Thursday, February 27, 2003

Spring Break in Jamaica... or Not

Spring break is almost upon me. All I have to do is make it through today and tomorrow and it will be here. Sounds like it’ll be an easy slide right into the break, but there is one big snag right now. Somehow today I have to try and get a paper written for my moral philosophy class. In most cases this wouldn’t be a problem because I’ll write on end if given the opportunity, but when I do write for hours, I have to be in the mood to write. For some reason I am feeling no real motivation to write anything. Even when I sat down at work this morning to start writing the thought for today I wasn’t really feeling it. Besides that paper, I’ll have an easy road to break. I only have a discussion in my ethics & law class today, a quick philosophy discussion group this afternoon and then class tomorrow reading our papers. My logic professor was nice enough to cancel tomorrow’s class so I don’t have to worry about that (thanks Tim).

Now I really don’t have too much planned for break, but there are definitely some things I want to get done while I have the free time. I’ll be staying up here the first weekend of break so hopefully in that time I can get my research paper close to completed. I’m writing my computer science thesis on applying philosophical theories on ethics to decisions made in the tech business sector. I’m mainly going to focus on the writings of Immanuel Kant, Aristotle, Peter Abelard, and St. Augustine. I’ve finished up the section on Peter Abelard already, along with my introduction and set-up. All I have left to finish are the other three sections and do a conclusion and run-down on my findings. It should be fun, right?

I also hope to get some reading done while I have the time. I plan on reading The Remains of the Day, which I have to have read for my morality class, and hopefully I can also get around to reading Goethe’s Faust. It’s been on my to-read list for a long time and I’d like to finally get around to it. I’m betting I don’t have enough time to finish both, though. Besides reading I’d also like to watch a bunch of the movies that I’ve accumulated recently. I’ve got about 30 or so that I haven’t watched yet so I’d like to get through at least a couple. The last thing I really want to do is go through my cd collection and weed out a bunch of the stuff I don’t listen to anymore so that I don’t have so freakin’ many cds around. Check out my cd list and you’ll see just how many I really have, many of which I don’t really care for anymore. I’m hoping to get a little money for them or trade them in to get some new discs or dvds at CD Warehouse here in St. Cloud.

Besides that I really don’t have too many plans for break. I’ll be back up in St. Cloud the last weekend of break as well since I have an ultimate frisbee tournament to play in. It’s our last indoor tourney so I really wanted to get in on it. I think we might be short people, though, since a lot of our players will be gone over break doing service trips or traveling. I also have to stop in at Kingland in Rochester sometime over break so I can get my computer all set up right to work with their web page. I’ve been hired to do work on their site from school here until summer. Considering I really don’t know how it all works together, especially since they use asp and flash besides just html, I want to sit down and get an overview of everything so that I won’t be too confused when I am actually working on the site here at school. Their site is definitely a lot more flashy and complicated in comparison to mine, but I kind of like keeping mine simple. It’s easier to work with that way.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

187 - It's a Big Number

Last night I had something completely new and odd happen to me. I had just gotten done with frisbee practice and lifting for the night so I bundled up for the trek back to my room. As I was leaving the building the lung-crunching cold hit me like a few thousand tons of really heavy bricks. After having the 40 degree days of last week, it is such a slam to have -10 degree days again. Now as I was walking…well, jogging back to my room, I blinked a few times only to notice that I had ice crystals formed on my eyelashes. Since I was all sweaty, I had small drops of salty liquid on my eyelashes that almost instantly froze in place once I got out the door. That is how unbelievably cold it was outside. In the four minutes that it took me to get home my eyes almost froze…wow, that’s Minnesota for you.

Since I brought up the topic of working out, there are some observations I’ve made while being at the weight room. Now I’m not a huge guy, but I do try to get to the weight room about three times a week and run the other days. Whenever I’m in the weight room, I notice how absolutely huge everyone is and it really frustrates me. How come I’m not that muscular and ripped? I want to be huge and intimidating like that.

Instead, I’m 5’10”, 187 lbs., and not nearly defined enough. Why do I have this constant overlay of flab on me that I just can’t seem to shake? Why can’t I get my benching max above 215 lbs? I’ve been lifting hard for four solid years now and there are freshmen in there that are just as ripped as me, or more so. Is it their diet? Do they push themselves even harder? Supplements? I guess I just don’t understand.

I always try to justify being smaller by saying that I’m a runner too, but then shouldn’t I be well-defined because I burn a lot more fat? Even though I run about 10 miles a week (which isn’t nearly enough in my book) I still have that nice spare tire around my waist. I look back to pictures of when I was in cross country and track in high school, when I was about 165 lbs and had a six-pack, and wonder how I can get back to that. The one thing I want to avoid in my life is becoming fat. I don’t want to imagine it.

