Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Interview

I had an interview for an internship at Rosetta Stone Monday. Unfortunately, the only pants I had with me were Carhartt's, so my parents decided to get me a pair of nice pants to wear to the interview. Dad took me to Kohl's, and I was surprised to find that despite the fact that he's never taken either of his daughters clothes-shopping before, he has remarkably good taste in young women's clothing. Better than Mom, even. And of course, he didn't hesitate to ask the other women shopping around what they thought.

Incidentally, whoever came up with the way women's clothing sizes work needs a kick in the head. Men's sizes are nice and straight-forward: you know your waist and your in-seam and you know what size you are, whatever the brand is. But with women's clothing, some brands only have even sizes and some only have odd sizes. My Carhartt's are size 6, yet they're a little loose and very comfortable. The new pants I got Monday are size 9, but they're tighter than the Carhartt's. Another style of pants we looked at only had two sizes: 1 and 7. The 1 and the 7 both appeared to be exactly the same size, and both of them were so tight that I couldn't even zip them up. And seriously, what are the numbers supposed to be telling you, anyway? "Seven" isn't a measurement! It's just a random number the manufacturer's decided to assign the pants. It appears that the numbers are relative and vary based on brand and style, which makes them essentially useless.

Weird.

Anyway, the interview went okay. Interviews like this always remind me of how terribly not-at-all eloquent I am. Also, when I get nervous, my voice gets raspy unless I talk quietly, which pretty much ruined any air of self-confidence I could attempt to project. On the plus side, I asked good questions, and I'm convinced that I'd fit the position perfectly. The internship focuses on endangered languages, and of course, there are endangered languages all over Alaska. They're working on two projects up there now. Wouldn't it be sweet if I could work for Rosetta Stone and live in Alaska at the same time?

I admit, though, it was a little daunting walking back to the room where I was interviewed. The Rosetta Stone building is five stories tall. There are a LOT of people who work there, and all of them were in little cubicles working at computers. I've never before worked in a cubicle. I've never worked with so many other people before, either. I think if I got a job working in a cubicle, I'd be tempted to get a second job doing some kind of heavy labor like construction to get out all the extra energy built up from sitting at a computer. All. Day. Long.

Of course, of all the good questions I asked in the interview, I forgot one of the most important, which was, "When can you let me know whether or not I got the position?" Well, here's hoping they'll let me know within a few weeks so that I can make other summer plans if necessary.

This post has been brought to you by the word tacit.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to NOT EVER Write a Book

Apologies for not posting for the last few days. I had this book I needed to finish, which I won't tell you the title of because I'm going to put in some nonspecific spoilers. I need to be awake and alert tomorrow, but I opted to finish my book first. So here it is, almost two in the morning, and I just finished it. It was pretty good: exciting, intense, a little too introspective. I would have given it at least a solid B right up until the ending. Now I'm not sure whether to rage furiously or cry hysterically, because honestly, who ends a book by KILLING OFF THEIR MAIN CHARACTER??? Oh my GOSH!!! I mean, yeah, I know the book wasn't intended to have a sequel, but there's such a thing as going too far!!! I actually really LIKED this main character! For once, the author didn't feel it necessary to make the characters perfect all the time. The characters had flaws, and the bad guys were good guys too, because it wasn't a black and white, good and evil type of story. The book did a good job of showing how "bad guys" think they're "good guys," even though it usually isn't a question of "right" and "wrong" so much as how you're looking at the matter.

....and then the main character DIED!!!

What the HECK!!!!

*rant rant whine whine!!!* Main characters CAN'T die! They're immortal! That's how the story is told! Through the main character! I'm using too many exclamation marks in this paragraph! Allow me to take some calming breaths and try to remember where the . key is on my computer!

... ... ...

Ah, much better.

Anyway, where was I? Oh. Yeah. Well, anyway, it threw me off. I didn't want the main character to die. I liked the main character. I could actually relate to this one because of the character flaws. I really dislike books and movies and other stories where the main character is a perfect little victim. Of course, I also dislike books where the main character a total jerk. There's a balance. Must find the balance.

And of course, the danger with reading books that don't follow the traditional form (black and white, good and evil, good guy-bad guy) is that then the author deviates from other traditional forms of storytelling, namely, forms where the main character DOESN'T die a sudden, brutal, horrible death.

Anyway, I need to get some sleep now (yeah right), so this rant is now finished.

Feel free to agree with me. Or make a comment about chipmunks. But don't navigate away from this page without leaving a comment or you'll be the main character in my next story. :P

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It's only barely past midnight, so Santa will be falling into my Santa-trap any minute now and then I will rule the world! Um... I mean... ahem...

When I talk about "today" in this post, I'm referring to Christmas Eve, because it's only barely past midnight Christmas morning, so it doesn't count as being the next day yet.

Mom is apparently still determined to teach me how to cook. Yesterday, we did garlic chicken, twice-baked potatoes, and... I don't remember. Something else, I think. Today we did gingerbread, angel food cake, and chicken pot pie.

