‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

I’m feeling quite a bit sleep-deprived, but energized, listening to old Cake albums on Rhapsody, on this day-after-Christmas; a little chicken-shit on the side too. I don’t understand why I’m so afraid of chatting with girls online, that’s gotta be one of the lowest-pressure situations out there. (I’m feeling rather hyphen-y tonight too, it seems)


Me, cropped from a photo taken July, 2004 at Mysterium: Toronto. To be used in my profile.

Merry Christmas!


Creating a Paper Trail in the Snow

So…Yes. The term is ending Wednesday, and I’m writing my final government paper tonight that’s due tomorrow morning. This will be (I’m fairly certain) the first multi-page paper I’ll actually complete for a college class. So, that’s good. I’m just afraid that I’m quoting a bit too directly and will get an F for the course for plagiarizing. I’m not really able to care that much, because it’s only a business school, and I’m hoping standards may be a bit lower than a state University. I’m a pretty good writer, but I need to balance having something to turn in
against doing my best not to plagiarize. I’m fairly certain that I have enough extra credit points in this class to offset the two zeros on the papers. Anyway, it’s an elective class, so that’s enough of that one.

In my programming class, I’ve got no clue what the final’s going to be like. My teacher set no due dates for programming assignments, and didn’t follow a schedule for the class at all. It’s going to be either creating a new program, modifying a working program, or fixing a broken program. We didn’t do any fixing broken programs per se before, so I don’t know.

We ended up only spending about two weeks on the last chapter, when the previous ones got at least three weeks. I could probably get the gist of whatever programming we have to do, but am I sure that what I do will be mistake free? Absolutely not. This is my first programming language course, and I could have used a bit more structure in my teaching environment to feel comfortable.

Over the weekend, I complained to my brother that we hadn’t seen appreciable amounts of snow yet this year, so what happens last night? Lake effect snow moves in, dumping near a foot
of snow by my house, well over that much not far away. Digging my car out after class and then
shoveling the driveway was not quite the welcome to winter I would have liked. So, my fingers are cramping, and I need to add a few more paragraphs to my paper, so, time to go.


Short Shifts

Friday evening…went to Andrew’s and installed Visual Studio there…Watched Foster’s…had
institutional-style chicken strips and fries…went to improv, had a decent time, and almost
participated this time…ran into someone I knew while I was a student there…watched Anchorman, was funny if you enjoy Will Farrell…came back home.

Saturday…got up at 12…went to brunch with dad and Andrew…listened to PSU football on radio as drove Andrew back to dorm…mildly surprised to lose 6-4…did some homework…mowed lawn and raked leaves…smells of fall on the air…went to hockey game…Otters played well enough to win 4-3, several fights, some penalties not called that should have been, some called that should not have been…Saw the Hanson brothers…of Slapshot fame, not the teenybopper singers…announced their appearance as mock trade of three otters players to chorus of boos…Hanson’s proceeded to mock-fight with referee and backup goalie of visiting team…glorification of violent hockey, meeting with my disproval…came out again after 1st period, pulled by Zamboni, did laps to applause, then shot t-shirts into crowd…not that big a deal…line for autographs extended full length of one wing of the arena…played Syberia 2 and watched end of world series game 1 and Sox win.

Sunday…more Syberia 2…watched some NASCAR and football and baseball…lots of homework to do tomorrow, but will manage…END TRANSMISSION…


Sunset on the Bluff

This is a 15 minute free-writing exercise I had to do last week for my composition class. The prompt I chose to write about was to describe the special place you go for rest and relaxation. I thought it turned out pretty well, and I haven’t posted anything here in a long time, so here it is.

Just two blocks from my house is a steep bluff that overlooks a bay on Lake Erie made by the Presque Isle peninsula. A street goes along its length, but back from the bluff far enough to provide a small, pleasant grassy area to stroll along, gazing at dandelions, or chase lightning bugs, or quietly watch the sunset. The face of the bluff is covered with trees, their tall, stately trunks reaching straight up to the sky for every last ray of sunshine. As you look across the water of the bay, the peninsula stretches its long arm across the horizon, a demarcation line between water and sky.

The most relaxing time to come to the bluff is fifteen or twenty minutes before sunset, so you can watch as it slowly sinks down from its perch in the sky. The sun by this time is a glowing, golden orb, and the sky around it is splashed with colors. Deep red, majestic purple, pink and orange are spilling from the sun into the sky. It is a performance more emotionally powerful than any fireworks or laser show a person could dream of. Seeing this play of light is most restful and relaxing.

