Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Later


Well.. today I'm off to California, or The Land of Fruits and Nuts, as my dad calls it. I'll be gone for about 11 days and probably won't be blogging any while I'm there... so I hope you all have a rockin' New Years. See ya next year!

Monday, December 26, 2005

On a Lighter Note..


The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

Coolest Christmas lights ever

Bah Humbug and Crap


I don't know when I'll learn just how very much I hate the holidays. I don't say I hate them to be flippant or cool or whatever. I really do dislike them. No matter what, holidays seem to end up being depressing and disappointing in one way or another. Yet, each year, the big cynical Scrooge part of me gets shushed by my smaller idealistic part that insists this year will be different, and each year I find myself buying into it.

I went down to Pburg because Mikey was in town and it had been ages since I last saw him. I stayed with Angie and her girlfriend, which, going into it, I thought was a little weird. However, I was really touched to be thought of and included in my friends' celebrations because I have no family here. I didn't want it to be weird and on the drive down there, I was even a little excited. I imagined a warm holiday in which I would act like a normal person and be grateful for the open arms of someone else's family.

Truthfully, it didn't happen like that. In fact, I'm both ashamed and embarrassed of what did happen. You see, I ended up having an emotional breakdown/freak out. The reasons are complicated and I'm not even entirely sure why, other than being at Christmas dinner made me feel unbearably lonely and alone. That combined with the fact that Angie has been increasingly distant since my move, and seeing for myself this new life she has with her girlfriend.. well, it was really hard. I've been having kind of a mid-midlife crisis type thing anyway, and all of this just pushed me over the edge.

The first night was fun and being in a group setting of friends was fine. The next night, I went out with Mikey and Angie's brother, Brian, and we were having a ton of fun until all the gay boys were off making out with each other and I was left sitting by myself in the bar. It was pretty dead and the one cute girl there had totally blown me off, so I was sitting there alone with my increasingly depressing drunken thoughts. I ended up crying about how lonely I feel and how I wonder what is wrong with me, that I have absolutely no luck in the romance department. After all that, no one ended up hooking up with anyone and we all went home separately. Before going to sleep, I scrounged up a pen and paper and, through tears, I wrote the following (warning: drunk and maudlin ahead):

I'm tired. Tired of my life, tired of watching other people be happy, tired of watching everyone else obtain what it is I want for myself. Sick, sick to death of envy and jealousy, sick of comparing myself to others.

I'm just so tired. Tired of being me, tired of being unhappy, tired of fucking everything.

I doubt and hate myself so much. I treat my friends more gently and with more tolerance and understanding than I treat myself. My friends receive gentleness, while I receive punishment, over and over, for crimes I can't let go of. Stupid crimes that earn ridiculously stiff consequences and berating.

I am so tired. Tired. Tired of pain and struggle, tired of trying to carve my way through this life. Tired of being unique, different. Tired of being an acquired taste. I'm tired of feeling old and bitter before my time. I'm tired of my fear, my insecurities... all the things that prevent me from being who and what I want to be.

Most of all, I'm tired of being invisible. In some ways, I enjoy and cherish being different, but in other ways I wish there was more of a mainstream appreciation for me. My sense of humor, my looks, whatever. I'm tired of being on the margins, feeling entirely unique and different from everyone else. Tired of not fitting in.

Why can't I be happy with what makes me unique and "special"? Why must I always want what is impossible to obtain?

My greatest fear is that I will be alone forever. That I'm nearly 30 and haven't had a single long-term relationship that I would call successful. That all I've had is the one really fucked up one, and that's it. That no one seems to get me, and that no one ever seems to be interested in me. It's hard for me to separate this disinterest from my appearance, something I fear I will never be satisfied with.

I don't know how to take this apparent disinterest in me. I want to be wanted. I want to have fucking dates and relationships, for god's sake. Even a simple hook up now and then would be more satisfactory. I just can't help feeling that I don't fit into this world at all. I can't help but fear that I will be alone forever, watching everyone else but me obtain the simple happiness I want for myself. I'm so fucking tired of being alone! I'm tired of being different. I just want to be beautiful and wanted, and loved. Why does this come so easily to some and not at all to me? I'm so sick, fucking sick of feeling invisible and unattractive, and knowing that I don't fit most people's ideas of anything.

Being different is my fucking curse. Special, unique, my ass! I'm tired of feeling ugly and unwanted, and freakish because I don't fit into any sort of box. I'm tired of being me. If I died at this moment, I would think more on the relief of not having to deal with this bullshit anymore and honestly I wouldn't care what I hadn't accomplished yet. I just don't care. I'm miserable and I fear I will always be miserable.

Merry fucking Christmas bullshit!!!

Having vented some, I went to bed and had one of the most vivid, disturbing, and intense nightmares I've ever had. The next day was okay, although I was still feeling the emotional remnants of the previous night as well as my nightmare. The more time I spent at Angie's house, the more weirded out I felt by the whole thing. I felt like such an outsider in her life and I started thinking about how I just wanted to go home.

Christmas Eve, we went to Angie's dad's house for a family dinner. It's not as if they were all strangers, and I tried to be a good guest out of appreciation for inclusion of their holiday. But as time went by, I just kept being pulled down into depressing emotional shit. Angie spent no time with me whatsoever and stuck by her girlfriend pretty much the entire time. Once a mood like that starts to take over, there's very little I can do except remove myself from the situation to deal with it alone. I went outside a few times to breathe and I was trying so hard not to cry. I probably would have been able to hold it all together until we left, but Angie's step-mom, who is just about the kindest, warmest, most generous person I know, came over to me. She stepped close to me and looked me in the eyes and said, "Oh, Alena.. don't worry.. you're a wonderful person and I know you'll find someone just as amazing. There is someone out there for you."

It was like she could read my mind and I just lost it right there. I started crying and tried to apologize and explain that it wasn't her fault, but I felt like I was making a scene, so I got up and went into another room to compose myself. Instead, once away from other people, I cried harder. I had been invited to brunch at Angie's mom's the next day, but all I could think was that I wanted to go home, that I couldn't deal with any of it anymore.

We went back to Angie's house and started to watch a movie. I kept thinking about everything and the emotional vortex I was in, and I felt strongly that I should just go. It was too hard, all of it, and I felt embarrassed, ashamed for how I was acting. I felt like a terrible guest on all counts and the longer I was around Angie and her girlfriend, the more uncomfortable and weird I felt. So I pulled Angie aside and told her I was so sorry for acting like I was and that I wanted to go home. I cried yet again, as I tried to explain how I felt and what was wrong, that I was so sorry for being such an emotional freak. We had a short talk and she convinced me to stay.

I had hoped that these feelings would pass or be less intense the next day. My intention had been to the most grateful guest, to be helpful and cheery. But Christmas Day was just as bad. It was so clear to me what an outsider I was, and it didn't even feel like I fit into Angie's life anymore. I decided I would go to brunch and then leave as soon as possible.

My departure felt hasty and weird. I just couldn't wait to get out of there. I felt like I wouldn't feel normal again until I was home. As I said goodbye to Angie at her mom's, I kept apologizing for being such an emotional freak, trying to explain my actions and feelings. She said she loves me because I am a freak, which I now think is kind of funny. But at times like that, where I'm overwhelmed and overtaken by emotions I can't control or subdue, it feels like I can't connect to anyone else and I can't get what's going on inside across. When I got home, I called to say I'd gotten here, but I could hear myself speaking and I knew I sounded really weird, so I thanked them and apologized again for crying.

Now that I'm home, I do feel much more centered and relieved, but I can't shake the feeling of being a traveling emotional freak show, a grenade of weird shit that apparently can explode at any time. I feel like I can never go back there, that I can never stay with Angie again. That probably none of them will invite me again anyway, considering how I acted. That maybe Angie and I can't be friends anymore because I can't deal with the changes or the shift of things. I feel all kinds of guilt because I feel a complex mixture of jealousy and I know it's wrong.

I just don't know what is wrong with me. When I'm overtaken like this, I know my behavior must seem bizarre and selfish. Emotions like this, I can't control, and that's not normal, is it?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Whereupon Alena Discovers She Does Not Live Alone...


So, yesterday, I was poking around in my bedroom closet, trying to find some rope that I suspected was in a container at the very bottom of everything. The rope was for the purely innocent application of hanging something outside to air out, lest you think my sex life is more interesting than it actually is at the moment. Anyway, I'm very leery of poking around in closets due to my abnormal fear of spiders living inside my shoes and God knows where else, those crafty buggers. I cautiously pulled out some items to have better access to the container, when I noticed something quite odd.

At the back of the closet on the floor, there were the remnants of a stuffed unicorn. Now, the unicorn was mine.. It was a wall-hanging-type-thinger that had been given to me when I was a baby. I have been called a packrat, but I don't just save everything: I am compulsively sentimental. If I have had an item for years, even if it's something I wouldn't use or decorate with now, it gets saved. So this unicorn is something I've had all my life, and apparently it was put in my bedroom closet during my move.

The unicorn had been mauled, chewed apart, and as it lay dying alone in a dark closet, it had hemorrhaged stuffing everywhere. I was a little shocked and couldn't believe what I was seeing. My first thought was that Melissa's dog, Greta, had somehow gotten into my closet during her stay with me. I pulled out the remains and looked them over, trying to understand. As I squatted in front of my closet, I began to notice other things. There was a section of shoelace that had been obviously chewed off a pair of my Bean Boots. I was like, WTF?

