Thursday, October 30, 2003

Jackolanterns

Halloween—what could we possibly associate with this holiday other than costumes and candy? Jackolanterns, of course! Kristin and I had picked up a pumpkin a while ago hoping to carve it, but we’ve both been so busy the last week or so that we’ve never had the time to do it. Yesterday we finally managed to set aside some time to slice and dice our little orange friend.

I know that you have no idea what our final jackolantern carving looks like, but I plan to fix that in the next couple of days when I upload some pictures of it. The best way to describe it would be to take Spider-Man’s eyes, add a skeleton’s nose, and finish it off with a Cheshire Cat grin and superimpose it on a pumpkin. I wish we could have gotten a little more detailed with our pumpkin, but all the knives we had were a little too big to do smaller cutting work. Of course the fun part wasn’t the carving, though, but it was the scooping out of the pumpkin’s brains.

I remember when I was little I always hated that part because it was all goopy and slimy and icky and I just wanted to cut the pumpkin up, not get all gunky. Now that I’m older and wiser, I love getting all goopy and icky. In the removal of the brain’s we separated out the seeds for cooking. Cooked pumpkins seeds are always so yummy. We need to make a trip into town today, however, before we can cook them since we don’t have any olive oil to cook them in.

Ok, I don’t know if I’ve already posted this or not, but even if I did, you’re going to get it again. I love the game Halo. I also love comedy. When you combine those two things, you get Red vs. Blue. I’ve been watching the episodes that they have made over the last week or two and I can’t make it through a single one without laughing out loud at least once. What makes it even better is this is just a couple of guys sitting around talking into headsets while they act out the scenes in Halo. Any gamer owes it to themselves to check this out just to hear their take on capture the flag.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

More RIAA Lunacy

I am consistently appalled at the actions of the RIAA. I recently ran across this article on CNN in which the sued a 12 year old girl for having downloaded songs on her computer. This is a 12 year old girl!!! She had to settle for $2,000, but the RIAA states that they could have sued for up to $250,000 and 3 years in prison. Now how many 12 year olds have $2,000 to pay for something like this? Also, wouldn’t it have been more responsible to sue the parents since they allowed it? Well, nevermind, they did already do that, along with grandparents as well. Now, I’m not saying they should be suing anybody, but a 12 year old girl isn’t an obvious target.

They so often wonder why cd sales are declining. This, of course, is an ongoing argument everywhere at the moment, and even I have touched upon it before, but the lengths that they are going to seem to press the boundaries of good taste. They also show a disordering of priorities. Why should they be so worried about a little girl with a bunch of songs on her computer when there are illegal cd duplicating rings operating all over the world and in the US? Hit the big pirates and see if that helps out your sales. If it does not, then maybe focus on the smaller fish in the sea.

The only reason that they appear to do this is intimidation. They want everyone to be scared. They want to equate the words download and mp3 with criminal and illegal. To complicate matters, most people don’t know what is fair use and what isn’t. Can I rip a cd to my harddrive and then put it on my ipod? Can I have the mp3’s I ripped on my ipod and on my laptop at work? Can my friends listen to my mp3’s if I’m not using them (like lending a book to a friend)? I often wonder what is legal myself because the RIAA never seems to make it clear what you can and can’t do. Am I acting criminally if I am sharing my mp3’s online if I own the mp3’s on my harddrive? What if I’m downloading mp3’s of the cds I already own? No one seems to have a clear answer to these questions. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers.

When I reflect upon the actions of the RIAA, I often wonder what it would be like if other bodies tried to solve their problems the RIAA way—through intimidation. Look at college plagiarism. It happens, there’s no doubt about that, much like piracy is a guarantee. Instead of punishing and hunting down people who plagiarized an entire paper, the administrator’s enforced strict penalties on those individual’s who may have copied a paragraph or small section of their paper, maybe not even knowing that they were doing something wrong (they forgot to cite the passage or some other small mistake). I would be afraid to ever quote another work or present summaries of other ideas.