I think if I am afraid of one thing, it’s what most of the people in the US have in bunches—fat. Now I know that a lot of people will call me vain, and so be it, but I really hate fat. I see way too many people, especially in my major of computer science, who just sit around all day and don’t even give a thought to getting any type of exercise. To them moving the mouse for six hours a day is a workout. I’m waiting for there to be a virtual workout program for all the computer nerds in our country. Delude them into thinking that they’re actually doing something besides sitting around and bloating.

Now if only I could drop about seven pounds or so of fat and manage to build another pound or two of muscle in the next couple of months, I would be a very happy camper. I’m also hoping that I won’t get too out of shape over spring break next week since I won’t have access to our weight room whenever I feel the urge to lift and it’ll still probably be too cold to run outside. Well, I’ll try, and if I do let myself go a little I’ll just have to bust ass a little harder when I get back…

Monday, February 24, 2003

The Sensation of Smell

Just about every morning that I wake up, when I’m not too lazy, I meander out of bed, put my coffee on, and hop in the shower to wake my sorry self up. I was following this routine this morning—got up, put the Columbian in the coffee maker, and then migrated to the bathroom for a shower. I got into the shower, leaving the water a little bit cold initially so that it would wake me up. There really is nothing like cold water on the body to jolt you into consciousness after a solid night’s sleep. As I was washing my hair with my Suave mellon-scented shampoo, I caught a whiff of scent that threw my memory into action. It is positively amazing how one small smell can trigger so much. It’s almost as if every scent is like a key that unlocks some small part of your memory and in this particular occasion, a part of my memory that hadn’t been unlocked in a long time was opened.

The smell of the shampoo sent me reeling back to senior year of high school, specifically track season. I was reminded of the days we had track practice in the beautiful, sunny, warm days of early spring. We’d have a long outdoor run, I’d do my triple jumping, do my sprint workout, hit the weight room, and then hit the showers. After practice, our team would hang out in the lunchroom of the school, often waiting for our rides home, or waiting to give people rides home. The smell of the shampoo was the smell that I always got in that lunchroom after practice because the girls would always make themselves smell so nice so that they wouldn’t betray the fact that they had just gotten all sweaty and grimy practicing. They didn’t want to smell because that was ungirly. Instead they’d wash up extra good so that they would smell like girl again. That smell was one that I lived for everyday. It was such a sweet and wonderful scent that I now always associate with the combination of spring, track, and girls.

It really is weird that this would be the memory that came to mind this morning as it has felt so much like spring this last week, especially with having some days where the temperatures would be in the 40’s, however today was a return to the winter grind as it was only -4 degrees out as I came to work this morning. I have this duality on my thoughts about spring. I always want it to get here, yet I don’t want it to be here. I love it because of the warm, sunny days, but I also hate it because I’ve also always associated spring with an ending. High school and college always ended during the spring, and that ending always scared me because I never wanted to move on. Right now I feel that same way. I’m here in my senior year of college and spring is upon us. I only have a little over two months of school left and then I will be so close to ending another chapter in my life. I know that as one chapter ends, another will start, but I’m always afraid that the next chapter may not live up what has been laid down in the past, and there’s also always the possibility that it might be the last chapter. I hate thinking about the future because endings are always in the future. When you’re in the now, everything is in the process of happening and I don’t have any worries. I like the here and now, the future is a scary and undetermined place……

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Stella Maris Ball

Last night I went to the Stella Maris ball here at SJU (I’ll get pictures up soon, don’t worry). It was a formal dinner and ball. Kristin and I got all nice and gussied up for it. We were both pretty hot (I know you can’t wait for the pics…) and had a wonderful time. The dinner was lasagna, some potato dish, bread sticks, veggies, and some sparkling cider. It was yummy and I definitely got my fill of breadsticks and lasagna. I had a nice time dining, relaxing, and talking with some friends. I saw a lot of people I knew there and it was great having a chance to catch up.

The dance was a blast for the most part. They had cha cha lessons at the beginning which was ok, I guess, but I really didn’t think it was that essential to the night. The rest of the dance was great. Since neither Kristin or I know a whole lot of ballroom (well, I know some, but it’s a lot more fun to just make stuff up and goof around), we just messed around and I swear most of the people there must have thought me to be a sixth grader at their first dance because I was all squirrelly and hyper. We had a great time and it’s always nice to get dressed up occasionally. I don’t do it often so this is one of the few chances Kristin got to see me dressed to the hilt.

