Monthly Archives: September, 2004

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It rained circus animals yesterday. Not only was it impossible for me to make it back from the Diner without getting half-soaked, it was humid, too. Thank goodness I remembered to braid my hair.

I got my math test back today – 98! I’m starting off this semester nicely. I even got a “check plus” on my written assignment for my Honors Humanities seminar. I still have to work all afternoon and evening to get those grades, but if I can keep this up for the next seven semesters (holy!), then I’ll be fine.

I checked out the Sign Language Club tonight. It was interesting. I only know a little of the alphabet, so I could mostly follow the fingerspelling. We spent most of the meeting “voices off”, writing words on a whiteboard as we went over them. My favorite sign was “turtle”. At this university, that’s an important one, and besides, the sign is really cute. It genuinely looks like a turtle. I don’t know if I want to continue. It cuts into Smallville. I watch a lot less tv now, so my shows are important to me.

Geography is still boring beyond reason. I managed to handle this week’s discussion reading, though. I started it yesterday and finished it tonight for Friday. Yay for working ahead. I really only had time because my geography lecture notes were short (we watched a video, which was also less boring than usual) and I don’t have the psyc PowerPoint yet.

The last short story we read in my Honors seminar was published in Playboy, but it was one of my favorites of the ones we’ve read so far. :X It was really funny, though. Nothing explicit in the least. The story for this week was one we read for Ms. Sim last year. I think I saw this anthology on her desk. And she went here, too, so that could explain the coincidence.

I have nothing to blog about. I used to go on for paragraphs last year about the most minor things. Now my life is slightly more interesting and I have nothing to say.

No, wait. One more thing. I lost by about six points last night, but I am kicking some boyfriend butt at Literati right now.

A Philosophical Friday Five

A philosophical Friday Five:

1. What is your opinion on karma? I believe in karma to a degree. In many cases, I’ve done something spiteful and then had something happen to me right away, like laughing at someone who’s gotten hurt and then tripping myself. As my mom puts it, “God doesn’t like ugly.” The feeling that my good deeds will not go unnoticed keeps me doing them. I’m not saying that people should only do good things because they’ll get something in the end, but it is an incentive.
2. If anything, do you think attitude makes any difference? If you believe the world and life are good, will good things radiate toward you? If you believe otherwise, will it all be a self fulfilling prophecy? Attitude affects everything. When you “wake up on the wrong side of the bed” and start the day in a bad mood, it seems like everything is negative, like the whole world’s against you. If you try to keep a positive attitude even when crap happens, things won’t seems quite as bad.
3. How has luck/chance/facts-of-life/God/karma/nature treated you so far? Last year? Like crap. This year? Not so bad. I started out in a woe-is-me, my-life-sucks mood, but gradually I got over it. I still don’t feel quite assimilated, but I’m much better than I was before.
4. What is your opinion of the concept of destinies? I believe God has a path for all of us to follow. Sometimes the path gets very, very steep, but it’s never steeper than you can climb. And once you’ve gotten past that hill, you’re stronger for having climbed it. We aren’t meant to know what the path looks like, but we’re going to be on it until we die, and maybe after.
5. Are both bad and good things needed in order to truly live life? Can you have the bad without the good? The good without the bad? I fully believe in Taoism (Daoism), and the concept of the yin and yang. The world is a combination of opposites: man and woman, night and day, good and evil. Without one, we’d have no perception of the other. How would we know it was dark if we’d never seen light? How do you know something is hot if you’ve never felt cold? There’s no basis for comparison. The eternal balance and struggle of opposites make the world go ’round.

Yesterday was the First Look Fair on McKeldin Mall. It’s like a club fair, basically. I had to walk through it the first time, on my way to math class, but then I went back for a good look. I saw a lot of Bible study groups. I ran into BG again, at the NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) table. If I was still interested in engineering at all, I’d have signed up for the listserv. As it was, I only signed up for America Reads/ America Counts, the Sign Language Club, and the Maryland Academic Quiz Team (MAQT). Sign Language Club sounds really interesting. The idea of a language communicated using body movement exclusively is fascinating. It brings a whole new meaning to “body language”. The girl at the table told me that they take trips to Galludet (the university for the deaf in DC) and go out to have “silent dinners”. It’d be weird to have a whole dinner conversation without saying a word. I saw a man signing on the Metro a few weeks ago. I’ve always wanted to learn to sign properly. I use my hands a lot when I talk anyway; sign language would just put them to good use.

