July 25, 2005

I Hate My Glasses

Call me vain, but I have always hated my glasses. And this weekend, I discovered that it's perhaps not solely about vanity, after all.

On Friday, I noticed that my eye had been bothering me for quite some time. Now, I think this was a couple days, but as I told the eye doctor, the days all kind of run together in my world. Working too much will do that to you. For the sake of this entry, we'll say that I started noticing it a lot on Thursday. I only work 6 hours on Fridays, so after the four hours at my morning job and before the two hours at my night job, I went home and watched some TV while eating lunch. It suddenly became very clear to me that my eye was still bothering me even though I had taken out my contacts. Everytime the TV flashed, I had to close my eye because it hurt.

So I called the eye doctor, and he got me in that afternoon, and he examined my eye with bunches of different colored lights that I'd never seen him use before. Then he took down the model of the eye.

Now, I don't know about you, but anytime any kind of doctor takes down a plastic model and sets it on his/her desk, I start to panic. In my experience, this is never a good sign.

Fortunately, it was not that serious. I have a scratched cornea. It's a pretty minor scratch, but I have to put in eye drops four times a day and I can't wear my contacts for a week. One whole week!

I got contacts in the tenth grade when I began flat out refusing to wear my glasses unless I was driving. I always thought I looked much prettier without glasses, which is true, so I never really noticed the other benefits that contacts bring me. I mean, I knew that I didn't have to think about them fogging up when I went inside. And I knew that I didn't have to have anything pinching my nose or falling down my face. I knew it, but I didn't know it.

That's why this weekend came as quite a shock to me. My nose feels all pinched. Then, I have to hold the menu at restaurants up in front of my face because I can't see it without tilting my head far down. Simply moving my eyes doesn't work because I can't see where there isn't a lens. Same with merging. I have to move my whole head. And then on Saturday, that really horribly humid evening, after I took my sister home, I got out of the car and the glasses fogged and wouldn't clear so I had to walk to my apartment completely blind in the dark. Also, I keep running into things because my depth perception is completely off. My grocery shopping experience last night? I don't celebrate it. I ran over my toe with the cart. And now while I'm typing, I can't look at my hands and my screen at the same time when I'm trying to put my fingers back on the keyboard.

I add boooo to the total score of glasses. Boooo.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:53 AM | Comments (13)

July 21, 2005

25 Things I Wish the World Would Figure Out

1) It is not the size of your body that will make you happiest one day. It is the size of your confidence, wit, kindness, and generosity that will bring you happiness in your life.

2) Violence doesn't solve a single problem. It escalates all problems to the point of killing. This is what wars are all about: The fact that we can't get along and haven't been able to for a really long time, so we decided to just fight people rather than face them.

3) Buying things will not bring you fulfillment. This is the lie they sold you to make you beg for GI Joe and My Little Pony when you were a child. It's time to grow up now.

4) It is not your parents' fault you wound up the way you are. It is your own fault.

5) There are worse things than ending up old and alone with only a cat for company. For instance, you could end up old and alone with only a bastard for company.

6) Marriage, while pleasant, will not solve your personality problems.

7) People die, and it hurts deeply, and it's OK to take a good long time to feel badly about it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is clearly a fascist.

8) Anne Lamott says to treat yourself like a small, untrained puppy, and I think this is a good suggestion as well. You don't drop kick a puppy (unless you are evil) when it does something wrong. You shouldn't be so hard on yourself, either. (Unless, of course, you do drop kick puppies. Then you should also drop kick yourself while you're at it.)

9) Few people end up where they thought they would in life. Make the best of this embarrassing situation.

10) When you do something stupid, laugh.

11) Mac and Cheese is God's gift to mankind. Don't be afraid to make it for dinner on a regular basis.

12) Every single day is bonus footage. There's no guarentee that it will be there or that there will be as much of it as you'd like, but you may as well enjoy it while you've got it.

13) Ten is greater than one even if one is threatening ten with some sort of weapon. Stop being so afraid of the militant few and start helping the innocent many.

14) All having lots of money means is that you'll have more worthless green paper to burn when the economy crashes.

