Monday, January 31, 2005

What Kind of Soul Are You?






You Are a Hunter Soul





You are driven and ambitious - totally self motiviated to succeed.
Actively working to acheive what you want, you are skillful in many areas.
You are a natural predator with strong instincts ... and more than a little demanding.
You are creative, energetic, and an extremely powerful force.

An outdoors person, you like animals and relate to them better than people.
You tend to have an explosive personality, but also a good sense of humor.
People sometimes see you as arrogant or a know it all.
You tend to be a bit of a loner, though you hate to be alone.

Souls you are most compatible with: Seeker Soul and Peacemaker Soul






Currently Playing...
Song: Train - Ordinary
Book: The R.O.A.D. Less Traveled - The Reality of Amy Dumas by Amy Dumas, Michael Krugman
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Review: Spanglish


There might be small spoilers in here, so if you're opposed to such things, stop reading now.

I watched Spanglish last night because my brain was fried and I was in dire need of a comedy. The movie was cute, I guess, but somewhat disappointing in that I only laughed a few times. Cloris Leachman is the one saving grace in the film; her character is the brazen, drunken old lady that we all love, the one family member who speaks her mind, no matter what.

I had a really hard time buying Adam Sandler in this movie. This may be because he usually plays happy goofballs, and his character in Spanglish seemed more serious than any of his previous roles. He does crack jokes, which are sometimes funny, and of course a movie with Adam Sandler wouldn't be complete without at least a little physical humor. One of the best parts of the movie is when he returns home, drunk off his ass, and has to hold onto the myriad of windchimes hanging in the backyard in order to walk without falling over.

I had a hard time buying Adam Sandler's character being married to Tea Leoni's character. I could have understood a little better if there had been something in the film to reconcile this, either a mention that one or both of them had changed, or their relationship dynamic had changed, over the years. I kept waiting for him to say, "I really miss how we were.. what happened to us?" That would have totally solved it for me, but no. I had a hard time understanding how anyone, much less a totally sensitive, caring, laid-back nice guy, would end up with a vain, self-obsessed control freak. I'm not saying it can't or doesn't happen, but it didn't make a lot of sense.

Part of the reason why this film was more depressing than comedic to me can be traced directly to Tea Leoni's character. I mainly saw the film to see her, because she is teh hawtness (and OMG check those freakin' ABS-O-STEEL), but her character was an awful, selfish bitch. In fact, it rather disturbed me because she was so like my mom, and I couldn't get over it. If anyone is curious why I'm such a self-obsessed weirdo, watch this movie, note the dynamic between Tea Leoni's character and her overweight daughter, and you pretty much have what my relationship with my mom was nearly all my life, at least while I was overweight. It's better now that I'm not 215 pounds, but a leopard doesn't change its spots. Tea Leoni's character was so my mom in so many ways, though thankfully, to my knowledge, at least my mom never purposely bought me clothes a size too small to 'encourage' me to lose weight. That was fucked up.

Whether it's my own personal connotations or not, Tea Leoni's character just totally ruined this movie for me. All I could do is feel terrible for everyone in her family that had to deal with her constant not-listening and plowing through everyone else, regardless of their feelings or wishes. Again, I don't get why a kind, laid-back guy would fall for her, much less want to stay in the marriage from hell. It would have been way more realistic had he told her he'd had enough, taken the kids, and gotten with the maid, Flor.

Flor, along with the rest of the characters in the film, seemed a caricature rather than an actual character. She has all these strong principles, but rather than it making her deeper and more human, there were times when her reactions to things seemed like the writers/director were more trying to drill into the audience's head: SHE HAS PRINCIPLES, SEE? SHE'S SUPER-STRONG, SEE? SEE??? About midway, I was kind of like, Come on, give me a break already. I found her character to be emotionally impenetrable, so it was difficult to truly understand or empathize with her. Toward the end, she admits something, but instead of being a touching moment, it was sort of like, "Huh? Where did that come from?" There was very little lead-up to it, so it was difficult to buy.

Flor also was set up in the film to be The Hottest Thing Since Sliced Bread, and instead of showing and letting you judge for yourself, they cram it down your throat at every turn. Yeah, she's attractive, but the "OMG, You're GORGEOUS" thing started to get really old. And, similar to The Truth About Cats and Dogs where they set up Janeane Garofolo's character to be ugly and then cram it down your throat the entire movie, I was left thinking, "What??" For one, I would pick Janeane over Uma any day, and who really would buy Janeane as ugly?? Secondly, yeah, Flor is pretty, but HELLLLOOO? Have you seen Tea Leoni? And those ABS? You can tell me someone is gorgeous or ugly, but if I don't see it, sorry, I don't buy it.

One other thing that majorly bothered me throughout the movie was the obvious use of blue screens during the driving scenes. It's like they didn't even try to cover up the fact they were using blue screens instead of actually filming the actors driving. It's beyond the simple use of blue screens, which I find usually somewhat obvious; the good use of them allows the viewer to dismiss the blue screen and try to believe they're really where they are. But it's so undeniably obvious in every single driving scene, to the point where, instead of paying attention to dialog or the scene, I kept thinking about how the actors were sitting in a car in the studio. Wondering how they got the car to bounce up and down, what the set actually looked like, and what they used to produce environmental effects (such as when Tea Leoni is in a convertible and her hair is blowing everywhere). Very, very poor use of blue screen.. it truly should not be that distracting.

I think the main flaw in this movie was there wasn't enough explaining or delving into the characters, so it was hard to truly understand or empathize with anyone. Save Cloris Leachman, because we find out that she was once an 'alcoholic, highly promiscuous' jazz singer, which, in combination with her judgemental control freak daughter, totally explains why she is the way she is. Her character is nearly the only one in the entire movie I found to be real and believable. She has some great lines, as well, which were the source of the two other laughs I had during the entire two hours and ten minutes.

You end up kind of hating Tea Leoni's character and her oblivious rich bitch mentality, feeling totally sorry for her family (and rooting for them to just leave her freak ass). I give this film like half a thumb up. Mainly because its only redeeming qualities are Cloris Leachman, and the eye candy that is Tea Leoni. If you feel you must see this movie, do yourself a favor; save yourself $8 and a trip to the theater, and rent it. That way you won't have to walk out.. you can just hit 'stop' and chuck the DVD against the wall.



