Monthly Archives: March, 2004

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Whoo. Much to talk about.

I just got back about an hour ago from Pittsburgh. The University offered me that scholarship, so I had to go visit before I made a decision. My dad and I drove up there last night so we wouldn’t have to do the “hard-core, up at 4am” thing. We got on and off the turnpike with no trouble, even though it was boring because it was night by that time. Nothing to see but dark and hills. Lots of hills. Mountains, really.

Getting to our hotel was a bit more difficult. MapQuest and the odd numbering of the exits threw us. For those of you who’ve never been that way, the roads are confusing like nothing. They curve and loop and intersect and cross bridges at random. There are a lot of bridges (to cross the three rivers, even though they’re really only two rivers). And they’re all painted yellow, which they did for Inspector Gadget. It’s cheap to film in Pittsburgh; a few movies have used the Pitt campus.

We found the hotel eventually. Nighttime complicates things. I’ve never actually heard a buzz saw, but I’m sure my dad’s snoring was louder. My mom told me today that she should’ve warned me to hit him to stop the snoring. That would have required getting out of bed, though, and I was tired. The pillows were weird, too, so both our backs hurt in the morning. And I was still tired from listening to my dad snore for, like, an hour. Impossible.

We woke up the next morning and drove to campus. I’d only been to UMD and UMBC before, so Pitt was startling. UMD and UMBC have basically suburban campuses. You have to take the highway to get there, but the campus streets are lower-traffic and such. Not so with Pitt. You’re in the city (Oakland; Pittsburgh has boroughs like New York City), and then you’re on the same roads, but the signs say “University of Pittsburgh.” I was expecting a gate or something like at UMD.

Overall, I would describe Pitt as “different.” It’s like going to the museums in DC, only there are classrooms and residence halls instead of artifacts and exhibits. The Cathedral of Learning is incredible. It’s 42 stories high, and decorated inside exactly like a real European cathedral. (I know; I’ve been to several.) The Cathedral also has the Nationality Rooms inside. To help fund construction, local ethnic groups donated money and got to design first-floor classrooms in the styles of their countries. They had everything from French and English to Lithuanian, Czechoslovak, and Syria-Lebanon. Very cool.

The thing about Pittsburgh is that it’s built in the mountains. We took a bus tour of the upper and mid campus and the city, and we were going up hills and big escalators the whole time. I can’t imagine walking anywhere, but that’s okay because city transportation is free with a student ID. It was disconcerting to see the top ten floors of the Cathedral when we’d been craning our necks a few minutes before, at the bottom of the hill.

I enjoyed my visit. I managed to meet, in the span of an hour or so, another Lindsay, a military brat, a nice Asian girl from Pasadena (!), and a guy from Oxon Hill. The world is smaller than we think. I can’t make a final decision quite yet, but Pitt is looking good.

So what happened last week? I got my Adkins paper back — a 92, raising my grade just enough to hit 90. I’ll bet there was some rounding in his gradebook. I want so much to get a higher grade, but I don’t think I can try any harder. And I’ll have fewer points to work with this quarter because we leave in two months! Hope wasn’t around yesterday or Thursday. I think she went on that college trip, though I forget whether it was to Carnegie Mellon, Rose-Hulman, or Case Western. I got accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but I don’t know anything about scholarship money yet. I finished re-reading The Giver, by Lois Lowry. It was just as haunting and fabulous as when I read it back in middle school.

You’d think I’d have more to say, to sum up an entire week of my life, but I really don’t. That’s kind of sad.

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Today, we play another rousing game of How Many Things Can Lindsay Do Today? Among her options: read The Washington Post Magazine, finish her AP US History paper, design a new blog layout, go out with Greg, tape American Dreams, and some other things she’s probably forgetting about.

I swear, there is just not enough time in my life to get everything done. I have to push something to the side to attempt to balance it all, and he hates it when I do that. Technically, my history paper isn’t due until Tuesday, but those always take forever to write. So, even if I manage to work on it steadily today, I’ll probably be working on it tomorrow.

Oops, I almost forgot to post this. I got caught up in talking to Greg and working on my paper. And I still have to look over my notes for PreCal. Another cumulative test tomorrow — I hate those! I did badly on the last one, and now there’s more potential material for it. Oh, well. I really shouldn’t be going out now, but here I am.