That may not be the best example in the world to use for a comparison, but I often think of what would happen if we tried to punish the small offenders over the larger offenders for intimidation’s sake. Sure, there would probably be less of that crime, but people would also be much more afraid to do things in general, especially those things that might potentially be viewed as illegal, but are completely legit. Copyright law has become so convoluted and messy that I simply can’t tell what’s right and what’s wrong. I can disassemble my toaster to do make a hand warmer, but if I take apart my xbox to do something besides play games, I’m breaking the law. Why is there this distinction? Where is the line drawn? What are some simple answers for everyday people, so that they can know what they are doing is wrong or right?

Whew, I’m sorry, but just reading that article set my ranting off. Some things, when you see them, you just know don’t seem right, and this was one of them. On a completely different note, we had our first snow yesterday. Of course none of it is left on the ground, but it still snowed all day yesterday. Well, it snowed for a while and then rained and then snowed and then rained and then……well, you get the picture. I love snow, but I’m still not ready for winter to take its cold, icy grip over Minnesota yet. I’d much like to enjoy at least another few weeks of 40 and 50 degree weather, but we may not be that lucky.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Worst Tournament Ever

I can easily say, without a doubt in my mind, that I have now had the worst tournament experience in any sport in my life this last weekend. I’ve had basketball tourneys in the past that I’ve not had fun at. I’ve not enjoyed disc tournaments in the past before, but never, ever have I hated a tournament as much as I hated Hallowinona this year.

Hallowinona is an annual frisbee tournament in Winona. Every year it’s been a lot of fun and our team has had a great time. We usually take a couple of teams from SJU and CSB every year because almost all of our club players go. This year was no different; we had 2 men’s teams and 1 women’s team. I was asked to play on the non-competitive team this year by our team captain. I really didn’t want to since it was going to be my last SJU tourney and I wanted to play hard in my last games here, but I guess our captain thought it better if he kept me off of the main team since I wouldn’t be here next semester. That topic is a beef to discuss another time, however.

I played B team with a bunch of SJU freshmen and some SJU alums (it was good to see those guys again). Our pool of teams, through wonderful scheduling, didn’t have any official fields to play on. To rectify our not having fields, they sent us down to a baseball field where we set up a playing field in the outfield (wow, the word field sure did come up a lot in that sentence). Anyhow, we waited for the teams we were supposed to play to show up. No one did. It turns out that the University of Minnesota’s opponents didn’t show up either, so we decided we’d play a game.

It was a great game that we came out winning 15-14. I had a great time, although the playing field was pretty crappy. There had recently been a lot of work done on the outfield so there was sections that were soft and others hard so it was a rough one on the ankles. After that we thought our opponents, or any other team in our pool for that matter, would show up. No one did. A couple of our guys went to the main tent to find out what was going on. When they got back, they gave us the great news—the other teams decided to tap a keg at 10 am and were now all really drunk and stoned. We weren’t going to have any more games.

This left us all in a very bad mood. We didn’t really know what to do since we were supposed to play four games that day and we had only managed to get one in…against a team not even in our pool. As we were waiting one of our opponents did show up…with jugs of beer and reeking of marijuana. They wanted to play and we were supposed to play them so we did and beat them 8-1 in about 20 minutes. They pretty much gave up and left to go get more beer.

By this time it was already later afternoon (3-ish, I’m guessing) and we were all pretty fed up with the tourney. Our team decided to go join up with another team and see if they couldn’t get a few more games in with them. I didn’t go with because they had plenty of people to play (our team plus the guys on the team they were joining up with), but instead went to watch Kristin and the girls’ team. They don’t ever really have many fans watching them so I wanted to support them. I actually enjoyed watching them play, but it only made me more frustrated at how badly this tournament was run.

Sunday we were also “supposed” to have games, but they simply didn’t schedule any for our B team. Because of that, most of our B guys, including myself, went home Saturday night. It was a long, dreary, 3.5 hour long drive home to SJU from Winona. To make it worse, it rained most of the way from Winona to the cities and then it switched to light snow the rest of the way home. I went to bed very frustrated and very disappointed, mostly because this was my last SJU tournament and everything seemed to conspire against me. I really wish I would have been playing A team, which would have made for a great weekend, but it didn’t work out that way.

