Friday, September 29, 2006

From the WoW Forums

it was a bit of a threadjack, but...

"Pardon me, OP, for threadjacking your post. But ::playername::, if you don't want your mother to know you've been staying up until 4 in the morning, don't post on the forums of the server she plays on.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

on autumn

So now that the calendar says I'm allowed to talk about fall (being odd to do so in the middle of Summer), I think I will. Just because it's been on my mind a bit, especially since it smacks me in the face most mornings as I walk to class. Not so much the "season" of fall - I mean, ok, every year there's this thing between summer and winter when everything stores up and prepares to survive. This happens a lot more dramatically in places where there is actually a real winter. Here in TX there are still four seasons (or maybe two?) If you go with the four seasons idea we have Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Christmas. The two seasons argument is that it's either Damn Hot, or Not So Damn Hot.

But I digress. Even in this warm place, where late September highs of 95 are not unheard of, it is still unquestionably autumn. Yesterday as I was walking back from class I stopped to watch a squirrel. Actually several of them (campus is a bit overrun). Though they are scrawny little red squirrels, and not furry grey ones like I grew up with in NJ, they still know. They still scutter about, digging things up to bury pecans and acorns. These also have a penchant for dropping pecans on your head as you walk under the trees. But they're still getting themselves ready.

The sun is different too. It's softer, even in the heat of the day, and more yellow/golden. Mornings are crisp and bright still, but the air is stronger and refreshing at 7:45 when I'm walking to class. Late afternoon cools off sooner, and the autumn light on the trees (even if they're still green) is quite a sight. Walking has seen a huge change too. Most of the 200+ miles that I've walked since April 1 have been outside in the summer - and now, I find myself not needing the two quart jug of water just to get through a 2.25 mile (or 4.5 mile if I feel like doing two laps) excursion. It reminds me also of marching in High School with the band - the friendships and fun (and sweat and hard work) that really started to congeal into a presentable and enjoyable show around this time.

I have been a student for almost as much of my life as I can remember. Though I have memories that run me back from when I was two and my brother wasn't around yet, those are more sporadic. Starting school, though, was a big enough change that I remember vaguely doing so. And I have continued to do so - every fall, beginning anew with books and binders, loose leaf notebook paper and a new package of pens. For me, even in the fading fall light, there is a sense of optimism, of freshness. Settling down to study something with the window open, watching the light change. It's a sort of renewal - a cleaning out of old things, broken pens and clutter to settle into studying again. I find myself more restless to clean now too. The world gets ready for winter, and I suppose, in my own way, so do I.

This is my last semester as an undergraduate student. Come January, I will leave behind that life for a little while, as I get other parts of my life situated, and begin the search for graduate school. But still, even as much as I'm ready to be done, ready to get on with things - I will be sad. The 5 year old in me will have to reconcile the fact that next fall there will be no new pile of textbooks, no new binders and pens. No homework done in fading evening light with the windows open.

Maybe I should take some classes at the local college...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Warning: Rant ahead!

Ok - so I really like my Tudor/Stuart history class. Gossip, intrigue, killing - what's not to like!? The professor is a riot - very very very energetic young Englishman - and the class is mostly fun except for the two nitwits who insist on making intellectual comments about EVERYTHING the professor says. But that's another rant :D

Anywho - this professor has a penchant for mentioning that this is an "upper division" class so we should be prepared to do work. (Duh?) But he then sets up our research paper... so that every two weeks we have to turn in a step. Turn in a prospectus. Turn in a book bibliography. Turn in an online/journal bibliography. Turn in a complete and annotated bibliography. Turn in an outline (with intro and conclusion). Turn in rough draft (optional). AND THEN turn in the farking paper.

Which is great but... I don't write papers that way. I do'nt do an "outline" - I do a "quote line" where I type in all the quotes I'm going to use and document them, and then organize them and see if I have enough support in all areas of the paper... and then I formulate my thesis based on the documents and the quotes. This does not lend well to a mid-work "outline" printing. Also - if we're such good upper dividsion, hard working students... don't you think we already know how to write a research paper? geesh.

part #2 - if you have assignments due, postponing them is OK... but do not do it in class on the day something was due. Case in point - we had about 150 pages of a (ather difficult) book to read. I spent a good part of the weekend doing this, and didn't get my "research paper task" completed. So I show up on tuesday, having posted my discussion questions on the difficult book, and without my paper task... and he postpones the reading assignment for a week. A WEEK. So now my paper task is late, because I stayed up busting my ass to get the reading done.

and yes, I did tell him why it was late, and yes, he let me turn it in on Thursday, but still. postponing an assignment is FINE. a few extra days is a good thing. but please at least email us the night before so we know and don't stay up late getting something huge finished.

ok /rant off

Something to think about... (credit Liz Marcs)

Found it on another website. Read it. I'm not sure what to think about the situation, as I honestly know next to nothing about it, but I know that this is a good read, and has a good point (regardless of whether you agree with some of her own opinions).