Currently Playing...
Song: Mariah Carey - Through the Rain (Hex Hector Vocal Mix)
Book: The R.O.A.D. Less Traveled - The Reality of Amy Dumas by Amy Dumas, Michael Krugman
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Moderate Use Of Cannabis "Safe," Study Says
NORML E-Zine
Volume 8
Issue 4
January 27, 2005


Oxford, United Kingdom: Moderate cannabis use, even long-term, is "relatively safe" when compared to the health effects of other recreational intoxicants, according to a scientific review published in the February issue of the journal Current Opinion in Pharmacology.

"A review of the literature suggests that the majority of cannabis users, who use the drug occasionally rather than on a daily basis, will not suffer any lasting physical or mental harm," writes the study's author, Dr. Leslie Iversen of the University of Oxford. "Overall, by comparison with other drugs used mainly for 'recreational' purposes, cannabis could be rated to be a relatively safe drug."

The author concludes that there is little evidence that long-term cannabis use causes permanent cognitive impairment or has an adverse effect on global intelligence. Iversen does acknowledge, however, that smoking marijuana long-term may cause "the possibility of damage to the airways," though he admits that "little progress has been made in quantifying such risks." The author also notes that various longitudinal studies have found an association between the long-term, heavy use of cannabis and specific adverse psychosocial features, including lower educational achievement, though he acknowledges that there exists no "clear cause and effect relationship to explain the psychosocial associations."

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre praised the review, stating: "Marijuana is not a harmless substance, though its scientifically acknowledged harms are quite minimal compared to other legally regulated intoxicants, including alcohol and tobacco. By far the greatest danger to health posed by the responsible use of cannabis in the United States today stems from a criminal arrest or conviction."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Random Meanderings


I've had my site listed on Blogshares for a while. I started my blog almost two years ago, and when it came to naming it, I was careful to not choose something that was already in use. At the time, there was one other site named Random Meanderings, but the author appeared to have abandoned it, so I felt pretty safe in using the name.

The other day on Blogshares, I was a little startled to notice that there was not one, but EIGHT other sites listed with the name "Random Meanderings". I visited most of them, and a little digging uncovered that three of them were different blogs belonging to a person who apparently has since changed their blog name. The other five, however, I smirkingly noted that they all started well after I did. So my question is.. do I have the creative right to my blog title, considering I came up with it first? Is it overly bitchy to write to these people and mention the title theft? I mean, after all, it's not entirely a unique concept. But still, I feel that I had it first and these folks need to come up with something more creative. I'm curious to know your thoughts, and what you would do were it your blog, so please use the comments to let me know.

I get my geeky jollies by doing a search for "random meanderings" on Google, cause look who is #1! I'M THE KING OF THE WOOOOOOOOOORLLLD!!!

Here are the others, in no particular order:

- randmeand.blogspot.com
- doctoredd.blogspot.com
- sdmagic1.blogspot.com
- spaces.msn.com/members/meanderings
- silverspurs.blogspot.com



Currently Playing...
Song: Depeche Mode - Dream On (French Touch Mix)
Book: Lita : A Less Traveled R.O.A.D.--The Reality of Amy Dumas by Amy Dumas, Michael Krugman
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Stereo Wars: UPDATE!!


Three times today I was THIS close to Audioblogging the immense noise coming from above, but both times, I was foiled by the stereo being turned down before I could get the number completely dialed. It's like they knew somehow. I also stole their favorite parking spot right in front of the house, when I craftily turned my lights off and watched them pull away. I'm an evil bitch.. I know I mentioned that.

In a completely unforeseen move, Upstairs came downstairs a few minutes ago and knocked on my door. We'd been out-blasting each other since yesterday, and I wondered how much longer this could continue. I had also been wondering if anyone would come down to talk to me, so when I got the knock, I was incredibly curious.

Jeremi was actually very mature and nice, he apologized for all the noise and told me he didn't want to drive me crazy. We talked for a while about things, I stressed again that I didn't want any animosity between us, and that I would prefer the lines of communication to stay open, rather than us trying fight via our stereos.

He didn't own up to it as much as I feel he should have, because he said things like he'd been trying to be conscientious, but I let it go, because at least he came to me to talk about things. The one thing that irked me was when I jokingly mentioned us having stereo wars, he said, "Oh, no.. it's not that, because I have the atomic bomb to drop, and you can't beat that." Guys, I swear.

In any case, I'm quite pleased at the outcome, and he said he would try to keep things down after 11pm. I explained I have early classes and that I really appreciated it, and that I hoped we could get along and not fight anymore. We exchanged phone numbers in case either of us was making too much noise.

Yay.. a happy ending?!



Currently Playing...
Song: Chemical Brothers - Alive Alone
Book: es Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Plant and Soil Science Lab = Suckage


Despite the fact that I secretly lust after my PLSC lab instructor, so far this class bites. Part of it is fun, the part where we're growing some plants from seeds and observing the growth. The sucky part is where they make us look at root sections under the microscope and, in major painstaking detail, draw and label all the parts.

Lately, I realize that I have been using my blog to vent a lot and for that, I apologize to you all. It's just that my life right now is full of frustration and if I don't bitch about it somewhere, I just might explode.

Today's lab was even worse than last week's. I spent TWO AND A HALF HOURS drawing two different slides. I'm not kidding you, TWO AND A HALF HOURS. The teacher and her grad student said last week's drawings didn't have enough detail and wanted us to be as detailed as possible on a quarter of the two cross-sections. At the end, I felt like stabbing somebody. Particularly when last week's slide drawing was handed back to me in the middle of it, and it looked like this. 1.75 out of 3?? 58%?! They didn't even really tell us how much detail they expected!

