The voice of one crying in the wilderness

Someone in my church lent me the entire first season of Joan of Arcadia on DVD. You know the problem with a season shows on DVD? They're all there. All the shows. Right there on the DVD. One after the other.

Needless to say, we've watched five 45-minute shows in the last two days. If you don't know anything about Joan of Arcadia, it's a show about a girl who gets regular visits from God in the form of different people, and God tells her to do things, like take AP Chem or have a yard sale. The story-lines are very amusing and touching, and the reasoning of God's meddling is always nicely revealed by the end of the episode. I asked Dan if he'd like it if God was always telling him what to do, and he said, "YES!" Me too, when i think about it. In fact, i WISH God would tell me exactly what to do. At least i'd know i was doing SOMETHING right.

Sure, God told us some stuff to do a long time ago, like Judge not lest ye be judged, but i'm talking more practical stuff like "should i quit my job tomorrow?"

Well, should I?

After five hours, all that teen drama has left me feeling like i'm getting a certain message from God: "Turn off the friggin TV and do your homework!"

hair say

If I don't even have time to get a haircut, how am I going to find time to write blog entries?! There's also the difficulty that my hair is so long it gets in the way of my typing. Leah says it looks fine, but she's lying. Oh, the shame of it: my classmates at school have only seen me with the long hair; if I don't do something about it soon they may begin to think I'm some sort of emo. Luckily, the last time I had a trim some seven years ago they cut it shorter than ever, so for all my moaning it's still not to the point where I can see my bangs in front of my eyes: not even when I pull down on em. So not really that bad, I guess. But the hair over the ears!

driving us to lunacy

So in this hard school I go to, we do things like read picture books and play with oobleck*... and then write like ten page papers on the activities. One of our tasks for the semester, this one for Elementary Science Methods, is to observe the moon at the same time every night and keep a record of its progress and changing form. Unhappily, after about three nights of good observation at the beginning of the term the moon pulled a fast one on us and started appearing exclusively during the day, so we were all out of luck. It was a topic of conversation before all our classes, I can assure you: like a regular bunch of astronomers we sounded. Primitive astronomers, at least. Incompetant primitive astronomers. Good thing we're only going to be teaching elementary school!

In any case, the moon has now made its return to the night sky, and our observations are now hindered only by persistent cloud cover. Mine will also be hindered by going away for the weekend, to a wedding in Minnesota. I've never been to Minnesota before, and I associate it with only one thing: the notable and, to my ears, delightful accent of its people. We'll see if they really talk like that in Saint Paul, where we'll be visiting.

*For those readers whose mothers are not preschool teachers, oobleck is a substance made famous by the Dr. Suess story Bartholomew and the Oobleck, which can be created by mixing cornstarch and water. Try it: you'll find it has curious properties indeed!

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the world's biggest maul

So we went to Minnesota, and now we're back. Despite the fact that we were only there for approximately 36 hours, and many of those hours were taken up by attending wedding events and doing homework (yes, Leah and I both had to do homework on our vacation; she managed more by hogging her computer the whole time) we did manage to see a bit of the local sights. As it happened, all those sights were contained within the Mall of the Americas. And I'm obliged to report that it can hold any number of sights.

It's cliche to report on the roller coaster in the middle of the mall, even if in fact there are two and they are part of genuine entire amusement park, so I will only say that we managed to make it approximately 3/4 of the way around one of the mall's three floors, which some quick math indicates means we viewed one quarter of the whole mall. That took a couple hours, but in our defense we did look into some stores. Leah and her mom even bought some items. The most interesting thing about the mall, I thought, was that each of its four quarters features a different theme for its architecture and interior design. Aside from it breaking up what would otherwise be an insanity-inducing parade of commerce, I imagine that this design trick also serves to let repeat mall customers find stores again. I really doubt they would be able to, otherwise.

Minnesota may have some other exciting features, but I can conclusively report that none of them are in Saint Paul. Maybe that's why they wanted the mall.

Oh, the title? That refers to Leah's comment--one that was at the forefront of my mind as well, but she got it out first--"we got mauled by the mall." We did.

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A note on ceremony

So as Dan, or as i like to call him "the only person who friggin writes on this blog anymore," mentioned, we went to a wedding in Minnesota this weekend. The wedding was that of my dad's cousin's daughter, so.... my second cousin one removed i guess, to a man who may or may not have been Jewish (no one could say for sure either way). What resulted was a wedding ceremony which may or may not have been Jewish, although different members of the jury dissented in their opinions. Of course the ceremony was Jewish, my mother said, because they stood under a Huppah and broke a glass. That being said, they were married by a justice of the peace, recited the traditionally Christian vows, and removed mention of God or God-like undertones from the already Christian-secular ceremony. All love and tradition and commitment references, but not in the name of God or anything like that. We can do it on our own thankyouverymuch. We got this far without you and your meddling, God, and we'll go the rest of the way without you.