As much fun as we had at the ball, and as much as I’d like to keep writing, I have a lot of homework to get done today so I’ll get you all back up to speed in the next couple of days. I’ll hopefully get back on a regular writing schedule again!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Music News

As I was checking my regular news sites this morning, it came to my attention that Marcos of POD is no longer in the band. I came across the update at theprp.com and decided to look into it further, and as I did it looks like this is one sticky situation. Marcos had been doing a lot of side projects with many secular artists and apparently Sonny and the other members of the band were not happy with this. Being unhappy, the sent out an email stating that Marcos had left the band when, in fact, they were firing him. After finding out that he was no longer a part of the band, and seeing that he had been replaced by the former guitarist of Living Sacrifice, he told MTV a lot about the band that most people don’t know.

What he said didn’t really surprise me, but it was nice to actually hear it said by a member of the band. To most POD has a very goody-two-shoes image, and rightly so because of their heavy Christian beliefs, but they aren’t perfect—they’re human beings like you and I. Being humans, Marcos told of the extreme partying by the band back stage and the leading of a regular rock star lifestyle. He also alluded to POD putting up the spiritual fa├žade merely to set themselves apart from the crowd and grab the Christian metal market. Hearing about all the turmoil and drama in the band has left me feeling a little distraught since POD has been one of my favorite bands of the last few years (I’ve been listening to them since their indie/hardcore days of “Snuff the Punk” and “Brown”). I will still probably listen to them in the future and support them, but it’s too bad to see such a great talent in Marcos just thrown from the band. If anything, I have gained respect for Marcos for being honest and true and doing what his heart is telling him to do by starting up a band with some fellow friends from Sprung Monkey. I wonder how having a former death metal guitarist onboard is going to affect POD’s new music.

Since I’m on the topic of music, I’m going to keep going. Yesterday Jared found the new Limp Bizkit single online and sent it my way to give a listen. When Wes Borland left Bizkit, I thought for sure they would not ever be the same, and they obviously aren’t. When I heard that Fred Durst would be playing some of the guitar on the new album I was really skeptical and I thought Bizkit would be done and down the crapper. After listening to “Drop Dead” I am still going to say that they will never be the band they were on “3 Dollar Bill, Y’All”, but it is a lot better than I thought it would be. The song has a nice crunch to it with some decent rapping by Fred, but it’s still way to commercial for me. If the rest of the album is like this, I might just give it a spin or two, but my money is on them screwing up the rest of the tracks by trying to recapture the nu-metal market. Let’s wait and see if they fall on their face or not. Personally, I’d love to see Durst take a fall, a big one, but that’s just me.

Something else interesting happened yesterday that almost made up for the whole waste of my time at the job fair. I got a call from Pat at Kingland about a job for the rest of the school year and about interning again with them in the summer. I’m going to be doing upkeep on their website from here at school during the rest of the year. The only trouble with this is that I’m going to have to really brush up my html and learn asp and flash. I have never touched either of those things so I’m going in without any experience. I might just have to go pick up a book or two on them to try and learn how to use them. The other thing is that to be able to test the pages I’m going to have to have a webserver running on my computer and I don’t think I have it set up right to do it so I’ll have to try and figure that out as well. Windows 2000 had a webserver built in to the OS, but I’m running XP and I don’t know if they kept a webserver built in or not. I’ll probably go digging around later today between classes and see if I can’t figure it out. I’m really starting to find computers as more and more of a nuisance than a blessing. So anyone out there who has worked with flash or asp or knows how to set up a webserver that will run asp pages, please email me or contact me because I’d love the help.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

You Need Experience... Apply Online!

Monday night and all day Tuesday there was a job fair for all of Minnesota’s private college students. I, of course, was in attendance because I was urged to go by our career resources center here on campus. I can now say, that after attending, there was not a whole lot of value that I got out of the conference that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere on my own. The $20 entry fee, $8 for parking, all of our gas money, the money for food, and the amount of time we spent in the cities was definitely not worth it. For some people it may have been very beneficial, but for me it was not.
There were definitely many factors that led to the lack of productivity for the two days, and one of those factors was definitely my December 2003 graduation date.

