Sunday, July 09, 2006

Kayaking Delight

Today was one of those perfect summer weekend days that only comes along every blue moon. We woke up around 9:30 this morning (ahhh, weekend) and spent the next 2 and a half hours eating breakfast and couch louging. Then we got up and did some gardening, work around the house and cleaned up.

Around 2:30 we took our borrowed kayak down to the county park and performed some self-taught kayaking. It was a gorgeous day; about 85 Degrees with light white clouds. Kayaking is pure delight. It's just you and the water, skimming by turtles and woods. Seriously, I haven't felt that much at peace in a long time. Long story short, I think we may be taking up kayaking.

We did the obligatory weekend Target run and had yummy tex mex food for dinner. I feel like we not only got a lot accomplished today, but also had a great, relaxing day. Ahhhh.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Another fun Philly Day

We spent the day wandering around Philadelphia today and got to finish most of the Once Upon a Nation storytelling spots. It was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed the city on July 4th weekend. The Taste of Philadelphia was going on today. It was a pretty disappointing two blocks. Other than that, it was a nice day.

NJ shuts down money makers

Just another example of the idiocy of this state. Our illustrious governor and the state senate couldn't pass a budget by the June 30 deadline. Instead of cutting out some of the excess spending or corruption (your choice) he wants to pass a 1 cent sales tax increase and said that he'll refuse to pass any budget that does not include the tax. The senate is controlled by democrats, the governor is a democrat. Why can't they all just get along? Anyway, regardless of the fact that more taxes are the only way they seem to be able to pass a balanced budget, now the gov is shutting down all non-essential services. While I applaud the effort in theory, in actuality, this process is going to shut down all the things that make money for this state: lottery, casinos, state parks and historic sites. Not only are these the money makers, shutting them down means thousands of everyday working class people don't get paid. I guarantee the legislature is still drawing a salary though. Way to go gov!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Ryan got made of pretty consistently when he first moved to NJ for talking so lovingly about Champaign. His friends started referring to it as “OZ.” While it may not be OZ, I understand the sentiment. Some days here I feel like I’m getting dumber, and not just from watching mind-wasting movies like Superman.

Growing up in a University town meant that people had a diversity of viewpoints and opinions. I grew up learning how to think and to defend why I believed what I did. (I blame my parents). I got into some really great discussions that ended with everyone’s mind stretched a little bit.

Attending the U for grad school only continued that process. Everyday I was forced to, at the very least stretch, if not exercise my brain power. As one of the most conservative people in my program, I often got into lively debate. Here, I’m a crazy hippie liberal and no one is really interested in having discussions that challenge their beliefs. People here are their group. Irish, Italian, Mexican, Catholic, Military, Union, all are group affiliations that define your beliefs, regardless of what you believe. I’m consistently amazed that people will go on about what they don’t like/believe about the Catholic faith and yet still consider themselves Catholic. Why? Because they were born that way.

The daily conversations here are about stuff and things. Women need their Coach pocketbooks. 16 year olds have birthday parties that cost more than my wedding. No one seems outraged that our Governor has broken nearly every campaign promise that he made. They’ll probably vote for him again. Because they vote Democrat. They just do.

I have a great concern that working everyday in a job that doesn’t force me to stretch is shutting down my brain. I can only hope that if I keep reading and keep trying to find new ways of looking at things I’ll stay nimble.

We’ve made some good friends here. I just really miss the people of the Emerald City.

Things I've read and liked lately

Kind of brings together the other three books on this list. Truly, the stories of history are about the oppression of one people by another. Unfortunately, these are the stories that don't get told in history classes. If I had known history could be like this I'd probably be earning my PhD in history right now instead of working in HR.

School made history dull. You learned about dates, places and wars. These books bring to life what it was like to live, love and die during these times.

Things I've read and liked lately

Follows the story of a slave woman in 19th century New Orleans trying to prove that she is instead a German immigrant lost as a little girl. This one is complete with notes from court rulings, newspapers and diaries from the period. A glimpse into what it meant to be less than human and how it was decided. Slavery attached through the mother so if she was a slave, so were you.

Things I've read and liked lately

A truly fascinating look into Hawaiian life and culture, beginning in the 1800s. It follows a family of women through the annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. and though modern times. Made me understand the Hawaiian independence movement.

Things I've read and liked lately

This is an excellent narration of what it was really like to be one of the pilgrims and what it was like to be an American Indian at the time of the Mayflower. I liked that it shows how cruel and kind both cultures were.

Keep your $17

Disclaimer: Stop reading if … 1. You liked Superman 2. You don’t want to ruin the “plot” of Superman 3. You don’t like reading rants.

We just got back from Superman. It was the most boring action movie I’ve ever seen. Not only did it clock in at 2 hours 30 minutes, there was only about 1 hour of actual movie material. The new Superman did a remarkable job of looking like Christopher Reeve. That was the good part of the movie. About halfway through, I started wondering if anyone was going to grow a personality. Lex Luther, arguably one of the greatest villains ever, was buffoonish. Lois Lane was shrill and unconvincing. Richard, her fiancĂ© came in as an adorable doormat and the Superson spent most of the time mutely staring around the room. The only likable character was Jimmy. Give that kid a raise!

To be fair, Superman has never been my favorite superhero. The whole invincible except for kryptonite thing gets old, as does the Lois Lane/Clark Kent/Superman mistaken identity crap. If Superman is so great, why doesn’t he just incinerate all the kryptonite? This story is no Oscar-winner. Lex gets ahold of some super crystals and decides to grow his own, kryptonite-laced continent. The only problem is that it's going to kill pretty much everyone in the US. Also, Lois is Supe's Baby Mama. Too bad baby needs a personality.

Keep your $17. As a matter of fact, keep the $5 blockbuster fee or the $3.99 pay per view. Watch this movie on HBO with a good book. Truly, a terrible movie.

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