Terra Nomad

Every day is like survival. You're my lover, not my rival.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Count again

Metropolitan State University claims to be convenient and accessible because "Five convenient metropolitan locations serve as class sites." Except that they don't make a point to hold general classes at each site. Want to take any Math class? You must got to one of the two St. Paul campuses. Art? Every class but one is held in the same building in St. Paul. Chemistry or Biology? Let me give you a map to St. Paul.

I am very annoyed by the lack of any official statement about this. Put it the handbook, note it on the locations page and make it clear on the information pages about each major. "The Math Department is located in ST. Paul and holds classes in St. Paul and Midway." If they were more upfront about it, students could make an informed choice instead of being mislead. I feel mislead.

I've emailed people at the school, complained in class and asked a Metafilter question about it. While I know it can be hard to get an answer to a Why question, I find this one particularly difficult. Several times they have just restate the policy instead of offering a reason. If I did that on a test, I wouldn't get credit for it.

Reasons I have been given:

Lack of students willing to take a class in Minneapolis, due to parking costs or other reasons: Parking is only $2 more here and it's not an issue for College of Management students. If you don't hold classes here, how do you know if students want to take them? The last three classes I took here were full on the first day.

Due to an agreement with MCTC, Metro will not hold 100 level classes in Minneapolis so they won't be in competition: What a crappy agreement. The co-location was nothing of the kind then. It turned Metro into an unwelcome guest, and not a roommate.

Lack of space: How many classrooms are empty in Minneapolis? I'm not just talking about in the CoM building, but in all of the MCTC buildings. An Algebra class needs seats and a whiteboard and I think they have some of those hanging around.

It's! so! easy! to take an MCTC class for Metro students: No it's not. You have to apply, get transcripts twice and you have to take MCTC assessment tests. How is that different than attending any another school?

The bottom line is that you are not filling your customers' needs and I have tried to point this out. Apparently there are too many layers of bureaucracy to get a point across.

I'm so frustrated by this that I have decided not to continue trying to take Metro classes. I haven't decided what I am going to do yet. I have checked out other schools, including MCTC, and might go to one of those. It seems like my job will pay for Associate's degrees now, too. For now I plan to take a CLEP or two this spring.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No School For You

I am not taking anymore classes at Metro State. There are two more meetings of my current class, and after that I am done. There are many reasons, but chief among them is that they don't hold enough classes in Minneapolis. I asked why and was told that they don't hold 100 level classes in Mpls because they have an agreement with MCTC due to the colocation. There was no answer about 200 and higher level classes. I asked for one, but there has not yet been a reply.

I would like to call shenanigans on this agreement. It is not any easier for a Metro student to take an MCTC class than for them to take a class anywhere else. The only difference was no application fee. I still had to pay to have my transcripts sent, take MCTC assessment tests, etc. The only cooperation I see is that we sometimes get a classroom in their buildings. In my opinion, they are not very nice rooms.

Going to school is hard enough without having to deal with the non-answers I have been getting. You might say that college is supposed to prepare you for the real world and there is plenty of bureaucracy to deal with there. Well, I work for a giant corporation and live in a big city, and this is a new level of it.
I am going to try emailing my adviser. I have never talked to her, so this will be a lovely introduction.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008


October 30th - I went to the Al Franken rally at the Convention Center. Saw Amy Klobuchar, Keith Ellison and Bill Clinton speak, as well as Al himself.

October 31st - I went to Aaron's party as a tree. No one knew what I was.

November 1st - I volunteered at the DFL and made ~250 phone calls.
November 2nd - I was supposed to get crafty with Gee, but I had to cancel on her to do homework.
November 3rd - We watched 'Recount' in class.

November 4th - I voted and then stayed up past 1am watching returns. I went to bed when it was apparent they would not know who won the Senate race before morning.

November 5th-7th - I stayed after work for four hours to attend A+ test prep class.

November 6th-9th - I am watching Debbie's cats while she is in California. Twice a day I go feed them and give Stormy his meds.

November 8th - I finally got to see 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno' with Mike.

November 10th - Class, where the write up of our voluteering is due. It will be the first class where my homework is done before 6pm.

November 17th and 24th - We have to give 4-person presentations in class. We also have to watch 7 or 8 others. Oh joy.

November 18th-20th - More A+ class.

November 21st - 'Twilight' comes out.

Either November 14th-16th or 22nd-24th - Driving to Colorado.

So if I ignore you during this month, please forgive me.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Why I hate my class

It's supposed to be a "smart classroom", but there seems to a problem with some part of the technology every week. Sometimes the problem is that the teacher doesn't know how to work the technology. I wonder if there was any training provided.

I like that teacher, but she gave a mini-lecture about spelling after our first papers. The next lecture she had notes in a Word doc that she showed on screen and it had many misspellings.

It is a class on Elections and Parties. This is not the place for you to discuss your views on each issue. Issues should only be discussed as they pertain to the campaign. Shut up, please.

During a discussion, you get to make one point each time you talk. I don't care that you work at the capitol, you are not teaching the class.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Plus

Yesterday we found out we have an opportunity to take a class at work to get A+ certified. It was a last minute thing since today was the first class. This was very timely for me, since I'd been contemplating getting certified in something.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Current Events

I have updated my 101 things post, checking off a few more things while I was changing the text back to all black. I made cookies in July, took my Calc final Wednesday and got my immunizations last Thursday. I don't have my grade yet.

