Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Talk About Suckage

So last night they were having a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” competition at O’Connell’s on the CSB campus. Jeff was going to be in it so he told me I should go watch. It sounded like a good idea at the time. I could watch Jeff win some money or prizes or some crap. Cool, I’d be there. I even managed to tow Kristin along to watch.

We get there and sign up our names for a drawing (well, actually I signed both of our names up). We saw Jeff there and about 10 other people. It turns out that all the people there, except for like 3 were the contestants for the competition. The show then got started at like 8 pm and there were still no more than 10 people in the crowd. Unbelievable. They eventually picked both Kristin and I to go up to compete in the fastest fingers questions. Jeff and I both eventually made it up to the hot seat. I think he got $15 cash and I got a free drink (which I gave to Kristin since I didn’t dig any of the weird espresso/latte/blended/crap drinks that they had there).

The whole show was a sham and waste of our time, but we couldn’t get out of there fast enough because Kristin was still in the group of people that could go up to the hot seat. She eventually quit trying and answered every fastest fingers question with “poop”. That was one of the best things to come out of the night, besides Jeff’s off-the-cuff and crude comments while in the hot seat. Oh yeah, leaving was fun too. While I was there, however, I did do something productive. I managed to create a list of things that sucked less than that show. I would like to share that with you now.

Things that suck less than last night’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” show:
1. An industrial strength shop vac
2. A high powered toilet
3. A blow dryer set on “reverse”
4. A ship-swallowing whirlpool
5. A black hole
6. The Lifetime Channel
7. Canada
8. Having my arm ripped off by a very strong man and then being beat to death with it
9. My face spontaneously combusting
10. Julia Roberts

Number 10 was a little bit of a stretch, but I think she sucks a little bit less than last night’s Millionaire thing. I actually started by trying to write a list of things that sucked more to try to stay positive, but when my sheet was still blank after 5 minutes I decided to think of things that then sucked less.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Video Games and Comic Books

To me, there is no greater sin in video game development than having a crappy ending to a game. You may be able to craft a positively wonderful game that is absolutely a blast to play, but if you don’t have a good ending to it, all of that playing will seem like it is in vain. I should probably say that this only applies to story driven games as sports, racing, and party games don’t really have, or need, endings.

I have recently had a run-in with one of the aforementioned games—Robotech: Battlecry for the Xbox. I bought it about a month ago and have been playing through the 50 or so missions working towards the climactic ending. It was fun to play through most of the game simply because I was playing out some of the fantasies I had when I was a child watching Robotech on TV, but towards the end it was getting somewhat tedious as a lot of the missions seemed to be retreads of previous missions. I would keep playing, though, because I wanted to see how the story turned out. I finally beat the last mission and was prepared for a great ending.

How I was so disappointed. After beating the end boss, you nemesis for most of the game, I was treated to a 2 minute cut scene that says your nemesis’s army has been defeated, but you don’t know how the rest of the war went and you will now soon die because you’re running out of air in the middle of space. Good-bye. The end. Huh? I wanted to throw my controller through the TV I was so mad. All of that build-up for a 2 minute cut scene. Bah! Anyhow, I’m now moving on to playing Enclave, so let’s hope that this one fleshes out and ends a little better than Robotech.

On another indulgent, nerdy topic, I have recently rekindled my love of comic books. It has been a while since I’ve actually read any (probably last summer), but recently I have had a strong urge to get back into it. I think a lot of it might have to do with the fact that the new X-Men movie comes out this Friday. Since the movie is almost out, many of my conversations with Kristin lately have been comic related. It’s a good thing she tolerates my dorkiness (and sometimes even embraces it…I’m so lucky…). To whet my appetite, I have recently gotten some comic book lots off of ebay to read. It’s like being a little kid again having comic books show up in my mailbox.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Triathalon and Pinestock

Saturday was one super busy day. I was up at 7:30 am and didn’t hit the pillow again until after 1 am. The entire day was filled with awesomeness. I was up so early because I was doing the triathlon here at SJU. I always look forward to doing it as it is usually the first race of the summer for me. It always gets the ball rolling for the competitive road racing I do in the summer (mostly 5k’s and a couple longer races). This year my team consisted of Theresa Lonsky and Becky Welch. Becky was the swimmer and Theresa was the biker. Kristin was also there with us. She was our coach/cheer leader for the day. It's always nice to have fans to cheer you on, so her getting up early and coming to watch us was really appreciated.

We got registered and tattooed at about 8:30 am. By tattooed, I mean that they wrote our heat and team numbers in big, black, permanent marker on our arms. I still have it glaring at me on my arms this morning. I swear they must use the most permanent of markers to mark us because I’ve taken six showers since I finished and it just won’t leave! Anyhow, we hung around for a while since we were in the last heat. As we were there, guess who I saw? Oh wait, you wouldn’t know because you don’t know the back story. Here, let me recount it for you.

When I was getting my triathlon team together about a month ago, my original swimmer was going to be Yen. About a week and a half or two weeks before the triathlon she tells me that her knees have been too bad for swimming and that there would be no way she’d be able to do the triathlon. Well, I respect that. If you’re too injured to do it, there’s no changing that. I then recruited Becky to fill her shoes (and did she ever!). I am actually very glad that Becky swam for us because she was phenomenal in the pool—like a fish! She ended up swimming her 700 in 10:40, which is good for swimming, I think, but I’m not sure since I don’t swim.

