I don't care what anyone says. This is by far THE WORST semester ever.
Consider me on break from the blog (as if I haven't been lately) for a while. There has been too much chaos and, instead of posting impetuously, I need time to relax, focus, and breathe.
I fly back home to Germany in a few days and it will be a welcome change of scenery. I'll post again soon, probably when I'm in Germany; after I've had time with my family and time to myself.
Only a few more days...
If there is one thing I've learned from this semester more than anything else it is that, with support, I can struggle through anything. I have many to thank this semester, and, because I'm not a myspace whore, I will not disclose names. Still, I can't stress it enough. If it wasn't for your warmth; your little reminders in my inbox, mailbox, and cellphone; the late night talking; the silly nights we drank instead of sitting at home alone; your faith in me; and your understanding and concern, I would be a total wreck this semester. I have you to thank. You know who you are and I am ever-thankful for everything you have done and continue to do.
I can't speak
though the dialogue between us
typed and untouched
on the broken typewriter
in the back of my mind.
As you await a response
and I stumble over mountains
of "ok's" and "un huh's"
I know what I could say,
though I deny,
because I already know the scene
and your reply.
If I say the words I'm thinking,
if I utter the symbols transcribed
of black ink and faulty structure
fragmented from beginning
on this fragile sheet,
will you even feel?
But I already know
that there is no line
that I could say
that would make it
The paper is torn,
with the rest;
the mound of thoughts
laid to waste
in the corner of my mind.
As I say "goodnight,"
I feel it as
And I find,
as I tour my mind,
I'll be lost here,
at this point,
** Please do not copy or reproduce this original work. **
Dear America and American Consumers:
It never ceases to amaze me how much time and effort the advertising executives of America spend trying to swindle us, the American consumers, on the day after Thanksgiving. From "two for one" deals to "super savings," to "double discounts," it's truly disgusting the extent that advertising will go. No where is this more apparent than at the exemplar of our American values: the mall.
As soon as Halloween is over, Christmas lights and plastic ornaments deck the halls, terraces, and stairs while music proclaiming "good cheer" and "peace to your fellow man" plays in the background to the tune of an ironic juxtaposition. We flock to the modern marketplace on this day, each enticed by the glow of the pseudo-holiday spirit proclaiming cheerful, but affected, festive attitudes. They want us to spend money. They trick us with the deals. They make us desire the goods. They tell us to want it all, and, since we're probably on credit, they tell us to disregard the costs. It's a consumer-eat-consumer world on this day (that's practically literal too!), and that's why the day after Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, the epitome of disintegrating American values.
It would be ill of me to try and canonize myself and say that I do not partake in such consumption because I do and I know almost everyone else does. However, I do not join in the throngs of blithe bevies flocking the walkways of the mall. In fact, I do not shop any more during this season than I do during the rest of the year.1 However, I get the impression that most people in America spend more time at the mall during this season than any other time during the year.2 I also get the feeling that people really don't care about the "holiday spirit" unless it includes flipping you off because you stole their parking spot or pushing you out of the way so they can get the last copy of the latest game for the newest video game system. Happy Holidays, indeed!
The more I've thought about the "holiday season" over the last few years, the more I've started to wonder when everything changed so drastically. When did the "holiday season" become the season of pleasing by reason of the dollar bill? When did Christmas lose its original authentic meaning and transform into "Consumermass"?
I know it's pointless to ask these questions and ponder them away, but when Thanksgiving ends and the "holiday season" begins, I start to become depressed.3 The bonhomie of togetherness instantly dissolves into the detached demeanor of separateness. No one seems to truly care about anyone else. There is little to no compassion. And, ultimately, the true colors of America, green and red, illuminate the sky to proclaim our dire affections: money and greed at the cost of blood, sweat, and tears.
This is never a season of warmth.4 This is never a season of good cheer.5 This is, instead, a representation of our dire afflictions.6 Our greed. Our recklessness. Our lack of compassion. Our thoughtlessness. Our societies' increasing detachment from community, from being connected and concerned. I'm not saying we should become the share-happy society of Sesame Street, but it wouldn't hurt to care a little more. It wouldn't hurt to express compassion. To spare some money for those who are less fortunate. To give instead of get.7
I challenge you to do something different this year. Do something, anything, for the better of the season, for the real reason of the "holiday season." It's not enough to accept things as they are or to say that you'll do something different. Show someone you actually care without the typical drop of few dollar bills. Donate to an organization. Give your time. Give to someone in need. Prove that our "holiday season" isn't what the corporations and advertising executives want us to believe its about, but what we, as a community and a society, truly care about--each other.
With hope for a better "holiday season,"
1: In fact, I'm certain I shop less. So much for the law of supply and demand!
2: Partially due to the long lines, the hordes of people, the bitchy sales attendants, and the lack of knowledgeable employees.
3: In addition to my bouts with SAD. Why does the sun play tricks on me, why!
4: Unless someone has puked on you after drinking copious amounts of alcohol, but that's not really the kind of warmth you want.
5: Unless you are drinking and are in the company of good friends and you aren't throwing up!
6: Of course, too much drinking could be a sign of a dire affliction too.
7: But not STDs, no one really wants those.
Hope you're having a rock'n rad Thansgiving and that you are with the ones you love. Be thankful! ;)
I can't write much at the moment as I'm playing a very difficult game of catch-up, but I can say the following:
- The tournament went well. Our team got first place overall. My debate partner and I broke to semi-finals. I broke in Impromptu and got 4th place. (My CA did not break at all. Apparently religion in such a context is an issue down in the South).
- My car key hasn't been fixed. My brother didn't get around to fixing it in the six days that I was gone. Apparently he was too busy.
- My computer still isn't fixed. (See above reasoning/explanation).
- I have two papers to finish before Friday and I'm going insane in the process. Hopefully sanity will return as the holiday break sets in. Hopefully.
- Things are starting to run smoothly, but I'm not holding my breath because I've had too many things go wrong over the last three weeks to guarantee that things are, once again, going well.
- I got a wonderful card in the mail today from Carrie, my best friend since the 2nd grade. It was, indeed, the perfect card for the occasion. I appreciate it deeply. Thank you! It brightened my day and made me feel better.
If my computer is fixed this weekend, you'll know. If not, well, I'll be around here and there. *sigh* In the immortal words of Dori from Finding Nemo (which also happens to be both Carrie's and my theme for the semester [along with "I will fight!"]): "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."
Howdy! Alas, I'm typing from another random computer on campus since I have not been able to get my computer fixed. I'm confident things will change for the better though.
In the meantime, I'm heading down south
to escape the horrors around me for some rowdy times and slow talk'n; some alligator meat(!) and cajun food; and, of course, for those sweet southern belles! Don't let those charming items fool you though. It's going to be tumultuous weekend as well as a time-consuming one. Still, I'm looking forward to it. Although the tournaments are always a little different down south, I can't help but enjoy the pace of life there. There's some disparate and atypical about it; but that's what's so fascinating about being down there.
Wish me luck! I'm afraid my boyish charm ain't much too appeal'n since I'm a Yankee.
You know that movie Borat!? Yeah?
Well, you should go see it. It's fsck'n hilarious. You will laugh so hard that you'll cry.
In the words of Borat, "It's nice!"
God might not hate me and, sure, I could be fabricating and embellishing the "series of unfortunate events" (though, I assure you that I am not); but I certainly am unlucky.
I turned on my computer Saturday morning only to find out that she was a little sick. Apparently she was corrupted by a malicious file and now she's having problems starting up. I'm getting her fixed as soon as I possibly can, but I don't know how long it is going to take since I'm really dependent upon my brother right now (for transportation, for getting food, etc.).
It would be ridiculous of me to say that I am not feeling stressed, annoyed, or agitated, but I'm not feeling it so much. I've had so many unfortunate things happen over the last two weeks that I've learned to let go. It's almost like when you drink too much water and your body absorbs as much as it can hold. It has to filter some of it out, so it does. That's how my mind and body are dealing with stress at the moment. I've been inundated by the stress, but it's not having as grand an effect because I've already had enough.
However, all of these unfortunate events have, in fact, taught me something. If there is anything that I've learned, anything at all, it is that I can only do so much. I can't control everything. Things will not always go my way. Sometimes situations will arise, many of which will happen one after another, that will create problems for me; but I can only solve them within the confines of which I am and belong to. It sucks. It's shitty. It's damn near deplorable. However, it isn't the end of the world.
I'm going to get by as I always do.
If you have been unable to see my blog lately it is because my server has been down. I'm not sure why or when this happened as I was not notified by my service provider.
, but hopefully the issue will be resolved soon.
It's fixed now.
Lately I've noticed that I've been saying "You're good to go" an awful lot. While the phrase does, indeed, work to describe countless situations, I'm starting the think that I sound like a broken record for Taco Bell. I've also noticed that I say "We'll see" and "interesting" too much. So, from this day forth, I plan to banish these nuanced phrases from my vocabulary. I'm not sure what I'll exchange them with, but I think almost anything is better than sounding like an advertisement.
