Friday, July 29, 2005

Laura is right, I don't drink coffee, so I though I would test the system and see what coffee I am anyway...

You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium
What Kind of Coffee Are You?

Actually the description fit pretty well, I hate soy though, but that should not bother me since I also hate coffee. What makes me think though is the "Free Spirited, down to earth" part. Are those not mutually exclusive? Oh well, there is no doubt that I can be dogmatic and picky. If that makes me a Soy Latte, then so be it, who am I to argue with an online quiz?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Which McMullen do you think this refers to?

You Are an Iced Coffee

At your best, you are: hyper, modern, and athletic

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you're out with friends

Your caffeine addiction level: medium
What Kind of Coffee Are You?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

So this last Sunday was our First anniversary, a moment which we figured was worthy of celebration. What follows here is a rough account of our attempt to do just that:

First, we took a trip on Saturday out to Mt. Pilot State Park, which, when approaching from the south, looks like this:

Upon entering the park, we drove a ways up the mountain, putting great strain on the poor engine of our little saturn, which was made only for one kind of slope: downhill. Once we got there though, we did some hiking, and the trails were very cool, as we wound our way around the base of the cylindrical peak thing:

Eventually, we got to a place where we could (against the park rules) climb up onto a higher platform, which was about as high as you could get on this mountain without serious rock climbing gear, and got a great view, especially of the turkey vultures which were soaring around our heads, as shown in this video. Once we settled down up there, we celebrated properly:
My apologies to anyone who does not like to look at us kissing. Next we took a different trail which gave us a great view of the mountain, but not before waiting for a wedding to finish, which was taking place right in the middle of the trail we wanted to take:

After finishing up at this park we had much of the afternoon left, so we drove north into Virginia, and took the Blue Ridge Parkway south and East back into North Carolina, passing views such as this:

Once we started heading home, we got hungry, so we stopped in a town called Yadkinville at a place called "Little Richards" which specializes in traditional North Carolina barbecue (for you northerners, this does not really resemble anything you get by the name up there). So we each ordered a large serving of their best barbecued pork, cole slaw, hush puppies, and either tator tots or green beans. It was mighty good eatin:

Oh, and in case you can not tell in this picture, the sign really does say "Eat Mo Pig."

The following day, we got all dressed up, went to church, went shopping, rented a movie, and then went out to eat at Ted's Montana Grill (specializes in Buffalo steaks and burgers). We would have preferred the a local Brazilian Steakhouse, but it was closed. Here is us all dressed up, having just eaten a lot of buffalo/beef/potatoes/etc:

So that was our two-day celebration. Our mountain pictures can not measure up to Tim's, but hey, you go with what you can get.

Overall, after having been married a year, we both decided that marriage was a "good thing" and that we would remain married.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Steve and I stopped by Target Sunday to pick up a notebook for me (to track my "hippy diet" -- we're toying with the idea that I'm allergic to corn & corn derivatives, not sugar, so we wanted to track my reactions to food VERY carefully.) While there, we saw the new Harry Potter book was on sale for about 45% off the cover price. So, for a few moments we considered buying, decided not, and then remembered that we had one last gift card left over from our wedding (a year ago on Sunday!). We didn't know how much was on the gift card, but assumed around $20/25. We got to the register, and with our other purchases, the total came to a little less than $26. As the cashier scanned our card, I reached for my purse to grab the last buck. I looked up to see "balance due: $0.00." "Excuse me," I asked, "How much do we have left on that card?" "A little over $74," the cashier responded. Steve and I did a little gig out of the store. Not only had we somehow managed to find the money to buy a totally frivolous book, we had also found ourselves seventy five bucks richer in the process!

