Log in


The journey went well enough; I trekked from the Flat of the Phillip to Glengall Street and hopped a bus easy enough.

I may have mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: I like walking through my city at night.  There something particularly impressive and even a little eerie about seeing Shaftesbury Square completely empty – completely quiet.


About a mile after we crossed the border our stalwart Ulsterbus Goldline was pulled over, and three officers in body-armour came on board to examine everyone’s passports and papers.  It’s not unheard of, but it happens less and less, I’m told.

The experience was interesting for me.  Even though I’m totally exempt from the sectarian issues in Ireland (being an American earns me a complete pass on any and all issues; I could get away with saying things that’d get many Irishmen in tight spots) I felt a bit uncomfortable when the officer gruffly asked for my papers.  It's probably that he said ‘papers’ rather than ‘passport’ helped – it was like being in a WWII movie.  And I'm told that technically the Garda are a part of the  military of the Republic of Ireland, which is interesting.

Something that Michael said to me once flashed across my mind as I opened my passport and handed it to the officer; there are more dogs than Protestants in the Garda.

The officer glanced at my photograph, and immediately noted that it was an American passport.  Then he flipped through it and examined my UK Visa, resplendent with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom.  He glanced back at me, apparently deciding that I was an American on holiday in the Isles.  I found this apparent becuase he leaned in and gave me a lopsided grin.  “On holiday then, ah?”

I inclined my head slightly.  “Sir.”  I figured it wasn’t worth it to explain that I was studying at Queens but going home; the student travelling season for the semester break is over and classes are starting again.  All the students had returned to University last week.  He took my response to mean whatever it was he preferred for it to mean, I suppose.  He gave me another friendly grin and went on down the line until everyone’s passports or in one or two cases drivers licenses were checked.  He murmured something I didn’t hear to the driver, and ducked out of the bus.


NOTE – I honestly think that people living in These Isles need to take some lessons in Airport design from American architects and civil engineers.  I can’t conceive of a society that is so good at designing other public spaces, but cannot quite get to grips with the most efficient and effective layouts for airports!  One of their few irritating habits, I guess.

The nine hour flight to Atlanta went well enough.  By which I mean that it was one of the best flights I have ever been on in my entire life.  Maybe a quarter of the seats were occupied; almost certainly less.  The service was prompt, efficient, and effective, we left 25 minutes early, and there was only mild turbulence during the flight.


I got randomly picked for an in-depth examination of my luggage by customs.  The fellow pawing through my bag and I had a pleasant conversation;


ME: Thanks.  I rather enjoy them.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: I wear jockeys, usually.

ME: I bet you don't have this conversation with women.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: Sometimes.  I enjoy people's reactions. -- fingers one of my pipes, smells the bowl briefly-- Hm, that's nice.  What kind of tobacco?

ME: Usually an aromatic cherry.  There's two bottles of whiskey in there, along the side.  The big one's for my friend who can hold her drink.  Littler one for another friend who likes it, but gets a bit sloppy if you know what I mean.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: --taking off gloves and closing suitcase-- Nothing exciting.  You're sure you don't have something worth $10,000 or more hidden in the lining or something?

ME: $10,000?  I wish.  You can check again, and if you find anything fitting that description, I'll be a happy man. --reflects for am moment-- Well, maybe not.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: We could just split it.  Unless it were cocaine.  Then we'd have trouble.

ME: I'm all for it, then.  Wanna check again?  On the off chance.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: --sigh-- That'd be fun.  But I gotta get to this old lady with all her worldly possessions with her.

ME: Yeah, that'll be fun for you.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: ... you'd think that, but not really.  It's not like many supermodels get randomly picked.  It's sad.

ME: I bet that really takes some of the joy out of the underwear bit.

FELLOW PAWING THROUGH MY BAG: Yep.  Go down this corridor and turn left.

ME: Cheers.


Poor Gordon Brown.  For his sake I hope he delays the next elections as long as possible.  For the sake of the Labour Party, I hope Her Majesty spontaneously dissolves the parliament tomorrow.


Last night Fiesty broke down and decided that she couldn't possibly wait to see me until today, so she called me from the Lewis's house, and first befuddled Pops with a blur of incoherently speedy conversation until he figured out who it was, then he toyed with her emotions by acting as though I just couldn't be bothered right then.

At length she demanded that I drive immediately to the Lewis's, ostensibly to help her coach Amy and Joseph.

Fun times, fun times.

I brought her a bottle of 400 year anniversy Bushmills Black.  Her head exploded in a frighteningly gory display of absolut(!) joy.  It took us an hour to glue it all back together.


Current Location: 26 Country Park Circle
Current Music: 'A Girl Like You' - Edwyn Collins
A certain accusation has been levied against me - that I speak eloquently as a conscious decision, so that people are distracted from the often outrageous things that I say, often merely to amuse myself.

My response?

"Alas!  My secret!"

I'm really not totally convinced that it's true, though...


I live in one of the few places where it's considered completely normal to sing out loud on the street in front of your house with a buddy for no apparent reason.  It's at the same time a little silly and amusing, and a little deep.

I suppose it depends on the song.  Some people sing Irish ballads that could make stones weep.  Others stagger along singing drinking songs, but you can't really understand what the lyrics are.

Speaking of singing out in front of one's house, a cute girl complimented us when Friend Captain (Gegory) and I were singing Decembrists songs while he was here.  For the win!


I've been killing myself to try and get a super-huge head-start on my dissertation.  So far... so good.


The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is evil.  It is the Son of the Devil, and ought be destroyed!  It's one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed in the whole history of the Republic!  AHHHH!

... I'm really just acting about because it's featured significantly  in every governance article I read for the last couple months.  I'm sick of it.

It really is a bad piece of legislation... though...


Richard told me today that every time he watches Barak Obama giving a speech on TV he thinks of me.

Richard: "Yeah, you're like the conservative Obama!"
Phillip: "I really don't know how to take that."
Richard: "Well, he's running for president and people seem to like him, so it can't be all bad."
Phillip: "I hope to have more than just rhetorical skill and charisma going for me if and when the time comes."
Richard: "But he might win!  And he's like a... a... a you!"
Phillip: "We're not really communicating on the same wave-length, are we?"


I think that there's a part of my that was expecting that I'd have to be just as self-disciplined and combatative with life here in Belfast as I was back home.  And while I've had enough disappointments or complications in my personal life to keep things more or less balanced, the truth is that successes have come to me so easily here.  I always told people that I would eventually reach the point that all my work would pay off, and big.

You know what?  I think I'm there.

I also don't really have to worry about the future.  Of course, Law School will be tough.  It's intended to be.  But there's something very comforting about the fact that with this 'LLM' behind my name, I'm set up for life no matter what.  There are any number of careers in both the public and private sectors I could pursue, both here in the Isles or back home, and make quite a hefty salary. 

And when I have my law degree... well.  I suppose we'll just have to see if I've got what it takes to be as good a litigator as I think I can be.

"It's all because of the vile hun and his villainous Empire-building!"

Well... not the Hun, anyway.


Football practice tomorrow!  Ah!  I'm excited.  Our first game (just a scrimmage really) is coming up in late February, and I'm really eager to see how we do.  It's against a Dublin team, and apparently we're going to have to go down there.

So far I'm pretty sure that my speaking tour isn't going to interfere with any of the game dates, but you we'll have to see about that.

While I'm home (Tuesday!) I'm going to buy a proper set of cleets.  I also need to remember to buy American mouthpieces, with the parts that attach to helmet face-guards.  They don't have them here, and it's something all of the other players have complained about.


I invited Michael to the lunch meeting on monday, and he seemed hard-put to decide if he was excited and pleased, or intimidated.  He hedged a little, saying maybe he ought not come.

This didn't suit me, so I told him that I had invited him as my guest, and if he didn't come I would be offended, and that it was already decided in any case.

What's the use of knowing interesting, influential people if you can't share them with your friends?


I'm feeling rather good about the universe lately.


Additions to my list of people to see, by request or me suddenly remembering them -

1.) Miss Patti Shoemake
2.) Richard
3.) Josiah and Mrs. Burns
4.) Miss King (We really need to talk about this pink waistcoat thing, see... it's a serious issue.)
5.) Mr. Ingram
6.) The Band peeps
7.) Dr. Wheeler
8.) The Petal Rotary Club
9.) Baz
10.) Johnny Dupree
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
Current Music: 'Heroes' - Wallflowers
26 January 2008 @ 07:46 pm
Over the course of many months, I have discovered an interesting fact with regard to my radiator.

It has two settings: Off and Nuclear.  This is sometimes troubling, but in general life up here near the roof of the world is chilly, so I find that it doesn't cause too much trouble.


Of late there has been a wave of speculation across the Union.  A good many people are encouraging me to run for Union President in the upcoming elections, and the resulting rumours have led to the assumption by a good number of people that I am running.

