Thursday, November 30, 2006

Capstone

Today I had my Capstone presentation. I think it went well, which is good. My project was about eclipses and some of my classmates even dressed up to help me demonstrate what occurs during an eclipse:
David, Julie, and I painted these costumes last night. Here is a picture of my entire Capstone class and teacher! I am so excited about our progress and everybody's research. There are four Classics majors are graduating in May out of everybody at Truman. I think I am so lucky to have such support from the people in my major.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My new favorite website

This is my new favorite website:
http://cuteoverload.com/
How cool is this? It is comprised of only cute pictures of cats, bunnies, and fish. What could be better? I'll tell you: nothing.

This week I am really busy preparing for my Capstone presenation, which is on Thursday. Here is my title:
I'm Being Followed by a Moonshadow: How Early Natural Philosophers Utilized Eclipses in their Study of the Universe
Doesn't it sound really cool?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back to normal

Thanksgiving break was a blast. I had a really relaxing time at home, and I certainly enjoyed my break. These last three weeks of school will prove to be pretty busy, though. I still need to apply for law schools, finish my Capstone paper, and write four other major papers for classes. The good news is that I think I will only have two actual final exams, which is amazingly nice. My majors are great because they generally focus more on papers at the end of the semester rather than big tests. I always end up with about two finals, while my friends frantically study for five. We'll see if it is really that stressful.

David is prepping to take an actuarial exam on Tuesday. This test has been labelled as the most difficult professional examination to pass, so we are crossing our fingers. He has been studying for about six hours a day for the last three weeks or so, so it really seems like he has fallen off the face of the earth. I'm sure everybody will be happy when he is finished, but I think that he also has to wait until January to find out his score, which kind of stinks. Right now we are in the library studying, and he is supposed to be taking a practice test. Instead, I just heard him playing with his cell phone. Maybe we should cross extra fingers.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Made in the 80s

This morning my mom and dad got a bunch of their wedding stuff out from closet. It was great fun: they found old RSVP cards and other little trinkets from their big day. My mom also found her dress:No, you are not at one of those websites called "Wedding dresses from the 80s". I actually tried her dress on today for fun. You can see from the picture that I think this is the perfect dress for me. I also tried on my Grandma Klos's dress, which is very gorgeous but, of course, looked weird on me. Can any wedding dresses look good on me? No, I think that would be too much to ask.

Today we went to my Grandma's house for Thanksgiving, which was great. We got home and my dad made Chex Mix. My mom and I watched "Deal or No Deal". It was a fantastic Thanksgiving. We watched the girls who hold the boxes while wearing bikinis say what they were thankful for on Thanksgiving. At one point a girl could not really think of anything, so she just looked at the camera and said, "ummmm......". Those girls take those jobs in order to get a big break, and that girl definitely blew it.

This year I am thankful for my healthy family and many friends, and also for my better half. Haha...now we can have people make those jokes about us and say, "Where's your better half?" I'm going to have to come up with a good comeback for that one.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Joseph and Thanksgiving

I am definitely posting this a little late, but last weekend David and I visited our families and saw his little brother, Peter, (or "Peetah" as my mom and I like to call him) perform in his youth group's rendition of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Before the show, we met a bunch of my aunts and uncles at a pizza place in South St. Louis. This was a conversation at the table:
Michael: So David, what play is Peter in?
David: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Michael: Cool, cool. Does he have a big part?
David: Well, he's Joseph.
Michael: Oh, so he does.
Basically, he was the lead in the play, and he did a really good job. Sometimes going to musicals is a cringefest if nobody can really sing, but this was definitely not one of those instances. Everybody was good at their part and the play was very enjoyable. Peter is featured in the picture above.
One of the best parts of the weekend was that I got to see Emma, David's adorable niece and my soon-to-be-niece:
After that, we came back to Vandalia to see my family, which was a ton of fun. We laughed a lot. Tomorrow I am going to my Grandma's house for a Thanksgiving feast, and I cannot wait! Now that I am home and without a ton of schoolwork, I can hopefully post more often. Have a very happy holiday!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dance


Next semester I am taking three dance classes: Ballet, Irish Set Dance, and Ballroom Dancing. I am SO excited about these classes. My Ballet teacher emailed the class this week with a plan for the semester, and she told us that we need to buy a leotard!! I am so excited about this, since I have not owned a leotard since about first grade. By the end of the semester, I will look like the girl on the left.

