And This One is Just Right…

September 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Big news came out of the science world yesterday when it was announced that a planet that’s the right size and location to sustain life has been found orbiting a star a mere 20 light years away from us.  I know light years seem pretty far but in the context of the enormousness that is space, it’s actually rather close.

Could be cousins with our Mother Earth!

Here are some of the general facts:

  • Diameter – 1.2 to 1.4 times that of the Earth
  • Mass –  3.1 and 4.3 times that of the Earth
  • Average surface temperature – between -24F and 10F (-31C and -12C)
  • Distance from the Earth – 20 light years or 118,000,000,000,000 miles
  • Time needed to travel to Gliese 581g in a rocket travelling one tenth the speed of light, or 19,000 miles per second – 200 years
  • One of six planets to orbit the star Gliese 581
  • Length of year – 37 Earth days
  • Gravity – similar or slightly higher than Earth
  • Distance from its sun – around six million miles
  • The planet orbits a red dwarf which is 50 times cooler and a third the size of our Sun
  • Composition – rocky with liquid water and atmosphere.
  • Source

    Where's Mulder when you need him?

    This planet has been dubbed a “Goldilocks” planet, as it’s not too hot or cold for human habitation and the gravity is roughly that of Earth’s.  Scientists think that this could lead us to discover an entire universe of Earth-like planets, which of course humans will eventually try to colonize and destroy.  That’s a while in the future though because even though 20 light years isn’t too far in space-speak, it would take someone a few lifetimes to get there using the technology we currently have.  It’s fun to think about what could be living there in the meantime though!

    Professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz, Steven Vogt, said, “If these are rare, we shouldn’t have found one so quickly and so nearby.” He went on to talk about life inhabiting that planet and mentioned that “Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say that the chances for life on this planet are 100 percent. I have almost no doubt about it.”

    Obviously this is kind of a big deal, and not just for sci-fi nerds who are certain that The Truth is Out There.  Personally, I think that the odds of intelligent life not existing outside of our planet are slim to zero.  Space is just too big and we don’t even fully understand what’s going on in the depths of our oceans, let alone the far reaches of the cosmos.  Who knows what’s out there?  And what do you think?

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    Still Stuck

    September 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

    Yup, they’re still down there.  33 men have been trapped over 2,000 feet underground for 55 nights, which I can only assume are the longest 55 nights they’ve ever experienced.  The good news is that there has been remarkable headway in the drilling to reach them and they could be out in just a few weeks, which is way ahead of the Christmas time frame they were previously working with.  As of now, they’re all relatively healthy and as sane as they can be in the circumstances.  The bad news is they’re still all trapped deep within a mine.

    Many a vigil is being held for these guys at Camp Hope, the camp right outside the mine that family and friends are occupying until the men get out

    Try and think about every single thing you’ve done, every place you’ve been, all of the hours between work, school and home – all of the life you’ve lived for the last two months.  Now imagine spending all of that time deep, deep underground with only a group of your coworkers to keep you company.  They’re not getting paid for this and will be lucky if they all escape with their health.  It seriously boggles my mind and, while I’m sure there will lucrative TV and book deals in their futures (with perhaps a movie thrown in for good measure), I’m sure this is something they would all rather have done without.

    In order to actually get out of the mine, they’re going to have to be individually raised in a very teeny cage.  In the dark.  Alone.  For hours.  This could be the most stressful part of the whole thing and I can’t imagine what it would be like to be the last guy up.  Maybe I’ve read too many Steven King books in my day but I would freak the hell out.  There is no doubt in my mind that I would emerge from the ground needing a fresh change of pants.

    It’s remarkable to me how these men have kept some sort of routine going while living in the mine.  I know that they pretty much have to have some consistency and structure to their days and nights or they might very well go insane, but it’s impressive they’ve been sticking to it.  They have lighting set up that mimics day and nighttime, so they are roughly 8 hours of work, 8 of rest and 8 of sleep every day.  They also exercise, monitor their vitals and health statistics and the few smokers in the group take extremely long hikes to have a cigarette.  This is a link to a story on that goes through a day in their life and it’s a pretty interesting read.  And if you had any doubt about how small their rescue capsules are going to be, take note of the men who are being forced to lose weight in order to be able to squeeze in before they can come above ground.