The angel food cake was by request--there's nothing in the world better than Mom's angel food cake. My sister agrees, and neither of us really celebrated our last birthday, so we had kind of a double birthday party today. No presents or ice cream, but we put 40 candles on the cake (19 for her, 21 for me) and then played Apples to Apples for like three hours. Well, I mean, we ate cake first. Not all of it. Not even half of it. But it won't last long. Everyone loves angel food cake.

Then after Mom and Dad went to bed, my sister and I--um, I mean Santa Claus--put up the ribbons across the doorway to our living room that's traditional to have every Christmas.

And now, for your viewing pleasure: Pictures! (captions underneath)

When Alaskans get bored, what do they do? Well, what else CAN they do? Sculpt ice!


DJ and I saw a UFO on the drive home from Raleigh. Weird, huh? (Insert scary music here.)


The onion volcano the chef made at Messaki. Masaki. That Japanese place. He gets to juggle, play with fire, AND play with his food, and he gets paid for it! Maybe I should look into majoring in culinary arts.


I tell you, my family's humor has just gone downhill since I was here last. Look at that dirty word on the board! Honestly, who would spell the word "crap" in 3D Scrabble? I ask you!


Just another friendly family game of Monopoly....

The funniest part was when everyone was in jail at once... except me. The turn after I took this picture, I landed on Just Visiting.

Lighting the 40 candles on our birthday cake. Even with three of us lighting candles, some of the frosting on top melted before we managed to blow them out.

That is a LOT of fire!

...which led to a LOT of smoke!

Mom and Dianna frolicking gaily. (How sweet, they're holding hands! See, they're not REALLY girl-wrestling.)

Putting up the ribbons. I mean... going over Santa's work.

Me and my cat. Just because. I love my cat.

Our Christmas tree, without a camera flash. I thought it made a coolish picture.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

New Header

Thanks again to Terrace for the awesome header!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

At the parents' house

Know what's great about being home? I'm on a normal-ish sleep schedule, I get healthy meals, and there's always something that needs to get done, so I'm always busy. But not stressed-busy, because not much of it is actually urgent.

So today I followed the parents around on a bunch of errands, and then I had a meeting with the Carpers, friends of the family that I make a Christmas card for every year. It was funny listening to the mom and her 19-year-old daughter fighting over which pictures they wanted to use. I'm glad my mom and I don't fight that bad over silly little things. Also, I fell in love with their cat, Brinley, who happens to be up for adoption because they have six cats and think that's too many to keep track of. Unfortunately, I can't have pets just yet. Dangit!

Know what's weird about being home? Everything seems so much smaller! I remember when I used to have to climb on a stool to reach the bathroom sink upstairs. Now it seems unnaturally low. A bunch of trees have been cut down since I was here last, and a lot of buildings have been built, throwing me off just a bit. It definitely seems a lot more cow-y. And a lot of the people have thicker accents than I remembered. And there isn't any snow around anywhere. I was thinking that we usually had snow in the wintertime here, but now that I think about it more, I guess I recall always being bummed that I'd never had a white Christmas before, so I guess not. Or not until January or February, at least.

People think it's weird that I can go outside barefoot and in short sleeves when it's 30 degrees outside. Silly. As long as I'm not staying outside for an extended period of time, it really doesn't matter.

I would have thought that I'd like my keyboard better than my parents' piano simply because my keyboard is actually mine... but I grew up playing the piano here, and the feel of it is still more natural. I like the sound better too. I haven't been able to stay away from it for long. I'd spend even more time playing it if Dad didn't like to crank up his Christmas carols on the stereo and dance around.

Oh oh oh! Also, my grades got posted, and I got all As and Bs! Even in speech and ethics! I don't know how, but I'm really super excited! Yay, I'm not a C student after all!!!

That said, I'm going to go to sleep now, since the parents make sure I get up in a timely manner in the mornings. Some things will never change. And I loathe getting ice water poured on my head while I'm sleeping.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Amazing

It's nice being home, possibly because I haven' t been home long enough for everyone to have gotten sick of me yet. Maybe, since I haven't been here in two years, it'll be a little while before everyone starts getting annoyed with me.

This morning was amazing, though. I get a big queen-size bed with really really super soft blankets all to myself, and my mom found my old teddy bears, so I get to sleep with a stuffed animal again! I mean... um... not that I would sleep with a stuffed animal... seriously, how childish... ahem.

So anyway, it's a little chilly in the basement, but I kind of like it when the air is a little chilly and I can burrow under my warm blankets. Mom also had laid out some books for me like the Lexicon of Stupidity. Maybe she normally keeps them near the guest room, I don't know, but I'm enjoying the books just the same.

I woke up this morning to my dad inviting me upstairs for breakfast, which I didn't have to cook! Dad made home-made pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs, southern-style. Apparently, he added just a touch of vanilla, almond flavoring, and sugar to the scrambled eggs. Not enough to taste it specifically, but enough to make you go, "Wow, there's something special about these eggs!" Then I asked if we had any orange juice, and Dad said, "We will in about one minute," and he pulled out some oranges and juiced them right there. It was the most delicious orange juice I've had in years. Or maybe ever.

