Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All work and no play...

I have a lot of work to do. I admit, I played quite a bit over Thanksgiving break (Sid Meyers' Pirates is quite addictive), but I still can't understand how the work piled up so fast. I have two five-page papers due in the next week, one of which needs to be in Spanish (the other's done except for the bibliography, as of ten minutes ago, and I wrote most of it in an hour...), two lesson plans to teach in the next week and a half, an activity to come up with for my health presentation tomorrow, three core journals to make up (not likely to happen...), a math write-up to finish for tomorrow, reading to do, a magazine article to think about, and guitar chords to memorize. And I work every night this week, on top of all that. And I'm sick. Christmas break is only two weeks away...

...I can't wait till next semester, when I'll be even busier. I'm going to quit TNS if it means living off my student loan for a while until I find another job, because I can't stand the place and it feels like all it's doing is wasting my time, even if I do have the money for rent because of it. There's a job opening working with mentally challenged adults, and I'm going to apply as soon as I can. It pays just as well, and would be a lot more worthy of my time than calling people to bother them with questions about their calls to Verizon.

I am not doing much for christmas this year. Money and time prevent it. I feel a little bad, but at the same time I'm relieved that no one else has any money either, so it's not like I'm going to be buried in gifts and unable to return the favor. We shall see what the holiday brings. At the very least, I'll catch up on my sleep.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Want to waste an hour of your day? http://video.google.nl/videoplay?docid=8809393662634963976
Here's a video on Scientology.

NaNoWriMo is coming up again. I'm now ML for the IUP area, so those who would like free swag should join up, post in the PA:Elsewhere forums, come to the first meeting, and maybe even bring a friend! Personally, I'll be happy if five people show up. I actually have a novel-ish idea this year, and I'm planning to finish no matter what. :D It's my way of telling November that it will NOT mess with me. Three years in a row is enough, already.

Class registration is underway. I have to get an override to take 18.5 credits next semester, and hope like crazy that I can get my Spanish minor done, although I don't know that my second 3 credits of the 6 I got from Mexico will be any use at all. I emailed my professor to ask if the credits are useless, and if they are I am going to petition the Spanish department about it. I lived in Mexico for six weeks and took a class that reviewed a lot of their recent history and politics, shouldn't that count toward/as "20th Century Spanish American Culture and Civ"? (Coincidentally, that's the last class I'd need to take for my minor, and it doesn't fit in my schedule at all, ever.) I'm registered for Education of Exceptional Persons, Language Arts Across the Curriculum, Survey of Peninsular Literature (SPAN 362), Identity in Horror Lit (Honors Senior Synthesis Class, the only one I could take because the other option next semester was a $2000 trip to Italy), Multicultural/Multiethnic Education, Fundamentals of Environmental Biology (the one thing in the way of that Spanish class is the Bio Lab, which makes me hate it already). I need to get an override because those 6 classes only add up to 15.5 credits (get this, Bio's worth 2.5! for 2 hours of work! and 2 hours of class!), but I need to get into a 3-credit Honors section of Creative Writing, and I can't take over 17.9 credits. Bah.

I hope you skipped that paragraph, it was for my own memory more than your information. Anyway. Summary: Things are going really well and I'm REALLY busy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

"Grant me the strength...

...to change the things I can, the patience to deal with the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference."

It's been a while since I've posted here, with good reason. There's just too much to do in a day already without sitting down and telling people about it. But I've been thinking too much again, which means it's time for a long, boring blog post so I can get things off my chest and go back to the mindless tedium of everyday life.

I've been less than happy lately, and the "why" lies in the above quote. I still don't have the patience to deal with life. Little things get to me more than they should, and the end-of-semester disregard for classes has set in early. I missed a test this morning because I overslept, and I don't care as much as I "should" according to everyone else's standards.

Don't get me wrong, life isn't bad at all. I work a lot, yes, and I'm taking 17 hours of classes this semester. I don't have a lot of time to hang out with friends but I've been doing well so far with taking opportunities as they come. My homework usually gets done on time and I even made it to the first concert of the semester at the coffeehouse. I have things planned out for the semester, and most of them have gone well.

I just feel like I've lost control of the rest of my life. I'm never quite caught up with everything I forgot to do yesterday, never quite ready for tomorrow, and never able to really get away and rest. I miss the days when I could skip class and can peaches instead. I miss being able to choose what I was going to do on a daily basis. I miss being selfish, maybe. I hate hearing "we need the money" when I want to skip work, no matter how true it is. I am frustrated by "It's just a rule we have" or "You're not allowed to do that". Call me a typical Pisces, but I hate living in this world. I want a full-time escape.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oh, the thinks you can think!

I found some more interesting bits of Internet today.
Philips Norelco has a new marketing campaign, and apparently NoScruff is Gilette's answer to P-N. The things you can get away with online...

Monday, August 21, 2006

"You poor baby..."