On the flipside, I think everyone should start using the phrase "emo-depresso." My friend Chace coined this term, I believe. It's used as an adjective to describe someone who is being overly emotional and depressive; or to describe someone who is listening to way too much EMO music and, as a result, is depressive.
Jane, quit being emo-depresso! It's only mouth herpes. OR
Well it's no wonder you're feeling so emo-depresso, Jacob. You've been listening to way too much Bright Eyes and Dashboard Confessional.
***NOTE: "Emo-depresso" is not a Starbucks drink consisting of emotional decaffeinated espresso. However, if it was it would be cold, black, bitter, and filled with tears of anguish. No whip cream. No sprinkles. No joy.***
I also think everyone should use the word "skiff." From what I can tell "skiff" is used to describe a small film or layer of something. For example, "The ground was covered by a thin skiff of snow." I don't know. I think it sounds unique. It's certainly easier than the GRE words I was using a while ago. Heh!
Now that I am hooked up with Netflix and loving it, I was wondering what other movies I should check out. I've been on a constant rental stream of Six Feet Under (SFU), but I haven't seen any movies that have jumped out at me. I can rent two movies at a time, so I am open to suggestions. Do you have any ideas? Any movies that you think are "must see"? Let me know. I'm open to almost any movie and I'm interested in seeing something entertaining aside from SFU and Firefly (Well, come on, you had to know that I was watching that too! Inara and Kaylee. Mmmm!)
In addition to all the things listed in the previous post, I now know that God wishes my life to be transcribed by Lemony Snicket. Here what else happened:
- I finally was able to check out a camera on Monday only to find out that all the lavelire microphones had been checked out. Not only would my interview not be the style it was intended, but now I was forced to use a microphone that picked up more sound than I needed it to.
- While trying to get to Nancy's to conduct the re-shoot of the interview, I loaded my car trunk with all the crazy equipment and got ready to leave. As I opened my car door and started the ignition, I heard a small metallic click/crunch sound. Trying to relax, I turned on my interior car light and realized, by the mercy of the heavenly father, that my car key had broken in two. After shooting "FSCK'N HOLY HELL!" at the top of my lungs, I took a deep breath and moved on.
- I finally conducted the interview thanks to Nancy the wonderful magnificent amazing goddess (Seriously, THANK YOU NANCY!) and found out that my brother doesn't know where my spare key to my car is. So, that's another issue down the road to look forward to. (Pun totally not intended.)
On the plus side, though:
- My video production professor gave me until Friday to turn in my project without it being deducted.
- Nancy has been more then helpful in the process of the interview and she never once complained to me. She even gave me a beer for all my trouble!
- I have extra time, so to speak, to edit.
- My broken car key is an obvious sign that God does, in fact, want me to live. Moreover, God does not want me to drive full speed into an underpass column (I wasn't serious! Jeez!). Thanks God! I've noted this and taken your advice to heart and to my wallet.
All in all, though, I still feel like my life is being narrated by Lemony Snickett. It's almost like Stranger Than Fiction, except it's not really funny at all.
I've recently come to the conclusion that God wishes for my utter demise. Here's why:
- My video production interview assignment went well until I realized that the lavaliere microphone battery died midway through the interview. While Nancy did a steallar interview, almost none of the footage I had could be used entirely. Moreover, I didn't know that the battery for the microphone was dying while recording or else I could've fixed it with the spare battery. Instead I found this complication out during the editing process at which time I could be heard screaming extremities in a pseudo-Touretts rage.
- To remedy the problem above, I decided to re-shoot the video. I signed up to check out a camera and a microphone that worked for this Saturday. However, the equipment check out hours are different on Saturday, so I didn't get to pick up my equipment. I phoned someone who could help me and got a meeting setup to pick up the camera today (Sunday). However, as per usual in this class (and in my life at the moment), the camera I had signed up for had been checked out to someone else.
- To make matters more interesting, I am only going to be able to film the interview at night during this week. However, because I have night classes, it's going to be hard to slip by and get the interview done.
- Additionally, I still have to edit the video. This process usually takes 4-10 hours for a 5-10 minute clip. So I have much more to do still and much more that could, and likely will, go wrong.
- I've e-mailed my professor and, chances are, he won't take sympathy on my situation. Which means my overall grade for the assignment will drop for each day it is late. Great!
Honestly, if I wasn't relaxed about these happenings I think I would've driven my car into the nearest underpass column at full force. It amazes me how I could be so unfortunate with this class when I am trying to do everything right. I could understand all of this if I wasn't trying so hard to finish it; but, because I am, I am baffled by this situation. My only hope now is that God takes mercy on me and lets me get my work done quickly and effectively or that my impending demise comes quickly. Either will work well.
I thought a change of scenery was necessary. Though I realize changing my window's view does not add a new perspective, it certainly looks fsck'n awesome!
By the way, I've decided that I'm going to stick with my wicked rad blog here on blogger as opposed to using VOX. The cross-posting was kind of annoying, but the private/public features on VOX were nice. It's a shame I can't implement them on here. (Hey blogger, there's an idea for innovation!)
Anyway, Wake Up! You've got a lot of things to do. Wake Up! The sun is rising without you. Rock out and check out this comic (which partially inspired the change of scenery).
Sandra Lee, you so naughty! Your Halloween episode was smoke'n hot, and not because of the sweets you were making. I'd give you a treat if you'd be my trick. Hahaha!
Every year I complete an emissions test because it is required by law, and every year I donate 15 dollars to the state so they don't impound my car. I don't mind the ten minutes it takes to get the test, but sometimes it seems pointless. For the last three years my car has passed the test with ease, so I find it somewhat monotonous to keep testing for carbons.
Today changed my perception, though. As I drove up to the emission mobile to have my car tested, the guy who has tested my car for the last three tests didn't step out. Now, it's not like I expect him to give me alacritous service; but I've grown accustomed to seeing him as I pull up with my car. Initially it shocked me to not see him even though I only see him once a year. My mind slightly wondered if perhaps he had quit. However, as I parked the car and walked toward the mobile door, I saw the same elderly gentleman who had tested my car years hence. He was sitting in a fold-able chair in the van slightly slouched over while sleeping. He looked peaceful in his slumber, untouched by the speeding cars that roared by on the street next to his place of work. I somewhat hesitated to wake him out of fear of startling him, so I simply knocked on the van door. The knocking instantly awakened him and he stepped out of the van. I pretended that I hadn't seen him asleep as he greeted me with a warm "Hello sonny!" and quickly went to work by placing the testing apparatus in the hood of the car.
When the test was done he explained my results to me (my car has some crazy low emissions to the point that it's practically eco-friendly!) as he had done years before in the same friendly fashion and then wished me a good weekend. I replied the same to him and drove away.
As my car drove down the road toward my residence I began to think about this man and his life. He was a kind elderly man who seemed to enjoy his job as evidenced by his exclamation when my car passed with such low emissions; but there was something more. He seemed somewhat worn since that last time I saw him, as if life had taken a toll on him. This was obviously reasonable since I hadn't seen him for a year, but even so I thought about him and his life. In his age, I thought, he should be doing more with his life. This man had obviously retired from what he had been doing before, so why was he working this job? Why not travel? Why not go fishing? Why stay around and help people with their cars when there is more to enjoy out of life before it's over?
Perhaps I've been watching too much Six Feet Under, but it appeared to me like this jolly man needed to take a step away from this job and live life while he had enough left to live. Catch the breeze while fishing or take a snooze while watching the sunset in the tropics. Something else, anything else. It's got to be better than being there, even if only for a day. Or, maybe, work keeps him going everyday? I will probably never know his motivations, but I do know that whatever they may be; I hope he is happy and taking in each breath with purpose. After all, you only have so much time to live; make the most of it.
I bought this hat earlier today, but I'm not sure if I should wear it. I like the style and the color, but I'm not sure it looks good on me. Now, I know it's strange to ask the internet for an opinion, especially since I'm likely to get some strange replies, but I want to know what you think. Should I keep the hat or ditch it?
Back from a gauntlet of a tournament with something to show, still I feel lackluster about my results. I guess I shouldn't complain. I did well (a first place and two finalist awards) and my debate partner and I kicked ass (made it to quarters again), but I feel like I could've done more. It's hard to descibe in full, but I'm constantly reminded of the impending end as it draws nearer and nearer; yet ever so distant. It's about wanting to make an impact, but wanting to let go with grace. It's a bit of a contridiction and I guess that's where the feeling of uncertainty filters through. It shouldn't matter, but it does.
Aside from that aspect of this weekend, I had a blast hanging out with Regan. We listened to music together in our free time and talked about everything. She introduced me to Sanctus Real (this song, Eloquent, is my favorite from their album, The Face of Love), and I introduced her to Darci Cash and Regina Spektor. Whenever we talked about music we'd always end up talking about how we both can't wait to go to Hellogoodbye in November. Man, I can't wait to be there!
