Thursday, January 29, 2009

Docity



I remembered writing down two homework assignments in German yesterday, and I knew I had a Powerpoint presentation due today and chapter 4 due Monday, so I didn't bother to check to see if those were the two I wrote down. So I forgot to do the three textbook sections that were really due today. I realized my mistake when I got to class this morning, so I tried to scribble it down really fast before class, but I did the wrong chapter. Daggumit!

Oh well, no harm done. Also, my teacher said she'll bring us cookies on Monday because our presentations were so great! :D I had fun with mine, but not as much fun as my friend Jeremy, who introduced himself by saying he lived in the "Dunkel Wald" (Dark Forest), where there were a lot of wolves. He said it gives him grief when they go after his poor old grandmother, and that sometimes in winter, food is scarce, so they have to kill and eat the wolves. "The Dark Forest is a cruel place," he said (only he said it in German).

Quinby mentioned that he plays World of Warcraft too, which highly amuses me, because I totally had him pegged as a gamer! He said he started out as Horde, but then switched to Alliance. I made a crack about him "seeing the light," and he said, "Yeah... actually, I play a paladin now." BA-hahahaa!!

Most of you probably totally missed the humor in that. That's okay.

So anyway, then I was having lunch with my friend Jeremy, eating a beef burrito, and I took a big bite and THEN felt a sneeze coming on. So I tried to swallow real fast before I could sneeze and make a really big gross mess.... But my timing was apparently off, because I ended up sneezing beef out my nose. OH MY GOSH, that hurt!!! I mean, seriously, milk coming out your nose hurts, and Coke hurts even worse, but beef hurts like nothing else!

Two of the people in my senior seminar (there are only four students to begin with, actually) are also in my History of the English Language class. We were discussing the phonetic transcriptions we did in HEL (funny name for a class) today and debating whether the word "bird" is transcribed with an epsilon, a schwa, or a syllabic R. The professor came in and saw up eagerly debating phonetics and just about flipped out, she was so happy.

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

The best part of World of Warcraft is...



Making new friends...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cold

I was so cold today that the part of my coat that I was breathing on got a thick layer of frost from my breath. Not like the thin, wet foggy stuff middle-school kids breathe on the school bus windows and then write stuff in, but real frost, the kind made of ice. It was pretty funny, actually, because my coat is all black, but the part I was breathing on was bright white. I would have taken a picture, but when I got inside, it was completely melted back to black before I even made it upstairs.

I feel a little silly wearing the big heavy coat Mom got me for Christmas, but it's enormously comfortable, and it keeps me really toasty warm. So warm that I felt like it couldn't be worse than -10. On the way to class, I noticed nobody else was wearing a big heavy parka with the hood up, which made me start to feel self-conscious... except that everyone else was shivering and trying to get inside quickly. I got to class about ten minutes early and giggled to myself every time someone walked in and started rubbing their hands together, or slapping feeling back into their arms and saying, "Oooooh it's so freaking cold today!" Ha ha. I may look like I'm dressing too drastically for this weather, but at least I'm warm.

Everyone was sniffling all through class because coming in from really cold weather makes your nose run. I never figured out why. Anyway, I was glad, because I felt slightly less out of place. I've got a nasty cold, so I've been coughing and sneezing and snuffling and dribbling all over the place for the last day or so, and it feels like it's going to keep getting worse before it starts getting better. (Yeah, yeah, Mom, I know: take echinacea and drink orange juice, right?) I felt kind of bad for poor Quinby, who had to sit next to me. Every time he said something, I had to get him to repeat it two or three times because my ears feel stuffed up too, and he has a quiet voice to begin with.

Yesterday, I woke up with a terribly sore throat and wanted orange juice. But of course, I don't happen to have any. "No problem," I thought. "There are vending machines on campus that have it." So I left for class early and headed to my first class and stopped in the hall to get an orange juice. But that Coke machine had vitamin water and NO orange juice! Horrors! So I walked across the compound to the Brooks Building and went down to the basement. Fruit punch, but no orange juice. Dangit! I ended up having to search in four different buildings before I finally found my orange juice.

It tastes sooo much better when you have to work for it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bwahaha!

Just for Dad, who left a comment on my last post doubting my ability to judge when a teacher will accept a student having fun with an essay:

I got my graded history essay back already. The comment said, "Nice job! A+"

Monday, January 26, 2009

How's the car?



They found what was wrong with my car.