Now, back to the actual triathlon. I saw yen there and not only did I just see her there, I saw her swimming for another team. What happened to those knees? Did God suddenly grant her a miraculous healing? Or maybe did she just bail on me for someone else’s team and came up with a lame ass excuse for it? Whichever excuse it was, I’m glad she didn’t end up on our team as Becky was such a fun addition. Hopefully all three of us will come together and do it again next year.

Anyhow, we finished in the middle of the pack for teams, I think. We all met our goals. Theresa biked her 20k in around 50 minutes, I did my 6k in about 24.5, and Becky got her 700 in under 11. After it was done we all had to get going because Theresa and I had Pinestock to go to at noon.

I got back, showered, ate, picked up Jared, and headed over to Watab Island for the show. I can’t believe how many people I saw and talked to during that afternoon. I think I actually enjoyed the festival more for the social aspect than for the music. I saw a lot of friends that I haven’t talked to in a while, some that I have, and I even managed to talk to some random people I’d never met before (but they were really drunk, which is why I think they started talking to me).

Now for a review of the music. The updated, day-of-show band list was: Fred Savage & The Unbeatables, Panoramic Blue, The Exies, De La Soul, and Everclear. You may notice that Authority Zero is absent. That is because they decided to drop off of the tour to start their own. Talk about bunk. I really wanted to see them and they were one of the main proponents of me plopping down $30 for my ticket. I don’t think I’ll ever rush to see them if they come to Minnesota any time soon since they don’t seem to care about their fans.

Anyhow, the first band was Fred Savage & The Unbeatables (FSU for short). They are a campus band that won our battle of the bands. They play some great ska music, much akin to Reel Big Fish and Buck-O-Nine. They put on a good show and had a huge throng of fans for only being a campus band. I only got to see the second half of their set since the triathlon went long with my team being in the last heat.

The next band, Panoramic Blue, I have seen many, many times. Each time, though, I realize how truly average they are. They sound like every other wannabe rock band out there. They play classic rock cover songs and some originals that seem wholly unoriginal. They hail from here in St. Cloud, but their crowd was not very large at all. I really didn’t enjoy their set very much—just too bland.

The next band, The Exies, was the band I was here to see. They easily turned in the best performance of the day, in my mind. They played through almost their entire release, Inertia, along with closing their set with a cover of The Beastie Boys’ “Gratitude”. Jared and I were right up in front in the middle of the pit for half the set going nuts. I managed to get a big gouge in my side and a few other cuts from moshing it up—which goes to show how much Jared, myself, and the other people there were getting into it (I think it was from the stupid wristbands they made us wear when we came onto the island). They had the best performance of the day, easily.

De La Soul were the next performers. I am not the biggest hip hop fan, but I respect it and will listen to it occasionally. They put on a good hour long set which I actually got into. I was in the front row against the barricade with Jared, Hank, and Hanson for all of it, so we had a great vantage point for their hipin’ and hopin’. They were a lot of fun, but might have put a little too much emphasis on trying to interact with the crowd instead of performing. They were great to watch, though, don’t get me wrong, and I am always amazed at people who can rap fluently.

The last performers were Everclear. Oh man, I don’t know how else to really put it, but these guys were terrible. I saw them last year at St. Cloud State and they sucked then, but their Pinestock performance was even worse. Art couldn’t keep a tune if he wanted to (he said he had strep, however). The vocals sounded like crap for most of the show. The songs also didn’t seem nearly as tight as on their album (or even as tight as their opener, The Exies). They also only played for about an hour (and about 10 minutes of that was spent finding girls to come up on stage). I will say that I am glad they played four of their songs off of their Sparkle and Fade disc instead of their newer crap, but we were still treated to way too much of that. They ended the show with a cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”. I feel sorry for Cheap Trick as they destroyed this tune. Horrible, horrible attempt at a cover. I would never be able to recommend this band to anyone to go see live. I’m sorry, but they just suck live.

After Pinestock, I took the rest of the night to hang out with friends. I went to a party at a friend’s place, played some Bocce ball, watched a movie, and then said a little prayer of thanksgiving before I went to bed for this wonderfully spectacular day. Sunday was just another day in comparison to Saturday. If only all of my days could be like Saturday, I would never complain about anything again. Ahh, this was one of those days I’ll be reminiscing about 25 years down the road.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Wild and Wolves

I’m hoping every Minnesotan out there that reads this was watching the Wild game last night because it was spectacular! They won their very first playoff series ever and they sure did it in style. I was honestly on the edge of my seat from the 3rd period on. You should have heard the SJU campus when the winning goal was scored. A swelling throng of students all simultaneously screamed for delight when we put that puck in the back of the net. Utterly spectacular.

Also on last night was the second game in the T-Wolves and Lakers playoff series. Unfortunately it was on at the same time as the Wild game so I was constantly switching between the two hoping to catch the best moments of both. I ended up flipping over to the Wild game exclusively towards the end of the Wolves game because we were just pile-driving the Lakers into the ground. Garnett with 35 points and Hudson, from out of nowhere, tallied in 37—a Wolves’ playoff high. The first game the Lakers ground us down and last night we turned the bit right back into them. Let’s hope that we can keep this momentum going as we play in LA. It would be nice to see the Wolves make it out of the first round for once. Until the next Wolves game, make sure to tune in to watch the Indiana Pacers play on Thursday. Their series is even at 1-1 as well, so they’ll need some heavy cheering.

Last night the Twins were also on at the same time as the Wolves and Wild. No one cared. Baseball blows.