I'm not.  I have never indicated, privately or publicly, that I had any such intentions.  I have underscored the unaltered fact that I plan on going home in July.  I've no interest in hanging around to do a job that only pays £15,000 a year.  It's certainly not worth delaying law school, so nuts to that.

I can't conceal that I found the scampering that accompanied the speculation interesting, even if it was unanticipated.

<<edit - Now there is rampant speculation as to who (if anyone) I will endorse in the election.  Frankly I think this is getting silly.


I'm still looking forward to heading home on tuesday; I'll leave here at six to reach Dublin by eight and fly out around eleven.  Go me!
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles
Current Music: 'If I Should Fall From Grace With God' - the Pogues
I decided to give it a half year before I began keeping this journal again, so that I'd have the benefit of time with regard to commenting on my new surroundings.  I feel that I have the necessary experience now to comment intelligently, or as close as I ever come to intelligent commentary on much of anything..

I love my city.

It's a fairly surprising statement, given that I really don't care much for cities in general.  I've often admitted that every city I've ever visited has a unique character about it, and that sometimes I've found something endearing about the aspects that make up each city's character.  But I still tend to prefer a more sparsely populated atmosphere to the dense teeming mass of humanity that one finds in a real, genuine city.

Not so, here.

Belfast suits me - personality, mood, and disposition.  There is a willful dignity about the city, partially a remnant of the tensions that are only slowly sinking farther below the surface, and partially the by-product of a city peopled with interesting, proud individuals who - for better or worse - have every intention of going on being proud.

There is a brooding melancholy about the place that hovers near enough to be felt but not seen.  The people exhibit in equal amounts a singular, aggressive wit and politeness that exceeds that of any other city I've never spent time in.  It's the strangest thing; some are bitter for a hundred reasons, some seem to be living icons of the remorse that plenty - on both sides of the recent unpleasantness - have plenty of cause to feel.  But all are polite, warm, and can always spare a moment for conversation and a witty barb at you, themselves, the city, or the world in general.

I enjoy walking through the Queens Quarter in the early hours of the morning, while a light but steady rain falls and streetlights provide islands of light.  I usually take my pipe along - I found a tobacconist in Lisburn who imports high quality pipe tobacco from Virginia, and even has cherry aromatic blends.  Every so often the moon can be seen shining through a break in the clouds, which settle heavily over the city like a cloak.  Moving along the front of the Lanyon and around to the interior quad usually leaves me smiling, pleased with the look and feel of my usual environs.

I often end up taking the Dublin Road down past Shaftesbury Square to City Centre, where architecture preserved from Queen Victoria's reign stands proudly near buildings designed to serve the needs of modern commerce without clashing with their older neighbors.  My eyes are always drawn towards the City Hall, a flawless building of graceful columns and airy domes - and out front one can't miss Herself, Victoria - of England, Scotland, Ireland and Her Dominions Beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India - preserved in marble for all time.

A few blocks down stands the Albert Clock, raised as a monument to Herself's consort, whom she loved and and mourned so intensely that the facts of the story have become ideals ensconced in legend.  It's majestic, lovely to look upon.  Just a few blocks away are the trendy shops and pleasant pedestrian areas of the Cathedral Quarter, at the heart of which stands the Cathedral of St. Anne, it's tall spire and mammoth transept-cross humbling to any man, be he Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Presbyterian, pagan or atheist.

These little wandersing usually leave me with a damp head and rivulets of water running down my long green coat; sometimes my feet even get a little damp.  I never particularly mind, though.

That's just a side-effect of living in my city... and it suits me.


I manage to keep myself busy in general.  A speaking tour ranging across Ulster - and Ireland - is laid out for the second semester.  My dissertation will focus on disincentive results from regulated Corporate Social Responsibility.  I'm center for the Belfast Bulls, an American-rules football team that grudgingly gave me the spot I wanted only after deciding that what I lacked in size I made up for in ferocious disregard for my personal physical safety.  After being asked to stand for the Union Council and subsequently being elected Council Speaker, I take some small comfort in being sortof vaguely important in the narrow circle of Union governance.  It's both humbling and flattering to have been so ardently supported by so many different representatives of Northern Ireland's politics, many of which don't seem to believe my claims that I'm going home in July and want me to run for Union President.

I've met all manner of Lords and Knights and members of the Order of the Bath and the Order of the British Empire.  Being much impressed with anything that smacks of romanticism, I've enjoyed all that immensely.  Just as engaging have been conversations with European Union commissioners, members of the Assembly of Northern Ireland, and exchanges with members of several city councils.  One thing I get asked a lot - why do Americans elect everything from dog-catcher to President?  How can you keep the candidates all straight?  My answer, of course - we don't.  It'd be near impossible.

"What do ye' do when ye' duh'not know a thing about the candidates?"  I love the way their vocal pitch rises and falls as they speak, so different from the slower, more even enunciation of the American deep south.

"I typically write-in a vote for Chuck Norris, in that case."  Their facial expression, and slow movement towards an explosion of violent laughter, never ceases to please me.


Toasts!  Ah, toasts!  We don't do them all that much in the United States, and it's a terrible shame.  There's a certain dignity about it that I find endearing, no matter the subject.

Of course, as an American, I don't know that I properly can toast 'Her Majesty, the Queen!' or 'Mary McAleese, the President!'  Nor could I appropriately offer the most common toast among stodgy and historically minded Americans - 'The Republic!'  After all; here 'The Republic' means the tri-colour waving southern 26 counties.  I generally settle for a somewhat tongue-in-cheek solution, and have gained approving, amused notoriety for raising my glass to 'The Sovereign State of Mississippi!'  For a decision made in about .068 seconds, it came out fairly well, and could have been a sticky situation.


I'm due for a trip home - I'll be flying out on the 29th of January, a mere eight days off.

People to see when I return, in no particular order;

1.) The Family
2.) Fiesty
3.) The Howards
4.) Gregory
5.) The Neels
6.) Meagan and Brent
7.) Professor Thompson
8.) Dr. Cotten (who promises lunch at our normal environs, 206 Front!)
9.) Dr. Crockett (who promises coffee!)
10.) Dr. Nicovich
11.) The Office Bunnies at MP&V
12.) Michelle
13.) Mike
14.) Lee
15.) Mrs. Bishop
16.) Rev. Ribelin, and my Church Peeps
17.) Dr. Winters
18.) Sandy
19.) Michael (Ruffin)
20.) My post-office buddies

Who have I forgotten?
Current Location: 26 Mount Charles
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: 'How' - Cranberries
21 January 2008 @ 05:43 pm
--- Insert a semester of getting to know Belfast here ---
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: the rain
I leave for Ireland on 11 September, 2007.  11/9.  I am specifically referring to it in the European format to differentiate it from September 11, 2001, or 9/11.  I think that in the mentallity of most American's there's really only one 9/11.  It doesn't come 'round every year.  If I were to mention 9/11, you would immediately know what date, and what events, I was talking about.


Normally before profound life events individuals report a sense of surreal detachment, uncertainty, and an overwhelming wave of nostalgia.  We know that what is happening is a positive development, and would not conciously choose to change our minds, and we are glad of these impending events.  Nevertheless, in the normal situation there is a lasting, nagging feeling that we don't want anything to change.

That hasn't happened to me yet.  I wonder if it will?

There are several things I'm going to miss, and that general portion of me that stodgily disapproves of change and enjoys the comforting certainty of the "Now", the "Is" and the falsely asserted "Always Will Be" disapproves of relocating on a very basic level.  I also don't mind saying clear out that I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to Michelle.  Not because I have any foolish expectations, but because she makes me very happy.  I don't even know how I'll go about saying goodbye to Fiesty - she's like a warped, twisted tree helping to help up the clubhouse of my worldview.  I'm buoyed by the knowledge that those two, and my family are going to visit - probably, probably, and certainly respectively.  But there's no terpidation.  No deep breath before the plunge.  I'm not overly eager for my depature day, nor am I becoming leery of it.

My enrollment is complete in the Law School Legum Magister in Corporate Governance and Public Policy.  My Visa is in order.  My scholarship money is cleared and transferred to my account.  My new computer is ordered.  The necessary insurance premiums have been paid.  My desposit on my apartment is payed.  I have communicated with the relevent professors.  My travelling itenerary is in order.

It just is.  One of those powerful words.  A present tense state of being.


Dan moved away to Oklahoma.  I was a little sad at that, and I did feel a significant bit of regret, and remorse, that I didn't get to see him more immediately before his departure.  Things have just been so busy...


I wrote this two years ago.  I wasn't really feeling emo or anything, it's just how I saw things.

Once I was struck by the powerful compulsion to see something, read something, hear something... beautiful.  My head was addled with poems and ideals in sharp contrast to the popular callus practicallity around me. I looked around, and the colours I saw seemed dull and harsh, inexpertly formed.  The ideals I overheard were vulgar, without redeeming consequence.  People begin to look like drab caricatures of what they were supposed to be.  My momentary need became morbid curiosity, and I turned into a mirror.  As I suspected, my skin too was pale and sallow, my eyes hard and indistinct.  Like the rest, my lips were curled in a reflexive craven sneer.  In a world filled with epicurean cynics masquerading as pragmatists I was dying of reality poisoning.

