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Thursday March 31, 2005

Back to more serious things

Fresh off the baby high, I spent the last day or two back in my usual routine of working at my job and complaining about my job. My brand-spanking new niece, though a joy to finally have hanging around, has done little to change how crappy I feel driving to work every morning. I really have to find a new job. Or heavily bribe some desperate psych professor into taking me on as a grad student.

The news coming out of Florida this morning have also helped squeeze the last bit of slap-happy out of me. Terri Schiavo, despite the onslaught of outraged activists and nasty political rhetoric, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park.

The last two weeks have likely been filled with grief for those close to Terri, and with stress for the rest of us. Right now people across the nation are probably feeling some pretty intense emotions, regardless of what opinions they hold. Things may not have been easy around here, but as is the case in many of life's more difficult times, there is a silver lining.

In the last two weeks, I've had conversations with friends and family about the same end-of-life issues that we usually avoid like the plague. Few people like to think about death, especially their own. But unless we want this circus-like madness to tear apart our own families, we're going to have to do some talking.

Myself included.

I made the personal decision a long time ago that if my mind had left for greener pastures, I wanted my family to let the rest go with it. God put no burden on me to computerize my body, and it's a burden I won't put on myself.

To me, there is a difference between using medical technology to prolong one's life, and abusing it to prolong one's physical existence. And I don't want a machine to do for me artificially what my brain can not do for me naturally. And for that reason, I'd want to be let go.

Considering my own death doesn't scare me like it does so many others. Death itself is not a tragedy; it's a chance to move on to bigger and better things. And although I do appreciate the fantastic awesomeness of this life, I feel no moral obligation to stay in this mud-hole longer than my body lets me.

Whether or not my family follows through with this is up to them. I imagine that my parents wouldn't. If it eases their distress to have my body around a little longer, that's fine. I'm not going to force anyone to let me die; that, too, is a burden. But I want to make it clear that it's not my wish to hang around, so don't do it for me.

There are better things on my agenda.


Sunday March 27, 2005

Meet my niece

This is Maria Kristine (with a K, doh!). This little chubby baby was born yesterday at the crack of dawn and she loves her aunt Drina. Here she is:

Fat cheeks! Fat cheeks!

I am too cute for you!

I love my aunt Drina!

And my Grampa!


Saturday March 26, 2005

The latest, greatest Vurbic

Maria Kristine Vurbic was born today, at 5:45 am. What an early bird! I haven't seen her yet, she's still at the hospital. Woot.


Wednesday March 23, 2005

Happy Birthday

To a kick-ass aunt.

Baby still MIA.


Tuesday March 22, 2005

Swami on Shiavo

Swami Uptown asks,

"You have to think: If Terri Schiavo were black and poor...would any of these politicians give a damn?"

Last week a hospital in Texas pulled the plug on a baby boy... against the mother's wishes. And they were permitted to do it by a bill that Bush signed into law.

Why did Congress not fight for them?


Monday March 21, 2005

The problem with Terri Schiavo

The Cleveland Plain Dealer had a front page story today about the fight over Terri Shiavo. The Congress burned the midnight oil creating emergency legislation, and the president flew in from his vacation to sign the bill. Pro-life activists were encouraged, I'm sure, that politicians would go to such extraordinary heights to get involved in this case.

The outcome out of this drama will likely be that Terri will hang on for a while longer, and her political saviors will have a victory to gloat over. We'll be hearing a lot about how some politicians promoted a "culture of life," while others (evil ones!) wanted Terri dead. In other words, politics will go on as usual.

And, as usual, far away from television cameras, thousands of people will die daily from poverty, disease, genocide, war, hate crimes, and a host of causes that aren't urgent enough to bring the president back from his vacation. Families will be murdered in Darfur, children will be orphaned in Iraq, and the homeless will shiver in the cold steets of America.

None of these people will ever be as valued by our politicians as Terri Shiavo. And though their lives also hang in the balance, the "culture of life" won't bother to fight for them.

The problem here is not actually with Terri Shiavo. She's just another human being who deserves to be fed and clothed. The problem is the political agenda of those who fight so hard for Terri, yet let millions die without any emergency sessions in Congress. Why is Terri's life valued more than the collective worth of so many others? What makes fighting for her so attractive to our leaders?

And why is the "culture of life" so inconsistent in deciding whose life is worthy of urgent action?

Addendum: Digby offer a strange twist that speaks to the hypocrisy that is the push to "save" Terri Shiavo (and one that the media won't mention).


Saturday March 19, 2005


Still isn't here. Boo.


Thursday March 17, 2005


So the little wee bairn has not been, um... bairn yet, so all of us are continuing the baby watch in the hopes that my niece arrives by 11:59 p.m. today. Actually, I'm probably the only one hoping she makes it on St. Patty's day, as much of the family will be forced to sober up in a hurry if such happens to be the case. Being a non-drinker has its perks, as I'll be among the first at the hospital should my sister-in-law go into labor. Ready to collect, or course.

I just wish baby Vurbic would stop procrastinating. But then again, she is her father's daughter.


Tuesday March 15, 2005

Baby watch

During her last visit to the ob-gyn, my sister-in-law was told she'll deliver this week. I picked March 17th on the baby pool. For real, my niece is coming on St. Patty's day, and I'm going to win the pot.



Monday March 14, 2005

Independent press, an oxymoron?