Life is complicated, no?

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I didn’t go to school today. I had this odd sense when I was getting ready, because I got up only an hour later my usual school day time. I was thrown by my mom’s being home. I’d thought she had to work today, and that’s why she couldn’t go with me. I suppose it was better in the end, though. No annoying coaching. I’m a big girl, Mom.

Anyway, I got started a little later than I planned, but I’d planned to be there way early, so it worked out. I took the right exits, didn’t get in any accidents, and found my way to the garage. Finding the hall was trickier. I’ve never been great with maps, but at least I didn’t get lost. It’s a big campus.

I’d signed up for lunch in the dining hall with a student. That was cool. Our “guide”, Betsy, was energetic and knew a lot. She was realistic, too. She asked if anyone knew they were definitely going to UMD; no one did. From the talk that followed, I felt like I was the only person at that table who hadn’t applied to an Ivy. Apparently, they send acceptance notices in mid-April, so they were all still waiting. This year has made me reevaluate my intellectual achievements in general, but that part of the conversation made me feel… dumb. I despise the idea of spending all of college surrounded by super-geniuses, so I didn’t even consider Ivy. I’m smart, I just know what I don’t want. After that part, we shared some random questions and then went back for the interviews.

The current Honors director gave another awesome speech. I heard him at the Academically Talented Program back in September, so it was great to hear him again. They’re getting a new Honors director, so he’ll be teaching. I hope I have him as a professor; he seemed great. Then we split up. I went to the waiting area since I had one of the first interview slots. Long story short, I was in the wrong place and they fit me in later. The interview itself was painless. They asked me about myself. I know me. There was one moment where I blanked, though, but I recovered nicely. Also, everyone they interviewed is guaranteed some scholarship money; the interviews just determine who gets the full ride (Banneker/Key), and who gets partial.

It was weird to “skip” school today. Greg says Ms. O’Neal and Mr. Witko asked where I was. That’s what happens when you don’t take personal holidays. And the first time I was sick in years, it was a testing day, so no one missed me anyway. Everything just fell into place. Adkins is in Phoenix, so I didn’t miss any discussion points. I know about the math cumulative test on Monday, and am prepared to do badly on it like I did last time. My geology paper is still due Monday. It only has to be passable, but it has to be long, so I will be working on that later. And my history paper is due Tuesday, so that sums up my weekend. I should put together my RP paper, but I need more info from Ms. Comerford, and it shouldn’t take long anyway.

Guess who drove on the beltway all the way to UMD and all the way back, at the beginning of Friday rush hour, and didn’t get in one accident? … I feel accomplished. And I think I looked nice today. And we’re having the kitchen remodeled with my parents’ tax refund. And it’s one day closer to graduation. Yep, today was a fairly good day.

Friday Five: In Control.

If you…

1. …owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve? Italian. I love Italian food. That’s probably why I liked Olive Garden so much. Pasta is the best.

2. …owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell? Jewelry. I can’t design anything worth selling, but that would be cool. Or maybe books. Borders is big competition, though.

3. …wrote a book, what genre would it be? This is my kind of question! I love fiction. I read somewhere, though, that a lot of professional writers like to read in genres totally opposite the one they write in, so I’d probably wind up as a biographer.

4. …ran a school, what would you teach? Music? I’m losing my piano skills, though. Does “elementary” count?

5. …recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it? Pop. That’s what I like to listen to, and I don’t think I could sing anything else. My range is pretty limited.

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Cheesecake may be more pie than cake; either way, I don’t like it. I can say that honestly, since Greg made me try it when we were at Phillip’s before Camelot. I didn’t like it. I like normal cake. Cheesecake was too thick and not at all fluffy. I like fluffy.

Yesterday was uneventful. I woke up later than I’d wanted to, around 10. I went to bed at 11:30 Friday night, which is unheard of for me, so I thought my weekend sleep catch-up might not last as long. I guess I just caught up more.