All in all, the ride up was fun; but the ride back was even better. As I sat back in my chair half asleep with Regan leaning up against me in slumber, I realized that not only was everything alright; I was happy here.
It must be different through your eyes because you look at me like it's the first time that you've seen my face.
Sometimes little issues explode beyond their perceived encasing, erupting into psychological exhaustions that literally suck the life out of you. This weekend was one of those times when the aforementioned occurred. However, I decided to keep a list of things that went well to remind myself that things "always work out the way they're meant to be."
- Regan and I planned our first date
- Got paid and saved some of my money for my traveling fund (to San Diego!)
- Katy and I represented "Team Extreme" at the University convention
- Hillary called me and we talked about her happenings in Utah
- Learned about a new (but old) cookbook called "The Breads of France and How To Make Them"
- Found a new beer to enjoy (Ace)
- Finished Video Production video and it turned out well (not the way I had planned it to, but I like what happened instead)
- The coffee was delicious and the scone was fresh
- The leaves continued changing colors and simply blew away in the wind
I've come to the conclusion that video production just isn't my thing. After filming for three hours today, I became highly irascible when I realized I had only recorded about seven minutes of footage. You're probably wondering how is it possible to go around recording and only get seven minutes of footage? All I can say is: set up, transportation, direction, practicing, and then filming.
We drove from a local park to some tall buildings to the top of some hills and I only managed to get a few minutes of footage! It's ridiculous!
And then, to top it all off, the footage I have isn't what I thought it would be. AT. ALL. As a result, I've had to change my original treatment idea of the production. Though, now that I think about it, the original idea wasn't as smart as what I'm doing now in a nervous response to crunch time. Instead of doing an "exotic" film on everything appearing taller or smaller, I'm now doing an "exotic" film about the environment. The original film idea was to have the footage be almost entirely shot from a child's perspective (lower to the ground, positive angle to all encountered objects). However, after obtaining footage that mostly consisted of trees and forests (most of it too short to make something stellar out of), I decided to rework my idea. I'm using most of the footage I obtained today, but the idea behind the movie (and, hopefully, what makes it "exotic") is that it's about our lack of concern for the environment and the "seventh generation." I figure if I can cut the images up, splice in information about trees and the environment, and tie it all in with the wonderful footage of my friend's youngest daughter, it might just work. I have much to edit in the following days, but with a little luck I might be able to pull it all off.
In the meantime I'm trying to remind myself that everything is alright, that it will be alright. But, apparently, I've been so stressed out that others have been noticing. I didn't think it was obvious, but I guess I wear my emotions and uncertainty on my sleeve. At least some good has come out of it. After sensing my uncertainty and nervousness, the rad girl I like said she'd treat me to a break on Sunday where we won't talk about school or debate. We'll just chill and talk about Minus The Bear, Hellogoodbye, Something Corporate, traveling, and anything else not related to our current situations in college.
In some ways everything is, indeed, alright. ;)
More photos in the slideshow.
Jeffery's Overcompensating from a few days ago hit on a point about how the internet is a dirty dirty environment. Check it out.
It's official. I'm going to be out of town for the rest of this week. I return to the heartland with much sadness and grief at the passing of my grandma.
Check my photos on flickr to see how my weekend went.
It looks like I will be seeing Hellogoodbye in November thanks to a friend on the debate team. Sweet!
With everything in full motion, it's hard to stop and realize that there may be a time to let go. I'm not sure what is going on back in the heartland, but I may be leaving immediatley later this week if things don't get better. I only hope I get to see my Grandma once more if this is the end.
Yay for GEEK ROCK! I thought this video needed to be shared. It's too hilarious to not watch. Check it out! It's Hellogoodbye's Here (In Your Arms). And if you dig hgb as much as I do, vote for them on MTVU's website and give them a woodie.
This is probably one of the smartest videos I have ever seen. Regina Spektor has a beautiful classic voice that enchants the beats she sings to. Definitely worth the time to watch.
Another weekend I sit, shrewdly studying;
and day turns to night.
While many drink in ounces,
I drink in volume--
page by page in delight.
From historical scripts to eloquent words,
I find myself drowning in their elixir.
Where a few pass the pitcher
I pass the glass--
word upon word filling my mixer.
And though my time runs dry, it seems;
between shades of rouge and white,
as pen meets paper
and ink flows like wine...
I know I'm in my place
learning as a lush of literature
what to handle
and what I can hold.
(Original writing, please do not use without permission.)
I'm always in the haze of a car crash, the orange airbag dust covers everything.
Time is running thin once again. It's always short before tournaments. Short enough to be sweet, too short for the time to make a grand impact. Yet, I've managed to get much done in the time remaining.
The balance between school and speech has been tough to tight rope tango to, but I'm doing the dance as best as possible. Though, I wish I had more time to take care of all the things I want and need to take care of. I'll be moving my GRE test date back because I haven't had enough time to study as school is steadily sucking the life blood out of me. I'll be fair enough in swimming along, as long as I keep my head above the water.
In the meantime, there's always Trinity Blood. (Bardot, if you're reading this, you should check out this anime. I have a feeling that you'd like it a lot. It's like Samurai Champloo in action combined with a darker version of FMA.)
I'm not going to rant about work, especially since talking about anything work related on a blog is dangerous. However, I am going to say that if the crap that happened for three and a half hours tonight happens again later this week or next week, I'll be submitting my two weeks notice shortly. If things improve gradually, I'll consider staying around until the end of the semester. As of right now, though, I'm not working in there in the spring. A student job such as mine should not be as annoying or stressful as it was tonight. I blame part of it on the system, but a great deal of blame should be placed elsewhere.
The phone rings. It's 11:50 and I'm chill'n on my bed, reading a book for on of my classes. I have a special ringer for this person, so I know who it is and I start to smile. I know why this person is calling at this time and I only wish I could talk to her in person. I open the phone to hear loud music in the background,
"HEY! HOW ARE YOU?!" yells Steph through the transceiver.
"AWESOME! HOW ARE YOU?" I reply.
"HOLD ON, I'M GOING TO GO OUTSIDE SO I CAN HEAR YOU!" She yells as I hear the country-rock music fade in the distance. "Ok, are you there still" she says softly.
"Of course! Sounds like you're having a blast!" I say enthusiastically.
"Hell yeah, I am! I'm so plastered! It's great! Dude, schmirnoff and lemonade is excellent!"
I ponder the mix and reply, "Indeed! Sounds like you're getting ready for the big 21 and you're kicking it of with a bang! Damn, I wish I could be there!"
"ME TOO! We'd have suck a fucking blast! Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I love you, you know, as a friend. So, thanks man!" She slurs her words slightly, but is fully coherent. Steph always makes me laugh, drinking or not; her jocular demeanor always foments laughter within me.
"Well, I love you too, buddy! I'm glad to hear that you're having an excellent time and that you're practically 21!"
She chuckles and then says, "Yeah! 24 more hours, beotch! I can't wait! I've had so much to drink!"
"That's the way it should be! Party hardy my friend!" I retort in amusement.
"So, anyway, I just figured you'd get a good laugh out of my phone call. Maybe I'll call you when it's later tomorrow evening so that you have to wake up!" She laughs as her voice trails off.
I laugh and say, "Well, I was going to call you, but you can call me!"
"AWESOME! Well then, I'm going to go inside and get more plastered. Should I call you when I'm sober or drunk?"
"Oh, I don't care. You know I enjoy talking to you whenever you call. Plastered. Sober. Whatever."
"Kewl! Cuz' I'm gonna get so drunk tomorrow too!" She laughs and then says goodbye. I reply the same, laughing, all the while wishing I could be there for her birthday or doing the same.
Happy 21st Birthday Steph!! If we do hang out this year you know we will party it up like no other!!
Sometimes I wonder if there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Ok, so my fall semester is not going that bad, but it is tiring. Between reading, researching, writing, memorizing speeches, and running all over the damn place, I'm exhausted.
What's worse is that my new boss wants to change my hours so that I work on Friday. I'm not entirely opposed to it, but it annoys me for a few reasons. Namely, it bothers me because my schedule already sucks. I work Tuesday until close and then I open on Wednesday. I also work Thursday until close only to open again on Friday? Could my schedule be any more brutal? It's a two hour shift, but I'm so exhausted by Thursday every week that I don't want to have another day where I have to wake up early after getting about three to five hours of sleep. It's ridiculous. My first job is being a student, not an employee of a campus job. Discussions are likely to ensue in the following days because I don't think I can stand another caffeinated day at work. Shit. I'd rather work Monday than Friday.
Grievances aside, I'm going to get some rest. It's been a long day and I still have a lot to accomplish this week.
In taking a break from my homework I decided to check out one of my favorite webcomics, "Overcompensating," and found the link to that website that matches your face with celebrity faces. I had heard about the website before, but until now I had never checked it out. Curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to see who I looked like.
