Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama myths

Before I start...I wrote this over a year ago. Guess I've been following the elections for a while...

April and I visited an aunt and uncle of mine this past weekend. Very nice people. Retired, older, extremely active travelers. I think they spend more time outside of the US than they do inside.
They had two other visitors--family friends of theirs. The husband is in the army. They've been married for two years but he's spent half of that out at war.
I always worry about talking about politics in public (writing about it is for some reason easier), especially when I don't know someone's political leanings, or I know them and I don't agree.
But the subject came up (started by my uncle). Basically, both he and my aunt stated how if Obama gets elected, the US is going to go downhill.
And then my aunt stated the oft-repeated myth about Obama not putting his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance.
So I finally said something. "That's not true. It's a myth. Go to"
Then the army man spoke up.
"I'm voting for Obama."
Not surprising, seeing that the campaigns that have gotten the most donor money from people in the military are Ron Paul and Obama (both were against the war from the beginning). And Ron Paul has dropped out.
"He'll end the war in Iraq," he continued. He felt that we were doing as much damage as we were good by remaining there.
Needless to say, my aunt and uncle were surprised.
At least they didn't call him "Barack Hussein Obama" or even "B. Hussein Obama" as some fear-mongering types do. They didn't say that they thought he was a "closet Muslim." They didn't mention his "terrorist fist-jab" with his wife (knocking knuckles together as a form of greeting). So I'm thinking that they're not avid talk/hate radio listeners, and they don't watch too much Fox News.
We steered the conversation away from politics, and the rest of the evening went great...but I was reminded of why I stay away from talking about politics in public.
Unfortunately, it's obvious that I need to talk about it...if only to dispel the ugly myths that keep coming up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Idiot insurance company

So about three weeks ago we got rid of our old, beat-up Dodge Dynasty '89. April's parents took it for $300.
I called the State Farm Insurance to ask them to remove that car from our insurance plan.
Yesterday I got a bill...yes, that's right, a bill. For removing the car from our plan. $19.37. Apparently, a multi-car discount was removed.
Now, you might ask, wouldn't you save money by removing a car from the plan?
That's what I thought. So I called the insurance company, and they told me that they were sending me a check for about $24.
Now, just a five dollar savings is pretty lame.
But what's even lamer is that they bill me when they owe me money.
So not only do they waste paper and postage by mailing me a check and a bill, but they lose the respect of their customers.
Idiot insurance company.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


There's a pretty funny satirical blog that just came out...
Realize, as this is satire, some of it may be offensive to those who are being made fun of.
And since I'm going to law school, and April just gave herself a pedicure (her first since we've been married), I guess those being made fun of include us.
Thanks to Eric Snider for the tip.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cincinnati, here we come

April was just offered a nice job in Cincinnati (actually, in Norwood, a city within Cincinnati). Practically no Sundays, and no graveyard shifts! And she'll be making more too! We also snagged ourselves an apartment in Norwood...our top choice. It's the main floor of a house (other renters live upstairs). It's very nice--hardwood floors, a great kitchen, two bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a decent yard. $705/month is a bit pricier than what we're paying now, but it's worth the extra cost.
The crappy part is we're paying rent for the whole of July...and we won't even be there for the first three weeks.
Oh well. We're still pretty excited about it. And soon there will be one more "I've lived there" spot to fill in on the facebook map--for a total of six.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Racism in Utah and Idaho

A company in West Jordan has been selling Obama Monkey Dolls...
Ouch. Not a good thing for Utah's reputation.
I'm not sure if it was racism or stupidity (or, most likely, a mix of both). The company has apologized (kind of), and they've discontinued the doll, but still...
It reminded me of an incident while I was teaching...
I told my students to write a half-page opinion on evolution, and one student wrote that white people were created directly by God, but everyone else evolved...
(The assignment did not address human evolution, but most students focused on that aspect of it anyway).
I was certain that racism was rare in Utah, or at least confined towards Latinos. But based on many of the comments on the Deseret News forum (there's an article about the doll), I'm afraid that's not the case.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Planes, interviews, apartments, and Cincinnati