There is very little point in making us do this type of thing, considering it seems mainly what they want us to do is label the parts. Why not save us two horrendous hours and give us a sheet with the slide picture on it, so that we can cut through all the crap and just label? It was doubly worse once they returned my corn root slide drawing to me, while I was toiling away on the monocot and dicot root cross-section pictures, and my grade was pure crap. Nothing like knowing what you're working on currently is probably going to be returned covered in red pen. They said, "We don't grade your artistic ability" and last time they said we didn't have to draw every single cell. So I didn't, and then I get points off for 'no detail'? Grrrrrrrrr.

I bite at realistic drawing, so does that mean I'm going to be a crap-ass scientist?

The one good thing that came out of today's lab is that I got paired up with this awesome girl, Robin, who will be my lab partner for the rest of the semester. She is so much nicer than pretty much everyone else I've met here (I don't know if I've mentioned yet how totally unfriendly everyone has been), she's smart, and she's a WAY better drawer than I am. I don't know what it is, I think everyone else's drawings look so much better than mine, and I can't help feeling that's going to be my downfall in this class. In any case, we were both starving, so Robin and I went to dinner after lab at a Japanese place by Evansdale that I'd been wanting to try. She's from WV but just moved to Motown, too, and has done all sorts of traveling, including living in California for a while. She's really nice, straight (in case you were wondering if I was crushing on her, too), and maybe.. just maybe.. I might have my first friend.

If next week's lab is as horrendously tortuous as today's, I'm going to speak to the teacher. It's just insane! The lab is 3 hours long, and in addition to drawing the slides, we were supposed to do a bunch of stuff with our seedlings. I don't know how they expect us to fit it all in that period of time.

This class alone may just drive me to drink. I know I'm going into biology and all, but is this really necessary? :|


Currently Playing...
Song: Portishead - Beautiful
Book: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Stereo Wars, Redux


So we had part two of Stereo Wars, beginning about ten minutes ago. I know it's very immature of me to fight back in kind, I'm stooping to his level, blahblahblah. But you know what? I'm finding it almost freeing to be an annoying bitch. I practically have the green light from the landlord, with his 'I can't do anything about it during the day', and Upstairs don't show any signs of stopping.

I think the best part of it is apparently, I can outblast them. Every single time I crank it up to cover the blaring music, I last way longer than they do. And you know how I said the speaker on my stereo is a foot away from the ceiling? I measured it just now, and it's actually less than a foot; more like nine inches. Haw!

So today, I played Miss Annoying DJ, and had so much fun selecting music to tell them I hate their fucking guts. I think the best part was when I played Reel Big Fish's "You Don't Know", which begins like this: First of all, I'd like to say 'fuck off' (fuck off, fuck off, fuck off)... It so happened that all was quiet up there at that point, so I'm hoping they got the lyrics. Haw!

I'm beyond turning it down after one song now. If they want to be obnoxious, well, sheeee-it. Do they realize they are dealing with The Queen of Obnoxious?? Just ask anyone who has worked with me. ;)

Immature, check. Evil, check. I'm still a little afraid that this will karmically come back to bite me on the ass, like I should continue to take the high road, but I feel as if I've been left with little choice. I do have an evil last-resort plan if it gets too bad, and I honestly hope it doesn't come to that because said plan involves leaving my stereo blasting while I'm not at home.

I'm so bad I'm good.



Currently Playing...
Song: Charlie Daniels Band - The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Book: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

P.S.


I almost forgot a couple of things. One, I'm trying to modify my blog design to add a logo at the top, but no matter what I do, there seems to be some bizarre table issues that I can't figure out. If anyone is fairly proficient in HTML and tables, and wouldn't mind spending 5-10 minutes looking at my code and telling me what the problem is, PLEASE email me. I'd be in your debt forever.

Secondly, The Marthas sent me a wonderful, amazing, awesome package!!! Lots of good books to read, plus a hand-knit camera case that is cute as hell! I love it, and you should all be so totally freakin' jealous, cause it's the cutest, most unique camera case in the world. So there!

Thanks again, you guys, you really are the best! :)






Currently Playing...
Song: Dave Matthews Band - I Shall Be Released (Acoustic)
Book: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

The War On McLane Ave.


The neighbor situation has, I think, escalated to a full-out war. While still loud, my upstairs neighbors' TV/stereo has mainly been kept to a reasonable minimum, at least until last night and today. However, they have redoubled their stomping and slamming efforts. Not a day goes by where I don't hear SLAM!STOMPSTOMPSTOMSTOMPSTOMPSTOMP or STOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSLAM! Yesterday evening, it was past rude, it was ridiculous. I was in the shower, which shares a wall with the neighbors' infamous stairwell, getting ready for work, and I lost count of the number of times at least two people went up and down the stairs (see STOMPSTOMPSLAM! above).

One thing about me is that I don't get angry very easily, irritated, yes, but not angry. A fortunate thing for the world, because when I get angry, truly and passionately angry, I am capable of really horrendous things. I'm a Scorpio, and you probably already know we're famous for our capacity for revenge. Again, fortunately for the world, I generally am able to maintain the vengeance fantasies as just that, fantasy. It really takes quite a lot to push me over the edge, but when someone does, they need to look the fuck out because there is no going back.

I have been entertaining various revenge fantasies for the past week or so. These range from the destructive (letting air out of tires, driving a nail into a tire) to mostly just annoying (filling a mailbox with snow, I have an elaborate plan). It takes someone pushing me so incredibly far to lean toward destructive methods, and usually the thought of karmic backlash keeps me from acting on them. I mostly am content with entertaining various fantasies of exacting revenge, and it takes a lot of pushing, such as inflicted by my psycho ex, to drive me to acting upon them. There is a certain satisfaction, mainly because the types of revenge I come up with are devious and not overt; I get twisted pleasure from being the only one who knows, and watching the person continue on oblivious.

This afternoon, I came home for lunch after my first class and my upstairs neighbor's music was so loud I could hear the lyrics as if it were playing in my own apartment. I wanted to use Audioblogger to record and post it so that you wouldn't think I was exaggerating, but the handyman showed up to unfreeze my shower drain. I was so livid that I can't even remember what song it was, but I did recognize it. I have been debating what to do about the situation, considering the polite route no longer appeared to be a viable option. It's gotten to the point of ridiculous, and perhaps I'm being paranoid or projecting, but I get the distinct impression they are trying to be extra loud at every turn just to piss me off. I've been woken up at 6am to much stomping in the room above my bedroom, the music/TV gets blared well after 11pm, not to mention all the stomping and slamming.