Dianna was working all day, and Dad's planning on running some wires through the house to hook up ten speakers for Mom so she can listen to music anywhere in the house. But Dad's getting too old to climb around in the attic with a drill, so I get to do the fun stuff. We haven't gotten to that part yet, though. Instead, Dad spent all morning teaching me about how electricity works, and explaining watts and amps and Ohms and resistance and pie. Seriously, pie. Then we measured, cut, and stripped some wires, which turned out to be the wrong size, so then I got to learn how to solder too.

We called up the airport in the afternoon and retrieved my checked suitcase also, so I have my pocketknife back. Oh yeah, and my clean socks, and my family's Christmas presents and stuff. Then we went downtown to take back one of the speakers that was broken, but we got all the way to Harrisonburg before we realized that we had forgotten to bring the broken speaker with us. Drat.

So instead, Dad took me to his office and showed me his video editing software, then dragged me around his office to show me off to his friends. Two of them were there, and of course, I knew both of them before. It was a pretty funny contrast between the two, though. Dad interrupted the first guy and dragged me in to the guy's doorway, and the professor and I chatted formally for a minute or two. "Hi, how are you, how's school, how do you like Alaska, well, it's good to see you again." Then Dad dragged me to his dean's office to show me off to Brad Roof. The moment Brad saw me, his face split into this enormous grin, and he started flipping out, demanding hugs and talking about juggling and eating fire and Rob (apparently, Dad showed him the videos I made). Then he walked us all the way out to the parking lot because he didn't want to stop talking, and he demanded another hug before we left. What a happy guy.

Mom took us out to a Japanese place called Messaki for dinner. It was one of those places where they cook the food in front of you and juggle their knives and set fire to things and make a volcano with onion rings. Fantastic food, and I got a few good pictures, but don't feel like uploading them tonight. Plenty of leftovers, too, so I guess I've got lunch tomorrow, too.

When we got back, Dad showed me a few constellations and then Dianna and Mom and I played Upwords (it's like Scrabble, only you can stack letters). We didn't keep score, though, and we kind of cheated a lot, just to keep the game going. It was great giving Mom a hard time, though, because first she made the word "nads," and then she did "jugs." Oh, the jokes that flew!

After that, we recruited Dad to play Monopoly with us. It was probably the quickest Monopoly game I've ever played, because nobody had a monopoly on anything. I figured Dianna and I should try and put our stuff together to work against Mom because she always wins. Unfortunately, the only properties we could combine to make a monopoly were Mediterranean and Baltic (the cheapest ones on the board). So we did, and then we put hotels on them. $250 for Dianna if someone landed on Mediterranean, and $450 for me if someone landed on Baltic. Well, in retaliation, Mom cut the same deal with Dad, but they used Park Place and Boardwalk. $1100 for Mom if we landed on Park Place, and $2000 for Dad if we landed on Boardwalk. Dianna and I landed on Park Place at least four times, and Boardwalk at least once. No one ever landed on Baltic or Mediterranean. Dumbest game ever! :P

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Honey, I'm home!

I got kicked out of my apartment Friday at noon. If I was still in there after that time, they were going to charge me sick amounts of money. Apparently, if I stay there even an hour past the time I was supposed to be gone, they charge me for the entire month of Christmas break (or "winter break," as the PC-nazis demand).

I woke up around 3:30 in the morning on Friday and couldn't get to sleep again, which was fine. I still had to pack and clean up a bit. So I packed and vacuumed and then sat down to play my computer for a little while. Rob showed up around 9:00, after I'd been playing for only about ten minutes. Since I was being kicked out at noon, and my plane wouldn't leave until six o'clock the next morning, he had agreed to let me leave my stuff (the stuff I was bringing home) in his car. He also had agreed to take care of Maxxie while I was gone. (He was going to be gone for two weeks himself, but he's really good with technological gadgets, so he made a pump thingy on a timer that would drip water into both Maxxie and Randy (his spider plant) for 45 minutes a day.

We wrapped Maxxie up in a trash bag that he blew warm air into, and Rob handed me his car keys and told me to put my stuff in his car and meet him inside, because he wanted to get Maxxie indoors as quick as possible before she got too cold. Rob's car is an older one that has one key for the door and a different key for the ignition. I wasn't sure which was which, so I tried them both. One of the keys wouldn't fit in the door at all, so I put in the other key. It fit just fine, but when I turned it, it snapped in half. And I felt really terrible about it, because I could tell Rob was already not in a great mood, and this would definitely not help.

I was right. Rob didn't yell at me or blame me, but he definitely wasn't happy. We sprinted to the bus stop right then because the next bus to Fred Meyer was leaving in five minutes. (It would have been so useful if MY car were working, but no, I just had to go and break that one two days before! I swear, I jinx everything I touch.) So we got to Fred Meyer, and the guy said that sorry, he couldn't help us. We'd have to go to a professional locksmith. Fortunately, he knew one, so he gave us directions. Because I had to unplug my computer and throw away the perishable food left in the fridge still, Rob wanted me to go home while he went across town to get the key fixed. But I felt bad and would have felt worse if I didn't take responsibility and get the darn key fixed myself. But the way the busses ran, it would have taken hours to get to the locksmith and back.