I start a new class, Elections and Political Parties on August 25th. In most classes there is at least one annoying person (although Calc2 was mercifully lacking one) and I just know there will be more than one in this class.

An arch in Utah's Arches National Park has collapsed. Utah was so pretty when I visited it with my mother in 2003. We talk about going back all the time.

The last item on my list of 9 things to do this summer was to visit another State Park in addition to Frontenac and Afton. When my grandfather died in June, he was buried in Fort Ridgely Cemetary, which is inside the Fort Ridgely State Park. Then when I went up to Sunset Lodge with my boyfriend and his family in July, we visited Itasca State Park and walked across the headwaters of the Mississippi. I had not even realized/remembered either of those until I pulled up the list of Minnesota State Parks and saw them both on the list.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Express rates of change in Pineapples

I am about to go to take the final test for Calculus 2 class. Happily I am much more prepared this time than I was the first time I took Calc2 in 2005.

As a reward for my (probably B-level) work in the class the semester, I am going to see Pineapple Express right after I finish the test. First Showing has an interview with the director David Gordon Green and another with Seth Rogen himself. James Franco gets some love, too, with this post which includes some other stories that feature him, and finally they review the film.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

101 and 9 things update

9 things in 92 days - June 1 - August 31, 2008
2 Move - this is in process right now - I'll probably post about it when it's over.
4 Pass Calculus 2 - I got an A on the first of 3 tests.
7 Visit Science Museum - planned for tomorrow
8 Eat at Fogo de Chao - done on June 6th - the rolls are so good!

33 books
26. 'Under the Banner of Heaven' - Jon Krakauer

101 things
Make a scrapbook of all my travels - I have started, and I hope to be done with 1992-2001 by the end of the summer. 2002 was the first time I took a digital camera on vacation, so I am only committing to finish the trip from which I already have the physical prints. But, I also joined snapfish to get the digitals printed and am pleased with the results so far.

Make an informative opening page for soelo.com - I was working on a huge list of Web 2.0 sites as well as a nice dashboard for myself. I just put them both together.

Journalize my time from age 18 to 28 - I have been percolating on this quite a bit lately. I am thinking more like a timeline than an actual journal.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

9 things in 92 days - Summer 2008

June 1 - August 31, 2008
1 Ride Ripchord at Valleyfair
2 Move
3 See the new Grizzly Coast at MN Zoo
4 Pass Calculus 2
5 Finish Scrapbooking 1992-2001
6 Visit Mpls Inst of Art
7 Visit Science Museum
8 Eat at Fogo de Chao
9 Go to Fort Snelling or some other State Park, aside from Afton where I'll be camping Labor Day weekend.

Italics mean the item has been completed.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Double O Seven

2007 in review:

January - I packed all of my possessions, got a new apartment thanks to Craigslist, and moved in the last week of January (movers rock). I also got Microsoft certified in Excel 2003.

February - I unpacked most of my stuff and started making dinner at my house once a week, starting with chicken lettuce wraps. I also got to go to a Minnesota Wild Game.

March - I started the month by booking my airfare to Europe in May and applying for my passport. The rest of the month spent I booking hotels and tours.

April - My grandparents moved out of their house and held an auction to get rid of stuff.

May - Europe!! But first, I had to beg and plead for my passport.

June - I turned 30.

July - I reread Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the Half-Blood Prince and then read the Deathly Hallows. My niece and I hit Borders at midnight for the Deathly Hallows release party. I saw Order of the Phoenix at midnight the day it came out, and 3 more times in the theater.

August - It started with the bridge collapse. It ended with the first meeting of my Writing 2 class.

September - I met a guy online, started dating him and made him my boyfriend, all in 30 short, rainy days. We went to the Renaissance Festival on the 29th.

October - I visited Duluth with the new boyfriend and I transformed myself into Medusa for Halloween. My brother-in-law and I took my sister to see Jim Gaffigan at the Orpheum for her birthday.

November - I finally got to see MIA in concert at First Ave.

December - I stopped biting my nails. I used the method of wearing a rubber band on my wrist. It served as a reminder and on the few times I did bite, I snapped the rubber band. Lastly, I posted to my blog on 27 of the 31 days in December, which was one of my 101 things to do.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

“Peace” and “Coexist”

“Peace” and “Coexist”

I have seen these two words made up of various religious symbols many places including T-shirts, bumper stickers and online. At their core, they are asking for unity and understanding between people of different religions.

The symbols making up the word PEACE are as follows:

P – The Christian cross with a half circle, a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion

E – An ornate E with a branch, possibly olive. The olive branch has been a symbol of peace since the time of Ancient Greece.

A – A hexagram or six-pointed star, known in the Jewish religion as the Star of David, in Magick as the Seal of Solomon and in Hindu as the Shatkona

C – The Star and Crescent that represent the Islamic faith to most Muslims

E – A dove with a leaf in its mouth, again possibly an olive leaf. The dove carrying the olive leaf is another symbol of peace in both Christian and Jewish tradition due to its appearance in the story of Noah and the Flood.

