Monday March 2, 2009

Greetings! Xanga, how could I ever think of leaving you?

However, I’ve been cheating on you with the ever-popular facebook. And that relationship is what inspired this entry.

Bored at work, I was browsing through facebook groups when I found a discussion topic that boggled my mind. It was not the ubiquitous (and sensible, reasoned, and edifying) debates regarding abortion, evolution, theology, the Middle East, sexuality, or politics that caught my eye. It was this conversation topic that stuck out to me and caused me to stop and realize how unbelievable facebook can be:

what does your name spell backwards?

and 37 people, in the comments, responded with their names spelled backwards. A few people added LOLs or HAHAs afterwards to show their joy and excitement about their name spelled backwards. Some even responded to other posts with LOLs or ‘GrEaT tOPic!’

Only one person responded with the only sensible answer: “my name seems nothing backwards”.

Now I was going to parade this around about how facebook is a worthless waste of time, how online discourse is meaningless, how we all should be doing better things with our time: reading books, writing poems, dancing with friends.

But here I sit, browsing through facebook, wasting my time reading other people’s stupid conversations and now adding to the din of online discourse.

It’s time for me to go, go read a book, write a poem, or dance with friends.

But I will be back, xanga. Always and forever, xanga.

Thursday October 2, 2008

Well, I’ve had an interesting morning.

This morning, I had to get my immunization record updated.  No big deal, right?  I’ve got new insurance so hence a new doctor.  Totally random, just picked a name off a list.  Big mistake.  I walk up to a shady medical storefront on Broadway.  Filed out my medical history mostly with documents written in Russian.  Walked back and aced my blood pressure test.  Small Russian woman walks in: my doctor.   This conversation then happens:

Dr: [thick Russian accent] You healthy?
Me: Yeah, I feel gre…
Dr: [interrupting] You need to lose weight.
Me: [awkwardly] Yeah, I guess so…
Dr:  Yes.  Must lose weight.  You know; diet; exercise.

I proceed to re-explain that I just need a Tetanus shot and for her to sign a form – I had already explained this on the telephone when I made the appointment and at the counter when I walked in.  Other nurses assured me this would be fine and simple.  Not quite.  They actually don’t even do adult immunizations there.  It takes 10 minutes to communicate that she is unable to fulfill the sole reason I made this appointment.  She then insists on examining me anyway, which turns out to be the shortest and least thorough examination I have endured.  Despite the brevity, when listening to my heart, she again reminds me that I have ‘a lot of weight to lose’.  Super.

So I still need a Tetanus shot and this form filled out by a doctor, so she gives me a referral.  Of sorts.  She tells me just to go down to the board of public health, lie and say I don’t have insurance and get the shot there.  Whether or not this is good advice remains to be seen.

In other news:

  • I’ve moved.  I alternatively think of this as a very minor move or a very major move.
  • I now live in Kenwood.  I can now work to work.  Much better. 
  • I’ve started taking a Latin class.  Thus far, I am really enjoying it.  Good to be back in a classroom as a student.
  • I’m making an effort to stay connected to all my friends on the Northside – and around the world.  Be patient.

That’s all.  Back to WGN.  Pray for the Cubs.

Thursday September 25, 2008

As my mother can attest, I usually have a strong opinions about things and have always enjoyed a good argument.  So, under the inspiration of Dave Bjorlin, let’s throw caution to the wind, and turn this into a political/news blog.

Economic Bailout

I cannot express how frustrating this is to me.  Let’s look at all the zeros.  $700,000,000,000.  Some people predict it will be closer to $1,200,000,000,000 when all is said and done.  That’s a whole lot of money to spent on things no one else wants to buy.

