Perpetually Unfinished
Friday, July 30, 2004
 
This summer has been a surprisingly difficult time to post regularly. Most of this is due, as I mentioned last time, to spending lots of time with Alex; the rest to working long hours (not ridiculously long, but long) and my brain wanting to relax and read instead of investing the thought and energy to write when I do spend time online.

It's 2am now, and I'm still pulling together stuff to leave for vacation tomorrow. I'm sure I've forgotten something-- I just have to hope it's nothing particularly important.

I'm going to spend 8+ hours on a plane tomorrow, and I'll have my laptop. The same goes for the way back. And there'll probably be some free time somewhere in the middle, too. I'm not sure if I'll have internet access, although I'm bringing an AOL CD so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to connect occasionally. Anyway, hopefully at least by the time I get back next Sunday (the 8th), I'll have something semi-coherent to share with you about my life, as well as a finished Closer to Fine entry that I've been working on for nearly a month. And maybe more, who knows? I don't have any shortage of ideas, just of time and motivation to write about them.

But now? Bedtime. Wish me luck tying up loose ends in my half-day at work tomorrow, and then wish me a great big aloha!
 
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Sunday, July 18, 2004
 
I haven't been writing much at all lately, I know. I haven't really had the time. With the summer as short as it is, Alex and I both know what's going to happen far too soon-- essentially nine months in a row where quality time together will be precious and rare, while his classes consume him like always. While we've got the summer, we're taking advantage of it, and that means that while I can come up with blog or journal entries in my head staring out the window on the el, there's really very little time to actually write and upload them.

We've been having fun, though. Aside from the everyday things, we've managed to work in a number of good Chicagoland experiences. Two weekends ago was Taste of Chicago, fireworks, and free concerts; last weekend we walked around downtown, went bowling at House of Blues, and went to the Baha'i temple (pictures to follow); and this weekend, we've been to the Millenium Park grand opening, a Cubs game (standing room tickets, of course, as everything else is sold out), and tomorrow we're planning to visit the Chicago Botannical Gardens.

We had Joe Vess over for a nice visit last Wednesday, too, and spent nearly four hours talking about all sorts of things, from Wal-Mart to the new government of Egypt to the international global economy, among other less serious topics. (It's nice to be able to bring up the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement and have people know what you're talking about and discuss it intelligently.) He's off to DC in a few weeks, to join everyone else under the sun.

Caught a link in Andrew Sullivan's blog to a New York Times article on young conservatives-- turns out Northwestern's own (or formerly Northwestern's own) Dave Weigel is quoted near the end. My spidey sense totally knew that was coming, for some reason. I could probably say a lot more about that, but I won't, at least not right now.

Okay, this is all scattershot and random, and I'm tired. One of these days there'll be a few more intelligent things to say, including the Closer to Fine post about how weird and complicated it is to combine one's deeply held beliefs about money and society with the actual earning (and disposal) of an income-- the post that's been sitting in draft form on Blogger for at least a week now. Until then... you'll have to put up with junk like this.
 
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Tuesday, July 06, 2004
 
Tried to go to the White Sox game tonight; it was pouring. Oh, well, another time.

Apartment's still a ridiculous mess. On the bright side, I did my part in helping clean by spending a couple hours yesterday going through the huge stack of magazines I dragged from the apartment (none of them originally mine, by the way) to cut out recipes so I can throw them away. I've discovered there are lots of pluses and minuses to being the last of my roommates left at the apartment. Yes, I get all the random furniture/silverware/books/magazines/etc I want that the others seem not to care about, but I also had to do all the cleaning and deal with the random junk and the extra furniture. I finally finished it all last week, and I did put a lot of time into cleaning, although it certainly didn't end up perfect. The landlord called today; he was bitching about it not being clean enough and about a couple pieces of furniture being left (I said that they were perfectly good, and that we wondered if the next tenants wanted them, and that we'd be more than glad to move them if they didn't; he made some nasty comment about how Absolutely Terrible it is to have anything left over in the apartment-- including the damn carpet from my room that was there when we moved in!). I hope the bastard doesn't take money from the security deposit-- he didn't mention it, but maybe he figured his complaining was enough. If he does... I don't know. I suppose technically it'd be my fault and I should take the hit, but on the other hand, I'm the one who did the damn cleaning that needed to be done, not a single solitary other person. (Well, except for Alex being sweet and helping me out.) Bleh. Just cross your fingers that for once the landlord doesn't feel like being an ass.