Then I remembered that I had some other friends with cars. So I called up Katie. She said she was just about to leave the town to go to Anchorage, but she was willing to take us to the locksmith. So she dropped us off and drove away. We went inside, the lady fixed the key in under a minute, we paid two dollars, and then walked around outside for about six blocks or so to find the bus stop to go back to the U. (Good thing it was warm that day--which "warm" means the temperature in Fahrenheit was a positive number.)

The next bus back to the U wouldn't get there until quarter after noon, which was after the time I was to be kicked out. While we were waiting, a guy from my English class came into the transit station. I'd noticed this guy before because he has an accent I can't place and he talks a lot in class, but I've never actually spoken with him. He apparently knew Rob too, but then, Rob's lived on campus in the freshman dorms for so long that he knows like half the people on campus, and probably like a third of everyone else in Fairbanks too. (Seriously, we can't go ANYWHERE without people saying hi to him and calling him by name.) Well, Rob was grouchy and I was, I admit, more than a little sulky, so this guy did pretty much all the talking. He didn't stop talking/monologuing for the next 45 minutes except for the occasional yes/no question, such as, "Have you met my father?" I didn't mind too much, though. It was better than trying to disappear into the floor while I watched Rob glare at his feet and made the occasional tentative but miserably failed remark to attempt to lighten the mood.

After we got back, I left Rob, hoping he would cheer up faster if I weren't around. He told me not to bother going back to my dorm to try and unplug my computer because it was already too late, and I was going to get charged a fee for improper checkout and I couldn't do anything about it. I ignored him and went back anyway, figuring they'd probably just go down the line to check if everyone was out. My dorms towards the middle-ish, so they hopefully hadn't gotten there yet. To be safe, I knocked before going in, and called out real loud. If I ran into someone, I figured I could just explain what had happened and that I just needed three minutes. I figured they'd be nice about it. At least, I hoped so.

Well, I lucked out. No one was there. And it was a really good thing I had gone back, too, because Sarah, thinking I was going to come back, had left the lights on and the doors unlocked. Man, I would have gotten in so much trouble for that! So I dashed upstairs, unplugged everything without bothering to shut it down properly (I'm going to hate myself when it turns out I fried my computer by doing that), then ran downstairs, grabbed some of the perishables from the fridge, like milk and bologna and salami, turned off the lights, and left, locking the door. Man, I felt so much better! And I was highly amused that I had to sneak into my own apartment.

Anyway, fast-forwarding to the plane flight. First of all, my first flight left from Fairbanks at six in the morning. It was really cool, too, because I got a window seat, and once we got above the clouds, I could look out the window and see eleventy billion stars, except down on the horizon, where I couldn't see any because the dancing green lights got in the way. Well, they weren't dancing so much as just slowly creeping around, but it was still really pretty.

Then I got to Minneapolis to discover that my flight to Washington-Dulles had been canceled. That was the first time that's ever happened to me. Fascinating. Now what? So I talked to a flight attendant lady, who seemed really grumpy, like her day had been absolutely horrible and she wanted to take it out on someone. She told me that there would be no flights to Dulles for at least the next day or two. I asked if she could get me to Raleigh instead. She said yes, there would be a flight to Raleigh in an hour and a half, but my stuff was going to Dulles, it would not be rerouted, and I was responsible for getting to Dulles to retrieve it. She was pretty nasty about it, too. I said that was fine, I would get to Dulles if she would get me to Raleigh. She reminded me several times that I would not be going the same place as my bags. Yes, lady. You told me.

So I flew down to Raleigh and stayed with my grandma and uncle for the night. My little sister drove south this morning to pick me up. We had a fun drive back. I forgot how fun it is to have a sister. I'm sure I'll hate her guts again in a week or two, but for today, I thoroughly enjoyed having someone to be stupid with. At one point, she pointed out the window at a cow and announced, "Fat!" Another time, I was impressed with how well she remembered directions, where to turn, what the landmarks were, and so on. "Geez, Dianna, you have such an uncanny sense of direction!" I said.

"Thanks," she replied. "At this light, you need to turn right," she added, pointing to the left.

Well, so much for that.

I got home and we ("we" being Dad because he's better at getting things done than me because he's more assertive, and anyway, I'm sick of acting responsible) called up the airport to ask about my suitcase. Turns out it isn't in Dulles. It isn't even in Minneapolis. It went to Raleigh. On the same flight I was on. And by leaving the airport without filing the claim, I had officially abandoned the bag, and they could, by rights, keep it, sell it, burn it, or do whatever the heck they wanted. I was really ticked about the fact that the lady had been so adamant with me that my bags would NOT be going to Raleigh with me, and yet, there they were, after I didn't even bother looking because my uncle was already there to pick me up and I had assumed there was no way they would be there.

But, like I said, Dad has an amazing way of getting things done, and he had some strings pulled, and they're shipping it to us on the very next flight, and it should be in the Weyers Cave airport (like five miles away) by 9:35 tomorrow morning. Dad says if it shows up like they said, he's going to write a very nice thank you letter. I think I may do the same. I hate hassles, and I'll be relieved if this one gets resolved so smoothly.

I'll stop there for tonight, since this post is practically a novel already.