It occurred to me then that Greta was not the culprit. Even if she had somehow gotten in my closet, she didn't have enough time to demolish the unicorn AND my shoelaces. I mean, I kept my bedroom door shut nearly the whole time she visited. As I looked, I noticed more shoelace pieces, this time from another pair of boots. A light bulb went off in my head, and I'm sure my eyes went appropriately wide. I began piecing things together.. the unicorn, the shoelaces, a phone cord that had 'split' (i.e. was chewed in half) while I was away this summer, scratching noises in the ceiling of my kitchen..

Oh yeah. Mice. Fucking great!!

When I realized this, I freaked out. I fetched a flashlight and began inspecting my closet. While I have yet to find mouse poo in my apartment, hear them partying in my closet, or God forbid, SEE one.. it's more than obvious that they're here. I think I found a mouse hole in the closet and I suspect they probably are living in that wall, cozily nesting in the insulation and unicorn innards. Damn it!

I immediately called my landlord, hoping he would deal with it. Instead, I was told that unless the entire building was infested, it was up to me to buy poison or traps. Or live with them. Feh!!

So my landlord is all, "Yeah, you just go to Lowe's and buy some mouse and rat poison, it smells just like peanut butter, and you leave it out for them. What it does is cause blood thinning, so if they get hurt, they bleed to death because their blood won't clot. Yeah, they would die in the walls and there might be a smell. It also makes them very thirsty, so be sure to close your toilet seat and leave the sink empty and dry. The idea is that they'll get so thirsty they'll go elsewhere."

And in my head, I'm like, "OMFGOMFGOMFG, stop, stop, stop.. OMG.. please don't tell me this.. stooooooop!!"

This launched me into Freak-Out #2. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not believe in killing things and I feel quite strongly about this because I think it's wrong. To me, all living things have as much right to live as I do. There is a very short list of things (mosquitos, flies, roaches, ants) that I will kill if it comes down to it, but even then I don't feel great about it. In this case, there is no good solution. A snap-trap would provide a more merciful end, but then I have to be face-to-face with what I've done and it would honestly break my heart... On the other hand, poisoning, while allowing me to be somewhat of a coward, causes a slow death and I think that's even more wrong than the death alone.

After the conversation with my landlord, I called Melissa because I was flipping out. As further proof of what a big bleeding-heart baby I am, I started crying when I was explaining to her why it tore me up that I was even considering poison. It still makes me emotional when I think about it. Then I talked to my mom, who had a casual attitude about it and told me they have to poison rats and mice all the time in their orto.

I still haven't decided what I'm going to do. Earlier I took my flashlight and further examined the closet and my shoes. Almost all of the ones that were on the floor had been chewed on, one pair in particular was quite obviously a favored mouse snack. I moved them all off the floor and found what looks to be a hole in a corner behind/underneath the linoleum. The closet door doesn't latch shut, so for psychological relief, I placed something heavy in front of the door. There aren't any signs of them in the kitchen, but I don't know who I'm trying to fool.. as evidenced by the chewed phone cord, they have been in the living room.

Help!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

WTF, George?


Dear Alena,

As our nation deals with the fallout of natural disasters, war and spiraling deficits, our leaders in Congress have made their top two priorities clear: huge new tax cuts targeted to the wealthy and devastating cuts to programs that help hard-working families get by.

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives passed $56 billion in tax breaks last week that would go overwhelmingly to the wealthiest sliver of Americans. The Tax Policy Center estimates 84.2 percent of the cuts passed by the House would go to the top 20 percent of households by income.

But that's not all. The tax cuts come after the House passed $50 billion in cuts to services that struggling working families depend on, like Medicaid, student loans, child support enforcement and food stamps.

These aren't the priorities of America's working families--and it's time our leaders of Congress knew that. Send a message to your representative and senators telling them you oppose cuts for working families and new tax breaks for the wealthy.

The voices of working families will make a difference in this important fight. Make sure your voice is heard today! Thank you for all that you do.

In solidarity,

Working Families e-Activist Network

P.S. Make sure Congress knows what your priorities are. Send your message today.




Seriously, George, WTF? The country is reeling from the effect of natural disasters, we're trillions of dollars in debt, the unemployment rate is increasing, there are more families and children without health care every day, and on top of it we're pouring an unbelievable amount of money into the war. Sounds like a fantastic time for even more tax cuts for the rich and for cutting much-needed social service programs. Fucking outrageous. Simply outrageous.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Truth is Free


I stumbled across the site Freedocumentaries.org and wanted to spread the word. I really like documentaries and it looks as if this site has lots of good ones. Some require downloading a Bittorrent client (try Azureus) to view the whole film, but as far as I can see, it looks to be really worth it.

Some titles I'm looking forward to viewing are BBC's The Bush Family Fortunes: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death, Votergate, and CBC's Dick Cheney Bio.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Listen


I went through the music blog last night and hopefully all songs should be linked now. In addition, I added another song by Rilo Kiley called A Man/Me/Then Jim. Enjoy!

P.S. If any of the links don't work and it's been less than 60 days, please let me know. Thanks!

Friday, December 09, 2005

NEVER THE SAME
A documentary by Jonathan Levin


Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, millions of people around the world showed unprecedented compassion, sympathy, and generosity for the victims and families of those who lost their lives on that terrible day.

'NEVER THE SAME' brings to light the story of another severely affected group: the tens of thousands of men and women who literally threw themselves into the dust and smoke to contribute to the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts in the wake of 9/11. They gave of themselves tirelessly, doing so in a toxic work environment never experienced before. As a result, an alarming proportion of these courageous and dedicated people wound up suffering terribly from both physical and emotional illnesses, many of which will persist for years; other health consequences like cancers are highly likely to develop over time. Yet despite the sacrifices made by these selfless individuals, nothing has been provided by the US government for their physical and mental health care, while the Workers' Compensation system treats them as malingerers and frauds.

Thousands of men and women selflessly sacrificed their health in service to others following the most well-known disaster in our nation's history - but the system, in short, has failed them. Not only do they deserve recognition for their remarkable efforts, they deserve the health care resources necessary to help them heal.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Music


Just a note to say that I plan to make this really boring blog into something a little more interesting.

I have no idea how to make different categories for my blog, but if I did, I would have a Music section. My way around this is to have separate blogs, but lyrics by themselves are rather dry and often the beauty of a song can't be captured by the words alone. So I figure that instead of posting here, I'll just put songs along with their lyrics on the other blog. That way it will all be together in one place and way more fun to look over.

If I get bored, I might go back and add songs to the older posts. The files will last 60 days after a download, so if something is ever unavailable, that's why.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Oooo, Look at that Shiny Thing Over There...


So I have decided/realized that I have music ADD. There was a point in my life when not only could I enjoy sitting through a whole album, I would listen to that album over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-drive-everyone-around-me-completely-nuts. But that's how I enjoy most things... obsessively. At least until I get sick of it and move on to something else.

I have always loved soundtracks because the variation in music keeps me from getting bored. However, MP3s have completely changed how I listen to music. Now that I have approximately 50 gigs of music, I still do listen obsessively to stuff I love, but it's on a smaller scale now. Rather than an entire album, I now wear the hell out of individual tracks. I usually load up my library and set it on random, unless I'm really in the mood for something in particular. I've come to enjoy such variety in my own music that sometimes even listening to the radio is irritating. I find it very difficult and somewhat grating to listen to an entire album if it's not a compilation or soundtrack, even if I really like the artist. Not counting mixes, the last album I was truly obsessive about was a couple of years ago; Fallen by Evanescence, which I had on constant play in my car for at least a month.

What's funny is that while I accept that 50 gigs is a ton of music, I find that I can never have enough. Even though iTunes says I have enough music to play for 31.3 days straight without hearing the same track twice, without periodic infusions of new music, I would get bored. I know almost every single song and album I have in such a way that hearing it repeatedly makes me itchy to listen to something else. When I travel, I have to select my music very carefully. I have only 3.74 gigs of space for tracks on my iPod and while that's fine for a short journey, after a month I'm thinking about how I can't wait to get home so I can hear other stuff. I've come to love as much variety as possible at home. In the car, I just want to rock out to stuff with good beats.

I don't know how my brain keeps track of all of this music, like remembering all the songs I've heard on my iPod, but I do think I have a musical aptitude that manifests itself in unusual ways. I've played a few instruments and I can tell you that I'm not gifted in the traditional sense (i.e. being in a symphony is probably not in my future). However, I'm pretty good with wind instruments -- I was able to play "Taps" open-key on a trumpet the first time I picked one up -- and I can read music, but if you played a random note, I probably wouldn't be able to identify it. I can't play things by ear and I also am hopeless at composing music, although I honestly wish I had that ability.

What I can do is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I'm no Mozart or Beethoven, no musical genius in the classic sense. I do have a weird memory for music. I can hear part of a song and most of the time, sometimes without hearing the singer's voice, I know immediately who sings it. I also am really good at picking out subtle musical threads within a song and identifying all of the instruments used. This is really fun in songs where unusual instruments are used, cause I get such a geeky thrill from being able to identify things.