That's a spark plug wire. It's supposed to be in ONE piece, not three. I'm not sure how it snapped. Cold, I guess? My block heater was also broken, but that was under warranty, so they fixed it for free! :D I wonder if that may have been part of the reason why the wire snapped--because the block heater wasn't working, so the wires were too cold to start without getting torn up, but I kept starting the car anyway. Of course, the warranty doesn't cover other things that may have broken due to heater failure. Oh well. Life goes on. It was fairly quick and simple to fix, for which I'm glad. It was sad not having a car.

I've decided I definitely like my German professor. She smiles almost as much as Carrie (my last German professor,) and she's actually from Germany, although her accent is so slight that you'd hardly know it. She tries to give us assignments that make us get up and move around and talk to people so no one falls asleep, which is particularly good since it's a morning class. This Thursday, we're supposed to give three- to four-minute powerpoint presentations that are basically introductions of ourselves, our families, our hobbies, et cetera. She gave her example presentation today and said that she likes to bake. So of course, I asked if that meant she would bring us cookies. She said only if we're nice to her. Then I asked if we could put pictures on ours. She said yes, please, she prefers pictures. "Extra points for pictures!" "How about cookies instead?" "Oh, yes, you're right! Cookies for pictures!"

Yay, cookies!

This last weekend, I wrote an essay for history. It didn't require any kind of research or anything; the professor just wanted to know if we could go back and observe any period of history, where would we go, what questions would we ask, why did we choose that particular time and place, et cetera. It's a correspondence class, so I haven't met the professor, but it seems fairly clear from his writing that the professor will appreciate creativity. I at first thought of writing my essay it in past tense story form, but decided that a) that would be cheesy, and b) everyone else would be doing something like that too and thinking themselves creative. So instead, I wrote it in subjunctive, which actually gives me even more creative license, because if I have three possible fun ways something could happen, I can write down all three of them and they all happen and don't happen at the same time.

The professor specified that we had a "universal translator" too, so language barriers wouldn't be an issue. So I took that at face value and decided to go back to the time of the dinosaurs to see what they thought was the most important event in dinosaur history, because people study human history all the time, but dinosaur history is much more fun. So I said I would go to the late Cretaceous and talk to a Troodon, which is supposedly the smartest of all the dinosaurs. Then I wrote about my adventures that didn't end up happening, including using my leet ninja skills to keep the Troodon from eating me and discovering that dinosaurs are hyperactive and easily distracted by anything shiny. It was a really fun assignment.

* * * * *

Finally, I would find a dinosaur wearing a monocle and would assume that the monocle meant he was supposed to be an intelligent dinosaur. So I would ask him what the most important event in dinosaur history was, and he would say (with a British accent, of course), “Why, my dear bipedal, that is an obvious question you ask, to which the answer is equally obvious.” And I would refrain from asking why the question is as obvious as the answer, and he would continue, “The most important event in all of dinosaur history was when the thesaurus ran for king of the dinosaurs. It was gargantuan! All the dinosaurs for miles came around to vote for him and there was a great hullabaloo over whether the female dinosaurs and the black dinosaurs would be allowed to vote!”

“The thesaurus? That’s a reference book, not a dinosaur!” I would argue.

Then the monocle-wearing dinosaur would get all huffy and I would have to apologize and then ask why it was that, in dinosaur culture, you had to run for king when monarchy is, well, not democracy. And then the dinosaur would roll his eyes and say, “Don’t ask me. My brain’s the size of an avocado pit. What do I know?”

Then I’d ask, “If your brain is only the size of an avocado pit, then how do you know how big your brain is?” and he would shrug and get huffy again and try to eat me, but I would throw a shiny penny and he would run off after it because dinosaurs love shinies. They can be so immature sometimes. Anyway, I think he was making up the bit about the thesaurus, because seriously, that bit about the female and black dinosaurs not being allowed to vote? Even dinosaurs aren’t that stupid!

So then I would give up and jump in my time machine and go forward in time a little bit to where the dinosaurs all died out to see what it was that killed them all. Some people say it was failure to adapt to their changing environment. Some people say a giant meteor hurtling toward the earth killed them all. Other people say that’s only true if you would call Chuck Norris “a giant meteor hurtling toward the earth.” Other people say that dinosaurs never existed at all because the Bible doesn’t say so. But they’re obviously wrong, because I just talked to a bunch of them. Dinosaurs, that is, not religious zealots.

