Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Shakespearean Festival

Yay! We're going to the Fest! At least I'm pretty sure we are.

Jen emailed yesterday with the total cost estimates and the proposed dates: July 22-24. I, thinking that this would be a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, immediately responded to her email and said that I was in for sure.

Then I realized two problems.

First, my mom and dad just got back from their two-year-long sojourn in France, and I knew that Mom had been thinking about going to the Shakesperean Festival, maybe as just a girl party. So I felt I ought to call her and find out if she was still planning on that and whether she'd be offended at all if I decided to go with Emily, Jen & Co. She had no objections, and in fact sounded rather excited about the whole thing. So that was taken care of.

But then, I looked at my calendar and realized that the 22-24 are a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, which would mean that I'd have to take two days off of work that week. My manager already seems to think that she can't afford to have me leave for three days two weeks later for my family reunion (which, I zealously assure you, she can). So how am I supposed to get two more days off? Well, two possible solutions came to mind. 1) Tell her that this is very important to me and that if I can't have those days off that I'll be leaving on the 21st. 2) Tell her that I can work until September 3rd (two weeks longer than my current plans, in which I'll be leaving August 20th). Either way, there are still some problems. With solution 1, I end up throwing away a good month or more of possible work, when I could be "making bank", as the saying goes, and saving for grad school this fall. With solution 2, I have to find a place to live down here for another two weeks after my contract has expired.

Solution 3 came to me this afternoon, after talking to Paul about the dilemma. That solution? Lie. Call in sick on Thursday morning and don't come back until Monday. Problem: well, "disguise of every sort is my abhorrence," as Darcy would put it.

But, I'm going, in any case. I don't know how. But I will be going. I'll talk to Adrielle (manager) and see what she says, and then I'll work on a solution once I've heard what she has to say about the matter.

In any case, though, if anyone out there knows of a place I could stay for little to no rent for two to three weeks from August 20th to September 3rd or 10th, in the Provo or Salt Lake areas ... PLEASE let me know!

Monday, June 28, 2004

My First (Almost) Traffic Ticket

I forgot to mention my little adventure yesterday evening. Dad and I drove down here together and then he went back this morning with the car. We used Grandpa Wilkins's car, since Bessie hasn't been feeling too well lately (she's been overheating).

Well, I got off at the Center Street exit in Provo, planning to take Center east for a ways until it was time to turn north again. There were several cops around, I noticed, and I kept wondering why, but didn't really bother with it much. And then one of them started flashing his lights at me, and I had to pull over. I had been driving about 25 mph down Center -- where the speed limit is a ludicrous 15 mph. The officer asked for my driver's license, registration, and insurance. I gave him my license while Dad looked around and finally found the registration. He kept looking for the insurance while the officer went back to his patrol car (I assume to look up my record ... ?). When the officer came back, Dad had found the most recent insurance, which had expired in January of this year. Doesn't look too good, that. I explained to the officer that we were using my grandfather's car, so we weren't sure where everything was. He was really very nice. He asked if Grandpa had been paying insurance on the car, and we said we couldn't imagine that he wasn't. He then urged us to get the stuff together so that it was easier to find in future, and admonished me to drive slower on Center Street. "There are a lot of people, especially from the clubs, that will just walk right out in front of you, and that's much more expensive than a ticket," he informed me. I have to admit that he was right, but I'm sure not happy about it. He let me go with just a warning.

But I would have been really angry if he'd given me a ticket for driving 25 mph!

Alyce Wilkins at Halloween. She's dressed up to be a pumpkin, which you can't really see in this picture. The hat is also covering most of her hair, but just take my word for it that's there's a lot under there. And she looks a little more chubby in this picture than she really is. In fact, the last time she was at the doctor, she'd been sick all weekend, and she weighed in at the fourth percentile for her weight range! She's a tiny thing.

It's been a long, long time ...

I know, it seems like it's been weeks since I wrote in this blog. I went to SLC and then to IF over the weekend, to welcome my Mom and Dad back after their 2-year sojourn in southern France. No, they weren't on a mission, just a nice little 2-year hiatus from their mundane life in Idaho. Dad was pretty sad to come home, actually. Right after he got off the plane, I asked him how he was feeling, mainly wondering if he was tired. He replied, "Homesick."

I also got to see my niece quite a bit. She the newest installment in our ever-growing family. She'll be a year old on August 6. She's an absolute doll! She's got beautiful brown eyes and dark brown hair -- lots of it! And she's very pleasant. She's a happy child, and it's very easy to get her to smile and laugh. Oddly enough, the only thing she really screams about is food. She screams all during her feeding time, and also when anyone around her is eating something and she thinks she wants some. It was fun to see her again, though, as it's been quite a while.

And I'm almost finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It's been a really good refresher, and I've gained a whole new appreciation for Ron again. He's such a great character, and I think they've weakened him significantly in the movies. But, much more on that topic, and I'll have to post to the HPTC instead!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Ant and the Grasshopper

OK, I got this on email from my brother, and it was so great, I just had to share it.


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Moral of the story: Be responsible for yourself!

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Tom Daschle & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share."
Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

Moral of the story: Vote

Moving ...

We created a new blog today, for the Harry Potter Training Center. So my thoughts about HP are now posted to there. Check it out.

