a while and then moved to a private, quiet place to read from The Di Vinci Code, which I have wanted to read for a while.

After a nap, we left and drove this crazy windy road up this huge hill and actually got to use our 4WD to get to our next hotel. It was at the top of a hill next to the volcano. The accommodations were sparse, but the view was wonderful and it had AC and a bath, so Mark survived (we had the laptop so he watched movies... no tv.) I went for a short walk and went to sleep for 12 hours. The combination of altitude and humidity is very tiring.

That brings us to this morning. Today was our longest drive from the volcano to the beach so we left early while Mark was feeling better and right after we ate. (I had fried plantain!) The roads are so filled with pot holes that it was hard to exceed 40 kph, which I think is like 20 mph. This went on for 5 hours. The scenery was basically savannah, like what you would expect to see in the desert in Africa. Those cool trees included.

We arrived at the Sugar Beach Hotel where we will be for the next three days around 3. I ate while Mark napped from the trip. I think his fever finally broke, because he was much, much better today. This hotel is really incredible. Infinity pool overlooking the beach, AC controlled by remote control, very nice menu (I had chicken nachos) and huge private balcony with two sets of sliding doors and our own hammock. I´ll spend a lot of time there.

Tonight we will drive in to town for medicines and supplies that we don´t want to get at the hotel and rest. Over the next three days we plan on lounging. Because Mark was sick and we missed our canopy tours through the jungle, if he gets feeling better, we will go on one here. There are a few rain forests nearby.

More to come...


Welcome to Costa Rica


The flight was very exhausting (especially for Mark, who is still feeling under the weather) but we made it. We took a very exciting taxi ride to our hotel marking the fact that we are in a foreign place. Our driver was muy rapido.

Luckily my Spanish is coming back really quickly. I'm sort of surprising myself and Mark with how much I can understand and communicate.

Our hotel is VERY luxurious. I was nervous because to get here, we had to drive through a neighborhood where every building had a barbed wire security fence around it... and then we turned the corner to see this huge pillared beautiful building with a big brass statue and gardens in the turn about. Service was so courteous and I felt like we entered a palace where we were king and queen.

Our room has a private balcony with a hilltop view of the city. It was pretty last night, sparkling with the city's lights, but this morning was even better. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains and the flora makes the cityscape worth enjoying over a cup of homegrown coffee.

When Mark felt up to it we walked through the gardens on the hotel grounds. They were huge, with tons of ponds, mini waterfalls and fountains, crazy tropical plants I've never seen before that look fake, and several birdwatching towers (we went up there just to get a different view of the gardens).

Then we went into the restaurant and got some fresh tropical fruit, and assorted breads for breakfast. I felt sorry for Mark for being allergic to pineapple because I don't think I've ever tasted any so delicious.

That pretty much brings us up to date, and it's only 7:00 am. This country is very beautiful. I was worried about driving on the streets after that taxi ride, but today is Sunday and the roads are very quite. In a couple hours, our car rental will be delivered and we will drive up to the Arenal Volcano area. If we feel up to it, we planned on stopping by the La Paz waterfall for lunch on the way. We spend tonight at the Tabacon Resort at the base of the active volcano.

I think I will have opportunities to update my blog regularly while we are away. This is so wonderful. It sounds cliche, but I wish you were here. We could've gotten married in these gardens.

I will say, the wedding was everything I hoped and more. I thought is was very nice. I hope those of you who shared it with us concur.

Mrs. McCowen


0 - Wedding Day

Wow. We're married. Sorry I didn't post over the last couple of days. Things got crazy. I didn't sleep at all for several days.

Mark got the flu. Marissa broke her arm and Eva had to spend all day in the ER getting her casted.

But, it all went together so beautifully. Everything was very beautiful, the weather was perfect, the backyard looked really nice. The food was as delicious as it looked and the deserts were so great. I really have a lot of people to thank for pulling together so many of the details that made the day great. Thank you.



I am too busy to even post how busy I am.

I took my last final today, so the semester is finally over for me and I can move on to things I actually care about.

It's 5 hours passed my bedtime, so I'm obviously making the most of the fact that I don't have to do any higher level thinking when I wake up.

I rented the VIP clubhouse at our apartment for Thursday from 3 pm-midnight so we have a bigger venue to continue our set up party when the set up part is over. They have a big screen, big couches around a table that should be good for games, a kitchen, and a private patio with a pool. We don't have to use it, but it's there for us if we want to.

Ben would really like to go see a hockey game. Wayne Gretzky coaches our team and there is a homegame on Thursday night at 7. It would be great if someone else wants to go to, since he can't drive himself. Let me know if your a fan and this sounds fun to you.

Beyond that, I'm going to go wash my face, brush my teeth and drop into one of the deepest and shortest sleeps of my life.

But first, I want to give a big shout out to all my slaves. You know who you are. Thank you.



This just occurred to me today: I'm getting married on FRIDAY!!!!

Very exciting... very hard to concentrate on tasks at hand. We're having a blast and trying to stay on task.

I don't know what to say because everything that is going on is task-oriented so the only thoughts I have time for are "only x more days" and "can you believe how fast this time is going?" and "It's already time to do last minute stuff!"

That last one is the one that keeps getting me. I took my pill to prevent malaria for the honeymoon yesterday. Yet another marker of the time.

Mark is reconsidering his fashion statement and I'm trying to talk him out of bending to social pressure to conform. I think it is important that the day reflect our personalities and tastes when it's appropriate. If major label designers can do it, I say, so can he. (I wanted him to wear clean looking destroyed jeans with a colored shirt and sports jacket with elegant shoes and belt.) Post on the link to his blog to support me!