15) Everybody looks stupid when they dance. Especially people in music videos if you think about it long enough. They still dance, though, don't they?

16) Most of us are doing 60 in a 55 on the highway of life. We're breaking the rules, but only the small ones. Stop feeling so guilty about everything. (Unless you drop kick puppies. Then you should feel incredibly guilty.)

17) God is not as mean as you think He is.

18) Working in absolutes can turn you into an absolute ass.

19) If you need an excuse (like New Year's) to change something, then you're probably not really ready to change it.

20) Everybody has problems. Blowing up things and innocent people won't make yours go away.

21) At some point, life stops being about what you're going to be and starts being about what you are. So the question becomes "Is this who you're going to be for the rest of your life? Really?"

22) It's not just that your parents couldn't understand you; it's that no one can understand you. Then again, you can't understand anyone else, either. This is because we all look at things differently. There's no guarentee that what I call green is the same color when you look at it. It doesn't really matter though, because we all agree that something is green. Understanding is not as important as acceptance and compromise.

23) People come and go. Let them.

24) It's OK to very occasionally cut someone out of your social schedule/life when they are really only hurting you needlessly on a regular and long-term basis.

25) Love abundantly.

Posted by LoWriter at 09:55 AM | Comments (14)

July 18, 2005

Damn You, J.K. Rowling, and Damn the Fantastic Four

*Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that while spoilers may not be dangerous to your health, this article does contain them.

I repeat: This article contains spoilers. Especially those of the "did another character die" variety. Stop reading now if you don't want to hear about it in great detail. I am going to reveal major plot points. If you haven't read it but plan to, you will not want to read this.

Still reading?

Ok, then. Yes, another character did die. And this is one of the reasons for my very angry title. To begin with, I knew this approximately 50 pages in because I got bored. Now, when I get stuck when I'm reading something, I turn to the back of the book, pick a right hand side page that is relatively far from the end, and read a line or two from the middle of the page. I don't know why this is so, but I've found that if something major is going to happen in the plot, it tends to happen on the left-hand pages towards the top. Characters are usually in the middle of a daring and dangerous situation on the right hand side of the page. And this method has not failed me since high school when I figured it out. I haven't had a book ruined for me by doing this since I was about 16. Well, I did this, and the first line I came across gave me the name of the character who dies. (*Warning* I am going to reveal the name of the person who died now.) Rowling kills off Dumbledore! So then, I spent the whole rest of the book waiting for it to happen.

I've got to say that I was not really that surprised by who did it. I have never really liked Snape. I thought it would be Malfoy, but I wasn't surprised that it was Snape.

At first, I thought that he probably screwed up Harry's Occlumency lessons during the last book on purpose, too. Part of me wants to believe that when Dumbledore said his name, he was telling Snape to kill him so that Malfoy wouldn't so that Malfoy might have a chance to change sides. I don't know. Another part of me hates Snape with the fire of a thousand suns and hates J.K. Rowling for beating the crap out of Harry.

Now, granted, the first rule of writing is that if you like a character, you have to give that character hell. That character has to go through more than any of the other characters in order to be interesting. Otherwise, you're like an over-protective parent: The character never develops because the character never has to struggle.

That said, Dumbledore was one of my favorite characters, and now Harry doesn't have anyone except Ron and Hermoine, who, I would like to point out, would never have agreed to leave school to help Harry as easily as she did. Additionally, I think we all knew that Dumbledore was going to die at some point, but I always envisioned it as coming partway through Book 7.

Also, Harry is basically recovered from his grief over Sirius after the four weeks before the beginning of the book, which is ridiculous. His confidence would be very shaken, at the very least.

All in all, I read it in less than 48 hours because it was Harry Potter, and I've been waiting for it for two years. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's not as good as the other books. I feel like she sacrificed the character developement of everyone else in order to work on Voldemort's character. Which was useful, but not neccessarily exciting.