So that means that now I'm mostly going to be using this blog for non-HP-related items. My personal life, in other words. (No, not in that sense! I don't have a personal life in that sense. Who do you people think I am?) Anyway, that also means that I won't be writing much on here for the time being, since most items in my life are currently HP-related. But I might just use this for what I had originally intended and post some info about Peirce up here, especially now that I can use graphics. So watch for that in the future. And in the meantime, check out the HPTC.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Quest Continues!

*triumphant grin* I have figured it out. The Harry Potter Lexicon. It's the answer to all my personal HP needs. There I can find out everything and anything I ever wanted to know about the HP books, but it's still canon (unlike fanfic), so I don't get annoyed about the characterizations or anything. Everything is highly organized and in-depth, which is kind of nice. Seeing things in that way makes me see patterns I never noticed before, just from reading the books. And I really enjoy the articles, too. They are more annoying than anything else, just because they are based on people's opinions (like fanfic), but somehow it's easier for me to deal with in a non-fiction form. It's clearer to me that they are just speculations and that anything might be completely wrong, and I'm still perfectly welcome to my own opinion.

So, in case you haven't tried it out yet, do so. Here's the link again ... The Harry Potter Lexicon. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I have also become more and more annoyed lately at the lame attempts that abound on the internet to try and characterize people as personalities from a book. Some are admittedly better than others, but most of them are just wrong. For example, I'm constantly told by these quizzes that I am most like Hermione Granger. But that's really just not true. I'm actually Ron Weasley. I like to read and enjoy school, though, so these quizzes always automatically think that I'm like Hermione. But the way that I deal with life is entirely unlike Hermione, and I rather tend to deal with things more like Ron would.

Much of this is based on my understanding of Peirce and the Peircean paradigm for character roles in narrative. But most other people don't understand these roles, and so they think that the outward signs are the most telling. Thus, since I like school, I am like Hermione. If I liked Quidditch, I would be like Harry. And if I liked humor and joking, I would be like the Weasley twins. But this is completely incorrect -- the underlying motivations are more telling of a person's character. It's not whether I like jokes and humor (I love them), but why I use jokes and humor: how they help me to deal with life and how they make me feel.

All of this very much makes me want to write my own quiz for these things. However, before I do, I'd need to solidify my observations about who's who, or rather who's what, in the HP series. The only ones I know for absolutely certain are Harry and Dumbledore. The rest I'm a little unsure about, even though I sound so positive that my personality is the same as Ron's. (Which is rather similar to Lupin's, actually.)

Anyway, keep a lookout in the future, and I may just write some more of my thoughts about character types in HP.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

It's over, all over ...

Well, I finished HP&OotP today, and -- as is always the case with wonderful literature for me -- I am now in depression because some of my good friends are gone for while longer. I read books 3-5 in quick succession -- probably quicker than I've ever read them before -- and now I miss Harry. And it's a whole year or more until the next installment comes out.

I didn't read books 1 and 2 this time around, though, so I may have to read those again now. Especially after OotP, which has some very interesting implications and tie-ins with the rest of the books.

I'm actually considering reading some fanfic to help me cope. But I don't know how much good that will actually do. Fanfic usually tends to disappoint me and make me forget the real characters that I fell in love with. I often find that the writers of fanfic don't understand the characters quite right, or at least not how I understand them, and so their stories annoy me. And I can't write the fanfic myself, to suit my own understanding of them, because great literary characters are like real people to me -- I could no sooner make up stories about them as I could plan the life of my best friends and roommates. I can't live their lives for them: they are discrete entities from myself.

Anyway, I might try some out anyway, perhaps one or two from my good friends, just to see how they understand Harry & Co.

And in the meantime, I guess I'll just have to pine away for them all, while writing to my sister and reading the books over again and watching the movies and planning the HPTC (Harry Potter Training Center).

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Yay! My internet wouldn't connect for the longest time, so I couldn't post anything for ages, it seems like. But it's currently working. I just hope it remains so for most of the summer now.

I'm currently in the throes of a Harry Potter obsession, all starting this time with the release of the third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It wasn't as good as I'd have hoped, but then I may have been talking myself up for that. I have issues with Alfonso Cuaron, the director, and PoA is my favorite book, so I was really worried that they were going to slaughter it.

After seeing it, though, I then had to go back and read the book again. And that meant, of course, that I had to read GoF again, which in turn meant that I had to read OotP again. I'm now a little way over halfway done with OotP. It's the first time I've re-read it since it came out last summer. It's been good. Lots of things I'd forgotten about, so it's good to get back to it again.

I've been asking my friend Emily all my big questions about HP, and I'm always surprised at just how much she knows. Like Professor Lupin's middle name. (Do you know?) It's great to know I always have people I can talk to about HP, and to know what wonderful resources they are for any HP trivia I might want to know about. I think I may have finally gotten to the point that I could contend with some people in the HP trivia game. But probably not with Emily, Lisa, Laura, or Jen, still.

Other than that, I'm still working on getting things ready for grad school at Lancaster. Mainly money things. I really need to figure out about my Stafford Loan by the end of the week, but I'm having a hard time getting hold of the financial aid lady out there.

For now, I guess I'll just have to say toodle-oo, and leave you with a few of my new-found favorite Harry Potter sites. -- JKR's official personal website, and yes, she really does write the things that go on there. Fun.

The Harry Potter Lexicon -- information on just about anything to do with HP, but not as much as I'd wish about Lupin ... -- this is fan art by a gal named Marta who hangs out on the SugarQuill quite a bit too; I really like some of her stuff, but she also does quite a few scenes from fanfic that I'm unfamiliar with; bit R/Her, apparently