    This whole thing makes my slightly claustrophobic self’s skin crawl and I’ve been thinking of these guys frequently since I first heard of their plight.  So the next time you’re enjoying sunshine, fresh air or pretty much any type of freedom at all, think of the men in Chile and send them a bit of strength and luck.  Because if they all do Oprah after they get out, they’re going to need it.

    Come home soon!

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    The Heat is On…

    September 28, 2010 at 10:30 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

    …in my apartment.

    I’m one of those lucky Chicagoans who doesn’t have to pay for my heat, as it’s included in my rent.  Unfortunately, that means I don’t have much control over how or when it’s being used.  And when I say I don’t have much control over it, I mean my input on the matter means absolutely, positively nothing.

    Invented by Satan in the depths of Hell

    I woke up around 4am yesterday morning to a lovely clanging noise.  The sound my radiator makes when it turns on is loud and obnoxious and the best way I can think to describe it is that it sounds like dozens of little gnome people are having a wild and crazy party in the vents.  This party includes clanking little gnome steins on the side of the radiator and smacking it with hammers after that.

    It’s a pleasant, soothing sound.

    As I was not expecting the heat to be turned on in the middle of the night, when I awoke yesterday I was a sweaty mess tangled in my bed sheets.  This morning was more of the same.  It’s a good thing I sleep with a fan on every night or I might have melted while in dreamland.  I’m on to their game now though and tonight I’ll be prepared…maybe I’ll sleep with the window AC unit on.

    I guess this means that winter is closing in.  I am by no means happy about it and it’s this time of the year that makes me think of relocating to someplace where the temperatures don’t hover around zero degrees for months on end.  We’re not there quite yet though so I’ll try to enjoy seeing sunlight at 5pm for as long as I can.

    On an unrelated note, I had someone on the train this morning tell me how tired I look today.  Remember how I wrote a post lamenting how much I hate that?  Still do.

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    Let Them Eat Cake

    September 27, 2010 at 9:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

    So Friday night I went to a coffee-house that I’d never been to before.  As I really just started drinking coffee in the last couple of years, I am by no means a connoisseur.  When I do go out for a warm beverage, I prefer places with a little more personality than say…Starbucks.  Enter Julius Meinl.

    I'm ashamed that I passed by this place so often without ever going in

    Julius Meinl is a coffee-house that originated in Vienna, Austria and has only three branches in all of the US – and they’re all in Chicago.  I’ve seen them around before and for some reason thought it was a much bigger chain, but apparently they’re pretty rare.  I’ve walked by this branch in particular many times and it’s usually pretty crowded, especially during brunch time.

    Told you so

    As I said, I finally ventured inside on Friday night.  I was with a friend who mentioned they had some live music and since I’m always a fan of that, I figured we’d get some dessert and check it out.  I was blown away.  First of all, the pastries and cakes served in this place are completely European and completely decadent.  As for drinks, there were more coffees, lattes and teas than I could’ve ever hoped to choose from.  My friend and I split a piece of chocolate pie that had some sort of pistachio crust and it was amazing.

    The music turned out to be pretty great as well.  The place wasn’t too packed, which allowed us to sit as close as we wanted to the two older gentleman who were performing.  One had a violin and he made some of the most beautiful music I’d ever heard.  Seriously, I was in awe of this guy all night long.  His musical partner played on something that I can only describe as harpsichord-esque…I honestly don’t know what the instrument was.  It was a little like a piano but much smaller and made of wood.  And he didn’t hit keys; he used a tool similar to what one would use on a xylophone to hit the strings.  I was going to try to find a photo but since I don’t know what it was, my image search was cut short.

    These two are apparently well-known in the world of classical music, though I never did catch their names.  Since my friend and I were among the only patrons who were simply listening and watching, they asked us for requests a few times.  And by requests, I mean they asked us to name a country and then they played something from that particular place.  How cool is that?  I gave a nice tip as I walked out and if I had had more cash on me I would’ve bought their CD.  We watched for about an hour and a half before heading out, and the entire experience made me oh so happy.  Since Julius Meinl has live music at all of their shops every Friday and Saturday evening, you can bet I’ll be heading back sooner rather than later.  And if you’re in the Chicago or Vienna area, you should check it out for yourself!