I have DJed a few parties and I found I was totally in my element. I had a blast doing it and I can't even express how much I have always secretly hoped an opportunity would come up to get a job or training as a DJ. Play with music and get paid for it? No-brainer! Now that I think about it, I guess that's part of why I make so many mixes.. because my inner DJ is just whimpering to be let out. ;)

Anyhoo, I added a link to my last.fm profile (previously known as AudioScrobbler). Last.fm is a pretty cool (and free) music social network that connects you to other people with similar musical tastes. It runs in conjunction with an AudioScrobbler plugin you use with your MP3 player, which, as you listen to music, sends the artist and song information to the last.fm server. Your user page keeps track of various statistics and uses that to connect you to 'neighbors' who are those with music tastes close to yours. You can also find a group to join if you feel like being social and talking about music and stuff. You can keep a music journal, listen to streaming radio, and a ton of more features. I really like it and I find it strangely addicting. Maybe it's the marriage of my two loves: Music and Lists.

Lastly, I just want to say that I am unhealthilty in love with the Rilo Kiley song I posted previously. Lurve it.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Listen


I highly recommend the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack.. I have been really enjoying it. Here's my favorite song off the album so far:

Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Things

For Martha...


Ten years ago

My mom and I had recently moved to Santa Cruz, CA (my birthplace and somewhere I had always desperately wanted to live). She and my step-dad were splitting up for good and she'd been offered a great job in SC, working for and with her best friend. We lived in a hotel and then her friend's studio cottage for a while, until our house was ready. I was in my first semester of college, my most inspired and brilliant semester to date -- I carried 18 units, including an intense 5-unit ecology class, plus I was in the college play and re-learning the flute. Even with all of that going on, I still managed to get a 3.6 GPA; my one and only semester on the Dean's List (thanks to the C I got in ceramics the next semester). Life was pretty good and now that I think about it, I kind of miss it. Also I want to know how the hell I did it.. can that Alena come back now, please?


Five years ago

See my previous post. Due to our landlord being a supreme jackass (and me being really broke), I was forced to move back to San Francisco. At this point five years ago, I had been living with Bill, my ex-step-father (i.e. the man who raised me) for a few months. I'd sort of dropped out of school due to lack of motivation and not knowing what I wanted to study. I half-assedly took a couple of classes at City College of SF and got a job as a nanny for two boys, 5 and 7. I also had been getting involved, long-distance, with She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and we were discussing how to move forward. I think at this point, plans were made for me to quit my job and move to NC, so I was looking into how to make that happen. Actually, I just remembered.. She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named had come to visit for a week over Thanksgiving, we had a fight one night after I in particular drank way too much wine and got worked up over something, and she ended up changing her flight plans without my knowledge, while I was at school. The day before Thanksgiving, she told me she was flying home the next morning. We had to get up at 5am so I could drive her to the Oakland airport ON THANKSGIVING. It was fucked up. Red flag, I should have known, right?


One year ago

I was preparing for the next stage in my life: my move to Morgantown and starting university for the first time ever. I was extremely happy and excited to be getting out of Parkersburg, but I was also a little overwhelmed and freaked out. In addition, I was very sad to be leaving my only real friend in the state. Mikey had his plans to move to NYC, which left Angie here... only she's two hours away and I rarely get to see her anymore. However, I knew that I was finally on the right path again and quite glad to at last have some idea of what I'd like to do as a career.


Five yummy things

1. Coffee with just the right amount of strength, cream, and sugar. Add a piece or two of shortbread and I'm in heaven.
2. Cheesecake, particularly New York style.
3. Pizza from Milano's Pizzeria on 9th Ave. in SF. Best. Pizza. EVAR.
4. The super burrito with a spinach tortilla and fresh pico at Gordo's in SF. Like the Milano's pizza, I've yet to find a burrito anywhere that comes even close.
5. My mom's from-scratch pesto lasagna. Homemade pasta and pesto sauce with fresh mozzarella.. it's beyond good.


Five songs I know by heart
I know quite a few songs by heart, but the majority of them are folk songs that you've probably never heard of. Hey, I worked at a Renaissance faire for four years.. These are the first five I thought of.

1. Puff the Magic Dragon
2. Ren and Stimpy - "It's Log" (the commercial)
3. Red is the Rose (If you're a glutton for punishment, you can hear me sing the first verse here: this is an audio post - click to play)
4. Little Brown Dog (a.k.a. Sing Taddle-o-Day)
5. The Blacksmith


Five things I would do with a LOT of money

1. Move back to the west coast, including buying a comfortable house (3 BR, garage, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc.).
2. Get all the electronics, gadgets, and technology that I am so desirous of. New, blazin' PC, entertainment center, a TV big enough to actually watch, a stereo that's not on its last leg, speakers in every room, etc. Drooooooool.
3. Invest/keep enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life without having to work. Without working, I would go to school and take classes on just about everything. For my own personal enjoyment. I like to dabble, so I'd take all sorts of weird stuff, I'm sure.
4. Most importantly, I think it's crucial for people who have a LOT of money to give back. To not do so is proof of the basest greed and selfishness. I honestly wish I had a ton of money just so I could find ways to make other people's lives better.. something as simple as hot meals and new clothes would make a world of difference to some. Either I would donate to existing charities or try to apply my money in ways I feel are lacking. There are a lot of worthy institutions that could greatly benefit from donations.. schools, to keep non-core programs that are being cut, such as art, music, and sports. Grants and scholarships to help people go to college. I would love to see schools opened in third-world countries and their orphaned children taken care of.. I really could go on.
5. I would travel... like.. everywhere.


Five things I would never wear
Not counting costumes, cause anything goes on Halloween..

1. Makeup. Seriously, I fuckin' hate it.
2. Ugg boots. They put the Ugg in FUGLY.
3. Platform anything.
4. Dresses.
5. Beige bras. They just scream 'grandma' to me.


Five favourite TV shows
In no particular order..

1. Lost
2. Desperate Housewives
3. Arrested Development
4. The L Word
5. Commander in Chief


Five things I enjoy doing

1. Listening to music
2. Being alone in nature
3. Sleeping
4. Photography
5. Traveling


Five people I want to inflict this on

Well, no one really, cause I think most of the people I read have no idea who I am.. but if anyone I know feels like filling this out, please email me or comment here to let me know you've done it. Rachael? Tory? Ernie? Mikey? Michelle?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

California, Here I Come


Phantom Planet - California

Five years ago come January, I boarded the crazy train, crammed a Ryder truck full of my stuff, and drove -- by myself-- all the way across the country to move in with Coo-Coo Crazy (a.k.a. Psycho Ex) in North Carolina. Five years ago, I left my native and beloved California to try out life on the East Coast. It may very well be the biggest mistake I have ever made, but what's done is done and I try to not dwell on it.

Nevertheless, I had no concept while leaving my home state that it would be damn near impossible, financially, to move back. I have lived in several places since my original departure, and I can't tell you what it's like for a California girl on the wrong coast. Don't get me wrong, there is an awful lot that I like about the East Coast.. the history, the fall foliage, the nearness of the states (sort of like Europe), but it's not the West Coast. I'm biased and I fully admit it.

Living in West Virginia has pushed my homesickness to a new level. It really is just so different than where and how I was raised. After too long, it starts to really wear on me, but I'm lucky in that I generally get to leave the state at least once a year. You know, to get a little break away from things.

The truth is, it feels almost as if I left my home country to move to another. In many ways, I feel like a foreigner here. Morgantown is lightyears better than Parkersburg in terms of numbers of general liberalness and people who share my views, values, and opinions, but still I feel an empty ache in my heart when I think of home.

To say I miss it is an understatement. I have wanted so desperately to go home, even just to visit. I think I could be happy with just a taste. I almost got to last January, but the beginning of school conflicted with my mom's visit to California. This year, things are better planned. In fact, yesterday I bought my ticket to San Francisco! I'm beyond giddy, really. I'll be in northern California and southern Oregon from Dec. 27 to Jan. 8!

My mom asked me if there's anything special I wanted to do while we're there, but aside from trying to look up my friends, I really don't care. I know I'll be babysitting my sister quite a bit, but the mere fact that I'll be in MY CITY for almost a week.. I don't care what we do. My sister likes the same places I did (and still do).. The Exploratorium, IMAX movies, Pier 39, etc. We have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil, something of a family tradition from when we lived in the city. Fancy schmancy hair appointments. We're staying in a shwank hotel on Union Square. Truthfully, though, we could be sleeping in a car and I'd be pretty damn happy. :P

So.. California, here we come... right back where we started from.. California.. I'm coming home..

Joni Mitchell - California

It goes without saying that these two songs will be on my iPod for this trip.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Doing a Happy Dance


Amidst all the crap (i.e. school) that has been pulling me down lately, I am grateful that good things can and do happen. I discovered yesterday that all of my financial aid and loans have been already disbursed and looking at my account balance, I started to panic.

My friend Melissa called me yesterday to say that Melissa Ferrick, an artist that I've loved for several years, is coming to Motown to play at the lesbian bar. Melissa Ferrick and Ani DiFranco are two artists that I have wanted to see in concert for a very long time, but despite periodic checking of concert dates, neither of them ever seemed to play anywhere near where I lived. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only is Melissa Ferrick playing near where I live, but that's she's actually coming here! Here! Melissa Ferrick apparently really dislikes playing lesbian bars because of troubles she's had with audiences in the past, plus this venue isn't even on her list of tour dates, so what's even better is that the owner of the bar must have done some real sweet-talking to get Melissa Ferrick to play there! I could hug myself, I'm so damn happy.