Before the tournament, everything was going great for the weekend too. I had stopped by at home Friday and spent the day with my family. I got to play with Karma, our dog, and wrestle the crap out of Ryan. I brought back Krispy Kreme and we just had a nice, relaxing evening. Why did everything have to get so screwed up with the tourney? I don’t know, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I know that’s just a cop out, but it helps me to feel a little less frustrated with how things went.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Costumed Frisbee

Well, today I head home for a quick visit with the family before speeding off to Winona tomorrow morning for frisbee. I think my ankle will be fine for playing on. It’s not really swollen at all and it’s working fine with just a little minor soreness.

For our tournament, which is cleverly named “Hallowinona”, the teams are supposed to dress up in Halloween costumes. The girls’ team is going as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while the men’s team are going as their favorite superheroes. The guys’ team has a nice assortment of superheroes, but we seem to have a lot of Supermen and Batmen. I was thinking of being Batman, but on hearing that there already was a bunch, I’ve decided to go as the Crow. I have a bunch of black and white face paint from last year’s Rogue Squad game that I figured I could use. If it doesn’t work out for being the Crow, Kristin has some green foundation for her turtle costume that I could use to be the Hulk. All I’d have to do is cover myself in green and rip up some jeans.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Twisting My Ankle Again

Sometimes, my timing for things is simply impeccable. This weekend SJU has a disc tournament in Winona. I’ll be heading up the “B” team. I would have liked to have played on the competitive team, but I guess they’d rather have the old guy on the “B” team since he won’t be here come spring time like the rest of the competitive squad. It should be fun, however, simply because there will be a few alums playing with us.

Anyhow, back to my timing. Since we have this tourney this coming weekend, I’ve been trying to put in some miles running this week to make sure I can hold up to a weekend of playing. Yesterday, since it was pretty nice outside, I decided it would be a great idea to run around the lake out to the chapel and back. What I didn’t take into account was that all of the leaves have fallen off most of the trees in the woods. Since all the leaves were down, the path, which contained many big rocks and roots, was obscured. On my way out towards the chapel—twist!—I manage to step on a rock wrong and roll my ankle over.

I’ve always had a lot of trouble with my ankle and rolling it. It usually happens just when I don’t want it to either. It’s happened right before I got to college when I could have done cross country. I managed to roll it during our alumni basketball tourney 2 years ago. I’ve mildly injured it at other points of my life when I needed my mobility, and now I’ve lightly sprained it again. Lady luck likes to keep me down, doesn’t she?

I think it should be pretty good by Saturday, though. This morning it was alright. Mostly just turning motions cause any pain. I’m fine walking, but I’m not going to try and running until Saturday morning. Let’s hope all goes well so that you don’t have to hear me complaining again come Monday.

Now, on the bright side of things, I got back my ImClone case study paper for my Business Ethics class. I pulled off an “A”, thank goodness. So far, this is my strongest class, but I think the reason for that is it is also my easiest class. Most days I can’t stand going to it because it’s full of idiots that actually think they know things. Yesterday, one person in class decided that one of the past tense conjugations of the verb “take” was “tooken”. Honestly, tooken?? Didn’t anyone ever teach him the words taken or took? Maybe he was just expressing his ungodly intelligence and created a new word……or maybe he’s just an idiot.

This is the same class where the concept of probability and statistics had to be explained to a student because he didn’t get what they were. The kicker is that after it was explained to him, he still couldn’t understand the concept. If I hadn’t gone into this class expecting to learn something, I’d love this class simply because of how comical half of the crap that people say is. Thank goodness I won’t be at this class on Friday. I’ll be heading home on my way to Winona. Yay!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Seriously Terrible...

Why, oh why, do student workers always have to be so utterly incompetent that you wonder how they got into college in the first place? I thought that all the idiot students were supposed to be working in the food services jobs on campus. Instead, though, SJU managed to put a good majority of their dim-witted student workers into the post office on campus.

SJU has an odd setup for how mail is handled. We have an actual post office run by competent postal employees. This is where we go to mail packages and buy postage and all that good stuff. We also have our boxes where we get our mail and a little mini-office for picking up our packages. This section of the mail service on campus, however, is ran by student workers—not by the post office employees. The post office workers send all of the students’ mail over to the student run post office for them to take care of. The only time we’d have to go to the actual post office to get something is if we needed to sign for it or if there was delivery confirmation.