I was thinking about that paragraph, and I read an entry written by a friend of mine.  In response to her, I wrote what I realize now is the updated, more accurate version of the way I see some things - 

They always tell you that opportunities exist for you to change the world. They never bother to mention that if you want those opportunities, you have to earn them, fight for them tooth and nail. For a lot of people college was an epicurean dream disguised as free-thinking self-enlightened training sessions for life. Now a lot of them are dying of reality poisoning.

Grab some anti-biotics, babe. If you last until the fever breaks, you'll be fine.

The thing that struck me was that last thought.  I suppose it's just the comforting optimism of it that led me to turn it over in my head after I typed it.  Of course there's the other side, which gave me pause: it's painfully obvious to me what becomes of people whose fever never does break.

On an unemotional level it brings to mind the possibility that I could be infected at any time.  And all that work, all the long hours and all the concentration won't mean a thing if I screw up.  My 'charmed life' (and how funny is that people still think that!) won't really amount to much.

I suppose it's good that I take my vitamins.


In general life is still very pleasant.  I'm re-establishing a lot of ties with friends that I let slip over the last few years while I was Empire-Building.  I'm spending more time with Michelle as the weeks progress; I find her company to be very soothing.  I'm trying to hang out with Fiesty more, so that my psyche will be pleasantly warped by the time I leave.  I need to start conciously spending as much time as possible with Max, who is leaving next Monday for Embry Riddle.  He's going to come and see me during St. Patricks day.  That's going to be good.

I'm also tutoring Forensics kids, which is something I should have been doing for years, but never found the time.  It's really good money, and I feel very good about it.  Wish I'd picked it up sooner.

Ah, well.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Matchbox 22 - 'Real World'

This morning I noticed that my work computer was lagging pretty badly.

I decided to do a few basic things, like defrag the hard drive.  The infernal machine promptly responded, "Wait, you want me to do wha-a-at?"

As a matter of necessity, I gave it a dirty look.


We have a new receptionist (again) !  That's generally a good sign; I don't mind taking a turn answering the phone, but really... it does get a bit old from time to time.

Hopefully this will constitute a longer-lived solution to the Receptionist Question than did our last attempt.


I've been having a pretty good time of it this summer; life is more simple and linear, if no less busy than before.  I'm still in preparation for my departure for Ireland, plus I'm having a ball hanging out with Dr. Cotten (crazy old coot).  He wanted to find out just how smart I am (as opposed to how much of a smart ass I am; there he gives me top scores).  Being a psychologist [former head of the state Department of Mental Health no less] he administered the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Quotient exam to me personally.

It turns out that I'm certifiably really smart.  I think putting my IQ here would be too much shameless ego-stroking for even me, but I was pretty happy about it.


My computer is still limping through the defragmentation process as grudgingly as possible.  Bah.


Vacation Bible School was interesting.  The teenagers I was in charge of were fun enough.  And as soon as I started talking about sex they got really interested.  I'll have to remember that trick.

(admittedly, I'm not exactly an authority on that particular subject, but then nobody's perfect)

The last day Mr. Graves actually played a clip from Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn in the multimedia presentation that kicked off each day just for my benefit.

Rock.  On.   Best event in the Petal Presbyterian Church Sanctuary EVEH.


By the way; 18th Ugliest Thing Eveh.


I was invited to help do mock interviews for a gaggle of Miss Mississippi contestants last week.  It was an interesting experience.  The other people were all pageant expert people (Michael Caine's character from Miss Congeniality was there, I swear it).  They were all actually a lot of fun, but I was surprised at the lack of training that the various contestants had, as far as their ability to execute the interview to best effect.

(two of them were blonde, though, so...)

Anyway, a couple of them were interested in retaining my services as a speech coach after I critiqued them.  We'll see how that goes.  I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to do a stint as a 'pageant consultant', but then, who knows?


I'm kindof worried about some of my friends.  Being in the age category I am, a lot of my friends are liberal (to varying levels, from rabid extremists to moderate center-rightists).

My worry stems from my sinking suspicion that their approach to issues of politics, social policy, and ethics are indicative of my entire generation.  Even among my conservative friends, the situation is the same.

Both sides have allowed their views to become so calcified that the idea of exchanging viewpoints or considering alternative motivations, ideals, or standards is anethema.  They'd rather either not talk about things or start throwing around pointless invective.

I'm not one to fail to defend my convictions, but I rather enjoy hearing the viewpoints of others.  Unfortunately, the moment I politely voice an alternate opinion, conversation shuts down.  The whole process usually takes less than five minutes.  Are we really that unwilling to tolerate or even hear opinions that are at odds with our own?



Hm.  Life is good.  I feel particularly well centered the last few weeks or so.

Current Location: MP&V
Current Music: 'If I Should Fall From Grace With God' - Pogues
13 June 2007 @ 02:40 pm

In the words of Jonathan Allen, "... about the world - there are problems."

The Palestinians seem eager to get on to the business of civil war, with armed Hamas fighters moving against Fatah installations and officials.  Abbas calls it a coup, and the likelihood of escalation seems pretty good; shots have been fired, men are dead.

Putin seems to be mired in some kind of long-term flashback to his KGB Coldwar days.  Much blustering and threats to aim nukes at Europe.

Possible military action on the part of Israel and/or the US seems more likely every day, and joint excersizes by the US and Israel (even if they were planned way in advance and probably don't indicate an immediate desire to turn Iran into a parking lot) do underscore tensions.

What's going on in the media today?

Well, first there is Paris Hilton.  And of course the great question of the week; was Bush's wristwatch stolen?  Probably not.  And my favorite - while Iran is getting some news, it's apparently only because they're going to start executing porn stars.

Our receptionist is recovering from some form of back surgery, so I've been taking turns answering the phones at work.

Naturally, this would be a much more satisfying process if no one actually called the Firm.  Ever.  But alas - they do.  As a result, it's well-nigh impossible to get anything of significance done.

I have had some pretty interesting people call in, though.


The family returned after their weekend sojourn to Mum's dental conference thingy on the coast yesterday.  That's always good; when the house is totally quiet and empty it feels unnatural.


I think I would have made a swell fireman.

Metaphysically speaking.


I'm leaving friday to fly to Chicago, and I'll be there for the weekend.  That should be pretty interesting.


I started this entry thinking that it would offer some form of diversion, but really it's just kindof lame.

Here, 'kindof' is defined as 'very much'.

Perhaps I'll add something worthwhile later.  If anything worthwhile happens.

Current Location: Montague, Pittman & Varnado
Current Mood: blankblank
Current Music: ring-ring-ring!
06 June 2007 @ 11:48 am

Time to get back in the habit.


Last night I was having a [decidedly pleasant] conversation about the nature of belief.  My position has always been that there's an important difference between 'believing' a thing and 'knowing' a thing.  It's equally important to understand how personal beliefs work relative to the beliefs of others.

After all - a Unicorn would probably spend less time worrying about whether or not you believe in him as you do worrying about whether or not he believes in you.


I think it's interesting the way the righ company can have profound impacts on one's general disposition. 

Related topic; yesterday evening I was talking about some metaphysical element of causation blahblahblah and mid sentence I looked up and just stopped.  My entire thought process stalled, almost like a hamster whose excercise wheel gets something caught in it.

I think it's a particularly good sign that extreme beauty can still be so startling.


Plans continue to move forward for the Ireland adventure.  I mostly just hope nothing freaky happens to me know.  After the fiasco with missing credits I had to deal with just after graduation, I'm becoming paranoid.  Luckily the Registrar found the problem and it all got fixed, but seriously; what's up with that?


Last week I had an unsavory adventure with Strep Throat.  I was decidedly unhappy about the whole affair, and I ended up missing an entire day of work.

Worse, when I finally showed up they treated me like a leper.  I even got sprayed down with Lysol.  I thought that was a bit much.  But then, at least they didn't try to burn me to control the contagion.  That would have been kindof bad.

In any event I recovered well enough after a day to go back to work, and stayed on my antibiotics until things completely evened out and all was well.


I think I'm going to make a point of working out regularly with Michelle's brothers.  I've only done it once, a couple of weeks ago, and it was really more of a male machismo thing - see if I was made of stern enough stuff for their approval.  I out-benched them handily while quoting from Titus Andronicus, so I think I've gained their grudging respect.

It was kindof fun though, and they are pretty hardcore.  It would probably be good for me.


Nothing particularly interesting has happened today, and frankly I've not the interest or time to recound events from the last month.

Current Mood: dorkydorky
Current Music: 'Snow' - Red Hot Chili Peppers
04 April 2007 @ 07:50 am
I’ve been very busy.
Also, my fish is still dead, and I have made no headway on the investigation.
I took Dr. Cotton (fellow I had Abnormal Psychology under) out to meet Professor Thompson on Monday. I LOVE inflicting the interesting people that I’ve collected on one another.