© 2004 phaedrus220 (a pseudonym)


There and back again.

Today marks the beginning of week three of term two at EBC for me. Spring break has come and gone; now I’m in full swing, taking five classes this term. Mondays and Fridays, I’m taking classes on operating systems and computer concepts, as well as Intro to Business. Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s Accounting and Keyboarding/math and English skill development. My toughest class is accounting, since that’s brand new to me; all the rest are fairly straightforward, putting a decent amount of work into completing the assignments for as many points as possible and gleaning what little new information is available. My intro to business prof came out and said the first day of classes that students had to work hard to fail his class. It’s amazing how little I’m doing in there compared to my other classes. That’s not to say that my computer classes are hard. I’m just going through the motions at present, but the teacher’s actually teaching for 90 minutes in my computer classes.

I’ve been stressed about money lately though. I’m still not quite sure how much of this term’s bill I’ll be paying now or with loans and grants later. Supposedly, the money I’ll be getting for fall term will also roll back to pay off my summer term, but the forms I filled out were for a school year ending this August. Oh well. I’m not even really the one footing the bill for what I owe right now; I’m borrowing money from my dad for school which is stretching the family’s already tight funds pretty thin.

The medical insurance industry can go suck eggs for all I care. For the past few years, my dad’s insurance had been supplied by a Blue Cross-related company, and mom’s kidney transplant treatment has been overseen by the Cleveland Clinic. Now, for whatever reason, at the beginning of this year, the company’s switched to UMPC, based in Pittsburgh, and all of mom’s progress has been effectively rubbed out. Now she’s gotta retake many of the tests she took in Cleveland in Pittsburgh. Then there’s the question of which of the doctors we’ve been going to are also covered in the new plan. Major headache, that.

I’ve started pursuing orthodontics and/or oral surgery to fix my teeth. Well, dad’s got a bug in his bonnet to pursue it, and it’s not a bad idea. I’ve just been going along with how things were. It wouldn’t be bad to get this fixed, I’d just have to pretend I’d broken my jaw playing hockey to make having my jaw wired shut seem less than depressing. Plus two or so years of braces. We’ll see how this goes, I haven’t committed yet.

Speaking of hockey, Erie didn’t get the 2005 Memorial Cup. Surprise, surprise! London, Ontario, and their 2 year old 9000 seat arena will get the honor. I know we need a new building before the city gets serious consideration for a tournament of this importance to the Canadian people. Still, it stung a bit when we didn’t get named. We’ll just have to play our way into the tournament, and see how those northerners like us then.

So anyway, things are pretty steady, all things considered. I’m working on the things I can do something about, and letting everything else settle itself out. Goodness knows, this won’t be anywhere near the new character limit, but it’s what I’ve got to say, and I’ve said it.


Brain Burp

If you can believe it, my first term at EBC is nearing an end. There are just ten more class days left. Today was hard to get going for though. I’ve got a lingering clogged sinus condition that’s either an infection or the beginnings of my spring allergies. So last night, I had no energy, even after an afternoon nap, which, honestly, was catch-up for not sleeping well the night before. Anyway, I did a bit of reading and half a review assignment for Pro Development, and lay down on the couch to listen to the Otters game on the radio around 8. I just didn’t feel like doing anything and went to bed at 9, figuring I’d get up at 6 to finish up the stuff that had to be done for today.

I woke up right at 6 with my alarm, but really didn’t want to do the morning preparation routine, had to get angry with myself, just to get in the shower. But I did shower, and printed out some references for the research part of my interview in Speech Comm, and decided to put off for one more day the thing that’s been due for Pro Development. Basically what I fight in the mornings is my anxiety about being at class unprepared, once I get there and work at class, I feel ok. PD class was chapter review as usual, and I headed to the caff. for juice and a doughnut while I prepared for my Sp. Comm. interview.

As part of the interview, each student had to decide if our textbook’s definition and in chapter description accurately described extemporaneous speaking, which it didn’t, and we had to explain why. I did some pretty half-assed research, but was able to use personal experience with ASL, so that didn’t go too bad. The rest of the interview was fairly normal, but lack of prep make me nervous, and I could hear myself say “um, eh, ahh.” etc. though I didn’t notice until the “words” were out of my mouth. Oh well.

