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State Government

Friday, March 30, 2007
So yesterday I was lucky enough to get a free lunch in the Oregon State Capitol (provided by the Oregon State Grange Association) and then I took a tour of the Capitol grounds with some friends. We went up to visit the Golden Pioneer (121 steps from the 4th floor) and saw the rooms the state House and Senate use. We also went over and saw the Supreme Court building.

One thing that amazed me was the security of the grounds - or apparent lack thereof. The fact that I could simply walk into the rooms and freely peruse the grounds of the Capitol was refreshing. I felt like my government was accessible, not cordoned off behind metal detectors and background checks. Obviously there was some security, but the unobtrusiveness of it all made me feel like it was my government working for me. At the Supreme Court building we had to sign in with our names and the purpose of our visit (a quick tour) but that was it; we didn't have to provide ID or anything. If only all of our government was so close to the people.

Anyway, here's a view from the top of the capitol building. I highly recommend the tour:

The golden Pioneer

The view north - you can see my building from here!

Movie Review: TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Unreasonably cool.

No Retreat, No Surrender

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
So I was fortunate enough to hear an interview with former house majority leader Tom Delay on NPR today. Let me just say this: Criminal or not, I'm just glad he's out of Congress. Seriously. This guy was BAD for the country.

Why, you ask? It's his attitude. His agenda was retaining Republican control of Congress and promoting the conservative agenda. So, basically he was consolidating his power and flexing it. Is this good for the country? Is this the kind of person we need in power?

I have a problem, as you can tell, with someone so blinded by their agenda and their own power. I have a misplaced sense of altruism and compromise, perhaps, because I see 90% of political disagreements as being mindless and stupid and merely along political lines. We need more compromisers in Congress! We need more people who can see beyond their own thoughts and wants to the greater common good, and who don't merely go along like sheep with the party platform.

I guess I'm delusional.

My brother

Friday, March 16, 2007
Today my little brother (who already has his Master's degree) passed his comprehensive exams in human physiology. Basically, he was tested over the last week to prove that he had a complete doctoral level of knowledge in the field. This is the biggest barrier in Ph.D programs; from here he does his dissertation where he expands the field of human knowledge. Amazing. I can't imagine how difficult or rigorous it was. I'm immensely proud of him.

How Appropriate

Thursday, March 15, 2007
"Beware the Ides of March", said the soothsayer to Julius Caeser... warning him of an assassination plot. We call it the 15th of March, though the calendar has certainly changed since then, but about this time 2051 years ago the Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times by senators of the Roman republic.

Et tu, Brute?

Happy Pi Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Another holiday approaches. Much like fall's Talk Like A Pirate Day, spring (or nearly spring) has its own day: Pi Day.

Yes, it's 3/14 and - at 1:59 PM - there shall be a loud rejoicing by those math geeks among us. For those of you that AREN'T fans of Pi (and I'm not talking about the excellent movie) it's simply the ratio of the circumference of a circle to it's diameter. That is, for any given circle, its circumference is (roughly) 3.14159265 times its diameter. If you have a circle with a diameter of 1 meter, the circumference will be (roughly) 3.14159265 meters. It's that nifty?

Sunny Day

It may technically be winter, but it sure is looking and feeling like spring out there...
Flowers in the grass

Global Warming?

Monday, March 12, 2007
So global warming is a topic that's come up a lot lately in the news. It's certainly not settled science - but there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to support it. Take, for instance, the people I just saw playing basketball. In shorts. Outside. At night. In Oregon. In the winter.

Interesting...

A Prayer is Answered

Friday, March 09, 2007
Thanks to Fark.com, I just found out that a prayer of mine has been answered. If you recall, back in March of 2006 I wished that doughnuts could be "good for you." It seems that now they are!

According to this article (also here) a company called RSuper Foods in Pittsburgh (founded by an ex-Steelers running back) has developed a doughnut packed with nutrients that tastes just like a normal doughnut! Is this news or what?

Of course - as even the articles point out - it's not just a normal doughnut that's bad for you; it's the dozen you (or I) eat at a time ('cause they're so damn delicious) that's the problem. Now if only someone could reduce the calorie count by a factor of 12, we'd be set!

New Music

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
One thing I'm bad at (at least personally) is expanding my own horizons. I love to experience new things, I'm just not good sometimes at seeking those new things out on my own. That's why I try to surround myself with different kinds of people who are interested in a variety of things: it exposes me to experiences I would not have otherwise have.

Take music, for instance. An old friend of mine that I've somewhat lost contact with is really into music. (Check them out: Monkey Farm Frankenstein) One thing I always liked was that he and I had very similar tastes in music and I'd frequently get mix tapes from him that would expose me to a band or genre I'd not heard of before. However, since we don't talk much anymore, that's lost to me.

Enter iTunes. I've bought plenty of songs off the iTunes music store, but what I look forward to every week is "new music Tuesdays." Every Tuesday I get an email from Apple highlighting new artists. And - most special of all - there's a link to the iTunes Music Store's free download of the week. That's right: every week I get a new free song. I'll be honest, 3 out of 4 times, this music is garbage. But that other time? It's awesome. Some of my favorite songs lately have been free from them.

Then, after a bit of looking around one day I realized that Apple doesn't give away just one free song every week - it's usually two or three! There's the normal free download, but there's also the Latino download of the week and sometimes there's the "discovery download" - a new artist waiting to be discovered. So now I head here every week to see them all listed. It's a great way to expose myself to new music, and I love it!

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