Almost all of the companies there were looking for people that would be working for them starting in the summer whereas I would be looking to get a job with them nine months down the road. Almost every company I talked to told me to contact them later when I was closer to graduation. If I knew that they wouldn’t want people that were not graduating later than May of this year, I wouldn’t have bothered with this trip.
The other factor that led to this being an uneventful trip was the fact that almost all of the companies I talked to about IT jobs told me to apply online. They were not doing many on the spot interviews because they wanted everyone to apply through their website so that they could keep track of everything easier. Why have a job fair when you are only going to tell people to apply online anyhow? The other thing is that most companies that were looking for IT people were also looking for those people to have 3-4 years of experience or more. If you want experienced people why are they looking to college kids? I don’t understand the logic behind their presence at the fair when they want experienced people.

Another thing is that whenever I talked to a company and told them that I was double majoring in both computer science and philosophy they instantly assumed I wanted an IT job, when, in fact, many of the companies I visited I did because I wanted to look for jobs outside of the IT realm. The only company that really tapped me into something that might fuel my writing urges was Federated. One of the representatives there said that I might be interested in underwriting, which is a type of assessing of insurance claims. If you’ve ever seen Fight Club, underwriting is what Ed Norton’s character is doing at the beginning of the movie. This sounded like an interesting job to do so I asked him to keep me updated. One other company that interested me was American Express Financial. Being a financial advisor seemed to be interesting, but again the representative told me to keep in touch and contact him closer to my graduation date.

There were a couple of small things that were good that came out of the fair, but not enough to make it worthwhile. I did get to see one of my good friends from last year who had graduated. Sara was there representing LSS, a medtech company from the cities. It was great to see her again. Hopefully she can help put in a good word or two for me at LSS because I would be interested in working for them down the line as Sara works there and so do two of my other good friends. The other thing that was actually of some good was getting the couple of connections that I did. They may not lead me to a job, but at least they’ll help in getting me contacts as I need them down the road.

Anyhow, that was my trip for the most part. I would much rather have been back up here at college since both of my classes on Tuesday were canceled so I would have had the entire day to just hang out and take it easy. Oh well, what’s in the past is in the past. I’ll just have to look to tomorrow and hope it’ll turn out better.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Post Valentine's Day Rundown

Valentine’s Day has now come and gone. I bet you’re wondering how it was, huh? You think I should just give in and tell you everything about such a special day? You sure are expecting a lot……but, ok, I’ll let you in on it, but you have to promise not to tell anyone, cool? Sweet. Oh, and before you read on, I'll be gone at a job fair in Minneapolis until Wednesday night so there won't be any updates until then. Sorry :-(

Well, Kristin and I really didn’t have anything big planned for V-day; we just wanted to hang out with each other and have a fun time so we just went with the flow instead of working on a huge plan. We started off by hanging out at her place for a bit after classes just watching the Simpsons. That’s definitely one thing we can both enjoy together. During the Simpsons, I broke out a couple little gifts I had gotten for her. I didn’t really know what to do for V-day and I didn’t want to buy into the whole Hallmark/Hershey’s thing so I did something a little different. I put together three albums of piano music by Tori Amos for Kristin to play since she loves piano. I thought she might like a little new music to try out. I also made some compilation cds of all the songs in the books so she could listen to them too. I also got her two picture frames. The first was a collage frame with some pictures of us in it and the second was my picture in a dog frame (inside joke). Kristin really made my day, however, with the couple of things she got for me. First, she made a mobile of kissing origami fish which is just cute as a button. I am always amazed by origami since I could never do it well…or at all for that matter. She also got me Mallrats on dvd to complete my Kevin Smith collection. That was so awesome—anyone who gives a Kevin Smith movie as a gift on a romantic holiday is just plain sweet!

We then went to eat at the caf at St. Ben’s. They were having steak and shrimp for V-day so we definitely wanted to take advantage of that. It was pretty good for being cafeteria style food. I think I ate way too much because I had a huge pouch sticking out of my stomach……well, more-so than usual. After eating we took a little trip into St. Cloud for a piano and cello recital. The music was spectacular and it reawakened my love of classical music. We both truly enjoyed ourselves.

For the rest of the night we came back to my place and hung out with Andy, Amanda, Karl, and his friend Jeff. We watched some tv and lounged around before heading back to her place for the night. Jeff was going to be staying in my bed for the weekend so I just stayed over at Kristin’s so that I didn’t have to sleep on the couch. All in all, it was a nice V-day and I had a really fun time. Well, there you go, my Valentine’s Day in four paragraphs! I hope all of you had just as fun of a day.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Pre-Valentine's Day Rant -- Sorry

Tomorrow just happens to be February 14th, so I should probably just get my Valentine’s Day thoughts out there right now. It is interesting in that I never really know what I actually think of this day. There are so many contrary thoughts that come to mind when people ask me, “What do you think of Valentine’s Day?” Oddly enough, what I think is usually dependant upon my relationship status. Ask me while I’m single what I think about Valentine’s Day and you would no doubt get an answer something like the following:

Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a manufactured holiday made up by Hershey’s and Hallmark to cash in on the love that couples share. Valentine’s Day was not started on the premise that you were supposed to do something for a significant other—it was merely a day to show that you care about the people around you. Hershey’s and Hallmark (and related companies) figured that they could use this to make a lot of money. In order to do that, they slowly introduced into society a stigma that if you didn’t do something special for your significant other or buy them something nice, you were not a normal person on that day and that you don’t love your significant other.