When people weren’t being interviewed, we were put in groups to work on our speeches, but the groups I was near ended up talking mostly about having kids, being pregnant, etc. Pretty much a blow-off class. On my way to State Street for the bus, the rain that was sprinkling off and on today had turned into icy little windblown pellets. Not fun, but what can one do? It’s an early spring day in Erie. The day got better after I got home, I went out to Taco Bell, and got one of their new and improved taco salads with lime seasoned tortilla strips and a tub of salsa. Dad had one of them a few days ago, and the couple bites I mooched off were quite tasty, so I splurged on a feel-good meal for myself today.

While I ate, I copied some cd’s onto the computer, and tried to get the album information from the internet, but Surf Erie’s being snarky and only connecting sporadically, and when it connects, it’s only in the 20 Kb range or lower. So that was frustrating, but no big deal in the scheme of things.

Now the little pellets have become some rather large and wet snowflakes. They aren’t sticking to the ground, but they’re pretty to look at. This weekend is going to be some “me” time: going to Behrend’s performance of Little Shop Of Horrors Friday, the Otters Game 2 Saturday, but I do need to get my informative speech written before then. Let’s see if the internet will work long enough for me to post this.

* nope. I wasn’t able to post this yet, so I’ll add to my play-by-play on the day since I ended my post

I played a couple games in my season of NHL 2003 after I finished writing. Good fun. Won one game, lost one by one goal. But who cares about that? Shortly after that was dinner. Ham, noodles in butter sauce, and mixed veggies. Not bad, it was good to have a sit-down dinner at the dining table with the ‘rents instead of in front of the tv.

After dinner we drove out to Office Max where I got some supplies for Pro Dev. projects and ink cartridges, then off to Borders for a browse. After much looking and debating, I got a book of stories from NHL players (who would’ve guessed?). I think when the next NHL season starts, I’ll buy a guidebook. It looks like a valuable resource, but now that this season’s practically over, the data is old. Looked at a Hellboy “graphic novel.” I don’t know how they can get away with charging $18 for a comic book, even full color on fairly glossy paper. I think I’m just getting old and cynical.

It felt good to just fart around on the computer and browse the office supply and book stores. A valuable bit of stress relief. It’s nine o’clock, and the internet still isn’t working. I can connect now, but I can’t load any pages. I guess this’ll just have to sit on my e*desktop overnight and hope for access tomorrow. I’m feeling a bit of internet withdrawal though; I haven’t been able to do my routine site visits or check email. It’s either related to this funky weather, a technical error with the ISP, or some jerk(s) think(s) it’s fun to disable the internet for April fool’s day. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.


I’m In! and Birthday Bash

Everything has come together. My new school accepted my loan application today, clearing the way for me to start classes on Monday. For the next eight weeks, I’ll be taking two classes a day, four days a week, working toward an associate degree in computer programming. The past 4 or five weeks have been really stressful regarding the whole school thing. In the back of my mind, I knew I would be accepted and could start classes, but being officially notified is always better. I’m also really emotional over the fact that I am going back to school at all. It’s something I was supposed to be doing almost exactly a year ago, but now I am doing it. So WHOOO!!! It feels so good to be doing something with my life now.

In other news, I turned twenty-four February 20th. Went with my dad and brother to the hockey game that night, and watched our boys play an amazing game that I can no longer remember the details of. On Saturday, a neighborhood friend who would be returning to Canada to get back to college the next day invited my brother and me on a day of fun and frolic that I sort of counted as a birthday celebration. First up was an early dinner at Max and Irma’s. Seating arrangements around the table, clockwise, starting at myself: my brother, a friend of K’s that she brought out of Canada to the States, K’s brother, her dad and mom. I had a delicious meatloaf sandwich with sautéed onions and the best restaurant mashed potatoes I’ve had in a long time, along with a bowl of soup that tasted verymuch like chicken quesedillas. Dinner was excellent, but was so large; I actually had to bring half of my sandwich along with me to the rest of the night’s activities, in which we proceeded to the local movie googolplex to watch Big Fish.

Big Fish was better than I expected, though I don’t really know what I was expecting. An interesting tale about a son who wants to learn the “truth” about a dying father who turned his life into a series of tall tales; it was quite entertaining, not too preachy, a solid film.

Oh, between dinner and the movie, there was about an hour to kill, so we all spent that time wandering the new location for the Sports Store next to the theatre. In the soccer equipment isle, my brother put a row of cones across the isle for the next person to come through to figure out.

After the store escapades and the movie we went back to K’s house. We played a rousing game of 3 on two foosball, K and her brother narrowly beating myself, my brother and J, K’s friend. After that we sat and talked about our various school experiences and played with the cats for a while. I had a great time and had fun hanging out with such fun people. I look forward to doing it again sometime in the near future.