- 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.