Let me see if I understand this.  [Please note how literally every sentence makes you think ‘Boy, that seems problematic’ or ‘That sure was stupid’]  Banks give loans to people without regard to how much money they have or whether they can actually afford that loan.  Banks bundle, divide, split, repackage and sell these loans to other larger institutions as securities; no one really knows what they are anymore.  There is virtually no government oversight of these things, individual banks hire whoever they want to value these mortgage backed securities, and executives are motivated by massive benefits that reward short term success without regard to long term success or stability.  Housing bubble bursts; these homes and securities are suddenly: worth less than people paid for them, too expensive to afford, and nearly impossible to sell.

Thank goodness, government to the rescue!  Not to the home owners, but to the gigantic financial institutions deemed too large to fail.  The general consensus among people much smarter and better informed than I am is that this is really the only viable solution.  So, instead of questioning the whole bailout idea, I’ll raise questions about the terms of it and the accompanying political climate.

Specifics.  I wouldn’t be sickened and disenfranchised if the eventual bill that passes didn’t, at the very least, contain these provisions.  First, limit on executive pay and bonuses.  Make them give back what they greedily and stupidly took.  We take back people’s houses, let’s take back their bonuses.  If their company really needs this bailout, let’s make them crawl on their belly to get it.  Figuratively and literally.  Second, the government should buy these securities at rock bottom prices.  I guess that because no one wants to buy them, they are worth nothing, but I would be so frustrated if my government used my money to overpay these huge institutions just to give them some money to grease the wheels of our economy.  This should be painful.  Third, tighter regulations and increased government oversight.  This just makes sense.  More on this later.

General Political Climate.  What frightens me about the current situation is how typical of the Bush administration this is.  The nature and language of the proposed bill reveal how large of a power shift this is.  “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”  As John McCain said: “Trust me is not enough”.  The politics of fear and end-of-the-world-doom to push through legislation that later on is widely thought to be questionable at best – Iraq war, wire-tapping, Guantanamo bay – seems to be a trademark of this administration.  Another instance of the greatly expanded (usurped?) powers of the Executive branch.

John McCain/Sarah Palin

I think her appointment as VP is a joke.  The trooper-gate scandal that is being ignored in Alaska.  Her woeful – and comical – lack of foreign policy experience and knowledge.  The way the media is babying her, McCain and advisers are babysitting her, and the way the campaign cries whenever any one mentions her.  It’s a joke I’m alternatively laughing at and weeping over.

John McCain is certainly playing politics by threatening not to participate in the debate.  His only responsibility is to vote.  Nothing more.  And, I think he has only voted once in the last 110 opportunities.  Might this have more to do with the decline in the poll than the DOW Jones?  I think so.

Barack Obama/Joe Biden

I fear I’m veering a little too far to the left; let me air my grievances with the Democratic side.  Advantage or not, I’m disappointed he didn’t follow through on his promise to take public financing.  I wish he had agreed to more debates and townhall meetings with McCain.  Give the American people a chance to see you side by side as often as possible.  Obama’s global economic stance: limiting free trade agreements and increasing U.S. protectionism through tax breaks and subsidies is not the way to stay competitive in the increasingly globalized world.  It is better for America and the world to trade freely.  Let’s not stick our heads in the sand and pretend this is not happening; let’s forge a solution that is good for American workers, good for foreign workers, and good for the environment.

Wow. That was cleansing.  Hearty discussion welcomed.

Tuesday August 5, 2008

Xanga, it has been a while.

Life moves on.  I am now two months into the new job, which is about time I stop referring to it as ‘new’.  It is just my job at this point.  Overall, it is good and I am grateful to have it.  I am enjoying a lot of the benefits: relaxed work atmosphere, hours of NPR a day, health and dental insurance, library privledges, the fact no one has cursed me out; compared to teaching, it is a breeze.  However, these comparisons are not all as happy and I sometimes feel discontent – or at the very least unresolved – about the juxtaposition of these vocational experiences.

But in the meantime, I have taken up a host of hobbies: Covenant league softball, paper making, art projects, and, most recently, stamp collecting, in addition to the usual pastimes: biking, crosswords, and hot dogs.  This summer was marked by five high points: namely seeing my mother for five consecutive weekends.  What a streak!  What a lady!