So last week, the Boy found a pet store in the area, and we went looking for a pet that we were allowed to have. The landlady had told us no dogs whatsoever (and after the smell the last tenants left in this apartment, I can see why), but cats were an arguable possibility and small things kept in cages were all right. On our way out the door, our downstairs neighbors caught us and asked us a rather silly question - they had just been given a kitten by a friend, but already had two cats, and would we take him? (Of course we would!). So the apartment is now home to one anklebiting kitten named Loki, and two lovely hamsters named Xena and Gabrielle. They get along all right, so far... although Loki has decided that if it moves, it's worthy of attack. This involves more danger to our feet than to the hamsters.

In other news, I'm surviving my job better than expected. Being paid to call people and convince them to take surveys isn't the most glamorous job, but it has its perks. I don't have to deal with anyone face-to-face, I can tell them off (politely) if they say something about the Do Not Call List (since we only collect information we're not bound by the list), and I occasionally get a really nice person on the phone. Like last night: One woman early in the night actually stopped short after my introduction and said "oh, this is what you do for a living, isn't it? You poor baby...". I'm still not sure if I'm insulted or comforted by that, but she did the survey, and that's what matters. The last call of the night was also noteworthy. She had a great sense of humor and even though her opinion of my survey topic wasn't very positive, she was honest about it and didn't mind the survey at all. She made me think that this job might just be workable.

School starts in one week. I have almost everything I need, although I don't think I'm at all ready for academia yet. Summer has gone by far too quickly and with too much worry, and I wish I had a few more weeks to relax and earn some money before I have to stress about school, work and the sudden uprising of every extracurricular in existence, all at once. This year, along with the six classes and work at the telesurvey place, I'm going to try to hold down a supervisor position at the library (yay, promotion!), tutor for KidsRead again, work with my favorite theatre group, get to at least one meeting of ECO (environmentalism is FUN!), find time to hang out with friends, and get a decent amount of sleep. I'm sure I can do it, if I schedule everything correctly...
Good luck to the few of my blog-readers who are also starting school soon!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I just checked up on the latest news from Mexico...
Sound familiar? Think November 2004.
This makes me wonder what Mexico will look like by next year...

The Mexicans have a long and bloody history of overthrowing governments and the last few decades have been stable mostly due to a single party keeping control of the political scene. This, however, looks like a bad year. The Zapatistas were marching in Mexico City earlier this year... and now there's escalating violence between the parties. I was really hoping this would be a smooth governmental transition, for everyone's sake. I worry about my friends in Mexico.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Moved in...

Long time no post, eh? I've been busy with moving an entire apartment's worth of stuff into a new apartment, finding a job, cleaning and putting things away and going to the library and generally getting set up. We got Adelphia to come out and hook up the cable today so we have internet access, which is a relief. It wasn't that much of a bother to get over to the library, except that we don't have the quarters to put in a parking meter so we had to go after 5 when they stop ticketing on campus, or walk, which neither of us has felt like doing in this heat. Thankfully we haven't had to use the air conditioning yet.

Boy and I both found jobs at the second largest telesurvey group in the world. They pay $7/hr weekdays and $8.50 Friday night through Sunday (and it goes up from there as you log hours), so it will pay the bills and maybe leave some for other things. The work's not bad, if you don't mind sitting in front of a computer and phone all day. It definitely puts the whole industry in a new light... although telemarketers still suck. We just do surveys. Interesting fact: Survey companies aren't legally bound by the Do Not Call list, so we can call anyone we like.

We met an interesting old lady the other day just down the road as we were taking a morning walk. She was very talkative, and I don't think she's had anyone pay much attention to her lately, but she was friendly and not too off-the-wall so we stood and politely listened for a while. I always wonder why more people don't stop and talk to the elderly residents who are always on their front porches or in their gardens, like they're hoping the next person to walk down the street will stop and say hello. Not enough people walk these days, except as morning exercise, though, and even fewer are willing to take time out of their 'busy' schedule to converse with a lonely old woman. She told us she was thankful for being attentive listeners, and it was pretty easy to see that we had made her day by stopping to say Good Morning. Things like that are why I haven't quite lost faith in humanity.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Tonight was a link-jumping night. I started here - at the MysticWicks forum. The thread is interesting, to say the least. From there, I hopped to a blog that seems to be encouraging all kinds of interesting beliefs in the name of proving that 2012 will be an eventful year. Honestly... what year won't? From the blog, I jumped to a news article about Europe and this very interesting essay. That's where I found this quote:

"Half of the nearly two million Iraqi casualties are children under the age of five. That's more than 330 WTC's full of little kids. By comparison, only six children under the age of five died on September 11, 2001."

Makes you think, doesn't it? Why are we doing this to the innocents of the world when there are murderers in the streets of NYC and "terrorists" crossing the border to Canada (and probably coming back in, too)? What did a five-year-old girl from Iraq ever do to Dubya that she deserves to watch her family die or become cripples at the hands of American WMDs? We bomb them because they can't fight back, apparently. Just once I would like to see our beloved president put up against the wall and facing a lineup of the people he's sentenced to death because of the American Government's lust for oil and power. Women, children, fathers; dying to keep the H2s on the road. There is no reason for this holocaust. But we're in America, and I'm supposed to be patriotic. Heil Bush!