PS - Rob gets points for being thoughtful and paying attention. A few months ago, I was drooling over the game Apples to Apples in Fred Meyer. It's a fantastic game, and it was on sale... for... 27 dollars. Which is sick. So I eventually decided not to get it, being the poor college student that I am. Well, two days before I left, Rob asked what I wanted for Christmas. I shrugged and gave a noncommittal answer. "I dunno... like a t-shirt or something... I keep a wish list on my blog..." The next day he showed up with... guess what. I'll give you a hint: Not a t-shirt. A+! Rob gets a gold star for paying attention and remembering something I had drooled over months before. Ten points! :D

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interesting.....

One good thing that could be said about yesterday: It was pretty productive. I woke up at five in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so I made a Christmas card for my mom's friend (which I'd been meaning to work on for the last few days). Then I wandered down to the Wood Center for donuts, since my car still won't start. Ironic, that. It worked fine two days before, then I left a comment on my dad's blog post about cars saying how great my Subaru is because it never breaks down, and then the next morning, it refused to start. I was hoping it might be because it's too cold, but it was only five below that day, and yesterday it was five above, at least in the morning. Sigh.

Anyway, so I got donuts at the Wood Center, read a book for a while, then headed back home to get some work done. Called Rosetta Stone to set up an interview for an internship with them, started working on my last take-home final, but ended up chatting with a friend I haven't seen in two years or so. Oh well. I finished my final an hour before it was due. Walked down to campus again to turn it in and found a sign on the professor's door that said that I also had to e-mail him a copy of the exam in addition to turning it in. Sigh. Good thing I carry a pen in my pocket. So I scribbled down the answers on my hand in pen, which I'm sure that if people saw me with test answers written on my hand, they wouldn't think highly of me, but I didn't want to walk all the way home, type up the answers, then walk all the way back to campus.

Then I stopped by the communication department to pick up the grade for my last speech. I learned that I got a C in my speech class. It's graded out of 1000 points, and I had 788 points. I was seven points away from a B. Seven! Ugh, gay. If I had talked for 15 seconds longer on my last speech, I would have a B. Of course, being only seven points shy, there are any number of things I could have done, but it's too late to worry about it now. I was tempted to stop by and ask my professor if there was any possible way to make up the points. I didn't really expect her to say yes, but I figured it couldn't hurt my grade any. Didn't matter, though, since the professor wasn't there. Daggumit! I swear, the amount of effort I put into a class is inversely proportional to the grade I receive. It's like the harder I try, the worse I do.

Anyway, then I came back and sent my speech professor my answers, and while I was at it, I checked my UAF e-mail. And I found an e-mail saying all cars staying here over Christmas break have to be relocated to the Taku parking lot or they will be towed at the owner's expense. Oh. Daggumit. The car not starting will kind of make that complicated, now, won't it? So I called Rob up and whined at him for help. He came over to look at it and said it sounded like the engine wasn't getting enough gas. Or the starter wasn't turning enough to get the car started. Or the gas wasn't combusting right. But either way, he couldn't fix it. And a repair shop wouldn't be able to fix it before I leave, and they would probably charge me to store it for a month until I could come back to pick it up. Uuuuuugh.

So glad I have AAA. Thank you, Dad. So I called up AAA and got it towed to the Taku parking lot. I'll have to get it towed again to a repair shop when I get back. Lovely. I was planning on only having to starve for the first month of next semester. Now I guess I'll have to make that three months or so.

My own voice sounded so mopy when I was on the phone talking to AAA and the towing company, it was really really funny. I didn't know I was capable of sounding so mopy. Rob was really helpful. Since he knows Fairbanks better than I do, when the tow company wanted addresses and directions, I just handed him the phone. I have to admit, the tow truck was actually pretty cool. They turned the whole bed of the truck, rotated it and plunked one end down right behind my car, flung some chains on my bumper, put my car in neutral, then just dragged the car up onto the bed of the tow truck.

Now I don't know what I'm going to do tonight. I get kicked out of my dorm at noon today, but my plane doesn't leave until tomorrow. I was planning on just hanging around downtown overnight, but without a car, I guess that's not a very good plan anymore. I suppose I could call up Katie and see if she'll let me stay for the night. Oh well. We'll see what happens.

Dang it. Now that I think about it, I so should have taken out my camera and gotten pictures of the tow truck.... That would have been cool.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Big Mess

I'm procrastinating finishing my research paper. It's due in 7 hours and 45 minutes, and it needs another page and a half of material. I'll probably just write more about Schrödinger and maybe add something about Einstein. I don't know why I work best under pressure. If I could always work as well as I do when I'm rushing, I bet I could do some really amazing work. I'm not sure if it's end-of-semester apathy, senioritis, winter blues, or just general stress, but I don't care anymore. I wish more people would go to juggling practice so it would be fun again. I think I'd care more about life in general if I had a reason to smile and laugh every few days.

My roommate had a party on Saturday night. Six people downstairs getting totally hammered, screaming and yelling until five in the morning. At one point, I went downstairs to refill my water bottle, and four of them were lying on top of each other on the couch. I couldn't believe the amount of alcohol they had consumed or how many different kinds there were. I don't envy them the hangover they must have had.