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    Books Reviewed

    September 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

    One of the perks of my recent vacation was that it provided me with lots and lots of time to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies – reading.  If you’ve been around this blog long enough you know that I’m a proud book nerd, and my week off allowed me to knock out an entire trilogy in just a few days.

    In all their glory

    Yes, I know they’re young adult books.  Do I care?  Not in the least.

    I’ve been hearing about these books for a few weeks now and a friend of mine again reminded me that I needed to read them right before I left for my trip.  Lo and behold, my sister actually had all three on her when she arrived in Chicago, so I put aside the book I was going to bring and instead started on the first of this trilogy, The Hunger Games.  I might also add that I was a little more than shocked that my sister came armed with books, because reading is not known to be her favorite pastime.  She says it’s because once she starts reading she doesn’t do anything else and seeing as how we both got through all three of these over the course of our five-day trip, I’d say it runs in the family.

    The Hunger Games is essentially about a North America set in the future, where cities and states have been turned into

    If these books get made into a movie starring Kristen Stewart, I will stab someone with this pin

    “districts” and are controlled by “The Capitol”, which is another name for the rich and powerful.  Long story short, the districts rebelled against the Capitol a long time ago and so every year two children from each district are chosen and taken to a televised fight to the death, sort like a truly cutthroat Survivor.  This event is held to remind each district that the Capitol can take whatever they want so the districts better suck up to them at all times.  Yes, it sounds rather gory and a little awful and okay, it is, but in a good way.  If that makes sense.  I promise though, the books are intriguing.


    The second and third book in the series follow the main character as she sparks a rebellion in her world.  That’s all I’m really going to say and chances are I’ve already given away too much, but oh well.  There are lots of political and socio-economic underpinnings throughout the book which I found interesting, even if they felt a bit trite after a while.  The final book left a little more to be desired as well, as it wound up feeling rushed and confusing as the conclusion went on.  Nonetheless, I would recommend these if you’re looking for a quick and engrossing read.  With winter right around the corner, curling up with books and wine sounds pretty great.  Oh, who am I kidding, that sounds great any night of the year.

    On that note, Happy Weekend!

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    All About All-Inclusives

    September 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

    Not having to pay is oh so nice

    All-inclusive vacation packages are awesome.  If you’ve never done one, I highly, highly recommend it.  The last two vacations I’ve taken have been all-inclusive and at this point I don’t think I could do it any other way.

    *Disclaimer: when I say ‘vacation’, I mean a venture to a beach where the primary focus is relaxation.  A ‘trip’, on the other hand, is typically a more activity-laden adventure with a focus on exploration.  I don’t even know if an all-inclusive ‘trip’ is possible, but for the purpose of this post I’m discussing ‘vacations’.

    On the two all-inclusive vacations I’ve taken, pretty much everything was paid for in advance.  Plane tickets, resort room, all meals and all beverages (both alcoholic and non) are included in one fairly reasonable price.  Only having to worry about tipping makes things easier all around, though simply getting up and walking out of a restaurant or bar after you’re finished does take a bit of getting used to.  Conversely, getting back into the habit of paying for a bill at the end of an evening is a readjustment after vacation is over.

    When I say all food and drinks are included in the package, I mean everything.  Every single day

    To be honest, I'm surprised I didn't come home looking like this

    there was a breakfast buffet, brunch buffet, lunch buffet and dinner buffet.  There was also a snack bar that had fruit, salads, sandwiches and nachos that was open 24 hours a day, in case you happened to find a 10 minute period where you couldn’t find a giant spread of food set out waiting.  Each buffet had an array of Mexican, Italian and American food, not to mention table after table of desserts and fruity drinks.  There was a suckling pig one night, which yours truly took a pass on, and each night had a different featured entrée.

    Besides all of the buffets, our resort had four fancy shmancy restaurants only accessible with proper reservations.  These included a Japanese restaurant (pretty good, for someone who doesn’t eat much sushi), a steakhouse (again I passed), an upscale Mexican restaurant (amazing) and a gourmet restaurant (so awesome I wanted to live there).  Trust me when I say there was no shortage on food on our vacation.

