Villa Man Auction: Nov. 3, 2005

1 dorm
1 charity
10 groups of guys
10 dates for sale
1 water tower in Tanznia
$10,000 goal
Chiles Center Mezanine
504 screaming girls
hundreds of hours work
and lots more by people who weren’t Ryan Hendricks
$10,200 raised
1 anonymous matching donor
$20,400 raised
1 awesome night

Back from Encounter

Encounter was awesome, and I’m still working on figuring out what I got out of it. A lot of what happens there is secret, just so that there is a mystique about it, so I won’t say much of anything here. If you want to know more, drop me a line or come see me, and I’ll tell you what I can about it.

I got some awesome pics on the beach, and they will be posted eventually.

I apparently forgot to publish this post when I meant to, so it’s backdated to appear somewhere near the time I got back.


So I was going to eventually get to doing another status update, but I wound up doing a rant about chain-emails. There’s a few things I’ve been meaning to get around to mentioning, so here they are at the top of a post.

I didn’ t get the job at KDUP, it went to a junior, who apparently was the guy who had e-mailed when I interviewed. I wonder if I was too ambitious for their liking. So far, the only thing that appears to have been done is to take down all the dead parts of the website, and replace last year’s info with a “info coming soon” page. A link to a word document containing the show listings was posted, though.

Really, I’m not as upset about this as I may seem to be. I went into this knowing that I was underqualified (at least on paper) and I’m not too surprised that I didn’t get the position.

As you may have noticed, the blog has a new style. Long time readers may notice that the style is similar to the one I had when I was still using Blogger. We’ll see if I stick with this one or not–I do like having a calendar over there to the right, though.

And as to the title of this post. This weekend, I’m going on a retreat with Campus Ministry, called “Encounter with Christ,” or Encounter for short. Several people I know have gone on this retreat in the past, all come back raving about it, so I think it will be a good weekend. There’s a bit of secrecy about this retreat, which former participants hint about, so I guess I’ll find out about it there.

There’s several other people I know going as retreatants, and a few more as part of the “Encounter Team,” the ones putting on the retreat. Not 100% certain this is a good thing, but but I’ll see how this plays out.

The one peice of advice I’ve gotten in relation to the retreat, from Cean, was to go into the retreat with no expectations, and just let whatever happens happen. I’ve heard so many things about the retreat that I’m not sure I can do this, but I sure don’t know what to expect.

If this were a few months ago, I’d promise to post about it when I got back, but lately I haven’t been posting too much, and I really don’t feel too bad about that. I’ve been keeping busy, between schoolwork, procrastination, and just generally hanging out, and I don’t necessarily have the time/energy/motivation to write to this blog.

I could write about more stuff, but I need to work on homework and study for two tests on Monday, so that I’m not super behind when I get back–I’ll be gone from 4pm Friday to 6pm Sunday.


Common Sense

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
Gertrude Stein

I’m subscribed to a quote of the day, and this was today’s quote. It sure is true.

Lately, I’ve been putting out a lot of chain-emails.

  • I got one about a missing child from a high-school friend, which turns out to be fake. I replied that this was fake, and that was the last I heard.
  • My uncle forwarded some pictures of “Katrina,” but they ended up being from a storm chaser, and taken in the midwest on 2002 and 2004. I mentioned it to my parents, and eventually they got back to him.
  • A high school teacher sent me a chain-e-mail “collecting names for a school project,” which of course, doesn’t exist. E-mail sent, and response recieved. (I had actually seen this one about a year before, and refuted it then.)
  • In Church last week, the visiting preist read a list of reasons to vote, citing one vote elections of the past. This, as well, had been circulating as an e-mail, and was false. (Although both Ann Landers and Dear Abby have fallen for it, but were both soon corrected by readers.) Mentioned to parents, who mentioned it to brother of preist, who will mention it to him.

So that’s several, all in a few week span. Then there’s the one that started this whole thing off.