COEXIST uses three of the same symbols and some others:

C – The Star and Crescent again

O – A pentacle, which is a Wiccan symbol often used as a talisman

E – The scientific formula e = mc2, which means energy equals mass times the speed of light in a vacuum squared

X – A hexagram again

I – Contains the Wheel of Dharma, an eight-spoked wheel that is used in Bhuddism, Hinduism and Jainism to symbolize law and the path of life.

S – The Chinese philosophical symbol Yin and Yang, without the dots

T – The Christian cross again

So, both images contain traditional symbols for a number of different religions or belief systems. But, they each contain at least one universal, non-religious type of symbol. Peace contains an olive branch and Coexist contains a scientific formula. I have seen other versions of Coexist that use a peace symbol for the O and a combination of the two gender symbols on the E. This may be seen as an inclusion of other philosophical differences that are not rooted in any religion or belief in a higher power. The scientific formula is most likely a direct reference to the debate between evolution and creation by a higher being. Not only are they asking the practitioners of each religion to get along with those who practice other religions, but to include atheists or non-believers as well.

Why do we need reminders like these to tell us to be kind and tolerant to others? I think the problem comes when we think that our beliefs and views are the only ones that can possibly be right. It is upsetting that someone sees the same evidence we do and still comes to a different conclusion. We seek to assure ourselves that our conclusions are correct and the only way is to prove the other ones are incorrect.

Perhaps the ultimate goal of images such as these is a grassroots tolerance of differing views. If we no longer saw people of other religions as any different than us, it would be much harder to oppress or wage war on them. Cultural and political differences seem to take priority over matters of faith, but politics and culture are often a result of religious or moral beliefs. When two groups of people have such different religious heritages, it follows that they will have distinct cultures and political climates. It does not necessarily follow that those two groups can’t get along, learn from each other and eventually form one larger, more diverse group.

You might think of America as a pretty tolerant place as far as religion goes. The government does not practice religious persecution, and freedom of religion is upheld in the Constitution, but is that enough? In 2008, it is possible that the Democratic candidate for President will either be Hillary Clinton, a white woman or Barack Obama, a biracial man. This will be ground breaking in itself, since every major party candidate has previously been a white male. But what else have all of these men had in common aside from race and gender? Religion. The only President who was not Protestant was John F. Kennedy, who was Catholic. Both Obama and Clinton are Protestant so that tradition would continue if either of them won the election. The only Non-Protestant in contention for one of the major party nominations is Republican Mitt Romney, who is Mormon. Mormons consider themselves Christian but not Protestant. The first time a Muslim person was elected to Congress was just last year, here in Minnesota. Until religious minorities are fully included in our political process, I don’t think we can claim true tolerance.

So, these images are trying to remind us of how important it is to respect the opinions and beliefs of all people, whether they agree with us or not. Respecting those opinions means more then just refraining from violence against others, it also means you need to include them in secular activities just as you would someone with beliefs identical to your own. Respect means you don’t make fun of them for not eating pork or for having funny dirt on their foreheads. Respect means you are allowed to ask questions about rituals you don’t understand, since that can lead to greater understanding.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Winning the Cold War at What Cost?

“What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” argues former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in a 1998 with French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur (qtd. in Blum 1). In this interview, Brzezinski is defending the Carter administration and the CIA for funding the Afghani mujahideen in their resistance to the Soviet invasion of 1979-1989. This funding, that began in secret, was meant to draw the Soviets into a conflict that would drain their resources and hasten the fall of Communism. Now nearly 30 years later it is clear; the seeds sown in Afghanistan grew into to the resurgence of Islamic Fundamentalism and the formation of terrorist organizations including al Qaeda. This essay will follow the trail from the Cold War to the current War on Terror.

In December of 1979, The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and met a resistance that drew them into a decade-long war that ultimately contributed to the fall of the USSR (Reuveny and Prakash 696). The Afghani mujahideen, literally ‘Muslim warriors fighting a jihad’ (“Mujahideen”), were the resistors but they were not alone. Journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger explains, “For 17 years, Washington poured $4 billion into the pockets of some of the most brutal men on earth.” (Pilger 2) In the interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski admits that the stream of money started almost six months before the Soviets actually invaded. He says that President Carter signed a secret directive for this aid to begin in July of 1979 and that he and the President did this to increase the chances of a Soviet invasion (qtd. in Blum 1)

In the summer of 1980, US Representative Charlie Wilson read an AP article about the Afghan resistance and was moved by the descriptions of the mujahideen resisting the Red Army, despite the Soviet’s technical superiority (Crile 19). Wilson had recently joined the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, which allowed him to make a single phone call to the staffer in charge of CIA funds and order that the aid to Afghanistan be doubled from $5 million to $10 million (Crile 20). Wilson visited Afghani refugee camps in Pakistan on an official fact-finding mission in 1982. He saw first-hand the horrors of a whole nation fleeing the Communists and that there were few men among the refugees, since most had stayed behind to fight. He spoke with tribal elders who asked not for food and medical supplies, but for “a weapon to destroy the [Russian helicopters]” (Crile 110). Later that year, Wilson actually told the CIA Chief of Station in Islamabad, Pakistan that he would “see to it that Congress approved whatever amount” the chief wanted for the mujahideen (Crile 123).