The first search I ran said I looked like Robert Redford, but that didn't seem accurate, so I ran it again with another picture and here are the results (click to enlarge).
Apparently I look like William Moseley, the eldest brother from The Chronic-what!-cles of Narnia! I also ran some searches of other friends and, as you can see, it turned up some interesting results. Though, I have a hard time seeing the resemblance between Barton and Seann William Scott. Maybe it's because I know Barton? LOL! Rita Hayworth for Bree I can see. Hillary got the mother of that spoiled girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I can kind of see that too; but the original search of a picture of her and me from that tournament turned up the same result for me and Amanda Bynes for her. I think it was more accurate.
Go ahead and try it out for yourself, I dare you!
UPDATE: Additonally I'd like to note that I think the resemblance between Tom, from Daria, and I is rather stunning. Don't I look just like him? Hahah! Just kidding. Though, if there was ever a character from a show that I looked like, it'd be him. Seriously. (Yeah, the readings have gotten to me!)
If you don't see me online, in gmail; can't call me on my cell phone or my house line; can't figure out where I am; it will be because I have chosen to disappear from the digital world for a while. Save for, of course, my homework which will require an extensive amount of time on the computer.
I'll be back in blogland as time permits or when I need a break. For now, I'm swimming through the pages and the words that I have yet to conquer. So much for a four day weekend! At least I had some fun rock climbing some real rocks yesterday.
The following series of posts by RockSteady have got to be some of the funniest items I've read lately. Check them out:
Emmy's Part 1
Emmy's Part 2: Electric Bugaloo
Emmy's Part 3
And yes, I do wish Katherine Heigl was my girlfriend. She was smokin' hot, as per usual.
- The classes are certainly not wasting any time dishing out the big work early in the semester.
- I'm tired too often too many days of the week.
- It worries me that my grandma is in the hospital and I'm not entirely sure why.
- I need a break from school, but even Labor Day will not be a break. I have a meeting to attend to that I really would rather pass on.
- I want to update the layout, but I'm not quite done with the images and, honestly, I don't have the time I thought I would.
- Is it weird that I have been listening to Matchbox 20, Fuel, and Incubus lately?
- Research is a bitch. (Usually I think it's fun, but this assignment I have is killer.)
I stumbled upon some new indie music that I feel compelled to share:
The Whole Fantastic World - from the album Chime! - "Postcards From Out of Town"
This song has a sweet retro-acoustic feel with a simple melodic beat. You can download the song for free if you follow this link.
Minus The Bear - All of their albums!
These guys rock like no other. With a semi-techno, slightly acoustic flare and percussion backdrop they're worth the listen and the time. My favorite songs are "Pachuca Sunrise," "Michio's Death Drive," "Houston, We Have Uh-Oh!," "Hey! Is That A Ninja Up There?," and "Thanks For the Killer Game of Crisco® Twister."
It is surprising how each semester differs in difficulty. One semester you can take 18 credits and it will be mildly difficult; another semester you can take 14 credits and it will drain the life from you. This semester is starting out as the latter of the two.
While I only have class Monday through Thursday, I've concluded that I am on campus for approximately 12 hours each of those days. Between work, day classes, and night classes, I think it's possible that this will be the most exhausting semester on record for me. (Caffeine pills need not apply, though. Coffee will do just fine.) The classes I am taking are extremely fascinating and I'm ebullient about each, but I don't know if my body feels the same day after day. I'm confident all will be well this semester, though. After all, I have Fridays open!
On another note, my car is having problems again. Somehow, while driving around yesterday, one of my tires either became flat or knocked itself off of the rim. While I was a little miffed, this wasn't that big a deal. I simply replaced the tire with my spare; but, because I'm not meant to have it easy (and because my car is old AND because I suspect God has it out for me with my car [seriously!]), I soon found out that the spare was near flat. I knew I couldn't get far with the deflating spare, but I also realized that I needed to move my car form its current location. At the time, my car was in a parking lot away from where I could see it on a more frequent basis. Assessing that it was, indeed, high-traffic rush hour, I decided to drive my car a little closer to home. As I drove down the street with my emergency lights flashing, almost every car or person that saw my car honked their own. While I appreciated their concerns and boisterous yellings ("Hey!! Your tire is FLAT!" OR "DUUUUDE! Park your car!"), I was beyond circumspect of what I was doing and the potential risk involved.
Five minutes later I managed to make it to a safe location and parked my car. I called a local automobile specialist in hopes that they could come to my location and help me with my car; but I soon found out that they were too busy to provide their "hallmark friendly service." They suggested I call a tow truck, but, of course, that would cost a little extra. Again, I tried to explain my situation to the specialist I was talking to, but he still didn't seem to care. By the end of the call I was so incredibly vexed that I half wanted to go down to this tire specialist and shove the spare up his ass. However, I remained composed enough, saying "Thanks for the friendly service!" before hanging up on the specialist without a reply. Honestly, I absolutely hate it when my car craps out on me; but it's even worse when a service specialist doesn't care.
By the end of the whole ordeal I decided that it was time to buy a bike. I honestly do not think I can handle another car crapout, especially when no one cares enough to help. I think if I had a bike it would be easier to maintain and healthier to use. It'd be harder to carry stuff around, but I'd figure something out. I think this is the only probable solution since I won't be getting a new car with my lackluster budget.
Finally, my good friend and I discovered Daria on Youtube the other night! We watched some episodes together, reminisced about the past, and laughed most of the evening away. I wonder why MTV hasn't released Daria on DVD yet? Any ideas? They've released Beavis and Butthead, but I'm assuming that the market isn't exactly stellar. Beavis and Butthead was culturally iconic to MTV, but I always thought that Daria went beyond Beavis and Butthead. It was smart, satirical, and humorous without being asinine or slapstick like its predecessor. Hey MTV! Quit producing crap like the Real World, Road Rules, and TRL! Instead, take some time to release Daria on DVD. I guarantee that Daria's DVD debut would garner some commercial gain for your capitalistic piggy bank. Sure, it's not a cheap cashcow like the aforementioned shows, but Daria fans are true to the show and would, I conjecture, buy every season on DVD. Think about it!
Damn, I miss Daria.
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with debate. It doesn't matter, but it does. I just wish I could feel certain about it and my place within it.
I have never gotten the concept of losing money for fun. The whole premise is at fault. How can losing money ever be fun? I suppose if you're rich and you have the cash to burn, it's worth the while. After all, it is practically like wiping your ass with dollar bills.
For me this weekend in Jackpot was neither fun nor worthwhile. I started the day with 70 some dollars and ended up losing almost all of it within in hours. From slot machines to tables, the whole gambling scene is really pathetic. I should've taken notice from the ride down. To my left and right, from the front to the back, almost every one on the bus ride down was a member of AARP. They must have gotten up from their rockers and pill-popped their way from their geriatric neighborhoods to the mind-numbing glow of a slot machine; slot machines with new(!) convenient buttons so our dearly degenerating do not agitate their arthritis (I am almost certain I even saw them dealing out Advil along with the desserts at the buffet). That being said, I do not dislike the elderly. On the contrary, I enjoy them. They were some of the nicest people to be around and talk to on the trip down. It is the concept of all of it that depressed me. The concept of seeing people near the end of their days, their "golden years" if you will, pissing away their time at a senseless game that'll only screw them over more than Bush's new Medicare prescription drug plan.
Jackpot can be found in the middle of shitside and depressing. There is not a single distinguishing feature in the area, just three casinos along the only road that runs through the town. It's utterly disheartening. People flock there in hopes of "making it big" when they have better chances of having a heart attack. So why did I go? I went because I wanted to hang out and enjoy the company of my friends; and yeah, I'm not going to lie, it would've been nice to make some money (Ah! The deceptive and ill-conceived notion behind gambling).
I mainly played slots which, I admit, was a huge mistake. The odds are always horrible at these things, especially when it is a digital machine specifically programmed to rape you of your money. I didn't do tables. Tables are somewhat intimidating for me because I barely understand Texas hold'em and I'm afraid I'd get screwed over in blackjack. I will not have to learn either though. After losing my money I doubt I'll ever return. I was up and then I was down, and by the end of it all I was always ended up empty-handed. My friends seemed to enjoy it though. Nancy had a blast pressing buttons, enticed by the lights and buzz. Glenn and Dan enjoyed the tables while they were up and cursed them when they were down. Rachel played the nickel slots and, luckily, made some money back by the end of the night.
Perhaps you think I am just vindictive because I lost money. I am, but with good reason. Losing money without getting anything in return is never worth it. Earlier tonight my good friend asked me if it was worth it to go down to Jackpot and I replied with the following:
"If you mean was it worth the $10 bus fare, then yes. Any trip to shitside and depressing with free drinks is always worth the money. If you mean was it worth all the money I lost, then no. A trip like that should also include dinner, a sexual favor, and a mint on my pillow."
And that, my friends, is why I am certain I will never gamble again. Not even if I go to Las Vegas. If it's not about taking your money in a machine, it's about taking your money through your mouth, your eyes, or your dick (or elsewhere, I'm sure they do that too).