As many of you may have known, my senior research thesis defense was last night. You may be wondering how it went. I thought it went fine. I had a few moments where I had a hard time finding my words so it might have seemed like I didn’t know exactly what I was talking about at those points, but besides that I think I made a decent presentation. It was weird synching my presentation with my powerpoint slides, but I guess that’s something that I’ll have to learn. I don’t know how much some of the computer science professors there got out of my talk since it was mostly philosophy, but I think one of them was pretty engaged in the topic, but that might also be simply because he was my computer science advisor.

There were a couple of interesting things that did happen during my presentation, however. I was unaware of either of these happenings until some of my classmates told me about them after my presentation. First, it seems to me that I must have bored one of the profs to death as I was told he spent a decent portion of my presentation time with his eyes thoroughly closed. Maybe he was concentrating hard on what I said……but I’m going to go with the more obvious answer and say that he was probably sleeping. Now I know how professors must feel when students fall asleep on them. It really didn’t bother me that much, except for the fact that he was grading my presentation. Hopefully he’ll give a good grade since he can’t really criticize what he didn’t hear.

The other incident seems very comical now that I think about it. During the middle of my presentation, one of the other computer science professors was going to throw away his pop can in the garbage outside of the room in which I was presenting. Not wanting to interrupt, he decided he wouldn’t throw the can in and let it rattle, but would instead set it at the bottom of the garbage. Now realize that the top of the garbage can has a small hole about the size of a 20 oz. pop bottle. As he was setting it at the bottom, his arm became lodged in the garbage so for the next five minutes or so, he was struggling with the garbage trying to simultaneously get his hand out while being quiet. From what my classmates tell me, it was hilarious and they were doing all they could to keep from bursting into laughter during my presentation. Most people might be annoyed by this, but I’m glad I had some comedy during my presentation. It just wouldn’t be normal for me to do something completely serious.

Now that I have that done with, what am I going to do with my time? Well, it won’t be as free as I thought as I have some web work to do for Kingland and a couple more papers to write for my other classes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Powerpoint Sucks Ass

I’m a little out of gas for writing today. I used up most of my ambition for working at the computer yesterday. I had to work on my senior research defense presentation. I give it tonight, so wish me luck as I am the first person to present their defense. I want to set the bar when I give my presentation, but I don’t want to try and make it too good so that when I try to convey my project, I don’t screw up horribly. I really just want to get it over with so I can be done worrying about it.

In getting my presentation ready, I used PowerPoint for the first time in my life. I had never liked the program since almost every PowerPoint presentation I have ever seen has been horribly done. Most people who use it for a presentation put everything they have to say on their slides which takes away from their talk. Why talk when I could just read it all on your slides? I kept my presentation down to around 15 slides, which I think is more than enough. I was not going to use PowerPoint, but my professor thought it a good idea for me to. I will post my presentation and my final paper in a few days.

On another note, I have just finished reading Albert Camus’ The Plague, which I must say, is one of the best novels that I have read in a good while. I did find it interesting that as I was reading and finishing that book that there happened to be a plague of sorts moving through China and, in small doses, the rest of the world. The SARS epidemic in China hasn’t only been an interesting news story, it has actually had an effect right here at SJU and CSB with one of my friends. Because of this virus, my friend Nikki’s study abroad trip to China next year has been canceled. It really sucks that she can’t go, but I’d rather have her here not battling death than over there wearing a respirator and hoping not to die.

Ok, I’m running out of fuel. I think I need more coffee and possibly some food or a little pixie dust (for the presentation). I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow—let’s hope it goes off without a hitch.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Something's Burning

Easter break is now over and I return to my apartment with a bittersweet sigh. Bittersweet in the sense that I say it both as a sigh of relief and also as a sigh of remorse. It is not often that I get home to visit my family, so I try to make the most of it when I do. I also pray that everything will go nice and smooth while I’m at home, but sometimes things don’t always go smooth. No family, no matter how full of love it is, is without the occasional fight or quibble. I really wish that there was no reason for those arguments, but sometimes they just happen. I guess that’s how we can tell real families apart from the ones on television—real families can’t solve all of their problems in a 30 minute time slot.

Last year I had contemplated not returning home for Easter. I really wanted to do something with my friends, but I also missed my family. I was torn and I could easily be swayed either way depending upon how much convincing either side did. I ended up going home for Easter as one of my family members professed to me how much it means that I’m around during that time—a time of family. Going to Easter church has been a tradition and I could see then that I would not want to miss that time of spiritual bonding. I don’t know if I felt exactly like this a year ago, but I think I did a little bit, at least. That was last year and it ended up being a happy occasion.

Now it’s this year and that same family member has done a complete 180 on what they had told me in that April of last year. We were an incomplete family at church this year. A part of our family was lying at home in bed and I really missed that unity of our family. This was only the start of what would be a tumultuous day emotionally for me, and I know that I was probably a big part of the trouble that was cooked in our kitchen that day. We all argued about valid topics, stupid topics, topics that had been dead for a while now, and anything that we would let fuel the fire. In any argument, I’m usually the one responsible for dousing the flames in gasoline instead of trying to stamp them out. I think that I can outlast anyone else in the fiercest of argumentative fires so instead of letting it die down, I’d rather make it as hot as my skin can handle.