Here’s some of my problems with the campus run service. First, they’re not open on Saturdays, so as opposed to every other post office in the frickin’ United States, we don’t get mail on Saturdays. There have been many times I’ve had a package come in on Saturday, but I’ve been forced to wait until Monday to get it. I guess administration just figures students don’t pick up mail on Saturdays or something.

The second problem I have with the student run post office is that we are constantly getting advertisements and solicitations from campus groups. This would be fine—if they were addressed to us. They never are. There’s never any address on them. It’s illegal for postal workers to put mail into a person’s box unless it is addressed to them. Our campus just glosses over that little fact, but I suppose they justify what they’re doing by saying the student run post office isn’t actually a USPS sanctioned post office. It’s bothered me a little less over time, however, since I decided my sophomore year to just throw everything not addressed to me back through the slot. They can pick it up later.

My next problem with the mail service is they don’t properly take care of your packages. When you get a package that won’t fit in your little box, they put a card with a number on it in your box. You go to the window and they give you your package that matches that number. A little while back, when they were making the cards for the morning, they accidentally made two for the same number. My package and another kid’s package both had the same number. When the other kid went up to get his package, the student worker noticed that there were two packages with that number. Instead of simply comparing the student’s name with name on the package, he opened both of the packages and asked what it was the student was expecting. The next day I came to get my package and it was opened up. I asked why and they explained this to me. What the hell?!?! Since when did they have a right to open my mail? Isn’t that illegal in some way? I’m sure it is.

Now, for my last problem. I recently had a package come in with delivery confirmation. When that happens, the student workers are supposed to give you a card telling you to go to the main post office to pick it up. My package came in on the 16th. I was stopping by the real post office to mail a package yesterday, the 21st, when the employee there asked if I had brought my card. I wondered what he was talking about and he brought up a package for me. I never got a card in my student box. It turns out they simply “forgot” to put my card in my box. It had just been sitting on their counter, not put in my box. Honestly, can you get any more incompetent?

I’ve eventually waiting for the day that I order something and it just never shows up in my box. They’ll probably guess there’s something cool inside the box, open it, and then forget to give me my package card. God, I hate the student workers in the post office. I hate ‘em, I hate ‘em, I hate ‘em!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Turbo Weiner

My updates are becoming more and more sporadic, aren’t they? I wonder what excuse I can churn out this time to justify it? Umm, let’s see—our campus was taken over by intelligent, oversized tomato people who commandeered all computing devices on campus in order that we didn’t use the internet to find out their secrets? No, didn’t work for you? How about this: A secret government agency has recruited me to assassinate martians that are inhabiting the wood of St. John’s? Ok, so you’re not going to buy any of them. I’ll be honest, I’ve just simply been really busy and my website sometimes gets forgotten, but I really wish I didn’t forget about it so much because I really enjoy writing.

This week has managed to be busy with Ryan coming up to visit for MEA break. Kristin went and met my mom, grandma, and Ryan in Burnsville on Thursday to bring him back since I had classes until 5:30 pm. I’ve had a great time with him up here and kind of wish that he was another roommate. Thursday we simply hung out at my apartment for the night and got right down to business by ordering Gary’s pizza for Ryan. He loves it almost as much as I do and I finally had an excuse to blatantly ignore my push for healthy eating and splurge on some greasy pizza. So the night was spent eating pizza, playing Mortal Kombat (which Ryan is unbeatable at), and just chilling out.

Friday, I didn’t have work or class. MEA weekend for the prep school and my prof had to take care of his kid because his wife had to go somewhere. I don’t remember the details—all I needed to know was that I didn’t have class or work and that made me happy! Ry and I were initially going to go into St. Cloud, but instead we stayed on campus, got his hair cut, watched Matrix: Reloaded (since he’d never seen it), played some more video games, went to play frisbee on the football field, and then proceeded to eat as much free Gary’s pizza as we could. The frisbee club sponsored a night of frisbee and pizza for the campus on the football field at 10 pm. Since the field isn’t lighted very well, they had light-up frisbees to use. We didn’t play in the actual games because there were so many drunk people just goofing around, but instead we threw around ourselves while taking breaks watching the drunk people and getting a good laugh.