I did it. I picked a day. I picked a time. I entered my information. I paid the fee. I clicked submit. And now...now it is real. My GRE test date has been set and there is no going back, not now. (Especially not after how much money [$130] I had to put down for it! Haha!)
Now that there is definite direction it truly begins. I have about a month and a half before I tackle the GRE, but I feel confident even now. I feel ready and I know I'll be even more ready when the time comes. This is it, that edging ever closer to the verge and then beyond. I'm almost there. Almost.
The postman or woman must think I'm a rigidly online-ordering commercialized shopper. In the past two days I've gotten five packages, all of them books. It won't stop there though. I'm still expecting the rest of my books, some food items from Amazon (Yogi Tea and Bear Naked Granola for the hippie part of me), and some clothes that I ordered online. That's about four or five more packages that are scheduled to arrive during this week.
Ok. So maybe I am a compulsive online shopper, but at least I'm keeping people employed and powering our economy!!
Woohoo! One whole week off before school starts back up for the fall. Talk about livin' it up while I can! I've got some crazy things planned this weekend before school starts, namely heading down to Nevada with some buddies and taking a shot at gambling. I don't plan on bringing a lot of money to play with, but I do want to have enough to have a good time. In any case, it should be relieving and fun and a great way to kick off my Senior year. I'm looking forward to it.
Between now and then, though, I'm working on those items that I needed to work on a long time ago. Speeches. GRE Studying. Good time relaxation in the form of a good book. A week is not a lot of time to work with, but it's time enough to get enough done before the first day of class. Besides, I work good under pressure and time constraints. Apparently my work is at its best when I am stressed. Heh!
Here's to a week before Senior year!
I'm sure you've already seen OK Go's "Here It Goes Again." It has been hyped up on VH1 latey, and with good reason. Choreographic geniuses! I think it's brilliant!
If you haven't seen it, well, SHAME on you! It's hella awesome. WATCH!
Can you believe it? 13 books! THIRTEEN! That's the largest number of books I have ever had to purchase for a single semester at college. It's borderline insane, but I'm not that shocked. Where most other classes require two to three thick texts, history classes tend to require three to six small texts. It's what I like to call the historical biblio-imperative: the belief that history, by its very nature, is fragmented and subject to countless diverse interpretations, thus requiring a heterogeneous assortment of texts to conclude actual causal relationships. Subjects that could be, and often are, summarized and condensed carry with them skepticism on the part of historians as an oversimplification of what really happened. As a result, you end up having to read more than one interpretation or shard of history to try and understand the whole.
In short, historians want your money, and maybe even part of your soul, for as much time as they spent writing their books. A key case in point: "Collapse" by Dr. Jared Diamond (or anything by Jared Diamond). Sure, he's not a historian, but he writes about history as if he is. His books, while highly informational and good reads, are saturated and written in such a small font that they almost appear as pointilism in the grand scheme of the reading.
I'm not ragging on Dr. Jared Diamond, his writings or his profession or anyone else within that profession (especially since I plan on becoming a professor in the social science arena as well); but rather, the time required to read the often verbose texts flung at students like an extra plate of thanksgiving delights after an already hearty serving. Or two.
The point is that, while I love the social sciences--history, anthropology, sociology, and, of course, communication--I also realize that there is a limit to how much time and energy one can truly devote to any single study or class within a semester. Graduate school has yet to disabuse my perception of this, if it can. However, if graduate school deconstructs this "supposed" mythos that I have about the historical biblio-imperative, then, quite frankly, it means I'm either not good with time management or I'm just plain lazy. Those late nights and coffee-driven mornings serving simply as a reflection of the two combined.
Whatever the case may be, I'm still welcoming this semester's classes and its onslaught of books. I just hope I'm not drowning in them later. Damn those history classes! Damn them though I love them!!
Images courtesy of 11010010 and ugladew, respectively. Available free for use at stock.xchng.
In the immortal words of Professor Snape, "Barry Whiteis, Candlelightis, Girl Exciteus!" Enjoy!
On Thursday, one of my fellow classmates posed a hypothesis about professors. She said that professors obviously have no lives because they research only the most mundane and esoteric items on the face of the planet, do not tan, do not wear sunglasses, do not play with their children, and clearly never have sex.
After doing research on baseball films and their impacts on and reflections of American culture, I'm starting to agree.
Random Update (8:38 P.M.): Reading and researching for these papers has been so intense and time consuming that I've had to resort to using my glasses. Yes, I have glasses. Glasses I haven't worn my since freshmen year! WTF!
It must be the mental fatigue. It has to be. What else could it be? I feel so tired and disconnected. I feel like I'm running a race edging ever so close to the finish line just ahead; but I'm slowing down because the weight I'm carrying is about to knock me over.
This past week has been spent researching, reading, and writing; pouring my time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears into papers. Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not complaining. I'm not. I've enjoyed these classes and they wouldn't be worth it if they weren't hard; but I don't think my body agrees. It's been struggling to cope with the late nights and these harsh mornings strung out on coffee like Robert Downey Jr. on cocaine. The bod's just not used to this kind of abuse on such a constant basis! Someone call rehab! Haha!
Truth is that I'm almost there, but it seems so far away. By the end of next week it'll all be over and I can relax for one whole week before it starts back up again!
*sigh* Where's Yoshimi to save me from these robots before they defeat me?
Some classes are meant to inform you, to inspire you, to make you think. There are the classes that are pointless maybe even meaningless, the ones you take because you know they'll be easy and you really don't care about much else but a passing grade. And then there are those other courses, the ones that change your perception about the world around you. The ones that open your eyes to the way things have become, making you wonder how we got here.
My summer courses thus far have been the in the latter category. Day after day I've come back to the conclusion I've drawn before, only now with more evidence behind those thought. As enlightening as it has been, it's also borderline depressing. Today we watched a video about consumer culture which, of course, had a biased (contrary to what the creator may have said) about how "the persuasion industry" works to engineer our desires and necessities. The overall theme noting that our lives are empty, devoid of thought and fulfillment. As a result we strive to be fulfilled, to be encompassed; but most importantly, to be whole (regardless of the fact that we never can be whole in the eyes of advertisers).
It works, though. I admit that I succumb to advertising every now and then. But who doesn't? It's that drive to consume with growth and change. In many ways it's part of American culture. Or is it?
The expose raised more questions than answers. At it's core the overriding question: Is this a natural state of being, a part of being human or is it something that has come to be seen as natural? But it expands even further: Where do we draw the line on what symbolizes us a person, a people, or a nation and what others may make it out to be? Who determines the symbolic representations of the aforementioned entities and of a culture?
Who knows (and maybe even who cares). After all, the world and everything around it is what you make of it--how you choose to perceive it. Unless, of course, you question the world around you.
Guess what I did this weekend? That's right! I studied and researched paper topics for my summer classes. Talk about one hell of a party with search engines and databases! They were all over me; and I, them.
At least I got something good out of my in-depth efforts. Great information for stellar citations. Jeez! I might as well get that shirt that says "Talk Nerdy To Me." It's seriously the story of my life.
On the plus side of this geekiness, one of my favorite movies of all time comes out on August 1st: V for Vendetta! Fsck yeah! You'd better bet I'll be buying it on that day and the special two-disc edition no less! "Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vichi" (Faust). If you haven't seen it I recommend you do!
I will be changing my blog name and address in the near future, probably during the week of August 13th. I'll have more free time to implement the changes that I want including a new template, new subdomain (new address), new about section, and a reformed link section. I can't wait to do it.
Of course I'll have an auto redirect and link posted so that, when I do change the address, you'll be able to get to my blog and update your links. Again, this isn't happening for a while. In the meantime I will give you the new name of my blog as I begin working on its new structure. It will be called "Better By Nightfall" for a variety of reasons including my circadian rhythm and, possibly, my caffeine addiction to name a few. I'll have a more in-depth description on my new blog. That's it for now, though. So, what do you think?
I think I finally thought of a great name for my blog besides "blog" or "thister." Now all I need to do is implement it into a new layout and maybe a new address (don't worry, it won't be complicated or a big change if I do it) and it will rock. Or maybe the heat is just going to my head. Heh!
The stagnant summer air and the hot hot heat of the sun have been borderline unbearable as of late, but the atmosphere of here has been agreeable and relaxing. The motion of the city seems to progress effortlessly from day to night, still thriving with life on every corner; content to contend with the crazy conditions. It's seems almost strange and perhaps even cliche to say, but it's been nice.
The stirrings of this summer have been a great change from my last and I can easily say that it has also contributed to my growing love of this city. While school and work are similar from day to day, nothing is exactly the same. There's something new or different every week and it's been slightly hectic at times but worthwhile in the end. Previous summers haven't really been like this one. It's not that they were dull or uneventful (being with family isn't boring, after all!), but rather that they weren't as random and spontaneous as this one has been. It's been an aberration from what I was used to doing with my summertime, but I've enjoyed most of it (even the bad, afterwards of course). Part of me feels even feels like I could stay around here even longer and keep going on like this, but the other part of me realizes that I've got to keep moving on with the seasons and semesters. Still, this summer has been awesome with all of its ups, downs, loops, and turnarounds. I don't think there could be a better precursor to the fall and the beginning of my last year of undergraduate studies!
