calculus of failure

If all the world can be described mathematically, I'd like to know the equation for figuring the following out. If a student comes into the library and opens a bottle of soda whose carbonation overflows and sends sticky sugar water everywhere, what is the likelihood that this will take place while they are holding a book that was acquired by the library the very same day? Include, if possible, the cost of the book in both dollars and staff time.

Infinitesimal, I would imagine. Regardless, it happened here today. Ugh.

We doubt not our fathers knew it

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Mothers Day. This, of course, meant that roughly ninety percent of LDS sacrament meetings made reference, at some point, to the story of the stripling warrior and the faith they learned from their mothers. This is fine and well, though sort of sad that Mormons can't come up with other scriptural moms to talk about. Maybe Hannah could make an appearance? Or Rachel, if only to highlight the fact that she basically colluded with her son to dupe her husband. Maybe next year.

But there's still hope. We have Fathers Day in a month, and there's dads aplenty to talk about. Here's some examples I'd suggest for anyone asked to speak this year.

  • Lot. A good dad knows that protecting men of God sometimes requires you to make some tough sacrifices. Of course, the same daughters also make some tricky decisions of their own.
  • Jephthah. A good dad knows that promises to the Lord must be kept. No matter how personally painful
  • Aaron. A good dad knows when you shouldn't support your kids in bad decisions. You only need to mourn for those who don't get what's coming to them.
  • Noah. A good dad knows how to fairly deal out punishments.
  • Isaac. A good dad doesn't play favorites, and offers all his kids the same opportunities and blessings.
  • Abraham. A good dad knows that is first responsibility is to his wife, no matter how hard that is for the children.
I'm sure there are others I missed, but this should get you started.

(Actually, the story of Lot is much less horrific if you believe in Joseph Smith Translation. In that telling, the men of Sodom demand both the holy men and Lot's daughters. Lot refuses to give up either party to the wicked intentions of the men of Sodom. That is a good dad, especially since the men of Sodom right before demanding the daughters told Lot they'd treat him even worse than they were intending to treat the holy men.)

Dear Alain de Botton,

I love your work. Seriously. It's shaped my thinking about some things (love, precision, philosophy). Quotes from you have made it into blog posts and facebook statuses, serious discussions and flippant conversations. And, anyone who listens to me talk for more than about three minutes will hear me praise your stuff (especially if they ask for book recommendations). I'm not lying, it's capital, all around. However, can I suggest that future editions of your novels, which deliciously track the sparking, building and ultimate crumbling of relationships, come with the following warning:

Note: please do not embark on this work of literature if you are currently embroiled in a doomed romantic situation. It will only make matters worse.
That would really have made me rethink my decision to pick up On Love, what with my current mangled amorous endeavor.

thanks bunches!


the daily grind

Since I've basically decided that I'm out of my current employment situation, by hook or by crook, come August, I'm having a devil of a time focusing. I come to work, get grumpy in about three minutes flat, then spend the day...actually this is what isn't clear to me. I have these giant eight-hour holes in my life.

I goof off a bit online, but nothing worth reporting on. I lazily catalogue the few magazines that trickle in each day. I troll job listings for positions I really want but will never apply for, and then get halfway through writing cover letters for positions I don't want, but think I could get. But, I feel sick bragging about myself and stretching my accomplishments and lose the will to continue. I mean, what could I possibly be thinking, imagining myself moving to Montana. To do technical services work. I don't think I hate myself quite that much yet.

I think I should feel more pressure to get something done. To finally create that three-year plan (though, what's the point, seeing as how I won't be here to see it actually carried out). To put together those handouts on databases (which will never be used because I'm failing at marketing). To carry out the additional duties my boss has handed me (even though I'm resentful about them and they don't make any sense). But I simply don't feel the drive. I even dressed up today in attempt to jump start my ambition, but not even a pretty paisley tie helped my mood.

I am starting to realize, though, that all this needs to change. I need to leave here with a bang, not a whimper. Because otherwise, my general sense of failure will have become self-fulfilled. And, if I'm not going to feel like hell every single weekday between now and August, I've got to develop a better attitude. If only I knew how. Or cared enough to find out.

In the meantime, I'll go back to reading this article in The New Yorker and then I'll be off to give what may be the least engaged library orientation ever. Fortunately, nobody'll notice, what with the level of fake pep I'm always astounded that I can drag up.

My Mountain Home So Dear

I routinely forget that I live in a place that's, well, weird. I mean, most of the time when I think about my surroundings at all, it's about how nice the mountains are. It somehow slips my mind that Utah is, in fact, a sort of strange place to call home.

Want proof?

The city council of Tremonton passed, then (thankfully) quickly repealed a ruling that would require any one under 18 years of age to get permission to check out any title in the 'adult fiction' section. Because nothing will ruin our children's lives faster than providing access to such destructive influences as Dickens and Gerald Lund (that's the example provided by the Des News).

Also, a murder trial here in Utah is probably not going to have Mormons on the jury. Why? Because they believe in Blood Atonement, natch. Though, eliminating two-thirds of a state's population from the pool might be a bit dodgy, non? Also, what if you're Mormon but non-practicing? Would you make the cut?

Lastly, our very own freshman Congressman, Jason Chaffetz, is leading the charge against DC recognizing the same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Because heaven forbid the Constitution's full faith and credit clause actually, you know, apply. That's not the surprising part. The surprising part is this comment on the Des News article: "No legislative or judicial success can take away the guilt that comes from failure to live up to the evolutionary design to have offspring with an opposite gender mate."

It may be a narrow reading of "No success can compensate for failure in the home." It may also be based on remarkably bad science. And, potentially, reduces marriage to a means of populating the earth. All that aside, I sort of want to cross-stitch it onto a throw pillow.

I still think I'm with Maurine Whipple, though. Zion is probably worth the occasional discomfort.