Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A few years ago my wife and I went to see Damien Rice perform at the Barrymore Theater off Atwood Ave in Madison - a relatively intimate venue where every seat is a good seat. Damien Rice is an Irish singer-songwriter who's album's "O" and "9" are passionately performed, though relatively dark. Most of his songs include either a cellist and/or a woman backup singer who's voice is beautiful.

Well, Damien Rice was.... well.... weird. He performed a couple of cool songs, but all of the weirdness between songs really ruined the show for me. That being said, the opening act STOLE THE SHOW!!! That opening act was The Frames - an Irish band that Damien "brought with him" to tour. The Frames were entertaining, funny, engaging, and very strong musically. They are a full band including keyboards and an electric violin (that really rocked). After the concert, we ended up buying a Frames CD entitled "Set List" which sounded a lot like the live concert and is very good.

The lead singer of The Frames? Glen Hansard.

Well, I've since passed that CD on to some of my friends, including David Sutter, who also enjoyed it. Last week David called me to recommend a movie ("Once") and a song from that movie ("Falling Slowly"). The movie Once stars the Frames lead singer, Glen Hansard, and a Czech (I think) woman Marketa Irsglova. Its a complicated love story where the movie's tag line is "How often to you find the right person? Once." The movie is decent - just be ready for an Indy-type film - but the soundtrack, which features songs performed by Glen and Marketa, is really good. If you are looking for a different sound, but a great listen, check it out on iTunes or wherever you get your music these days. I think certain songs sound similar to Damien Rice (with his woman backup singer), Dido, and maybe a tiny bit like certain Bare Naked Ladies songs. As one person said, Hansard is "Raw and clear".

Friday, February 22, 2008


I was listening to ESPN radio this morning, and two guys were talking about Indiana University men's basketball coaches over the last few years. They were talking about the ideal coach having three "qualities":
1) They are friendly - with players, administration, media, fans, etc. In other words, "They play nice with others".
2) They are compliant - meaning they graduate their players, they don't break any NCAA rules, they don't cheat, etc.
3) They are successful; they win a lot of games.

Originally, Indiana's coach was Bob Knight. Bob was compliant and successful, but was not very nice to his players and the media. So they fired him.

Then, Mike Davis came along. He was super nice and compliant, but he didn't win enough basketball games. So they fired him.

Now, Indiana has Kelvin Sampson. He is nice and wins basketball games, but apparently he broke 5 NCAA rules (again) and lied to the NCAA about it. So, what are they going to do? Probably fire him.

My point is, the two radio guys were saying how hard it is to find a top-notch coach who can fulfill all three of the above requirements.

I thought Shouldn't ALL employees at every company/organization hold these three qualities!?!?! Shouldn't we all be nice, compliant, and good at what we do? Should it be that hard to find someone who is (other than at the State)?

I'd love to hear some stories about you and your co-workers (or EX-coworkers)!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


"The only place SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the dictionary."

This quote was brought to me by my coworker Janelle. I'll probably start a revolving favorite quote section on the side bar.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

What "invention" dating back to as early as 6000 B.C. has the ability to "manipulate" input and give output/feedback quicker than the fastest, most powerful computer?

Answer: a mirror.

If you stop and think about the "power" of the mirror, you, too, may find it to be one of the most awesome, amazing, interesting, scarey, profound, terrible, yet simple invention ever.

Yes, the mirror has been instrumental in the creation and usage of cars, televisions, video equipment, telescopes, microscopes, and even decor.

But, the mirror has also helped perpetuate vanity and suicide.

How can an inatimate object - a simple piece of reflective glass - (help) make a young girl feel so crappy about herself or give a handsome man feelings of grandiose? When a beautiful young girl looks into a mirror and does not like what she sees, is that a problem?

I understand that the mirror isn't "doing" anything other than reflecting. I find it interesting that different people seeing the same reflection will "see" or at least "perceive" very different things. Similarly, the same person will see the same refelction differently at different times.

When it comes right down to it, should we even use mirrors for appearance reasons? Mirrors can be very helpful to get an eyelash out of your eye, but do we really need it to see how we dress, how our clothes fit, or how our hair looks?

If we all got rid of our mirrors at the same time, would we ever need to start using them again?

Would we judge or care if everyone's hair looked imperfect or different or "bad" if our own did too?