    We weren’t exactly lacking in the drink department as well.  There were bottles of vodka, rum, tequila and whiskey in our room that were there just for the hell of it – if we finished one, they’d simply bring us another.  Truth be told, though, we didn’t even touch those bottles because booze was so easy to be had everywhere else.  They even brought us up a bottle of champagne with a tray of chocolate strawberries on our first night there (this came with a note thanking the Mr. and Mrs. for staying…which was hilarious, as my mom hasn’t been a Mrs. in quite some time).  Drinks were served at the swim up bar in the pool, the random bars placed throughout the resort, by servers asking what you would like if you were simply laying by the pool, for breakfast at the buffet (there were various blenders full of fruit and a bottle of vodka nearby) and in the mini-fridge in our room.  Yup, besides having bottles of liquor at our disposal, we were able to order as much beer as we wanted and keep it on hand.  We absolutely took advantage of that.

    Yup, pretty much the life

    My family and I didn’t get sloppy drunk at any point in our stay but we did manage to have a great time with all those free drinks.  We probably had our biggest bender the night before our outdoor adventure, and in hindsight showing up slightly hung over for speed-boating, mule riding and zip-lining wasn’t the smartest thing in the world.  We managed though and were enjoying wine by dinner time.

    If you have any doubt that an all-inclusive vacation is worth every penny…well, you obviously weren’t reading this post.  Two thumbs way up, and I’ll cheers to that!

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    Viva Mexico!

    September 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

    Aaaand I’m back!

    The trip was everything I expected and needed it to be – five days of beautiful beaches, sunshine, drinks and relaxation in Mexico.  To be honest, it’s kind of difficult to write this post because I feel like it was too short and I just want to go back to Puerto Vallarta!

    This was the view from our hotel room

    My mom, sister and I arrived Wednesday afternoon and were in our suits as soon as we checked in the suite.  We explored the pools and beach, as well as the buffet and bar, well into the night.  We happened to arrive in Mexico at the time of the bicentennial, so celebrations were everywhere and it was pretty cool to witness the way another country marks their independence.  On Thursday, we spent most of the day hanging out by the pools and beach, and of course the swim up bar.  My sister and I also made plans for an outdoor adventure, which we took part in on Saturday.

    Friday, my mom and I took a cab into downtown Puerto Vallarta.  On the way, we spotted a pick-up truck that was completely full of avocados…I wish I had been quicker with my camera so I could’ve had a shot, because that was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.  Anyway, we did some shopping and general wandering around, and I managed to find a place to buy some tennis shoes for my sister and I (we each only brought flip-flops and our adventure excursion called for something a bit sturdier than that).  Now, I’m not normally a woman who gets her panties in a twist over shopping and shoe stores, but I have to admit I was pretty thrilled at finding a place that sold me two sets of sneakers and some awesome fancy sandals for $40.  I may not be a crazy shopper but I know a deal when I see it!

    The boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta had some really beautiful statues:

    This one was probably my favorite

    While this one really reminds me of Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama

    It was a great place to hang out in and before we left, mom and I managed to find 2 for 1 beers at a place right off the beach.

    On Saturday, my sister and I had our adventure in the jungle.  The excursion consisted of a speedboat ride across the ocean from our village to a smaller one further out, an open jeep ride up some extremely bumpy/rough terrain that often had potholes filled in with sandbags, a mule ride up the mountain, zip-lining through the jungle, rappelling down a waterfall and hiking back out.  Yes, it was as badass as it sounds.  Although if I’m going to be completely honest (and I guess I will), the zip-lining freaked me out more than I thought it would.  It wasn’t because I was flying high above trees and rocks – I was more scared of losing my arm while hanging on to the line.  We had to position our hand behind us to help with turning and breaking, and on my very first ride my clumsy self somehow managed to get my glove caught in the gears.  The instructors had made very clear the fact that doing something like that was wrong and could cause serious injury, so of course I was over thinking it to the best of my ability.  After getting my glove caught I was nervous to do any more but there’s not really another way off the mountain so I sucked it up and got through all 8 of them.  By the end I had pretty much conquered my fear but it was an adrenaline rush nonetheless.  The rappelling down the waterfall I loved from the beginning though and I wish we had more like that!  Of course we had guides and instructors there during all of this and they always had our backs, and they were a riot.  If any of you ever try zip-lining on the west coast of Mexico, I highly suggest you check out Vallarta Adventures.