I did my math homework, then my mom and I drove out to UMD. I’ve been there several times for different reasons, but this was the first time I drove, since it’s the first visit since I’ve had my license. I liked showing off my capabilities to my mom. I’m not great with highways (or unfamiliar streets — but who is?), but I didn’t do anything horrific. I’m driving myself to my interview on Friday, so she wanted to do a practice run. It’s not hard to get there, since it’s so close, but I’m nervous about making the trip by myself. The longest trip like that I’ve done without a run-through was to my grandma’s house, and I’d been paying attention to that route for months, so it was easy.

I forgot to take my campus map with me, so I just drove around for a while. I imagine the traffic, car and pedestrian, is much heavier on weekdays. We asked some lacrosse players for directions to the building I’m going to on Friday, but we never actually found it. Looking at the map today, I could have sworn I was on the right road. We may have passed it, but we were probably nowhere near it. It’s a big campus. As long as I don’t get into any accidents (knock on wood), give myself enough time, and don’t get caught in rush hour traffic coming back (fingers crossed), I’ll be fine. I really hope they offer me a scholarship. Then I can visit Pittsburgh (sometime late this month or next, I think), and make my choice. UMD is my first choice now, but in all fairness, I haven’t ever visited Pitt. I just hope I decide soon enough for halfway decent housing.

We got back later than I’d planned. That was the longest straight period of driving I’ve ever done. I’d asked Greg to have his mom drop him off here at 5, but we were only halfway home by then. My mom called him so he’d know I hadn’t forgotten, and because I don’t answer my cell phone when I’m driving. (I saw this neat thing on a tv commercial once. You set a holster in your car, and when the phone rings, you switch to a radio station and you can use your phone like a walkie-talkie. I wish I remembered what it was called.) All part of my not-getting-into-an-accident plan. No one was inside, so he just waited out there for us. I felt bad about that, but he was early, and I didn’t intend to be out that long.

We watched The Princess Bride first. I’ve meant to watch that for at least a year, but I never actually got around to it, so when Greg suggested it, I was game. I was even more interested when I saw that sketch from I Love the 80’s; I think it was 89. (Love that show!) It was a great movie. It was funny, and romantic, and… just good. Some of the actors called it “the Wizard of Oz of our time”. I think that fits. The Princess Bride isn’t as much of a classic, and it doesn’t have an all-black version (I should see the rest of The Wiz sometime), but it’s still a good movie. Watch it.

We watched School of Rock next. If that wasn’t such a hilarious movie, the drama that ensued with my mom on Friday night would have ruined it. (No comment. The less I talk about it, the less it matters. We had a cordial conversation on the way back from UMD about it, so we’re cool. For now.) When I got back from taking Greg home, I caught part of Saturday Night Live. I haven’t seen that since I lived in Germany, where it came on at 4 o’clock Saturday Afternoon. Ben Affleck was hosting. In his opening monologue, he had a box of shirts. He said he’d tried to cash in on the hype before his marriage broke up, so he had a bunch of shirts that said “bennifer”. They were cute. Then, he said he’d tried to get a head start for next time, with shirts like “benyonce”, “boprah”, and “mary-kate and ashfleck”. The last one was “ben-gay” — “in case I hook up with Marcia Gay Harden. Or in case Matt ever comes around….” It was funny, but it was also late, so I went to bed.

I got off to a slow start today. I went to the library to pick up those books for my History paper (and pay my late fine :x). I took my watch back to Wal-Mart, but they apparently don’t do adjustments. I may just return it and get a new one — somewhere else. I dropped off my mom’s movies, finished my homework (it took forever; I’m so unfocused lately), watched American Dreams, and now I’m here.

The future is scary, you know? It’s so unpredictable. I like predictable — I’m predictable. The way I handle things now makes me worry about how I’ll be able to handle bigger things in the future. I hope I make it.

Also, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was a lovely book. Much, much happier and lighter than The Stranger. If that’s existentialism, I could get used to it. And there is nothing like waffles after three straight days of Cheerios to cheer you up.

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This week was… well, very much like other weeks. My mom made a really stupid point to me earlier, so I’m not in a great mood, but for the sake of blogging, I’ll get over it.