When I was in High School, I had the opportunity to attend a Republican Party fundraising dinner for free (on someone else’s tab), and decided that it couldn’t hurt. As a result, the vice-chair of the party (who is the mother of a girl in my class) has come to the conclusion that I am republican (which I am, sometimes. It depends on the issue.). I have managed to get myself on the mailing list, which she sends out.

A few weeks ago, she sent out an obviously fake e-mail, alleging that the ACLU was trying to prevent marines from praying, or something equally objectible. In the preface, she mentioned that she didn’t usually send out quite so many e-mail’s per week, but she “just can’t help myself!!”

I sent back the following e-mail:

I realize that the republican party and the ACLU may not be on the best of terms, and that political parties feel much more free to distribute mis-information about their enemies than the average person, but please, do not send out stories that can be refuted so easily.

See the following websites:


All of which note that not only has this e-mail been circulating since 2003, but that it is completely false.

Please, refrain from sending out this type of e-mail ever again.

Nathan Oliver

I was going to say something nasty about that “just can’t help myself”, but decided against it, and left it out.

The e-mail was a bit harsher than I intended, and essentially accused her of intentionally spreading mis-information, and after this was over, I sent another e-mail apologizing for the tone, but not backing down for correcting her.

I then went off to class, and when I came back, the following e-mails had arrived. This one to me:

Thank you very much, Nathan. I did have a choice to send that one out and should have made the choice rather than sending it just because I was asked to. I really appreciate your stern lecture! I usually check out the source prior to sending it, but did not this time. Again, I respect you and will “correct” this as best as it can with the Republican membership.

And this one to the mailing list:

A person I very much respect wrote the following. I really appreciate that he sent this and wish to “correct” the message in the e-mail I just sent to members of the Republican Party in Skamania County. Normally, I do try to “verify” info I send as Vice-Chair of the party. I am sorry I didn’t do that this time. PLEASE DELETE THE E-MAIL, “What’s wrong with this picture?” and do not circulate it. My apologies to anyone this offended and my apologies for not verifying this information.

[Name Removed], Vice-Chair
Republican Party, Skamania County

The person wrote:
[text of my e-mail, minus my name]

So I did make a difference in the war against chain-mail, and if I wasn’t aware, she sent the following e-mail a day or three later:

I’ve been able to correct it three times so far — the list I sent it to and the two mailing lists I was on from two DIFFERENT PEOPLE! (Note, that I just had it sent to me again today from another source.) I left your name out, but sent the websites you found. So you now know that you have made some impact!

I do try very hard to verify info that I send out as I don’t feel I wish to be “a political party’s pawn” — this one slipped by.

And I knew you wrote that as a quick response, Nathan. 🙂 I’ve done that before, too! Apology accepted.

And a week later, via the same mailing list, comes this rambler:

Dear Skamania Republicans —

Many items come across our e-mails every day from friends and others. It’s often that they come from others, who got them from others, who got them from who knows where!!! But they mean something to us, so we send them on without checking the validity of the item. Political “garbage” can also be just that – just garbage! Outdated, tainted and just plain untrue!

So that each of you have some tools to use on your own to determine if something is true, valid or even sensible — I put together the following websites. You don’t have to be a computer expert to use the websites. If you’d rather search something out for validity another way, just do a google search (by typing in the first line of something someone sent you that looks questionable into the google search box) and that search will take you into one or another of these websites. (I’m talking about something that comes out as a “political script” to share — or something that is sent with a message that you should continue to share it — for whatever reason. It probably won’t work if you type in the first sentence taken from a letter from home!!! 🙂 )

In fact, just so you know, it is possible to “google a phone number”. Let me give you a true example: last night I got a phone call at around 8:00 pm and no one was on the line….since this has happened a lot lately, I dialed *69, listened and found out the number the call took place from…..then I went to my computer and typed the number into the google search box and came up with all kinds of info telling me about this telemarketer from Quebec, Canada. This morning, I called the local telephone company and the WA state Attorney General’s office (felt Sam owed me something!!!), and was told the same by both….they both gave me a number to call to get on the National Do Not Call Registry. The number was the same from both sources. A call to set this up must take place from the number you wish to block such calls — so tonight I will call from my home phone to get on this DNC Registry and I’ll be set for the next 5 years!!! I’ve been told it works. The Do Not Call (DNC) Registry number is 888-382-1222. So — now you know the “secrets” of being your own political detective!!!!