MAQT scares me. The girl at the table seemed very nice. She said they’re always looking for girls, and their vice president (or maybe it was the president) is actually taping the Jeopardy! College Championship next month. MAQT could be my ticket in! Despite the sparse table decorations, I signed up for the listserv, took a flier, and went on my way. Once I read the flier and checked out their site, I was totally intimidated.

If you are not familiar with [academic] competitions, imagine Jeopardy! with harder questions, more players, and the ability to buzz in and make Alex shut his hole in the middle of the question.

I like Alex.

I told Greg about my considering joining MAQT last night. “They all seem so much smarter than me,” I said. He doesn’t think I’ll like it. I’m willing to give it a shot. I was a bit intimidated when I first started playing It’s Ac, too. Sure, I’m not great at it, but we did take second on tv last year. And, as usual, there’ll be other people to pick up my slack, if you think of it like that. They practice twice a week (another similarity to It’s Ac), so I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle the commitment, but I’m willing to try. I haven’t even been watching Jeopardy! lately. I miss my show. I think Ken’s still around, though. It was news when he hit the million mark; it’ll be news when someone finally beats him. The giant-killer. I would love to be that person. Ken, you’re great, but go home. Please.

I got my psyc exam back: I got a 94! Yay! Sure, that was 89 plus 3 extra credit points and a slight curve, but who cares? It says “A”, so I’m happy. My professor wondered if she made the exam too easy, or if we just studied well, or if she’s just a good teacher. I think it was about right. Not too hard, not really too easy. But it doesn’t matter, ’cause I got an A! (Feel the non-sarcastic excitement.) For my first college exam ever, that’s very supportive. I have a math exam Monday, so I’ll get a feel for how my grades should really look, but still. That made me very happy. And my cold is basically gone. More yay!

Geography sucks. We discussed waves in lecture yesterday, which was nice because I knew what he was talking about. I must have retained more info from Witko than I thought. Today in discussion, though, we had a quiz. I’ve been doing the reading. Or rather, I’ve been reading. It’s mind-blowingly dry. How can anyone expect college undergrads to absorb twenty pages on estuaries? When we went over the second article in class, I got a feeling for what the main concepts are, what we were supposed to learn. (Doesn’t mean I learned it, though.) For the third article, three students gave a presentation on the article, which I tuned out just like while I’m reading them. I can’t help it. You’d space out, too. It’s so boring, I can read the same paragraph three times (in mid-afternoon, so I’m not drowsy) and still feel like I’m not getting it. I was lost on most of the quiz, unfortunately. There was a lot of uncharacteristic guessing going on. It hurt to think “that sounds about right” instead of “I remember that” when I chose an answer, but that’s how it was. I hope I didn’t fail. I haven’t failed anything in a long, long time.

I managed to socialize a bit this week. Monday night, I went to dinner after my HH seminar with Hana, Rebecca, and Megha, some girls from my floor. I had fun. Megha talked about being a “crazy Indian vegetarian,” reminding me of someone I know and heart. Wednesday, I had lunch with Anita and Chris M. after geography lecture. It was nice to not eat alone. Last night, I went to watch Paycheck with some people in Adrienne and Danielle’s room. The movie was pretty good. Lots of action. I liked being around people, even though it started to smell after a while. I didn’t really notice it, but the fans weren’t on and the door was closed. Another girl showed up about halfway through the movie and started coughing when she stepped in, so she doused us all with air freshener. It smelled much better after that.

I came back and watched the season premiere of ER after Paycheck. There was not enough Shane West, and he grew out his hair. I preferred it short, a la Landon in A Walk to Remember. I still identify with Neela.