A quick note on Matrix: Reloaded. I know I’ve already seen it and reviewed it on the reviews page when it came out, but I must note that I found it even more pointless the second time I watched it. Tthe acting was even worse the second time around as well. I found myself making way too many MST3K comments throughout, which is never a good sign for a movie. The action was still decent, but I noticed many little things this time that annoyed me, mostly the “smooth” Agent Smiths and Neo in the multi-smith fight and the obvious blue-screen work on the highway scene. I really am going to keep my hopes low for the last Matrix movie, but I’m also secretly hoping it ties together all the crap that was expounded in Reloaded.

Yesterday Ryan, Kristin, and I did make a trip into town. We stopped by the comic shop since the latest issue of Kristin’s series, Exiles, came out. We then stopped at her place so Ryan could say hi to Fozzy again (their big, brown Labradoodle) and Kristin could talk with her parents about doing dinner today. We then made our obligatory lap around the mall where Ryan picked up ATV Quad Power Racing 2 for the Xbox. He had been wanting to pick it up for a long time since he loves 4-wheelers, but it hadn’t dropped into the under $20 price range yet. I think it goes without saying that he spent a good portion of the night playing Xbox (along with eating Gary’s for the third straight night—that has to be some kind of record).

Now it’s Sunday morning and after the Vikings beat up Denver I have to take Ry back to Burnsville to meet mom so he can go home. I’m not really looking forward to the drive, since I hate to drive, but I suppose it’s better than driving him all the way back to Hayfield and then coming back. It was a great weekend having him up and I do hope that he manages to come up and visit quick again sometime before this semester is over since I’ll be all done with college come December. AHHHH, it’ll be here too soon! I’ve really got to dedicate more time to getting my time machine to work……

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Just Shut Up

I have received my first test back in my law class, in which I got a “B”. For most people that’s not bad. For me it’s definitely not good enough. Since this was not a stellar grade for me, I asked to talk with the professor about what I could possibly do to achieve a higher grade in the future.

Hold on, let me back up for a second. Back in class when he was handing back the tests to everyone, a fellow student and I noticed that a good chunk of the tests were clumped together in the “B” range and there wasn’t much divergence from that range. I looked through my test, hoping that my prof would have explained what I was missing, but there wasn’t a single word written on the test. There was simply the score at the top and a few sentences underlined or check marked (probably to note that I touched upon a certain concept).

Now, back to where I was before. We sat down to look over my test. He reread most of it and told me that they were good essays. I hadn’t missed anything or left anything out—they were good, but just not good enough. Hoping for a better explanation, I asked for further elaboration upon what he meant by that—did I need more text citations, more developed thoughts, added points of view, or other things he might have been looking for. He told me that I wasn’t missing any of them and again that I did a good job, it just wasn’t there in that “A” category. The only real advice I did get out of him is that I need to state the difficulty of the question as I’m answering it. Hmm…ok, that helps lots. It was simply frustrating to get a mediocre grade, but not have been given a justification for that grade. At least I know that on future tests for each question I should preface my answer with, “This is a terribly tough question that can only be adequately answered by the almighty gods of the law, but I, a poor, puny human being, will now attempt to put forth an answer that will appease your thirst for perfect knowledge.”

On the plus side, however, at least I know that I’m doing well in my sociobiology/evolutionary ethics class. My first paper was one of the top 5 scores in the class of about 25, so I can’t really complain. I have come to really appreciate that class and have taken quite an interest in it. I think it also helps that it is my only class on the days that I have it, whereas I have my other three classes on the opposite days. Since I only have that one class on days like today, I can give a lot more focus on that topic instead of splitting it three ways like I have to on the other days.

As for fun stuff, I recently picked up Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance for the Xbox. I wanted a new fighter to play since I was getting sick of having the crap kicked out of me at Tao Feng by Kristin. I couldn’t pass this up as it was on sale for $15. It was really funny, though, that when I was at Electronics Boutique the guy that works there (who I might add is the most pushy and annoying person in the world) kept trying to push all these expensive titles on me.