That might be all the excitement I have to report.  As always, I hereby pledge to update more frequently.

Wednesday May 21, 2008

This is an official update: I am now happily employed by the University of Chicago!  I will be working in the Law Library and I am excited about it.  In a few short days, I will be greeted by comforting routine and regular paychecks.  I think I am going to go ahead and declare this the summer of Andy Meyer.

I think that a party is in order.  More details forthcoming, but we have got to celebrate!

In other news: has anyone seen this?  Or know that they have made an entire movie?  I am intrigued.

Thursday April 17, 2008

Oh to be young again.  Today seems to be campus explosion day, the day when students skip class and flock to the green space to lay in the sun, pretend to study, or play frisbee.  Ah, the joys of beautiful weather.  I celebrated with an Arnold Palmer al fresco and bicycle ride up and down the lakefront.

Time does fly by.

If I haven’t already mentioned this, everyone should go out and buy the book “Anatomy of a Pilgrim Experience: Reflections on Being a Covenanter”.  Not only is it an important book to understand the Covenant and North Park, it is becoming an important book to understand me; I’ve started cross-listing it with my journal.  My goals to become the next Zenos Hawkinson are slowly, but surely, on their way to being realised.

Friday March 21, 2008

I’ve never been one for controversy, but has anyone seen this website:

Stuff White People Like

Wow.  I mean wow.  They have got me nailed.  I love all of the following things:

#1 Coffee
#8 Barack Obama
#25 David Sedaris
#28 Not having a TV
#30 Wrigley Field
#44 Public Radio
#46 The Sunday New York Times
#61 Bicycles
#63 Expensive Sandwiches
#64 Recycling

Who knew I was so stereotypically white?

Wednesday March 19, 2008

The other day, I started thinking about how much I loved libraries.  I like them because they always seem holy.  Maybe that is largely due to the quietness and hushed voices – which always seem to signal holiness – but when someone speaks loudly or rudely it seems to violate the sanctity of the library.  I also like that they are free and that you can do whatever you want there.  Whether it be the latest mystery novel, checking your email, reading a magazine, it is all there and it is all free.  What could be better?

If I ever have to give one of those Ms. America speeches – which, by virtue of this thought, I am apparently planning on – the way I would make the world a better place would be by mandating all citizens get library cards.

That is pretty much my only profound thought for the day.  This afternoon, I will be taking the beloved Amtrak back to Grand Rapids for a prolonged Easter Break.  Have a good one and catch y’all on the flipside.

Monday March 3, 2008

First off: sorry.  This has likely been my longest break from xanga, and I have no excuse for my absence.

Onto other things.  Life is strange, no?  A year ago, I was just starting to teach in Bronzeville – an experience I have chronicled in a recent HandsOn article (www.handonsmag.org check it out!) Today, I taught at a private school quite similar to the one in the movie Dead Poet’s Society.  The contrast was stark.

Yet here I am.  Same old Andy Meyer.  But, on the other hand, these situations have changed me and influenced me in major ways.  Whether I am antagonistically called ‘Mr. Mayo’ of familiarly called ‘Andy’, the math is the same.  The Pythagorean Theorem is wonderful like that.

I hereby pledge to update more frequently.

Saturday February 9, 2008

As my mother so aptly pointed out, Advent is long over and my xanga is liturgically incorrect.  So with that in mind: a new entry.

Speaking of the Church Calendar: Lent is here.  Lent seems like a hard thing to get excited about; indeed, with a goal of ‘worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our own wretchedness’ it is not something to look giddily forward to.  Yet at the same time, I find it liberating and exciting; for the end goal is to understand and grasp ‘perfect remission and forgiveness’ from the ‘God of all mercy’.  With these two goals in mind, I wish you a pentitent Lent.

On a related note: simple Lenten dinners of soup and bread will be taking place weekly throughout Lent.  The invitation is open and I hope that any interested party feels welcome to come.