Buying gifts has now become a social construct that has been built into our society for no other reason than candy, flower, and card company’s greed. By doing this, they not only introduce unwanted and unneeded pressures to most American males, but they make it a gradual increasing of expectations from year to year. If you really love someone, that love should grow the longer you are together, and the longer that you are together the more you should outdo the year’s previous Valentine’s Day events and gifts. Why would you do that? To show that you love that person more. You have to keep buying more and more to live up to the growing expectations. If you buy your girlfriend or wife a dozen roses and take her to an elegant restaurant one year, the next you won’t be able to get away with buying her one carnation and taking her to Taco Bell. No, you’ve built up the expectations. You need to buy more. Spend more money.

Besides putting pressure on males in couples, this day creates a sense of alienation. Everyone not in a relationship or going on a date seems to be ostracized by all of the “normal” people who are part of a couple. This is only breeding feelings of inadequacy and making people question their viability as a mate to the other sex. This day does more than steal money from the wallets of American males; it steals confidence and self-esteem from those not conforming to the social norm.

Now that’s what I’d say if I was single, but right now I’m not, so how do I view Valentine’s Day? I’m definitely not anti-V-day, but I can never bring myself to be completely pro-V-day. I will never buy into what all the big companies tell me to buy and do—I prefer to try and be unique and make something or do something different than what everyone else will be doing. For instances this year I……oh wait, Kristin could read this……I better tell you later what I have in mind later, and then I’ll be able to tell you how it goes too.

I haven’t really responded to the question of what I think of valentine’s day, however, so I suppose I should do that so I don’t get an inbox full of questioning emails……never mind, that would be wishful thinking. Getting emails…HA! The only emails I get lately are the mass ones our school sends out. Anyways, I’m dodging the question. Valentine’s day can be a special day to do something with someone you love and I appreciate that it is built into the mind’s of Americans that even if you do show your significant other that you love him/her every other day of the year, this is one occasion where you can be all gushy, mushy, lovey-dovey, and sappy with the approval of everyone (well, almost everyone) around you. Because of that I don’t mind it. There, how’s that for an answer? Maybe I’ll feel different about it this weekend after the fact, but you’ll have to wait until then to see, now won’t you?

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

A Decade of Excess

A very interesting thing happened to me a couple of days ago while I was at brunch with Kristin that I had completely forgotten about until I was at Cold Stone Ice Cream yesterday. You see, at Cold Stone, in the background they were playing some old 80’s music that Kristin loved, but that I found somewhat aggravating. It’s not to say that I hate music from the 80’s because there is some that I can tolerate, but as a whole almost all of the music that came out of that decade was extremely shallow and lacked real musicianship. Anyways, I’ll get to talking about that later. Here is the scenario:

Kristin and I were sitting eating at the reef Sunday morning and I was wearing a new t-shirt that I had picked up at Hot Topic the day before. I thought it was clever and it was also only like $7 or so. It was black and on it was written the quote “still living in the eighties.” I won’t actually spend money on an article of clothing, especially a t-shirt unless I have some type of personal investment upon what is written on it. That is one of the main reasons I won’t buy Abercrombie or AE or Nike or any of those brands because then I am nothing more than a walking billboard for their store. I don’t want to pay to promote them, no way. The only thing I’ll promote in t-shirt form are bands that I like so that is why most of my clothes either have nothing on them or whatever is written or drawn on them, I like for a particular reason.

As we are eating, I was approached by a woman professor who nicely asked me what it meant to still be living in the eighties. My first reaction was simply amazement for the fact that someone was actually looking for me to justify what I was wearing. This, of course, thrilled me to no end. The is the first time in a long time that I had been asked about my clothing (besides the usual comment like “why the hell are you wearing that?” or “that doesn’t match”). How was I going to answer? I was on the spot and I didn’t want to sound stupid, yet I wanted to give my actual justification for wearing what I was. Ooooh, I was savoring the moment.