My predictions for upcoming books:
--Snape will end up being a "Gollum" figure for the story. Either that, or he will really have been working for Dumbledore, even in killing him. Whatever the case, he will be one of the most important characters for the conclusion of the war between good and evil.
--Hermoine will marry Ron, and Harry will marry Ginny.
--Harry will die some sort of metaphorical death and will lose all the powers Voldemort gave him. (Pheonix metaphors, anyone?)
--Harry will not be able to be an auror due to the fact that he left school, so he will play professional quidditch.
--Neville will die but only after showing greatness.
--Percy will become a Death Eater.
--Malfoy will turn traitor to the dark side and help the Order of the Pheonix.
--One of the Weasleys will die.

That's all I've got for now. I'm sure I'll come up with more.

Additionally, I add "booo" to the Fantastic Four's total score. Seriously, guys, the movie blows.

Posted by LoWriter at 09:12 AM | Comments (6)

July 15, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

(*Warning*: Here Be Spoilers. Perhaps. On the other hand, how much can I really spoil? Is there still someone on the planet who doesn't know how this movie ends?)

Well, kids, I swore I'd never do it again. I swore I would never go to another midnight showing after the third Harry Potter movie gave us such great lines as "Yes, oh, yes, Harry. I knew your mother and caused me to sit with a roomful of people who still lived in their mothers' basements.

Moreover, I have always secretly hated Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and all I remember about the book by the same name as this summer's film is that I couldn't get through it in the third grade because it vaguely depressed me and creeped me out (as did Chocolate Fever).

So, when I say that I not only went to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but also enjoyed the movie, I want you to completely understand what I'm saying: This movie is fantastic.

It has much of the same stuff as the original (even though this is not technically a remake, I will henceforth refer to the 1970s version as "the original"), only in technicolor comparatively. The colors are phenomenal and the special effects are amazing. The characters are basically the same, only updated a little for modern times (for instance, Mike TV plays violent video games rather than watching violent TV shows), but Johnny Depp is far more excellent than the original Willie Wonka (and I know this qualifies as sacrilege for some of you). I watched him on Leno, and he said he based his "voice" on the voices of childhood TV hosts like Mr. Rogers, etc, which was great.

And I'll be perfectly honest; the only reason I went was to spend a few hours looking at (even though he's creepy in this film) and listening to Johnny Depp. He's great to listen to, especially on Leno the other night. He's witty and funny, but he's also quiet and reserved. And unlike certain other (Tom Cruise) people we could mention (and hate), he's actually got a functioning brain in his head. Wonka might not, but Depp does. Which makes his off-the-wall character even funnier.

I was not disappointed. The dialogue is amazing. There are so many funny lines that I pretty much laughed myself to tears in the middle. Also, Charlie is played by the cute little kid who played Peter in Finding Neverland, which definitely helped the show along. If you're a purist, you may be disappointed in the Oompa-Loompas; they're very different from the originals. If, however, the original Oompa-Loompas creeped you out as much as they did me, then you're in luck. They're much better in this movie than in the original. The songs are also quite different, but I definitely laughed a lot. Also, the last twenty minutes is comletely different than the original, but I always hated the last twenty minutes of the original the most. All good changes, in my opinion.

On the whole, the movie looks rather like a psychodelic trip through Candy Land, which just makes the film more interesting.

The only thing I was dissapointed in was that they used computer f-ing generated cartoon-esque graphics to make Violet blow up into a blueberry. From there to the end of the movie, she looks like a cartoon, and I have mentioned how much I hate that before. However, I do think it bears mentioning AGAIN how much I hate computer generated graphics. If I wanted to watch a cartoon, I would go watch a cartoon. That and sometimes you can't make out what the Oompa-Loompas are singing. Otherwise, I have no complaints.

Favorite line from the movie? "Good morning, Starshine... the earth says hello." ~Willie Wonka.

PS, when the credits roll, there is no more movie. Unless they add something between now and when you see it.

On the whole, I give this film an electric can opener on a scale of cooking utensils with the flour sifter being the lowest score and the electric can opener being the highest. Go see it right now. Check it out before the Harry Potter release parties tonight. I mean it. Quit reading this.

Why are you still here when you could be watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at this very minute?

