Monday, March 07, 2005

Bridging the Gap

This afternoon I took two 5 1/4 inch diskettes down to the computer room. A cousin had sent me the diskettes, thinking they might have information that I haven't seen yet.

The date on each file was from March 1995. Time capsules. 10 years. An eternity in the computer industry. The floppies are from a different technological epoch.

The TSRs had an old computer down there that still has a 5 1/4 inch drive in it. The computer took 15 minutes to boot up. It's hard drive is beginning to fail, causing the slow-down. We had to boot it twice.

Patience is a virtue.

Finally the little task was done: I copied the files from old technology (5 1/4 inch diskettes) to new technology (my USB JumpDrive). A quick look through the files reveals clues that will help me track down more cousins. The information persisted a decade and is still viable.

Current thinking in the Computer Science realm suggests that the media on the diskettes should have gone bad years ago. Tiny electronic miracles still happen.

On another note: Today at the cafeteria, as I fumbled with my wallet, the lady in front of me got into her purse, bumping my tray. The plate holding my sandwich, flipped into the air and landed, all a-clatter, on the floor. The plate didn't break, oddly enough. The sandwich, of course, split in half, hitting the floor with both slices mayonnaise side down. I tried to rescue my sandwich (I was in a bit of a hurry - 10 second rule and all), but folks said, "Go make another one..." I still smell like mustard and mayo.

Gender Question

Early in my life I heard the story:

"The Doctors all thought you were a girl before you were born."

The story was repeated often enough that the thought occurred to me as a child: "What if I really am a girl?" I never voiced the question. It was just there. By the time I knew the difference between boys and girls, there was no question left: I really am a boy.

According to current popular thought, with that early questioning of my gender, I should be gay.

I'm not. Never have been. I've always been thoroughly enamored by the female form. I've never had a desire to dress up in women's clothes; to kiss a man. I do vaguely remember trying to walk in high heels as a child and wondering why you would do that.

My feelings towards the female form have lead me down dark paths, but never towards homosexuality. I have struggled long and hard with my own demonic habits and addictions, so I know what a waste giving in to any temptation can be.

The opposition creates counterfeits of all things. Homosexuality is probably the best example of counterfeit love there can be.

Over the weekend we watched "Angels in America". It had been recommended as a well-produced bad film. We sat through all 6 hours expecting something better. It was a wonderful example of societal propaganda. There were a few entertaining moments, but the whole thing was pretty shallow.

Through the years we've developed the habit of analyzing everything we watch: looking for subtle lies and hidden truths in the media we view; looking for meaning that shapes public opinion and attitude. This movie has a long laundry list of lies and untruths. Very little of the production had truth in it. I will not go wading back through that fetid swamp of a movie to compile lists of the good and the bad. The movie is not worth the effort. The good and true is there to be seen, but completely overshadowed by the monumental lies the producers want you to swallow. Any truths in the movie are insignificant.

Joseph said something along the lines that the devil would use a thousands truths to help you believe a lie. This production took that idea and reversed it.

Over the years my wife and I have tried to gain an understanding of the Gay Lifestyle. We've tried to cut through the haze of misinformation and propaganda that abounds in this subject area. We've formed our own opinions about the subject:

  • Intimate relations outside of a marital relationship is wrong.
  • Whether or not that act is with someone of the same gender, or with someone of the opposite gender, is irrelevant.
  • Homosexuality is sad, a waste.
  • Making generalizations about sexual motivation is nearly impossible.
  • Political acceptance of sexual orientation is a blind: just one more way to acquire power, influence and position.

Watching the movie "Angels in America" left a void in our home. Things were somber when we finished. It was not an uplifting experience. Unfortunately, it made me wonder about the reasons why the movie had been recommended in the first place. I don't recommend it to anyone. It doesn't include enough truths, hidden or otherwise, to take the trouble to watch.

That being said, it's no wonder that the film won acclaim. It is a wonderful, self-serving vehicle to promote the gay lifestyle. The vehicle demanded controversial fuel. Using "Mormons" as leading characters was but part of that fuel mix. Knowing how "Mormons" have been portrayed in the media is still not justification enough to watch this film.

The treatment of Mormons and Mormonism in the film is neither fair nor unfair. It is just shallow. The "Mormon" characters were fuel. They moved the story along. They were chewed up, used up and spit out.

No one needs to see this film. It's not worth 15 minutes, not to mention 6 hours. I am ashamed to have wasted my time with it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Another One

Yesterday I was updating the address list, trying to identify family members who might want to help me set up an ancestral family organization. I found some new contact information, but wasn't quite sure it belonged to my cousin. I needed outside verification.

So, I looked at his children and saw a daughter with a unique given name and unique married name. I put her husband's name in the Switchboard search engine and came up with a positive contact. I called the daughter, but no one answered. I left a brief message: "I'm trying to reach so and so, I'm your cousin, want to talk about family information, blah, blah, blah..."

To my surprise, Circe called me back in the afternoon. We had a good visit. I put her stalker/identity-theft fears to rest with detailed information from my database and assured her that her information will only be used for genealogical purposes.