My secretary, who is very adept with internet, suggests the first website. Try one or all….and they bring up some pretty interesting discussion. (Who ever said the TV media gives us our “window to the world”!!??)


Meanwhile, just think about it. One person from my e-mail list — a 19 year old — got a lot started when he sent back a response that something wasn’t correct! Our college youth do make a big impact on our lives — even beyond coming home and cleaning out our cabinets of food and our pocketbooks, etc !!! 🙂

[Name Removed],
Vice-Chair, SCRP

I’m not quite sure what the ramble about the (American) Do Not Call list stopping Canadian telemarketers, but it’s good to see that I had the effect of getting the word out. Maybe next time one of these people gets one of this type of e-mail, it will stop there. If no-one forwards these things in the first place, I’ ll never see another one. And then I’ll be happy.

And I look back at this, and I can see, there’s just so much information, there’s no time to check all of it. In dealing with this flood of information, common sense is just what’s needed, and what is shown to have lapsed anytime one of these e-mails is sent.

Short Post

Well, I feel like i should write a short post, now that I have a chance. I’ve been meaning to write one for quite a while, but time has never quite allowed.

Let me begin, though, with a welcome to Stephanie, a friend of Cean’s, who we now know to be reading this weblog on a (somewhat) regular basis. Of course, that is likely due to the fact that I haven’t gotten around to posting in nearly a month.

As to that, I’ve been rather busy at school, and when I’m not working on homework, I’ve been doing lots of other stuff around the dorms. This week is fall break, giving me some time to catch up, and recuperate. I’ve been feeling a bit sick the last few days, and confirmed today that I’m running a fever of about 101°F. I really don’t feel that bad, just a bit chilled. And lazy–I spread fertilizer on the lawn this morning, a job of about 15 minutes, and then spent most of the afternoon reading (and finishing) a book. It’s called “The Golden Compass”, by Phillip Pullman, and is the first in a three part series. It was recommended to me by some friends at UP, and after reading this book, I will definitely continue trusting their recommendations. I’m looking forward to getting back to campus (I came home for the week, if you hadn’t already guessed) so I can check out the second book from the library.

Well, I should probably cut my post short, as I want to get some sleep, and maybe fight this off before I go back to school–it was going around before I left, and it tends to be a 2 week ordeal, with some pretty rough days. But that was during the week before break, when there were lots of midterms, and such. Maybe I can get enough sleep to make this not be so bad for me.

At any rate, I’m done for now. We’ll see when it is that I next get around to blogging.


Interview, Viewers

I was going to respond to Cel’s comment with a comment, but the answer grew far too large. And so we have a new post.

But first, a comment:

To my reader in the Olympia, Washington area–We’re curious to know who you are. We know how you first found my website, and that’s probably the most intriguing thing to Cean and I. Who are you? We’d like to know.

If you would, post a comment, email me (nathan AT nathanoliver.net) or otherwise get in touch with Cean or me. We’re curious.

And now, on with the story.

To be brief, the interview went well, and I expect to hear from them sometime around the end of this week as to whether I got the job. At the time I interviewed, they had no other applicants, and the guy who had done it last year had to quit because it was too much work. (The responsibilities for this position have been reduced this year.) It’s a contract position, so I’m paid for 8 hours work/month, regardless of how much work I do. Shouldn’t really be a problem, though I expect to run through the hours for a few months all in the first few weeks, getting things back in shape. At the end of the interview, they mentioned that they’d had one other person express interest in the position, so there would be a delay before they made the hiring decision.

The people doing the interview (the station manager, and the student media advisor) seemed generally impressed with my experience, although I (and I told them this) don’t have much experience with server side stuff. But (and I also pointed this out) I have no training in HTML either, and was able to (in the manager’s words, make a site that “looks professional.” At any rate, a web tech who can do some web stuff is better than having no web tech and an outdated site (as they have now).