And really... it's a darn good story too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In which I do something incredibly stupid...

So... as sheepish as I am to admit this...

Last week I had a bank transfer go through that I'd forgotten about. This part is fine.

The fact that I then went to the grocery store to pick up odds and ends, and bought a sandwich at subway is the not fine part.

So I overdrew my bank account by $12 for those two transactions. No big deal... except that immediately after, Blizzard charged me for my three month payment, AND the bank socked me with $35 for each of the overdraws... so things have snowballed.

Blizzard got the bounce and cancelled my account (pending reactivation with a new credit card) - which i can't reopen until the deposits I made today post to the account. Which fortunately, was this morning sometime.

((normally I don't forget things like this. ))

And yes - i realize I"m not the first (or last) person to overdraw a checking account. But it's the first (and last!!! dammit!) time I've ever done it. no more of this! I call shennanigans!

P.S.: posting to Live Journal today... I'm editing my Captain's Log - YARR!!!
Today is international talk like a pirate day! and

P.P.S.: Yesterday, in the history of LotR - Frodo and the gang ran into Bombadil. I would have worn a blue hat, if I had one.

Monday, September 18, 2006

End of the bathroom saga, and more!

So... they did fix the ceiling. And they did come and re-sheetrock it the next day. And they even sent in the housekeeping team and lemony-freshed the place so it didn't reek of mildew and sheetrock and have smears of plaster all over. Yay! I can use my loo again!! ((can't get in the mailbox because the key is busted, but eh... one thing at a time!))

Of course... I was on antibiotics during that time for the cough I'd had for three weeks or so. And I started getting REALLY sick about the time they were done. So after 5 days of eating practically nothing, and almost constant GI pain... I went to the hospital. The antibiotics caused a toxic bacterial bloom in my GI system. So I'm on MORE antibiotics, and anti-spasmodics, and just generally sick of taking medicine. I think I've lost a few pounds, seeing as I went nearly a whole week without being able to eat anything (and not processing anything that I did eat), but heck - not my idea of a good diet. bleh!

In better news... I've been walking to class, and doing T'ai Chi - and the Miles to Rivendell are adding up! I broke 200 miles! I'm not actively walking "for exercise" but I get in about 2.5 miles every Tuesday and Thursday (an hour and a half of T'ai Chi, plus about a mile and a half - at least - of walking to and from class across campus) - and it's adding up! I need to start busting my butt and really walking again, though. The 'bear trail' (2.25 mile walking/jogging trail around campus) is right outside my apartment - time to start doing two laps on Monday and Wednesday!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The bathroom saga continues...

So I went back to Houston this weekend, having been told that the leak was fixed, and not seeing any immediate leaking. This was fun. I saw my first pink barn (by pink I mean the precise colour of PeptoBismol. I'm not sure what drove the people to do this. if I were the neighbor, I'm not sure if I'd be pissed or just use it as a landmark - you know "yeah, we're the next left after the giant pink barn"), enjoyed spending time with K, the usual.

When I got back today, my bathroom floor was covered with water, the rugs (both) were soaked, the toilet seat cover was dripping wet, the shower curtain was wet... basically said leak was back. I called - they said "they'd try to have someone out today" - this was at about 1:30. I cancelled my piano lesson and cleaned up the bathroom, which had been covered in water and little bits of brown/black silty debris from the ceiling. Fortunately it's a clean water leak, and not a sewer water leak.

Maintenance showed up around 3:00 with two sheetrock knives and an extra bucket and a flashlight. I pulled everything out of the bathroom, and they cut a hole about 36'' by 24'' in my ceiling...

... only to discover an old air duct, surrounded by insulation, from the long gone days when this apartment had central air/heating. All of the insulation, as well as all the ceiling sheetrock, is soaked. I'm still able to take a shower and whatever, but the bathroom is a disgusting mess. They "cleaned" - which meant picking up the big stuff, but I still cannot use the commode without holding a bucket over my head to catch the dripping. The shopvac also filled my apartment with funny smelling dust - I'm hoping this settles and is not permanent. The dripping will not, apparently, change until they come back tomorrow to cut out all the old air duct, strip out the rest of the rotting sheet rock, and fix the leak.

No idea on when the painters will be back to fix the ceiling either - so I"m going to have a hole for awhile, would be my guess.

Also - the Defenders were absorbed into Lunari Meridia this weekend. (guilds in WoW) I am still not sure what to think, even though I knew this was coming. All in all, it's been very emotional (not made any better by the damn antibiotics that have been screwing with my mood - thankfully I'm done with them today).
...trying carefully to tread the fine line between "determined" and "stupid"...