What really irks me, though, is the huge mess there was when I went downstairs for breakfast the next morning. The kitchen sink was piled so high with dishes that I could hardly fill up a glass of water. And the pile of dishes had crept out of the sink, and more were strewn across the counter and the stove. Seriously, I don't mind that I've done all the dishes almost every day (sometimes twice a day) all semester, but come on!

So since there wasn't room to cook anything, I started to clean up when my roommate Sarah came in. She told me not to do Amanda's dishes, but to make Amanda do them since a) it's her mess, and b) Amanda's done with her finals and has plenty of time and nothing to do. Then Sarah told me not to do her dishes either because she would do them just as soon as she got back from the library. Then she left before I could point out that if I didn't do the dishes, I couldn't cook or eat, and I was hungry.

Obedience outweighed duty, so I left the mess and got breakfast/lunch at the Wood Center on Sunday. And Monday morning, I needed to take my car out to warm it up anyway, so I got up early and went to Safeway for donuts (which were really really good). Now it's Tuesday, and not only has the mess in the kitchen not been cleaned up, but it's grown. I seem to be the only one bothered by it. I wonder if one of them will clean up because they've run out of dishes or if I'll just buckle down and clean it myself first.

Speaking of messes in the kitchen, by the way.... The other day, I was trying to remember if I had any food that wasn't pasta or sandwiches when I remembered I had some okra in the freezer that I had never finished. And I thought, "Hm, I bet that would taste really good fried," so I put some oil in a pan on the stove and started heating it up. Well, after a minute, I realized it might have been a better idea to use a pot. But I figured oh well, I could put a lid on it so it doesn't spit too terribly badly and just make sure not to try and cram too much into the pan. Then I got out the okra, which I realized I should have done before I put the oil on the stove. Again, oh well. I opened the bag and noticed it was freezer burned pretty badly. Also, it was almost more ice than okra. Oh snap, I thought, this is going to spit a lot when I put it in the pan.

Can you say "understatement?" I stood back a little way so I could make a quick getaway when the oil started to spit. Stretched out my arm as far as it would go, dropped in four little pieces of chopped okra, and it exploded! And it kept exploding for about five solid minutes! It was really awesome!

People brag about setting things on fire in the kitchen, but I top them. This is the second time in three months that I've accidentally made something explode without even using the microwave.

Anyway, the okra had turned black already, so as soon as I could get close enough to pick it up without worrying about getting oil in my face (I can take it on my arms fine), I just took the whole mess--still exploding--and threw it out the back door into the snow. So much for having okra. Now where did I put my Ramen?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bo Staff

I have a headache today. I suspect it's because yesterday, when I was playing with the staff at juggling practice, I smacked myself in the temple hard enough to make the room spin. It was pretty cool, actually.

The staff is a juggling toy that's not very well known. It looks like a karate bo staff, except it's usually more brightly colored. Instead of jabbing and blocking with it, we spin it around and throw it up in the air. Like the color guard flag poles, except without the flag. Ours unscrews into two pieces, which is nice because that makes it fit more easily into the locker where we store most of our juggling stuff. The downside is that it tends to unscrew while I'm trying to spin it. Terribly inconvenient.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smile!

Classes today were pretty lame. I've decided I'm not a huge fan of the new German professor. We were learning about the placement of "nicht" in a sentence and she said in the sentence "Peter kommt heute nicht," it would always go at the end because you're negating the whole sentence. I raised my hand and said, "But if you were stressing the 'heute,' you would say, 'Peter kommt nicht heute, sondern morgen,' right?"

Her response was about five minutes long. I don't even know what she said. First she said that was exactly right. Then she said no, I'm wrong, it would always be at the end because you're negating the whole sentence. Then she said that it always goes in front of what you're negating. Then she said it never goes in front of the verb (which isn't right because it goes in front of the second verb when you use a modal).

Siiigh.

English was my last class for the whole semester. In that class, we got back our teacher's comments on the rough drafts of our research papers, which are due the day of the final. The teacher said my paper was good, but it was too short. I was surprised to see that he knows more about my topic than I do, because I wrote about quantum physics, and he seems to like the social sciences vastly more than the natural sciences. Of course, in the comments, he said he wanted me to apply it to anthropic issues. But he said it was just an option. I'm not going to because I'm a bit of a misanthrope. Instead, I'll expand the section about Schrödinger's cat and maybe talk about what Einstein thought of quantum physics.

Anyway, if we didn't take our papers in to the Writing Center to get it looked over, the professor was going to deduct 50 points from our grade, which is 5% of our overall score for the class. He said that's not a lot, but I kind of think it is. Of course, tomorrow is the last day the Writing Center is open for the semester, and they're totally packed. I'm pretty sure over half the class is going to lose those points. Fortunately for me, the professor's good friends with Cindy Hardy, the lady who's in charge of the student journal that I help edit. So he said she would count as a substitute since I couldn't get in to the Writing Center.