To those who still blindly support the "War on Terror *(for Oil)":
I hope you spend an agonizing eternity staring at the torn bodies of the people you murdered.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Home, home and deranged....

Not really, but it sounds fun. I am finally back in Pittsburgh, and staying here until August 3, when we move into a new apartment (don't you love moving? So much heavy lifting, ugh.) and three weeks after that, school starts. Hopefully I will be able to pull together enough money for books, rent, registering and insuring the Probe (yes, yes, laugh at the car. I love it.) and other things I ought to be spending my money on. Mm, bills. As the job hunt here is only halfheartedly going at all, and finding a job for three weeks is hardly worth the effort of going through interviews, I may just email the person I heard from this spring, about getting a lifeguarding job on campus. That would be something, at least.. although if it's campus-connected it's probably minimum wage, and THAT just sucks. A lot.

Hm. There's nothing geekier than sitting right next to your significant other and being on separate computers. Especially when you're playing the same game. ^_^ (which we may be doing, shortly). I've also been dragged into the forumworld again, although I suppose I can find time for a few posts every now and then. Life gets busy, you know?

And speaking of busy, I have a lazy day to get started on. :D I love days off.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's the 22nd. That means in two days I will be getting off the plane in Pittsburgh. I am inexpressably excited by this, and have told my professor so. He asked "What happened?" I should have told him the truth: He happened, and pissed me off to the point of wanting to bash in heads, but I said "Six weeks here" and he took it to mean that it's been quite long enough, thank you, and I like it here but am ready to go home. Which it has and I do and I am.

Tonight we go shopping for hopefully the last time, and I will try not to spend too much money (although I have very little to begin with). The space I left in my bags to accomodate presents is already full... should be fun dragging them through customs.

This is a wonderful place, and I want to come back some day... but next time, I'm coming on my own. It's a hell of a lot cheaper.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

¡4 paginas!

Today, I wrote a 3.5 page paper (en español por supesto), and did an entire powerpoint presentation. All 7 slides. It should have been more, but eh, it's done and it's going to get us a B at least, if we talk slowly enough (it's supposed to be 15 minutes), and that's fine with me and my partner. My back is sore, my muscles are tense, my sinus cavities are congested and I am hungry... but my major work for the next two weeks is done.

On Saturday we are going to Taxco, a region famous for its silver mines and silverwork. I am looking forward to blowing a lot of money on expensive (but cheaper-than-at-home) pieces of jewelry to remember México by. I deserve it, or so I have told myself. After all, I have survived 6 weeks of a manic-depressive director and a crazy group of classmates, a too-hard mattress, a power outage (that was fun), and hours and hours in busses going to "the most important anthropological site in México" (all of them, apparently). I need something to remember it all by, and what better remembrance than shiny pieces of silver with pretty stones in them?

Okay, so pictures would suffice. After all, I do have a few hundred by now, and will be taking more before we leave. I just want to go shopping. It's been a long time since I had the complete freedom to spend as much money as I wanted on whatever I wanted. My mother even told me to enjoy the rest of my time here, because I might not get to come back.

Although speaking of coming back, I would enjoy returning at some point. I like it here despite the cockroaches in the shower. I even managed to find my way home from halfway across the city the other day - which with my sense of direction, is a miracle. It's a sign that I've adjusted, and unfortunately I have to adjust back to America. Not happy about the Official English Language Bill that's being pushed right now... although the argument is that it does not deny anyone the right to speak any other language and will help unify the country. It does push for everyone to learn English, which many people have avoided doing thus far, because all official documents and signs will be in English. And it will force people out of jobs - why have a bilingual person working a job when everyone needs to speak English anyway, eh? I am studying Spanish because there is (or was) a demand for bilingual workers. If the official language is English, where am I going to find a job that would choose me over an adequately qualified English-only speaker? I am thinking about boycotting English for a few days when I get back, just to piss everyone off and show them that I prefer our country the way it is - unified under the ideal of diversity.

Signing off, because Chili's awaits and their garlic shrimp alfredo is calling my name...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

16 Days.

UNINTER is a great university. I love it here. They have new students coming in every single week, and a big "Welcome" sign at the door to let us know which universities have arrived. This week, SUNY Fredonia was on the list.

...W.T.F.? Our tiny little local artistic community college has a study abroad connection to Mexico, at the same university as I happen to be at? I am mildly weirded out by this. Especially since my first reaction to seeing Fredonia on the list was to turn and run lest the people I know from that school show up here.

So. Two weeks to go, if you don't count tomorrow, which I don't because it is going to be the easiest day we have had here so far. I don't think I have classes, because most of the class is going to Acapulco and I don't think having only two people in my grammar class is going to work out so well. Therefore a group of us may end up in Mexico City for the day. Ah, pollution, traffic and loads of tourist attractions...