George Crile summarizes the CIA’s role in the Soviet-Afghan war: “Afghanistan … was not just the CIA's biggest operation, it was the biggest secret war in history. In the course of a decade, billions of rounds of ammunition and hundreds of thousands of weapons were smuggled across the border … At one point over 300,000 fundamentalist Afghan warriors carried weapons provided by the CIA; thousands were trained in the art of urban terror.” John Pilger explains that Operation Cyclone, the code name for the CIA overseeing camps training Islamic Militants, did not end when the Soviets finally left Afghanistan. Many of these militants would later join Al Qaeda or the Taliban (Pilger 3).

Congress continued approving millions of dollars in aid to the mujahideen after the Soviets left in 1989. In 1991, the CIA received $250 million for Afghanistan and in 1992 it was $200 million, hidden in a $298 million defense bill, and Saudi Arabia was matching this money. (Crile 514, 519). The CIA money was funneled through Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI), so that the U.S. could have plausible deniability, and the ISI funded specific factions within Afghanistan. But the Saudi matching funds, which had been initially negotiated by Brzezinski, overwhelmingly went towards supporting, arming and training Arab mujahideen, fighters who came from other countries into Afghanistan to help fight the jihad (Blackton 1). The CIA considered but ultimately decided against training any non-Afghani fighters, mostly due to the problems and animosity between those fighters and the Afghani mujahideen (Lansford 139).

So, what was Afghanistan like after the Soviet withdrawal? Crile answers “By the end of 1993 … there were no roads, no schools, just a destroyed country -- and the United States was washing its hands of any responsibility. It was in this vacuum that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden would emerge as the dominant players.” (Crile 522). Lansford claims that the U.S. had no real plan to rebuild Afghanistan after the Soviets left but began to realize the effects of a weakly governed Afghani state in the mid-nineties. Terrorism by Islamist extremists and a sharp increase in the amount of heroin coming from the Afghan-Pakistani border signaled trouble (Lansford 144).

The Taliban took over various parts Afghanistan from late 1994 to September 1996, when it was able to capture the capital city, Kabul. They instituted a series of strict, fundamentalist laws and punishments that they claimed were based on their interpretations of Islam (“Taliban”). The atrocities that were carried out did not prevent U.S.-based Union Oil Company of California (Unocal) from entertaining members of the Taliban in Texas in 1997. They hoped to build a pipeline across Afghanistan and turn it into an “oil protectorate” (Pilger 2). It might have happened if not for the incidents of August 7, 1998. Rossi details the events: On that day, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, and later Osama bin Laden was named the prime suspect. It was discovered that bin Laden was running Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan with the approval of the Taliban. In retaliation, the United States bombed these camps in late 1998. The Unocal pipeline deal would not happen (Rossi 134-139).

The situation repeated itself on September 11, 2001 when New York and Washington, D.C. were attacked with commercial airliners and the U.S. demanded that the Taliban turn over bin Laden. They refused and the U.S. invaded Afghanistan with renewed fervor (Rossi 138). Bin Laden remains at large today, and it is suspected that he is still hiding out in the caves along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (Thomas 1).

While not contributing money directly to the non-Afghani mujahideen, the CIA’s “secret” war and the United States’ subsequent abandonment of Afghanistan contributed to the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan. It can be argued that only Pakistan and Saudi Arabia played a bigger part. But Pakistan was the middleman for the CIA funds and the Saudis were matching our money at our request. Crile laments, “What no one involved anticipated was that it might be dangerous to awaken the dormant dreams and visions of Islam. Which is, of course, exactly what happened” (Crile 520).

Works Cited

Blackton, John Stuart. "The CIA on "Did the CIA create Bin Laden?" TPM Cafe. 21 Jan 2006. 15 Oct 2007 .

Blum, Bill. "CRG - The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan." Centre for Research on Globalisation. 15 Oct 2001. 10 Oct 2007 .

Crile, George. Charlie Wilson's War. New York: Grove Press, 2003.

Lansford, Tom. A Bitter Harvest: Us Foreign Policy and Afghanistan. Hants, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2003.

"Mujahideen." American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition. 2007.

Pilger, John. "What Good Friends Left Behind." The Guardian 20 Sep 2003 11 Oct 2007 .

Reuveny, Rafael and Aseem Prakash. "The Afghanistan war and the Breakdown of the Soviet Union." Review of International Studies 1999 693-708.

Rossi, M. L.. What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc, 2003.

"Taliban." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007 .

Thomas, Evan. "Into Thin Air." Newsweek 03 Sept 2007

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Monday, December 03, 2007


Tonight is my second to last Writing class for the Semester. I have enjoyed most of the exercises we did, and some of the reading was pretty good, too. I'll be posting some of what I wrote for the class here throughout December under the writing231 tag. I still have to write something to read on the last day, which will probably be an exercise where you write a biography paragraph and then you write several more imagining your life if you had taken different paths. We did it after reading a similar essay by Luc Sante, which you can read here. 3 of my papers got 'A's and one got a B+, so I am expecting a decent grade in the class, which my GPA needs quite badly.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Happy Birthday, Mom and Tanya

I went all of September without posting - oops! I can give you a list of excuses if you really want them, although they would be the typical "work, school, reading, writing and socializing."