We all had a great time.
Graduation is drawing ever nearer; just a matter of months. I’m looking forward to it, lemme tell you. Collect my honours and my degree, and then start preparing in earnest for Ireland. I’m excited. 
All I’ve got to do is finish up my Phys. Ed. Credits and take the computer proficiency exam on the 27th, and I’m done. My application for degree is done, my robes and all that good stuff are ordered, the necessary fees are paid.
I’m ready to move on now. Ha!
It occurred to Dan (and some of my Forensics colleagues) that since I didn’t compete my freshman year, I still have a year of eligibility to compete.
I chose not to encourage them to think in this vein. After all; I’ll be on another continent.
My parents forgot my birthday. Really pretty much everyone did except for Mike and Michael Ruffin. But then about a week after my birthday everyone suddenly remembered, so it was okay.  My bitter disappointment was passing.
In any event, among other things, Mum and Pops gave me an Ipod Nano (which I prefer to a full Ipod, since I don’t really have any need to watch videos on the thing, I really just want a mobile MP3 player) with a very endearing inscription on the back. It’s really quite nice.
Which leads me to this Memo to Steve Jobs;
To: Steve Jobs
From: PL
Date: 4/4/07
RE: The ‘Ipod’ line of products
            We are generally very pleased with the quality and versatility of your Ipod line of products. We encourage you to continue your innovative efforts in this area. Further, we appreciate the inclusion of a non-irritating green among the colour options for the Ipod Nano, a particularly convenient product.
            That will be all.
I have strategically upgraded my desk chair in my office at work from a reasonably nice little black leather one to one of those nifty ones that looks like it was taken from a Star Trek set. It’s a really nifty chair.
And after a month of careful positioning, it’s mine. All mine.

I’m getting a tiny bit more worried every day about the theological illiteracy of my fellows.

Secretly, I'm terrified that in fifty years we'll live in a vaguely nominally Christian society filled with people who don't know a damn thing about Christianity.
A little cut that somehow appeared on my lower thigh became infected, necessitating a trip to the doctor, antibiotics, and all kinds of silliness. But I’ve not forgotten my adventure with staph and septicaemia from sophomore year, and I’m not eager to repeat that harrowing experience.
Also, remembering that everyone kept telling me stories about how they had a relative who died from it, I’ve decided not to let anyone know. Besides; it’s very mild; it’s not like I’m missing work or class.
I can’t really go running with it, though, and that’s really irritating. 
During my voice lesson Monday Dr. Winters commanded me to enunciate a weird series of vowels in quick succession. So I did. He frowned in displeasure, saying “You need to stop moving your tongue back in your mouth on the ‘ah’. That’s the second time you’ve done it.”
“Well, what can I say, I’ve got an active tongue,” I replied as I began to concentrate on keeping my tongue completely still.
Dr. Winters smirked. “Well, I’m sure the ladies are all very impressed, but that’s not what I’m after here.”
Then I became flustered.
Maximillion and I have been watching DS9 on DVD for the last year and a half or so, popping in a few episodes here and there. I think we’re going to finally finish up the last portion of the last season this weekend. That’ll be nice.

I also need to watch Season 5 of Smallville and at least Season 2 of Boston Legal before I leave.

Which reminds me – I LOVE BOSTON LEGAL. A lot. Denny Crane.
Looking back on the last two years, it’s pretty impressive that I managed to squeeze in the entirety of Smallville, seasons 1-4 and Season 1 of Boston Legal in on the weekends. Of course, that’s probably why some of my papers were a little weird during the last year and a half or so; doing a paper on Roman Law while watching a couple of episodes of Smallville can have that effect.
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Sanctus (Requiem in D Minor) - Mozart
13 March 2007 @ 09:02 pm
Yeah, yeah, the html on the thingy in my last entry didn't exactly work out.  Missing the full impact of one of those random quiz thingies somebody sent me won't hurt you, and I've been rather too busy to fiddle with it, so it'll probably stay that way.


Now that I'm back from the seemingly endless battery of tournaments that have finished up my Forensics career I've had a bright new opportunity to... ah, be buried in work?

Having been away from work for about a week and a half there's ten gajillion things to catch up on, the least of which is not to finish compiling my billing information so that we can send bills to our clients.  It's the only part of the job that is simplymind-numbing, but it's got to be done, so there you have it.

At the very least, it's good to see the girls at work again.  Tonn, for instance, is getting formally proposed to on friday, and can't wait to show us all the ring.  Everybody else seemed more or less equally happy.


Tragic news flash; while I was gone, my fish died.  When I left the Firm, it was happily swimming about in its bowl, then when I returned, there was no fish bowl on the corner of my desk.

I think it's been murdered.  I must get evidence.

... I might be next.


I have mixed feelings about the end of Forensics.  I think the fact that Pi Kap was my last tourney and CA my last ever event made it easier, since I so powerfully dislike them... but the truth is that I think I'm going to miss it.

Or rather, I'm going to miss the people.  I made a lot of friends from a lot of different places that I only got to see at tournaments, and it pains me to reflect that I may never see some of them ever again.  Even beyond my tendency to 'collect' interesting people, these were good people that I value a good deal.

I'm not going to miss the interventionist judges, the madness that is Pi Kappa Delta, the irritation of crass, rude people that one finds on the fringes of tournaments.  I'll not miss LD, or Policy hacks of any imaginable type.  But the more I think on it, the more pensive I think I'm becoming as I think of particular people that I enjoyed hanging out with and planning evil coups with.

I shall have to make a particular effort to keep track of them.

Also, speaking of interventionist judges, I happened upon the judge that dropped Miss Murphy and Miss Clendenen for insane arguments that the Opposition team didn't even make against them, plus an [admittedly]  new argument that Miss Murphy had point-of-ordered.

I identified myself as a spectator of that round who was affiliated with neither JBU nor Truman (or whoever they debated) and asked him how he could have made that judgement in good conscious, against all common conventions and standards for fairness and non-intervention.  He didn't even try to argue that he had not intervened, or that his actions were outrageous.  He just maintained that as a judge he could do as he liked.  I took offense at that, and began to calmly tell him what I thought of such callus disregard for anything even approaching appropriacy, but he ran away.

Yeah, I definitely won't miss people like that.  And it was very liberating to berate him.


Roger Lott, a team alumnus and local attorney, is running for the state House of Representatives in Petal, my home town.  He wants me to sit on his election committee.  On the one hand, I really like Mr. Lott, but the fact is that I just don't know that I have time.

In all honesty, I think that I could be a big help; I'm very well known in the town, and I'm a member at large of the County Republican Party Executive committee, among other things.  A public endorsement from me, and some concentrated work talking him up to the right people in the city government, civic organization, and other committee members would be a help to him, but I've only got so much time available.

I need to think about whether or not I have enough time to do it correctly before I agree to help him, especially since he's trying to get me to be his de facto campaign spokesman.  I'm going to meet with him tomorrow to decide.  At the very least, I'll see if I can encourage some friends to volunteer to help him blanket neighborhoods and the like.


I'm very excited tomorrow; I haven't seen the kids for quite a while, and I rather enjoy my little Youth Group.  I'll have to come up with something special for the lesson.  We were going to talk about the missionary journeys of the Apostle Philip next, but perhaps we'll quit early and play baseball.

Really I'm just ready to be back home in earnest, doing all of the things that I associate with home, making a contribution.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Fiesty tells me this is why I am going to be a good husband, arguing that I could conquer the world at three o'clock and still want to go home to my family by five thirty.  While admitting that this is the case, I'd be quicker to believe that it was a sign of stodginess...

... because secretly, I'm still not that interesting of a person.


I'm going spend thursday and friday afternoons at Professor Thompson's house, catching up on my carving and using his equipment to buff my gouges.

I haven't seen him in a long while, and I've been meaning to spend some time carving with him for a while, but time is so hard to come by... but since it's Spring Break and my only plans outside of working all day every day are to see  300 with Armstrong and some of the other guys, I have optimum opportunity.

I think that when I finish it, I'll replace my current Facebook icon (my first ever carving) with this one.  I think it'll be the best one I've ever done.

Oh, and speaking of 300, I'm getting just slightly bitter about this.  Mike is seeing it tonight or tomorrow (I don't remember which) Armstrong saw it while I was in Michigan (but wants to see it again) and all of my compatriots from John Brown University went to see it during the tournament.


I tell ya', it just ain't just.


Ah, I have to order my regalia and get pictures made for graduation.  If I don't get those pictures... Mum will be very displeased.  And as I've said before, I'll only know that I'm no longer a human being when I lose my fear for me Mum.


So, this Skype thing is fantastic, eh?

"Oh, Phillip!" you may be saying as you roll your eyes, "You're catchin' on pretty slowly, aren't ya?"
"Hardly!" I retort in mock-offended derision.  "I've only just now got 'round to it on account of the many other demands on my time.  But seriously, this thing is mind-bogglingly fantastic!"