Greg’s coming over later. I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I had the urge to be outside today, so in my two-hour break between classes, I sat on the mall and read. It was nice. These four walls are starting to drive me crazy. That never happened at home, but then again, I spent the majority of my time in school, rather than holed up in my room dozing off over geography.

I’ve gotten two telemarketer calls on my dorm phone line. How did they get that number?

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Now I’mb sick. I hadn’t seen Mykella much before I got this cold, but I just like that. So succinct. I went out to the Diner for a Late Night burger. It was really cold Sunday night, and I was wearing shorts. I woke up yesterday morning with a cold, cursing nature because of my psychology exam today. So I spent Monday and Monday classes sniffling, with both my eyes watering. This morning, though, I found a sample of DayQuil and took that. It kept me going through my exam, though I definitely should have studied a bit more.

We finally read a story for my honors seminar that is not a perfect story. That surprised me so much, I wrote it down in my notes.

Yesterday (or was it Sunday?), I picked up another newspaper from the Diner, besides my usual Diamondback. It was the Terrapin Times. I have never read anything so outwardly conservative in my life. I wouldn’t call the Diamondback liberal, per se, but the writing in the Terrapin Times was just so… right-wing. Like in the fine print, where they list how often it circulates and all that (yeah, I read that) it says that stealing is illegal “and also a sin,” then cites the Bible verse. After seeing that citation, I knew what I was getting into. Stealing is wrong, period. Legally, morally, socially, whatever. It makes sense that it would also be wrong biblically, but is the news really the place to point that out.

I went to the Incon today for some more DayQuil and chocolate milk. I got lost on the way, which was upsetting because I haven’t gotten lost on campus in weeks. I ran into one of my hallmates there. He was the second person today (both were guys, actually) who referred to Terp Bucks (part of the meal plan that can be used outside the dining halls, too) as “fake Incon money”. I say, if it gets me real stuff, it’s real money. Of course, I get a lot of giftcards, so I’m used to “fake money,” I guess.

I wish I had more to say, but I really don’t. That’s sad. College life is slightly better today, though. Except for the cold, you know.

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It’s raining circus animals right now. Our version of Hurricane Ivan, I think. Jenny says it’s supposed to stick around all weekend, which sucks. There were a few lulls, though.

Got back a little while ago from Greg’s house. He cooked dinner, which was very good, as has been the case with everything he’s made that I’ve tasted. I accidentally left my A Walk to Remember DVD here, so we wound up watching the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1. It was okay. I still prefer the various incarnations of Star Trek.

I’m wary of my psychology exam on Tuesday. I’m afraid I won’t study right, or there will be things on the test that I don’t remember at all. I realized last week that nothing was really “clicking”, so I went through my notes a lot more intensively, with the PowerPoint slides my professor sends out. When we reviewed in class on Thursday, I felt like I understood. I hope I can still understand on Tuesday.

You know, when I started this entry, I thought I’d have a lot more to say.

Friday Five
1) If you came upon a time machine, where would you go? Would you alter anything? Why? I’d probably be too paranoid to actually use it. If you go back in time, you have to worry about not changing anything, because that could change the present you return to. If you go forward, you might never want to come back because it’s so much better, or you might find out something you’re not supposed to. Or you could wind up somewhere really strange, a la The Time Machine.
2) If you managed to capture the Questing Beast, an odd combination of animal forms that is said to know the answers to all questions, what one question would you ask it? Would the answer change anything? Never heard of that one, but I would ask whether anyone can ever be truly happy. Ambiguous, I know, but you can’t ask what the next winning lottery numbers will be or something superficial like that.
3) You’ve found yourself a rather obedient genie in a bottle. Make your three wishes. Why, out of everything you could ask for, do these three win out? I would wish to be financially comfortable (i.e., to live like my parents do) for the rest of my life, to find work that will make me truly happy, and to learn how to successfully deal with the daily stresses of my life.
4) Someone presents you with a working voodoo doll. Do you use it? On who, why, and to what purpose? No. That’s just so evil. Wishing bad things upon someone because they ticked you off is one thing. Using Caribbean religious magic to make it actually happen is just wrong.
5) Pick a superpower, any superpower. What and why? How would this change your life? The ability to freeze time. Telekinesis would be cool, but stopping time would be infinitely more useful. Extra sleep time, extra study time, extra time for anything. I might finally stop feeling so stressed out all the time. That would be incredible.