Let's see. I've got seven million thoughts about electoral politics that've been swirling around in my head for at least a month, that I'll try to organize into something coherent at a not-too-much-later date. But for now, this is something I ran across on the web today, that hit me because it's in tune with what's been on my mind lately; from a John Edwards speech:


Finally, as we make the price of college entry lower, we have to make the path to college entry fairer. If we are truly serious about providing a ladder to success that all Americans have the chance to climb, then we cannot wink at each other when we see special privileges for the most fortunate that serve to pull the ladder away.

More than 200 colleges today give students a leg up in the admissions process in exchange for a very early commitment to attend. Applying early is worth the equivalent of 100 extra points on the SAT, yet as a practical matter it is available only to the most motivated students who come from the most educated and fortunate families. Students can't apply early if they don't know about the program or can't afford to lock themselves into a particular school because they need to compare financial aid packages. Early decision worked great for my daughter, because my family could afford to use it. But for thousands of families who can't, early decision is fundamentally unfair...

We also need to address legacy admissions. Many schools reward applicants because their parents went to the same school. Instead of valuing parents who have worked for years so their child could be the first in their family to go to college, these schools actually put that child at a competitive disadvantage based on his parents' education. There's no question many legacy students are highly qualified and tremendous additions to their schools. They can be admitted without any preferences, and they should be. Unlike affirmative action, which I support, the legacy preference does not reward overcoming barriers based on race or adding diversity to the classroom. The legacy preference rewards students who had the most advantages to begin with. It is a birthright out of 18th century British aristocracy, not 21st century American democracy. It is wrong. So today I want to challenge America's colleges and universities. If you have an early decision policy, end it. If you have a legacy policy, end it.

This isn't an area where government should have to act. We can help by making absolutely clear that our antitrust laws don't stand in the way of cooperation by schools to open the doors of college. But schools should live up to their ideals and America's ideals on their own.

If schools don't end these policies, then other action may well be necessary.

Kids from the kinds of families I grew up with already have to fight an uphill battle to get to college. They don't need additional barriers that stand in the way.


I like John Edwards. I really do. You can tell me I focus too much on domestic policy and not enough on foreign policy if you like. But, whatever. I feel a little happier personally today about what my pragmatic side will compel me to begrudgingly do for John Kerry in the upcoming months.
 
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Monday, July 05, 2004
 
Lots of things bouncing around in my head to write about, and I haven't been able to bring myself to sit down and write much, yet. Eh. Sometimes I'm in a writing mood, and I'll want to write every night; sometimes I'm just not.

It's been a good weekend, though. We went to the Taste of Chicago both yesterday and today. (Excellent food-- absolutely fantastic garlic-mozzarella cheese bread, a yummy frozen chocolate-covered banana, garlic potatoes, cheesecake... mmm!) Last night we saw the orchestra concert and the fireworks; today it was They Might Be Giants and Counting Crows. Free concerts are excellent, especially outside under the sun and/or stars.

Tomorrow is the weekend too, still, but it'll be less fun since it's time to get around to some serious unpacking, as well as other errands like grocery shopping. That's okay, though. It still means a four-day work week coming up, which is excellent.

Okay, enough. I'm sleepy and my head's a little fuzzy, and any other rambles I would include in here would probably bore y'all to tears. So I'll wait until I'm in a more expressive mood. Later...
 
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Thursday, July 01, 2004
 
Whoops. Link to my Fahrenheit 9/11 post below was wrong. I fixed it, or you can click here. Thanks, Andrew.

I currently have no home internet access-- turned off at the old place yesterday, will be turned on at the new place on Saturday-- so I'm writing this at work. And thus I probably shouldn't spend much time writing anything else. But oh, I've got plenty to say eventually... just wait and see!
 
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Nature attains perfection, but man never does. There is a perfect ant, a perfect bee, but man is perpetually unfinished. He is both an unfinished animal and an unfinished man. It is this incurable unfinishedness which sets man apart from other living things. For, in the attempt to finish himself, man becomes a creator. Moreover, the incurable unfinishedness keeps man perpetually immature, perpetually capable of learning and growing.
--Eric Hoffer





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