I was a little preoccupied with my finances when Melissa told me about the concert, so I was wondering if I should go, whether I could afford the ticket, etc. As I said, I've wanted and waited for this concert for many moons, so I figured, if anything, I'd use some of my birthday money. I mean, there was no way I could pass up an opportunity like Melissa Ferrick in Motown!

The best part was when I checked my mail last night, right before leaving to go buy my ticket and head out to a friend's Halloween party. In the mailbox was a Halloween card from my awesome Aunt Barbara and Uncle Danny, $20 slipped inside as "treat money". I would have been touched at their thinking of me without the money, but that was so nice and such good timing, that I was a little overwhelmed. I immediately realized that the $20 would pay most of my concert ticket, without having to tap into birthday money I'd wanted/needed to apply elsewhere. Such a great feeling, to receive a thoughtful gift from wonderful people, and to be able to enjoy this concert with no guilt!

I wrote them a thank you note, of course. I can't get over my excitement. I get to see Melissa Ferrick in concert next Thursday!! r0x0r!!

On top of it, I had a ton of fun at Dan's Halloween party last night. Halloween is the only holiday I genuinely like, and for the first time in many years, I had an actual costume and everything. Not just something I threw together at the last minute, but one that I spent a few hours working on. It's kind of hard to describe, so I'll try to get some pictures up. Anyway, hurrah for good things. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

24 Hours of No Power
(must be said in a Dr. Evil voice)


When I went to bed on Monday night, it was snowing peacefully. Who knows what the hell happened in the wee hours of the morning, but it was like a hurricane ripped through town. The great irony here is that I live a block from a power plant (which had electricity the entire time, natch), yet my neighborhood was one of a few that had no power for nearly 24 hours.

6:00 - I wake up, probably because of the quiet, and note that there's no electricity. My alarm was set to go off at 7:30, so I get up to get my watch and go back to sleep, hoping I can wake up in time to have coffee before class.

6:15 - I wake up again, and note that the power still isn't on. I go back to sleep.

6:30 - Still no power, I go back to sleep.

7:30 - No power, I go back to sleep.

8:00 - I wake up and decide that if the power doesn't come back on within the next hour, I'm not going to my first class. I have a wild hope that the university has no electricity, either. As I lie there, I thank my lucky stars that I have gas heating.

8:45 - Still no power.

10:00 - Surely the power should be coming on any time now, I think. I get up and make coffee, again thanking my lucky stars that I have a gas stove and water heater. Since I had to open the fridge, I begin putting perishables outside on my side porch. I read to kill time before my next class.

1:45 - The power is still off, but I'm bored, so I head to school. I'm rather shocked by all the downed tree limbs, some of which have fallen on top of cars. The branches and limbs are everywhere. It's like having slept through a hurricane, but surely I would have woken up to that kind of storm. It's also a little weird to see snow on trees that still have most of their leaves.

2:00 - It's snowing and it turns out we have a field trip, which I am not adequately dressed for. We go to the fishery and I fear I might lose five of my toes to frostbite. I totally would have worn wool socks and boots, had I known!

4:30 - I call the power company and report my outage.

4:40 - I come home and still no electricity. I read to kill time before my next class.

5:10 - I leave for my 2.5 hour math lab, thinking surely the power must be back on by the time I get home. Downtown has electricity.

7:20 - I'm praying to the electricity gods as I head home, but the utter blackness and ghost town quality of my neighborhood is rather disheartening. Damn it.

7:45 - I go to the grocery store for provisions (i.e. food I can cook in the oven), all the while debating whether I should head to Target to buy a phone that doesn't rely on electricity. Despite feeling rather isolated in my dark and lonely hermit shack without any outside contact, I tell myself that surely the power must return any time now and decide to forgo the phone purchase.

8:20 - I return home, light all the candles I own, heat the oven, and pop a pizza in. I realize what a sucky night this is to be all alone with nothing to do. It sort of feels like I'm camping because there's not much to do in the dark and it's making me want to go to bed early.

9:00 - I eat and consider taking a shower, but the thought of showering by candlelight only appeals to me minimally. I break out my book and read, all the while wondering how people managed without electricity in the olden days. I idly ponder purchasing a lantern.

10:00 - I keep waiting for the power to come back on any time now.

11:00 - I finish my book and decide it's as good a time as any to head to bed. The quietness is strange.

4:00 - I wake up and notice that my alarm clock is flashing.. HURRAY!!! O Electricity, how I love thee.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Erg.


I apologize for the lack of posting here, but truthfully, I've been rather preoccupied and mentally exhausted. I'm doing okay so far in two of my classes, but I am bombing fairly badly in Bio and Algebra. I'm willing to accept that I might be dense, but I keep coming back to the fact that the way the classes are set up is so confusing and anti-learning. The way I see it, some of these university classes are set up for the very opposite of success. It's clear to me now why there's such a high 'academic dishonesty' rate at my school.. I was shocked to hear that at the time, but after last semester and the beginning of this one, I think I totally understand why. Hell, I only got an A in Plant and Soil Sciences last term because I had a binder full of stuff belonging to a girl who had taken the class previously. I would have gotten a C or less without it, for sure.. and while I feel slightly guilty, like I cheated, I honestly feel it justified because the teacher and the course were impossibly ridiculous.

Bio is an advanced class, so the material is detailed and complicated. I feel like I've had a hundred new terms and concepts thrown at me rapid-fire, and only a handful of them have stuck. I kinda like the lab, even though it's a little crazy and requires a fair amount of work on its own. The subject appears to be so much more difficult than I ever expected.. I mean, I've always been good at biology. I try doing the reading and most of the time, I end up having to re-read each paragraph because it's so over my head.. and then still come away with almost nothing. I got 55 on my first exam. Fuck.

Algebra isn't any better. Both Bio and Algebra are huge classes and they move at a speed too fast for my brain. The math is really, really pissing me off because I just don't get the format of the class. The book is also really confusing and counter-intuitive. I would love to do the homework, but every time I sit down to do it, I end up frustrated and ready to throw something. I even got out my previous Algebra book to see if it could explain some of the concepts better. Class essentially is the instructor powering through a bunch of concepts with one example each, and then lab feels like a bunch of stuff we haven't had explained, tossed at us to figure out on our own. I don't get it, and I don't know how much more of this I can handle. I had an exam yesterday and even with the sheet of paper of notes and formulas I was allowed to bring, I got a mere 62%. Obviously, even with it all in front of me, I don't get it and that just frustrates me all the more. I know I'm not the only one, so how the hell can the university claim this class to be a successful format? How does anyone pass?

I went to Algebra 'supplemental instruction' this morning, something I would have done anyway because I'm so confused, because it was required due to my poor test score. I was praying, actually praying, that SI would help clear things up. And while I do understand somewhat better, the hour was similar to the confusing blur of the Monday and Friday classes. I don't know what I'm going to do. Well, actually, I do.. probably therapy and a couple of tutors. Jesus.

I admit that I'm fairly lazy when it comes to school work, but what do you do when you can't do it? Or when you do it, but still don't understand? I keep wondering what is wrong with me. I know I'm intelligent, and that makes me think I should be able to do whatever I set my mind to. Like, if I just work hard enough, I should be able to do well. In the past, this has always worked, but right now I feel like such a failure. I find university depressing because everyone else seems to be coping so much better than I am, because I don't see people getting so overwhelmed, frustrated, and fed up that they want to cry in their classes. Is it possible I'm not cut out for this?

The only thing keeping me going is the thought of the alternative. Waiting tables or working some crap-ass job, making no money, struggling the rest of my life. I can't do that.. I'd end up homocidal or suicidal. I just... I have a hard time imagining at least two more years of this shit. I don't know if it's me, the school, or the university environment in general. Is it that I'm not studying hard enough, or that the school is a beaurocratic hellhole, or would I feel the same anywhere else?

I've been pretty anti-social lately and haven't been hanging out with anyone. I realized the other day that in any given day, aside from a few sentences now and then at school, I don't talk to anybody. I go to school, get stressed out, and come home to hide in my hermit shack. My early classes leave me tired the entirety of the day, which is compounded by the fact that I can't fall asleep (and stay asleep) at the times I should be going to bed. I've been avoiding the few friends that I have; truthfully, I just don't have the desire or energy to socialize right now. I also feel consumed by my angst and don't want to dump it on anyone. I don't think I've ever been more of a loner, and I don't know how I feel about that. I seem to be going the opposite direction of where I want to go in my life.

The only really fun thing I've done lately was an Aquaculture field trip to a reclaimed mine drainage site that doubles as a fishery for rainbow trout. They have a pond with these huge trout, some of them nearly ten pounds and three feet long, that escaped from the net cages. The fish seem to really like the pond, so they were left there, and now they occasionally let people come to fish for them. It's catch-and-release, but man, was it fun. Those fish were big and agressive.. my first one had to have been at least 24 inches, and it fought me tooth-and-nail. Probably took me about five minutes to get it near the pond bank, and even then it kept swimming away. I caught so many fish that I lost count (some I didn't actually land), but it was over ten in the hour we were there. In fact, those fish were so big and strong that my arms and shoulders were sore the next day from fighting with them. I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy fishing and trying to get the trout back into the water as fast as possible. Really fun, though, and what's better is we have a couple more of these trips to look forward to.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Yeah, Yeah, More Music


Hey, Marthas.. this song SO should have been on your mixes... Massive Attack & Tracey Thorn - The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Listen


School has been kicking my ass, which is why I haven't been around much. However, I downloaded this song today and I'm so in love I have to share. Sia - Breathe Me

Friday, August 26, 2005

In Other Words, I'm Screwed


Study Links Daydreaming, Alzheimer's

The part of the brain involved in daydreaming is always active, even if the mind is at rest, said William Klunk, coauthor of the study and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. "It's like an engine on idle," he said. "It never shuts down. That activity might fuel the sequence of events that could lead to Alzheimer's."