I want to go horseback riding but my search thus far has turned up a grand total of one place to go, and this by word of mouth and I do not know the name of the place nor how far away it is. Meh.

*Touristy observations about how nice things are, complaint about taxis in foreign countries, notes on nice shopping center.* That is all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

¡Más Mexico! 2: Culture Shock

The first thing most people tell you about living in another country is that you will experience "culture shock." They are very right. The first thing most people tell you about Mexico is "Don't drink the water." That's also right. The first two things I had to get used to about Cuernavaca were both sanitation-related, and from what I hear that's usually the case worldwide. The water here isn't drinkable, and it's a very new experience for me, coming from a house where I could drink water straight from a spring on our hillside, to have to lug a bottle of purified water with me everywhere. The other sanitation issue is the sewer system. The plumbing in most of Mexico can't handle toilet paper and other semi-solids en masse, so we have to throw our used toilet paper into a garbage can in the bathroom. It's cleaned daily but it's one of those things that most tourists would immediately shelve under "eeeeeeewwwwwwwww." Personally I don't care, as long as it's being disposed of properly it's no dirtier to throw it away seperately than to toss it into the sewers with the rest of your waste. Of course, I have no idea how it's disposed of...

Culture shock is also a big problem because of little things like gestures, mannerisms, etc. It's a different social system down here, and while many estadounidenses can get by without changing their ways, when you live with a family and have to interact with civilians every day it's easier to pick up on mannerisms than to be labeled as a clueless tourista and have everyone make an effort to speak to you in bad English.

Food: Big problems for some people. For someone like me who will try anything (and usually like it), mexican food only poses a challenge because it's a dietary change. For those picky "I only eat xxxx food" people you're better off finding a restaurant (there's a very nice chinese one in town...) and eating out. A lot of my classmates had major stomach problems while adjusting to the Mexican diet. I admit, I had a few days of mild discomfort, but I've adjusted much better than many others. The food here is a lot spicier at times (think salsa of some type with every meal), but it's also a lot less greasy and a lot more natural. Whole wheat bread, corn-flour tortillas, meat without growth hormones or steroids or antibiotics, fruit juice freshly squeezed, natural (unbleached) cane sugar. Mmmmm....

I think I like Mexico. It's hard to get used to taking taxis everywhere and remembering not to drink the water, eat fruit from street vendors, etc, but it's definitely not as much of a culture shock as I expected it to be. I thank my Spanish professor (Thank you, Sra. Parsons!) for that.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Más México: Manejando (Driving)

I figured since I was going to be here for a while I´ll do an entry a week or so, and since there is so much to talk about I am going to focus on one or two things per entry.

Driving in Mexico - yikes! The first thing I noticed about Mexico is that most of the cars here are tiny - Volkswagon seems to be a very popular brand name here. There are a lot of very old VW Bugs around, half of them painted bright green and acting as Taxis. The rest of the population drives VW Pointers (something like the US Jetta), the occasional Chrysler? Spirit (yeah, I don´t know, but it´s not Dodge) or Ford Focus, and other small family cars. The taxis consist of a fleet of Nissans, which makes me wonder. They´re not all the same company, but nearly every taxi in the city is a Nissan Tsuru. The only large vehicles on the roads are the busses, which run all over the city and beyond, and move very quickly despite the narrow streets.

Also interesting is that most of the cars here are manual transmission - I think I´ve seen one automatic in the entire week I´ve been staring at the city´s traffic. I am both amused and pleased by this finding. I think I like it here. Unfortunately, driving standard doesn´t mean the people move any slower or farther apart - every time we come to a stop behind someone else on a hill, I swear we´re going to be hit when they roll back.

People here drive like maniacs. I know in the US we think we´re bad drivers, but these guys aren´t bad, they´re good - at being very very dangerous. Turn signals are usually ignored (ah, it´s just like home!). Lanes of traffic? If no one´s coming there are usually two lanes going the same way in a two-way street. Passing is done wherever possible no matter what the lines on the road look like, and people cut in front of each other at intersections in ways that would result in regular 20-car pile-ups where I´m from. They´re all very respectful of each other, to a degree - if someone is more aggressive than you, you just let them go first. It´s awful to be a pedestrian here. What´s worse, there are speed bumps of various kinds all over the city but a lot of people will speed up between them and then hit the brakes just before they go over one. The speed bumps would be a good idea in the US, I think. At least they keep top speed down to 45 or so between bumps.

Pedestrians here don´t have any rights either. There´s not much protection in the way of crosswalks at intersections and even if there are crosswalks, good luck getting someone to acknowledge them. Mostly you just wait for a gap in traffic and run for your life. Of course, walking isn´t a preferred method of travel anyway, because the cities here are pretty much coated in smog. Cuernavaca´s not that bad comparatively speaking - Mexico City looks like it´s under a London fog on a good day.

