2 comments Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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.)

0 comments Monday, June 26, 2006

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!

2 comments Sunday, June 25, 2006

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.

0 comments Friday, June 23, 2006

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!

2 comments Thursday, June 22, 2006

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!

0 comments Wednesday, June 21, 2006

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.

0 comments Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A vacation might not be a bad idea if I can get my car working.

0 comments Monday, June 19, 2006

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.

0 comments Tuesday, June 13, 2006

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.

0 comments Monday, June 12, 2006

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!

0 comments Sunday, June 11, 2006

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.

0 comments Saturday, June 10, 2006

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!

0 comments Thursday, June 08, 2006

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.

2 comments Tuesday, June 06, 2006

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.


I've come to a conclusion about my work situation. I finally know what I'm going to do after some intense thought and reassessment of the situation. It's been hectic, but I finally know that I need to do what's best for me.

I'm going to quit one of the jobs later this week.

I feel kind of bad for quitting this job, but I know that I won't have enough time for myself if I stay. They want to work me too much (especially when I'm in summer classes), and being overworked just doesn't bode well with me. At least not when I'm in classes at college. When I'm in the real world, sure, I guess that's typical. (Haha! I wouldn't know for sure.) While the work experience at said job would've been "stellar" on a resume or a college application in comparison to my main job, I'll sacrifice it. I rather prefer the bonhomie of my older job, my awesome boss, my relaxed co-workers and the overall flexibility therein. Besides, there is time enough in the future to get experience that will help my work experience burgeon even more.

Where I go from here is, well, back to where I was. I resign at one job and keep the one I've had all along. I'll probably see an accretion in my hours at the older job as I'll be training up to fix things and manage the database. It's not as expansive a burgeoning, but it's a new challenge just the same. And it is right in my technology league! Me and my crazy computer skills! I know it's something I'm fully capable of without feeling stressed or overworked. That's how it should be. Simple as it should be for the summer and the rest of my time here at this institution.

0 comments Sunday, June 04, 2006

Nancy and I met up again today to discuss our progress with the GRE. Thankfully we've both improved since the last practice exam two weeks ago. As we went through the verbal section I noticed that my scores greatly increased in comparison to the last test. Instead of missing less than half, I only missed 1/6 of the problems (only five problems out of thirty). When Nancy and I discussed the ones that we missed in this section we came to the conclusion that we were, usually, close to the right answer. I usually had it down to two answers and chose the wrong one due to certain notions about the question at hand. Regardless, it's good to know I've improved. It's also good to have Nancy there to help me out with the verbal items that I do not know as well as she does.

Nancy and I struggled in the math section this week. While I originally planned to have both sections of the test done for this meeting, I didn't. I had finished all of the verbal section, but I only did 12 problems of the 28 from the quantitative section. I think problem 11 just threw me off of the rest of the math section. Regardless, I did fairly well on the problems I attempted. Nancy also did well and has progressed in this section since our last meeting. However, we both came to the conclusion that the math section might be slightly detrimental if we don't learn to manage our time properly while moving through it. As such, I plan to have everything done for our next meeting in two weeks. I'll worry about my timing on the test during our fourth meeting.

Overall, I think Nancy and I are moving along swimmingly through the GRE study sessions. Whether or not we will be prepared to take it in August or September remains to be seen, but as of right now I'm feeling pretty confident in taking it within that time frame.

0 comments Saturday, June 03, 2006

Earlier this evening Nancy and I went to see The Da Vinci Code together because both of us had read the book and were thoroughly interested in seeing the movie. Personally, I thought the book to screen adaptation was done well. Of course Ron Howard wasn't going to make it exactly as Dan Brown wrote it. In fact, most movies never follow the book line by line. Regardless, The Da Vinci Code followed the book for the most part. Sure, certain things were left out here and there, but the movie as a whole was quite cohesive. I think had they added any more it might have dragged on too long anyway. Besides, if you're that picky about details I suggest you just read the book instead and ponder away at the visual imagery described therein. As Nancy noted, "the book basically played out like a screenplay." Use your own imagination when reading and go from there.

After the movie was over Nancy and I decided to get a drink at a nearby bar to chat about various issues going on in our lives. Work. Summer. Friends. Dating. All are fair game. That's what I enjoy the most about talking with Nancy. We can talk about anything and everything and I appreciate her perspective on things, knowing she's not judgmental.

Well, after we sat down in the bar and ordered our drinks. Nancy got up to go to the restroom as she tends to frequent the public facilities in any location. It's a Nancy-ism. LOL! While she was away these much older women at the table next to ours looked over at me. Now, I shaved earlier today, so I probably look like I'm 18 even though I'm 21. Well, these two older women (say, in their mid to late 30s [see example]) looked over at me and said,
"Is [Nancy] your girlfriend?"
"No," I replied, "She's a very good friend of mine from the last two to three years."
"Oh! Well. Why don't you ditch her?"
I send them a slightly puzzled look.
"You know, sit at our table! THREESOME! You know you want to hook it up like this tonight!"
"What?" I start thinking of what else to say and suddenly I feel my face flushing. They totally caught me off guard.
"Oh, come on! When else are you going to get an offer like this?!?"
I think to myself: Hmm! Probably never, but both of you are probably STD-ridden and way too old for me. So I say, "Eh. Tonight is not that night for me."
Both the women giggle, snickering to each other at my bewilderment by their questioning and my rejection of them. Nancy returns and the women say, "Oh, seriously! Come over here!"
I shrug it off, laughing the whole time. Nancy sits down, confused, and questions what exactly just occurred in the minute and a half she was in the restroom. I tell her and she laughs hysterically, saying "Wayne, you're still looking for a onesome!" She pauses to think about that for a second and then says, "Well, wait, you've probably had many a onesome. You need a twosome before you can even think about going on to a threesome!"

All I can say is that those women, while potentially offering me the chance of a lifetime, were nasty. What if I had been 18 with a fake? Hello Mrs. and Mrs. Robinson! Robbing the cradle. Uh, fuck yeah!

0 comments Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm starting to think that I've made some unwise decisions regarding my work over the summer. Usually I wouldn't write about this, especially on here, but I need some sort of outlet that allows me to reflect. This is all I have. Besides, it not like I'm going to divulge any specifics.

Balancing two jobs has been tougher than I originally thought it would be. On one hand it's been nice to have full days of work with great pay and new experiences. On the other hand, it's been difficult to adjust to because of all the scheduling involved. I've readjusted my schedules at both jobs and it has been somewhat hectic. In the process of adjusting and readjusting, things have become complicated. Moreover, I've started to notice some conflicts on the horizon. Namely, one big conflict between my summer class schedule and one of my work schedules. I don't think I can work one of my jobs in conjunction with my summer classes.

So, I have a few options in this tug o' war. Right now I'm setting up a few meetings to figure out what I should do in the hopes that I'll make the best decision for me. Still, I can't shake the feeling that almost everything work-related is starting to crumble beneath me.