Bookwise, I finished The Amber Spyglass, read Girls' Night Out and am working on The Dark Is Rising. I might take a break from it though. The movie comes out on Friday, and I'd rather not be in the middle of the book while I see the movie. Also, I have tons of school reading to do and our book club just picked Twilight by Stephanie Meyer for October. It was my suggestion because some of us wanted something creepy to read. That's about as creepy as I want to get. But it's 544 pages, so I'd better get reading.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Books

15. The Know-it-All - 400


16. His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife - 352

Right now I am reading #17 Life of Pi because I have been drafted into a book club and it is our first selection.

I also bought about 11 books this weekend, not counting magazines or the ones I got for my niece. Two of them were for Writing 231, which started last night. I also got a copy of The Dark is Rising, About a Boy, The Big Love, Circular Sudoko and others I can't remember.

The next book I plan to read is His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass because I was a little annoyed at the end of The Subtle Knife. Pullman sure can write cliffhangers.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

When the Children Cry

White Lion's "When the Children Cry" came up on my iPod today. I was transported back to fifth or sixth grade when we learned the song in Music class. We were practicing it for an upcoming concert, and were given sheets of paper with the lyrics on them. Those lyrics include the line, "No more presidents, and all the wars will end, one united world, under God." Somehow, the principal found out the song would be performed and told the music teacher to pull it, because of that line. It wasn't because of the anti-war or religious parts, but the "anarchistic" bit about no more presidents. That teacher was one of my least favorite to begin with, and I remember her telling us about pulling the song and implying that it was our fault. She said one of us must have left the lyrics sheet somewhere to be discovered by the person who eventually complained. That same teacher refused to let us sing the Beach Boys "Kokomo" because of the line, "Come on, pretty mama." I hated Music class, almost as much as PhyEd, and I think part of the reason was the cheesy songs we had to sing.

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Monday, November 27, 2006


Whoa, I didn't mean to go more than two weeks without posting! November has gone by so fast and 2006 feels like it's on fast forward. I was on vacation from work last week, so I took my niece down to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a day. We ate a newly open Greek restaurant called Konstantino's, where I had Greek Spaghetti. We also visted the Art Museum there and the Science Center, where we saw an Imax movie about the T-Rex. It gets dark so early now, it feels like midnight at 6pm when you are driving. But, the best way we found to pass the drive time was listening to Bill Cosby, Bill Engvall and Dane Cook's comedy routines on the radio (via my Ipod and an FM transmitter). My next car trip will involve at least a few new tracks.
I've also been doing homework for my Papermaking class. I made a small box that housed a person made out of beads for my last project and my current one is going to be a scrapbook/collaged thing that shows my distaste for partisan politics. It must be a commentary on a political, environmental or social issue.
I have to wait two more weeks before I can register for the chemistry class that I want to take. I still have to decide what my back-up class will be if I don't get into it.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

101 things in 1001 days

My list of 101 things to do in 1001 days
Which I stole from Triplux and many others.