It´s been an adventure, riding with our nice, tiny little host mother and nearly being t-boned, rolled back into, hitting police officers, etc. Beware, vacationers: if the water doesn´t kill you, the drivers will. :D

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Más Español

Grades are up. I got two B´s (How I ended up with a B in Core is beyond me but GAH!) and four As. My GPA is still intact at 3.6 but I´d rather it have been higher. *sigh*

(later) And I do not like these ten-minute breaks very much. I´d rather they give us a few 20-minute or half-hour breaks between classes than have ten minutes in the middle of a class to run and check email etc before going back to thinking in Spanish. Es difícil.

So far I´m thinking I´ll be okay and not run out of money - things here are cheap, although I buy a lot more here than I did at home because I get snack food, bottles of water, I´ve eaten out half the nights this week and I am also looking for souveneirs for my friends and family. If you have any specific requests or have heard of fun things I could buy in the region of Morelos, email me! :)

(much, much later) Okay. Bien. Now I have some time before mamá me recoge. This weekend our group is going to visit las pirámides de Teotihuacán. We watched a history channel video on it to learn something before we go, and found out that the reason the city/civilization fell is most likely because of overpopulation/deforestation - they were using up all their wood to burn limestone and make lime to plaster their walls and monuments with. Studying old civilizations fascinates me. If I weren´t a teacher or a librarian I´d be an archaeologist and go digging for all kinds of neat things. I think it´s more fun to read about them than to spend hours in the boiling sun digging them up, though...

Got to talk to the boy for a second time this week (twice isn´t much when you´re used to every day, but it´s better than nothing at all). I have an exam coming up in one of my classes and I also have to think up a short presentation-thing about my favorite movie using preterite and imperfect. Geh, grammar. I know mine needs work but I wish I could work on it some other way. I´m so tired of hearing the words Preterito y Imperfecto that when we actually move on to something else it will be very welcome.

So far every day has been a new adventure. There was the adventure of the Devil Key, the Adventure of Los Arcos, and the Adventure of the Lost Taxista. I think there was another one that I´ve forgotten, too. I´m writing un diario every day so I don´t forget, and so when I get back I can share everything without having to talk myself hoarse.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Estoy aquí en Mexico, y estoy diviertando, pero es difícil estar tan lejos de mi familia, de mi novio y de las computadoras.

I think my scalp is sunburned because we spend an hour every day sitting in the sun en el patio, for our conversation groups. Today we talked about los universitarios (los estudiantes de universidades), and about los mitos y leyendas Mexicanas. In our Modern Mexico class we´re reading una leyenda de los volcanos Popocatépetl y Ixtaccíhuatl (Popo y Ixi). According to la leyenda, Ixi era una princesa Azteca, y Popo era su amante. They were separated because Popo was una guerrera, a soldier, who had to go to war, and when he came back he found her dead because she had been lied to by someone else who wanted to marry her (he told her Popo had been killed). So he carried her to las montañas y los dioses les transformaron into two volcanoes.

It´s really warm here in the afternoons, although morning and evening are cool and usually damp. It´s rained lightly every day so far. I love it. I do miss everyone, though.

Time to go - my host mother will be here soon. Hopefully I´ll be able to do a once-a-week update while I´m here...

Thursday, April 27, 2006


News From Mexico. Not meant to scare, but to inform. Something should be done.

The last time someone told me or my friends to "Grow Up!", it was my former roommate. She followed it up by stomping off and muttering "Fuck you." I don't think you want me to put you on that list of people I consider immature because you pass judgement on people before you bother trying to understand them.

The weather here was 30* last night and over 65* this afternoon. I believe this is absurd.

The PRIDE chalking for Day of Silence won the IUP Chalk-on-the-Walk contest in the Oak Grove yesterday. Last night I walked for 20 minutes to see all the chalkings before shuffling inconsiderate feet destroyed them. They were, for the most part, beautiful. I wanted to take pictures but my camera isn't working and it was too dark to use the cell phone.

I took part in Day of Silence yesterday. The guys at work tried to "crack" me and get me to talk, and failed.

I leave the country on the 14th. In some ways, I wish I was never coming back, although I'm sure I'll be glad to be home after six weeks.

Friday, April 21, 2006

There once was a frog...

in the middle of a bog. A small, green frog, on a half-sunk log, in the middle of the bog.

This morning I got up bright and early to do a story reading assignment for my Children's Literature class. The mission: to find a group of children, read one or more stories to them, and record our reading. The problem: I ended up with a temperamental tape recorder. I read two stories, did very well with both of them, and ended up with one recording: the test recording I'd made last night, plus a "testing, testing" just before it, which I recorded this morning to ensure that I didn't end up with a blank tape. And I ended up with what might as well be a blank tape, despite the fact that there is a full recording of me reading a story to myself. I hate technology. Now I have to explain that I did the reading, read a story about paper cranes, passed out paper cranes to the small children, gave some to the librarian and left the tape player "recording" the whole time, and ended up with NADA. I'm sure she'll understand, but it still sucks. I wanted to be successful for once. Next time, I'm just inviting her along so she can grade me in person. Screw technology. Gah.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I did a very silly thing and turned on the television this afternoon, and it has sucked away my time. The original intent was to see if Chronicles of Narnia really was going to be playing tonight on one of the college broadcasts, but I ended up watching SciFi instead. There is a new movie/miniseries/something by Stephen King, called Kingdom Hospital. It's scary (of course). And I kinda like it.