So this past week we spent in Cincinnati.
It's a nice city, really. Like most (all?) big cities, there are areas where you don't want to be alone at night. But there are also a lot of great places--a trendy part of town, a more family-oriented part of town, several wealthy parts of town.
We flew into Chicago (leaving SLC at 7:30) and then Louisville, Kentucky--less than two hours from Cincinnati (Cincinnati, for some reason, is expensive to fly into). Due to delays in Cincinnati (due mainly to weather), we didn't arrive in Louisville until late. We quickly picked up our luggage (I don't think I've ever quickly picked up luggage at SLC airport) and a rental car (and my experience working at Thrifty Car Rental made it very easy to say no to everything they wanted to sell me in addition to the rental). We didn't arrive at our hotel until around 10 pm...but the drive there was strangely peaceful--lots of trees, lots of green.
We looked at about a dozen apartments/shared houses/houses, and ended up picking three we like...we hope we can get our top choice. Due to intense research beforehand, all of the places we looked were in decent neighborhoods, but some were better than others. Our top choice is a shared house (other renters live upstairs) with a nice kitchen (decent kitchens seem to be rare in Cincinnati) and on a quiet, well-cared for street. Every front lawn on that street is carefully mowed...except for the one we want to rent. Definitely a nice neighborhood.
April interviewed for two jobs there. We'll see this week if she gets some offers.
I visited the law school. Apparently they like BYU students (or Mormons). Each class has two or three (and the class size is only 120). They actually had a 2nd-year student who earned his undergrad at BYU show me around. It's becoming more and more apparent that UC law school really takes care of its students--much more so than the Utah law schools.
The first year of law school is supposed to be brutal and demanding, so I asked my guide how many hours a week he'd spent on law school his first year.
Just forty. He did admit that he should have spent a little more time studying, but it sounds like he did just fine treating it like a full-time job. I expect to spend a little more time on it, but it doesn't sound too bad (compare that to BYU, which has a reputation for competitiveness and long hours).
The people in Cincinnati are laid-back and friendly. We're excited for the move.
We returned to Kentucky (the South is much more foreign than Ohio to me). We spent the evening with Brent, Katie, and company, ate an excellent meal with them, played Ticket to Ride (Europe), and chatted. Definitely the highlight of the trip.
I set our alarm for 5:10...and woke up at 5:30. I'd forgotten to adjust the volume on the alarm...
We left the apartment only a few minutes behind schedule, but then got stuck going the wrong way on the freeway...with no exit for several miles. That ate up almost 30 minutes. We arrived at the airport 25 minutes before our plane took off, and they refused to take our checked luggage or let us board without it.
We finally did get home...about seven hours late.
It was good to share the adventure with my wife (tomorrow is our one-year anniversary). She is a very patient woman.
Thanks also to the Wenerstroms (for feeding us and letting us crash at their place) and for both sets of parents (for picking up mail and watering plants, and for giving us rides to and from the airport).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Visiting Salt Lake and Cincinnati

We're visiting SJ this weekend; we'll be at my parent's place Sunday evening. We'll also be there Saturday June 14th. If you want to stop by and say hi...
Actually, the main reason we're going there is because Idaho Falls doesn't have a real airport (translation: it does have an airport...kind of like Provo has an airport...a fairly useless airport). It's April's first time on a plane. We'll be visiting our new home, April will be interviewing for jobs, we'll be visiting the law school and looking at apartments. We'll also be stopping by Brent and Katie's place (it's cheaper to drive into their city and drive the 1.5 hours to Cincinnati than it is to fly straight to Cincinnati, even with gas at $4/gallon). It'll be fun.
Anyway, we hope to see some of you soon.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Pictures from my last day

One of the best things about my teaching job was the other teachers in the science department. Some very cool people.
The first picture is of the three teachers that were new this year in the science department--a full half of the full-time teachers.
The second is myself and the department head--I don't think I've ever met a more passionate teacher.