Things To Do In Phoenix Next Week

ACTIVITIES IN CHANDER/PHOENIX AREA - Cheap or Free - more expensive as you go down the list

Comment: Phoenix is a BIG metropolitean city. Whatever you want to do, phoenix can provide it for you. You want a Turkish Heritage Days? We probably have that. You want full nude motorcycle racing? We probably have that, too. So consider this list heavily abridged and get a “New Times” or “Rep” magazine when you get here if there is something specific you want to do (or to imagine the possibilities)

CASA GRANDE RUINS - Indian ruins from the extinct Hohokam tribe - adobe complex and standing multistory “big house.” You can walk right up to the ruins and touch them. 20 minute drive. A couple of bucks (1 or 3, not sure) for admission. Includes museum and informational video.

SOUTH MT HIKING - Free. Trails range from easy to very challenging, most offer beautiful panoramic views of the city at the top. Don’t hike without water. (But if you want something insanely beautiful, you need to hike Camelback Mt just before sunrise… however this hike is Extremely difficult - it took me three tries to make it to the top. If you are in good physical condition, this is the best. Take a snack to enjoy at the top.)

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER - City light pollution and a full moon the next day may wash out the effect of this once a year meteor shower, but we are just a short drive from the middle of the barren desert, where you might see more. If you're back home before this occurs, you'll probably get a better view in a rural location.

BACH ORGAN RECITAL - Free. 7pm Dec 16, St. Barnabas on the Desert, Scottsdale

CHINESE CULTURAL CENTER - Free. Japanese gardens, food, usually some kind of presentation (dancing, martial arts display, etc) museum, etc. (20 minutes away)

ARIZONA’S LARGEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE -Free. On display at Pointe South Mountain Resort (the resort has a waterslide)

SCOTTSDALE INDIAN MARKET - Free. Swap meet for Native American food, jewelry, rugs, pottery and other art. Parada Hall and Convention Center 7303 E Earll Drive Scottsdale.

GIFT TRUNK SHOW - Free. Dec 14 only arts and crafts trunk swap meet. (www.thetrunkspace.com)

MILL AVENUE SHOPPING - The hip drag to be seen at with all kinds of eclectic shops, entertainment, restaurants.

MESA TEMPLE - CHRISTMAS PAGEANT? (I know they do one for Easter and have touristy stuff)

SKATEPARKS - free. cement ramps/street obstacles - world famous (I’ll even loan you my skateboard if you don’t have one)

CASINOS - There are ten local casinos. They always have free concerts and fun events to lure gambling naives to their doors. Too much to list.

ZOO LIGHTS - this event starts at sundown at the zoo. You can see some nocturnal animals, but you should be there mainly for the light show. Some animated to music displays are pretty cool. Great fun for the kids, who are going to want you to buy them a glow stick, guaranteed. Tickets (if purchased in advance at Fry’s Grocery Store) are $1-3 each. ($5-8 otherwise) 20 minute drive

IMAX, MOVIES, SHOPPING AREAS - The “Big” Mall is the biggest Mall in Arizona, has a 24-Plex, and IMAX theatre and 3 miles of shops. King Kong debuts Thur Dec 15.

CELEBRATION OF LIGHTS - $12 per carload to drive 2 miles through an animated light display. 45+ minute drive.

ORGANSTOP PIZZA - The pizza is o.k. Go there for the Organ. It’s one of those big pipes all over the walls kinds. The player is a showman, the organ rotates on a raised platform while he plays - you request the tunes - he knows all of them. Light shows. Very fun. You just pay for the meal - $15-20 per pizza. It might sound dumb, but it is a total blast.

FIDDLESTICKS, GOLFLAND, CASTLES & COASTERS - Three typical amusement venues, mini-golf, water bumper cars, buggies on race tracks… that sort of thing… in ascending order they get “bigger” and more expensive. We can find discounted admissions or coupons for these if someone wants us to look.

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDENS - ($8-$16) 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm 45,000 candles illuminate trails. / or an alternative is Boyce Thompson Arboretum (a more expensive admission Desert Garden, but of course, better gardens/trails - no light show that I know of)

PHOENIX ART MUSEUM is doing a lingerie over the years display for all you perverts.

OTHER FREE ART GALLERIES (with featured displays )
Artspace in Scottsdale (all works)
ASU downtown center gallery (high school advanced work)
Burton barr central library (humour illustrations)
Chandler Center for the Arts (quilts)
Cline Fine Arts (“eyes”)
Danela/May Gallery at the Borgata (Southwestern art)
Desert Eagle Fine Arts (rocks: from fossils to diamond jewelry)
Kerr Cultural center (Local artists)
Larsen Gallery (pastel life drawings - that’s the art-word for “nude” for all you perverts)

Temple Little Theatre presents: Over the River and Through the Woods, Downtown Tempe Daily 8pm, 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday.
Shakespeare Theatre presents: Much Ado about Nothing. W-Sat 2pm, 8pm at Phoenix Little Theatre, $15 adv -20 at the door
Actor’s theatre presents: A Christmas Carol, Herberger Theatre - Tickets (602) 252-8497 ($16-25)
Ballet Arizona presents: Nutcracker Symphony Hall - Tickets (602) 381-1096 ($10-102)
Phoenix Symphony presents: Handel’s Messiah - Tickets (602) 495-1999 ($28)
Center Dance Ensemble presents: Snow Queen, Herberger Theatre - Tickets (602) 252-8497 ()
Phoenix Boys Choir Concert 16th, 17th, 18th only ($10-30)
DJ BT plays at club MYST in Scottsdale Dec 16.
Glen Miller Orchestra , Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, Scottsdale Dec 16 ($25 - gen, $5 for students 5-18)
Rogue Wave 8:30pm Dec 15 Modified Arts, Phoenix ($9)
The Aquabats with Goons of Doom and Valiant Thor at Marquee Theatre, Mill Dec 15, 7pm, $13-15
The Lovemakers play with She Wants Revenge and Rock Kills Kid at the Brick house Dec 16, 7pm $10
Clutch with Elliot Whitmore play at Marguee Theatre, Mill, Dec 18 at 8pm ($18-20)
All I never wanted for Christmas stand-up with Jeremy Scott, Stu Baker, Don Steinmetx, Robert Fata, benefits Toys for Tots, 7:30pm Dec 15 ($10 or $5 with new, unwrapped toy)
Valley Youth Improv at Valley Youth Theatre, Dec 17 at 7pm $5