In the last few months, American citizens have been brutally confronted with some of the seedier details of the state of modern journalism. First, the White House was caught paying off members of the media to publically support its agenda at the taxpayers expense. Then we learned of a man with no background in journalism (who also ran various pro-Republican causes and a gay prostitution website) being welcomed into official press briefings at the White House despite his lack of credentials. And finally, what we all knew years ago Americablog)

After learning all of the shady details, is it logical to propose that independent journalism is a thing of the past, if it ever existed at all? And is it reasonable to feel manipulated?

I used to believe in the press as a kind of truth-seeking squad, whose sole purpose was to uproot every detail, good and bad, buried deep by the soiled hands of corrupt political operatives. If governments were misbehaving, the press would discover their dirty deeds and sound the alarms, sometimes despite the threat of great persecution. And, as usual, those who supported the governments would cry fowl and lob accusations of bias. But the press would soldier on and make darn sure the public was informed. After all, freedom of the press, like speech in general, is fundamental for the survival of democracy.

I had long believed that media bias existed somewhere; that journalists occasionally let their personal beliefs color their reporting, rendering their news articles as little more than editorials in drag. But I never believed the press got fat on the government payroll. Such was a product of communist countries, I thought, not the United States. Every morning I scanned the Plain Dealer with my bagel and orange juice to catch up on the "news." Now, I closely inspect every article and wonder suspiciously about how much of the crap in front of me was planted by the White House or filtered through its war rooms. I can't trust anything I read anymore. Has it always been this way? Was my truth-digging perception of the media really so naive?

Is there really such a thing as "news" anymore? Was there ever?

Addendum: A relevent link -


Saturday March 12, 2005

Like the loser that I am

I'm sitting here at my computer, watching Garden State in 10-minute long spurts; my enjoyment of Zach Braff's masterpiece being occasionally interrupted by AOL Instant Messages from buddies who are too far away to hang out with me tonight. In college I was surrounded by friends, annoying dorm neighbors and their boyfriends all day, every day. But now that I'm, as Jake calls it, a "working stiff," I find myself without company more than I'd like to be.

I'm irritated by the fact that I have to pencil my friends into my datebook. Now that we're all "working stiffs," we're forced to play endless rounds of phone tag, trying to pinpoint days and times we can meet for shopping trips, movie nights, and chats at the coffee house. As a typical twixter, my friends have become my family. And I hate the fact that my budding adulthood is keeping us separated. Don't get me wrong; there certainly are perks to post-college life. The fact that I haven't written a research paper in quite a while is something to be thankful about. But watching DVDs by myself on a Saturday night most certainly is not. This sucks.


Friday March 11, 2005

My tickets are here!!!

Green Day, here I come! :)


Wednesday March 09, 2005

Las Vegas

Plane tickets: check.

Hotel room: check.

Excitement: check.

Sightseeing ideas: no check.

When I think of Las Vegas, I think of gambling. And drinking a lot. Unfortunately for me (or perhaps, fortunately) I do neither. I know there are a lot of shows going on there, but what to see? Where to go?

I've never been there before so I'm kind of at a loss. Maybe I'll consult Frommer, or something. I really want this to be a fun trip. After the last few weeks of employment hell, I think I deserve a short summer trip.


Monday March 07, 2005

The 5 People You Meet in Heaven

I just finished reading Mitch Albom's book during my lunch break today. After hearing so many people rave about it, I felt the need to check it out. After all, it could have completely changed my view of life and death, right?

I really had such high hopes for this one, but unfortunately I've experienced no such expected transofrmation. I'm usually a big fan of Albom's essays and editorials, but this time around I was left a little dissapointed with his book. Maybe my inner scientist wouldn't allow me to appreciate it... I kept asking myself dumb questions.

Why do the characters always meet five people? Why not three? Or seven? How could everyone universally only need five people to have the purpose of their lives explained to them? And why does the woman in the story want to spend eternity going from wedding to wedding? Oy, such stereotypes!

And on it went.

Although it was certainly a comforting story (perhaps for everyone else), I didn't glean any new insights into the purpose of life or experience any deep emotional breakthroughs. It just gave me something to do on my lunch break while sitting alone in the lab office. Maybe my expectations were a little too high.

Maybe I should stay away from popular books. What to read next?


Saturday March 05, 2005


Boy, does it feel good to be done with my taxes... Viva la TurboTax, $19.99 at Target!


Thursday March 03, 2005

I am, like, SO famous!

Earlier today as I was going through the checkout line at Target, the girl at the register looked at me after I whipped out my Target Visa and said, "You're the one who's painting Sarah's nursery, right? You did a great job!"

My jaw dropped in shock. I quickly blurted, "What? How do you know that?" It really freaked me out that she knew who I was.

She said that she had visited my website after my sister-in-law (who happens to be her gymnastics coach) told her she could find pictures of the nursery I was painting for my future niece. The checkout girl remembered me after seeing my name on my credit card. How weird is that?

You know what this means... I'm famous!

I also purchased my very first DVD today. I know, I know... I realize I'm a loser. I've always been reluctant to spend money on movies that I could rent for free at the library. But I really wanted this one. Anyway, I hope my choice makes up for my pitiful movie library.

Garden State



Wednesday March 02, 2005

Eight more days...

... until I get my second paycheck! Woohoo!

Isn't it sad that getting paid is all I can think about?


Tuesday March 01, 2005

Politics alert (Steph, stop reading)

On the drive home, I heard on the radio that the Supreme Court finally ended juvenile executions. I remember being shocked years ago when learning that the U.S. still put people to death for crimes committed when they were legally children. We were the last Western government that still engaged in it, yet few of us felt ashamed. Today I was equally shocked when hearing the news. Even in contemporary America, where vengeance is the state religion, the government is still capable of doing the right thing.

Gotta love that Constitution. This made my (otherwise crappy) day.