Miss Huddleston was bored, so I agreed to tell her a story, and she convinced me to download Skype so I could do it with voice effects.  It works pretty well.

Talkin' to me computer, and communicatin' with people in England?  Oh yeeeeeeeah.  Star Trek is coming sooner rather than later, and I like it.
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: 'Follow Me Up to Carlow' - Irish folk music
01 March 2007 @ 08:08 am

<p align="center"><img src="http://www.flarn.com/~warlock/tarot/winged/1.jpg"></p>
<h2 align="center"><font face="Verdana"><b>You are The Magician</b></font></h2>
<p align="center"><font face="Verdana">Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.</font></p>
<p align="center"><font face="Verdana">Eleoquent and charismatic&nbsp;both verbally and in writing, 
you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.</font></p>
<p align="center"><font face="Verdana">The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.</font></p>
<p align="center"><font size="2" face="Verdana"><b>What Tarot Card are You?</b><br><a href="http://www.flarn.com/~warlock/tarot">Take the Test to Find Out.</a></font></p>

Hm.  Interesting.


We're leaving for California in little while, and I'll have one day back at work before we pick up and head out to Michigan.

It's going to be fantastically cold there.  I don't really approve.

Anyway, I'm going to have to take some of my work with me, and try to stay productive.  Fun-fun.


Wierd enough - apparently I left a book of cheques in my ex-girlfriend's car.  For a couple of years.  Her mother found it and let me know, so I went to retrieve it and talked with Mr. and Mrs. Bridges for a while (although poor Mr. Bridges seemed weary, and after thirty minutes or so I think he just wanted to go to bed.)

Anyway, it's nice to know that they're all doing well.


My voice lessons with Dr. Winters are interesting.  It's odd to concentrate on adjusting and moving parts of your head that you've never even given any thought to before, or never even knew existed.  There are a lot of very odd sensations involved.

Dr. Winters tells me that I have significant natural adaptibility, a good ear, and good voice texture.  I'd agree with the last one, if for no other reason that my speaking voice is apparently quite nice, but I don't know if the others are true or if he's just saying that because... well, because.

I suppose if I didn't have natural ability he wouldn't have asked me to take lessons from him, but I still don't really know how to react to statements like, "You should have been a music major."  I guess their flattering, but it's... I don't know.  Odd?


I'm embittered about this renewable energy source resolution I have to debate on in California.  I'm supposed to come up with a way for the government to encourage renewable energy.  I chose to subsidize Nuclear power.

"But Phillip!" you might say if you're reading this boring mass of thoughts, "That's not renewable!  Nuclear power is the devil!"

"A-HAH!" I would reply with a raised eyebrow and a I-think-a-little-too-well-of-myself smirk playing across my lips.  "Solar power is a renewable resource, and is widely acknowledged as such, is it not?  Yet we cannot make new sun.  Rather, it's just going to last so long that it doesn't matter.  We have enough Uranium 238 to last five billion years, thus Nuclear power is every bit as practically inexhaustible as solar power, and let's face it; it rains from time to time, making Nuclear power more dependable.


... yeah.  So it's my way of being snide, and sticking it to the Man.  Because I encourage people to stick it to the Man.

Keep in mind - one day I intend to be the Man, at which time this policy of encouragement with change into severe discouragement.  I will not tolerate such things.
Current Mood: blankblank
Current Music: 'California Dreamin' - Mommas and the Poppas
26 February 2007 @ 07:44 am
The other day I went for a walk around campus, partly to see the new Chain Garden and the new fountain and partly because a friend I had seen in a long time was wandering around, and I figured we might happen upon one another.

The Garden was nice, the new statue was not what I'd have chosen, but it's a reasonably good Risen Christ.  The fountain, though... the pressure in the four spouts was uneven, so the water cascaded out asymmetrically.  It nearly drove me insane.

Oddly enough, it seems that walking around campus near Donnell Hall at 10:45 is just a hip thing to do.  Puttering along, minding my own business, I was accosted by no less than five people who called out my name, beginning with Mr. Stevenson and ending with Mr. Dupuis.

It was sortof weird. 


My knee is really stiff.  And I think it's spreading like some sortof cancerous plague to my back.

This morning we started on some kind of Marine Corps excercise regimen that Armstrong cooked up, and for some reason about 2/3s through the first mile my knee seized up, right there in front of Armstrong and Mr. Byrd.

It was sortof embarassing.

I haven't had this problem for a while now, but the physician who cut out the offending chunk of my knee sophomore year said I should avoid lengthy repetitive jarring motions for a couple of years.  But I've run as much as five miles without having this problem before.  Maybe it was the cold?  It was really cold at 6:00 this morning...

In any event, hopefully tomorrow morning will go better. 


A popular random topic of conversation this month centered around my routine-driven lifestyle, with the consistantly asked question, "So, don't you get bored?"/"Don't you ever have any fun?"

This leads me to believe that somehow, I appear even more monkish and ascetic than I actually am.  Which I wouldn't have thought possible. 


In yet another five-hour game of Axis & Allies accompanied by outrageous conversation an threats, Andrew Byrd, Jonathan Allen and I soundly defeated the Nazi horde led by Derek Armstrong.

Miss Musto even dropped by for a while, leading to fascinating discourse on the subject of Flax (sp?) seed.  She left before the climatic development in the game - when my vast Soviet horde smashed Armstrong's vast Nazi Horde and moved into striking distance of Berlin, leading to unconditional surrender.  Ha-HA!


Last night I thrashed both Rand and Amanda Davidson (friends from work) at Wii, although out of eight total games played I did lose two; one bowling match to Amanda and one tennis match to Rand.  Wii sports is quite possibly the single best video game here-to-fore released in a console format.

Then Galactica came on.  Ah, wondrous.


Lest you wonder, I did indeed mention those points after the 'boring!?  what!?' section to underscore the fact that I do, indeed, have a social life.  So HA!


Hm.  Time go to; I'll finish this later.
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Music: Legend of Zelda - John Williams
19 February 2007 @ 08:26 pm

Life is busy.  That's generally okay, though, because life is also good.  First - Forensics:

In the past few weeks, we had two tournaments, one small one at Monroe and one major tournament at LSU, both of which the team won.  We were actually very pleased, in no small part due to the fact that last year at the LSU tournament, LSU beat us by four points, and we apparently defeated them by a larger margin.

As individuals, we all did pretty well at ULM and LSU, including myself, but I'm not going to note everything everyone won here because it would take too long.

Oh yeah.  We're that good.

Although we noted that it was interesting that Ole Miss didn't deign to come down to LSU and fight for the Mississippi State Titles.  I suppose it would look bad in the papers if we beat them in the 'tournament granting the acknowledged state titles, and we surmise that this is the reason that they didn't come down.  I could easily be wrong.  But they sent some people to Shreveport last year or the year before (I can't remember which) and we cleaned their clocks, so we suspect (without any real evidence or confirmation) that this is the reason for their absence.

Mississippi College sent their team, but they didn't do very well.  We really like them, though.  Good people.

I also got to see several of my pals from LSU again, which was really very nice.  Miss Shoemake, Miss LaPlace, Miss Juneau, Mr. Arowolo, Mr. Cummings; just the few I got to talk to at length.

Oh, yea; FYI, Dan drove to Louisiana to go on a date with Miss Swift.  Apparently it went very well.  It is the concensus of the team that this is well nigh a miracle.

Dan has me doing Policy LD debate again.  I hate it with a fiery passion...  it's a bunch of anti-charismatic geeks who use ludicrous evidence to argue things like, "If you really do make renewable energy possible, Bush will get political capital, use it to attack North Korea, and then Russia will nuke the world!"

Renewable Energy = Russia using nuclear weaponry to destroy the world.

Right.  I see that.  Perfect sense.

Hopefully it won't be so bad this year... but it probably will.


We've got a lot of new people on the team, and generally I'm quite pleased with their quality so far.  Especially the guys; we all tend to bond really well, if for no other reason than the number of traditions we've established to promote good relations.

It is nice, though.  The women, on the other hand, tend to have dramatic flare-ups of drama.  Why, you ask?  I don't know.  I have a theory, but that's neither here nor there.  I can but thank God for that 'Y' chromosome.


I spent the week at home, something that I haven't done in a very long time.  It was absolutely fantastic; hugely restful, powerfully relaxing, and all around enjoyable.

Immediately upon coming home I fell asleep for three hours.  Mum tells me that this is probably some kind of natural response to coming home to a safe environment, wherein there is family, shelter, food, no predators, etc.

Makes sense to me.

I was a little worried about Mum, actually; she works all day doing root canals and things, which require standing still and exerting precise pressures in very delicate situations.  One night I volunteered to watch Sam so that she and Tammy could go dancing (Pops was out of town so the two ladies made a night of it, and I'm sure that Mum wowed the lookers-on with her mad ballroom dancing skillz.)  Apparently she has to move from guy to guy as they prove that they can only keep up with her for so long before failing.  I thought that was kindof funny.