“Hey, I see you’re eyeing Mortal (he didn’t want to say the entire name of the game for some reason). Why don’t you pick up Soul Caliber II? It’s way better.”

“No thanks, I’m kind of strapped for cash and don’t have that much to spend right now. What do you think of Mortal Kombat?”

“Oh, Mortal is a great game, a really good fighter, but I know that you’d really want Soul Caliber”

“Naw, remember that I don’t have that much money to spend.”

“Tell you what, you can get a used copy for only $45 instead of the $50 new price.”
“Sorry, I’m just not interested in spending that much money on a video game. Can you please just check me out?”

“Ok, that’s cool. I understand what you’re saying. Now do you want to join our frequent buyers club? It’s only $10 and you get a magazine and a discount and………blah blah blah.”

(Trying to cut him off so I could leave) “Umm..no…….uh, I really……..that doesn’t…….NO THANK YOU!”

About 15 minutes later I finally get to leave. If there was ever a more pushy retail store worker in the world, I sure would not want to meet him. I wonder if he knows that by trying to push all his crap on me that I’m probably going to go out of my way to eventually buy those titles somewhere else? Maybe I should tell him that next time I stop by…or maybe I should just cold-cock him so he shuts up. Eh, I suppose I’ll just have to stick to ignoring him……

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Mid Semester Break

Last week, and even now on my long weekend break, I’ve been utterly swamped by the sheer amount of homework I have had to do. On Wednesday, I had two papers due, one on the Waksal and ImClone insider trading case and the other on the philosophy involved in law interpretation. Since I was at the comic convention and disc tourney last weekend, I was left to finish those two papers (along with the plethora of reading I have to do every day) on Monday and Tuesday. Luckily, I finished them both, but in doing so I put off much of my other reading.

That other reading has occupied almost the entire evening and afternoon yesterday. I had nearly 250 pages of philosophy text to read, one article review to write and one paper on Leibniz and Spinoza to write. I finished almost all of the reading, but I haven’t started the paper yet. I’ll probably work on that some tonight after my volleyball game. It’s amazing how much time my reading for classes actually takes up. I suppose it also doesn’t help that I’m also in a reading group studying Thomas Khun’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It’s an interesting take on how we should view science, but I don’t think it is nearly as revolutionary as many modern philosophers have said it to be.

Anyhow, now that I’ve finished my complaining about how much I have to do (yes, I do realize that many of you out there probably have it worse than me, but I definitely know there are also some of you out there who don’t have nearly as much as I do to do), I can talk about the fun stuff! This has been SJU’s long weekend—we get Thursday and Friday off as a mid-semester break. It’s hard to believe that half of this semester is already over, and with it, half of my final semester of college experience. Eek! Scary! I don’t really want to talk about that anymore…

So Kristin came home with me for Wednesday night through Saturday morning. We had a wonderful couple of lazy days. We also managed to get a lot of stuff accomplished. We watched a couple of movies, read a bunch of comic books (she’s now starting the X-Men series that debuted in the early 90’s while I’m still reading New X-Men and Weapon X). We went for some walks, tried to play frisbee in the wind, and even took the 4-wheeler out for a spin. It was so dry out that when we got in, we were covered in dust and our hair felt like it was straw.

When we took the 4-wheeler out, I wanted to take Kristin to see how harvest works, but we’d finished the field close to our place and moved about 6 miles away. She got lucky, however, in that when we went to pick up my car from the shop (it was having all of its filters changed), we stopped at Grandma and Grandpa Gebhardt’s place (which is also the home farm) and caught dad while he was in between loads. Since he was on his way back out to the field, we hopped a ride with him so that we could show Kristin the harvest equipment. Now that she has seen the farm life, she can no longer be thought of as 100% city girl—she’s down to 97.2%.