    They wouldn't let us bring cameras but it was something like this

    The last few days of vacation consisted of more sun, beach, swimming, drinking and eating.  We met quite a few fellow Americans down there and made some new friends.  One woman in particular stands out in my mind, as she and her husband were down there for their 15th wedding anniversary.  They had just gotten in on the day we met and the lady was the textbook definition of drunk as a skunk.  She had 6 or so martini type beverages before we met her at the bar, and I watched her drink a few more.  She rounded out the night with a shot of tequila.  She was also convinced that she was going to be able to set me up with her younger brother so that one day she would be my sister-in-law.  She was really adamant about this and spent a good half hour trying to find a Facebook photo of her brother on her phone (despite the fact her husband kept telling her that she only had reception in the lobby, not the bar).  We ran in to her the next evening and my mom, sister and I are all pretty sure her husband had to remind her who we were.

    All in all, it was a fantastic vacation.  We had great weather just about every day and the late nights had some strong thunderstorms, which was actually pretty spectacular to watch out over the ocean.  We all made it back safe and I didn’t lose my arm in an unfortunate zip-lining incident (although it was sore for three days).  The only trouble we encountered was at the end of our trip, where our flight leaving Mexico was two hours late.  That caused us to miss our connecting flight in Phoenix, which caused us to be rerouted to Charlotte before eventually going to Chicago.  At this point in the trip, my sister and I had been around each other longer than we had been in two years and had thus reverted back into our 12 and 13-year-old selves.  We were tired, pissy and hungry and therefore were fighting like teenagers, with my poor mom stuck in the middle per usual.  However, one of the good things about being a grown up is we are legally able to settle our differences over beer, a couple of which calmed us all down long enough to catch a few zzz’s on the way home.  We got back to my apartment around 10 hours later than we were expecting but the rest of the trip more than made up for it.

    And sadly, back to work tomorrow.  But not before pizza with my book club tonight!

    If only I was eating and reading back out on the beach…

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    200th Post Song (to the tune of the Saved By the Bell intro)

    September 14, 2010 at 8:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

    I’m also including a link to the video of the original song, so everyone can get the tune nice and stuck in their head.  My last blog song was to Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot and since my mom had no idea what that song was (or so she says), I figured a link would help her and those like her.

    When I get to work every morning

    and turn off the alarm that shouts in warning

    I don’t think I’ll ever make it all day.

    By the time I do my work

    and check out some websites as a perk

    all I really want to do is go outside and play!

    It’s alright, because I’m Saved by the Blog.

    After lunch I take a rest

    sometimes more, sometimes less

    ’cause I’m too lazy to try to post on here late at night.

    Riding low in my chair

    I write what I think and don’t really care

    and I’ll be back the next day on this WordPress site!

    It’s alright because I’m Saved by the Blog

    It’s alright because I’m Saved by the Blog!

    Yup, you can tell I’m a product of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s.

    So besides being the day of my 200th post, this is also the last day that I’ll be writing until after my vacation.  This time tomorrow I will be on a plane to Phoenix, where I will then catch my flight to Mexico.  As I sit here at my desk, it’s hard to believe that tomorrow I will have my feet in the sand and a drink in my hand.  In case you can’t tell, I’m just a little excited for this adventure.  My mom and sister will be driving up here tonight and our flight leaves bright and early tomorrow morning.  I’ll be back on here sometime late next week; try not to miss my daily musings too much while I’m away!

    Puerto Vallarta, here I come!

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    A Little Pick Me Up

    September 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

    Time for another restaurant review!

    I went to the Pick Me Up Cafe in Lakeview for brunch yesterday.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I freaking love breakfast food, and I love love love that Chicago allows its residents to find it almost anytime, anywhere.

    Just what I needed after a night drinking at GermanFest!

    This quirky place is located not too far from Wrigley Field.  I met up with a new friend there and, as I waited, had ample time to peruse the menu.  I am appalled and ashamed that I’d never been there before, as it’s chock full of vegetarian friendly options.  For some reason I was only expecting a breakfast menu but apparently they serve everything from omelettes to sandwiches to pizza, all day long.  Most of this can be made vegan as well but since I have an everlasting love for all things cheesy, I pretended not to see the vegan stuff.

    Fun, no?