“SHOWS” (Car shows, boat shows) Desert Sky Pavilions

GOLF - Phoenix is a golf mecca, but it is peak season, so start your game after 1pm and The Legacy Resort only charges $35 any day of the week (1-800-796-4461) 6808 S 32nd Street (10 minutes) - This is a pretty typical green fee… you shouldn’t have to pay more… shop around, lots of competition (of course the world class greens go for 100+ per round…).

SPORTS - (College season will be over, so just pro - see listings for home game days/times)
I am not totally sure what all the sports in season are. I think we have football, baseball, and hockey right now. Tickets range from $10 in the upper bleachers to $1000 courtside and everywhere in between.
Cardinals Football,
Diamondbacks baseball
Suns baseball
Coyotes Hockey (Dec 20 home game)
Roadrunners Hockey (lower division)

SANTA’S THEME PARK - ($23-adult $18-kids/seniors) Firebird Int’l Raceway sponsored event, 74 foot tree, 50 amusement park rides, carnival… I don’t know what admission tickets cost. 10 minute drive. Muscians, Magicians, puppets, white tigers, fireworks. There are also races every Friday night - amateurs…


The more real this whole thing gets, the more unreal it feels. It's a race against time to see how many loose ends I can trim. Nothing left is terribly important - yet I feel compelled to complete every last detail.

My tooth is mostly recovered, so I'm back on the job as a full-time math geek.

I love that I get excited about math. I mean, some people never get excited about anything. At least I have something I enjoy thinking about, even if it removes me from most social conversation circles. ("Here comes Mona. As soon as she starts talking about math, if I do this with my pinkie, ask me to help you find the bathroom.")

Anyway... Eva's here tomorrow. Let the crafts begin.

My friend Tiffany mixes her two interests: math with anthropology. And it works, because ancient societies had numerical systems and calculated complex calendars and stuff. If I can figure out how to combine math with crafts... then life will be perfect.



Make that 3 coldsores...

I think I did passable on the final I took today. I did something funny early in every problem that gave me bad algebra and it took me a while to figure out that every answer was wrong. I had time to rework all but one, once I realized my error.

Tonight is another study marathon.

I need sleep.



I'm only allowed to think about school right now. Final right after work.

I'm getting a cold sore.


My Papers

Should I post my academic writings? Is anyone interested in reading them?


It is so hard to focus on school right now. I have a final in two days and I still need to do the homework for the whole chapter. It just hasn't been as exciting as everything else that's got to be done.

It's just little details now. Everything left is fun stuff. I think what I like the most is that each day when we (Mark and I) work on stuff, it feels so epic. Even doing the dishes feels epic (because at this point even keeping the housework up is part of getting ready for the wedding.)

Maybe it's the vicodan, (for my tooth) but everything feels so surreal.

Yesterday the painter finished our wall, I got all the final numbers to the caterer, finished all the major assignments for most of my classes, got my tooth pulled, and coordinated stuff. Today, I attended my last day of class, set up some food orders to finalize tomorrow, did my household jobs for the week (not all of them, I'm kind of a slacker right now - need a maid,) and my weekend is over. Tonight... homework, homework, homework. (I hope I can concentrate!)


From the Beginning

Everything always works out in the end. That's something to keep in mind.

I had a tooth extracted this morning, so I've been hopped up on narcotics, feeling weird and icky all day, and trying desperately and unsuccessfully to take care of very important details that I thought HAD to be done today: the rental equipment (without a final RSVP count,) my last chapter work for one of my math classes (advice: don't attempt complex mathematics while hopped up on narcotics,) and two research papers (note: you can proof read while hopped up on narcotics, that's not impossible.)

As it turns out, the rental people gave me until tomorrow. The math teacher mysteriously extended our due date to Wednesday. The only thing I had to accomplish today was the only thing I could handle, and the papers are looking pretty good.

Because everything always works out in the end.


And Counting

Two weeks to go.

My thoughts are so all over the place that I am not even sure where to go with them. As if I don't have enough to do, I'm squeezing in oral surgery next week for a tooth that decided it had to act up right now. Crazy.

I am really appreciating mathematics right now in ways that are hard to describe. I'm writing a paper about the summary of what mathematics is and how it evolved. It is like DNA. There are maybe three simple ideas that capture all the information in the world.

Side Note: The length and width and decahedran spiral of DNA follow golden proportions of phi, a single healthy cell can be inscribed into a golden rectangle, and the ideal adult body made up of those cells is made up of hundreds of phi ratio relationships.

Everything in math is like this. Some little thing bundles all of this greater information. The more complex ideas basically prove themselves... fall out of basic ideas. The fact that such a wealth of interrelated ideas comes from such a simple core of axioms is impossible to grasp. My class had a small discussion that led to God in trying to understand how this all works.