Word has it that Joss Whedon, writer of Serenity, Firefly, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is going to produce and write the next wonder of superhero movies: Wonder Woman. Casting hasn't officially begun as Whedon is rumored to be writing the script, but it looks like Morena Baccarin, Inara from Firefly and Serenity, will be Diana of the Amazons, Wonder Woman!
While I'm not crazy about the comic, character, or movie itself. I am glad to see Whedon working on another movie. Personally it'd be nice to see another movie similar to Serenity, but this will work. Still, I wonder how Whedon will construct Wonder Woman? Will she be depicted with her patriotic spanky pants and matching breast plate or something more modern and less jingoistic. She's Amazonian, after all.
A while ago a friend of mine asked me if there was a particular book that changed the way I looked at the world, that shattered my preconceived notions about something fundamental or "inherent" to my persona. My initial response was World On Fire by Yale professor Amy Chua due in part to it's breadth of topics under one carefully constructed theme of the "buzzword" globalization. Chua's book itself focuses on "marketization" and democratization as two of the many contributing factors to globalization and its aftereffects--political backlash, economic backlash, and, of course, violence--that continue to shape the world with potentially devastating effects for American society (the world's non-ethnic minority) in particular.
While World On Fire is arguably my favorite on multiple levels, I have recently found another one to add to that short list insofar as I've only read half of it. (Of course I'll be reading the whole thing for one of my classes!) Indeed it is rare that I stumble upon a book that makes me rethink fundamental notions either set in place or previously taught as a form of rules or grounding. "Bring 'Em On: Media and Politics in the Iraq War" edited by Lee Artz accomplishes that deconstruction of preconceived notions. Artz's amalgamation of articles examines the rhetoric from the President and the media leading up to, during, and following the Iraq invasion and exposes the truths and flaws behind each particular piece of rhetoric. One of the articles I enjoyed thoroughly addresses metaphors and analyzes the dehumanizing factors of visual rhetoric produced by cartoonists using metaphors, both discursive and nondiscursive, to convey public opinion. The article goes on to prove that metaphors simplify expansive information at the cost of disguising the real costs of such rhetoric--the loss of human value and the potential and likely loss of human life. There are other chapters within the book that set out to prove or disabuse notions and conceptions of the media and how they shape public opinion, but the overriding theme of the book is the difficult task of interpreting the public rhetoric that shapes those conceptions and notions that effect public decision and democracy.
While the book itself focuses on Iraq, the themes apply today with the conflicts occurring in the Middle East, North Korea, and Africa. We must examine the rhetoric of today and juxtapose it to the recent rhetoric of our previous engagements and current affairs if we wish to stay informed and make proper decisions about the world around us.
Summer classes have been going well albeit with the burden of much to read and reproduce in the following weeks. I'm glad that I decided to stay in both of these classes, especially since it means that I'll be able to relax a lot more during my last semester of my undergraduate. I'm also ebullient about the fact that these classes are fun and highly pertinent, Mass Media and Democracy (MMD) more so than Film Styles and genres (FSG).
In MMD we've been learning about the rhetoric disseminated by both the President and the media and how it affected democracy and the American public. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the class is how similar rhetoric is emerging in light of the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. While the direct conflict is different, the rhetoric behind it is shockingly similar. We've been taking note of certain patterns and actions taken by the United States and foreign nations while waiting for (and predicting) what will happen next.
As for FSG, it has been educational in delving into American values as expressed through the genre of baseball movies. I used to watch a lot of them as a kid, but that was purely for entertainment purposes. Watching them now has illuminated the fact that baseball movies do represent an idealized view of America and what America values. Inherent in each movie are cultural shifts as well, the most notable of such shifts being exposed during the urbanization of America. That's not to say that all of the movies are good though. One word: Hardball. That movie reaffirmed the notion that Keanu Reeves could be replaced by a board of wood or a mannequin in any movie he's in and you probably wouldn't know the difference. Honestly, do you think I'm wrong?
I suppose I should get back to reading so that I'll be prepared for my exams on Monday. I'm almost caught up to where I should be in my extensive multitude of readings, but not quite. Until then everything else is kind of on the backburner with a light boil. Hopefully nothing spills over.
Two weeks ago I ordered two of my summer books from Amazon.com because the prices were brilliantly cheaper than anywhere else online, including half.com. As part of a trial "prime membership" with Amazon, I utilized the "free" two day shipping option in hopes that I would get my books by Friday, June 7th (figuring, of course, that the 4th would throw off the original date of the 6th by just a day). Apparently both Amazon's and the UPS' estimate were highly flawed, mainly do in part to the UPS. However, Amazon is still somewhat to blame as well.
When my book hadn't arrived on Monday I decided to check into what exactly happened to them. It's not like a shipment with tracking disappears; quite the contrary, it doesn't appear at all unless you track it down yourself. Apparently Amazon shipped the package via UPS under the impression that UPS would deliver the package properly to my residence. However, deliveries to this location go to a mailbox that I can't readily access 24:7. As such, the UPS delivery person cannot drop the package off at my door or my mailbox. Instead, they're supposed to leave it in the hands of the local staff here to take care of it. Apparently that's too difficult for this unnamed UPS delivery person in part because it would actually mean walking a few steps and talking to the local staff. It also appears to be tenuous for this particular driver because he or she has a record of trying to deliver stuff after the close of business at 7:30 P.M. Honestly, who does that? Of course no one is going to be around to pick up or sign for the package when business hours ended two hours ago.
Perhaps what's worse is the fact that I've called the local UPS Store and the UPS General Offices in hopes of rectifying the situation only to be told that it was my fault for not picking up the package or not being around to receive it. Yes, UPS, you totally nailed the situation! Oh! But did you consider the fact that there is a simple but different process you must go through to deliver packages to houses, apartments, condos, and businesses. Apparently not. So I retorted that UPS had, in fact, been the cause of the problem due to their lack of education and their severe lack of good business practices. If someone orders something for two day shipment and gets their package within the time a ground shipment would've arrived, that's BAD. Why should I even bother to waste the money on "expedited" shipping when it isn't even going to arrive at the time I need it?
Thanks to this UPS delivery person my books are late and I've had to pay for extra copies in the hopes that the original ones that I ordered will arrive on time so that I may exchange them with the bookstore and get my refund. Pending, of course, I receive my books before the last day to get a full refund.
I suppose it's not so bad, especially since this particular driver has tried to deliver the package three times (when they usually only try two times); however, it's a situation that needs to be rectified before it causes me financial strain because of their untimely practices. Let's see if they get it right tonight.
My summer classes begin tomorrow and while I'm more confident about taking them now, I'm still uncertain. I'm not entirely sure what was running through my mind when I signed up for these two classes that happen to be with the same professor, but obviously I wasn't thinking too clearly. Apparently I completely ditched my recently proclaimed cardinal rule of not taking two or more classes with the same professor.
Last semester I was taking two classes from the same professor and, although she was nice, she drove me insane. In the end I got two A's, but the replicated schedule for both of her classes annoyed me and kept me up many a night. I ended up doing double the assignments, quizzes, tests, and reading for the same day. I suppose I should be used to it as I head into these two classes, but I'm slightly worried only because two classes with this professor could be more than I bargained for. Yet, as I look back at that last sentence I realize I'm freaking out when I shouldn't be. After all, there are other students out there that bust through way more classes or credits than I do at any given time, so this shouldn't be that big a deal.
Two classes, four books, a couple of tests, a few papers and essays. Five weeks. Count it down!
UPDATE: I think I've found another favorite fundamentally shattering book comparable to Amy Chua's "World On Fire" thanks to one of my summer classes. Honestly, where was this book when Hill and I debated the Iraq War? It's seriously AMAZING!
There really isn't a better term to describe where I've been and what I've been doing the last two weeks. I've been out and about trying to enjoy the ephemeral bits of summer I have before my two classes start on Monday. I've also been trying to get my financial items taken care of for these two summer classes, but my school has been a bit difficult with financial aid and disbursement. Hopefully it's something that a quick drop-in meeting or phone call can fix. If not, well, I guess I won't be taking those classes.
It's funny and interesting to me because after all of the crazy stuff that happened over the last month or so I finally feel like I'm back on track with things. I think stepping outside of school, work, and Boise for a few days around the 4th of July gave me the chance to look at everything around me and breathe. I realized that I needed to relax, get organized (OCD STYLE!), and quit worrying over stupid little items or events that will amount to nothing in the long run. Talking to a mentor also helped me out. I realized that, due to that "crazy stuff" that happened earlier in the summer, I had began to doubt myself. I had dug myself into a rut that I wasn't allowing myself to overcome by continually dumping more dirt over my head with each worry. I'm out of that rut now and I feel revitalized and invigorated, aligned with a renewed belief in myself.