    I ordered a breakfast burrito, which had red and green peppers, onions, tofu, eggs, cheese and avocado all rolled up in a tortilla.  It was served with sour cream and some other sauce that I couldn’t quite place but devoured anyway.  There was also a side of home fries, which were little potato cubes covered with a spice that gave off a bit of a kick.  My food was delicious and the gal I was with ate the hell out of her pancakes, so I think they were pretty good too.

    I’m going to have to go back, if for no other reason than to try their BBQ seitan sandwich.  Seitan is basically wheat gluten, and I promise it’s better than it sounds.  As a vegetarian, I miss eating things covered with barbecue sauce.  Sure, I can put it on my veggie chicken patties or my homemade pizzas (and trust me, I do) and I even make “sloppy joe’s” with a mix from the grocery, but nothing beats a pseudo-meat like product slathered with the sauce and on a big ‘ol bun.  Well, for me at least.  I almost had it yesterday instead of the burrito but my slightly-hungover self thought better of it.  Next time for sure.

    Pick Me Up Cafe also has quite an assortment of beverages, from typical coffee-house fare like lattes and cappuccinos to milkshakes and other awesome looking desserts.  The cheesecake was especially appealing but I refrained, mostly because I was too full after my meal to even think about ingesting anything else.  I managed to walk my way home, barely.

    I love that Chicago has so many restaurants that I’ve yet to experience, although it makes it a little more difficult to go try someplace new when I’ve already found so many spots I really enjoy.  I’ll continue to try brunch and food in general all over the city but plan on getting a Pick Me Up quite often in the future.

    And on an unrelated note…in two days I’ll be eating and drinking on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta!

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    September 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

    No laughs here today, folks.

    It’s hard to believe it’s been nine years.

    September 11, 2001 is my generation’s November 22, 1963.  I will always remember exactly where I was when I heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers, just like my Mom will always know exactly where she was when she heard JFK was shot.

    My little sister totaled her car that morning on her way to school, so the day was atypical for us from the get-go.  We drove separately back then and she left a little before I did.  Then we got a call from her saying she had had an accident not a mile from our house.  My mom and I drove over to find her car totally flipped around and upside down and my sister, who was probably in shock at the time, standing unharmed next to it.  She still doesn’t know exactly what happened but we do know it involved a mailbox that was stuck in a giant mound of concrete.

    We called the wrecker and got everything taken care of (though the only thing left of her car was a bumper) and she decided she wanted to go on into school.  Personally, I would’ve taken a mental health day but apparently my sister is made of tougher stuff than I.  Since we were late, we had to sign in at the Dean’s office before going to class.  The secretary had on a small television and was watching something about a plane crash when we walked in.  She was as confused as we all were and when I arrived in class I said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.  At that point, no one else had heard a thing.  By the time the next class started we were all riveted to our seats and watching the horrific events unfold.  I was in Mrs. Shield’s Economics class on the third floor of my high school when I watched men and women jump from windows as plane hit the second tower.

    No one did any work that day.  People walked around the halls with vaguely confused and obviously scared looks on their faces, as I think most Americans did not only that day but for weeks and even months afterward.  After school, I went to a friend’s house where a group of us sat and silently watched media coverage all night long.  I remember thinking how the footage in NYC looked like something from Independence Day.  Those images and many others will remain with me for as long as I live.

    I know that there is a lot of controversy revolving around the attack, the war, what should be done with Ground Zero and, more recently, those who plan on “standing up to Muslims” by burning a book held sacred by those who practice Islam.  I don’t want to get too political but I do think it’s a shame that the site of the attack still stands barren.  I think it would’ve been nice to have something erected there as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to show our resilience and fill that ugly void.  As for the potential upcoming Qu’ran burnings, I haven’t mentioned anything about it on this blog because I think that more attention is exactly what this “church” of about 50 people does not need.  I will say this though, which comes from Heinrich Heine’s 1821 play Almansor: “That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.”

    This anniversary should not be about fighting, hating, blaming or anything else negative in any way.  We should be remembering the men and women who went to work that morning expecting just another day at the office and then never came home.  We should be honoring those who lost their lives or parts of their sanity while trying to help.  We should think of the families who lost loved ones and the children who are growing up without their parents.  We should also be proud of how our country came together in that world of pain and we should strive to remember that when things get tough now.

    As cliché as this might sound, hate breeds hate and we should all do our best to love one another.  I’m going to end with another quote, this one from Kurt Vonnegut:

    “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

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