As far as school goes, I'm scheduling my time very carefully so that I can be well prepared for finals in advance. As the wedding approaches, I don't want to be cramming. If I don't have it down by then, cramming probably won't help anyway.

Thank you for reading this. I don't keep in touch, and I feel like I've made some kind of intimate contact with someone who loves me everytime I see my counter move.

I think there comes a time in life when it becomes very important to foster these relationships of meaning with family. It's so easy to do your own thing and get caught up in the excitement of whatever life is giving you at the moment. But, I'm at that time where having a network of loved ones who know me is more important than having an exciting anonymous life.


Weathering the Trip

If you are coming from out of state to the wedding, you might benefit from the following information:

  • It is not that cold here, but we do have some low temperatures in the mornings and evenings... nothing long pants and a good sweatshirt, sweater, or hoodie can't handle. Midday temperatures are in the mid 70s. (Lows can be mid/low 40s)
  • I'm thinking about having games on Thu night, the 15th. Obviously we can't stay up too late, because we have a big day the next day... but it might be fun. If we have gifts we want to exchange, we can do it at that point.
  • I want to know when you are arriving and departing so that I can spread my time out to spend a little with everyone. Please let me know as soon as your travel arrangements are in place. (So I can also help coordinate where you will stay when you get here.)

Love ya,


PS - Check out Angie Debo's books. Particularly "Geronimo."


The Speed of Life

It is life's cruel irony that doing something dreadful slows time to a stand still and when you really want to enjoy the high times, they speed along so that you can barely catch a breath of the moment your in before it's gone. This is especially true when your to-do list is 8 typed pages long.

I'm sure I will remember this time in life for a long time... despite the details spinning me by so fast that I can barely pin them to the wall.

Evan and I scheduled Thanksgiving dinner tenetively for January 3. That's sadly the soonest we both have time.

I talked to Brit today. She sounded good, cheery. She starts back into school Monday at her old school. She's a little nervous about that. It didn't sound like she had much going there when she attended before in the way of friends or connections. They're with their mom now, which is great.


Gift Suggestions

I know we have a gift registry, but I think the best gift would be helping us finance the memories we will make on our fanastic dream honeymoon.

Check out this lady's vacation website to see some of what we will be doing (in common with her, we will be going to Arenal, Tabacon, and Monteverde.) But, warning... looking at her site is going to make you want to go. She takes really good pictures.


The Emperor's New Clothes

This is my funny story of the day.

It is getting a little cooler and Mark is working outside, so he asked me if we had an appropriately manly scarf he could wear to work. (He didn't think my eyelash multi-colored tassly one was appropriate.)

I checked a few places and remembered this big box in the closet marked "seasonal clothes."

It had a garbage bag full of coats on top. Underneath... all my favorite cute clothes that I haven't been able to find since we moved (a year ago) that I thought were lost forever. We're talking a major landslide of really, really cute (and not inexpensive) clothes, including my souvenir shirt from Holland and some tan "tilt" cords. It's like finding something you thought you'd never see again. In fact, it's exactly like that.

Mark never got his scarf. And there was nothing in the magical box for him.


Book Of The Week

I just finished reading The Joy of Pi by David Blatner and it really lived up to its name. It was so fun to read. Blatner cleverly compiled every interesting fact, joke, puzzle, poem, cartoon and side note having anything to do with π.

One example: 2π times the diameter of an elephants foot = the height of the elephant. (I want to know who figured this one out, and how.)


A Shot in the Arm

I got my vaccinations for our trip today. Basically, I'd rather get typhoid fever than get another typhoid vaccination. That's all I can say... considering I only have the use of one arm.


Meticulous Details

I have realized lately that every daunting task is really just a seemly infinite series of small and ordinary tasks.

I really don't like filing, so it stacks up. But, it is such an easy little task. If I just filed it instead of throwing it in the "to file" pile... this terrible task would never get the best of me.

I just took a differential equations exam for which this observation is most true. Every problem taking so long to complete, and none of the steps difficult to keep your attention from slipping. I actually caught myself writing 1 times 1 is 2.

It seems like people with OCD should be the overacheivers in this world. (Or, maybe they are?)

I hate saying "everything's going good" but, that is really the sum of things at the moment. It's crunch time.

A limits law of the universe:

patience ~ time/tasks. As tasks goes to infinity, patience approaches 0.


December Schedule

Here is my schedule for the first couple of weeks of December for those of you who need to plan around me:

T 6 last day of class
R 8 Final for Differential Equations 7:40 am
F 9 Final Presentations for Math History 7:40 am
Su 11 off work
M 12 Final for History of Native People 6:40 pm / off work
T 13 Final for Probabilities 10:00 am

R 15 Off work – Set up / Prep (all-hands welcome)

F 16 9:00 Breakfast meeting with helpers (you know who you are)
10:00 Hair (all family members welcome to join)
1:00 Seating
1:30 Ceremony begins
Pictures (just until the food is ready)
Early Dinner

S 17 Flight for Costa Rica Leaves midday
M 18 Pick up car, La Paz waterfall for lunch, Drive to La Fortuna for two days where we plan to hike Arenal Volcano, relax in hot mineral pools heated by the volcano, explore the hanging bridges in the rain forest canopy, class III river rafting, and if we have the energy, windsurfing lessons.
W 19 Drive to Manuel Antonio. Three days of relaxing by the beach/Hike nearby National Rain Forest Preserve if we feel like it.
Fri 23 Monteverde Cloud forest.
Sa 24 return car by 10 am. Explore San Jose city.
Su 25 Return flight arrives midday - Christmas

T 27 Return to work
Only 5 weeks to go!