When I took dance as a little girl, the dance teachers came to our elementary school to teach classes in the cafeteria. Therefore, after school, I had to put on my leotard, and every single time I put it on backwards. "Go back to the bathroom," my teachers used to say, "it is backwards again!!"

Another fond dancing memory that I have is from the actual performance one year--we were dancing to a song from Sesame Street and during the recital a person dressed as Big Bird suddenly appeared on the stage. We were all so excited to see Big Bird (we were probably in kindergarten) that we stopped dancing. That was pretty funny.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lately

This weekend has been pretty busy: I had three papers due today, which totalled almost 40 pages of writing about eclipses in the ancient world, the Celtic influence on the English language, and Plato's Five Dialogues. It was crazy, but I turned them all in today, so now I have time to blog.

This weekend I tried to take creative pictures with my camera. This is the best one. It is the inside of my water bottle. Perhaps I need to practice some more with the camera. I just realized how bad this post is getting.

David and I went to see the Borat movie this weekend. It was hilarious--we laughed throughout the entire thing. It was sad to see how racist, prejudiced, and crazy some people in America are today. However, Borat's lovable character and the kindness of some of the Americans made up for that. We loved the movie.

Here is a funny clip that was not in the movie:

Friday, November 10, 2006

two years ago

This week, my friend Matt found this picture he took of David and me when we went on a trip to Texas with a big group of friends almost two years ago. I love this picture. We were not even dating when it was taken.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Probably the only post in which I will mention politics

As a rule, I try not to mention politics on my blog, mostly because I do not wish to identify myself with one political party or group, but in the light of the recent elections, I find myself so excited about politics that I think I want to write about the subject.

Of course you all know that McCaskill won against Talent in the Missouri election on Tuesday. One of my friends says they are in a conspiracy because of their last names: McCaSKILL and TALENT, "Is this a fluke? I don't think so...they are really the same person!" he exclaims. This election was extremely close, and was a huge victory for the Democrats of Missouri. All of my friends say that I am a huge Democrat, but this is because most of my friends are extremely right-wing conservatives; I think I am more of a moderate.

Actually, I take the Democrat win with a grain of salt. This really has nothing to do with my party, but because the taking of the Senate by the Democrats could mean less money for Missouri. Senator Kit Bond, the other Senator from Missouri, is a senior Republican Senator. When the Republicans controlled the Senate, he was on many important committees, including Appropriations, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Specifically, his role in the Appropriations committee meant more money for Missouri. Now that the Democrats control the Senate, he may stand to lose his positions in these important committees, and thus Missouri might lose its strong voice in the Senate.

I am also a little disturbed because the Missouri Senate election was a perfect example of why our voting system should be re-examined. According to the Missouri SoS's website, Talent got 47.4% of the votes and McCaskill received 49.4%. However, a third party Libertarian, Frank Gilmour, got 2.3% of the votes. According to the Libertarian Party's website, they target swing voters, or Republicans who are "frustrated with (their) elected officials and party leadership". If Missouri had used the Instant Runoff Voting system, a system in which voters rank candidates rather than just pick one, the votes for Frank probably would have ultimately gone to Jim Talent, and Talent would have had a chance of winning the general election.

Instant Runoff voting, as I said before, is a system in which voters rank candidates rather than choosing just one. At first, the ballots are tallied just like now, with each number one ranking serving as a vote for its candidate. When the ballots are counted, the candidate with the least amount of votes is then dropped out of the race, and the ballots that ranked him or her first are then recounted, only using the second ranked candidate on the ballot. The process continues until there is a winner.

Say, for example, that me, David, Julie, and Josh all ran for student body president. The votes were distributed as follows:

David 5
Julie 10
Abbie 2
Josh 11

In our current voting system, Josh wins. However, under the Instant Runoff Voting system, I would drop out of the race, and the people who voted for me would then have a vote cast for their second-place picks. Let's say they were for David and Julie (because my political beliefs were similar to theirs). So now the vote distribution looks like this:

David 6
Julie 11
Josh 11

Oh no...Josh is sweating, because now Julie is tied with him. Do you see the good part of this system? Just because two people wanted to vote for me does not make their other preferences unheard.
Now let's drop David out of the race. Five of his votes also went to Julie (because they had similar political beliefs), and one went to Josh:

Julie 16
Josh 12

So now Julie won the election, and the votes that were originally cast for me and David are still counted in the final count. Basically, it means that the people who votes for me said to themselves, "Man, I like Abbie the best, but I like David second-best, and Julie third." So then Julie wins.