That’s pretty much what I did, too, and I left with some flickering wisps of fire still burning. I guess I just wanted the day to be so much like I imagined it in my mind that I was unwilling to see it any other way. I wish, though, that sometimes things could be seen my way by some people, but often they are unwilling to look. I’m not trying to say that no one cares about what I think, no, not at all. I’m just saying that sometimes certain people are so entranced in their own little world that they push away and alienate everyone else around them, even their family. They only want to do what benefits them and makes them happy instead of looking at the happiness of the whole, or of the family. I wish things could have been different, but what’s past is past.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Take Note: Don't Call Me Late at Night

Well, I’m going to be heading home very shortly for Easter break so there won’t be anything new posted until probably Monday when I get back to work on my senior thesis defense (I give it on Tuesday night, wish me luck).

Yesterday we had gotten some pretty crappy weather up here—mostly slush, ice, and snow. It made for a very ugly day and the driving wasn’t the greatest, although it wasn’t overly horrible. I got back last night from taking Kristin home and curled up in my blanket, watched some television, and relaxed. I relaxed so much that I fell asleep right there on the couch, probably around 11:30 pm or so. It was a very deep sleep too, just to let you know, until my cell phone started ringing.

Being startled out of my sleep, I grabbed it and answered it. It was one of my roommates calling, but I didn’t know why as he constantly kept breaking up. My cell phone really blows out here on campus. I put it down and just wanted to get back to sleep. Nope, that wasn’t going to happen as the apartment phone started ringing. I picked it up and it was the same roommate. Turns out he wanted a ride home from his friends place in St. Joe, which is where he usually stays on the weekends. It was 1:30 am in the morning and I sure as heck didn’t want to leave our apartment. I was sleeping, dammit! Couldn’t you tell by my hardly being able to talk on the phone? Oh, wait, he probably couldn’t tell because he was drunk. Have I ever told you all how much drunk people annoy me? This is one of the reasons why.

I go get into my car and drive over to get him. I get there, he seems kind of sad and the girls at the place he was staying at told me he’d been drinking. I couldn’t have felt more like a parent then at that moment. It was like I was going to pick up my drunk kid from one of his friend’s houses where he’d been caught. Drunks are a lot like children in that they do a lot of stupid things and overreact. I was still sleepy, and when we got into the car, my roomie told me that he had been accused of being a parental figure at the bar. Yeah, one of his friends said that he should stop acting like his dad. Did you catch that? He wanted to come home because he got yelled at for acting like a dad. For crap’s sake, that’s nothing to get upset over……unless you’re drunk. I was not happy at all, and I’m still not, that I had to get up, get dressed, go pick up my roommate, and bring him home because of something as dumb as that. I should have just told him to stay there, but I’m too nice (which I think some people really take advantage of and aren’t appreciative of it *cough*Yen*cough*). Sorry about that, I’ve had a cold lately.

I would have thought that my roommate would have stayed away from the bars more since he just had a big incident a couple of weeks ago where his friend got jumped, beat up, taken to the hospital, and stitched up. Doesn’t something like that tell you something about the place you are hanging out at? He is always at that bar and always drunk. He’s even beat up on me when he’s drunk and tried hitting on my girlfriend. It’s so sad that all he wants to do is hit the bars and get drunk. When will people learn? Maybe they’ll only learn if I stop being so nice. Is it going to take tough love to get some people to turn around, or is it possible for them to find in their hearts that they should turn things around? I really don’t know. I just wish things would change.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

84 Degrees and Subtracting

Oh my goodness, how could you have any more of a beautiful day than yesterday? It was 84 degrees and sunny out up here. Summer is truly arriving in wonderful fashion……or is it? Thursday’s forecast for St. Cloud says 33 degrees and a 60% chance of snow. Only in Minnesota can our weather fluctuate that much. In the course of 3 days there would be a 51 degree swing in temperature! I am thoroughly amazed at how the weather works in our world. Any meteorologist that can predict the weather perfectly must be the second coming of Jesus, because I know that no one else can tell what the heck is going on with the weather most of the time.

Since it was so nice, there was no way you were going to keep me indoors for very long. After work and class, I picked up a couple of books, grabbed a chair, dragged it outside, and planted myself down for a while to bask in the sun and get a load of reading done. I am currently in the process of reading Albert Camus’s The Plague and The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions by Peter Suber.

I have developed a lot of respect for Camus after reading The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus. His writing is very unique in that it all seems so bleak, yet I don’t want to put it down. Not having read many existential works, I wonder if all the writings in that vein are as despairing as Camus’s works. The Stranger presented a view on life where lucidity and quantity were the only things that mattered. Aspiration, ambition, and self-improvement all seemed to be unimportant notions. Live the life you’re given as long as you can and live it with your eyes wide open. This is the best life. I found this hard to swallow, but the way Camus writes makes it seem like that is the only way. So far The Plague is a very downtrodden novel as well, and I am very interested to finish it (only about 1/3 left to go).

Anyhow, after I had indulged my nerdy reading fetish for the day, I took a quick little nap before going for a run. How could you possibly not want to just up and run all over when it is so nice out? I put in a few miles and did some lifting. Afterwards I felt so refreshed, yet I wasn’t actually tired. There’s just something about spring that invigorates the soul and keeps you from getting tired. Whereas winter is such a lazy time of the year, spring means movement, growth, and energy. Still having tons of energy, I played some sand volleyball. After seeing some of the people there at the courts, I realized that for as much time as I’ve spent in the sun, I’m still horribly pasty and white. I don’t know, but maybe the countless years of growing up on the farm have hardened my skin to the sun, which is a good thing, but I would also like to be like everyone else sometimes where it would only take a day in the sun to get tan. I guess I’d rather have conditioned skin than skin that burned easily, though, so I’ll quit complaining.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Karma Readjustment

Things have gone a lot better since Thursday. I always like to think that after a horrible day such as that, the next few days will be a lot better so that my karma doesn’t dip too much in one direction or another. I think my theory holds, at least from how the weekend went.