Actually, when i think about it, that pretty much sums up the modern Jewish religion. A healthy dose of secularism, with some symbols of tradition, but any reference to God and you make everyone sort of uncomfortable.

Let it never be thought that the reason i left Judaism was for lack of faith. In fact, it is too much faith which puts me at odds with the modern Jewish community.

Religious differences aside, it was a lovely wedding and a fun weekend trip. I wish we could have a few days to recover from it, but that's modern life for you, all gogo and no sitsit.

We went to a party last night!

While making breakfast:
Leah: "Becky and Eric said that they didn't feel different after getting married. I felt different after getting married! Didn't you?"
Dan: "I felt different after i dropped the pancake batter in between the stove and the cabinet... crap."
Leah: "I love how you're so reverent for this important discussion."
Dan: "I DID feel different! I felt happy and completed."
Leah (dropping her fork): "You did? Did you really feel that way? That's so nice! I felt that way too! ... Wait, did you just say that because i yelled at you?"

cold = cold

No, I haven't started reading Ayn Rand, it's just that it got cold here all of a sudden, and as a result I got a cold. The scientists recently told us it can happen that way too, in case you thought temperature had no effect on whether we humans get sick. Good thing they figured that one out, eh? Anyways, I don't want to get to disgusting about it, but I felt obliged to record that the most annoying thing to do when your nose is completely stuffed up is brush your teeth. I mean, who wants to brush their teeth with their mouth open? Ick.

At the shoe store

salesman: "Can i help you?"
customer: "No.... i just wanted to get some shoes..."
salesman: "Well, can i help you then? Because that pretty much sounds like one hundred percent of my job description."

customer: "I didn't know you sold shoes here!"
salesman: "What did you think we sold?"
customer: "You know, just sneakers."

salesman: "Can i help you find anything?"
customer: "No, I'm just looking. You don't have any walking shoes?"
salesman: "We sure do, right here in the walking section."
customer: "Oh, thank you, but i'm just looking right now. You don't have any waterproof walking shoes?"
salesman: "We sure do, they're right here on the bottom shelf."
customer: "Oh, i don't need to see them now. You don't have these in a size 9?"
salesman: "How about i bring them to you."
customer: "Oh no, i'm really just looking today. Do they run true to size?"
salesman: "Would you like to try them on?"
customer: "Oh no, i don't think so. Thank you for your time."

some teachers

When you're a student you have to deal with teachers (or professors, as they like to be called in the higher reaches of the education biz). Some of these teachers provide very strict rubrics for the papers they assign which quantify many details of the ideal paper, including the date beyond which it may not be submitted without loss of points; when they provide this document days later than they promised it makes it more fun. Most people in the class won't mind the delay, having not made any effort to start work on the assignment, but the principle of the thing! As for me, I wasn't procrastinating all day today: I had other important stuff to do!

comparative dogology

We had some extra dogs over today; or rather, since Leah was working all day, I had some extra dogs over. Specifically, Leah's parents' dogs Loki and Pip. It was amusing to observe the differences between the two of them and Rascal, and I don't just mean the physical differences, although those are noticable too: Rascal probably outweighs the two of them put together. But just as striking are the differences in personality, between our rambunctious high-energy pup and the two rather slower other dogs. It's not that Loki and Pip don't have alot of energy, it's just that they can express it somewhat more compactly than Rascal. Out in the yard Loki seems to be happy to run around in about a twenty-foot circumfrence, whereas Rascal's romps encompass the whole property. When I took them all for a walk in the woods the contrast was even more extreme. Rascal did seem to slow down a little for the three of us, though; maybe that shows he's growing up! One thing I'm glad Rascal doesn't do is bark and whine, since Loki does both and it about drove me crazy. The whining was probably because he missed his mommy though, so I suppose that's excusable.

bullets over business school

I just signed up for my classes for next semester, and OMG am i excited for them! On mondays i have "Financial powerpointing," and on tuesdays i have "Women in Powerpoints" followed by "Advanced graphical analysis / powerpoint aids." I hear that last one gets pretty heavy into the whole realism - animation schism, so i'm a little hesitant on taking it with the rest of the course-load. But i figured, hey, i should just try and push through, and there's always that little help bar on the top with Clippy if you need him.

Seriously though, if i had to do anymore powerpoints for school, i think i would be living INSIDE a powerpoint. Next slide please.

A real email to a real professor who may really kick me out of his MBA-required class

In defense of intelligent ethical analysis by Leah Archibald

This e-mail is in response to the criticism that I failed to address the ethicality of data collecting by using the Ethical Framework introduced in class. Since this criticism alone represented a loss of (roughly) 20% of my paper grade, I would be remiss if I did not endeavor to defend my own analysis.