After class, I finally turned in my registration form so I can register for classes. While I was at Signer's Hall, I decided to stop by the Office of Admissions to see how my science credits transferred. My degree worksheet says I'm required to take two four-credit science classes, and I've taken two three-credit science classes. It seems like no matter who I ask, they won't tell me whether I have to take one more science class to finish the eight credits or two more science classes because they have to be four credits. When I asked my advisor, she said to ask the Registrar's Office. When I asked there, they said to ask the Office of Admissions. So today, I went to the Office of Admissions. They said I had to ask a lady named Emily back in the Registrar's Office. Grrrr. But then they kindly offered to send an e-mail for me and CC it to me and give me the lady's contact information in case they didn't get through. So right after I had Cindy edit my research paper, I checked my e-mail and behold! A final answer about my science credits! And guess what! Even though it says "four-credit natural science courses," a natural science class with a lab counts. So I only earned three credits towards my total, but they fulfilled the requirement, so I don't have to take any more science classes at all!

Normally, I would have been thoroughly stoked to take a science class. But I'm really running short on money, and science classes require really expensive textbooks and an extra fee for the lab. Plus, at this school, they charge tuition per credit. So in all, one four-credit science class would cost about a thousand dollars. Ewwww.

While I was in the Wood Center today at my Icebox meeting, a guy walked past and gave me a big friendly smile and waved at me. I smiled and waved back but was having a conversation with Cindy at the time, so I didn't talk to him. But I stopped listening to what she was saying because I couldn't remember where I knew him from. I knew that I knew the guy. I knew that I liked and respected him. But I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was or what class I have with him. Then it hit me. He's in my speech class. Holy cow! There's something about speech class I don't hate after all!

Amazing how much power there can be in something as simple as a friendly smile.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Die Beste Lehrerin

Speech class today was like a flashback of middle school. It's amazing how cruel and juvenile people can be. And it makes me feel bad when someone I've kind of respected insults me directly. I'm so glad that except for the final, I never have to interact with any of those people again.

My German professor, Carrie, is the best professor in the whole world. She was always smiling, and even when students got something painfully wrong, she would give encouraging comments. She got to know all of her students and their interests, and she incorporated that into the class. She also encouraged us to get creative with our homework. She never took off points if we got something wrong because we were being creative; she would just correct us, always with a smile. She did everything with a smile. I never saw her get mad or frustrated. When someone asked a question that was irrelevant or way far advanced for the class, she would always explain as well as she could instead of saying, "Don't worry about it." Also, she alone of all my professors could easily say, "I don't know." But any time she didn't know something, she would either look it up, or she would ask one of the other professors and have an answer for us the very next day.

If I ever become a teacher, I hope I can be even half as great as she is. I'm pretty sure there's not a person in the class who doesn't love her.

She had a baby this past Saturday, so she won't be coming back for the rest of the semester. Of course, "the rest of the semester" means this week and the final. (I didn't get to put on my mini-juggling show in class on Monday after all.) So for this week, she's been replaced by an older German lady named Helga. Carrie has spoken highly of Helga all semester. I admit that as far as I've seen, Helga seems like a nice lady and a pretty good teacher. But, like the rest of the class, I miss Carrie, and I'm a little nervous about the fact that this new teacher who doesn't know us and doesn't know exactly what we've covered in class will be writing and probably grading our final (especially since the final is a full 20% of our final grade).

I feel so abandoned. (drama) I can't really hold it against her, though. It's not like I can realistically expect her to have said, nine months ago, "Sorry, honey, not tonight. My future students are going to want me to hold off a month."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Half-Baked Idea?

The other day, I was walking around the house in shorts when I noticed one of my roommates watching me with a really strange expression on her face.

"What?" I asked.

"Why is only one of your legs shaved?" she asked, giving me this hysterically funny look of mixed confusion and revulsion.

"I'm performing a scientific experiment..." I began.

"Never mind. I don't want to know."

Teehee! That's the truth, though. I really am doing an experiment. Or rather, I was. Frankly, I hate shaving my legs. In fact, I see no point to it, since I almost never wear shorts. But one day, someone told me that shaving your legs makes them less dry. That didn't make a lot of sense, but I do tend to get dry skin, so I thought it would be worth trying. And the only way to make sure my experiment was accurate was to shave one leg and not the other and compare the two. (Other changes, such as diet changes or atmospheric changes, could, obviously, also affect the outcome, and I didn't want to risk having to repeat the experiment.)

I tried the experiment for about a month, but I officially closed the experiment a few days ago, when I started running out of Band-aids. The conclusion was that shaving makes no noticeable difference in skin dryness. I also concluded that I need to either practice shaving or never shave at all. After the first time shaving, I came out of the shower with no less than fourteen cuts, eight of which were bad enough to require Band-aids. (And that was only on one leg!) I've gotten to the point where I only get three or four cuts now, but still, I'd prefer to get my leg insulation from hairy legs rather than a layer of Band-aids. Besides, shaving requires the purchase of razors, shaving cream, and Band-aids, not to mention the extra time and hot water it wastes. NOT shaving is totally free. It's simple logic. And definitely not laziness. Really.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dealing with Disappointment

I'm sad. I'm now better at juggling than anyone I knew in the juggling club at BYU. I can't juggle five balls like Karl can, or do hopscotch on the unicycle like Alan. But I know enough to show off at least a little with every toy, and I know enough three-ball tricks that if I were in yJuggle, I could probably have my own routine in shows. Now I'm in a juggling club, and we have even more toys to play with than we did at BYU, including torches and machetes... but only two people ever show up to practice (myself included), and Rob spends half his time at practice doing homework. So most of practice is just me wandering in circles and juggling by myself and trying to get the nerve to ask people passing by if they want to learn how to juggle even though I know they'll give up after five minutes when they can't get it right away. We don't have enough people to do shows at all, and every time I recommend some kind of recruiting event or even putting up fliers, Rob says, "Why bother? It won't work." In all, it's more frustrating juggling in the middle of the Wood Center by myself wondering what the point of practicing is since I'll never get to be in a show than it is struggling through my philosophy and speech classes.