My dates are 06/12/2006 to 03/8/2009
  1. Go to Europe (DONE May 07)
  2. Turn thirty (DONE 6/22/07)
  3. Buy a condo or house
  4. Take a Papermaking or other art class (DONE 12/13/06)
  5. Declare a major
  6. See Los Angeles (DONE 6/22/06)
  7. See Seattle
  8. Own all of my Top Ten movies of the year (In progress, lists made...)
  9. Either ride Ripchord or Bungee Jump or Skydive
  10. Compile a list of my 100 favorite songs
  11. See some petroglyphs
  12. Take an official tour of a city, even if it just Minneapolis (DONE - Berlin 3/25/08)
  13. Organize my CDs, both music and computer (DONE 7/20/06)
  14. Whiten my teeth (DONE June 07)
  15. Go to The Science Museum (DONE 6/25/08)
  16. Finish a short story - one that is started or a brand new one
  17. Take Writing 2 (DONE Dec 07)
  18. Make an informative opening page for soelo.com (DONE)
  19. Update all of my other websites
  20. Get on a schedule - more than just "work school sleep work tv sleep"
  21. Set aside an arts and crafts area in home
  22. Get a dishwasher and washing machine in apartment/condo (DONE 7/3/06)
  23. Read at least 33 books (one per month) (DONE Sept 2008)
  24. See a live play
  25. Host at least one Geekfest
  26. Go to a live KOL meeting
  27. Attend a convention or show at a convention center
  28. Put something on soelo.com in addition to my blog (DONE)
  29. See a Panda Bear (in captivity, most likely) (DONE 3/24/08)
  30. Keep a daily journal - about boring stuff that only I care about
  31. Buy more wine and learn which wineries I like (DONE)
  32. Learn to make a wine spritzer that I like (DONE Nov 06)
  33. Attempt to improve my handwriting (DONE, but just the attempt)
  34. Drive along the west coast (DONE June 18-21, 2006)
  35. Compile my own "pantry list" and have it complete in my kitchen at least once (list done)
  36. Go to a local festival that is not in Minneapolis or St. Cloud
  37. Take a trip somewhere using only public non-airplane transportation (i.e. bus, train, helicopter, taxi)
  38. Make and use a Christmas Card List (has to be08)
  39. Knit, crochet or sew something nice enough to wear in public - and wear it.
  40. Make one birthday or Christmas gift
  41. Go Snow Tubing somewhere official, with tube rental and lift
  42. Post to my blog on 87% of the days in a month. (27/31) (Done Dec 07)
  43. Have at least one book made from my photos
  44. Take multi-vitamins regularly (In Progress)
  45. Organize a real scavenger hunt
  46. Volunteer
  47. Fill the tank with gas - drive till it’s half gone, take pictures, and then come back (DONE 10/11/08)
  48. Make a scrapbook of all my travels (In Progress)
  49. Learn to make homemade chai (DONE Oct 06)
  50. Read a book on Arthurian Legend
  51. Memorize 'If' by Rudyard Kipling (DONE July 31, 2006)
  52. Journalize my time from age 18 to 28
  53. Finish my Interests inventory
  54. Learn something about everything
  55. Learn everything about something
  56. Make a nice long blogroll (DONE - via rss and gmail)
  57. Get my car's rear axle fixed (DONE June 12, 2006)
  58. Try ordering groceries online (DONE Jan 08)
  59. Take 3 additional classes (not writing or papermaking) (In progress - Politics)
  60. Update my immunizations (DONE 8/7/08)
  61. Go on a blind date (DONE Sept 07)
  62. Go on a real date (with someone I know or meet, not a fix-up) (DONE July 07)
  63. Get email archives down to below 100 (I don't think I will ever do this)
  64. Get rss archives down to below 100 (DONE)
  65. Set up bill-paying plan or auto-pay
  66. Have either the bio-hazard symbol or my name in Hebrew tattooed on my arm
  67. Attend a yoga class
  68. Draw one comic strip, and post it. (Dialogue and background done for 2)
  69. Move all stuff in storage into apartment. (In Progress, there are still about 25 boxes in my friend's basement)
  70. Set up scanner (DONE Nov 30, 06)
  71. Finish scanning pictures
  72. Organize those pictures
  73. Print out / archive my blog (archiving started June 06)
  74. Tag most of my blog entries (DONE Dec 27, 2006)
  75. Ponder a change of blog format/host
  76. Reduce paper clutter / handle paper monster
  77. Organize my books and list the ones I own but haven't read (DONE 07/02/07)
  78. Go to the Como Zoo (DONE May 07)
  79. Travel the Grand Rounds
  80. Buy and use a Tetsubin (DONE June 06)
  81. Check out and read 3 books from the Minneapolis Public Library
  82. See all 128 episodes of Dawson's Creek in order. (started on June 25th, 2006, stopped after Mitch died)
  83. Rent a game console and games for a week (Done sort of, got a PS2 and played Katamari)
  84. Hold the water taste test for my friends
  85. Finish the small painting and hang it somewhere (In Progress. It's abstract, so it is hung but not finished.)
  86. Get a passport (DONE May 16th, 2007)
  87. Make a significant contribution to a Wikipedia article (DONE on Eragon Live in summer 07)
  88. Get one KOL character to 50 ascensions (In Progress, soelo is at 27)
  89. Make cookies from scratch (DONE July 08)
  90. Make another dessert from scratch
  91. Make an entire meal (entree, two sides and a beverage) myself (DONE Feb 07)
  92. Purge the clothes I no longer wear
  93. Make an asian noodle dish in my wok (DONE May 08)
  94. Play board games with my friends (DONE)
  95. Build a Sandcastle
  96. Retake Calculus 2 (DONE Aug 08)
  97. Flirt with a stranger (DONE)
  98. Use craigslist for something (DONE Jan 07 - my apartment ... and again in Sept 07 where I found my boyfriend)
  99. Get some more videos for my ipod (DONE)
  100. Get contact lenses and wear them
  101. Purge my videotapes

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Monday, April 10, 2006

You're only a day away

Even now - post deadline, having shirked my responsibilites - my stupid ass still refuses to write the paper!! I can think of 87 other things to do, none of them is finishing the big, huge, giant, 30% of my grade Paper. I get -3 initiative, -2 focus and +5 sloth for the past 3 days.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006


Yay - a B in Modernism and a big fat A in History - w00t!


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

School's out for Spring

Yesterday was my last night of school until March 13th, since it's Spring break/Midterm time. In Environmental history, I have a B/B+ average going on my weekly papers and I figure the midterm essays we did last night will get me a B as well. My grade is a mix of weekly writing, class participation, midterm and final papers, so my grade estimation right now is a B, which I am okay with considering that he didn't give out a single A last semester, only some A minuses.

I haven't a clue how I am doing in Modernism. Last week we turned in our midterm papers, which were paragraph answers to 5 questions, but he hasn't returned them to us yet. As far as class participation goes, I again would give myself a B, since I don't always have a lot to say, but I do talk more than the back half of the class.

I still haven't picked a major to fall back on if I decide Math is not for me. I thought of English for a while, which is basically Literature at my school, but my current classes have more than enough lit interpretation for me. My recent inklings are Pharmacy and Library Science. My job wouldn't pay for either of those, but I might be able to swing it myself. Now I am going to take a look at the class schedule for Summer and Fall.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Spring Quarter

School starts today, and I am taking two classes, Environmental History and Modernism. Modernism is the period of change and rebellion that took place in art, music and literature that started around the end of the 19th century and continued well into the 20th. The class fulfills two different generals and also takes care of one major requirement if I decide to be an English major (who would have ever thought?).


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Now this is a Funny Picture.

I got cable installed yesterday, along with a DVR and 6 months of HBO and Showtime. I hope to catch Love Actually this month, since it's a holiday movie.