I believe that I demonstrated in my paper, as well as in class discussion, that the Ethical Framework (as presented by Ms. McKone-Sweet, Ms. Greenberg and Ms. Moland) is an inappropriate rubric for evaluating business decisions. Indeed, I do discuss the ethicality of data collection in my paper, specifically in the introduction on page 1 by stating that data collection has always taken place as a major component of retail functioning, and that it is only the new technological methods of collection and dissemination of information that raise questions, not the collection of data itself. My discussion of the ethicality of data collection continues on pages five through eight in which I begin with the assertion that the two real forces governing business decisions are legality and profit maximization. (A very wise Babson professor recently quipped, There are no such things as business ethics, save from follow the law, and maximize profit for your shareholders. . Here we might pose the question if it is even necessary for executives to discuss matters of ethics. The necessary ethical guidelines of society are laid out clearly in the dual forces of what the law demands and what consumers will allow.) Having already extensively covered the legal issue of data collection, I go on to address the Demand side of data policy by examining actual customer concerns as determined by a Forrester pole (page six) and exploring the ethical dilemmas of each of these concerns.

While my own ethical analysis was both informed and considered, I made the careful choice not to mention the ethical frameworks because I have a strong disagreement with both their content and their inclusion in the Babson MBA curriculum. Whether your actions create a universal rule (Deontological Theories) or whether they cause more good than harm (Utilitarian Theories) or whether they make you look like a horses ass (Character Theories), shellacking feel-good philosophical theories onto business decisions is at best tenuous and at worst insulting to both business people and philosophers. What IS important to business decisions (in addition to the theory of legal behavior/profit maximization as put forth by myself in this paper) is a thorough and nuanced investigation of all issues involved (as I presented in my paper pages two through five) followed by a thorough and incisive decision on superior course of action (as I summarized in my paper on page eight.)

I invite you to challenge my analysis of my own thoroughness in examining the ethics of data collection.

Many Thanks,

Leah

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over(hallo)weening

I must say, it seems like folks have outdone themselves with halloween decorations this year. On the next street over there are a pair of houses next to each other that together must have about eight of those oversized inflatable lawn decorations, the ones with lights inside: there are a few giant pumpkins, one Frankenstein's monster rising from a grave, and some kind of snow-globe thing with bats inside instead of snow (they blow around in the wind from the fan that keeps the thing inflated). Down the street from us is a place with a pretty terrifying-looking scarecrow in the front lawn, a scarecrow holding a severed head with blood liberally coating the neck. Those folks also have similar figures showing in each of their downstairs windows.

Those are only the two most striking examples in a ten-house radius from us; there are probably even more extreme ones elsewhere. And that's not to mention the gravestones and spiderwebs and skulls hanging from trees that adorn about every other house. Witches that look like they crashed into trees, too. When did this happen? There weren't any halloween decorations at all when I was little, I'm sure. Well, the jack-o-lanterns, of course, but that's different. Personally, I can't imagine wanting all that gruesome stuff in my lawn, and the kitchy stuff isn't much better. And to be truthful, I'm not such a big fan of looking at in in other people's, either. Still, live and let live, right? To each his own and what not. Luckily the holiday will have come and gone in a few days, and then people will have to take down their halloween junk to make room for the Christmas decorations.

pioneer life

It's kind of cold these days at the squibix household, because despite the sinking temperatures outside we haven't really turned on our heat yet. At least, not the heat downstairs; and when that's off you kind of feel like you can do without the upstairs heat* most of the time too. Why don't we have the heat on, you ask? Well, it's due to a combination of factors. One is that we're committed to reducing our carbon footprint bt minimizing our use of fossil fuels and... oh, alright, I admit it. One is that we're cheap. Or more specifically, I'm cheap. But more importantly, during the warm careless summer we bought an armoir, and where it fit best happened to be on the same wall where the thermostat happens to be located. So now we have no way of adjusting the thermostat, nor of knowing how warm or cold it might be; and if we were to adjust the thing (which actually I did manage once this fall, one cold and rainy day) the thermostat, confined as it is, will not have a clear sense of how well the furnace is doing its job. So it's kind of cold. I will say, it makes me appreciate having Rascal in the bed at night a little bit more!

*Don't worry parents, I do set the thermostat upstairs to make sure we don't freeze solid while we sleep. Even I feel at an increased risk for colds when I sleep in temperatures of below fifty degrees.

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whatever happened to halloween courtesy?!

We had a fair number of customers for Halloween this evening; much better than last year, when I think we had two. It probably helped that it was around 70 degrees at 8:00 at night, which is uncanny enough for anyone's taste. I couldn't help but notice, however, that the practice of saying "trick-or-treat"--or indeed anything at all--after you ring someone's doorbell has largely died out. Instead, supplicants stand mutely with bags outstretched, waiting passively for their sugary alms. It takes something away from the whole exchange, I think. One little boy did say something as he thrust his pillowcase, already groaning with loot, towards me: "no nuts!" Ah well, I guess that's where society is going these days.

Happy Halloween, everyone.