My point is that on Tuesday, the votes for the libertarian candidate could have gone to the Republicans, and our current voting system might have cost them control of the Senate. This is somewhat ironic because it is mostly Democrats who support Instant Runoff Voting, because they generally have more spoiler candidates.

Right now I am working on a committee to implement this system at my college. I'm so excited about it!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Aack!

Well, wedding dress shopping went...interestingly. My problem is that I do not want a strapless dress, so I am left with about two dresses in each shop from which I can choose (every single wedding dress is strapless, it seems). I tried on nine dresses in three hours and found nothing. This is going to be a long process.

In other news, yesterday my roommate Julie was microwaving a plastic mug and it melted in microwave. Gah! There was apparently a small flame but she blew the fire out pretty quickly. Now our microwave looks like this:

Today was so gorgeous outside. David and I went on a run this afternoon and the leaves, fresh air, and blue skies were beautiful. This weekend was much gloomier. Here is a picture from Sunday:Tonight I do not have much to do. It is so nice to be able to relax!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Engaged

Being engaged is pretty fun. First of all, whenever we tell people we are engaged, everybody gets this really huge grin on their faces. Secondly, we get to plan a wedding. Wedding planning is so much fun that I am almost forgetting to apply for law school. Who wants to think about a personal statement (which is currently the bane of my existence) when she could be thinking about wedding stuff? Our priest gave us a book that includes different readings and gospels that can be read at our wedding. Reading this book is pretty fun. Sometimes we recite them out loud to see which we like the best. Sometimes we waste a lot of time.

Anyway, tomorrow I am going to Columbia to see my family. Hopefully, with a little bit of begging in the form of puppy faces I can convince David to ditch me so that my mom and I can go dress shopping. If you have ever been dress shopping, you know it is a nerve-wracking experience. I went with two of my friends and was glad I brought a tag-team. One practically needs troops to control the huge dresses. It took us a long time to figure out that one dress actually was supposed to be laced, another ten minutes to figure out how to unlace the thing, and another ten minutes to squish my body into the tiny dress. (After trying on dresses, I have pretty much resolved myself to the fact that I am not going to breathe on my big day.)

David's only request is that he can carry a cane or a sword during the wedding. I think (hope) he is joking.

Even though planning is a ton of fun, I still am most excited about being married to David. It will be nice to live with him, and do things like cook supper together. We keep saying, "Only eight months and we will be married!!"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reading

It seems like I took a little break from blogging for the last week. This is perhaps because I was trying to finish a 450-page book in two days. Brit Lit class can be a killer if one decides to put off the reading until two days before the test. This would normally not bother me at all except that the book I was reading was not really my type. (I like how I refer to books as "not my type", as if it would hurt their feelings if I did not approve of them.)

The story was about a clergyman and a young heiress who went to Australia and gambled a lot. They decided to call it quits on the gambling and build a glass church in the Australian outback instead. That's about it. I think the real reason I did not really enjoy the book is because I have a sort of aversion to Australia. For some reason, I do not really have any desire to visit Australia. I do not like reading about Australia. I do not understand why everybody gets so excited about Australia. Maybe it just isn't my type.

In my Latin class, we are reading a comedic play called "Miles Gloriosus", or "The Bragging Captain". This book was written by an early Roman author, Plautus. This Plautus guy thought he was pretty funny. Here is a synopsis of what we have read so far:
1. A warrior kidnaps a girl from Athens. (note: This play is set in Greece even though it is Roman--the Romans often copied their plays from earlier Greek plays.)
2. This chick's boyfriend goes to rescue her.
3. Instead, he lodges next door to the warrior's house. A slave digs a hole through walls in the house and the girl sneaks over to the boyfriend's house to kiss him.
4. Another of the warrior's slaves follows a monkey onto the neighboring roof and sees the girl kissing her boyfriend through the skylight.
5. For the last 40 or so pages, the first slave has been attempting to convince the second slave not to tell the warrior.

These books are crazy.