I really didn't want to start a war, and I truly hesitated to call the landlord. I was holding off on that as a last resort, but today I couldn't take any more and I called him. I do at least know now that the Motown noise ordinance begins at 11pm, though the landlord said he couldn't do anything about it during the day. The stereo was still blaring upstairs while I explained to him that I'd tried to politely ask them to be more considerate, but that they make so much noise it's driving me crazy. He said he would call and talk to them.

I'm not sure if he called immediately, but within five minutes, the music got cranked UP even more. I sat here with my mouth open, in complete disbelief. I was so angry that I was shaking. I thought, Okay, fine then. You want a war, you fuckers, you have a war. You'll be sorry! And I did what anyone would do; I searched my MP3s for a bass-heavy track, turned one of my speakers on its back facing the ceiling, placed it on top of my stereo and against the wall (about a foot away from the ceiling), and cranked it LOUD. When I say it was loud, I mean it. It was loud enough to almost completely drown out the music coming from upstairs, and man, did I ever enjoy that song. I feel a little sorry for the guy downstairs, since he's generally pretty quiet. My desk, walls, and even the floor were vibrating with the bass. I apparently got my point across, because mid-song, the music upstairs stopped. I was making a point, however, and let the entire thing play to the end, and then turned it down. If you'd like to hear what I played at top volume, email me and I'd be happy to send it to you.

It hasn't stopped completely, and earlier they were blasting again, though thankfully not at the same volume as this afternoon. The stomping and slamming will never end, though, so I'm trying to figure out what I want to do. I am not exaggerating when I say that I feel as if I'm being tortured and that it is driving me mad. I am being driven to the brink of sanity with all this noise. I can tell you right now that if any of this bullshit continues after 11:00, I will be calling the police. I've been thinking about leaving a note in their mailbox, but I'm smart enough to know to be wary about putting things in writing, and what I want to say is really bitchy and snarky. If I do end up doing something evil, I don't want a paper trail. I'm hoping I can restrain myself and that it doesn't come to that.

Anyway.. let's see. I started my new job last week, and it's very different than what I'm used to. For one, it's very small as far as staff, and the servers are expected to do all the bartending, hosting, setting up, bussing, cleaning/polishing glasses and silverware, hauling ice, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. The owner is an absolute perfectionist and he makes me very nervous. Overall, the place is very nice, the customers seem more polite than I'm used to, and most of the other staff seems very nice. Until I'm trained, I'm not technically a server yet, I'm a 'backer', which means I'm basically everyone's bitch. I water the tables and bring bread out, replace dirty silverware, and anything else that gets asked of me. One of the chefs is from Oakland, so he's been really nice to me because we have a Bay Area bond, but the other chef is snarky and kind of a bitch. I don't know what it is about cooks in general that they feel it's part of their job to give servers shit, but whatever.

I still don't feel totally settled in here, and I think that's because I'm not fully unpacked and set up yet, plus, as a creature of habit, I feel as if I haven't gotten into any routine yet. I mostly am unpacked, but my place is a disaster. When I moved here, I felt that everything in my life was pointing to my needing to quit smoking and to either stop or majorly cut down on my MJ consumption. The latter is not conducive to being a good student, and I'm tired of wasting my brain by being half-assed at school. This is the big leagues, after all, and the only time I'm wasting is my own.

I've also said in the past that I feel I have at least a couple God-given gifts, one of which is the ability to achieve almost anything I set my mind to. My mom used to always chide me for putting my eggs in one basket when it came to things, but to be honest with you, it generally works out for me. It's part of my personality to focus all my energy on one thing, with one backup plan, and while this gift never applies to women or relationships, I do generally get whatever it is I go for with all my heart. I don't know how or why, but there it is.

So a couple weird things about the last two paragraphs and my new job. Cafe Bacchus was the only place I applied here in Morgantown. I wrote what I considered to be the best and most inspired cover letter of my entire life, and didn't send it and my resume until I'd already moved and been here a week. I'd felt confident about it, but as soon as I sent it, it occurred to me that perhaps I was delusional and that I wouldn't get the job. But then, only a couple days after I'd mailed it, I got a call from the owner asking me for an interview and I was both totally stoked and relieved. I have great luck with interviews because I can be incredibly charming and charismatic in person (especially when I want something badly, heh), so I always feel that if I can get an interview, I have a really good chance.

My first night at work, one of the girls asked me, "How did you get a job here?" I didn't understand the question at first and told her I'd sent in my resume and a brilliant cover letter. She then went on to tell me that it's impossible to find work in Morgantown, and even harder to get a job at Cafe Bacchus. She said it's unheard of for someone to get hired there without knowing someone who works there. I was a little floored, as I'd had no idea about the difficulty of either things. You can't tell me that's not a little weird, in a gift-from-God kind of way.

And then, secondly, there are no smoke breaks during shifts. Hardly anyone smokes there, and if I'm working 3-11+, the earliest I am allowed to go outside is after the last guests leave. Again, I totally feel that everything in my life is pointing to my needing to quit and part of the gift of this job will be enabling me to do so. It was really difficult at Olive Garden because almost everyone smoked, so it was impossible to get away from it on a daily basis. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but it is definitely going to be a big help to be around non-smokers, and to have to go 8+ hours at work without a smoke break.

By the way, the menu is amazing. Nearly every dish that goes out of the kitchen, I watch it go by with complete envy; Oooooohhh, I wish I was having that! During the 3-11+ shift, there's a staff meal at the beginning, where the chefs concoct something yummy for everyone to eat. Last week, it was chicken and pork stir fry.. sooooooooo good, I can't even tell you. It's such a wonderful difference from OG in a lot of ways, not just that they actually feed us for free, but we can come in with one guest and get 50% off our meal, including alcohol. I'm totally bringing Angie and I can't wait to actually get to try some of the stuff. I did get to have some mashed potatoes with leftover pinot noir mushroom sauce poured over the top. GOOD. Not to mention the fresh-baked breads, including rosemary foccacia, which I dipped into the sauce and the only word I can use to describe it is orgasmic.