My last Drawing class was on Monday, and I think I did pretty well. Next up is Environmental History and Modernism (a literature class). Maybe I should decide on a major soon. I will only have 2 generals left after those two classes.

I am trying to get 'organized' while I have some time off of school and a small amount of time off of work. What that means, I am not really sure... some weird combination of FlyLady, GTD and my own systems, I guess.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

July at 85

That's 85 MPH, not 85 degrees, since I have been enjoying the heat. It seems like July just started and it's already gone. For me, July consisted of the following (in no particular order):

-being unimpressed with the newly remodeled Walker Art Center
-going to Duluth on a slightly random Saturday
-falling behind on my Calc 2 homework, but holding my own on the tests
-eating at Erte, McCormick and Schmick's, It's Greek to Me and Tiburon
-trying to keep my apartment clean
-spending an afternoon on Medicine Lake, only sunburning my arms
-helping redo my mother's kitchen and bathroom (sanding, painting, tiling)
-not getting a good view of the fireworks downtown because MPD closed the Third St Bridge "for security purposes"
-intending to see Fantastic Four but ending up getting passes to The Island while standing in line (too much action ruins a good story)
-playing inselkampf, ItsYourTurn and KOL
-installing and playing Sims 2, passed on by my sister
-watching Disc 2 of Wonderfalls, the last three discs of Freaks & Geeks, and all of Entourage: Season 1
-work, school, sleep

Over the next three months, I have a record setting four weddings to attend. Two are cousins and the other two are friends, and all are at least an hour away. I'm not complaining, though, just marveling at how weddings always come in clumps.

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Monday, June 06, 2005


In order to get my degree, I will need to take 35 classes.
I have taken 15, I am taking 1, which leaves 19.
I need 120-124 credits.
I have 41.67, I am taking 4, which leaves 81.

I have taken 42.8 percent of the classes I need, but only have 32.8 percent of the required credits, which means I will need to work much harder on the remaining 11 semesters of my college career.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Only too true

The Onion sums up the state of schools in America pretty nicely. The "location" of this article is the town where I went to high school.

PS less than two hours until I see Revenge of the Sith!


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

High School: I hope these aren't really the best years of my life.

Seventh grade: on to the big, scary high school. Again we got an influx of new kids, this time from the neighboring town that my huge crush was from, so now I got to see him all the time. I assume from this point on that my grade hovered around 275 kids. My niece was born this year, and I found a group of three other girls and we formed a cliche, finally realizing that just because we weren't popular, we could still have friends if we banded together. One of the girls in this group, Windy, decided she liked my huge crush, too, which caused some issues between us since she knew I liked him as well. I met my first official boyfriend in the math class they put me in, although we didn't start going out until the summer. He was from Pennsylvania, and we only dated for about three weeks, but we stayed friends throughout high school. I was the only girl in my Industrial Arts class, which wasn't as bad as it sounds. I learned quite a bit, even when I was lighting the oven to melt something, and I felt an explosion of heat across my face, because I'd left the gas on to long before lighting it. Everyone seemed pretty scared, but I didn't even think anything much had happened. The ends of my hair and eyelashes were singed, but there was no long term damage. Social Studies class was moderately interesting, since we had many debates over "issues" the teacher would present. They consisted of 5 of us doing most of the talking, and the teacher trying to engage the rest of the students who were too shy or apathetic to have an opinion. I joined the Math League (shut up) but didn't do as well as the older kids, who'd had Trigonometry already. We got to read Romeo & Juliet in Lit class, and saw about 20 minutes of the tape, since they wouldn't let us see the nudity and used the Fast Forward button with reckless abandon.

Back to the elementary school building, now magically transformed into a Junior High for Eighth Grade. In making a new school, the administration tried to be forward thinking about policies, which amounted to us all buying an official school version of the Trapper Keeper, and cutting the year into trimesters instead of semesters. This time, my homeroom was the Industrial Arts room, and consisted of both seventh and eighth grade kids whose last names were adjacent to mine. Science had us studying chemistry, denaturing wood, fusing hydrogen and oxygen into water, and running experiments on a mystery mix of stuff to determine what it was (pond water and wood shavings). I went to a MathCounts competition, where I took home trophies in one team and two individual events. Once during a study hall, a substitute librarian decided there were too many kids in the library and started kicking us out. I refused to go and ended up getting disciplined for "Insubordination" (learned a new word that day, too). I told the assistant principal why I had such a bad attitude and she decided I was bored and should read more books. Thanks lady, did you think I hadn't thought of that? I was trying to tell you how the system was failing me and you brushed it off, refusing to think critically about the bureaucracy you were perpetuating. This was the same woman who tried to ban us from wearing t-shirts that said "Button Your Fly" and handkerchiefs on our heads. All of us Bad Attitudes were ready to stage a walk out when they repealed the ban. Geography proved to be an entertaining subject, not the curriculum as much as the teacher. To call this guy a Beach Boy was not only accurate, but also something he would have taken as a compliment. He was one of many teachers who seemed to think injecting their personal opinions into lectures was a good thing. In his case, he used his desk as a platform to tell us our schools were underfunded and it was our parents fault for not wanting high property taxes. He seemed shocked at our apathy.