I kindly thanked her for asking and then explained that I was born and spent my childhood living in the 80’s. Since I never want to grow up and stay a child for the entirety of my life, I found it appropriate to say that I was still living in the 80’s as that is when I was a child, age-wise, because I am still as mature as an eight year old at times. She seemed satisfied by the answer and went on her merry way. Usually I wouldn’t remember little encounters such as that, but for some reason it stuck with me.

What does it really mean, though, that I’m still living in the 80’s? Do we actually remember what the 80’s were like? When I sat down and thought about it, they weren’t that great. First, getting back to what I said in the opening paragraph, the music was terrible. It was all cheesy pop music or hair metal. Sure, I used to be a Def Leppard fan, but I was also eight and didn’t really have a cultivated musical ear. I just listened to what the popular kids did so that I could possibly be one of them (it never quite worked out, unfortunately). Every time that I listen to an 80’s song now I am sorely reminded of how bad all of it was. I’m sure that everyone could criticize what I listen to now because my tastes lean towards punk, nu-metal, hardcore, and emo, but these genres show true musicianship. Everyone writes their own music and expresses true emotion, for the most part. I also like to think that I’ve acquired an ear for good music as well since my cd collection now numbers in the 1500’s. Excessive, I know, but that’s how much I love music. Compare anything from the 80’s to a modern Dredg, Finch, Mudvayne, or Embodyment cd. There is no comparison. I’m sorry, but I will always be biased against most music that came out before 1995.

Think about what we would also be wearing if we were still in the 80’s. Blech, I couldn’t imagine having to dress like that again (outside of the occasional costume party or rave). Big hair, denim everything, bright colors, and too much makeup. Watch an episode of any 80’s tv show (especially Three’s Company) and you will see how horrible the fashion sense of the populace was during that decade. I think I’d like to stick to my wardrobe that I have now from the late 90’s and 00’s.

There are so many other negatives about that decade that I could bring up, like the Cold War, useless products, crappy movies, and much more, but there is one good thing from the 80’s that I wish was still around—the cartoons. Oh my gosh, this was the golden age for American cartoons. Transformers, G.I.Joe, He-Man, Dungeons & Dragons, and so many other quality cartoons came out of this wonderful decade. The Cartoon Network is trying to reinvent some of them and bring them back (Transformers and He-Man in particular), but they’ve failed horribly in capturing the essence of the originals. I would savor every Saturday morning and I still long for the quality of cartoons from that time. Today’s cartoons just don’t do anything for me. There is the occasional anime that I enjoy, but other than that the only cartoon I regularly watch now is the Simpsons.

So, after thinking about it, would I still want to be living in the 80’s? Probably not, but I definitely would like to be a kid all over again. There is no denying that, so maybe I should just get a t-shirt that says “still living in diapers.” Yeah, that’d be great.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Siphoning Creativity

First, a quick update on my weekend. Friday was a pretty laid back day as I just went to work, went to class, and slept most of the day. That night I went to see The Ring with Theresa since she had never seen it (or even heard of it, for that matter, since she’s been in Ireland all last semester). It scared the crap out of her which was good to know. The rest of the night I pretty much just chilled at Kristin’s place.

Saturday was a pretty fun day. I spent almost the entire day shopping with Yen. That girl is one shop-o-holic and I was charged with the role of mommy for the day because she didn’t want to spend any money but has a hard time holding herself back. I managed to keep her in check most of the day. I, on the other hand, bought altogether too much stuff. I got a couple new cds, the most interesting being the new disc by My Chemical Romance. They’re very unique in that they are like pop-punk gone hardcore. I really enjoyed their disc and looked forward to seeing them with Finch and The Used next week, but the show was unfortunately sold out. Booooo. I also got myself some new clothes at Hot Topic and some other random odds and ends. The rest of the night was spent playing Tekken 4 and watching tv with Nikki and Karl and Kristin.

Sunday I basically lounged around all morning and did a little homework in the afternoon before napping. Later I cooked some pork chops up, since I’ve wanted some good meat to eat for a while now, and then went to volleyball where we won quite easily. It sometimes gets annoying playing crappy teams where if you just return the ball to their side then they’re screwed. Eh.

Sunday night I also came to a very profound conclusion about myself as of late. I seem to have lost all my creative energy. I haven’t written any poetry in a long time, and I usually write all the time, even if most of it never sees the poems page of my site. I have also been a lot more lackluster in my random thought entries and not doing it as often, and when I do do it, it seems like I’m only recounting events instead of writing about how I feel and bigger issues. My conversations with most people lately also seem to have lost their depth and instead are filled with recounting events and telling stories. Also now when confronted with Valentine’s Day, I don’t feel very creative in what I’m doing. I know I probably could do something way better, but I seem to have lost that creative drive, but hopefully only for the moment. Maybe I’m just in a slump.