I don't have a lot to report as far as school, other than I kind of have a crush on my Plant and Soil Sciences lab teacher, who is a cute and smart lesbian. I know I have no chance, not to mention there are probably no-fraternization rules, but I can lust from afar, can't I?



Currently Playing...
Song: Lisa Thiel & Ani Williams - Child of the Wind
Book: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (SUPERTHANKSAGAINMARTHAS!!!)
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Photo Friday: Signs


I know my regular readers (all five of them) have seen this before, but it still remains one of my favorites.





Currently Playing...
Song: Killswitch Engage - One Last Sunset
Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Heh


I SO am officially an old lady. I just banged on the ceiling with a broom.

The upshot, I think I scared the shit out of Jeremy, because the volume immediately dropped and it's so nice and quiet now that I may actually get to go to sleep in peace...

Do You Believe In Ghosts?


You may want to watch Urban Legends Series: Ghosts. Don't crank the volume too loud, and don't get suckered into staring closely at the door at the end. I suspected there'd be some cheap scares in there, and I was right. It's 8MB, so those of you on dialup may wish to pass.

Overall, it was rather fascinating and I would say the majority of media they have listed are legitimate. A couple pictures looked like images were transposed on them, but mainly they do seem real and unexplainable. I've seen a few of them before, too, via more credible sources.

Anyway, enjoy.. I had major goosebumps and chills throughout.



Currently Playing...
Song: Tori Amos - Baker Baker
Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Know What I'm Sayin'?


I was bored and reading through the daily photo comments on Dooce, when someone mentioned asksnoop.com (A.K.A. The Shizzolator).

Stop what you're doing right now and go to asksnoop.com, put in my URL (or any of your favorite sites), sit back, and enjoy.

I think my previous post is way more enjoyable Shizzolated.



Currently Playing...
Song: Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan - Raga Bilashkani Todi (meditation)
Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Boys Are Stupid. Throw Rocks At Them!


My first two weeks here were great; my upstairs and downstairs neighbors were gone and it was so quiet and idyllic. The peace was shattered last night when they both returned, let me tell you. First there's all the door-slamming and stomping around. There's two guys in the two-bedroom upstairs, and another guy downstairs. The guys upstairs obviously enjoy their penthouse status and don't give a shit about the folks below them. Aside from all the stomping and slamming, I was subject to hours of the stereo and then the TV upstairs BLASTING. Like, at volumes well above "loud"; a person would have to intentionally have their TV/stereo turned to "beyond obnoxious". In addition, there also appears to be a dog living upstairs, which puzzles me because the landlord was quite adamant about this being a no-animals building -- and if they get to have a dog, I want a cat, damn it! The dog was barking a lot last night, most of the time while he was at the bottom of their stairwell (i.e. right next to the wall where I sit right now), so it was like having a dog in my apartment. And then they let him run around all crazy like a herd of rhino.

I didn't want my first meeting with my neighbors to be a negative one, so I was really trying to let it pass. I turned my stereo up to compensate, and because I was irritated, I stopped being conscientious and turned on my stereo's turbo bass. I had to turn up my own volume ridiculously high, levels that I ordinarily would avoid because of, well, my concern for bothering others. And yet, somehow, I still could hear the blaring bass from upstairs. I was really aggravated, especially as it was Sunday night with school the next day, and this shit was still going on at midnight.

Well, tonight, I'd had enough. When I say the TV and stereo were LOUD, imagine your upstairs neighbor cranking whatever he's got on. Setting his speakers on the floor, cranking the bass. Your ceiling shakes, you can't hear your own music/TV, but you can hear the dialog or the words to the song upstairs. In any case, when I got up from my nap a little bit ago, it was even worse than last night. I am still in such disbelief that someone could be so completely oblivious and whatever the opposite of conscientious is. So, when I'd had my fill, I went next door and rang the bell.

The conversation went something like this (imagine my neighbor holding a can of beer and acting in a rude, stand-offish way):


Me: Hi, I'm Alena, your new neighbor downstairs.
Him: Uh huh.
Me: I'm really sorry for our first meeting to be on a negative note, but I was wondering if you have any idea how loud your TV is?
Him: Yeah, no, I didn't.
Me (trying to be nice and friendly): Heh heh, well, it *is* really loud. It's sort of like having your TV in my living room!
Him (no smile or comraderie will be had today): So, it's loud.
Me (still trying to be nice): Yeah, it is. I'm generally very conscientious, so if *my* music is ever too loud or something, please feel free to let me know.
- At this point, the dog comes down the stairs to check things out -
Him (with an air of 'Okay, we're done, byeeee'): Well, I'll turn it down. I'm Jeremy, by the way.
Me: Thanks.


I wanted to be all BUT DOES THE LANDLORD KNOW YOU HAVE A DOG??! He ended up turning away, shutting the door, and leaving me feeling even more irritated and angry. I was really trying to be friendly and polite, and while text doesn't do it justice, his whole attitude made me go back inside while muttering expletives to myself. It honestly kind of makes me want to live here a lot less, and I keep asking myself if I can deal with the loud, rude asshole upstairs.

It reminds me so much of my crazy asshole porn-blaring neighbor next door in Parkersburg. He bugged the ever-living shit out of me. It just seemed to me, every time he would turn his music (or porn) up all the way, not only didn't he apparently care that it was affecting everyone around him, he was so oblivious to how obnoxious his behavior was. I realize having a stranger come to your door to ask you to turn it down can be a bit off-putting, but don't make me feel like an evil, anal bitch when I'm trying to be polite and shit. Plus, it's still loud and I can still hear it, so I figure they don't entirely grasp the concept. But hey, at least it's somewhat better than it was. Fuckers.

I've had a busy day today. Confrontation with neighbor. First class of semester. Having a car towed out of our lot.