She was a little tired and sore when she got home, so I gave her a long neck-shoulders-back massage and made up fanciful stories to tell her in funny accents.  [Concensus now indicates that I have 'magic fingers'.  I guess that's a good thing.]  Then we talked for a while, having one of these great light-hearted Mum/Son conversations that just seem to make life in general better.

I also loosened up Tammy's shoulders and back; apparently Gramps Mauldin's illness is only getting worse, and she's had to lug him around a bit.  That's really not good; I hope that some other arrangements can be made at some point.  But the whole affair really is very unfortunate.

I also got to spend a lot of time with Maximillion, critiquing novels that we've read, hanging out, and perhaps most importantly watching episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  We're both elated and a little worried at our good fortune in watching six or seven good ones in a row; elated because that's wonderful, and worried because such a good run might be an indication that a really bad one is impending.


I've started my new classes, and I guess we'll see how they turn out.

I'm enjoying my voice class with Dr. Winters, and I'm very appreciative that he offered to give me a private class.  I'm also pleased to have occasion to walk around in the school of music; there's always something nice to hear, from pianos to violins to classical guitar.

Ancient Historians is going to be interesting, if a little dry.  Mostly I'm thinking that I'll enjoy Dr. Nicovich's perspective on Herodotus, Livy, Tacitus and the rest.

Badminton and Tennis I am largely regarding as joke classes; I have to have them to get the degree, so I shall take them in order to get the degree.  So be it.

Complex Groups and Organizations under Dr. Thompson is probably going to alternate between being really boring and really interesting.  But that's the same situation I've dealt with in his other classes, so that's alright.  Really I enjoy his classes, so it's all okay, on balance.


Dr. Cotton and I have formed an evil alliance of sorts.  We've mutually collected one another into our groups of 'Interesting People I Know', and then decided that we'd pool our interesting people.  I'm going to share Professor Thompson with him first, and he has an eccentic and knowledgeable friend that he wants me to show my carvings too. 

I'm looking forward to introducing Dr. Cotton to Professor Thompson.  That is going to interesting to watch!


Unless there's a tournament (which there might be) I've volunteered to help Pine Belt Animal rescue run a booth at an upcoming civic event.  Even though Jonathan, a friend of mine at work, has been a little pushy in trying to get me to volunteer (drafted is what I think he wanted to make me) I'm glad that I've got something else civically oriented that I can do.

Besides; this policy that some cities have of just euthanizing dogs if they aren't claimed after four or five days is more than a little barbaric.


Saturday night I finally got around to watching Pan's Labriynth with Derek Armstrong.

In all honesty, while I did enjoy the film, it wasn't the fascinating, end-all be-all of cinema experiences that people claimed it was.

Don't get me wrong; great flick.  But I wasn't changed forever by it.

I'm actually really curious why they chose to translate the title into English as 'Pan's Labryinth' instead of 'The Faun's Labryinth'.  Pan isn't even a Faun.  He's a Satyr.

Armstrong and I actually discussed this one the way back from the theatre; he held that Pan was in fact a Faun.  But the day was mine!  My knowledge of classical culture and Greek Mythology won out!

... and my nerd is showing.


I honestly think, by the way, that I'd've made a swell fireman.


I can't think of anything else I want to say just now.
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Dvorak - New World Symphony
In a series of e-mails I was exchanging with a friend recently, I stumbled upon a thought that appealed to me. My high school band career is a metaphor for my life. As with life in general, I wasn’t particularly good at playing the trumpet. In fact, I was so ‘not particularly good’ at it that Mr. Ingram eventually had a big black box built so that I could stand on it and talk.
I was lucky enough that in between fanfares, the crowd had nothing better to do than pay attention to me. This good fortune has served me very, very well.
I think that Hero must have decided that things were going to easily for me again, and employed her mystical powers in willing complications at work.

The other day our Runner accidentally knocked something in the neighborhood of 150 closed files off of the shelves, sending files and papers everywhere. 
So I spent some time attempting to impose order on the massive catastrophe.
It was… not so much fun.
Now that Dr. Winters has convinced me to take a voice class under him, he keeps making all sorts of dire and ambiguous statements… statements that seem to indicate that at some point in the future the ‘/\/\4|) 5k1llz’ I’ll acquire studying under him will be put to use.
This… could be a bad thing.
I won the Talent/No Talent thingy two weeks back, singing a song about a drunken Scotsman who loses consciousness and is stumbled upon by two young and lovely girls. They decide they’re curious – “… I wonder if it’s true that they don’t wear beneath their kilts!”
They find out.
Anyway, I was cajoled into doing this after making a facetious statement that they claim constitutes a binding promise to do so.
I guess I can’t complain; I did come out 20 bucks ahead.
Now if I can just get Jonathan Allen to stop showing a video of the ‘performance’ to people…
I’m really enjoying working with the young’uns in the Youth Group. Last week we talked about the Arian and Gnostic Heresies.
They are able to understand the concepts after I explain them, they just aren’t so hot on remembering things. Well, save one girl – she always remembers. In some instances, I think I’m starting to understand how some teachers can really get all the satisfaction they need from one outstanding student.
She’ll be heading off to Petal High School next year, so I’m going to mention her to Prof. Thompson, have him keep his eye on her.
Anyway, there all sorts of suggested adventures in the air; Reverend Ribelin has suggested a group trip down to Mobile to see the Pompeii exhibit there, and I think that’s imminently doable. It has also been suggested that I put my high-priced education to work by taking the kids on a trip to Washington D.C. in the early part of the summer. I think it’d be fun, but we’ll have to see how things are going by that time.
It’s amazing to find out how many people were in Thrash Metal bands and rode motorcycles around back in the day.
… people you’d NEVER suspect in a million years…
Amanda put a note on my computer monitor at work that says, “Phillip, you are hereby reminded to have fun! – Amanda”.
This might be a bad sign.
I’ve pressed several of my co-workers into service as proof-readers for my papers, to verify that all said papers are free from error. They don’t seem to care much for the subject matter though.
I don’t get it; how is Nietzsche not absolutely titillating!?
I have a new fish.
He sits upon the corner of my desk in his bowl, swimming about. Being red.
His name is Chico. (I didn’t pick it. I secretly renamed him ‘Chico Aristophanes’).
Sandy and Shannon, two of my (favorite) co-workers, are leaving the firm. It’s a bit depressing. Tomorrow night we’re all going out to Olive Garden together.
Jonathan has asserted that I must be uninformed, because I rely on sourced editorials and news briefs rather than watching CNN or Fox News on television to glean information.
… I cite numbers, acknowledged experts… he sites the opinions of talking heads on CNN.
Example Conversation Tidbit:
J.H.: “American soldiers kill hundreds of Iraqi civilians every day!”
P.L.: “You say this based on…?”
J.H.: “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
P.L.: “You brought it up!”
J.H.: “The United States is one of the worst human rights abusers!”
P.L.: “And the vastly compelling evidence you have to justify such a shocking statement would consist of… what?”
J.H.: “We’re violating the Geneva Conventions in Guantanamo!”
P.L.: “No we’re not. Have you ever even read the Geneva Conventions? They actually indicate that we could do a lot worse to unmarked combatants in a combat zone that we capture.”
J.H.: “The UN Charter, then.”
P.L.: “You’ve never read that either, have you?”
J.H.: “…”
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: 'Swan Lake' - Strauss

Now that my core temperature is slowly equalizing and I have returned to a less icey-wastelandish part of the country... I miss the snow.

Why the hell do we have to be so fickle and unreasonable?  Note to HUMANITY: If a snake ever asks you to disobey a great booming voice from the sky... don't.


Cindy Morris, the Director of Housing at William Carey College University died last wednesday night.

It was disturbingly sudden.  She was apparently admitted to the hospital late monday night or early tuesday morning, and by late wednesday she was gone.  I had no idea until I was told shortly before we left to catch our flight to Denver.

I spent some time thinking about it, and I was a little disappointed to realize that my main emotional response was, "Wow.  That was fast.  And random." with a tiny bit of "Gee, she only just got married a few months ago.  That poor husband of hers... this is tragic."

Of course, we weren't really friends, I only talked to her once a month or so on work related stuff.  But she was pleasant and happy and generally giggly.

But it bothers me that I feel more badly about not feeling badly enough about her passing away than I do about her passing away initially.

Did that make sense?  It did in my head.

The funeral was monday at mid-day.  I was just starting on my way back to Mississippi about the time they started the service.


I was supposed to meet Dr. Nicovich so I could take a quiz early before I went to Denver.

He didn't show up.

I waited for him, gave up and arrived at work late to try and accomplish as much as possible in a short period of time.  Didn't do anywhere near as much as I wanted.