Anyway, I would watch all the dinosaurs die out and not do a thing to save them because I’m not allowed to change history. Except I would save a deltatheridium and take it home as a pet because it looks like a six-inch-long weasel and that’s just cute. Then if I still had time, I would watch humans evolve. Or watch God make them and exile them from the Garden of Eden. Or watch them land from an alien space ship. Or however humans came to be. Because then I could go back and say definitely, “This is how it was.” Not that anyone would believe me anyway.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Funny

After getting some sleep, eating toast with butter and apple jelly, and ordering girl scout cookies from an unbearably cute five-year-old, I feel a lot better than I did yesterday, but I'm not going to open my syntax book again until after I've done all my homework for all my other classes and edited whatever newspaper articles I have. In fact, I think I might just take the syntax book back to the library and see if there are any other books about syntax that aren't written by a stuffy arrogant idiot. I mean, that are easier to read. Yes.

Anyway, so it's time to write a list of five things that I find mildly funny.

1. The word "toast." Toast toast toast.
2. Things that go "squish"
3. Chuck Norris
4. Things on fire
5. Old people on percocet


This post has been brought to you by the word octoroon. (Seriously... who made a WORD for that?)

PS - And before anyone says it, no, old Chuck Norris, on fire and on percocet, eating toast and jumping on a water bed... is not funny.

PPS - Well, okay, actually, yes it is. I lied.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mmmm, school time again

Today was the first day of classes, and my schedule is such that I have all my classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I only have one class Monday and Wednesday (it's a five-credit class), and no classes at all on Friday. Only fourteen credits, but two of the classes are 400 level, and one is a senior seminar for which I've taken fewer than half of the prerequisites. So I'm pretty much in the doghouse already. The teacher was highly displeased, but she couldn't really do anything about it except tell me to go catch up as fast as I could. So I checked out six textbooks on morphology, syntax and semantics which I'm hoping to read--or at least skim--within a week. She asked me to go pick out two or three and take them in to her on Monday during office hours so she could approve them, but I'm hoping to be able to say, "I know this one and that one are good because I've already finished them."

As long as this teacher doesn't take off points for the strong voice I put in my essays, I'm determined to make an A in this class, even if it means reading a whole textbook every week. At least the big classes I need to read up on (syntax, semantics, morphology, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics) are all ones I'm really interested in. That should help the reading go by more quickly. Guess this means I won't be getting my hunter to max level anytime soon.

I'm also pleased that I already know a couple people in all of my classes (except the senior seminar, which only has three students). I know about half the students in my German class, and I'm taking History of the English Language with Jeremy, a linguistics major who was in my German class last semester. He introduced me to a few other people, and during lunch, we got to talk about our geeky gaming hobbies. Also, I bumped into Whatshisname, who's really big into Dungeons and Dragons and wants to put together a role-playing group this semester. Jeremy said he didn't particularly want to, but Kyle and Karla, the other two people we were eating with, were all for it. Then Jeremy conceded that maybe he would play if Kyle would, as long as he could drop out if he didn't like it. Yay! (Dad, you're not allowed to lecture me about wasting time that should be spent studying after that big lecture you gave me about the importance of hanging out with friends, playing games, goofing off, and having fun!)

Good news on the car so far. Because I have AAA (again, thank you, Dad!), they towed my car to the shop for free. And in even better news, the battery doesn't appear to be dead from freezing for a month without being plugged in! That right there saved me about $150. I still don't know what the problem is, though, since the shop said they probably won't get to it until Friday. I'm really hoping that they say it was just a loose connection in the engine or something and they fixed it in three minutes, so no charge. (That actually happened once. It made me very happy!) Or maybe they'll say, "Your fuel filter needed to be changed. That'll be twenty bucks. kthxbye."

Knock on wood.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hm.

I've tried updating like three times in the last few days, but every time, I was trying to upload a video which just plain doesn't want to upload, so I gave up.

I'm going back home on Monday! I kind of have mixed feelings about leaving here. It's nice getting sun and exercise and good food here, and there's almost always something to do. And lots and lots of piano music. And my cat. Oops, I meant parents. ;) But I miss my room and my computer and my car, which I really want to get working again so I can stop worrying about it. Well, whatever. No point in looking forward to things, or longing for the past, either. Plan for the future, but live for the moment, right?

Hm.

We went to northern Virginia to visit my cousins, and Mom got me a full-length parka and some underarmor, so I'm going to be a lot warmer when I go back to school. Thank you, Mommy! :) I wore the underarmor today because we were going to go feed Martha's baby cows and right now, it's colder here than it is in Fairbanks. (I can't believe it got ABOVE freezing in Fairbanks in January!) It's really comfortable, actually.