A Good Job

This brilliant mathematician, Charles Something-Or-Other, innovated the math on electricity. So, Thomas Edison offered him a job at GE. He said he would take the job if instead of a set salary, GE would just pay whatever bills he sent them. And they agreed.

Imagine, just buy a house, send the bill.
Buy a Mercedes, send the bill.

Now that's the negotiating advantage of being brilliant.


Am I too old for this?

I am cutting out of class early to go trick-or-treating. I'm going as a princess this year. Last year, I was a courtesan... so I'm moving up in the universe.

I am not having any candy, though. I decided to be healthy leading up to the wedding, since I have enough to worry about without my body feeling crappy...

Good thing I love salad. What princess doesn't?


Square-ty Plants

I plant a plant every year on the anniversary of Dad's death, and every year, without fail, the plants quickly dies. This year is no exception. The leaves on the rose Evan and I put in just over a month ago are already turning brown. Irony?

Maybe I should just plant perennials.



Yesterday's comic was so funny, that I'm providing you with a link.



I have started a new daily ritual. Instead of "relaxing" while I drink my morning coffee, I've been doing a logic puzzle. Afterward, when I tackle my homework, my mind seems to be more alert and functional. My recent favorite is a new kind of puzzle called Sudoku. Try it and you'll be hooked. ASU also has a puzzle of the week which is pretty fun.

If you want to be a millionaire, just solve a Millennium Problem. There are 7 one-million dollar prizes available.

Another all time favorite learning game is TextTwist.

Have fun!


Two to much too coincidental

So, I had two math classes today on two totally unrelated fields/topics with two very different teachers, who within 20 minutes of each other randomly went off onto their own storytelling tangent and completely coincidentally told exactly the same story.

The story was interesting, but so was the fact that Math professors must not have too many interesting stories to tell. They're plagerizing each other's best stuff.

So the story goes, that this kid (true story) is some kind of amazing genius, but gets himself into a social situation so he has to be in a duel. He knows he's going to lose, so he spends all night writing down all of his genius Math stuff, gives it to his friend to give to Gauss, who he thinks might be smart enough to understand it. Then he dies the next day in his early twenties. The stuff he wrote down is an entire field of Mathematics (ha ha - Field theory.) And he's one of the most famous dudes in Math. (He wrote down a bunch of other stuff, apparently that gets him noted, at least today, in more than one discipline as a father of the stuff.

Someone in my class cracked that by using his last night to record his discoveries, he studied for the wrong exam.

Speaking of exams, can you hear the deep sigh of momentary relief?


Math-ter of my Domain.

I mailed our wedding invites yesterday. It felt like I was doing something momentous that I should take a cheesy picture of me slipping them through the mail slot. Until I realized that I forgot to put on the pretty return address stickers I bought. Oh well. We have the lease for a year. I'll still get to use them.

If you don't see an invitation soon, you're probably not invited. Don't take it personally. We're only inviting 24 people. Everyone else just gets an announcement. Call me if you want to come and weren't invited and maybe you can persuade me. (Maybe it was an honest mistake that I didn't think you would want to come or want to make you feel obligated. But keep in mind, it's a really small event in a really small venue. -- However, there were three people I would've invited if I had addresses for them.)

We're well along with the wedding stuff. We have our caterer, attire, flowers, rental equipment, vendors, invites, decorations, celebrant, honeymoon reservations, and rings. We still have to sew up the details on music, alterations, replacing lost passports, and those kinds of last minute things. Otherwise, it came together pretty easily.

School is going really splendedly. I love having to coordinate this many things in my brain. I have a lot going on.

If you are in my DQ class, we're having a open invitation study session on Sunday 2pm in the Nobel Library to prep for Exam II.

My Math History teacher said that early philosophers named the math theories and formulas so that you could swear at them in particular instead of just cursing the entire subject. Pretty clever idea, I think....

We're just going on and on and on about the baffling properties of the Fibbinacci numbers. Very weird stuff happens. The relationship is like this: F = 1 + 1/F. Isn't that mysterious? It also has a lot to do with constructing pentagrams. Maybe that's why some people associate science and witchcraft (paganism.)

I also learned that the Pythagorean Society (secret society symbol: pentagram) collectively murdered a guy for revealing that square root of two was irrational. It gives a new meaning to the cut-throat culture of academia.


Typing Math Stuff in Word

I don't know how I never figured this out before, but you can type in symbolic math notation in Word (and I use an older version.) I've always wanted to type nice fractions that actually stack on top. Now I can and so can you. Here's how you do it:

Go to "Insert" from the pull-downs and select "object," then from the "create new" menu, "Microsoft Equation Editor 3.0." From there, you will get a massive menu of options that is not to hard to figure out. There are shortcuts (I kept accidentally making an integral.) To get the object to act like any other character in your text, right click on it and select "format object" and under the tab "position," uncheck the box marked "float over text."

It takes a while to get used to but make very beautiful notes or typed homework assignments.


I Heart Los Angeles

So, for the first time in history, I celebrated Labor Day NOT at work. We found out on Thursday that we both had the three day weekend off... so we wisked ourselves off to Los Angeles. We stayed in a very nice hotel. We met the bf's family for dinner - take out from my fave place there, ZanKou. It's middle eastern food. Yum.

On Sunday we woke up super early and had a big day. Farmer's Market, Breakfast at a Hollywood Blvd cafe, book collecting at some specialty shops, Melrose for some fashionable clothes for me - hit a flea market for more. Off to the beach, lunch in Santa Monica. To the hotel to rest a bit... then to a play with a few recognizable stars leading (We saw "Dead End" at the Almanson Theatre) and walked around the area. We ate pizza for dinner in our hotel room and then caught up with the bf's family again - they also had a big day at Magic Mountain.