Friday night Vu and I went to the T-Wolves game against the Clippers. This was his first game that he’d ever been to, and he got to see the Wolves do some stomping as they obliterated the celler-dwelling Clippers by 16. SJU had at least 100 seats in our section reserved for all of the people who were in the Johnnie-Tommie 3-on-3 tournament, but Vu, myself, and only about 6 other people showed up. I don’t understand why you would miss a T-Wolves game if given the opportunity, even though it was against a horrible team. I knew there wouldn’t be much competition, but it was still great to see the Wolves in action with my own eyes.

After the game, since we didn’t have to be back anytime soon or have anything to do, we headed off to Mystic Lake Casino to throw some of our money away……and that’s exactly what I did do. I managed to lose $25 in a little over 20 minutes. Ouch. Vu also went down $35 right off the bat, but we (and by we, I mean he) stayed in and kept playing. Over the next hour and a half or so, he managed to win back all of his losses, then he won back all of my losses, and then he went up about $25. I was amazed. The luck just seemed to shift towards his end of the table. I also can’t thank him enough for giving me $25 since I lost mine so quick. That small gesture (well, it wasn’t really so small since it was $25 after all) was the best part of the night. Just knowing that I have a great friend like that who would go out of his way to do something that nice when he could have just as easily kept the winnings all to himself. He didn’t lose my money, so why should he have to give it back to me? He was just nice like that……unlike a little someone who borrowed my car and was too damn cheap to put any gas in the tank even though I told her that was the one condition in which she got my car. I’m not going to say any…*cough*Yen*cough*…names, but that just wasn’t cool.

We got home really late Friday night so I headed right to bed since I had a volleyball tournament in the morning. When I reminded Chen of this fact he only then realized that his thesis defense and the tournament were at the same time. I was now down to two guys for a 3-on-3 tournament. The next morning Casey and I called everyone we knew, but no one was around so we eventually picked up some random guy at the courts to play with us. We won our first two games, but lost our second two. Being it was a double elimination tournament, we were then done. We did have a fun time, though, which is all that really mattered to me. They also had a lot of free food, and not just crappy free food, I’m talking grilled burgers and dogs. Casey and I got our fill before we left. As we were leaving I found out Casey would be here next year as he was taking grad classes at SJU, so we’ll still have another legacy player on our volleyball team (which is good since it is a lot harder to replace guys on volleyball teams).

That night my family came up to visit and see Karl perform in The Crucible. Seeing it again was really fun. I think they did a wonderful rendition of it, even if they changed the costume and stage to be weird just for weirdness sake. After the play, my family and Kristin hung out at her room until the late hours of the night. We had a little celebration for my mommy’s birthday since we were all together.

After my parents took off for their motel, all of us went back to my apartment only to walk in and find it taken over by Luka, his brother, and a bunch of their random friends. None of them lived in our apartment, yet they had commandeered our living room for their use. It wasn’t too big of a deal except my brothers and I wanted to go to bed. They could have went over to Luka’s apartment, which was only a 20 second walk from mine, but they just didn’t leave, which was not cool in the least. I had commented a couple of times that we were going to bed and even brought our pillows and blankets out into the living room, but they didn’t seem to take notice or care. Not wanting to kick them out and seem like a dick (even though I had every right to, and should have), Ryan and I went down to the lounge in the basement and slept on the couches down there.

The next morning my family had to take off for my cousin’s confirmation in Janesville. It was really nice having them all up for a night. I kind of get to missing them a little bit while I’m up here. Anyhow, after they left I went against my better judgment and cleaned up after the people that had stayed in our living room. No one else in our apartment ever seems to want to clean so I usually give in and do it. If I didn’t take out the trash in our apartment, it would not have been emptied once yet this year. It’s just a little annoying that our place gets so dirty (especially since I’m a tad bit of a neat freak).

I spent the rest of the day reading out in the sun, going for a run, and then watching the new Simpsons and Malcom over at Kristin’s place. It’ll be weird during the summer not going over to her place on Sunday nights to watch tv as it has become automatic for both of us. Anyhow, I think the weekend turned out a lot better than last Thursday. It’ll be even better when I get all of my gas money ($10), and not only part of it (the proposed $6). The money really doesn’t matter to me, it’s just that I hate it when people don’t follow through on their promises and aren’t appreciative. I guess some people just have a hard time realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Could Anything More Go Wrong?

So I really didn’t fix the problem with my website, it just kind of went away all magically and crap, which is good……but weird. Apparently just SJU and CSB students couldn’t access it for a couple of days, and for what reason? Who’ll ever know? Thanks to the couple of people who actually emailed me and helped me out—there weren’t many of you, so that either means my audience base is waning or that no one wants to send me emails. Either way, it’s not going to deter me from my writing.

Yesterday seemed to me to be a day of contradiction…well, not contradiction exactly, but maybe more of extreme opposites. I had some awesome highs and some deprecating lows. Life always seems to be like that, though, in that you rarely ever remember the mediocre times, but instead only remember the highs and the lows. I guess it’s only natural that we wouldn’t want to remember what was boring or mundane.