I still haven't heard back from Rosetta Stone. I've called them every day, left a message or two, but no response. I sent an e-mail today, but my hope is beginning to dwindle.

Not sure what else to write, but I felt like I was a little overdue for an update.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jiggity Jig

Apparently I've been voluntold for the Ruritan Bluegrass Jamboree thingy they're doing tomorrow. Who on Earth would possibly think it's a good idea to put ME in a kitchen and make me cook all day??? They're selling tickets for like ten dollars apiece, and they're going to try and have ME make the food? Are they insane? I can't cook! I HATE cooking! Can't I man the strobe lights or something? Sheesh!

Okay, good news bad news time. The UAF Bookstore decided they didn't like wasting the space on textbooks, so textbooks can only be bought online now. Really really stupid move. For one thing, the teachers are going to be irritated because a lot of students aren't going to bother buying the books online until classes start, often because they haven't finalized their schedules until that time. For another thing, the only reason students buy from the bookstore in the first place is because it's so easily accessible, and they don't have to wait for their books to get shipped. So now, every student is just buying their textbook from amazon or half.com or ebay or wherever else they can find the book for cheaper (which is pretty much anywhere). All so that the bookstore has more room to sell clothing.

So the good news is, buying my textbooks off of Amazon.com, I managed to get all my textbooks for only about $120.00. The bad news is... I only have two textbooks this semester. Yeah, textbooks are disgustingly expensive even when they're NOT being bought straight from the bookstore.

I got Battlefield 1942 Desert Combat working. So far, I still only have about 25% shot accuracy. I'm not a huge fan of FPS, but I have to admit, I kind of enjoy sniping. And it's also fun blowing things up. Suicide missions are fun too, if you don't die prematurely.

No, Mom, of COURSE I'm not loading violent video games on your computer!

This computer has Windows Vista on it. And I set up a second monitor on the computer, which I'm really enjoying, although I really miss my widescreen monitor.

I've decided I don't much like Vista. It's annoying in that anytime you try to do something it throws a pop-up in your face and says, "The computer's trying to do what you told it to. Are you sure you want to do that?" And you click "YES," and then it says, "Are you REALLY sure?" and you say "YES," and it says, "You do know that it could cause problems with your computer and it might be a virus and it could potentially be detrimental to your system, right?" and you say "YES," and it says, "So you're TOTALLY sure you want to do this?" and you say "YES!!!!!!" And woe betide you if it's a program that accesses the internet, because then it REALLY freaks out!

"Oh my gosh, you know this program you installed accesses the internet?" it says.
"YES."
"You know that means it could download keyloggers or viruses or spyware or trojans or worms?"
"YES."
"It's trying to access the internet now! I think it might be downloading a virus! Are you going to let it do that?"
"YES."
"Are you sure?"
"YES!"
"OH NO, now it's downloading something! I TOLD you it's going to download a virus!!! Do you want me to stop it?"
"YES! ....Wait, I meant NO!"
"No?"
"NO!"
"You're just going to let it download stuff?"
"YES."

Rawr! I appreciate the protection and all, but there's a line, I think....

And then of course, there's the problem with it sucking up all the RAM. This computer has at least as much RAM as mine in Alaska and a pretty good video card, but you wouldn't think it has half as much, from the way it behaves. I mean, World of Warcraft isn't a particularly intense game. You don't need a super-computer for it or anything. But on this machine, even with the graphics turned all the way down, the game lags like it never has on my computer, and mine has all the graphics maxed.

I can say that Vista is very pretty. And shiny. But, as Rob points out, "So is a guardrail when you run into it at 50 miles an hour."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Caked in Mud

We just got back from a week-long vacation to Florida and back, visiting like 14 relatives in the whole trip. And I'm all covered in mud because the moment we pulled into the driveway, I saw a rabbit and jumped out of the car and started chasing it. Except it was raining in Weyers Cave all day long, so I slipped in the mud and fell on my face. Dang it!

Anyway, we started the trip by dropping my little sister off at the airport so she could go back to school. Mom and Dad say she counts as visiting a relative so their count is 15, but I don't think that counts. Anyway, we drove her to Richmond, then drove all the way down to Georgia to visit the two cousins on my dad's side of the family that I haven't seen in around ten years. We only spent about an hour with them, too, which was a little lame. Then we drove a few more hours to somewhere near Atlanta to visit Mom's little sister and their two kids, Forrest and Robyn. Upon learning that Forrest plays both World of Warcraft AND Dungeons & Dragons, I decided I now have a favorite cousin. Anyway, we stayed the night with Aunt Tammy, toured World of Coke, and then drove down to Jacksonville, Florida to visit Dad's parents and his other sister. No cousins there, and we spent most of our time in Florida sitting on Grandma and Grandpa's couch listening to Dad talk. I felt a little bad for not talking much. I'd like to get to know my dad's parents, but it seemed like every time I tried to join in the conversation, I got either ignored, talked over, or interrupted. It was a little boring.