I never got to be in a show at BYU, either. My first semester, I couldn't go to shows because I was still learning the basic 3-ball cascade. The next two semesters, every single time there was a show, it overlapped with a band performance. The band performances gave me scholarship money, so I didn't really have an option. After that, I joined the staff at The Leading Edge, which overlapped juggling practice altogether.

I don't know why I keep trying, sometimes. Oh, yes I do. It's because I love juggling. And when I'm at practice and no one's there and I get so frustrated that I want to throw things, I have to laugh because, ha, I already AM throwing things.

Also, Brandon Sanderson's third Mistborn book came out back in October. I think I mentioned it on here... Well, I went to Barnes & Noble to get a copy of it, and they didn't have it. They said they could order it, but by the time they get it, I'll be in Virginia, so I might as well wait.

On a happier note...

We were learning about modal verbs in German last Thursday. I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention, so the teacher homed in on me and said, "Lint Monkey, can you use a modal verb in a sentence for us?" Caught off-guard, I spouted out the first sentence that popped into my head: "Ich kann jonglieren."

The teacher got this huge smile on her face. "Do you have your juggling equipment with you today? Will you bring it next week and juggle for us?"

So maybe I lied. Maybe I'll get to put on a mini-juggling show after all.

Also, I'm at work right now. And I don't have any articles to edit until Kortnie finishes writing her editorial, so she told me to "just hang out" until she finishes. So I'm getting paid to update my blog. How cool is that?

And I may have found an internship this summer as a linguist working for Rosetta Stone. It pays really well too. Also, I would get to go back to Virginia for a bit. Actually, I swore I would never live in Virginia again. But this is Rosetta Stone. Come on. That would look epic-amazing on a resume. Assuming I get the internship. Which assumes I get around to applying for it. I really need to get on that.

I have my dictionary open next to me. Did you know that the word "beetle" can be used as a verb? It means "to scurry like a beetle." As in "Editors beetled around the office." That's a pretty funny example sentence. Editors beetling, huh? I've never heard that before.

I really ought to consider getting a new laptop when I get money. Mine was weak when I bought it five years ago. Now there are new laptops that are three times more powerful than Harvey (my laptop) but cost half what Harvey did when I bought him. For some reason, every thirty seconds or so, random bubbles pop up from the tray in the bottom right to tell me again and again and again and again that I'm connected to the internet. When the internet bubble isn't popping up, another bubble is popping up to tell me about a Windows System Error. But it refuses to give me any more information. Automatic updates download stuff without telling me and when they finish downloading, they internet my work every five minutes to say "Do you want to restart your computer now?" "No. I'm busy." "Okay." Five minutes later: "Do you want to restart your computer now?" "No. Still busy." "Okay." Five minutes later: "Do you want to restart your computer now?" On and on until it times it just right that it pops up just as I'm hitting enter or spacebar, and then it restarts without my consent, and the computer takes no less than fifteen minutes to restart no matter how many things I disable in msconfig.

Well, on the plus side, I do have my desktop which I can use anytime except when I want to use a computer at work or on campus. And using Harvey is still preferable to using a Macintosh. And besides, Harvey has a lot of personality for a computer, even though he's not decorated with stickers like a lot of other laptops I've seen. I prefer simplistic decorations anyway.

Oh, fantastic! Kortnie finished her editorial. Toodles!

Today's post has been brought to you by the word defalcation.

Edit: Also, we've had a heat wave over the last four or five days. Like, not only was the temperature a positive number, but it was even a positive two-digit number. So today when I headed to work, I only wore one shirt and a coat and a baseball cap. And a scarf. As I walked home, I became enormously grateful for the scarf, which I ended up wrapping around my ears when I realized they were numb and probably going to get frostbitten if I didn't warm them up soon. I held my fingers over them for a minute, until my gloveless fingers started to freeze. The scarf wrapped around my head like a turban helped a lot, but I was glad to get home. The funniest part, though: My coat has a little thermometer attached to a string that's sewn into the pocket. You can take the thermometer out of your pocket and let it dangle and theoretically it'll tell you how cold it is. I don't think it's all that accurate, particularly since even if it's outside of your pocket, your body heat will still probably throw off the reading, but it's fun to toy with anyway. Well, when I got home, I looked at the thermometer. The needle had moved down to ten degrees before the water inside the thermometer froze solid. Ba-hahaha! I checked the internet after that. Fifteen below. Thirty below with windchill.

Next time, I'm bringing gloves even if it's above freezing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mormons and Ninjas