My first class was today, the Computing and Natural Resources or whatever it's called. The teacher and his aide are both foreign-born Chinese peeps with some of the strongest accents I have heard since living in San Francisco. Frankly, I understand maybe 20% of what comes out of the teacher's mouth.. the rest sounds, well, like random Chinese sounds that sort of wash over my ears with no comprehension whatsoever. To make it worse, he has a verbal tic and adds 'hum' to most of his sentences. As far as subject matter goes, I should do pretty well, since at least half of it appears to be things I already know (go GeekGirl, go!). The other half looks to involve some programming and building of databases and stuff. So I'm thinking it can go one of a few ways.. one, I can't understand the teacher, but his materials are clear, so I end up not listening to lecture and reading on my own; two, I end up getting used to the accent and am able to understand both teacher and materials; or three, I'm skeeeeee-rewed! Ha ha!

The parking situation is RIDICULOUS. I scoped out a map and felt pretty confident at being able to find parking within reasonable walking distance of Evansdale (not the main) campus. I drove out this morning, only to discover that every single street around the campus is city permit parking only. Realize this is a residential area and every house has either a garage or a driveway to park in. The streets are like a ghost town: no cars parked anywhere. And yet I had to park like 10-15 minutes away and walk to my campus! It's a travesty, I'm telling you. All of that lovely parking just absolutely and totally going to waste. I'm not complaining about the walk, honestly, because God knows I need it, but when the weather is inclement, that 10-15 minute walk is going to suck balls. However, they have a first-come-first-served sale of Evansdale lot parking permits on the 24th, so I'm going to try to get one. They open at 7am, and I want one bad enough to get up that early!

Lastly, yes, I did have a car towed. During winter break when hardly any students were here, parking was not an issue and I was able to park on the street outside my front door. It's a closer walk that doesn't involve stairs, so I didn't really care about the back lot because I didn't need it. Right after I moved in, I had my eyes open for my neighbors coming back from vacation, but instead began to notice random people parking in our spaces, with blatant disregard to the big sign saying the spots were reserved and violators would be towed. These random people all appeared to be friends of the people who live in a house behind my building, across the alley. I noticed many different people come and go, all of whom just went ahead and parked in our lot, sometimes overnight. I could have called the tow truck then, but it wasn't like there was a lack of parking elsewhere, so I just let it go. However, I had a feeling that they would keep it up since after two weeks, no one had done anything.

Sure enough, I get home from class today and there's no street parking, and then I discovered my downstairs neighbor's car in my spot because his has been taken by a maroon Nissan Altima. I didn't know what the protocal was, whether they went by the numbers or just grabbed whatever was available, so I pulled into the one open slot. I noticed the Altima didn't have a parking pass, so I decided it was finally time for action. I feel a little guilty for doing it, but those are our spaces and THERE'S A BIG SIGN. I figured one of their friends would have to be towed before they stopped telling them to park there, since even up to last night, they showed no signs of letting us have our lot back. So.. the drama may continue, if they figure out who called and what my car looks like. ;)

Oh, and cable's been out since I got internet. Weird. But probably for the best, since TV is generally evil.


P.S. I think I know why I've been so rant-y and irritable lately. Yay for PMS!



Currently Playing...
Song: Natalie Merchant - I'm Not Gonna Beg
Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

20 Questions to a Better Sense of Humor


Tory has the best tests on the web.

Take the humor test yourself. Here's my score, pretty dead-on, I must say.

Sunny/Dark: 4/10
drY/Gross: 2/10
Traditional/Offbeat: 2/10
Active/Passive: 9/10


You are a SYT--Sunny Dry Traditional. This makes you a Sophisticate. You like conservative humor -- implied rather than explicit, and a well-timed eyebrow raise rather than a punchline. You're exactly the right kind of funny a well-bred hostess would want at her functions. You might be Jewish.

You're not afraid of a risque joke -- you just don't often make them. This means that people may keep it squeaky clean around you, and that when you do work blue it's super too so funny.

You're like Jon Stewart on that fake cover of the public domain Victorian erotica textbook in the back of America. You should get that book. You'll think it's funny as hell.

You might like The Daily Show, Remember Wenn and when Hamlet says, "Do you think I meant country matters?" You would snigger thyself all the way to the buttery bar.

Of the 290 people who have taken this quiz, 22.4 % are this type.

Your Active humor score of 9/10 means you are a comic house on fire. You are Def Comedy Jam (for the first five minutes, before it becomes repetitive and degrading). You are a library of witty rejoinders, in-jokes, ad-libs and meatballs. Yeah, I said meatballs. They're underrated.

The trick for you is to ease yourself into a situation, since you have the capacity to dominate. If you're socially well-adjusted, you're awesome. If you're kind of nervous and twitchy like Daniel Radcliff in the Prisoner of Azkaban special features, then there can be trouble.

Goosebump-Worthy


Okay, so could this be any more right-on? No, it couldn't!

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) For success of your goals it is most important now to accumulate and foster more education and knowledge. It is practical, in fact, to do so now for the future will depend upon what you know and how you apply this knowledge in life. Early learning may have been challenging. But you are not in that situation anymore. Nor do you have those difficult responsibilities.
(Risa's Horoscopes)

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Motown: Part Deux


I am having a hell of a time with this Wi-Fi thing. I know so little about it that I can't figure out if it's my computer or something out of my control. On the bright side, I think I finally got the settings right, and am experimenting with PC/antenna placement. The reception is fantastic about 80% of the time, so I'm pretty happy about that, but it does do some weird things for seemingly no reason. I do realize that this is the nature of Wi-Fi, so there's little I can do about it, but I can tell you that, even this early in the game, I'm already missing my ethernet. I can't decide whether I want to invest in an indoor antenna, or whether that would even help the problem any. The weirdest thing is that when I run Azureus, a Bittorrent client, I can't access the web about 99% of the time, even though my bandwidth is only at one to three percent utilization. I've tried tweaking settings everywhere, in Azureus, Windows, and D-Link software, but nothing seems to help. I can't figure it out because, with 3Mbps ethernet, I had few problems downloading and surfing the web at the same time. Technically, my Wi-Fi connection should be good up to 22Mbps, and though I know that's dependent on a variety of factors, it doesn't make any sense to me. It's very frustrating. I think it's rather a cruel, ironic joke that I, someone who is such a geeky tech-head, should have such constant and consistent problems with electronics. Gaaargh. If it's not one thing, it's another. Why, God, why?? Anyway.. if you know anything about Wi-Fi and what my Azureus/web issue might be, PLEASE don't hesitate to comment or email me. I'm at a total loss and any help would be appreciated.