Looking back at the last two months of summer I can honestly say that I've come a long way from my mundane and scripted days. I've been through such a great amount of uncertainty unexpectedly that I don't think too much else would be a surprise. Yet, it is the fact that I have gotten through all of it, good, bad, but mostly strange; that makes me feel that much more inured to whatever may come my way in this my final year as an undergraduate. There is no slowing down nor holding back. I'm ready.
Goodbye, Blog -- The true architecture of the blogosphere remains amorphous just as the internet itself. While there are no definitive laws or codes regarding blogging (from daily diary digests to detestable debates about debacles), one thing is certain: blogs are "utterly public" in all their forms (including this one!). Which means they are a valuable "friend of information but the enemy of thought."
A lengthy read, but worthwhile if you've got the time.
Gift giving a sign of current affairs? -- Bush receives countless gifts from foreign nations and dignitaries every year; but a whip, a cellar full of wine, and a Worst Case Scenario Guidebook? Is he preparing for the end times or are foreign nations trying to tell us something? And Blair? Yeah, he doesn't really care. (You'll just have to read it.)
The last hour before this post was somewhat strange, yet it left me with a good feeling about, well, people in general. My brother and I decided to take my slowly dying car to a local auto repair shop in the hopes that we'd miss any traffic (since it's so late) and not have to worry about causing a scene if my car broke down. Our intentions and timing were good. My battery and alternator, on the other hand, were not.
As Brandon and I drove towards the auto repair shop the lights in my car completely faded to black. The radio lights, the front dash, the blinkers, even the headlights were suddenly no more. My brother had been driving ahead of me so I wouldn't get lost. We didn't anticipate the lights going out so quickly, especially since I hadn't driven my car anywhere since I found out I had a problem with the alternator. When they did, Brandon and I were in an intersection. The light turned green and Brandon drove ahead. He didn't see that my lights had faded and that I couldn't drive forward. I panicked somewhat, fearing that I might get rear ended because the street was dimly lit and my car wasn't exactly standing out. I quickly grabbed my cell phone and called my brother. He had noticed that I wasn't following and had already begun circling back around towards me; he said he was on his way.
At that very moment a lone car pulled up behind me. It wasn't my brother's car, though. My emergency lights weren't working, so I opened my door and left it slightly ajar, hoping the light in my car would turn on. It didn't. The people behind me noticed that there was a problem. As a few other cars slowly came in beside me, the car that was behind me put its emergency lights on. When the light ahead turned green and those few cars beside me had driven ahead, the car behind me drove to my passenger side. The driver inside the white/silver car asked me if I needed help. I replied and unsure "Yes." She said, "Ok. I'm going to pull my car into that parking lot up there and we'll come back and push you there. We have jumper cables. It'll be fine!" I felt somewhat relieved. She drove ahead with her friend and they got out of the car. At that time my brother pulled up behind me. I explained that these people were going to help and within seconds we moved my car from the light at the intersection to the parking lot across the street.
As my car sat in the middle of the parking lot, I took notice of these two people who cared enough to help me at 11:40 on a Sunday night (of all times!). They looked like they were around my age, punk/goth in style, almost dressed up as if they were heading to a local concert or bar. I didn't judge them, though, because I was thankful enough that someone actually cared to help my brother and me with my car. We popped our hoods. I opened both of the cars while the woman opened her trunk and looked for her jumpers. I have jumpers in my trunk, but I wasn't about to get them since she basically had them in her hands right as I finished popping her hood. We hooked the jumpers up properly and started our cars. My car kicked back to life, but died seconds later. As I had explained to these roadside helpers, my alternator was the real problem. I wasn't sure I could make it anywhere if the battery wouldn't charge. To my surprise this woman and this man offered to help jumpstart my car the whole way there, even if it meant taking away from their night. I couldn't believe it! To think that someone actually cared that much to get my car to a repair shop! It renewed my belief that people are naturally good and helpful, that people will step outside their own. In so many ways I felt thankful and elated. I hadn't really been scared or worried; I was unsure the whole time until that very moment. It reminded me of one of those commercials you'd see on television where humanity looks out for humanity, where people are actually looking out for people.
My brother and I declined their offer, however, noting that the problem was one that we could take care of by towing the truck to an even closer local auto repair shop. We thanked the rad couple as they drove away saying "No problem!" and "Good luck!" It was a feeling of warmth from seeing such simple kindness.
Within minutes my brother and I hooked the tow-cable between his car and my car and began the short journey to the closest auto repair shop down the street. Luckily there were two repair shops in the vicinity, so we pulled into the closest one. I parked my car, locked the doors, took down the number of the auto repair shop (not the one we wanted to get my car to, but this one will work), and jumped in my brother's car. As Brandon and I drove home we talked about these nameless individuals who were kind enough to stop and help a fellow person out on dark desolate Sunday evening. Who they really were and why they helped me may forever be a mystery, but I will not forget these two individuals and their compassion that stretched into Monday morning.
Though I may never see you two again nor know who you were, I want to extend my sincerest thanks again. I plan to pay it forward to the next person in due time based on what you gave to me. Thank you!
While ordering a pizza today (Yes, a break from ramen!) and remembering my financial constraints, I decided I needed to be a bit more frugal in my extravagant college student lifestyle. I began thinking about realistic ways to save money. I've already installed energy-saving (and money saving) lights, I always dry the dishes without the heat, I buy ramen all the time, I use my coffee mug if I order coffee from Starbucks. Still, it's not enough. As I continued pondering savings I finally considered, as you can guess by the title, tips as a penitential money saving area. Now, I'm not saying I plan on being super cheap or not tipping at all; however, it has come to my attention that maybe I tip too much.
I investigated further using, what else, google to search for websites detailing proper tipping etiquette. What I found was intriguing. Who knew that tipping was either simple or complex depending on the situation. Take my pizza order, for example. The total meals cost $16.80. Usually I'd round up by three dollars, making it $19.80. However, according to Findalink, that's being slightly generous. Pizza deliveries should only be tipped 15%, but nothing less than two dollars. So, I readjusted my tip, saving 50 cents. As I continued reading on the same website I found more tips. Apparently you should only tip at coffee shops if your feeling extra generous. That's news to me. Usually I tip my change or a dollar when I buy a special drink at a coffee shop. Perhaps I won't tip as much in the future. There are also many other tipping tips that I plan to keep in mind and implement in the future.
On the flipside, I read an article from ABC News reporting the scams related to eating out. While I haven't experienced some of the instances listed in the article, I can certainly agree with one of their tips. Don't piss off your waiter. If you've seen Waiting..., you know exactly what I mean. I still shudder at the thought of the many things your waiter or cook could do to your food. Ugh. According to the article it's better to voice your complaints to the manager. Wish I would've known that when I went to dinner with friends at a local seafood establishment. Maybe then I wouldn't have had to pay gratuity for horrible service; but I have digressed from my original intent.
Finally, I found a website (Fair Tip) fighting for proper tipping at restaurants. As you may or may not know, some restaurants pay their waiters less than minimum wage on the assumption that they'll make up for that deduction through their tips. However, some places cut the wages as low as $2.13/hour, leaving many workers struggling to make up for that deduction. While this website has an obvious bias, it's definitely worth checking out.
Bottom line, I plan to be fair with my tips and not gyp someone for a service they provide. However, I will not tip more than necessary as it's not reasonable for me or my wallet. If I suddenly strike it rich then, perhaps, I'll tip beyond the standard. Until then, though, it's to the note and nothing more.
Apparently getting an alternator repaired is harder than it seems. While making phone calls this morning I found out that most of the places I want to take my car are considerably busy. On top of that, some of them want to run extra tests to make sure that it's not just my alternator. Which, of course, is good business if you want the preventative care package. However, I can't afford that. I'm a broke college student who has basically been scrounging around for real food, eating ramen since the summer started, and struggling to pay my bills which aren't that expensive. What's worse is the fact that I can't get a hold of my parents to help forward some money because they're on vacation. Which is probably good for them in some ways! Still, it's been stressful for me because I can't do much without my car in this area. I suppose I could ask my brother to drive me to certain places I need to go to, but that's lame. Besides, my brother is hardly ever home.
*Sigh* I'll just have to get over it. Perhaps when my parents return from their vacation I'll be able to get my car repaired with alacrity. Until then I'm going to have to be creative with food and transportation. I think I need to buy a bike!
What a great effort by the Czechs against Italy. I watched, hoping and praying for the Czechs to pull through, but to no avail. They played well, but it was like something was missing. They had the drive and the power, but they seemed to lack the energy. Indeed, most of the team seemed to be in lassitude, struggling to make it through the game while putting their best feet forward. It's unfortunate to see the Czechs not advance and even more unfortunate to see USA move forward due to this technicality. Don't get me wrong, I like the US, but they don't deserve this as much as the Czechs. Hopefully when the Czech Republic returns two years from now, minus Pavel Nedvěd, they'll having a fighting chance and a ferocity to pull through to the semi-finals. Now, my hopes rest in no particular team. Though, I would like to see my German friends advance even further; however, it is unlikely they will get very far.