I hopped on this tilt-a-whirl of a day yesterday between classes. Up until that point, everything was cool and normal, but then I got a phone call from one of my friends asking, well, more so demanding that she use my car because she had a job interview and her best friend just left her hanging. Before I go any further, I’m just curious as to what kind of friends people have if their best one just bails on you when it comes to something as important as a job interview. I would never be able to do that to one of my friends, let alone my best friends. Understandably, I sympathized and going against my better judgment, I loaned her my car for her interview, however, on one condition—that she fill the tank with gas. I figured that would be repayment enough, especially considering this person had a very bad track record with using my car. After loaning out my car, I headed down to frisbee practice.

It was a beautiful day so I was looking forward to playing some good disc in the sun. Needless to say, after we got done throwing around and practice actually started, it got crappy quick. The guys team was going to put a zone on the girls team so that they could get some experience against it before the tourney, but they only had six people and you need seven for a team. I said I would play with them, but their captain, Maggie, told me absolutely not and that I’d watch. She picked someone else to go in instead. What a bitch move! I was inches away from back-handing her on the spot. Lil’ B sympathized and let me in to play after a bit. As I was playing, it was just no fun, and no one was subbing so I was forced to watch most of the time on the sidelines, not wanting to be mean and just sub myself in and make someone sit. I don’t like being a jerk like that. Being it was so nice out, I didn’t want to waste the day so I just left and went for a run.

My run was so peaceful and serene that it made up for all the crap the day had presented me so far. I bathed in the sun, got a good work out, and simply smiled because it was so beautiful out. As I got home, I saw my keys on my chair, which means that Yen brought my car back, which is good because she has been known not to in the past. Of course, the good had a bad side—she didn’t leave a note as to where my car was. Cute. Well, I got ready to go out for the night and Yen showed up walking by my apartment so I asked her where my car was, so that dilemma was resolved. She also said that she had put gas in my car, which was also nice to hear. Things were back on the upswing…

…Until I got out to my car and got in. The gas gauge sure didn’t read full, in fact, it was lower than when I borrowed it out. Put gas in the tank, my ass. Maybe she just farted a lot on the way home or something, but there sure wasn’t any gasoline put in the tank. Why would you lie about something like that? Am I not going to notice the gas gauge when I get in? Did she really think that I was that stupid? I don’t really know, but I do know that I should trust my instincts more and not give in to her any more. I’m always getting screwed for being nice, I don’t get it. I guess no one has any gratitude anymore. More proof to show that people suck.

I was still determined to have a fun night, so Kristin, Vu, Laura, and I decided to go out and hit up bingo. At the Emporium, if you’re new you get in free so we would get to play for nothing!!! When we got there, though, we found out they had quit doing that a couple of months ago and also that Thursday nights are the only full-price nights. We just picked the wrong night. Now instead we decided to hit up a movie at the cheap theater. Unfortunately, none of the good movies were playing at the late time, so that was also out. Things were just not swinging our way at all, so we hit up the mall for a while. That was a lot of fun, and it helped bring my mood up.

Still determined to do something we went bowling and had a blast. I even bowled a game left handed!!! And got a 59 doing it!!! Thank goodness the night finally turned out good. We all had a great time, we were all happy, and I could end the day on a positive note…or so I thought.

Back at CSB, Kristin was going to buy us a pizza to eat so I asked them to put in a pepperoni for us, which they did, but when it was ready, they asked me how many pieces I wanted. Uhh…all of them? I ordered the entire pizza remember? Oh, you did? Well, we already put half of it out and people took it. What the hell? We already paid for it, you know. Oh, well here, just take this cheese one. Fine. Just so I can get out of here. Dammit!!! Fate just had to come back, smite me down, and laugh. Well, today is another day, so let’s hope for the best……or at least better……

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Housing Lottery Nightmare

Looks like I’ll be living across the hall next year. We had the housing lottery (well, the second one) yesterday and got into the apartment that Jared and Berg have across the hall here in Virgil Michel. It won’t be too bad. I like their apartment set up better than ours, but that doesn’t change the fact that I would still like to be living in the nice apartments of Placid and Maur where I’d have my own room and bathroom. Instead, I will still have a roommate and communal apartment bathroom, but it’ll be fine living with Karl again.

Now the lottery itself was a fricking zoo. They assign everyone in the lottery an exact time to register for your room. Mine was at 4:16 pm yesterday. The lottery started at 4:00 pm, just so you know. As 4:15 rolled around they said they were taking people with the 4:02 time slot. Great, so in the 15 minutes of registration they managed to get 2 minutes worth of people through. It also didn’t help matters that they kept everyone who was not registering in the hall outside of the registration room. There were about 100 guys in that hall crammed in awaiting their time to register. I felt bad for the people who had some of the times that were way later than us.

We finally got in to register at about 4:50 pm—a solid 35 minutes after I was supposed to get in. When we got to register we easily got the apartment we wanted, mainly because everyone wants to live on lower campus. I really don’t know why since it’s so far away from everything, but whatever. While I was waiting, though, I got to wondering how they actually did the lottery process. I was easily one of the people with the most credits there, so why did I have such a late time? Apparently your credits don’t mean too much. They just lump everyone with more than 95 credits into one bunch and then randomize the times. This is retarded because someone with 132 credits such as myself got put behind many people with less credits. In fact, the first pick in the lottery went to some guy with 96 credits. I even asked a lot of the people who went before me how many credits they hand and I didn’t talk to one person with more than me. Insane.