Thursday was a bad day.  A really bad day.  Thinking back, I was relieved to climb into my car with Dan and Jonathan Allen and head up to Jackson for our flight.
Current Location: Montague, Pittman & Varnado
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: profound silence, w/keyboard clocking

The last several days have been very educational.

I learned, for instance, that Denver is very cold.  Now here you're thinking, "Well, Phillip, that's sortof to be expected!" but you're missing a vital point.  The truth is that I was prepared for bitter cold, and I used my pre-existing understanding of 'cold' to prepare myself.

This pre-existing understanding was a product of total self-deluding quackery.

It's well-neigh apocalyptically cold.  It is so cold the geese have to waddle around in snow until they have an insulating coat of snow and ice around them.

I will say that it has been a little funny, in that Dan is totally freaked out by driving our rent-a-car (Saturn Ion!  WHOOOOO!) in the snow and ice.  Also worthy of note: every time we left a building, Dan and Jonathan Allen take one breath of the super-cold, super-dry air and immediately begin to cough.  I don't cough or feel much different.  Dan claims that my infrequent but consistant pipe smoking has gotten my lungs to the point that they expect unnatural abuses.

We spent some time wandering around down-town Denver, and Jonathan Allen took a picture of me walking through the snow with a box holding a poster I'd purchased in one hand and the aforementioned pipe sticking out of my mouth.  It's kindof funny.

We did get to see a lot of interesting stuff downtown, including the seat of the Archbishop of Denver.  The Cathedral Basilica is smaller than many I've seen, but it's absolutely beautiful.  The capitol building itself is smaller than the one in Jackson, but very well designed.  And I'd have to admit that our state government is a little more pompous.  Dan also pointed out that since government is the only real industry in Jackson, they are a little compelled to try and take themselves seriously.


I'm terribly excited about the new portion of the Rome Series starting.  I just think you should all know.


Quotes - 

Jonathan Allen: "Dan, about the world... there are problems."

Dan: "More core temperature has not risen high enough for me to leave the car again.  We'll have to wait."

Book Store Owner: "Yeah, earlier this weird paramilitary group was meeting on the capitol steps.  You people missed it.  Rad stuff."

Phillip: "That's it.  I'm joining my generation in demanding immediate gratification.  Your generation's role is enablement.  Enable me.  Right now.  Enable me to own a Corvette.  Come on, already!"

Jonathan Allen: "... but it wasn't until they started to explain that funding stem cell research would lead to nuclear war with Iran that I decided I wanted a stiff drink."

Phillip: "That's why I never use my powers for evil."

Jonathan Allen: "Stop using your powers for evil!"

Jonathan Allen: "It's snowing again."
Phillip: "Don't tell Dan.  I don't think he can handle it."
Jonathan Allen: "Don't you think he'll notice?"
Phillip: "Meaning, 'Do I think Dan will have the presence of mind to walk over to a window and consciously note that snow is falling'?"
Jonathan Allen: "Good point.  We'll put it off until we absolutely have to."

Random Girl Who Goes to Pepperdine: "Yeah, living in Malibu is pretty tough."
Jonathan Allen: "What!?  I know for a fact that your school is on a hill overlooking the Pacific!"
Phillip: [wipes away a tear]

Random Girl Who Goes to Pepperdine: "Mark Hamil lives in Malibu, and I've been stalking him for years, just so I can say I saw him up close."
Jonathan Allen and Phillip: "..."

Dan: "It's sixty-five degrees in Hattiesburg right now..."


 - This is the part of the show where Phillip hurriedly goes to sleep before Dan fills the hotel room with the defiant rasp of his characteristic snore! -
Current Mood: energeticburr, shiver (happily)
Current Music: 'Island in the Sun' - Weezer

This past week we discussed the Problem of Evil at our weekly youth meeting.  I explained the concept and some of the dilemmas involved, and the kids went wild with it, hashing out possible solutions and then discarding them in quick succession.  I was really impressed.  They figured that things that people do to each other (wars, taxes, etc.) are evils that can't be God's fault because we're employing our free will.

Then one of them looked up with wide eyes.  "Oooooh, what about hurricanes?  People don't cause hurricanes.  So what about that?"

I raised my eyebrows, pleased at this development.  "That's called 'natural evil'."

"Hmmmm... natural evil..."  Some of them actually seemed to be rolling the term around on their tongues to decide if they liked the flavor of it.  They began to argue with one another for quite some time, failing to find any suitable conclusions.  They eventually decided to think on it some more, and I asked them to bring possible solutions to the Problem of Evil with them next Wednesday.

At the end of the meeting, Cameran Graves walked up to the board with an expression of great seriousness on his face.  "In the mean time, I'm gonna' draw a picture o' natural evil."

With that, he concentrated on fleshing out a drawing of a massive brown tornado.


I did really well on my mid-terms, it turns out.  Topped my previous highest scores on mid-terms/finals in both Nicovich and Crockett's classes.


On the down-side we had a quiz the first day back in Nicovich's class.  I had forgotten about it, and hadn't done the assigned reading for it.  Thankfully, we get to drop-grades in amongst our quizzes, and I've gotten all 95s and above on the others.


I'm liking my new office.  It's nice enough, and reasonably big.  There isn't much stuff in it, but I did put two small canvas prints on the wall behind my desk.

I also brought my red-and-green M&Ms from Christmas to put in a candy jar on my desk.  My coworkers quickly eliminated them, so Christmas is officially over.  Prematurely.  Sigh.

And yes, that is how I figure the timing of the official end of Christmastime.  When the last red-and-green M&M is gone, that's when Christmastime ends.


Dr. Winters has offered to give me private voice lessons next trimester.  I'm actually pretty excited; he's an excellent instructor, and training under him is surely going to have a positive impact on my speaking vocals as well as singing.

Registration is this week, so I can't really be completely sure, but so far I plan on taking Tennis, Ancient Writers with Nicovich, Voice with Winters, and then three hours of electives to round it out.  And that's my last-ever trimester of undergraduate studies.  Rock on.


On thursday I'm leaving for Denver to do a Parli-Swing tournament.  I still have mixed feelings about that.

Interestingly enough, we do get to rate the juding pool before hand, and grade judges; 'A' means we'd most prefer them to judge us, 'D' means that we'd least prefer them, and we get four strikes, completely excluding them from judging us.

It was very much like jury selection.

Of course, I struck judges who were either biased against us or fundamentally opposed to our debating philosophies, and graded the others according to how much they liked us, had voted for us in the past, or leaned towards our style of debating.

I wish all tournaments did this.


Dan sent me a Black Adam E-Card for New Years.  It's... kindof odd.


I watched Jersey Girl yesterday, not really expecting much.  I was surprised; it was very, very good.  George Carlin did an especially good job.  On the whole it was a refreshing, endearing story that was touching on several levels.  You'd have to be a pretty heavily jaded jerk to not like the movie at least a little.

I even liked Liv Tyler's performance, and I'm often indifferent to her in movies, mostly because she's either playing the girl love interest and doesn't have particularly interesting lines or she's doing a peripheral part, like in Lord of the Rings.  Not here though.  She was dynamic and funny and had a great deal of personality.

Jennifer Lopez... I don't really like.  But objectively, I admit it was okay.  Nice and short - her character dies pretty early on.

Of course, I really like Kevin Smith's writing, so this is not particularly surprising.  I really think this one is now my favorite Kevin Smith movie though; it's a lot better than Chasing Amy (which I also liked, truth be told).


At Forensics practice Dan had people drilling on Impromptu speeches.

Michael Ruffin got an old Yiddish proverb about lack of knowledge (or something like that.)  In this introduction he said (and I quote): "For instance, Jesus was their actual Messiah, but they were waiting for this big warrior-king to come and throw out the Romans, so they pretty much missed that boat, eh?"
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
27 December 2006 @ 11:09 pm

I actually wrote an entry mentioning all sorts of interesting things that have happened over the last few weeks, but it messed up instead of posting several times, and I got really tired of typing it all out again, so I just wrote it off as a loss.

In any event, this term, 'interesting', is very relative.  I'm sure that most people wouldn't consider it all that compelling.  I do, but seeing as it's my life, I think that's something that could be assumed.

I digress.


So far so good, as far as my efforts as the new Youth Minister at church.  I'm still not sure how 'hip' they really expect me to be, but I do think that religious education is a phenomenally important issue.  I don't like the fact that so many of my own generation and the next one are near completely ignorant when it comes to their own religion.  Of course, I have an advantage with the kids; they are in or have been through the communicates classes, and so have a firm and extensive foundational understanding of doctrine through the Westminster Catechisms.

My hope is that by exposing them to some basic theological and doctrinal principles, along with a basic outline of the history of the Church, I can give them an understanding of who they are, and where they come from.  It's certainly not acceptable to me that two thousand years of Chuch History are consigned to a few medievalists and whatever number of students in basic Church History classes choose to remember after they finish ticking off the credit for the history or social science degrees.