I totally forgot to download everything off my Charter webspace before I moved, so I'll be gradually going through my site and fixing broken image links and such. I have everything saved to disk, but since I started using Hello to host my pictures, I'm not entirely sure what I was hosting myself. I get 10 MB of webspace through school, which is both very nice and fortunate because I wasn't sure what I would do about image/file hosting. Just one of the lovely perks of being a university student.

So anyway.. about school. They made me pay $40 to attend the longest, most boring and painful event of my entire life. Eight fucking hours of nearly pure bullshit that I had to get up at 6am to attend in order to get my student ID and register for classes. I feel like writing someone a letter about the whole ordeal because it pissed me off so much. For one, we were all apparently transfer students, so it's not as if any of us were new to the college experience. Secondly, I can't believe I HAD to pay $40 to attend this torture session, plus they're still charging me extra for my student ID! They fed us, but the meals were nothing spectacular and I suspect one would normally pay no more than $5 for the 'continental breakfast' (meager choices of juice, water, bagels, donuts) or the lunch that was salad, a roll, rice, chicken, veggies, and cookies. Oh, and we can't forget the Mountaineer Mints they gave everyone. (No, I'm not kidding.)

I was dragged through hours upon hours of the same frippin' information given by various people. Here's the services available. Here's the clubs. Here's the activities. Here's the meal plans. Here's the parking situation. Here's the transportation deal. Blah blah blah blah blah. At one point, I had to get up and leave the room because I was so utterly and totally over the whole experience. I went and sat in the hall with all the student assistants helping out. Did I mention it was boring? I felt like ripping my hair out on several occasions. This was all stuff that could easily have been found out on one's own, or they could have saved me about seven hours and simply handed me a packet with all the pertinent information. Of course, the way they had set up the schedule for the day meant there was no way to skip the majority of it: ID pictures taken 8-8:30, boring shit for a few more hours, then a meeting with an advisor, then lunch, then more boring shit, then finally registering for classes and picking up my ID. (Me at 8 in the morning, not something you see very often.)

I hate to be so bitchy about it, but the whole experience really pissed me off. It was plainly obvious to me this was not meant to be a helpful informative session, but a way to squeeze another forty bucks out of us. I didn't need any of the extraneous information and all I wanted was to get registered, considering they made us wait until the Wednesday before classes start.. which is something else that irritated me greatly. I realize that current students have priority, not a big deal and totally to be expected, but how the hell does a university expect new students to get any of the classes they want or need with less than five days before the semester begins?

Anyway, my advisor had somehow mostly finished my schedule by the time I arrived after lunch, so that was rather easy, though I had very little input. Not that big of a deal, though, for a few reasons. I discovered a few things in my meeting with him that made me quite pleased; first, I'm considered a sophomore instead of a freshman, which I suppose is not that big of a deal, but it was kind of sad to me that after all the classes I have taken, it felt like I was starting at the beginning again. Also, several of my classes I transferred from other colleges, that WVUP had not given me proper (or any) credit for, are being applied in fantastic ways toward my degree. They're letting me use all my theater classes as electives (very awesome, considering I took those mainly for pleasure and didn't expect any real credit for them), the intense 5-unit Ecology class I took for biology credit is being applied, the Human Anatomy and Physiology class is being applied as Animal Physiology (my advisor said he thought they were close enough and said that when he was attending they didn't require that class and he "turned out fine".. he also mentioned that the AP class is incredibly difficult and much-hated by students, and that they would all be envious of me being able to get out of it. Whee!) . These are all classes I'd previously been told wouldn't count toward anything, so I am beyond elated. Especially the Ecology class; it was an enjoyable, but difficult, class and I was so proud of the B I got in it. Besides, I've always loved and excelled in Biology, so I was really hating the fact that despite my proficiency level, I would be stuck having to sit through Bio 101.

Also, as you might imagine, I'm rather proficient in English, and back when I first started college, I fought tooth-and-nail to get placed in the correct English class. I had to take the placement test three or four times -- which pissed me off greatly because I felt as if they weren't even reading my tests -- but I refused to be put in the dummy 101 class. I did eventually place into English 1A, a first-level university English class, and the semester after, I took English 2. So you can imagine, after all my fighting and work to pass those classes, I was more than a little peeved that WVUP was calling both classes equivalent to English 101. It was a pleasure to see that WVU credited me with two separate English classes that work into my final total.

I seem to be in a rant-y kind of mood, but really, I'm quite pleased overall, now that The Day of Mass Irritation is over. Because I have sophomore status, and I'm being credited with most of my general ed stuff, I get to dive right into the core stuff for my major. Because of how WVUP applied my credits (or didn't), I thought I would be stuck with at least another semester of boring general ed crap. I still need to take Intro to Calculus, at the very least (my advisor said he thought the math I did at WVUP would cover my College Algebra requirement, so we'll see), but aside from one or two more cluster requirements, I am nearly done with the extraneous stuff. This is most pleasing to me because I've had a strong desire to begin working on my major, you know, taking classes that really interest me, learning things that actually apply to my field.