Today, Mrs. O’Neal had her unofficial celebration of Pi Day. You know, 3.14? Some of the people brought in pie (and cheesecake, which is definitely not a pie), and she read some from this pi book she has. I have never met anyone who truly loves math more than Mrs. O’Neal. RP and Geology were boring. I got my AP US History quiz from yesterday back — another 15 (out of 15). That’s encouraging. My grade in that class fell down to an 89, though, and the quarter will be ending soon. I’m leaning toward taking the test, pending parental approval, even though I can’t seem to get the hang of the DBQ. I’ve gotten a B+ on every one of them. I just hope I can knock my grade back up with my paper, like I’ve managed to do so far. I could handle one B, but two will screw up my class ranking, and I have no intention of letting that happen.

We had a quiz in AP Lit on the first part of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, another existentialist book. This one is much more lighthearted than The Stranger. It has those same odd existentialist qualities, though. We waste so much time in that class. I don’t blame her; I don’t have any ideas for holding our attention. It just seems like the double period is too much time for her.

Yesterday, Greg, Ian, and I finally gave our presentation on The Three Musketeers. I hate oral presentations because I get shaky, sweaty, and horrifically nervous when I know all eyes are on me. I summarized the plot, which meant there was a long period of me attempting to abridge and explain the complicated story. And Ian corrected me. More than once. I got through it, though. I don’t know how we did, but Ms. Sim likes us, so we should be okay.

I want Mr. T back. We missed the winter invitational tournament at UMD, and I don’t want to miss the spring one. It’s my last opportunity. I understand that he didn’t plan on being gone for so long, and I’m glad he’s better now. Being a captain (sort of), I’ve started watching people, thinking about who could make next year’s team. Someone like me could come along, though. I was new last year among regulars that had been around since freshman year, and I still made the tv team because I know books more than any of the others. Vicki’s getting better, and Kevin could be great if he’d show up more. Kristina has potential, too. I’m going to miss It’s Ac next year, but I’m still aiming for Jeopardy!, of course.

What else happened this week? It was windy and snowing Wednesday morning. It didn’t stick, though. I don’t want another snowstorm, I want spring! We had a taste of it last week, so now I’m quite spoiled and want the warm weather to come back to stay.

I know other things happened since last Saturday, but I honestly can’t remember anything. I do know, however, that I was otherwise occupied during my traditional blogging time. I want to get online more than anything, but I need to sleep. I need to do my stupid time-consuming homework until late hours. That’s the downfall of late school.

And now I have run out of things to say.

Friday Five: The Last.

1. What was the last song you heard? On CD yesterday, Mandy Moore’s cover of “Drop the Pilot.” Brandon was singing “My Immortal” in English, though, and I sang along, so that’s really the last one I heard.

2. What were the last two movies you saw? Easy. Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde.

3. What were the last three things you purchased? A new watch, a CD for Greg, and some lip gloss.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend? Start studying for my AP US History test Tuesday so I can get an A (or at least a higher B), take my watch back to Wal-Mart to see if they’ll adjust it, make a practice run to UMD for my interview Friday, and get the books back from the library for my History paper (and pay my fine… not cool).

5. Who are the last five people you talked to? Courtney, Ryan, my mom, Choi (on the bus), and Greg.

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You all know the drill. This is the hardest year I’ve ever had, academically speaking. And because I’m so committed to school and such, that increase takes away from my “me” time, i.e. being online. It sucks, but I’m determined not to slump this year. The more I slump now, the harder it’ll be to straighten up in college next year. I refuse to be one of those people that drop out freshman year. School is practically a synonym for my name! (That was an exasperated exclamation points. By no means a yay one.)

My day didn’t start out too well. I won’t go into all the details, though. Some things are just between me and the witnesses.

I took Mindy to Wal-Mart today for an oil check. (Mindy is my car. Like Mandy, as in Moore. Also like that cute baby from Animaniacs. The one with Buttons, that always got into trouble and Buttons the dog had to save her? So cute.) Her oil light has been blinking and beeping, much to my and Greg’s chagrin. I finally checked the dipstick against the manual (see, those things are useful), and thought the problem might be too much oil, not too little. Anyway, I got confused when I took her there and parked on the wrong side. After waiting in the long line at the car center, Courtney and I ate and shopped. I went back to check on Mindy, and they told me they couldn’t find my car. They claim to have paged me, but I didn’t hear anything, and the speakers aren’t that loud anyway. So, as per standard procedure, I called my mom to come help. She did. Yay, Mom. The thing is, she told me I shouldn’t get upset. Erm? I think wasting that much time (almost two hours) is something to be upset over. Not like, sobbing and screaming, but not happy. Add that to other assorted negativities, and my day started out badly.