Monday we lounged around, went out to eat and then went to the largest music store in the West to get some great finds (I got a collection of Django Reinhardt and we discovered an experimental group called Muslim Gause... check it out if you can find it. The CD we got is called "Sufiq" and it is amazing.) We had a private screening of some film school reels and some extra home footage that was very fun to see for the first time. And then, sadly, it was time for the drive home.

It was Europe-league fun.


Summer's Over

Last night - at roughly 9pm, I took off my ill-fitting shoes and walked barefoot for a fateful five minutes. As a result, I have huge burn blisters all over the bottom of my feet. So, make no mistake, summer is still here in Arizona. I'm walking very carefully. Bad timing, since I have to walk nearly a mile to get from the parking lot to class (one way) and I guess I should be grateful that I'm not doing it barefeet in 5 feet of snow, but at least that wouldn't hurt as bad.

On the other hand, I've sampled all of my classes and I am very excited for the semester. It is going to be a real serious challenge, but I am relieved to think that it's nothing I can't handle! (And don't let me kid myself - I love to challenge myself.)



When I hear news that someone is pregnant, the question that pops into my head is "am I supposed to be happy for them, or sad?" That's bad, but not all pregnancies are greeted with equal anticipation and, technically, this could be bad news.

Likewise with marriage. Since I've been divorced, I know that all marriages are also not greeted with equal anticipation because some are made in such bad judgement at the time that when I hear the news, the question that pops into my head is "I wonder how long this one's going to last." It's sad, but the national average on marriage longevity and the "it's just not working out" mentality justify the thought. Most engaged couples are carried away by romance and have unrealistic expectations anyway.

Knowing this, it is still irritating when people ask me "are you still getting married?" I guess people either don't expect an engagement to last more than six weeks or expect me to come to my senses and decide that the lending my eight year relationship the cultural credibility of marriage is a bad idea afterall. And when someone who hasn't talked to me in a while asks, "are you still with that same boyfriend?" it reinforces our expectation for failure. What happened to our society? Why are we so cynical? Why is it a social anomaly that both our parents were never divorced? What happened to making an effort?


From Discovery to Invention to Discovery

My journey with math has traversed a richly textured landscape of emotion: from the highest highs of discovery to the lowest lows of invention… I struggle with the question: "if we make up math as we go to fit the conditional desirability of the result, is the coincidence of getting that result elegant?" Today, I feel like the roller coaster has swept me up into the mysterious beauty of the world of math once again. The answer today is "Of course the result is elegant! It reflects the beautiful world we are desperately trying to describe – and so, our approximation of this world lends beauty to the math world." It is not pure invention, in the sense that we define math to reflect the actual world we live in. I am reading "The Math Gene" by Keith Devlin. I am finding it to be inspiring, motivational, and recommend it as a simple read for anyone who doesn’t like or feels they don’t have an aptitude for math. It makes the relevancy of all the arbitrary notions of math apparent.

I like what Devlin says about the invention/discovery debate. He points out the fact that two people on different sides of the planet can come up with basically the same idea in much the same way at roughly the same time... If Shakespeare had not lived, no one else could have written "Hamlet." But, it is likely that eventually we would end up with the same mathematical ideas regardless of Euclid or any other "great inventor."

I wish I had read it prior to taking "Math Structures." Because, I didn’t know what I was supposed to be learning until the end of the class when I "figured out" what math was (and how it has nothing in particular to do with manipulating numbers and notation at all.)


Franz Kafka

"I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant."



I learned a cool word.

Kaizen: The Japanese term that means continuous improvement, taken from words 'Kai' means continuous and 'zen' means improvement.

The same japanese word Kaizen is pronounced as 'Gai San' in chinese meaning : The action to correct.

The principle is to apply kaizen in miniscule doses on something you've tried unsuccessfully to correct in big ways in the past.

I am feeling some noticable differences by doing this. Particularly with my eating. I just decided to only eat while seated at the kitchen table, and only foods that take my personal time (not the microwave) to prepare. So, I reduce my desire to snack unnecessarily, since I am fundamentally too lazy to prepare something if I'm not genuinely needing to eat.

I've added lots of little things since I started and it's pretty cool.

On the wedding front, I got all the decorations and flowers set up. There are only a few things left to do, but they are all pretty time consumingly major.... Food, renting stuff, registry, and announcements.

I have four weeks until school drops back in. I can't wait to flex my brain again. I've had a great time turning it into a sponge with novels and projects, but it likes the challenge.


Back to Work

I got my certification just in time to ruin my fine vacation I was having and I started back up Tuesday night. I've been spending time over at Jennifer's since Mark and Scott got back from LA so that we can all enjoy each other and I come home only to sleep. We've been firing up the grill every night and really relaxing.

I still would rather be in Utah, but at least I only missed a week of work, so figuring out the money won't be as complicated.

I found all of my accessories except my slip and jewelry for the Big Day. If any of you has a balldress slip (the kind that add volumn with tulle, not bone hoop) or jewelry I could borrow, let me know.


Wedding Planning

I don't want to clog my blog with wedding planning, but I do want to share it with you if you are interested, so I have created a wedding site.


You may RSVP online there, find information, and follow along on the planning if you like. I'm ordering my dress today, so it's starting to get exciting. I tried it on yesterday and it was an easy choice.

On a different note, I'm on administrative suspension from work because I accidentally let my certification expire, so I am temporarily doing a day schedule and have lots of free time. I could be off for 4 weeks. DJ's friend has agreed to take me to Utah for the family camp, so I will get a little vacation out of the deal.