In noticing that I seem less creative, I have also found out that I have taken on a very observational attitude as of late. In place of my stifling creativity I have focused so much more energy on observation. My love of movies and listening to music has been heightened. I take stock of events around me and with more clarity than I usually would. I want to read more than I want to write, and what I have read I’ve taken to heart more than I usually would. I wonder why, right now, that I am leaning more in an observatory direction than creative? Maybe I’m just stressed out or have less time right now. I really don’t know, but I do know it is definitely frustrating to have to force myself to be creative instead of it flowing naturally.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Absolute Zero

Remember in science class when they were teaching you about molecule movement, heat, and how molecule movement caused heat? The faster the molecules are moving around, the warmer that substance is? Ok, if you don’t remember then there’s just one thing I need to reiterate to you that you might have forgotten from your classes, and that is: there is a point—absolute zero—where molecules cease to move because it is so cold. If you want to know what absolute zero feels like, I’ll tell you. It felt like today. When I woke up and checked weather.com I was stunned to see the stats: -18 degrees and -31 wind chill. Eighteen degrees below zero as a temperature before the wind chill is factored in! I contemplated just staying home and sleeping, but I figured I should get up and go to work so I braved the cold out of a sense of duty. Sometimes I’m just stupid like that.

So I walk outside after putting on more than a few layers of clothing. As soon as I hit the air, I can feel my face go numb. As I trudged over to the prep school, more and more of my face went numb. It started with my lips, then moved to my nose, then cheeks, then my neck, then my eyeballs froze, and lastly my fingers that were inside of my gloves got that numb sensation. I figured my entire face was blue when I walked in the door.

I wonder how anything can survive in this bitter cold. As I came home last night I saw two cats out and about on campus and I was amazed that they were out. How could they stand the freezing cold? Shouldn’t they have been kitty-cicles by now? If either of them would have been friendly and came up to me, I would have taken them inside our apartment for a little while so they wouldn’t have to fight the cold so much, and I’d probably give them some nice warm water too since they’re probably eating snow because I know there sure isn’t any unfrozen water outside with these extreme temperatures.

Well, moving on from talking about the cold, I also found out something really cool yesterday. You want to know what it is? You do, don’t you? Ok, well here it is—The Juliana Theory will be back in the cities to play in March with Further Seems Forever and The Ataris. YAY!!! I am so looking forward to it and will probably be getting tickets for it soon. Three totally unbelievable bands. This should make for a great show. I’m also happy to say I’ll be going to see Finch and The Used in a week and a half. Since we’re also talking about music, my undying love for Tori Amos has resurfaced lately. Her piano playing combined with her wonderful voice just make me melt every time I listen to her.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

We Finally Got Snow

Well, we have snow now—at least a good six inches! It came down Sunday night and made the roads horribly yucky to drive on and many schools cancelled school Monday morning. Since we were getting all this wonderful snow, Nikki, Kristin Hunter, Chen, and I went out to play in it. We took some cute pictures that I’ll get up shortly. We had an absolutely wonderful time playing snow disc, soccer, other random snow games, and building a snow turtle (the snow wasn’t packable enough for a snowman). We definitely took advantage of finally getting snow after our long, dry spell this winter.

After we played in the snow, we came in to hang out, watch movies, and have some hot chocolate. We were banking on school being cancelled the next day so we stayed up WAY to late (about 5 am if you’re wondering). We watched Minority Report and Karl & Jeff played a lot of Tekken 4. It felt a lot like a big slumber party, especially since the girls were staying over since they missed the last bus (the buses quit running early so a lot of girls were stuck over at SJU for the night). Unfortunately, we still had school the next day, although I missed my one class as I slept right through it. I guess that’s what I get for staying up so late.

Our volleyball team has been doing good. We won our games on Tuesday and Sunday, but we lost our game on Monday. I’m pretty sure the reason we lost on Monday was because we only had three members of our team show up so we had to grab some random people to come play with us. The chemistry wasn’t there so we couldn’t pull it off in the long run, although it still came down to the third game with us losing that one 18-16. I was having a real off night as well on Monday, so I’m sure that contributed to it. Before our game I found out that one of our fellow volleyball players thought I was just a talker and had no talent. This really affected me as I was constantly second-guessing everything I did wondering if I could do it better. I guess if you’re playing us and you want me to suck, you can just get in my head by telling me that I suck.