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It’s late and I’m tired, so this entry will consist of random comments, because that’s easiest.

My honors seminar is on short stories. We’ve read four so far, and he has pronounced every one of them the “perfect” story. After the third “perfect story,” I got fed up and asked what the criteria were for a story to be “perfect.” He had to think about it. He gave me an answer — I wrote it down — which was plausible, but I’m beginning to doubt it now. Our latest story is in dialect. Think Their Eyes Were Watching God. Is this one going to be a perfect story, too?

Still not much on the new-friends front. Jenny is awesome. We have random conversations, breaks from studying. The last one covered “perfect stories”, AP classes, and (John) Kennedy’s assassination. Hey, someone told me random conversations would be the most enlightening. Go figure.

My life is pretty much the same, now that I think about it. I get up, go to classes, come home and study, then go to bed. Yesterday, Greg came over for much of the afternoon and evening. We watched a very freaky, very indie movie, Secretary. He said midway through, “It’s an S&M love story.” I said, “Don’t borrow any more movies from Nick.” I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to get in my studying after he left. I almost didn’t. Went to bed late. I didn’t expect the work to be this hard. I only have 5 classes/ 13 credits. My semester supposed to be easy.

Dining hall food gets tiring after a while. I’m about at that point now. Especially since they rotated the Honey Nut Cheerios out of the Diner. I used to just put sugar in my Cheerios, but then I tried Honey Nut at the Diner and loved them. It’s so disappointing to find that you accidentally got the regular kind, and your OJ is from the broken machine. I taste it before I fill the glass now.

Four girls from UMD posed in the college issue of Playboy. Not only did I see the large ad in The Diamondback last week, but I heard them on the radio, and saw the front-page picture and almost-full-page article in today’s Diamondback. Seriously, is there nothing better to talk about? Oprah giving her whole audience $28k cars? Nothing?

I am craving Spicier Nacho Doritos. Or just regular Doritos. All I have are Tostitos Scoops, and while I love them, they get boring after a while. I like some variety in my meals. Not much, mind you, but some.

I have my first exam, in psychology, next week. I spent several hours studying for it today. It hasn’t been clicking. So much biology. Tonight, though, I think I got it. It was such a good feeling.

In my honors humanities class, participation and discussion count for 30% of our grade. So far, in two classes, I think I’ve said one word. Exactly one. That, and “here” when Professor Jung took attendance. Everyone else’s comments sound so much smarter than anything I have to say. I don’t want to sound like the dumb one. I’m afraid I won’t be as articulate as they are. Yeah, I’m a compulsive worrier, but I don’t want to be embarrassed.

And now I should be in bed, trying to sleep through the night. I’ve almost made it for the past few nights. Really need to crash, though.

How do I feel about the college life this week? Medium well.

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Shane West is going to be on ER next season. Yay. Except that Noah Wyle’s leaving. I like his character, and I like the fact that he’s been around for the entire run. It’s a nice constant. I hope he at least goes out well.

I’m still waiting for my college life to not be so boring and lonely. I’ve never had to make an effort to meet people before. I talked to people in classes, sat with them at lunch, and saw them in activities. That was it, and that was okay because I valued my alone time, my non-school time. I have lot more of that time now. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried leaving my door open, but that just made me feel like an obvious hermit. At least no one knows whether I’m here or not if I leave the door closed.

I need some new local friends. And a routine. Then maybe I’ll start to feel like my life is, I don’t know, worth it or something. Maybe I need a club. Ah, I don’t know. I have no idea how to work myself out of this slump and it’s driving me to places I haven’t seen in a long, long time.