My Wedding Rings

This is my ring. The brilliant sparkle makes it hard to capture the detail. It is around 100 years old and is a family heirloom. Mark gave it to me on our recent trip to Northern Arizona. We camped in the White Mountains, went to the Petrified Forest, walked Flagstaff, hopped rocks in Oak Creek, Sedona, and walked around Prescott, Jerome, and more. It was lovely.Posted by Hello

Getting My Rings

Right before getting my engagement ring we were watching the sunset that is almost peeking out in this picture. We walked down to the lakeside, and Mark was standing behind me with his arm around me while we watched the colors. It was a beautiful moment and we compared it to our relationship... it just gets better and better. He turned me to face him and he was holding the ring at his heart. He couldn't remember what he had planned to say, but no words were necessary. I put it on and we bear hugged while I, of course, cried big happy tears. It is symbolic and ironic that we went straight from that moment to the Petrified Forest. Posted by Hello



I'm out of school and enjoying the freetime. My sister got me interested in scrapbooking and the rest is history. I've been putting together the memories from our first Europe vacation to England and Wales. It's been a fun outlet for relaxing and troublesomely addictive.


The Moon and the Ants on Earth.

New out in theatres today is Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. I can recommend the book; I plan to reread it during my Summer Leisure. I hope to catch the movie this weekend - I heard that it ends with "Six times nine is fourty-two." (Which is silly. Unless you're in base 13. Then it's just remarkably cool, since it was not on purpose, to the happy surprise of the author.)

Someone in NASA has a crack-smoking crazy plan to beam sunlight off of Mars through radio waves onto Earth to fill our energy deficit. (So, I guess radio waves wouldn't contribute to planetary warming? - I'm not a trekkie, so I'm not sure.)

Today on NPR - Talk of the Nation "Science Friday" the topic was:
"Appearances of and references to mathematics in popular culture have been used creatively and effectively in mathematics courses to reduce math anxiety and motivate students.With math sneaking in to primetime television, can we learn to love fractions and geometry, even calculus? We’ll also talk about the clash of cultures between mathematicians and TV writers behind-the-scenes. "

The program was interesting enough to recommend and will be archived for your listening pleasure sometime in the very near future on the Science Friday Homepage.

The most interesting was a certain desert ant which can zig-zag all over the place looking for food but once it is located, it can turn face home and walk exactly the distance required... if you move the ant it will turn the way home would have been and walk exactly the distance it should have been able to walk, get there and get confused. This is a very complex multivariable type of Trigonomotry called "dead reckoning" which, NASA supposedly used to retrieve the crew of a space mission that crashed - but I can't find anything supporting that.


Puzzling Handshake

A fun puzzle: [hint- try making a chart - this is geared for 5th graders so it's fun not hard.]

A group of people met at a party. Each person shook hands with everyone else only once. Mr. Li shook hands with 3 times as many men as women. Mrs. Li shook hands with 4 times as many men as women. How many men and women were there at the party?

I hate shaking hands. Especially because it is such a socially masculine thing. If a woman shakes strong, people think she envies men or wants to overpower men or some such nonsense. But if she shakes weak, people think -typical girlie-girl- the poor thing barely has the strength to grip. So no matter what, you are regenerating a stereotype everytime a woman shakes hands. What's a girl to do?



Question: What does an insomniac agnostic dyslectic do late at night?
Answer: Lie awake wondering about the existence of dog

So finals are next week. I’m trying to stay calm but if there’s anything I’ve learned in my statistics class, it’s that I can predict with 95% confidence that I should fail to reject my hypothosis that I’ll have to retake analytical calculus. Even my sense of humor right now is pretty geek-tastic.

I am trying to postpone concern over non-school related pressing matters until a week from Monday when it will all be over. I am also trying to work in my best scholastic effort without murdering anyone. One really can’t critically think on this level all day long everyday for sixteen weeks. It’s just not healthy. So after studying for 5-6 hours, I went to the gym today and cuddled with Mark on the couch watching a documentary on the history of video games. [It was actually really cool. I had totally forgotten about Conseco.]



I wondered today in class if "Simpson's Rule" has anything to do with the Simpsons, so I looked it up and I found these gems... (for more, go to simpsonsmath.com)

Lisa, armed with a measuring tape, helps Bart play miniature golf.
Lisa: The basis of this game seems to be simple geometry. All you have to do is hit the ball … here.
[The ball is hit, gets bounced around, and goes into the hole.]
Bart: I can’t believe it. You’ve actually found a practical use for geometry!

Stark Raving Dad
Michael Jackson: Homer, this is Floyd. He’s an idiot savant – give him any two numbers and he can multiply them in his head, just like that.
Homer: OK, 5 times 9!
Floyd: 45.
Homer: Wow

Homer is taking his physical exam at the nuclear power plant.
Scientist: This can't be right. This man has 104% body fat! [turns to Homer] Hey, no eating in the tank!
Homer: [eating a chicken drumstick] Go to hell.


This seems ironic. Mind control uses a process called programming.

... and so does TV.

This is creepy, too. It's from dictionary.com:

To train to perform automatically in a desired way, as if programming a machine: programmed the children to use perfect table manners.
To prepare an instructional sequence for (material to be taught) in programmed instruction. (I.E. School)



I found out on the way home from school today that my friend Meraj had her baby girl two nights ago! Very early, so scary but exciting. It's her first.

As I finished my workout at the gym, the Sun Lakes Big Band was just finishing setting up for a special free event in the aerobics class room so I rolled up a exercise ball and watched until intermission... so cool. I was grinning from ear to ear! And I thought all the gym was good for was the equipment.