Each day that I keep spending on this campus, the more I get to hating it and the more I love it. It is such a weird dichotomy. I love my friends and classes more and more, yet I come to loathe the administration and students more and more. I truly love the friends I’ve made up here and my classes are actually get interesting for me. On the other hand, the rest of the people on the campus prove to be assholes more each day, further proving that most of the campus is a collective waste of life. The administration also has that wonderful ability to piss me off on a weekly basis. There really is no middle ground of experience for me, yet I am stuck in that middle ground because all of my experience falls into the extremes and their average creates a middle. Maybe it’s good that I only have one semester yet, but who is to say that the real world might be any better. I’ll keep hoping, but I’m well prepared for disappointment.

Monday, April 07, 2003

More Food Stolen

I found out that even more food was taken from our place yesterday morning. Karl also had a case of Gatorade taken to add to our running total of missing groceries. How do you deal with a crime like this? Do I go over to the neighbor’s places and check their freezers and pantries? What if they eat the same type of food as us? What if they do have our food, then what do we do? Do I just take it right back, being a thief in my own right (even though it seems justified)? Do I try to turn them in and get it back? They could just say they bought it and it is coincidence that we have the same tastes. I just don’t know what to do.

I alerted our faculty resident and life safety about the theft, but I’m sure nothing will actually be done to deter it from happening again. Sending out an email saying that food was stolen and that we should keep our doors locked is not taking measures against theft—it’s a cop-out to keep from actually doing something. Two years ago when I actually did have something valuable stolen (my bike), I also alerted life safety thinking that they would be able to do something about it. I was so unbelievably wrong. The life safety officers that I talked to then said that all they could or would do was when they were out on patrol (probably giving parking tickets) they could look for a bike that looked like mine and then would alert me to it. They wouldn’t take any action besides letting me know they saw a bike like mine! In fact, they didn’t even do that because someone in Flynntown had it that entire winter right outside of their apartment. It was there for a solid couple of months and life safety would always patrol down there. I am still frustrated from that experience and I am sure that it will be the same this time. They’ll log a report and file it away before they head back out to give out some more parking tickets.

On a positive note, I would like to send out a big birthday wish to my mommy! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY! It’s hard to imagine that you’re hitting the big 43, as I know I’ll be there before I want to. I hope that you have a wonderful day today and I will try to talk to you sometime. Can’t wait to see you next weekend. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Food Theft at a Private Catholic College

Some times I have to wonder about how smart college students actually are. More and more I come to realize how stupid most of the people who go to the combined campuses of St. John’s and St. Benedict’s really are. There’s always the massive drinking binges, the stupid stunts and pranks pulled on campus, and freshman stupidity, but now there has been a new precedent set for idiocy. Not only was this act idiotic, but it was also mean, openly deviant, and just wrong. This act is theft. Sure, theft happens all the time all over the place, but his act was different than any normal theft. There wasn’t a stereo stolen, or laundry ripped off, or a bike ridden away with, but instead our freezer was emptied of its food.

WHO STEALS FOOD??? We’re on a private college campus so it’s not like anyone is starving and needs the food. Besides, if they needed food, we have food boxes in the lounge for Lent. This is the season where we are supposed to be giving food to the less fortunate, not stealing from your neighbors. I had a box of pizzas, a box of egg rolls, and a box of philly steak sandwiches all taken. My roommate, Chen, also had food stolen in all of the food he had on our kitchen table. I really can’t figure out why someone would want to take our groceries. I simply wanted to cry because of the absurdity of the whole thing. It is so stupid to steal your neighbor’s groceries.

How am I supposed to guard against this? Our refrigerator is right by our door, which made this crime pretty easy, so how do I stop it from happening again? Do we have to lock our doors even while we are here? Must we alienate all our guests in order to protect our food? This should not be happening on a campus such as ours. Do I have to put a padlock on our freezer door? But then who’s to say they wouldn’t raid the fridge and cabinets? Should I put locks on all of them? Do we need to lock everything up in order to keep what is ours in our possession?

Because of this situation, I have decided to not buy anything more to put in our freezer. I’ll stick to the groceries that I have in my cupboard to keep these evil, thieving wastes of life from getting free food from me. No more pizzas, no more hot pockets, no more frozen goods. It’s going to be stir fry, ramen, soups, and sandwiches for the rest of the year on out. I’m sure I’ll crave what I can’t have, but at least those bastards won’t get any more free food out of me.

Friday, April 04, 2003

The Crucible

Last night I attended The Crucible with a large group of friends. Karl, my roommate played the role of Proctor in the play and I must say that he did a wonderful job. I thoroughly enjoyed the play, even though it was a little bit different from the way the play is traditionally presented. The director added a few dance numbers and updated the look to a gothic style.

I had read The Crucible before and I fell in love with the story when I did. I had been looking forward to seeing this play ever since I found out that Karl was in it back around Christmas time. Coming into the play, I was wondering how the new look of the play would affect the content of the story. I’m glad that they didn’t change the story at all, but because of this, the gothic costumes and stage didn’t really have any impact upon the performance besides the initial shock value. It was interesting to see the play performed with the costumes they had, but I think the play would have had the same effect with traditional costumes. However, it was interesting to see everyone dressed in ripped leather, chains, and gothic attire. Not only was the dress gothic, but many of the characters were half naked and covered with tattoos. They also all had unique haircuts, most consisting of shaving part of their head, dying what was left, and putting it into either a Mohawk, spikes, or dreads.