Friday Five
1. What is the best dessert you’ve ever had? I don’t eat many desserts, but that marble cake after pizza (Papa John’s, not the UMD cafeteria stuff) was fabulous. My mom didn’t get the kind of ice cream I like, though.
2. Is there a dessert that just plain grosses you out? Not really. I’m not a big fruit person, though, so fruit desserts (pies, bananas foster, etc.) aren’t my thing.
3. Straight out of the container or with lots of toppings …. tell us how you like your ice cream. Uh, plain? I actually like to put vanilla ice cream into a mid-sized plastic cup and eat it that way. I always get too much if I put it in a bowl.
4. Cookie dough, brownie mix, cake batter or the finished products? I tried the dough from the batch of cookies I made a few weeks ago. It was all gritty, not at all nice, so I’ll stick with the baked variety from now on.
5. You’ve just invented a great new dessert …. what’s in it and what is it called? ?

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My weekend kind of sucked. I went home as planned on Friday evening. There was a little confusion as to where my mom was going to pick me up, which started off the evening on a not-so-great note, but it was manageable. We ran into standard Beltway rush-hour traffic, getting home just before 6:00. I only had time to go to the bathroom and dump my bags into my room before Greg arrived. Most of my belongings are still in my room, but it doesn’t feel like home unless/until everything is there. Reading that line, it makes me realize that this dorm will never really be home (which it shouldn’t), but my house won’t be, either.

Greg took me to The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, so I owed him a movie I didn’t really want to see. He was aiming for Alien vs. Predator, but went with Hero instead. I have only seen one martial arts-oriented movie: Rush Hour. That had comedy. Hero most definitely did not. Overall, it wasn’t terrible. My qualms are with the subtitles and the storyline. I’ve only seen one movie with subtitles: The Passion of the Christ. I went to that voluntarily, and I still think having to read the dialogue took away from the visual aspect of the movie. If I really wanted to read the story, I could; it’s the Bible. I went to see it. As for the storyline, I think it happened four times. Something about Jet Li’s character lying, and then the emperor was wrong, and something else. I lost count. I can handle it when characters die on-screen, then come back to life. When dead characters die again, I get confused. I don’t like being confused. Toward the end of the movie, I just rested on Greg’s shoulder. I’d pretty much lost interest. The fight scenes were pretty cool, but I require plot with action (see my rant on Bad Boys II).

I got to sleep in on Saturday morning, in my own full-size bed. That was lovely. I had one of my classic lazy days. I should have been out shopping, though. I knew I needed things, but did I get them? No. Now, I’m stuck trying to find a good time and reliable transportation to a discount store. I know there’s a shuttle that runs out to Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, which has a Target. It only runs on weekdays, though, and only once per hour. This editorial in today’s Diamondback didn’t help.

Back to the weekend. So I wasted Saturday. On Sunday, I got up early (boo) to go to the Renaissance Festival (yay) with Greg (more yay), David, and Andrew. Thanks to Mapquest and my navigation, we got there easily. I had a really good cheese quesadilla and a giant pretzel. Yay for pseudo-renaissance food. Shakespeare’s Skum was fabulous, as usual. You can never see Tag-Team Romeo and Juliet too many times.

I was down, though. I’ve been kind of down since… move-in, I guess. It’s typical for new resident freshmen to have trouble making friends and adjusting, but I am rarely typical. I know that with time, things will become normal. I’ve changed my life, for lack of better words, many times before. I can do it again. That, or I’ll decide that I can’t handle it and give up. I have to settle into something sooner or later. I’d just rather it be sooner.

I came back Monday with a printer (but no paper), a desk lamp, and a new alarm clock, a cute cell phone rest, and other things. All but the printer were birthday presents. I also came back to a full hamper. I’d planned on taking it home to do over the weekend, but it was so full I couldn’t carry it, and after almost missing my mom, I didn’t think to go back upstairs for it. Doing my laundry was a long, hot, boring adventure. If I can get a couple of smaller hampers, I’ll be fine.

Classes are classes. I feel like I’m starting to overwork myself, which is not good considering my light course load. Soon, I’ll figure out what I need to do when, so I won’t turn into one of those pasty people in the library. I’ve been studying at my desk now. It works fine.

That last pronouncement was a little too soon. Maybe I can do this college thing. Maybe.

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