Let’s see, what happened this week? Damitra finally calculated the NHS points. I have 39, not counting the points I’ll get for more meetings, the spring induction, and the honor roll assembly next week (I think). The problem is, they haven’t decided what the goal is yet. You have to have a certain number of points to wear the stole with the NHS patch at graduation. They picked 100 before, but it must have been arbitrary since no one has even half of that. I’ll sort it out soon enough. I can be a loud when I have to, I just hate being obnoxious like that.

It was really warm on Friday. Something like 75 degrees. It was warm in the basement (where Mr. Adkins’s room is), and we had all the windows open in Ms. Sim’s room. I’m naturally cold (like right now), so it was blissful to be able to walk around in just a t-shirt. Unfortunately, it rained today, and they’re predicting rain/snow (!) for Tuesday, so our taste of spring appears to be over. Darn.

I got a B on my last AP US History test. That’s good, considering that those tests are always difficult, but it could have been better. It was worth a lot of points, too, so that sucks. We had another DBQ on Thursday. I usually dread those. I don’t usually plan them out first, though, so I tried that this time, and I think it turned out better than usual. At least, I hope so. I should know Monday.

On Wednesday, the juniors took a “practice real-time SAT test”. It turns out they used the booklets that come from the College Board, the same ones that they used, like, a week ago in the computer lab, and the ones for SAT prep, if I’m not mistaken. Typical Oxon Hill behavior. I have two junior-heavy classes, and neither teacher taught, so I read in PreCal and AP US History. I managed to talk during RP, just to break the monotony. I was so sick of reading by English class. I polished off the book I was reading before The Three Musketeers and moved on to another. Greg stayed home that day to catch up on schoolwork; otherwise I’d have gone up to Mr. Harrison’s room to sit there. At least I could have eavesdropped while I was reading. But no. I read all day, by myself. I even wound up reading in AP Lit, during the time I would usually have been talking to Greg. I’m glad he got his work done, though.

That was basically my whole week. I applied for a scholarship, but I may have missed the deadline, so I just have to wait and see. I RSVP’d for the Honors interview at UMD, and I was looking through the Undergrad Catalog I got when I was up there in the fall. My AP Language test score won’t credit me for English 101 (boo), but my SAT verbal score should. I love English, and I’ve heard that freshman classes like that are the best places to meet other freshmen, but if I can save money, I’m all for it. And if I got a full-tuition scholarship (!!!!!!!!!), I could take some fun classes instead.

Tomorrow, Greg and I are going to watch movies. He’s going to try to override Legally Blonde in the interest of time, but I plan to put an end to that. I’ve had it for ages and haven’t watched it yet, so I’m really eager. I went to the mall last night with my mom and the rugrats, and though I forgot to get the Auntie Anne’s pretzel I’ve been hankering for, I did get School of Rock. Yay for surprisingly good movies.

I just got a weird email from the Mailer-Daemon. You know, the thing they send when your mail can’t be delivered. The thing is, I never sent any message like that to that address. I haven’t sent an email in at least a week, and the bounce message just showed up. So if you get anything from me with an attachment, be wary. I don’t usually send attachments, anyway. Just a heads-up.

The Friday Five I missed: Nostalgia.

What was…

1. …your first grade teacher’s name? Ms. Drago got married during the school year, so she became Mrs. Schaffler. Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, Schaffler is a very difficult name to teach a first-grader to write.

2. …your favorite Saturday morning cartoon? Hmm. Power Rangers came on after school, but I used to love that show.

3. …the name of your very first best friend? The first I remember was Ashley. I think she had a sister named Nicole; I was her friend, too. Maybe they were twins. That was so long ago.

4. …your favorite breakfast cereal? Cocoa Krispies, then Waffle Crisp.

5. …your favorite thing to do after school? Play outside with my Barbies. No wonder their hair was always really tangled….

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