She's in the middle of an adoption, so has no time to help set up the family organization. She's interested in being involved once it is organized, though. Yes, the address I found is her father's contact information. He might want to become involved, but her cousin Paul is the genealogically motivated one in the family...

I didn't have her connected to a cousin Paul.

It turns out that I had her family in my database twice. Once as descendants of one corner of the family on her father's side and a second time as descendants of a different, more closely related, corner of the family on her mother's side! I hadn't connected the dots yet. With her help I got the puzzle pieces connected.

After the call was finished, I had to merge the two family records (six individuals in all) to clean up the file. Fun!

For the second day in a row I have been blessed with extra, unexpected, helpful, welcome information from my routine efforts.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


It didn't occur to me until later.

Last night I entered obituaries into my database. I got to the last one I'd found and remembered that it didn't quite fit my profile: Not a cousin; Not born in Millard County. But he is related. I'd decided to just put the obit in his notes and leave it at that.I found him already in the file, with the correct spouse. I also found that he wasn't linked to his parents, who were already in the file. So, I linked him up. Pasted the obituary in his notes, then updated his record and the source list. I also put a source citation in his parents', spouse's and daughter's notes. I then linked the photo from the obituary to his record in the database.

Later as I sat thinking of the tasks of my day, I remembered when I'd copied his obituary Monday: I hadn't looked for his record in my database. Instead, I had recognized his mother's name, found her in the database, noticed that he wasn't listed as a child and had decided to copy the obit anyway, even though it didn't fit the profile.

When I remembered that circumstance, I re-looked at the file. The daughter I had for the man who'd died is married to one of my cousins. I'd found their family information in a 40 year-old family group record. With the information in the obituary and a quick search in the white pages, I now have current contact information and will be able to add children and grandchildren to my cousin's record.

All because I copied an obit that didn't fit my requirements.


Of course, good etiquette suggests that I wait a little while before I make my call...

How long can that itch be held in abeyance?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Last night, after much encouragement and an abortive attempt on Friday, we watched "Phantom of the Opera" at the local theater. I had to go to the manager a few minutes into the showing and tell them they were using the wrong lens. We weren't seeing the whole picture. Thankfully, she ran to the projection room and made things right.

The film left me bemused. My wife and daughter were dumbfounded by my reaction. I spent the evening and my dreams trying to figure out why the story didn't lift me like I'd expected. The story ended right: folks made the correct decisions, the Viscount wasn't killed, Christine was allowed to go with him, the phantom apparently didn't stalk her any more...

Still, as I talked and thought, I wondered about manipulation and unrighteous dominion. The movie only illustrates a small segment in the characters' lives. Obviously, the Phantom had practiced hypnotism and mind control on Christine throughout her life and throughout the movie. She didn't really know who her "Music Angel" was. I wondered: who is the father of Madame Giry's daughter? How had Madame Giry been coerced over the years? Had she a better reason to purchase the music box? She was a seemingly willing accomplice to the Phantom's exploits.

The movie mad me sad: sad for the Phantom's wasted life, unchosen alternatives, unfulfilled potential, his choices to force others to do his will. It didn't illustrate the joy of the Viscount's life together with Christine.

Yes, it's a wonder that Christine was able to overcome. She was able to remove herself from a highly manipulative environment. Too many women don't do that. Unrighteous dominion is evil. There is no story that justifies abuse, coersion, force, manipulation. That Christine was able to see through the hypnotic lies the Phantom sang to her is a triumph.

That being said, I recognize that the movie fulfills my naive definition of good entertainment: it made me look beyond the surface, examine myself and my feelings, my world. It was a good experience.


Most days are similar.

Get up. Shower. Dress. Let the cat in. Feed him. Eat a bit (if I've gotten up in time). Smudge my glasses when saying goodbye. Walk to the bus stop.

Generally I express my gratitude for the new day as I wait for the bus. Every day is marvelous: bright spring mornings with frantic aviary activity; hushed dark mornings with sounds muffled by newly fallen snow; crystal clear frosty mornings that take your breath away; the miracle of rainfall in the desert; the mystery of walking through low clouds.

When the bus arrives, I take my seat, put my glasses in their case, pull out my scriptures and read a couple chapters. Most days I'm ready for a nap after that. I open my eyes from time to time as the bus gets closer to the city, but my naps usually fill me with new energy and enthusiasm for the opportunities of the day. When I'm fully awake again, I wipe off my glasses and put them back on.

Often I witness the sunrise through bus windows. They frame the wonders of the morning. The Lord's artistic abilities regularly fill me with admiration. The things He can do with light, shadow and water vapor are stunning. Morning light reflected off snow-capped mountain peaks above a shadowy valley make me smile. Colors reflected through atmosphere we've dirtied illustrate how He can make beauty from anything.

Thank the bus driver. Walk to the Library. Enter through the back door. I'm still amazed that I have the priviledge to work here. Take the elevator. Hang up my coat and hat. Water my bamboo. Turn on my computer. Say "Hey!" to any one in the nearby cubbies. Log in. Check my email.

To many that sounds constrictive, binding, even boring. It is a comfort to me.

Bring on the day.