Posted by LoWriter at 07:59 AM | Comments (5)

July 13, 2005


I would like to extend my sympathy to the family and friends of Rachael Grudem. While I did not know her personally, she touched the lives of many of my friends, and I can see that she was a wonderful person who will be greatly missed. You are all in my prayers. I am very sorry for your loss.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005

The Best Mini-Vacation Yet

So me and a group of my girlfriends have been doing a lot of running around this year, beginning with mini-vacations. These are weekend get-a-ways to someplace not here. They have to be close enough that we can still go to work on both Friday and Monay, and that's about the only requirement. We were supposed to do one a month, but we've all done some bailing out, and there have been four this year so far, one of which I skipped. We've done Turtle Lake, St. Cloud, Minot (which I skipped out on), and this weekend, we went to Morris.

Now, Morris is in NW MN and has a small branch of the U of M. My friend D's dad lives there with his girlfriend, both of whom are terriffic. Also, there is a hugimafied lake (Minnewaska) about 30 minutes from their house. So this weekend was fishing weekend.

The first night we got there, Morris was having a street dance because they were having "Prarie Pioneer Days." It cost money, so we didn't go, but we did take a tour of the town, which was pretty fun.

The next day, we went fishing for sunnies, which was great fun especially because I didn't have to a) bait my hook or b) take the fish off the hook. D's dad and grandpa took us out in two boats and took care of the grossness for us. It was also fun because we all popped a beer at about 10 AM, which was funny. (It's already dark under the boat!) I have not been fishing since I was about 16, and I sucked for most of the weekend, but I did catch a big ass sunnie (possibly the biggest sunnie of the weekend? It was not the biggest fish because my friend Mel caught a bass, which was also pretty exciting). We tried to fish for walleye a little, too, but they weren't biting at all.

After the first day of fishing, we went to D's grandparents' house, and they fried up the fish. They were fantastic. I haven't had fried freshly caught fish in so long and I had never eaten sunnies before. And the breading they used was amazing. Heaven serves food like that. There was plenty of it, too. The limit on sunnies is 20 per person, and we didn't come close to our limit, but there was plenty of fish. Also, her grandma made homemade strawberry rhubarb pie. Mmmm.

Then we went back to D's and rode 4-wheelers. I didn't do too much of this because that was the first time I'd ever driven a 4-wheeter, and I was pretty convinced that I was going to die at certain points, especially while we were driving through the woods. But it was fun, and if we go back, I'll try it again and do better.

We had a bonfire and made smores and then some fireworks started going off in town, so we watched them from the side of the little lake in D's backyard. Then we went off to bed and got up early the next day for more fishing. D's dad and grandpa cleaned up the fish and sent them home with us, so we can have a fish fry again.

I also got burned, but just in spots. I look like a zebra. While sunscreening it up, I missed some spots next to my tank top and in those got really burnt. Also, the dog ran away right before we were trying to leave, so we had to spend about half an hour finding her, but that was OK too because she turned up. We were all pretty worried there for a little while, but everything worked out fine.

All in all, I would say this was the best mini-vacation we've had all year. There is nothing quite as relaxing as sitting in a boat under the sun with the breeze cooling you off while waiting for the fish to bite.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:08 AM | Comments (7)

July 07, 2005


I pray for the day when we can get through our daily lives without worrying about being senselessly killed by selfish ego-maniacs who think they're powerful because they carry guns and explosives. I wish that we, as a planet, could move past our adolescence and into adulthood. I dream that one day we will be able to see past both our angst and our greed and begin to live with each other--our pasts, our mistakes, our hopes, and our futures.

For those of you who do not know (which I doubt is possible), several explosions occurred today on the London underground. Total numbers of dead and wounded are not yet known. A group of terrorists has taken credit. The title of this entry links to the CNN.com news story.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005

June Book List

Here is the book list:

The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich: This book was part of my quest to read more "literature" this month. In true form, it was dark and depressing, but it had moments of beauty, and I enjoyed parts of it because it was about NW MN Native Americans. It is largely about the legend of "The Antelope Wife," but it is also the story of a girl trying to discover what her name means. Basically, it's about identity, which I can enjoy. It made me decide to rename myself.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: This has definitely become my "candy reading." I read this right before bed in order to convince myself that going to bed doesn't suck so much. This is a collection of short Sherlock Holmes stories. This means that they are full of mystery. If you can get beyond the outdated language (and the lack of real violence that we seem to crave today), you will enjoy these a great deal. They have all the mystery and danger but without the "getting shot at in the streets" of Law and Order. Another interesting fact is that I think this is the book that contains the single time Sherlock ever utters the phrase "elementary." And for the record, he does not follow it with "my dear Watson." So much for pop culture mythology.