I suppose I shouldn't be alarmed because everything these days causes cancer or Alzheimer's.. but considering how I can't ever shut off my constantly-running train of thought, and that I live about half my life in mental fantasy of one variety or another, I guess I'll be paying for it later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Newsies


School started Monday, and it's been an interesting week so far. Even though I had some trouble getting registered for Algebra, as of today I'm officially in all my classes. w00t! I was worried there for a moment. Half my classes are downtown so I have been walking quite a bit, which is a much-needed change after sitting on my ass for a month. My Bio class is about four blocks away, and I think I get there faster on foot than I would if I drove and had to find parking. In addition, I rode the PRT for the first time yesterday. Very exciting.

This semester should be somewhat challenging, but I'm looking forward to it. The classes, especially downtown, have much more of a serious feel to them and I really like that so much better than the idiots I had to attend class with in the Spring. I mean, one of my teachers would tell people to turn their cell phones off before every class, yet at least one phone would go off every single lecture. Evansdale has a more casual feel to it for some reason, and I definitely got the impression in my classes that at least the majority of people really didn't want to be there. It helps that my classes this semester are specialty classes in one form or another.. like my Bio is for science majors, and apparently also pre-med people.

Not much else new... I did, however, want to share with you a really beautiful song that was recently introduced to me by a new friend. It's lovely and rich, and I am particularly fond of the lushness of the string instruments used. Rachael Yamagata - Be Be Your Love

- Rachel Yamagata's Official Site

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Words To Live By


Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "WOO HOO what a ride!"

(found here)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Alas, Poor Summer, I Knew Thee Well


Can you believe it? School starts next Monday, so summer is almost over. There were points along the way that felt a bit slow, but overall, where did the time go? In particular, where in the world did the last month go? I feel like I just got back from Italy..

Now, I've been looking forward to summer's end since the very first 85+ degree day arrived and found me with no air conditioning. This is a state I've since corrected after bravely trying to suffer and sweat through it, but I am Scottish and a San Fran girl, so in general I am not built for the heat on the east coast. I hate it, in fact, because I can't stand being sweaty hot to my core. On top of that, I am a furnace, or "warm-blooded" as my mom always called me, so I am usually pretty warm to begin with. Just ask anyone who has slept in the same bed with me.. sometimes covers or blankets have to be removed because I radiate so much heat.

The result is that I avoid going outside during summer because I can't stand it, and it seriously messes with my ability to do things I like to do. Sometimes it's too hot to do anything, much less exercise in any shape or form (unless it involves being immersed in water)... For example, I went on a bike ride a few weeks ago because I was tired of sitting on my ass. I tried to wait until the day had cooled down, but a strange phenomenon is that the temperature tends to actually rise around here in late afternoon and as the day wears on. So, at 6pm, it was around 88, humid as hell, and let's just say that by the end of my ride, I thought I was going to die. That or puke. I think I only managed to ride for half an hour or so, but I swear it felt endless. The air was so hot, thick, and humid that I didn't think I'd make it home, and when I did, I immediately had to strip down and sit under the window unit until my nausea and shakiness passed. Sounds fun, eh?

So anyway.. I don't hate summer per se, but let's say that since leaving the Bay Area and central California, summer has been pushed to the bottom of my favorite seasons list. I count down the weeks until September, fantasizing about how happy I'll be when fall starts to show itself. In addition, I think I may be one of only five people in this state that actually and truly enjoys the winters here. I don't know what it is, but as I discovered when I lived in Minnesota, I really like the snow. I'm not sure I'd be quite as happy with, say, ten-foot snow drifts and blizzards, but the amount of snow in WV is perfect in my opinion. Not too much, not too little, and frankly I would rather have a few months of snow to months of depressing rain, a la Bay Area (and don't even get me started on El Nino and the nine-month rain-filled winter we had one year, I'll kick that bastard's ass).

Anyway, I'm torn to see summer vacation go, although I have been looking forward to school starting. I've had way too much time on my hands lately. It has taken me four months, but I nearly got my school schedule finished and locked in (just waiting on approval for the math). Though I tried several times, it was really difficult to find classes I need to take that would fit into my fucked up schedule. Basically, certain required classes for my major are offered only one semester a year, and I want to get some of those classes out of the way as soon as possible so that I have more freedom in scheduling future terms. On top of that, I have labs for every class save one -- including Algebra, tell me why I need a lab for Algebra -- so thanks to all the damn labs and random class times, I found it utterly impossible to find anything I could get credit for to fit into my schedule. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I tried. When I realized I really had no other choice if I wanted to carry more than 10 credits this fall, I finally broke down and signed up for the 8:30 am Algebra class. While the plus of this class is that I should definitely have no problem finding parking downtown at this hour, my question is what half-wit schedules an Algebra class at 8:30 in the morning? And Monday and Friday?? Why ruin my Friday with an early Algebra class? Besides, who is awake and ready to absorb complicated math that early in the morning? If I were ruler of the world, classes wouldn't start until at least 9 am.

I'm not all that pleased at the 8:30 am Algebra class, but whatever. I was trying to avoid it, but after trying every avenue possible to avoid this class, I feel like the universe is sort of forcing me to suck it up and take it. I'm trying to avoid thinking about just how early I have to get up.. not only to make it to class, but to be moderately awake as well. ;)

So.. my schedule for this semester is as follows. Very science-y with a splash of math, shaken not stirred..


College Algebra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M/F 8:30-9:20
Principles of Biology . . . . . . . . . . . . M/W/F 11:30-12:20
Dendrology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T/Th 9:30-10:20
SPTP:Aquaculture Management . . . . T 2:00-4:45
Algebra Lab. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T 5:30-6:50
Dendrology Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Th 11:00-1:45
Biology Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F 12:30-2:20

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

OH. MY. GOD.


My heart is still pounding and I am wired on adrenaline. OMFG. I just had a really scary and totally surreal experience. I was sitting here doing mind-numbing MP3 organization and I started hearing a scratching noise. The other day, I heard a scratching noise that sounded like it was coming from part of the ceiling in my kitchen. I live in an old building divided into one unit per floor, and someone decided to put drop-down ceilings in every room, a la an office building or hospital. Maybe it's an effort to reduce noice, but it's ugly nonetheless. Anyway, the scratching worried me because the last thing I wanted was some rodent living in my kitchen ceiling.

So the scratching and rustling noises I heard just a bit ago.. I thought it was coming from the ceiling, but it didn't seem to be just one spot and I couldn't tell if it was just the upstairs neighbors making strange sounds. I kept hearing it and couldn't place it, so I turned my music off and listened for a while, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

All of a sudden there was a louder scratching noise off to the left and I reflexively turned my head to look. My attention was drawn to the air conditioner and I spent a moment looking at it, before I realized there was dark movement around the top edge. I don't keep my living room bright, so I couldn't make out what it was, but because it looked long, dark, and thin, for a moment I thought it was a piece of foam insulation that had come loose and was flapping in the breeze from the window unit.

Haha, how wrong I was.

As I continued to watch, whatever it was slowly pulled itself through the nearly non-existent crack between the top of the air conditioner and the window. I was paralyzed with horror as it pulled itself all the way through and rested a moment after its effort, before sort of tumbling down and landing on the exhaust grill on the front. All was quiet again as the dark lump hung on my window unit.

I was really and truly freaking out. As I mentioned, it's a little dark in here and from fifteen feet away, I couldn't make out what the thing was. I thought maybe it had wings, but couldn't be certain. Was it a huge bug, a bird, a mouse, a bat? Situations like this bring out the total girl in me and my first thought was, OHMYGOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT and then right after, WHO CAN I CALL TO DEAL WITH THIS OMG?! Sadly, I live alone and found myself having to face whatever the thing was.

I was flipping out and trying to figure out what the next step should be. I paced a little -- not much, and not near the thing so as to not disturb it -- my mind racing, scoping out anything I had handy to try to catch it and put it back outside. First I had to know what it was I was dealing with, so, heart pounding, I grabbed my mini Maglite from my desk and shone it on the thing, revealing it to be a BAT. OMG, okay, a bat.. shit.. I was hoping for a bird because that's what I was best prepared to deal with. But a bat was scarier and could bite me and give me rabies!

I know I've mentioned I was wigging out, but I really was. Heart pounding and hands shaking, I next tried to figure how I'd deal with getting it out of my apartment, but at least I had the wherewithall to remember to grab my camera to get a picture of my intruder (below). I contemplated getting my bucket to catch the bat, but as that would require passing by it to get to the kitchen, I settled on a box sitting on my side of the room. I quickly emptied the box out on the floor, and the next thing I knew, the bat had taken off and was doing fast and furious laps of the room. I did not want to be bat-smacked upside the head, so I practically dropped to the floor and lamely waved the box in the bat's direction whenever it would get a little too close. All the while saying, "No... no... no... nooo..." I swear, that's some reality TV right there.