Shortly after the storm, I discovered that there was a blog being maintained by some people that were still in New Orleans, staffing a data center. They have also been out and about, taking pictures of the casualties.

This picture really speaks volumes.
Katrina's Aftermath

When you first look at this photo, you see the water lines on the car, and realize how high the flooding got. But look beyond the car, to the building. Not only do you see even higher water marks, but there is an orange X on the building.

It’s hard to make out unless you look at the large version (474k) of the photo, but under the X, there is the number 6.

This is from the searchers in the city. A slash means all clear, an X means bodies found. The 6 is the number of bodies.

This picture taken from this gallery. Many more photos here that express the magnitude of the event.

Arrr, Me Mateys

Okay, so the title is lame. But this post is to mark my participation in International Talk Like A Pirate Day (TLAPD), for the first time ever.

I became aware of it in 2002, the first year it was publicised.I missed it in 2003, visiting a college with my dad, and managed to miss it again in 04, as I was out of town for my cousin’s wedding. Being in Villa, there’s no chance of missing out on the day.

This post will have to stand in for a much longer post that I had half written. I left it open, and FireFox crashed, taking the post with it.

In the meantime, I will mention that I (as expected) did not get the position of Peer Leader, but did browse the campus job listings (turning up “Hydro Ceramic Technician“, among others). I applied for Web Engineer at KDUP, our campus radio station, and have an interview tomorrow.

When I start thinking about the interview, I get nervous, perhaps because I’ve never done a formal interview. When I interviewed at the grocery store, not only was it not for a terribly important position to them, but I had the store owner (who I knew before I applied) pulling for me already. In fact, I was called in, even though they’d lost my application, and they spent the first few minutes trying to re-create the app, while looking for the original (which eventually turned up accidentally tucked inside someone else’s app).

I have no idea how I stand tomorrow. The person who held the post was a Sophomore last year, which means that I’m not too young, in their eyes, but also that he’s still around on campus. I have no idea if he applied, but if he did, he’s got an advantage over me. Still, the e-mail to schedule an appointment opened with the line “We were impressed with your application for the web tech position at KDUP.” (But that could well be a standard line used when calling people in to interview.) At any rate, I’ll find out soon enough.

Stible Buddy, right now, so I’m off.

Good Mood

I was going to start out this post analyzing how I feel really good about things today, and just the other day was feeling a little stressed, and generally not so good. That said, once I started thinking about reasons for the change, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t be feeling this way. So I’m not going to think about it anymore, and stay happy for no good reason.

I talked to my grandma (I’ve always called her Grammie) today on the phone. I called her once or twice last year, but at least one of those times, my mom was down there to visit, and I was trying to reach her. I need to get in the habit of calling her more often. We had a good chat, and all.

I’m having mental problems right now. There’s one girl here at UP, and I keep mistakenly thinking of her by the name of another girl here. That’s because she reminds me (for personal reasons) of a girl I knew in high school, who happens to share the same name as another girl here. Don’t worry if you don’t understand this, I don’t either, but somehow I felt compelled to post it.

It looks like I’ve picked up another somewhat regular reader. For a while, I was down to one regular (now irregular) reader. I don’t know who you are, and you are welcome to remain anonymous. I know well that anything on this blog can be read by anyone, and don’t mind if anyone reads this. If you want, go ahead and leave a comment.

The dorm has been quiet all day, until just recently. This weekend was the Freshman Escape, which took about 150 freshmen and 30 upperclassmen (as mentors) on a retreat-like camp out last night. My roommate got recruited to come as a guitar player, and lots of the people that I know went along as the mentors. At dinner, there was just 2 (later 3) of us from the usual group.

They seem to have had a good time, although I haven’t had much of a chance to talk to them yet.

On a completely unrelated note, I did something this afternoon that I have been too chicken to do for over half a year. And no, I’m not telling. I’m too chicken.

I do declare that this post has rambled enough, and it shall be over.