I should be doing homework, but I am a television addict. Curses to the inventors of television. Curses, I say!

At least there are commercial breaks...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Honors Core and all things Dreadful

The weather sucks, my homework sucks, and life in general sucks. My job, on the other hand, was made more exiting by a fight upstairs between a patron and a staff member (I missed seeing it but heard the whole story from the guys who went running up there). And for once, my Honors Core readings haven't been so dry you could dehydrate by reading them. Journals and discussion remain tedious, however.

I was invited to dress up and beat people with padded weaponry this summer; it looks like loads of fun but I'm not sure I'll have the time, nor will the boy, who would not want me to go without him. I understand that, 'cause he's geekier than I am by far :p Still, the summer looks promising. I can get out of finals on the 10th of May, I leave for Mexico on the 13th, get back on the 24th of June, and hopefully can find a job in Pittsburgh and live with the boy till we move in to our new apartment at the beginning of August. Joy! Even if we're both working full-time this summer it'll be better than school AND work, and we'll be together. And it will be warm - oh, I miss being warm.

I am a failure at being organized but I have hope that one of these days I'll actually manage it. So far all I've done is declare Spring Cleaning officially started and sort out some crap from the top of my dresser/desk. Textbooks are next; I need to find a way to put them up so they're not in stacks on the floor and I can get to them easily. Bookshelf? But then I'd have to move some of my beloved fantasy novels... hm. Well, I'll figure it out. Back to the homework.

And so, dear reader(s), I leave you with this:
Excerpt from Gary Marcus, The birth of the mind. (2004) NY: Basic Books.

"...saying that a trait can be "attributed" to genes is not the same thing as saying it is caused by genes; heritabilities are just measures of correlation, and correlation never guarantees causation. Almost all Jedi Knights are male and hence bear Y chromosomes, so statistically speaking, the chance of being a Jedi Knight is tied to the presence or absence of a Y chromosome. But Princess Leia may have the Force, too; perhaps the real problem is not a lack of talent, but a lack of opportunity - maybe the Jedi powers-that-be in her era tended not to give females equal consideration for Yoda's Jedi boot camp (though I hear that equal opportunity could reach the Force in Episode VII). Y chromosomes would then be correlated with who gets to be a Jedi, but they would not be a cause of being one."
p. 10
/random geekitude, from an Associate Prof. of Psych. at NYU. He cites a source, too - a personal communication from a friend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bye, Bye, Sunshine...

I hate you, Winter, Oh yes I do,
I hate you, Winter, please just be through.
When it starts snowing, I'm blue,
Oh Winter, I hate you!

Gah. Half a week in New York and it's back to the usual damp, icy-cold March weather complete with IUP-worthy windstorms. The house is chilly, my computer's in the shop waiting hopefully for a faster processor, and I'm feeling ugly (in the attitude sort of way) due to lack of adequate food/sleep/warm bodies to cuddle with.

Today I got up at 6 so I could go down to the computer shop with mom and sit around while she worked and then sit around some more while the guys came in and worked and finally get my computer into a spot on the long bench full of test monitors and such, and work on it. I tore out the two tiny hard drives (10 and 12GB) and they gave me a 120GB drive to replace them. Oh, ecstasy. So with that and a faster processor I'll be purring for a while, methinks. I also put two new office chairs together for them - go me. I am teh mechanicz0r. And yes, I read the instructions. I am not dumb but I do like to get things right the first time.

Spring Break is turning out to be Spring Cleaning/Working/Fighting with Sisters, but that was to be expected. I still have homework to do, too.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oh, I forgot to mention...

My roommate, who was causing me all sorts of stress because we never talked, finally got fed up, "gave" me the room, and took an empty single down the hall just before Valentine's Day. I have reason to believe that our lack of communication was the main reason she left, although I also suspect that her upbringing in an upper-middle-class family with three brothers (and therefore no one to share with) made her especially unable to share a room with someone who was so radically different. I'm not sure she could have shared a room with her twin without getting bitchy.

I walked into the room one afternoon and she was packing. She said we needed to talk, I sat down, she gave me one short rant about feeling disrespected and my boyfriend having driven her out of the room (he was here once every two weeks, on average, while hers was around once a week at least) and went back to packing furiously. I didn't even bother arguing, because she had the same look on her face that my little sister gets sometimes - the "I dare you to tell me I'm wrong so I can bite your head off" look. It wasn't worth bitching her out if she was leaving and so I just fed her some BS line about wishing we could have worked out our differences and went mildly back to my corner.