This is a crappy attempt at expressing some of my thoughts about the way a person can impact what a mirror reflects. Please add your own comments below in a manner that may be more concise, clear, and interesting...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Alfred Chalres Kinsey

Tonight I watched the movie "Kinsey" for an assignment in my Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfuction class. For those of you are not familiar with the movie or who he is, you can check out his bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Kinsey. Bascially he was a zoologist at Indiana University who ended up becoming a sexologist who did research on many things related to sex that were considered taboo, or worse - immoral - at the time. He had to privately fund his research, yet produced many books, including The Kinsey Reports: Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (and in another later book, Female).
One aspect of the movie that came up very little was the influence on love on sex and, I suppose, the influence of sex on love. When asked, Kinsey said, "Love is not measurable." I don't disagree that the point of his study was on sex and the measurable aspects of sex, but doing a study about sex without considering love is like doing a study about fish without considering water: you can count fish, categorize them, put the fish under a microscope and cut in open to tell me how they work, but if you can't tell me why they live in water and how the water affects them, then I would say there are certain limitations on the published report. That is not to say that his reports aren't accurate or complete (in their own right) or wonderful for science, I'm just saying that you have to take it - like all research and findings - with a grain of salt, or at least with a certain understanding of what was attempting to be accomplished in the first place.
Kinsey did bring one "revolutionary" idea to the mainstream public: people are not necessarily completely 100% heterosexual or homosexual. Based on actual past experience, many people are somewhere else along a continuum. Kinsey wrote,
"Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.
While emphasising the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history... An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life.... A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist." (Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656)
See more about the "Kinsey Scale" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale.

He also metioned that many of the sexual acts that humans did that were considered immoral or taboo back in the 1950's were not any different than what other animal species did. I'll let you decide how you want to interpret/accept that.
I've always found it amazing how little sex is talked about in society yet how it is (or can be) such a major part of our lives. Many single people spend a lot of their free time searching for a mate. I'm sure companionship is very important, but I don't know many people who are single and looking for a completely platonic relationship. Similarly, based on my experiences and training, sex (or lack of) is often a point of contention in marriages.
That being said, I hope that this entry makes you feel uncomfortable - that means you're growing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NIU Shooting

I'm not sure about anyone else, but I'm pretty tired of reading about school shootings. This week was a murder (of 5 innocent victims)-suicide at Northern Illinois in Dekalb, IL. I'll assume that you have heard of it, know the details, or will at cnn.com or wherever you get your news, but a couple of things stick out to me:
1) He completed his undergrad at NIU (where the shooting took place), but was a current student at U of Illinois (the Illini of the Big Ten).
2) He was a good student and was well respected by faculty at both schools.
3) As of now, there is no published motive - though I wonder if there is a reason the shootings took place at NIU other than familiarity from his undergrad.
4) He was a sociology student interested in matters related to prisons and criminals.
5) From a CNN.com article, "the AP reported that Kazmierczak's parents had placed him in a Chicago psychiatric treatment center after high school. A former employee of the center said Kazmierczak habitually cut himself and wouldn't take his medication, according to the AP." and that "He also told a friend that he was given a psychological discharge from the Army after six months in the service in 2001-2002, according to the AP."
6) Lastly, according to the same CNN.com article, "People close to him have told police he was taking medication but had stopped and had become "somewhat erratic" in the last couple of weeks."

Here's the link to the article: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/16/university.shooting/index.html

Has anyone heard what medications he was on before he stopped taking them? Anyone have any further information on his family or upbringing?

It'd be really easy to huff and puff about how our society is going down the drain and all of these school shootings are the same, but each shooter is unique and each situation should be studied independently to see what can be learned.

Valentine's Day

I'm curious to know people's thoughts on Valentine's Day. My wife and I don't really go crazy over the day - at least not this year. I think we've taken the approach that we should that we love each other every day, instead of just on a day that Mr./Mrs. Hallmark says we should. So, I had flowers delivered for my wife and daughter and bought some match box cars for my son, and my wife got me a nice, heartfelt card, but that was it for us. We didn't go out for dinner (mostly because I had class that night), we didn't buy chocolates, we didn't get any gifts, etc. I guess we did go out for lunch with the kids. And, my wife make valentine's with the kids for some the grandparents and their friends.

I had one friend that got engaged on V-Day, so that was pretty unique (at least for him), so how did you all celebrate this year, and generally how do you feel about the day?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Same-Sex Marriage

So, for those of you who do not know, I am taking two classes at Edgewood College this semester. I'll probably write more about that later, though. We were asked to read some essays and discuss the question: "Should Same-Sex Marriage be Legal?" I'd be interested in people's perspectives. Please leave comments below or feel free to vote to the right. Thanks for your honest opinions accepted without judgment (by me at least). I'll consider adding my thoughts later, but I want to see your initial responses beforehand. Thanks!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Hey there,

This is my first blog...what do they call them....? Entry? Yeah, entry..... EVER!

Welcome to Ryan's World!

I can't promise I'll always make sense, but I hope to always make you think.

I reckon I will write a lot about people, the interactions between people, the how's, the why's. There will be statements, thoughts, and predictions as well as inquiries and requests.

I hope that every time you visit my blog (which may be only once) that you will feel challenged and experience growth. That being said, this blog will be more for me than for you. I've heard if you want to be a good writer, then you have to practice writing. Well, this is my practice, I suppose.

Please add me to your favorites, visit often, leave comments, and shoot me thought provoking emails (via my profile page)!