I am now about half way through the book. My dear sister, whom I love, and who is only on chapter 5 (WAY behind me!) has some how managed to let it slip which major character dies in the end. (Which means, one, she cheated and read ahead, and, two, she really should learn to keep her mouth shut.) So, I'm not terribly happy with her, but I am enjoying the light read in the mean time. (I guess I can't complain. I found out who died in the last book the same "accidental" way Sarah did, and I MAY have let it slip to her as well... although I don't think MY "letting it slip" was NEAR so obvious as Sarah's. REALLY Sarah, you tell me who it's NOT, and then say, "but it's one of the biggest characters besides..." MEAN MEAN MEAN. :) )

SO, I'm looking for other fans out there who have also read the book, so that we can discuss. I can't talk about this with Steve until after he's read it, which will probably be after his qualifying exams are done mid-August. I don't think I want to wait that long.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Harry Potter And World War II

**WARNING: Harry Potter plot spoilers ahead for Order Of The Phoenix**

Everyone else may have noticed the similarities between the plot of the last couple Harry Potter novels and pre-world War II british history, but I had not, until I read this article. Jonathan Last shows some wonderful parallels, which are powerful enough to convince me that J.K. Rowling has intentionally given her students a history lesson:
"Order of the Phoenix" tells how, after nearly 14 years of peace, Lord Voldemort re-emerges to pursue his plans for dominion. As a Hogwarts divination professor explains: "The indications have been that Wizard-kind is living through nothing more than a brief calm between two wars."
Let's start with Voldemort, who makes for a fair Hitler: He is an aspiring dictator who wants to cleanse the world of "mud-bloods"--wizards who have normal, or "muggle," parentage. Dumbledore is clearly Ms. Rowling's Churchill. Like the British lion, Dumbledore is a part of the establishment, but when he tries to awaken people to the threat that Voldemort poses, he becomes unpopular. Ms. Rowling's wizards, like the British of the 1930s, are exhausted from their last war and unwilling to believe that it's time to take up arms again.
The article keeps going, and is definatly worth a read for anyone who is interested in both Harry Potter and history. I am now interested to see how well this theme holds up in the next book, though I have made my friend promise not to lend me her copy of The Half Blood Prince until I am done with my tests in August.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Steve's home
I'm happy. :) There's not much else to say. Steve is now studying quite hard for his qualifying exams, and I am engrossed in Smallville. Season two down, one more season (on DVD) to go.

Friday, July 08, 2005

So Steve has gone to see family and witness a wedding "back home." It's been fun, it sounds like. I thought I was waking him up to tell him about the terrorist attacks in London yesterday morning, but, oh no, he was already up, in the car, and on the way to golf with T-dawg. Sounds like life is rough.

I, on the other hand, have been spending my days working over 8 hours to make up for the hours I took off earlier this week to drop Steve off at the airport, (I just can't justify taking time off for that!) and amusing myself in the evenings. I bought Steve a anniversary present, watched about a gazillion episodes of "Smallville" (which we recently got drawn into -- and then found out that our friends down here own the first three seasons) and went to my pastor's house to discuss sex. (Um... it's not as bad as it sounds, but nevertheless I'm not going to explain myself.)

I am excited that my sister has decided to come down and visit us!!! YEAH!!! Sarah you ROCK!

I strongly encourage others to follow her example. (Julia and Neal, you are exempt, as you were the first non-family friends to come down and visit us! :) )

So, when will YOU be dropping by? We'll put the tea pot on for you!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Cheating PhD Students

So Dr. D alerted me to this article for my other blog, but I think it fits here. A bunch of doctoral students at the university of Virginia just got caught cheating on an assignment, and many will be kicked out of their program. This was very scary to me, because, quite frankly, it could have been me.

In our program (as in most econ programs, like Virginia) assignments are essentially group projects. Everyone works on them, and there is no way to succeed on your own. It is simply too hard. There is no illusion about "doing your own work" because the assignments are supposed to make you feel amounts of pain which approach "cruel and unusual" proportions. Ok, so some people don't feel all that pain, but I am not as smart as some. Additionally, we work to get help from any source available. That includes the internet. I have often searched google for help on a particular type of problem, looking for lectures, examples, or anything that would help. I was lucky, I never found an answer key to the work I was doing, for if I had, I am sure that many people in our program would have used it.

Am I guilty of cheating then? Almost yes, I suppose. So anyway, I tend to think that the punishment on these students is a bit harsh, but perhaps not.

This was very much a "there, but for the grace of God, goes I" moment.

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