Since then we've exchanged two greetings and one half-argument. The time before last time I saw her, we were in line together at the food court and she purposely ignored everything in my general direction. I was almost amused by it. This weekend, she came to the door and pounded on it, and before I had the sense to pretend I was away, I opened it and came face to face with a Puffed Up Angry Bitch. The conversation went something like this: (translations for those who weren't there to see facial expressions, although mine was mostly deadpan/surprise)
"I want my marker back." (NOW. OR I WILL WHINE AT YOU.) *glareglareglare*
*wtf?* "I don't have it. And he (indicating my boyfriend, who she was glaring at around the half-open door) has been here with me all day. (BACK OFF AND GO WHINE TO SOMEONE ELSE.)
"O RLY? Blahblahblah I GAVE you this room (really? You didn't even ask if I wanted it...), you fuck with my whiteboard (um... right. 'Cause I care that much.) and you need to grow up!" (I WILL CRY. I AM NOT ABLE TO DEAL WITH THIS.)
"Well, look. We don't know where your marker is. I haven't done anything to you and I'm not going to." (I DON'T CARE, GO AWAY.)
*stomps off* "Fuck you. Fuck you both." (ANGST! BITTER ANGST!)

The boy found her whiteboard marker under the water fountain a few feet down the hall from her door - it had fallen off and probably been kicked there accidentally. Shit happens, hon. He put it back sans comment. I would have gladly handed her all four of my extra markers if it would have made her stop hating us and disappear, but she has her mind set and arguing with a pissed-off teenager is like arguing with some Christians: They never really listen to your side as long as they can hear theirs.

The erasing of her whiteboard was not my fault any of the three or four times it happened. The boy did it once or twice and I don't really care, if she has problems with him she can approach him. I'm not his keeper nor his mother, and he can take care of himself. Oddly enough, since one of those erasings was mid-week when the boy wasn't here, I suspect she has problems with more people than just us.

And in other news, I'm halfway to 40 today (March 6). (Thank you, classmate, for pointing this out) It's time for my quarter-life crisis now... :P

Friday, February 24, 2006

Burning the candle at both ends

My Pedagogy teacher (who speaks with a delightful southern accent, it makes me giggle to think about) told me I need to do something about being so tired. "Can you cut down yoah houas at work?" she asked me. And of course I can't... the money's more important than sleep is at this point. But she says if I sleep through another exam I won't get a make-up, points off or no. I'll just fail.

So yes, I am too busy for my own good. By tuesday night I usually feel like it's Friday. But here it is Friday and I'm supposed to be working on a 10-15 page paper, and I'm messing around online instead. My schedule looks kinda like this:
Monday: Chicken-with-its-head-cut-off day. Running around almost constantly from 8am to 2am.
Tuesday: Pretty much the same thing but I have to dress up and catch a bus at 7:30. Pre-Student Teaching is fun!
Wednesday: 8am-11, and 12:30-2, then a break till work at 6.
Thursday: Blessed sleep! No class till 1:15, although sometimes I get up early to work on the piles of things that need doing. Work 11pm-2am.
Friday: One class at 8am, the other at 2:15. Loads of time in between to go back to bed, except I usually don't. No work, thank god.
There are also the non-class things like laundry, grocery shopping and scholarship essays. But those are easy to set aside and deal with Later (read: when I get around to it; see also: never).

I got to see the hawk today. I had been told by several people that there's a hawk living on campus, supposedly nesting in the Oak grove. Today he(she?) was in a tree near Whitmyre, with five or six raucous crows perched in the higher branches. It watched me come up the path and stare at it, and then the crows took off and so did the hawk. I don't know if it was me staring that riled them up, or if they just decided it was too cold to be sitting around. That hawk is impressive, though. I think it's a red-tail, but it was tough to see markings against the awful dull grey clouds. Maybe I'll get a better view next time, and remember to get pictures. My camera needs new batteries.

And it's off to work again, because I need to make the rest of this paper sound as incoherent as the first half, so that everyone is so confused by the meaning they forget to tell me how badly organized and written it is. ^_^ I strongly dislike bu__sh__, but at least it's useful in research papers.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


The library will close in twenty-five minutes. Here I sit with a borrowed library laptop; orange spray-painted letters declare it property of IUP LIBRARIES. It's warm in my lap, but not quite warm enough - these ones never overheat the way the boy's does. They're all Dells, half of them older models and half newer Inspiron 1150s, grey and sleek next to their boxy black ancestors. They all sit in the back tech office, charging when they're not in circulation, so it's easy for the tech workers to take them.