I'm encouraging parents to sit in on the educational portions of our meetings, and to talk with their children about the things that we address.  After all - I certainly don't speak with authority, and the most important input with regard to religious education should always be the parents.  One did sit in on the meeting last wednesday.  I have to admit that I was a little anxious to find out what she thought - this, after all, isn't some kind of speaking engagement or academic excersize.  I consider it a very solemn, very serious endeavor, a religious duty.

Much to my relief, the response was very positive.  The lady hugged me and told me that she was very pleased, tha I was doing a great job.  I was embarassed at the display of personal affection, but very pleased and reassured.  She also said that I was a natural-born teacher, though... I don't know about that one, so much.  My chief advantage so far is that the kids (and people in general) tend to literally just like the sound of my voice, and so are more likely to pay me a little attention.

Perhaps not particularly flattering, but I'll take what I can get.


Christmas was (of course) great.  I've come to appreciate it a lot more over the last couple of years, largely because this is always a very... awkward time of year for me.  But I always look foward to getting to spend time with the family and spend a few days in a world were work, class, and long-term considerations in general melt away into the background.  After a few hours they aren't even that; just a vague notion at the back of my mind that I won't have to pull up again anytime soon.

That's kindof nice.

Right now we're in Utah skiing/snowboarding.  We're all having a very good time.  It's definitely worth saving up for the trip each year, and I'm trying to get all that I can out of it, since I really don't think I'll be able to afford to fly from Dublin to go snowboarding next year.  I'm also very pleased that I continue to make a lot of progress; I'm almost as good as Maximillion.

Well, maybe not that good.  But I do get dramatically better every year.  I can keep up with Mum and Pops without them having to stop and wait up for me, and frankly that isn't any small thing.

Holli Quiroz, Maximillion's girlfriend, has joined us for the trip, and is learning to ski.  She's learning very quickly, and coming along quite well.  She does keep teasing me about Miss Bridges for reasons I don't entirely understand.  It's a very strange back-and-forth; she makes a comment, I feel compelled to defend Miss Bridges, she laughs at me for defending her.  I really don't understand why it's such a favorite topic for her, as I really don't consider it to be all that touchy a subject; just one that I don't really expect to be brought up at random.

Actually, now that I'm thinking on it, she's come up a lot over the last few days.  For instance, when we were opening Christmas presents, my sister gave Mum a little USM cheerleader teddy bear.  Everyone laughed, and Pops said, his eyes alight with mischief, "I can't help but notice that the bear has this strange interest in Phillip..."

Then it turned out that Grandmother had also recieved one.  You guessed it - "HA!  They're twins!  Hahaha!"  Everyone got a pretty good laugh at it, I guess.  On the one hand, I suppose it was sortof funny, just not that funny.  I mentioned it to a friend/Advisor, who went all psycho-analytical on me and has determined that I disapprove of people making light of her.  Er... okay.  Maybe.

In any event, I'm currently overjoyed because we have wirless (!!!) here in the condominium.  That's a first.   It's particularly good because I'm going to spend the last two evening's we're here slowly working my way out of vacation mode to work mode.  I've got to put the finishing touches on two papers for Abnormal Psych., and I'd like to get started on some preliminary work for the last Crockett paper.  I'd also like to flesh out a few ideas for my paper for Nicovich, on Roman Imperial law and government.


I'm thinking about getting laser surgery to permanently correct my near-sightedness.  Mum suggested it to me, and said she'd pay for it; I certainly can't afford it.  I'm giving it a lot of thought, but it's hard for me to just accept someone else (even Mum) paying that much for something that I really feel is my own personal responsibility.

I mentioned that to Fiesty.  She said that pride can be stupid.

That was the general point she was getting across, anyway.  Her words were more colourful.


Since the Oklahoma tournament was beset by a blizzard and we couldn't attend, Dan is becoming concerned that Jonathan Allen and I will not have enough tournaments between now and Parli nationals.  So now we're going to Denver on the 14th of January to compete in the Mile High Parliamentary Debate Swing tournament.  Even if we don't break (which is somewhat unlikely) we'll be debating twelve rounds - two whole debate tournaments.

I'm not entirly sure how I feel about all this... but I suppose we'll see what happens.  Jonathan Allen and I will need to get together several nights next week to prepare, running position drills and developing new tactics to deal with the popular positions being run by Midwestern teams.


I've been having a lot of odd dreams lately.

The oddest part is that I can remember them.  I'm actually not sure whether or not I normally dream.  If I do, then I don't remember their content, and that's what makes this odd.  The last few weeks I've been remembering having dreamed, and a lot of unlikely people have shown up to play prominent rolls in my dreams; people that I haven't seen or talked to in a very long time.  It's... weird, actually.

Luckily, none of the contents of my dreams have corresponded with what little I know of Freudian dream analysis.  That's always good.  I'm thinking that they might just be odd regurgitations from  my subconcious, in which case I need to figure out what the hell goes on down there while I'm not looking.


I'm starting to look into the prospects for getting a part time job while I'm in Ireland, working for a Barrister or Solicitor.  With my degree and four years of experience working as a legal assistant, I have high hopes that I can find something that will add to my increasingly formidable law school application.  The reassuring thing is that I'm not worried about acceptance at all.  Rather, since I didn't have to pay anything for my Undergraduate or Graduate degrees, I'd like to keep that going with my Juris Doctorate.  If I can manage to get my entire education, (BA, ML, JD) without having to borrow any money at all, I'll be doing very well.

I have high hopes that It'll work out.  Having a Master of Laws from Trinity certainly isn't going to hurt.  After it became known around the Forensics circuit that I would have my masters, with completed dissertation after the end of next year, an opportunity even came up for a teaching position of some sort over the summer at a University in Oklahoma.  It's a very vague kindof think, just something mentioned to me in passing, but it did get me thinking, especially after Dan pointed out that with a Masters degree concentrating in International law from an EU University, I could even defer some of my law school costs by teaching one class per semester while in law school.

I don't really know how that works, and I'm not sure that I'd be all that eager to teach a class while studying law at Washington and Lee or Stanford, but it's worth looking in to.

Professor Londeree at 23, though?  I'm not all that sure about that.  Is that even feasible?  I've never heard of such a thing.  It doesn't even sound right.

Current Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Current Music: 'Mad World' - Tears for Fears

I'm unreasonably irritated at the fact that I couldn't run today because there were women on all of the running machines in the gym, and it's cold enough that I'm not interested in running around the campus.

I probably ought to reiterate - I completely understand how unreasonable it is to indulge in this petty irritation.  I know that I have no special rights to the treadmills, etc.

All that noted, it's just unconscionable that these random gaggles of freshmen girls randomly swarm the gym for the one night out of the month - nay, the year! - that they will actually exercise, thus depriving people who go to the gym every day - like me, who should be empathized with heavily at this part of the petty rant - out of luck and unable to use the machines they customarily use.

And... I'm done.

Ah, well.  At least I was able to do everything other than run; free weights are much less popular than treadmills among that 18-20 "OMG I NEED TO LOSE FIVE POUNDS!" crowd.


I'm getting really worried; I have this sinking feeling that my entire religion is slowly turning into an experiential multimedia production.


For whatever the reason, today was not a particularly pleasant day.  This is probably in part because I did a mediocre job on a quiz in Abnormal Psychology, which set a decidedly negative tone for the whole day.  Then I came in to work and started catching up on some filing on the first floor, but then Doug needed me to do something, and then Sandy needed emergency help with a file, and then by the time I got back to the files Michelle needed help making 68546843546854654657632111321 copies for some stuff going to Warren County that looked hauntingly familiar...

So I didn't get the filing finished like I wanted to.

On a brighter note, not a single piece of office equipment broke today.

Take that, Malevolent Copier Gods!


Miss Huddleston said something with regard to a project she's working on that reminded me in a round-about sortof fashion that depending upon how one takes Genesis 3:16, it can easily be decided that female-to-male sexual attraction is actually a punishment from God.

"Unto the woman he said, 
I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; 
in sorrow thou shalt bringforth children; 
and thy desire shall be to thy husband
and he shall rule over thee."

As might be expected with regard to this sort of subject material, I have mixed feelings, but mostly I still think that this is really, really funny.  I mean, good from a 'survival-of-the-species' standpoint, but still funny.

In a related story, while I was looking up a few things for Miss Huddleston I discovered that, tragically, the nifty free Septuagint program I downloaded is crap.  It has textual variances that are random and don't make sense.

So it is no more.  And to think; I was so happy to find a program wherein I could do word searches in Greek text.


I think the only tournament left in the year that I'm really looking forward to is the LSU tournament, since I'm going to get to see all those LSU people that I like so much.


The number of people who think that I'm going to spontaneously re-invent myself in Ireland is growing.

I don't understand.  This is confusing.

Frankly, I know that I'm stodgy and not very exciting a person... but that's just what 'ya get.  There will be no Phillip Version 2.0 (Eire).
Current Location: Polk Hall
Current Music: 'Southern Girl' - Incubus