Update: Go Croatia. What an awesome goal kick! I'm cheering for the little guy, again!
I've been researching potential graduate schools and I have to say that it has me excited. I know it's a year away, but the prospect of a new and challenging adventure to another place has me ebullient.
The road to those colleges, however, is longer than it seems. Indeed, as I glanced over numerous pages and searched for information I concluded that I have much more to do that just taking the GRE. I have applications to start, a resume/vita to compile, and essays to write. Right now it seems manageable, but I'm sure as time goes on it will be more tempestuous and tumultuous than it appears right now. I haven't really settled on any particular colleges right now, but my main focus is here on the west coast. I'm not discounting other areas; I'm just not as certain about other areas due to having never been in the region or not knowing enough about a college. I'm sure I'll figure it out as everything goes on.
As for my GRE, well, my scores have been improving. Taking multiple practice tests has really helped. I need to continue working on improving my math skills. I'm not horrible, but I feel like I should be doing so much better since I got past this math in high school. That may just be the main issue at hand--too much time away from the original material. I'm remembering more as I move on, so that's what I need to focus on. Aren't you glad I'm keeping you updated on this stuff? God, I'm such a nerd.
A vacation might not be a bad idea if I can get my car working.
Everything seems to be fitting into place right now, though summer seems to have flown by to get to this point. There is some strange calm about how things are going, like standing on the edge of cliff labeled uncertainty before taking a huge leap into the unknown. I am happy with how things are going, but something seems to be missing. I think not going home to see my family might just be part of that missing element, but I'm not sure. I've been without them before and things have been fine, but this summer has had its stressors that would be somewhat assuaged by being around family. That's one of the unfortunate things about living so far away from my parents. They aren't around to help with tough situations when you may need them. The only thing they can do is send money. Don't get me wrong, money helps. It's helped me get by when I was near broke (or as I am now, almost perpetually impecunious), but it's no substitute for having my family around for the things that seem to happen out of the blue. It's almost ironic, but I came to college feeling like I didn't need my parents but missing them and now it's almost the opposite. I fell like I need my parents around, but I don't miss them as much. That might sound somewhat perplexing and I guess it kind of is. It's just that I've gotten past missing them, but I haven't gotten past needing them around(and I don't think I will for a while!).
Still, I'm not sure that not having my parents around is the only thing that has me in such a precarious position. I think the "summer of change" might also be a contributing factor. There has been much change and little change, and some things seem as though they are an aberration to what they were before, yet they remain the same. My job is one such thing, but there are others. I think it's just a bit of distortion, perhaps, that will sort in due time. Work, like those other items, continue to unravel and fall into place and reveal their form with deceptive novelty. The truth is that these things aren't that new, disparate, nor devious, rather they appear novel and amorphous. In time, as with all things, novelty wears off and the shape of things is or becomes known to a degree. Perhaps I am waiting in the space between novelty and certainty, waiting on this cliff for something to illuminate the area below before I leap in faith.
I know, I know! It has been about a month since I last posted a GRE vocabulary update. I'm not going to lie. I haven't been studying my GRE vocabulary book lately. I have been studying my big test book and the practice examples, quizzes, and tests in it. After going through these last two tests, I've decided to resume my dictionary dive in hopes to ameliorate my scores in the verbal section. Hopefully all of it will be good in due time!
From the "L" section of my GRE vocabulary book: Lassitude, Licentious, and Loquacious.
Lassitude - noun - a state or feeling of diminished energy
Due to his soporific twelve hour shift at the hotel, Tomas returned home in deep lassitude.
Licentious - adjective - immoral; having no regard for excepted rules or standards
Harry and Ron's licentious behavior often earned them many a detention under the watchful and dyspeptic eye of Professor Snape.
Loquacious - adjective - talkative, garrulous
Courtney is known to be quite loquacious, talking for hours on end about everything under the sun.
WHAT A GAME!!! What a game! God, I wish I could've seen all of it. Go Czech Republic! ALL. THE. WAY.
Damn, Tomas Rosicky (CZE) is one hell of a player! Both of his shots were stellar. I hope that CZE keeps up with the momentum and kicks some major ass against Ghana!
Recently I bought Mark Blanchard's Progressive Power Yoga DVDs, figuring I'd be somewhat prepared for it after my month long practice with my A.M./P.M. Yoga for Beginners. And I was good...for the first 10 minutes. Perhaps I was a bit too presumptuous in my transition. No. I know I was because of one thing.
One word: Chatarunga.
It's fair to say that I have a weak upper body and weak arms. As a result, Chatarungas kick my ass. Unfortunately for me, Mark Blanchard's DVDs employ this strategy to kick my ass. I'm learning and getting better, albeit slowly. It hurts just a little, but I can feel the improvement. There are also other poses that kick my ass, but the Chatarunga consistently kicks my ass.
As of later, I wonder if I'm capable enough to move forward with this DVD trilogy. I shouldn't doubt myself, but it's so tough. I mean, I have only gotten halfway through the first DVD. I was able to get through all of the A.M./P.M. Yoga DVD. It was also made for "beginners." So I shouldn't worry. After all, I haven't been doing Yoga as long as Mark Blanchard or any of his students; which means I can only get better. All I can do is continue on, try, and move on.
Heck yeah! It's starting up again! The only sport I truly love to watch is back in full force and it's going to rock! The first match I'm really looking forward to is coming up on Monday between the U.S. and the Czech Republic. Obviously I'm torn between the two as I love both countries. Still, I'm mainly going for the Czech Republic. I don't know the odds of them winning it, especially with two of the team members limping off the field during practices, but they're my "number one" team. Of course, I'll still cheer for the U.S., but I'm a bigger fan of the Czech Republic.
So, here's to that game that's only a few days away. Everyone better check it out! It's sure to be a close and tough game!
Wow. It's amazing how much can change in a single day. Even more interesting in two. I'm a whirlwind of motion and change where so much is happening so soon that I'm slightly overwhelmed, but, at the same time, I'm ok with everything.
Until I know how everything is going to pan out, I'm just going to wait and see. If something comes of all this movement, I'll let you know.
Today was a tough day. There's no doubt about that in my mind. However, it wasn't tough for me alone. It was tough for my newest place of employment. For my supervisors who made an investment in me. For the people I trained with over the summer. Perhaps even for my close friends who helped me get the job.
I submitted my resignation earlier the afternoon and within minutes I got a call from one of my supervisors wanting to discuss it. I am certain that it must have shocked them immensely. Since I started work there I have been very diligent and enthused in the workplace. In fact, I gave no intention of quitting though I knew that it might be a possibility with all the work-related complications occurring at this particular venture. On one hand I remained diligent and enthused because that's how I am at most jobs. I know I'm a good worker. After all, I didn't originally intend to quit this job so soon. My intentions were to continue it at least until next year in May when I would graduate. However, when these complications arose, I kept them in the back of my mind hoping and partially believing that I could balance both jobs through the summer. One the other hand, I thought my particular demeanor was best anyway. If I had expressed any uncertainties or mixed feelings around the people at work it would've been too easily misinterpreted. They could've thought I didn't like someone or something and that could've caused unnecessary problems.
As unfortunate as it is to submit a resignation letter, though, I know it was best for me. After re-evaluating the situation, the requirements, and the complications, I know that I wouldn't do this any other way (unless, of course, I could've gone back in time with this knowledge in advance and solved it all before it became an issue! Oh damn you hindsight!! DAMN YOU!). Regardless, this happened as it did for whatever reason and I am doing what I know to be best for me. I'm taking a hit in salary, but I'm saving myself scholastically. And that's what I'm here for first and foremost: education. School before work. It's tough, but that's the way it is.
It was a tough decision and it was hard for me to write such a letter, but it needed to be done. Although I'm still apprehensive about the coming day(s) on the job, I'm going to do my best to maintain my demeanor. In such a situation I think it's the least I can do.
In the end, I must add, I learned something from all these "cataclysmic" events. I learned that, while it may be tough, you have to do what's best for you. That's what I did. Not freaking out over the summer is the best thing for me, especially since I have much to study, accomplish, and attain. I also learned that it's ok, albeit not the best thing to do, to resign when things don't feel right. Of course, it probably would've been better to say something to my supervisor ahead of time, but that could've been problematic as well. In truth, there really is no way of knowing how such information would've gone over if I had mentioned it beforehand. For my own future reference (and perhaps for anyone who reads this), I think it's best to assess each situation like this on a case by case basis. Some events require immediate disclosure while others do not.
If nothing else, I at least learned how to handle myself with a real resignation. Now all I have to do is wait for the rest of the news as the pieces slowly unravel and fall into place.