The bat flew into the kitchen, so I had a minute of calm to plan my eviction strategy. I went to open the front door, but the bat returned and began its furious and psychotic orbit around the room. Again, I dropped to the floor and waved the box, still freaked out but observant enough to see that the bat was seeking an exit and would probably just fly out the door by itself if I was able to get it open. I tried to scare it into the kitchen again, but quickly ended my attempt when the bat spazzed out even more, leaving me on the floor praying I would get out of this unscathed.

When the bat flew into the kitchen again, I ran and opened the door, propped open the screen, and awaited its return. This time it chose to circle the kitchen for a few minutes, and I was grateful that I keep my bedroom door mostly closed in order to keep in the cool air. I stood by the open door with my box, waiting. One of my new upstairs neighbors came home at that moment and caught me standing in the door in my wife beater and boxers, holding a box.. quite the first impression. I tried to laugh, but he just stared. Haha. Great.

After a few minutes of touring the kitchen, the bat zoomed back into the living room. It seemed unaware of the open door and I lamely tried to shoo it in that direction from my spot on the floor. After many crazy laps, the bat found the door and swooped off into the night. The first words out of my mouth were, "Oh my god, is it really gone?!"

I'm calmer now, but OMFG. First of all, how.. HOW.. H-O-W did that bat get in the way it did?? It's insane! Secondly, why the air conditioner? Why MY air conditioner? What about my particular air conditioner, or my window, made that bat squeeze itself though a crack no bigger than a couple of millimeters, to get inside?


Bat Out of "What the Hell":






P.S. I'm not afraid of bats, at least when they're not crawling through my air conditioner.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Math 4 Dummies


I'm selling a watch on eBay, in an auction that ends in about fifteen minutes. When I checked the listing today, I had three questions that needed to be answered. Here's my favorite:

Q: I'm having trouble figuring out how big 2.3cm is(I asked you about the face size). Most watch faces are described in mm, not cm. Roughly, can you take a ruler and lay it across the face of the watch and tell me how big it is? Thanks

Are you kidding me? Man, I thought my math skillz were bad. Someone obviously was passing notes on the day they covered the Metric System in class. However, I think it's funny, in my twisted sense of humor kinda way. I mean, she'd have me pull out my ruler again and go through all of the measuring that I've done about twenty times before, when it took me two seconds to reply:

A: 2.3cm = 23mm


If I had categories, this one would be filed under Smartass.

Friday, July 29, 2005

My So-Called Love Life


I'm going to dive right in and hope that it dispels the stale air of procrastination that is lingering around this site. In any case, I don't feel like writing a ton of preamble, but I do want to get one thing off my chest: the f*@^ing date that didn't happen. I have hesitated to discuss this subject here until I had a better idea of what was going on, lest my teacher be someone geeky enough to Google people she's interested in (OMG, I don't do that.. yes, I do) and find my obsessive internet babble, thereby ruining my chances before I could even work up the balls to ask her out and then have her blow me off completely. But really, I'm getting ahead of myself. This will hopefully be the last time I tell this tale, much to the relief of everyone who knows me, I'm sure, as it has really gotten a ton of mileage over the past few months. The range of reaction has been anywhere from "she totally loves you" to "she's just not that interested in you".. the former is my favorite, but I think that's because it was said to me during a deep, drunken discussion at my step-father's 50th birthday party. And also because, I think at this point, it's more than obvious that she totally does NOT love me.

As I have been discussing for nigh on six months now, I have had a crush on my hottie Plant and Soil Sciences lab teacher. Not just any crush, but I had a mad, crazy, HUGE schoolgirl crush, complete with flashes of extremely vivid dirty thoughts that made concentrating in class rather difficult. I really, really liked this woman and quietly lusted from afar for the length of the class. Once I ended up confessing my feelings to my lab partners, I was officially catapulted back to high school, complete with stolen glances and giggling. Even more like high school, I constantly made up excuses to talk to her, both about class and not. She was always a good sport and never made me feel stupid for flirting and/or talking to her about random stuff. She was in BiGLM (the gay club) and I attended one meeting, so we had that in common to dish about... plus, I don't know if it was us together or her just being easy to talk to, but it seemed like we could chat forever. This is the point where I'd heap tons of gushy praise about her, explaining everything I loved about her, but it's rather moot at this point. I'll boil it down and say she was cute, smart, positive, slightly dorky (a plus in my book), and liked to laugh. I liked her. A lot. Unfortunately, as she was a very upbeat and friendly person in general, it was difficult to tell whether she was just being nice to me because I was her student or if she was flirting back. Plus I suck at reading girls.

We'll call her J because I'm tired of calling her "my teacher". Anyway, she was a grad student working on her PhD, which is smart and really hot, but even better because there'd be less fraternization weirdness, as she was only teaching the lab. My crush on her kept me from missing a single lab, and being back in high school again, I strove to impress her in any way I could. Well, at least in the beginning of the class, before the frustration of our assignments wore the shine off my perfectionism. But I did try to get good marks in there and hoped that she noticed.. she and her assistant definitely noticed that my lab partners and I stayed longer than anyone else in class (this was due to our not rushing through our assignments or leaving early). In fact, one of my partners had a date with the assistant.. it was all very hush-hush because it was the middle of the semester. We'd be the last ones there and joking around with J and her assistant. My crush and lusting was almost painful. I really wanted her and was dying with it all.. knowing that I had to wait for it to go away, to the end of the semester to either ask her out or to let the feelings fade on their own.

Toward the end of the semester, I decided I would stop being such a total pussy, take the situation into my hands, and just ask her out. It's not something I ever do, usually I just pine from a distance and let the opportunity pass; what's worse is that I can't remember if I have ever asked a girl out. Not only do I have no confidence and am a total chicken when it comes to girls, when I am face-to-face with someone I want to impress, I turn into a stammering, idiocy-blathering, quarter-wit (not even a half-wit.. a quarter wit!!!). It's like the majority of my brain shuts down in the heat of the moment, and I'm left flying the jet at 30,000 feet, the nose tilting toward the ground, with one engine that's sputtering on and off at random -- and any power only serves to propel me faster toward the inevitable crash and burn. It's really like being in a plane crash.. I experience it but have no control over it whatsoever. Honestly, I don't know what happens to me in front of girls -- I turn into my alter ego, Socially-Challenged Girl -- but I act really fucking stupid. What I wouldn't give for just one single ounce of suave at the right moment.

It helped that I had just about every single person I knew encouraging me to ask her out. It took me two entire weeks, once I'd made the decision to do it, to work up enough courage to ask her out after the last lab of the semester. I was so nervous, but excited and ready to do it. My cheerleaders pointed out that she was someone good to practice on, that if she said no, it was the end of the semester (plus she'd told me in a conversation that she was finishing her degree and moving to Ohio after the term ended) and I didn't have to worry about seeing her again. I talked myself into it and said that it wasn't about whether she said yes, it was whether I had the balls to do it at all. Frankly, I'm tired of standing on the sidelines watching everyone else hook up, and I think it's about time I start taking things into my own hands, instead of waiting for them to just come to me (which honestly hasn't worked so hot up to this point). So I was all pumped up and ready to go -- and then, ha ha.. The Fates are so cruel -- she wasn't there on the last day. I had spent so much energy simply on getting myself to that point that I didn't have a backup plan. I wasn't sure what to do and thought it somewhat ironic and anticlimactic that after all that, I wouldn't be able to ask her out and get it over with. I then waited a few more days until the final, hoping she'd be presiding, but it was the teacher of the class instead. sux0r.

At this point, I was pretty much going to give it up as a lost cause, but Angie pumped me back up again. She went through my options, and of the three, I settled on email because it seemed the least intrusive and stalker-like. Angie suggested something casual to say in the note, and I paraphrased and tried to make it as laid-back as possible. I mentioned that we'd missed J in the last lab and invited her out for coffee. Short and sweet. A couple days went by with no reply and I was starting to sweat. But then she wrote back and said yes! SHE SAID YES!! HAHAHAHAHA!! I was at Angie's house when I got the email and I may very well have danced into the room to tell her my surprisingly good news. So J and I communicated via email; she stated she was to be out of town the following week, would contact me on Friday, and we'd do something on the weekend (I was to leave for Italy on Monday). Here was my first strike.. the timing was really crappy.

I waited a whole week, as patiently as I could. I can't tell you how excited I was that a girl I really liked said yes to going out with me. I was really looking forward to having an hour or two of J to myself, asking her questions, and learning more about her. I also was really looking forward to getting "OMG, I HAVE HAD THE HUGEST CRUSH ON U!!!!11!" off my chest, should the right moment present itself. I was aware she was moving, figured it probably didn't have much of a future, but since I'd gotten past the hardest part, I didn't really care. It was really difficult to wait for Friday. I am not a patient person.