The stage was also in a metal/gothic style. The background was sheet metal and most of the stage was made up of iron fencing, barrels, and pillars. It worked very well for the story and fit with the overall tone that was set by the costumes. The only other difference from the original story is the dance numbers that were added to the beginning of the play and right after intermission. The opening number was very well done and I thought it was an interesting interpretive dance—it was, I think, the dancing that the witches were doing in the woods when Parris found them. The “demons” of the dance reminded me a lot of the borg from Star Trek. They had lights attached to metallic, wired sections of costume that gave them a very eerie look.

All of this led to an interesting rendition of the play that was pretty much weird just for the sake of being weird. I enjoyed the story, just as I always have, and I thought the dance numbers were worthy additions to the play, but the costuming and staging didn’t really do anything unique. Still, I would recommend everyone to go see this play while it is still open, even if only to see my roommate in action. He does a spectacular job of playing his role.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Winter's Icy Fingers

To think that I thought winter might be over. How could I be so foolish? Mother nature is intent on leaving little tidbits of winter weather around just to remind us that, indeed, we are living in Minnesota. This could be evidenced by the thin coat of ice on everything this morning. I walked outside of my apartment on my way to work and almost took a dive right into the garbage can because my feet didn’t seem to want to work. After waking up a little more than I usually am on my way to work, I realized that I wasn’t experiencing some type of odd gravitational anomaly, but instead the walkway was covered in a layer of frozen water. I spent the next 15 minutes waddling to work so that I didn’t fall over. I’m sure anyone that would have seen me would have swore that I was some odd type of duck/human hybrid bred by some evil genius that lives in the basement of my apartment complex.

It was also easily apparent that this is Minnesota during our frisbee practice yesterday. We were practicing on the prep school’s football fields right next to the lake so the wind was unbelievably strong. Wind usually isn’t a big deal. I like the wind actually as it can make a nice day seem even more alive, or it can alleviate the blistering heat of the summer just enough to make it tolerable outside……but yesterday it was only a little bit over freezing out. The combination of the extreme wind and extreme cold (well, at least for this time of year) made for a cold and slightly unattended practice. We only had 8 people there so we were unable to hold a scrimmage like we usually would, so we played the box game, which is basically like playing half-court, 3-on-3 basketball. It felt oh so good to take a nice warm shower after we were done.

Now many of you may have noticed that the last few posts have been pretty negative in tone (if you didn’t……well, good for you, I guess). I’m hoping that things are back on the upswing now. I just handed in my first draft of my final research paper yesterday which takes a good load off of my shoulders, a 23 page load to be exact. Now all I have to do is prepare my 15 minute defense that I have to give on the 22nd of April. I don’t know if I’ll be able to condense everything I want to say into only 15 minutes, but that’s all of the time that I am allotted to use. I suppose it’s a good thing to know that I have more material than I can fit into the time than too little.

I also got to register for my classes for next semester yesterday. I’m going to have the absolute crappiest schedule imaginable. This is going to easily be the worst schedule I’ve had yet. On days 1-3-5 on our 6 day schedule I will have exactly 0 classes. Yep, no classes on odd days, so what does that mean? Yep, you’re absolutely right—all 4 of my classes are on even days! Starting at 9:40 am I’ll have Modern Philosophy, then at 11:20 am I’ll have Philosophy of Science, then at 1:00 pm I’ll have Business Ethics, and finally at 2:40 pm I’ll have Philosophy of Law. I’m thinking of switching my Philosophy of Science course over to the Morality and Human Nature course, but since I’ve taken both a human nature course and a morality course I’m not sure if I really want to revisit all of that stuff. The reason I’d switch is that I’ve heard the professor for the Philosophy of Science class is horrible. I’ll have to see, I guess.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Bigger and Bigger and Bigger

There are times in your life when every little thing seems to swing the other way—nothing you do, no matter how hard you try, can change the fact that the fates have aligned against you. The more things that go wrong, the more your defenses against other things going wrong weaken, exposing you to more harm. Little things start growing and taking on more meaning because all the big things have already went south. It’s when these little things start going awry that you truly lose your sense of control on life. The pile of grievous wrongs done to you by fate, small or large, grows because you don’t take the time to shrug some of the things off of your little hill of hate. Eventually the hill will become a mountain and anything, once tossed on the summit, will break your back. That’s when you hurt the most.

It is quite possible, and usually is the case, that when this time comes you feel too many things all at once—a complete sensory overload. Frustration, rage, angst, remorse, lost hope, regret, and self-loathing all pour from your body. Like the sweat of your pores, emotion flows out of you. As you overflow you could care less for anything else than the appeasement of your own need to break something, to hurt something, to inflict your pain on something else. Only then, when someone else sees your hurt or watches you express your revolt at the universe, can you start to throw things from the mountain.

Many times, however, we are denied that chance of expression which can only lead to a growing of the mountain that has already broken your body. All you see is opportunities to explode, but you can’t do it. It builds even further—to the point where snapping another person in two would not even alleviate your suffering. You lash out, you don’t think, you indulge in pure rashness. Then, only after being broken as you have been, can you let go. Lying crushed, you curl up and cry knowing that there is too much on your shoulders. You’re buried and you don’t have the will to dig yourself out. The tears will flow, your anger will flare, and you will either perish permanently, or you will start to recover. If you’re lucky enough to recover, the mountain will have all but disappeared. You can now start building another one, but this time you hope it will not become an insurmountable behemoth……