The only downer about being home for those few days is that I didn’t get to see my family a whole lot. Dad was busy with harvest, Ryan was in school, and Mom had to work 11 hours both days. Since they weren’t around, I thought I’d make their days a little easier and I cooked every meal that we were home. One time we had chicken stuffing, corn, and onion rings. Another meal we had chicken stir fry and garlic bread. Another we had pork chops, stuffing, bread sticks. The last meal I made was hamburgers, green beans, and bread sticks. I can honestly say that I don’t mind cooking at all, in fact, I quite enjoy it. If only I could be a stay at home dad in the future, that would be the life for me……

Now break is over and I have to return to the grind. It was nice to have a couple of lazy days off, but I think I needed a couple more. I suppose I should finish off my homework now this morning because I have to go get a haircut this afternoon and then I’m going to Kristin’s place for supper before my volleyball game.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Comic Craziness

I have just finished typing a substantial amount of writing so if this thought is a little hodge-podge, forgive me. I have two papers due tomorrow and another writing that I had to finish for today so I’ve been quite busy (especially since I was gone all weekend and couldn’t work on anything then). Speaking of the weekend, it was pretty sweet.

As most of you know, on Saturday Kristin and I went the FallCon comic book convention at the Minnesota state fairgrounds in St. Paul. They had everything housed in the education building, which was just large enough to hold all of the vendors and artists that were there. When we first arrived we bought our tickets (it cost $9 to get in, but it was well worth it) and were given a grab bag of stuff. In my grab bag I got some sweet comics—mostly JLA and Thunderbolts. Kristin got a few X-Men comics (which she was quite happy about) and a Batman one she gave to me.

Once we got in, we decided to make the buying run first and look at the exhibits later so that way everything wasn’t picked over and all of the good books gone. I managed to get a bunch of stuff that I needed for less than $50. I bought the entire New X-Men run from issue 114 to 140, about 10 random Batman back issues, the Wolverine Xisle miniseries, and three graphic novels—Ghost Rider Resurrected, Cable (his origin collected into one volume), and The Trial of Superman. Each of those books carried a $20 retail price tag and I got all of them for $9. I really, REALLY wish that I had more money to spend while I was there because I could have gotten so many comics that I’ve wanted for so long cheaper than anywhere I’ve ever seen. I guess I’ll just have to remember to save a lot of money for next year’s show.

Kristin also got a few things while she was there. She bought a Psylocke action figure and a Wolverine metal action figure. She also got a few X-Men comics to read. After I’d used up my money, we looked through all of the original art that they had on display and also looked through all of the toy displays that they had. It’s amazing how much the toys that we played with as kids are selling for now. One Gargoyle figure that Kristin wanted was selling for $20. Insane!

All in all the show was a lot of fun and we found some sweet deals. I’d tell you more (and I might tomorrow), but I really have to get back to my papers. Man, I can’t wait for tomorrow since we have a long weekend break—no class on Thursday or Friday!

Friday, October 03, 2003

Pizza, Boobs, and Piano

I have just been issued my first test in my philosophy of law class. I’m not a pre-law major, I only really have a cursory knowledge of how judicial reviews work, and I’ve only had one other class that’s touched upon law. Knowing that, it’s easy to see why I’m somewhat baffled at our first test. I’ve read over the questions and right now I don’t know exactly how I’m going to respond because I don’t know exactly what I should be looking to include. Oh, yeah, by the way, it’s a take home exam, which is why I’m pondering it so much at the moment. To alleviate my worries of that test, I took most of last night off to go to a few activities on campus.

The first was a movie about women, their breasts, and what they mean. I shouldn’t lie, only part of me actually wanted to see the movie—I mostly went because they had free pizza. The movie was interesting, but it wasn’t really very enlightening. I was hoping to find out deep insights into the psyche of women concerning their breasts, but instead it was a bunch of women talking about boobs and the different topics that related to boobs (size, cancer, bras, etc.). I was actually disappointed by it because it didn’t seem to be very deep, but I’m sure many of the guys there didn’t care because they were just there to see some boobs.

It was really weird because the entire time I was watching the movie, I really didn’t have much of a reaction to seeing boobs up on the big screen. They were just there—a part of the movie. Afterwards I was thinking to myself that this was an interesting reaction, that of indifference. If I was 14 and saw this movie I probably would have been intently staring at the screen while thinking, “Oh my God, oh my God, it’s boobs. Real life boobs. Wow, I’m looking at boobs right now. Look at them, boobs Boobs BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS!”. I really think this is one of the few times in the last few years that I’ve contemplated how much I have grown up since my early teenage years. Most of the time I have a difficult job of seeing a difference, but I know I’ve changed (even though I still do act like I’m 12 some of the time).