The library at 1:30am is ghostly silent, the coffee place closed since 9 and most stragglers already gone. The third floor, cold and empty, smells of mildew and worn pages, and the shelves form comforting nooks and crannies, dividing the silence into patches of quiet air. It's never the same temperature on every floor and in every corner. The second floor is warmer, and busier, sometimes three or four students will linger after the announcement is played: "The library will close in ten minutes. The circulation desk is now closed." They drag themselves away from late-night studying and hurried paper-printing, shuffling toward the doors like they've been pulled away too soon. The first floor is a hive of activity in comparison; it's where all the student workers gather as they shut down the desks and head for the exits. There are smiles and jokes about turning the lights off on the last patrons. Sometimes they do it, just for kicks. Nobody really complains, after the last warning. It's time to go home.

I get to walk back with a co-worker who lives one street away, trading small talk. Up three flights of stairs, to the warm sanctuary of 3rd North, and quietly into the dark room. My roommate is asleep, or pretending, and I am grateful. No more lights or noise tonight. Just the dark and the soft pillow, and the blanket the boy accidentally left this weekend, which I can wrap myself in if I am not asleep the moment I take off my shoes.

Friday, January 27, 2006


You scored as Disappear. Your death will be by disappearing, probably a camping trip gone wrong or an evening hike you never returned from. Always remember that one guy who was hiking alone and got in a rock slide. He could have died, but he cut his own hand off to save himself. Don't end up like him (or worse, dead).


Natural Causes
Cut Throat

How Will You Die??
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Spring 2006

I guess this semester won't be as hard as I expected. Or maybe it will. Here's how things finally lined up:

  • 17 credits. The extra Spanish class (3 more) wouldn't fit in the schedule.
  • 20 hrs/wk work at the library. I was hoping for twice that, but it's not fair to the other student workers... and I suppose this way I'll actually get some sleep.
  • $362.65 worth of textbooks. Ouch?

    Now all I need to do is pay off my credit card, find, finance and buy a car, find an apartment for next year, and remember to practice my Irish Dance once in a while. Eh, this should be an easy semester.

    In other news, the weather here is disconcerting. Last year it was warm until November, but at least January looked... like January. Snow and blowing winds and ice and the works. This year I haven't seen more than a foot of snow yet, and most of the time it's just overcast and windy, in the kind of way that suggests very early spring. Right now it's an icy downpour outside, and even though the forecast calls for snow tomorrow, I'm betting it won't happen. It really makes Global Warming seem up-close and personal - January in Western Pennsylvania and not a flake of snow to be seen.

    Oh, and I bought a helmet. So now the boy can take me out on the bike, once the weather gets a little warmer ^_^. I've only been out with him once but it was fun.

  • Monday, January 09, 2006


    "Less than one percent of friends stay close after graduation... Challenge the statistic."
    That's what the mural in our high school hallway said. We had lots of murals, they were done by the students and brightened up the drab institutional halls a lot. That one sticks in my mind though, because after two years I'm beginning to see the truth of it.

    Allison, Madison, Laura, Casey, Nicole, Roxie, Devin, Kymrie, Rachel, Eric, Steve, Josh, and JP were the classmates I spent the most time with two years ago. Now I hang out with Al, and talk to Nicole, Steve and Josh online, and rarely. The others have seemingly disappeared - no phone calls, letters, emails, or greetings passed on by other friends. I'm not blaming them, though. I haven't exactly been showering my former friends with news and information. Most of them don't know my address at school or home (in today's world, who needs a mailing address to talk to a friend?), and I'm sure they're as busy as I am, which means nobody has (or makes) time to sit down and send off a quick email. I haven't even gotten a Christmas card from any of them. Oh well, eh? Times change, people change, life goes on. But I still miss them occasionally, and I still feel like I'm being left out of important happenings - like when I check Nicole's mySpace blog and it says "my bf". ...she has a boyfriend? It'd be nice if I knew who, and when, and what brought that on - she's heavily Christian and I seriously expected her to be single into her twenties when she decided to find the Perfect Man to marry. Not that I had anything against that decision but suddenly her having a boyfriend is... well, like Al having one. Coincidentally, she does too, now. But at least I got to hear about it when it happened.

    I guess what I'm saying is that even though I'm not the best at staying in touch and letting people know what's going on in my life, I'd still like a chance to discuss these kinds of changes every once in a while - before too much happens and we just have to stand there grinning awkwardly next time we meet, because we don't know each other any more. All it takes is one email, or letter, or (even though I hate the phone) a call, because I want to talk and will find the time, but not if you don't want to; and the less I hear from you the less it seems you want to hear from me.
    "Make new friends, but keep the old; One is silver and the other, gold." (Girl Scout Friendship Song)

    Thursday, January 05, 2006


    I feel like I should update this even though I don't have any idea what to say right now. Windows Media Player, despite being a Microsoft product (and therefore Bad), has some fun visualizations. I love the "strawberryaid" one. I may be easily amused, but you have to admit that watching color combinations like chartreuse and fuschia swirl and spike on the screen is pretty fun. Three cheers for another waste of time!

    Speaking of wastes of time... this is a fun one. There's also this geeky article about Google possibly expanding into hardware; interesting but just speculation at the moment.