Four Souls by Louise Erdrich: This is another story about Native Americans. The main character tries to get revenge on another of the main characters by taking back her land from him (he stole it). It doesn't work out quite the way she'd planned. I would say that the most powerful scene comes near the end when Four Souls is back with her people, and her best friend tells her that she should be sorry (not for revenge, but for the way she's treated her children, etc.). This powerful scene also deals with names and identity. I recommend it, but again, this is "literature."

Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry: This is typical Dave Barry stuff. It's a messed up history of the U.S. in which he changes many of the details, but it's funny because it sounds like a high school history paper. All in all, I enjoyed it--especially his take on Nixon.

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt: This is a juevenile lit book, but I enjoyed it. It's about a young boy growing up during the Civil War. It tells about how his life is changed and how the lives of those around him are changed by the Civil War. It shows him having to grow up quickly in order to take care of his parents. On the whole, it's a quality book. I cried. I'll admit it.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick: This was an OK science fiction book. It's a pretty disturbing take on the future of Earth, as well as the role of androids in it. It was extremely well written. The only reason I call it "OK" is that I get a little worn out with things that dipict the future negatively, which is what most sci fi does. On the whole, it's about a bounty hunter who hunts androids on an Earth that has been destroyed by nuclear fallout. Androids end up being pretty horrible because they seem to feel no empathy. At the same time, you spend the whole book wondering whether or not they do actually have feelings. Fairly good book, but I just wasn't in the mood for it this month.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: More candy. The only significant difference between this book and others are that it ends with "The Final Problem." (*WARNING* Spoiler ahead) In "The Final Problem," Doyle "kills off" Sherlock Holmes because he is sick of writing Sherlock Holmes stories. This isn't really a spoiler because when you read the introductions, it talks about this fact. In an interview after he'd killed Sherlock off, Doyle actually says something to the effect that if he has to write any more about Sherlock Holmes, he will be sick. You feel really bad for poor Watson. The other good story in this collection is "The Naval Treaty," where the last quote I posted came from.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: (*WARNING* more spoilers) Doyle decided, some years after killing of Sherlock Holmes, to write another book about him. He set the time back "pre-death." It's the classic story of the "spirit hound" chasing the owner of the mansion in an effort to kill him. It's pretty interesting. Again, the stuff about Holmes dying isn't technically a spoiler, but I thought I should mark it as such.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett: This is about the Discworld equivilant of Christmas. This is one of the Death series. I believe it comes just before Thief of Time, but I can't be sure. Death and his granddaughter (Susan) have to save Christmas from the Auditors and an assassin called Teatime. The faculty of Unseen University also has quite a bit of page time, which I always enjoy. It's pretty entertaining. I really don't like Christmas stories or specials of any kind (they always make me want to vomit a little because they are so sentimental, and I think they cheapen the experience of Christmas itself), but I liked this, so I recommend it highly. I went into it with a very bad attitude, especially because I was reading it in June, but I came away happy.

Well, that's it for the book list. Enjoy!

Posted by LoWriter at 09:14 AM | Comments (4)

July 01, 2005


So, as I was reading Sherlock Holmes, I stumbled across this quote, and I really enjoy it. So, I am sending it into your weekend with you. Enjoy!

"'There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,' said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. 'It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers. '"

~Sherlock Holmes "The Naval Treaty" by Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle. (I added in the bold.)

Have a great weekend, everybody! (I know I will. I definitely bought sparklers.) :)

P.S. I will probably not get to the book list until Tuesday. I am at the end of a fairly large proofreading project and intend to spend a lot of time (and possibly coffee) on it this weekend. So quit judging me, Dr. Gonzo. ;)

Posted by LoWriter at 07:39 AM | Comments (1)