After the breasts & pizza experience, Kristin and I went to see Fr. Bob Koopmann’s piano recital. It was a very good performance and I enjoyed it immensely. He played a great variation of pieces, including two that he composed himself. Some of the pieces he played were traditional (Beethoven and Chopin), some were jazzy, others very non-traditional, and one where he not only played the piano via the keys, but also plucked the strings on the inside of the piano, which was very interesting, and in my opinion extremely beautiful.

I did feel a tad bit hypocritical while I was at the piano recital because I hadn’t had a chance to dress up before hand. I had come directly from the breasts and pizza presentation over to the piano recital so I was still in a sweater and semi-old pants while wearing a cap. I didn’t have time to dress up before the breasts presentation because I had just gotten in from a run, and I also forgot that I was going to the piano recital right after the breasts presentation. I really dislike people that attend fine arts performances not dressed up, and last night I was one of those people.

So, tomorrow is the big day. The FallCon in the Twin Cities. I’m so looking forward to it and I hope that I manage to come home with an armful of comics from the show. I’m also hoping I can snag a bunch of free stuff while I’m there. I’ll give you the big rundown when I get back. Maybe I’ll even have some pictures (Lord knows, it’s been a while since I’ve had new pictures to put up).

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

We Need a New Social Class

Oh yes, my friends, it is only 3 days now until the FallCon in St. Paul. For all of you out there who aren’t avid comic book geeks, this is a convention of comic creators, dealers, and fans. It’s a great time to meet writers and artists, while at the same time get some good deals on comics from the varied dealers that will be there.

Kristin and I plan on being ├╝ber-geeks for the day so please don’t make fun of us too much :-) You wouldn’t believe some of the weird looks and responses we’ve received from people here on campus that we’ve told we were going to a comic book convention. Most often people will ask me why I’d drag Kristin along to something so dorky. It’s at that point that she so kindly explains to them that she actually wants to go. I really think that it’s hard for people to see girls as liking some things that are stereotypically male in our society.

Comic books are a great example of this. I didn’t know any girls before Kristin in my entire lifetime that read comics. I often wonder what the actual percentage of comic readers are female? I would guess it’s extremely low. We’ll probably find out this weekend when we see the prevailing gender at the show. Are comic books simply something seen as a male, computer geek, “I don’t have a life” hobby? Unfortunately, that stereotype rings true more often than I want to admit. For that simple reason, I’ve often hid my “inner dork” so that I wouldn’t be lumped into that category of guys that stay up, talk like half-elves, watch Star Trek religiously, and spend more time on their computer than socializing.

Oddly, I love half-elves…well, actually full elves (they’re my character of choice in most RPG’s), I did watch Star Trek religiously (up until Voyager, which blew horrendously), I do love to play video games, and my job over the summer had me spending around 8 hours a day in front of a computer. Still, I don’t consider myself a dork. I play on the ultimate frisbee club team here at college, play volleyball three nights a week, work out, put in about 10 miles of running a week. If you knew only that, would you lump me into the category of jock?

Beyond that I am going to school for my philosophy degree, I participate outside of class in many philosophical groups, I read philosophy and classical literature for fun, and to pursue, eventually, a master’s degree in this field. Knowing only that, would you classify me as an intellectual? Now, knowing everything, what category do I necessarily fall into? I guess I’m just a part of each category and depending on the situation, I’m judged according to which category I appear to be a part of at the time.

Now let’s get back to the topic I was discussing before, are some things simply odd for women to do, like read comics or play video games? That’s another think Kristin does, and does well as evidenced by her continual domination over me in a good portion of fighting games (especially Tao Feng). I was initially very surprised that Kristin had a “boy-ish”, “dork-ish” side to her and it caught me off guard, but now it just seems so natural for me to come home and she’s sitting down playing Bloodrayne or reading the latest issue of Exiles.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I have come to really dislike the constant grouping of people into certain categories. We all do it every day, but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like the concept of it. I wonder if there will ever be a group of intellectual jock-nerds to surface in the near future? Maybe I’ll have to start that stereotype……