So, Friday rolled around and I had no word from J. Saturday, nothing. Sunday, nothing. By Sunday night, I was a couple feet from crazy and pulling my hair out. Mainly I just kept going, WTF happened?? Angie encouraged me to be patient, saying that maybe J got delayed or something, and pointed out that if there was a chance J didn't want to go, she would have just said no to my first email or made some excuse. Monday morning, the phone rang at about 11 am. It was J -- thank god -- who was thoroughly apologetic and explained she'd been in Vegas with her gay boyfriend and they'd gotten delayed. She didn't have internet, which is important to note because Socially-Challenged Girl forgot to give her my number until the last email. She asked when I was leaving and I told her my flight was later that day, but I asked for a raincheck for when I got back. She said "definitely" and mentioned she'd be in Motown until August. We then had a nice little chat for about twenty minutes about random stuff, including her studies and my going to Italy. Before we hung up, I mentioned the raincheck again, and again she said "definitely".

Overall, I thought it was a good conversation, in that it went well and I think we hit it off. I was obviously disappointed that this thing that had been dragging on for over sixteen weeks was going to have no clear resolution before I was to leave town for two months. But, as I'm not one to let my fantasy world be shut down by reality, I went ahead and dreamt about J all the way through June. Now, to be completely honest, I think part of my problem with girls is that I'm the proverbial Nice Guy. I'm thoughtful, sensitive, and respectful (particularly of other people's boundaries and desires), and though I personally would love to date a Nice Guy Girl, whatever I'm doing is not really working out for me as far as chicks go. So because I was thinking about her a lot and I was aware that two months was a long time, I wanted to send her a note or something about mid-way through my trip to remind her of my existence and to also not-so-subtly imply that I was thinking of her.

I finally settled on a virtual postcard of sorts, which I thought was a semi-clever way of casually delivering my message, especially since I didn't have her address to send a real one. I discussed the idea with a couple of people, including my friend Kate, who suggested that due to the energy involved, it would be smart to not send the v-postcard to just J. Instead, she suggested I include a few other people in the mailing. I went through all my pictures of Monterosso and my trips to Portovenere and picked the ones I liked best, then I narrowed it down to eight that I thought went well together. It took more work than I expected, but I measured my "canvas" and worked out the exact size of each photo. The final result can be seen here, which I mailed to a group of three friends and J, along with a light, newsy postcard-ish kinda note.

Despite the conversational tone in the v-postcard -- Kate even mentioned that my note invited a reply -- I only heard from two out of the four recipients, and J wasn't one of them. Ouch. We went to Scotland, and still no reply. The bloom was fading from the rose, and it was time to start facing the fact that I might not have a date when I returned home, after all. As time continued on and still no word from J, my crush started to wear off some. During July, I came to terms with the situation and decided that I would call her when I got back, because I said I would and I figured I'd give it one last chance, but that would be it. The awkward thing was I only had her phone number because it came up on my caller ID when she called me back in May.. she had never officially given it to me. I'm not sure what the protocol is for such things, but I was over trying to email her and decided to just take my last stab and call.

My very exciting ending to this long-winded story is that I left a message on her voicemail after her cell phone rang about five hundred times, and she never called me back. Whether that's because Crazy Babble Girl takes over as soon as the answering machine goes BEEP, or whether J a) is avoiding me, b) is too busy moving to deal with a date, c) met someone, or d) is just plain mean... I will never know. What the hell happened? I thought things were cool.. I mean, she said yes, so what up? Like many things about J and our ill-fated, never-to-be romance, I WILL NEVER KNOW and this will haunt me FOREVER. ... Or until I find something new to obsess about.

Such as the fact that, upon my return, I find that I am almost the only single lonely, sad sack person I know. Yeah, I know two whole single people, myself included, because everyone else -- including Angie -- is hooking up. Now, if Angie can find a girl to date in PARKERSBURG, what is my issue??



Currently Playing...
Song: Bond - Bond on Bond (bonus track)
Book: The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hi, I'm Back...


Helllooooo... anyone still lingering about this place? Yikes.. sorry to abandon the blog, but as it turns out, I sort of needed a break. It was a while in coming (if you hadn't noticed my increased negativity and bitterness, or lack of enthusiasm for posting). I had a good time on my trip, which included a trip to Scotland, and I've discovered it was good to get out of WV and detox from my life. I feel more centered and focused, and revved up to do better next semester. In addition, I spoke to my CS teacher about my C, and after resending him work, he upped me to a B-. Not fab, but at least it's not a C! I also got a notice stating I'm getting a Higher Education Grant from the state for next semester, a nice surprise that will really come in handy.

Monterosso in May was absolutely beautiful... Scotland's beauty just blew me away. I have hundreds of photos I'm gradually getting uploaded to Flickr. I met a couple from Berkeley, Kay and Sean, at one of my mom's dinners and we ended up taking the ferry boat over to Portovenere and having a really lovely day there exploring the medieval sea fortress and village surrounding the port. We ended up hanging out later that evening and having a couple of drinks at Fast, which was the only bar open, crammed full of people and obnoxiously loud.

My sister is really cute as hell and has quite the personality. It took a little while for her to warm up to me, but we definitely bonded on this trip. Before she graduated from preschool to first grade, I went with her on a class trip to Groparello, a castle in Piacenza. We spent four hours each way to go in a coach bus, out of Liguria into Tuscany. Actually, Groparello was more than just a castle, it was an all-day adventure orgy for the kids. There were costumed characters everywhere that interacted with them and took the kids around the grounds. At one point, the kids even got their own tunics, belt, sheath, and sword. After they were knighted, the parents -- "peasants" -- were told to walk well behind the kids.

Scotland was beautiful beyond words, and pictures don't do it justice. Everywhere we went looked different, but equally as beautiful. I loved Skye... we pony trekked a couple of times, the first being my sister's first time ever on a horse. She'd ridden in a kayak with me, so I explained to her the principle of horse riding is similar -- balance in the middle, move with it easy, and don't lean too far side to side. She ended up being brilliant on the pony and impressed everyone... never even came close to falling off, and was completely comfortable in the saddle. The second time, she even trotted by herself! She's a natural and totally in love with horses, especially her Welsh pony, Megan. I got to ride a Highland pony, as well as an Icelandic pony which is a unique breed with a fifth gait, the tolt, a running walk. Even better, I got to experience it; the Icelandic switched from a canter to a tolt during one run on the trail, and it was pretty cool.

I got to hang out with my Italian friend, Miki. I hung out with old friends and got to know them better. I met many cool people and got to hang out with some new friends, two of which were at the chaos that was my step-father Angelo's 50th birthday party. It was an American-style barbecue with American ingredients culled from the army base in Pisa: hot wings, chili and corn muffins, ribs, and steak... not to mention lots of sangria, prosecco, and wine. I was pretty toasted when the gypsy band showed up to play a set of swing music for the party. Just about everyone busted out and danced.. it was crazy. I snuck off with a new friend, Kate's cousin, Julie. We were in the middle of a deep conversation and everyone kept interrupting us to say we should stop being antisocial -- so we walked to the very back of the first level of the orto and sat down. We had just gotten into our conversation again, when my mom comes up and suggests taking a ladder to climb up (and essentially, over) the wall into the neighbor's orto to get the ripe cherries. She got Anne, Julie's friend, into cherry-stealing and not long after that, a crowd had gathered with everyone in a cherry-stealing frenzy. Julie and I had to walk away again. Heheh. :P

In Edinburgh, I went on a Ghost Hunter Trail tour with Mercat tours. It needs some polishing, but you can read my account here. And lastly, because this is turning out jumbled and rambly, I have to comment on the astonishingly large number of lesbians I saw in Italy (particularly in the Cinque Terre) this year. In fact, I saw so many that I even named this "The Year of the Lesbian". Most were in couples, only reinforcing that my lezdar is improving.. but the single ones generally paid me no mind. Story of my life. There were two slight exceptions, but nothing noteworthy. But really, tons of lesbians! Like, usually I'll go an entire visit and not see one, but I saw them everywhere!

More later, when I'm more awake..


Currently Playing...
Song: Deftones - Minerva
Book: The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ciao and All That


So... I arrived safely and have been here for a week now. My flights were a hundred times better than usual -- this time I flew U.S. Airways instead of Alitalia -- so everything went pretty fast and smoothly. I always forget just how busy I usually am when I'm here, with no nice chunks of time to sit and surf or blog. This visit, my mom has a list of things she wants me to do, beginning with setting up her Bose Lifestyle 48 system and teaching her how to use the new digital camera (Nikon S70) I picked out for her. I've taken some really lovely pictures with the latter that I can't wait to upload.

I also bought her a new computer, a PC instead of the hateful old iMac she has now, which is on its way now and should hopefully arrive any day. In addition to this, I finally got her to sign up for DSL instead of dialup, but it will probably be a few weeks before we actually get it. The Italians really like to take their time with things, all the red tape and crap, so that's honestly the company's time quote for getting DSL set up here. So different from the U.S.! Anyway, when the new PC and DSL is set up, I'm hoping it will be easier to steal half an hour here and there to get online.

Right before I left, my mom bought me a 4 GB iPod mini for quitting smoking - w00t! I chose blue, and I'm really loving it. And something I'm so entirely excited about is my mom, little sister, and I are going to Scotland for six days mid-June! This is a trip she and I have talked about forever, considering we are mostly Scottish... her grandmother was born in Glasgow, and I know I'm at least 3/4 Scottish, on both sides of the family. I've always wanted to go because I feel like it's my homeland, full of my heritage and people who look like me. I can't wait!! We're still figuring out what we want to do when we go, but my mom has declared she wants to stay in style, so I think we'll be staying at castles and such.