I Still Can't Believe It

My sister, brother and nephew are here. Ben is improving, but his situation really sucks. He's in for a lot and he still doesn't know he's lost his wife.

I have to go to court for the burglary, which means staying up for 30 hours straight before a test Wednesday.

Everything is chaotic.


I Can't Believe It

My mind is consummed with love and concern for Ben, a step-brother, who was in a car crash this week that killed his wife and left him hanging to life by a thread. His future is so delicate and full of painful transitions.

My house was broken into and sacked by a moron who broke everything he tried to steal because he was so high. He's in jail today. I had just spring cleaned the house, too.

On a lighter note, we went to Organ Stop Pizza - saw a fantastic show on the stage Wurlitzer Organ - pretty amazing.

My first attempts at running the hot/cold were thwarted. I tried to start out "something smells here, S - You should go looking for it." She replied, "My nose is stuffy and I can't smell a thing; I've been sick." Luckily Mark took over.

Now I feel a little sick so I'm going to bed while the boys go out to a movie.


One, Two, Test, and more Time Passes

I've realized that I mark time by the passage of exams. I took exam 2 of 3 in one of my classes today... which means a segue into the part of the term earmarked "final's prep." Of course, I'm estatic.

We celebrated Easter with Mark's family - wonderful. There is something innocent and beautiful about leading someone around for treasure with hot/cold. It is the tradition that transects all other traditions in their family - no holiday, birthday, or special occasion is complete without it.

Mark and I went for our first road trip in the new car over the weekend. We drove to Florence (asked ourselves why we went there, got a soda and turned around) and stopped off to hike a wildflower covered hill called "silly mtn." In one direction, no sign of man - just desert in bloom, and on the other, the cusp of the city peeking out of the underskirts of the highway.


The Scion Is In (the Carport)

So I picked up the Scion xB today. I am really excited. I realized that in my adult life, I have had a car that ran 18 months out of the 11 years. Now, we just have to get another one and we'll be farther than where we started when Mark's car died.

On another note, there should be some kind of cap on interest and lending profiteering. It's completely unethical and is a kind of preditory practice that strangles the poorer of us. I realize that 1/5 of my car cost is interest. This car will probably last 10 years MAX and in that time, 1/4 of my income will go to paying for it. So, five cents on every dollar I make will go toward the interest on this loan until it is paid off. That is almost $4 a day. I could sponsor a whole lot of orphans in developing countries just with my interest. How sad that I'm giving it to a multinational corporation's lending department instead.


Scion xB

This is the car we are going to buy tomorrow. Do you say Sky-on, Sigh-on, or Ski-on? They call it Euro styling and I call it the "milk truck." Posted by Hello

Now that I can post pictures...

This is my boyfriend, Mark. Posted by Hello


A New, New Car?

We're trying to figure out whether to finance a new car or a used car. Both have draw backs and both are undesired options because we like to save up before we buy something instead of paying more than an item is worth as a penalty. I also think it says you can't afford it if you can't save for it. The sad fact is, we decided to save for a new car 30 minutes before the old one died so suddenly. Too bad a car doesn't give much warning.

Buying a car is also a very annoying process. We keep waiting for the sales person to jump on the rental car as we drive away. Also, it is not a good idea to get a free sportscar upgrade on your rental car when you are shopping for a car because all those features and options are nice. You can actually see the moon through a moonroof facing any direction. No kidding.


Blowing a Gasket

The gasket blew on the old pathetic car. If we didn't carpool and rely heavily on it for everything it totally wouldn't be a big deal. I missed class today and we will have to rent a car tomorrow until we can figure something out. What a mess. What a crappy day.


You always get the results you look for.

  • The light is always red when you are late for work.
  • The media is always biased opposite your strongly held view.
  • The radio only plays sad love songs after a break up.
  • Everyone seems pregnant when you want and can't have kids.

These are coincidences that occur when the conditions of perception are present, but don't apply in general.

RULE OF MATH: Certain perceived conditions (assumptions) allow predictable coincidences. That is, you see what you're looking at. Your observations (coincidental though they may be) are not random because your perceptions (which are their conditions) are not random.

Example from above: The conditions are:

  • You're late for work.

The resulting coincidence?

  • Your awareness of red traffic lights is heightened, so it seems like you must stop at more than usual.

Example from math: The conditions are:

  • real numbers exist (the numbers we use everyday)
  • that they have order (i.e. ...1 <>

The resulting coincidence? You can use addition and multiplication and get the same predictable answers each time you ask the same question. So Tom will get the same answer to 2 + 3 as Jan does everytime.

But subtraction and division require more conditions... because of "special cases" such as not being able to divide by zero. So beyond the limits of the conditions, the coincidences do not occur. (i.e. you don't notice as many red lights when you are on a relaxing drive.)

We have to assume conditions. If you assume nothing, the world is chaos. It is pragmatic to assume things (in math) and our brains automatically do this (by biological design) in order to operate efficiently. However, when the framework of our very existence is fraught with assumptions that are limited but applied universally, mistakes are inevitable.

RULE OF MATH: Conditional coincidence is not ultimate truth.

So, acknowledge that by assuming your views, you will find what you are looking for because you are only looking where you can find it, not because your view is ultimate truth.


My Convertible

I'm a basically rational person. I've made some unreasonable choices. The most expensive was buying an Alfa Romeo thinking I could restore it with very little mechanical experience whatsoever. It's a beautiful waste of money and in the year I've been carpooling while it collects dust and money I fantasize about driving it, wind through my hair, sun in my eyes.

Maybe having a dream is better than having convenience.