Sunday, May 31, 2009

Church Bus

A number of people in our ward have trouble getting to church on Sunday due to transportation issues. A map of our ward and the ward next to it looks like two slices of pizza. The crust area is where the more settled members (including both bishoprics) live. A mix of people live a bit below the crust--students, settled members, poorer non-students, etc. And the tips of the pizza--downtown Cincinnati.
The church is not on the crust, but it's near it, which puts it several miles from downtown. The bus system in Cincinnati is lousy, especially on Sunday mornings (I home teach a couple that spends more time on the bus getting to church and back than they do at the 3-hour block of church). Members with cars try and help out, and all two active members in our ward who live downtown and have cars pick up other car-less members. Another member who lives near the church drives downtown to pick up a lady he home teaches, and drives her to church--he probably spends an hour each week picking her up and dropping her off from church. He wasn't at church today, and his ride ended up taking a taxi she really couldn't afford. Our EQ president also gives rides to two or three people each Sunday, but he's moving away in a couple of weeks. Many other members give rides to others. There's too much demand for rides, and not enough people to give them.
I know other non-LDS churches have church buses that go around and pick everyone up for church on Sunday. Could such a concept work for LDS wards in big cities with bad public transportation? How would the church manage this? Or are there other ideas of providing semi-convenient ways for these people to get to church?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alternative Plans

Had I not gotten this job exactly when I did, I would have accepted a part-time, very flexible volunteer position (offered to me one day after Burg Simpson offered me a job), and April, Peter, and I would be in Utah right now.
This job, however, was too good to pass up.
And I don't regret buying the plane tickets (which went unused) either. Sometimes good decisions turn out badly. Such is life.
I'm finishing my lunch break at work. I'm 20 stories up, with a fantastic view of the Ohio River and green Kentucky from my office. Towering cranes work on a construction project, on the Ohio side of the river, below me. An interesting artsy building (perhaps the Cincinnati Museum, I'm not sure) is to the right of the construction work. Ships, many pulling coal and other various items, sometimes go by. It may be the best office view I'll ever have.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Having a job means no visit home

Seeing as it's not a smart move to take off for a two-week vacation after working someplace for just one week, I won't be visiting Utah/Idaho next week.
We're still trying to figure out what to do with the Delta plane tickets we already bought. We bought two for $160 each, and despite the fact that those tickets are now worth almost $600 each, I doubt I'll be able to get any type of refund or even an ability to use them at a later date (or if so, the $150 fee per ticket makes that option pretty much useless).
We're thinking of just sending April and Peter, so that at least one of the tickets doesn't go to waste. But April doesn't want to spend a full two weeks there without me, and I'm not sure if she'd be able to get an earlier flight out back without buying another plane ticket.
Any ideas/hints/helps?
Anyway, I'm bummed out that we won't get to visit. Maybe later this summer. Or maybe for some big event during Christmas time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Found a job

I've been looking for a summer job for months now. I've interviewed at maybe 8 different places. I'd been getting a bit discouraged, because I have good grades, yet no job. My classmates, for the most part, all have work. School got out two weeks ago, and I've been babysitting Peter, doing chores around the house, writing a paper for a law review competition, and watching Buffy. And I'd been getting a little bit bored, not to mention frustrated.
This morning I interviewed with a firm downtown. And they hired me this afternoon. I start tomorrow. Good pay, I like the attorneys there (the three I met, anyway), and a job that interests me (mostly pharmaceutical class actions). Most importantly, a chance to see how law firms work, a chance to learn new skills, and a chance to use what I've learned at my first year of law school.
Like with so many things, the wait was worth it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Utah loses a great leader

Governor Huntsman's been picked by Obama to be ambassador to China (the largest, and one of the most powerful, countries in the world, as if you didn't already know that).
The article here.
I'm sure he'll do great things there, but all of a sudden Utah has become a lot less appealing.
I don't think there's any chance that Utah will ever again have a progressive rock fan environmentalist pro-science political moderate Mormon as governor.
Did I mention he was intelligent? And the crazies in the state legislature (those controlled by the far-right Eagles Forum) can't stand him, even though he's Republican?
Dang. I'll miss him.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When the law fails

Any law that is not regularly enforced should be obliterated.
Because if the law stays, those in charge can go after criminals they don't like and let the criminals they like go free.
An example of one-sided enforcement in Utah:
A college student makes false bids on oil and gas leases because he feels those areas should be protected. He is charged with two felonies.
Hundreds of ATV riders, including politicians, knowingly demonstrate their dislike of current laws by illegally riding their ATVs off road in Kanab. The event is highly publicized.
Will they be prosecuted? Or at least fined?
The environmentalist has been charged. If the anti-environmentalists are not, despite the fact that we know exactly who they are, then there is a blatant double standard.
If you're going to punish civil disobedience, then at least be fair about it. Charge those ATV riders too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Secondary characters

I'm watching Buffy right now. The Cincinnati library system doesn't carry DVDs of older TV shows, but I've discovered the amazing Hulu.
One of the things I like about Buffy is that there is a full cast of minor characters--a handful of characters that play a part in one episode, and then actually show up in later episodes (often very briefly), and even in later seasons.
Deep Space Nine also had that going for it. Cool main characters, yes, but also very cool secondary characters. They gave the show a certain depth. It seemed more real because of them.
Compare that to, say, Lost. How many people survived the plane crash? And yet each episode seems to see a brand new set of minor characters. I understand it's difficult to keep that many actors around, just to play nonspeaking roles in the background. But still, with at least twice as many actors as actual survivors, and with almost certain knowledge that any plane survivor that wasn't a main character was eventually going to die, my disbelief had a hard time being suspended.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Best cities to live in

A new list of "The world's top cities offering the best quality of life."
The cities were ranked on a variety of factors, including health, education, safety, etc. Not surprisingly, the US didn't do so well. This seems to be focusing on larger cities, so I'm not sure if Salt Lake or other smaller cities were considered.
I've lived within an hour of Zurich (#2), Frankfurt (#8), and San Francisco (#30). I've visited maybe 20 of these cities, and I'm pretty much in agreement with the rankings.
Vienna tops the list at #1 (an under-rated tourist destination too, by the way), and Honolulu is the top US city, at #29 (right next to San Francisco).
Take a look and tell me what you think.
Now if only I can convince April into moving to some of the cities near the top of the list...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

People are stupid

A Reuters News article about a pig in Afghanistan.
I've also heard that people are needlessly slaughtering pigs in Egypt.
Thankfully, the US relies on science, not superstition, and so we won't see similar reactions here.
Or will we? Pay close attention to pork prices...
If they go down significantly, it means that people in the US are also stupid.

One year down

One year down, two to go.