My favorite part was when we were driving home from dinner and I got Grandpa to tell me about his gravity theories. Dad said Grandpa likes physics, especially astronomy, which would be one thing I know we have in common. I was thoroughly surprised, though, by just how much Grandpa came to life when he started talking about his science! I've never heard him talk like that before. Then he started telling me about college and his years working for the post office. It's the most I've ever heard him say at one time, and I thought it was awesome! It was sad when the car ride ended and we went inside and other family members changed the subject, and it was back to sitting on the couch being mostly ignored again.

We also made a quick trip to the beach, since our hotel was only about a fifteen-minute drive away. Mom and I took off our shoes and socks and ran through the sand and splashed in the waves while Dad took pictures. I chased a big flock of seagulls around, just because they were there. Then we picked up some seashells. In all, we were only on the beach about half an hour, so I didn't get sunburned, despite the fact that it was 81 degrees. In JANUARY! That's so wrong!

Then we drove up to Raleigh to visit Mom's mom and brother. Grandma Bliss is one of my favorite relatives because she's so perky and funny. She's really smart, but at times, also unexpectedly completely clueless. For example, today after breakfast, I drove back to the house with Grandma while Mom and Dad checked out of the hotel. While we were waiting, Grandma tried to think of something to do.

Grandma: "Would you like anything to eat? Are you hungry?"

Me: "No thanks, Grandma. We just ate, remember?"

Grandma: "Oh yeah, that's right. Well, would you like anything to drink or something?"

Me: "That's all right, but thank you."

Grandma: "Oh. Well... hm..."

Me: "Hey, Grandma? Any chance I could talk you into a quick game of pool while we wait for Mom and Dad?"

Grandma: "Oh! Yes, of course! Good idea! Yes, we'll play billiards! Yes! But just so you know, I'm terrible at it. Any shot I make is going to be pure luck!"

And with that, she led the way upstairs to the pool table. Grandma's had this pool table since years before I was born. I very rarely saw it used because the parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents never let the kids touch it, afraid we would throw the balls and/or break something. I figure that fear is more or less past now that we're adults, though. And of course, I expected Grandma was being modest about her pool skills. If nothing else, I thought, she's probably nearly as good as I am. (I would call my pool skill about average. Not great, but not bad.)

Well, we got upstairs and Grandma pulled down two pool cues while I racked the balls. I chose one and started to put chalk on the end. Grandma said she had no idea why you would need to chalk it, so I explained that to her as I broke. Then she took her turn, and I was able to analyze her pool skills.

The yellow 1 ball was positioned right by a pocket, but the cue ball was in a position where the shot would be impossible for anyone but the most elite pool shark. Completely ignoring the cue ball, Grandma hit the 1 ball directly and knocked it in. She cheered and asked if that meant she got to go again. I said yes, and she knocked in about a dozen balls, one after the other, without ever once using the cue ball! So I took her hint, hit all the other balls in directly (saving the 8 and cue ball for last), and Grandma declared it a tie. We played a second game exactly the same way, and then I suggested we make the game a little tougher by trying to hit the white ball into the other balls to knock them in. It was awesome! Grandma never did pick up on the concept of solids and stripes, or 8 ball goes in last, but the game was fun, and that's all that matters.

My uncle Jeff (Grandma's youngest son) has recently gotten into some new age stuff that has to do with chakra and auras from crystals. I think it's really interesting (though I'm not about to accept it as a religion), and it was fun hearing Jeff tell me about his rock collection while I tried to fix his computer with a very very very slow dial-up internet connection. As I left, Jeff gave me a small black tourmaline, which is supposed to protect you from curses, psychic attacks, and other negative energy, such as the negative energy given off by computers and cell phones. It's also supposed to help you get over your fears and be more self-confident. I don't believe in the aura and chakra and psychics, but the tourmaline is cool, so I'm going to keep it with me anyway. Maybe it'll bring good luck. Judging from my recent fall into the mud, it's not working so far. ;)

Anyway, it's nice to be home. I love my parents, but they both snore. Loudly. And out of tune with each other. So I'm going to be happy to have my own bedroom back. Well, okay, it's not MINE, but same difference.