I got my grades, which were impressive and wholly unimpressive at the same time. Somehow I managed an A in Plant and Soil Science, which blows my mind. I got a B in Conservation Biology (not bad for not studying), a C in Intro to Wildlife Management (better than the D or less I feared), and a C in Computer Science. The last, I wrote the teacher about because it makes no sense. I had all 90's and above on my homework and papers, got an A on one test, a B on another.. I know I didn't do well on the last test, but come on. Anyway, he says I'm missing an assignment and a paper, which I doubt, but not only am I in another country, I threw away all my school papers and crap in a huge, obsessive bout of cleaning before I left. I'm trying to resolve this because frankly it rather pisses me off.

Lastly, the date with my teacher got postponed until I get back.. We were communicating via email, and because I'm socially challenged when it comes to girls, I didn't think to give her my number right away. Anyway, she has a lot going on and the week after I asked her and she said yes, she was out of town on vacation. She had no internet and said she would get in contact with me on the Friday before I left. Friday came, and nothing. I had started cleaning when I got back from Angie's, and of course I wanted to stick around my house to be there if the phone rang, so I organized and cleaned the hell out of my place (finally). Saturday, nothing. Sunday, nothing. At that point, I was confused and highly disappointed. I figured something must have come up because she wouldn't have said yes if she didn't want to go. She did call Monday morning and all was cleared up, and I have a raincheck for when I get back. Now I get to dream and fantasize for two more months. ;)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Update


Hello, hello, hello. Lest you think I have abandoned this here blog, here I am. Posting, even!

I apologize to my faithful readers, but you know how it goes. Every now and then, particularly after you've been blogging for a while, life just sort of takes over and you find it takes way more effort and energy to blog about things than you posess.

Basically, school and life were a little overwhelming for a while and I just didn't feel like blogging. A break sounded good. And so, without much fanfare or explanation, I took one.

Anyway, I'm not exactly back yet, mainly due to the fact that I have no internet at home. All my wireless access points have packed up and left town for the summer. As I'm leaving for Italy on Monday, I decided that no matter how much I'm jonesing, I would have to wait until I get back to remedy the situation. And actually, it's not been too terrible. I've been using the free time to organize and clean my apartment, which has honestly been quite overdue. It's nice to be doing something about the cluttered pigsty I call my humble abode. Whether I'll be finished by the time I leave remains to be seen, but it's a dramatic start. And if I could remember the damn vacuum cleaner bags, it'd help.

So, my dear readers... I don't want to say I'm back, but I have a feeling I'll need some sort of outlet when I'm face-to-face with the close-quartered parental insanity FOR TWO FRIPPIN' MONTHS OMG.

And...

And.....

AND...... guess who has a coffee date this weekend with her crush-a-licious lab teacher??



Currently Playing...
Song: Aerosmith - Janie's Got a Gun
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Straight Pride


I think we celebrate it a little early, but this week is Gay Pride for us folks at WVU. The school paper, The DA, has been covering the activities of the gay club to celebrate Pride, including a photo in today's paper of the Drag Bingo that happened a night or two ago. The drag queens looked really gorgeous, I have to mention -- light years away from the Pburg ones.

Anyhow, these two beef-witted Beavis and Butthead wannabes sit in front of me in my last class on Thursdays, Intro to Wildlife Management, making a painfully boring class at the end of a long-ass day even worse. These guys annoy me pretty much every class, for various reasons, and I spend a fair amount of time wanting to smack one, the other, or both, in the back of the head.

I sat down this afternoon, got settled in, and waited for class to start. I wasn't paying attention to much of anything, until I heard the teacher say something chiding to Beavis, that was along the lines of, "I don't think that's politically correct.." in a voice that made it clear he was uncomfortable with Beavis' comment. I didn't hear the original comment, but the teacher's tone and words caught my attention. I looked up and noticed that Beavis and Butthead had a DA open between them and were looking at the Drag Bingo photo on the front page. They may have been sniggering a little. Then, in response to the teacher's reply, Beavis looked back up at him and said, "Seriously, though. Come on, man. What about straight pride?"

That was when I leaned forward between B&B and said with just the right amount of snark and attitude, "No.. that's every other week of the year."

I apparently caught him off-guard, and rather than reply, he half-turned and shot me a surprised look. He spent the next few minutes casting appraising looks at me out of the corner of his eye, trying to be slick about checking me out, I suppose, and failing utterly. I figure he was trying to size me up and figure out whether he should be worried about having an angry homo behind him.

Straight pride.. please.. especially coming from a couple of white males who obviously have very little personal experience being on the receiving end of discrimination. I wanted to lean forward again and ask him if he'd insist on a white pride month in response to Black History Month. And really, these boys -- and the chunk of the straight population that shares this mentality -- they ain't got much to be proud of. Hmmmm?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Dear Mr. Coffee,


Every time I use this product, I become so incredibly livid. I can't believe that you would manufacture and then sell this faulty coffeemaker - for $40, no less! This is my second ISX23, which I obtained by returning the first to the store. To my absolute disbelief, both coffeemakers had exactly the same problem. I say disbelief because I truly cannot believe that a brand I trusted would put out a model of coffeemaker that didn't work well, and expect people to pay that much money for it.

Both coffeemakers worked fairly well the first few brews. The water does not heat up sufficiently during the brew cycle, so that, if pouring coffee directly after the cycle ends, heating in the microwave is necessary. This I could live with, if everything else functioned well. The other major problem is that the coffee that is supposed to be dripping into the carafe spills ALL OVER EVERYTHING. I have watched to find out exactly what is going on, and what happens is when the drip stream gets weak, it completely misses the carafe and drips over the side. Actually, even when the stream is strong, it is somewhat far away from the hole in the top of the carafe. I have tried placing the coffeemaker on different surfaces, even using a level to find the most level counter in the kitchen. It makes absolutely no difference; the coffeemaker drips all over, no matter what.

The result is that every day now when I get up, I have a huge mess in my kitchen. Coffee all over the counter and floor, burning coffee on the plate of the coffeemaker. Sometimes stuffing a folded-up paper towel underneath the carafe can help keep the stream at the top of the carafe, but lately, even that doesn't help.

I moved at the end of December and lost my receipt for this product, so I have been trying to suffer through the ownership of this coffeemaker. As it stands now, with every morning this week beginning by my walking into the kitchen to find coffee all over the place, I will be returning the coffeemaker to the store without a receipt. I can't stand it any longer. And, due to my anger and frustration levels at this point, if I can help it, I will not be buying any more Mr. Coffee products.

I did want you people to know how incredibly angry I am at the knowledge that you put out, and charge quite a bit for, one of the worst coffeemakers known to man. I could spend a bit more and get a Cuisinart coffeemaker that I at least have complete confidence will work, not make a mess, and actually produce hot coffee (imagine that). I truly did want to continue trusting your company, in that I believed the first coffeemaker was just a fluke. I couldn't believe they both turned out to be exactly the same in terms of their dysfunction. I want to know how and why someone approved that they be put on the market! In any case, this product's serious problems need to be addressed.

-- Me


(--> Don't buy this thing, please.. save yourself a hell of a lot of headaches and paper towels. The fact that the first feature on the product page has 'complement' misspelled should tell you something. <--)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Pimp My Product


As I've been in love with photography since high school, I'm always looking for easy ways to improve my skills. I used to know all the stuff, f-stop, film speed, how to develop and print my own film, etc. I do miss that level of knowledge and involvement in the art. A photography course would be needed at this point to get me back up to speed as far as the complicated technical details go, but I've been enjoying the nifty tips and tricks at Camera Hacks.

Today I followed the suggestions in this post regarding the sharpening of digital photos. I have a deep-seated envy of photographers that are able to produce incredibly crisp-looking images, whether through talent or their astronomically-priced cameras. In reading, I discovered that many digital cameras cause a 'soft-focus' effect that results in photos that are less sharp than film cameras. It then occurred to me that perhaps some of the skilled photographers were processing their digital photos in order to gain that beautifully crisp look I love so much.

I downloaded GIMP (which is a free and pretty nifty, well-rounded alternative to the wallet-gouging Photoshop) as well as the GIMP smart-sharpening script in the post. It took a bit of wrangling (GIMP requires two downloads, the runtime environment and the actual application), but installing the script is relatively easy to figure out. Don't be put off by the description of it being a bit-map editor; you can work on and save jpgs and other widely-used formats.

Once you've got the smart-sharpening script installed, to access it, open a picture in GIMP, and it's located under Script-Fu -> Photokit. It allows you to adjust the settings, as well as do it multiple times to one photo. Using different photos, I played around with it and got some stellar results. It will not help photos that are out-of-focus to begin with, but on some in-focus shots, the change was significant enough to be pretty amazed at what a difference it made.

Check it out; I used my Icicles pic to see if I could better improve in the photo what I had seen with my eye, the brilliant facets of the sun reflecting in the ice. Before and After. That was one run of the script on the default settings. The changes aren't exactly earth-shattering, but I notice enough of an improvement on the second that I'm quite thrilled with the result.

So try it out! I'm so excited to have a way to easily improve my photos. And.. if my internet connection wasn't so persnickity right now, I think I'd replace everything in my Flickr photostream with smart-sharpened copies.



Currently Playing...
Song: Suzanne Vega - World Before Columbus
Book: Everyday Magic: Spells & Rituals for Modern Living by Dorothy Morrison
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!