I ended up dropping one class for a few reasons, and will take it next semester. Otherwise, I'm taking 13 units and this is what my schedule looks like (or in visual form, if you prefer):

Mon/Wed
FOR 240 (Intro Computing - Ntrl Resource - LEC) 9:00 - 9:50

Tue
PLSC 206 (Principles of Plant Science - LEC) 9:30 - 10:45
WMAN 150 (Principle - Conservation Ecology) 12:30 -13:45

Thu
PLSC 206 (Principles of Plant Science - LEC) 9:30 - 10:45
WMAN 150 (Principle - Conservation Ecology) 12:30 - 13:45
FOR 240 (Intro Computing - Ntrl Resource - LAB) 14:00 - 15:50
WMAN 493T (SPTP: Sci and Mgmt - Nat Res) 16:00 - 16:50

Fri
PLSC 206 (Principles of Plant Science - LAB) 14:00 - 16:50


Thursday is going to be a long day, but ah well. I'm excited about my classes for the most part, especially when I discovered I have a Plant Science lab in the greenhouse. Funness! I am also excited that I saved $65 on textbooks by using Half.com. Of course, since WVU made us wait this long to register, almost all of the used books at the bookstore had been bought. One of my books, a rather thin text called Hartmann's Plant Science, was a whopping $110 new! The whole textbook thing is such a racket, I can't even tell you how angry it makes me. The bookstores and publishing companies essentially are squeezing blood from stones -- essentially ripping off people who don't have much money to begin with. I would be less up-in-arms about it, but for the fact that the publishers put out new editions every couple of years, making it often impossible for students to sell their books back. And even when you can sell them back, you get some insultingly paltry sum back, even if the book is in magnificent condition. Frankly, it's like flushing money down the toilet, which I guess would be less annoying if the books were not set at such astonishingly inflated prices. How could someone in their right mind ask $110 for a 200-page book? That's outrageous and ridiculous.

In any case, if you are a student and haven't discovered Half.com yet, I highly recommend it. The bookstore is convenient because you can charge books to your financial aid, but as I mentioned, I saved $65 on my books (including shipping). You can't beat that.

Anyhoo, I think that's it for now. The headache I've had for three days seems to be gone (All hail Excedrin!), so maybe next time I'll be less rant-y. :D

My New Years resolutions: Stop smoking cigarettes and smoke less MJ. Be more motivated and productive!



Currently Playing...
Song: Moby - Star Wars (Rave Remix)
Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Eagle Has Landed
Alternately Titled: Alena + No Internet For Ten Days = Post^5


I may or may not be an internet addict; I am, however, a hopeless geek. I can go a week without getting online and be fine, but after that, I really start jonesing. Anyway, the geek girl that I am wanted to have internet ready to go as soon as I moved in. The problem is that because the internet is free via Wi-Fi, I was dependent on getting a wireless adapter first. Dave, the guy who had the apartment before me was very nice but admitted he was not technologically savvy and couldn't tell me anything about the one he had. He advised me to wait until I moved to talk to the upstairs neighbor with the router, in order to make sure I got the right thing.

That was a little rain on my internet parade but I decided that a few days without internet wouldn't kill me, and would in fact probably be for the best so that I would not be sitting in front of the computer surrounded by unpacked boxes. Man, that was a long sentence. Anyway, a week before I left, Dave emailed me and asked if I wanted to buy his 10-month old adapter for $30. I told him yes, figuring I'd have everything set up sooner than I'd anticipated. But then I didn't hear from him, and I moved. He called me the night after I moved in and asked if I still wanted it, that it was all bubble-wrapped and ready to go. I said yes, got his address, and sent out a check the next day.

I've been sitting here for a week and a half unpacking, setting up, and watching WAY too much TV for my own good. I prayed the adapter would arrive. For one, I have discovered that nearly every show on Animal Planet totally makes me cry, yet I find myself constantly watching that channel. I finally called Dave last night to ask what up, wondering if he'd sent it or what. DADDY, I WANT MY INTERNET NOOOOOOOOOOWWW!!

I'm crazy. Don't stand between me and my internet. He only sent it two days ago! What up with that??

So yeah, I busted that baby out and let me tell you what a hell of a time I've had since then. I couldn't get the thing into any PCI slots and had almost given up on it as DOA when my final try seemed to work. Then, I got online briefly, but got disconnected and was having a devil of a time getting it up again (heh heh). Seems I got so excited when the computer finally recognized the hardware that I put down the instruction manual before reading a critical sentence telling me to uncheck a certain box. The whole mess seems to work now but I'm having weird problems with my windows and the taskbar that may or may not be related. I'm not crazy about the Wi-Fi at this point, as it still does seem to disconnect with some frequency, but maybe it'll win me over.

Anyhoo.. that is the cause of my extended disappearance.

As you may have already surmised, I am indeed moved in and now officially live in Morgantown. It's been pretty good so far and I mostly like my apartment. It's in an old house, so it's not perfect. But it's cheap and I get free cable and internet! The good things range from a real kitchen (including a real fridge, omg!), a private balcony, and I absolutely love the once-fireplace in the living room. I love the mantel, which is all carved wood with columns and an old mirror. It will make a nice altar and for once, I live in a place that can have a proper one that's actually facing east. Also, I figure I have most of an entire floor, so, aside from the bathroom, you can imagine I'm pleased with the space. I am mostly quite happy because I feel like I'm living in a real apartment for the first time. I'll take pictures once I get a bit more stuff unpacked. What, you didn't think I'd be done already, did you? Wait till you see what passes for a shower in my bathroom.

A lot has happened since we last spoke. The highlight of my New Years was my virgin trip to IKEA in Pittsburgh. I liked my old computer desk, but it was falling apart and I didn't really want to move it again. I'd had my eye on an IKEA desk for many moons (I ended up with this one, with the add-on unit) and the magical grant money I received right before moving allowed me to get it. I spent less than $160 and got an assortment of stuff, including a cabinet for the bathroom, some shelving, and a floor lamp. IKEA is good stuff.

I got the job I wanted at Cafe Bacchus and am feeling excited, nervous, and rather smug about how well it turned out. Everyone there seems nice, the restaurant is lovely, and the menu sounds wonderful. In about three seconds I zeroed in on something I was dying to try. Not to mention their highly impressive wine, beer, and spirits menu puts Olive Garden TO SHAME. I am really looking forward to working in a more high-class atmosphere devoid of screaming, crayon-wielding brats and their mulletheaded parents. WHEEEEE!!

I think I'm all written out for tonight. The saga continues in a later post...



Currently Playing...
Song: Depeche Mode - Blue Dress
Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!