On a side related note, Rotten Tomatoes released their best of 2002 movie list this week. I was looking it over and of all 341 movies released in 2002, I’ve only seen 36 of them. That a paltry 10.5%. I thought that part of the reason that might be is that I usually wait for a lot of movies to come out on dvd before I watch them, so I wanted to check my theory. I looked back at both the 2001 and 2000 lists from Rotten Tomatoes as well and in 2001, of the 279 movies released, I’ve seen 42 which is a solid 15%. In 2000, of the 170 movies released, I saw 43 of them for a whopping 25%. By this, I’ve come to the conclusion that it takes a year or two until I start to see most of the movies out in a year, so basically I’m about 2 or 3 years behind the times when it comes to movies. Just thought that would be an interesting little nugget of information for you.

Well, I would expound a lot longer on more random junk, but I have my law test to study for so I have to leave this short. Hopefully I can remember all of the law terms we need to know……if not, I guess I’m just screwed. Oh, and if you are curious, the logic test I had last week I got a 98 on. Not too shabby in my book.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Juliana Theory and Krispy Kreme

Simply unbelievable. That’s all I have to say about last night’s show. It was one of the best concerts that I have been to in quite a long while. I went to see The Juliana Theory and Something Corporate at the Quest in the cities and boy was it quite the night. The doors for the show opened at 4:30 in the afternoon so Kristin and I decided to take off at about 3:15 so we’d get there right about as the doors were opening. It worked out perfectly and we got there just a little before 4:30. That’s when we noticed the line…

As we were driving in we saw a line of people stretching around an entire block of downtown and as we got closer, I realized it was the line to get into the Quest. I was about ready to crap my pants because I didn’t want to wait outside forever to get in and be one of the people in the back of the crowd in the club, but it looked like that was going to be the way it would have to be. As we were walking to go down and get in line we decided to instead wait in one of the skyways of the parking lot we were in and scan the line for people we knew as they were going into the club. Lucky for us, I caught sight of Nicole and her friends who had been line for quite some time. We hopped in with them and got into the club before most people. As we got in there Nicole went with her girls to the upper level to watch while Kristin and I slugged our way forward until we were smack dab in the middle of the crowd down on the floor.

The first band that was playing was Vendetta Red. They would be a good band if the lead singer would only sing more and scream like a little girl less. Don’t get me wrong, I love scream-core bands, but this guy just had a banshee, 80’s hair metal style wail that I couldn’t stand. The parts that he sang were beautiful, but I couldn’t take all of the senseless screams.

The second band was Red West. I really enjoyed their set. The vocalist had an amazing voice and he could hold his notes perfectly for quite some time. It was very impressive and I picked up their cd before I left and said hi to them as they signed the disc. Listening to their disc I really appreciate their music. I would recommend this band to anyone who loves emo music as much as I do.

Next up was Something Corporate, the band that I’m sure most of the people were there to see. I had seen them at Warped Tour over the summer, but they only got to play about 25 minutes there so they just ripped through their better known songs for the crowd. Here they were given the opportunity to play for a little over an hour. I was very impressed by their musicianship. They dedicated the song “Astronaut” to the lost crew members of the Columbia. It was a very tender moment. They actually had a lot more tender moments during their set than they had rocking ones. They got the crowd moving on more that one occasion, but the majority of their set was filled with beautiful, yet melancholy, songs such as “Astronaut”, “Cavenaugh Park”, and “Constaintine” to name a few. I loved the piano based songs so much and I had such a blast listening, watching, and singing along to one of my favorite bands of the last year.

After Something Corporate had finished their set about half of the crowd left. I don’t know why because The Juliana Theory played one of the best live sets that I have seen in the last year or two. I have been fans of these guys since their fist record, Understand This is a Dream, and finally being able to see these guys play live was such a treat for me. Their set consisted of a lot of material from Emotion is Dead and a song or two from both Understand This is a Dream and their new disc, Love, which by the way, is simply amazing. My favorite part of their performance was their 10 minute plus rendition of “You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight”. This is by far my favorite song of theirs and having them perform it in its entirety was amazing. The other song I really enjoyed was “Trance” off of Love. I can’t talk these guys up and applaud their live show enough. Mmmm……musical bliss.

After the show we topped off the night by stopping at Krispy Kreme to get some donuts. I had never eaten there and I can now say that I will never go back to eating regular donuts again. The Krispy Kreme donuts are simply 110% better than any donut you have ever eaten. I am now going to make it a mission to stop there every time I go through the cities.

Man, I couldn’t think of a better day than yesterday and I am still reveling in the emotional aftermath of the concert-going experience and the donut-eating extravaganza. Ah, life is good……