My romantic life sort of took off this year as well, and I ended up "going out" with eleven guys from September to May. Some of them were Summer Boy again, my huge crush from sixth grade, and a cute but shy swimmer. My best kisser of the year award would have to go to this skinny little blonde guy who had the sides of his head shaved and four sets of braces, (top and bottom, inside and out) when I met him. He was short and skinny, but oozed sex appeal, sort of like Prince. We got caught kissing in the hallway after school, when my Speech teacher walked by and made some comment. I look back now to see she was probably just teasing us a little, but we thought it was serious enough to move our good-bye sessions to the bike rack outside. We went out for a week in January and then 4 weeks in April and May. He broke it off because I confessed to him that I'd thought about cheating on him once after school. Cheating, at this point, meant making out with another guy. At the end of the school year, I started going out with one of my friend's ex-boyfriends. He'd rollerblade over to my house and we'd walk around the lake in the middle of town. We even went swimming at the city pool a few times.

The summer after eighth grade was when I joined Marching Band with Windy. This one time, at Band Camp... okay, I won't go there. Really, Marching Band is a bunch of kids (some with talent, some with too much free time) once again deciding they can still have fun even though they're not popular. This is where I met RichBoy, right in the midst of his break-up with a girl who was essentially me with glasses. He was about to be a Senior, had a car and was exactly my type. The band took a trip to Chicago, where we cemented our relationship by hanging out in each other's hotel rooms until curfew and sleeping next to each other on the bus. I got back from this trip and still had to tell the Rollerblader that it was over. It was easier when I discovered he'd also met someone else. We didn't really think of it as cheating, since we'd never made any kind of commitment. RichBoy and I went out for the rest of the marching season, which was through July, and then I met his friends. This was where it all started getting complicated, since I was liking him less and his friend Jay more. Windy and I found ourselves pulled into this little cliche of RichBoy's that seemed to consist of ten guys and girls all going out with each other, flirting with ones they weren't going out with, and making seven other people jealous in the process.

Ninth grade started with Jay asking me to go to Homecoming with him, but we broke up and RichBoy asked me to go with him instead. It was the last high school dance I'd attend, since I really didn't see the point other than an excuse to dress up. It was much more fun to go out with a bunch of people and bowl or hang out at a restaurant. My social life for the first few months of ninth grade was pretty much Jay, Windy, RichBoy and I breaking up, making up and then driving each other crazy again. Summer Boy and I got into an accelerated Math class that took place after school once a week. This helped us stay close for the next two years. I had been lusting after one guy in particular since the beginning of the school year, but I thought he was way too cool for me. Not in the "I play football and drink too much" way, but the "I have a skateboard and listen to Alternative Music" way (this was 1991, Nirvana was just hitting it big). I'll call him Sky, which works because that's his real name. The friend who had dated the Rollerblader before me was now dating Sky's best friend, who was a big geek, and might have just been a weed connection for all I know. Somehow, I ended up hanging out at her house with Sky and his best friend quite a bit, which led to us going out for two months. Once while at his house, he told me about this cool band he loved so much that he'd worn out the lettering on the tape. I thought he said they were called the Violet Fence - only later did I realize he was talking about the Violent Femmes. We were all hanging out a the local skating rink quite a bit these days, and that ended up being our downfall. One cold day in February, I got to the rink to see that none of my close friends were there, not even Sky. There were two guys that I knew, so I sat with them. I'd had a thing for one of them earlier in the school year, but I sat with the other one and ended up getting very cozy with him through the evening. I'm still very much dating Sky at this point, and I confess this to him, but he has no reaction and says we should just move on from it. I was relieved at the time, but maybe I should have seen that as a warning sign. We grew apart and I had my friend, who was still with his friend, break it off with him two months to the day after we started going out. I probably owed him more than that.

Academically, ninth grade meant that I got to take a Russian class as well as General Drafting and Graphic Design. The Drafting class showed me that I probably didn't want to be an architect, like I had been planning. Russian was enlightening, because I got to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and sit by a dreamy junior with long blonde hair and an extremely sarcastic sense of humor. Last time I saw him was at a record store in my hometown. I had Science and Civics with this hot, preppie guy that I always seemed compete with for the highest grade in the class. I wonder what happened to him. Anyway, this Science class was taught by a woman so humorless and morose that we called her Morticia. At one point I even told her straight out that the other kids weren't understanding what she was teaching, implying she was doing it wrong. She reacted like any adult would when told by a fourteen year old that they're wrong, by telling me to keep my opinions to myself and telling the class to come to her if they had trouble. They didn't listen to her and kept asking me for help instead.

The next summer's marching season introduced Windy and I to a new cliche of girls, one of whom was the older sister to an ex-boyfriend of mine. There were six girls and one guy in this cliche, and he was younger than all of us. I had a mad crush on this guy, as did one of the other cliche members (surprisingly not Windy this time), so we played it off by teasing him mercilessly about having a thing with one of the chaperones. These girls introduced me to the humor that is Dr Demento.

I don't remember all of the thinking and decisions that led to me attending private school for tenth grade, but I know being bored out of my mind in public school was part of it. This school was about 45 minutes away from my house and was a Catholic school that helped prepare students for college. There were kids from the surrounding towns who bussed in, and also a large number of residential students from other states and countries. We had maybe 150 students in 9th-12th grades. I was still taking accelerated Math after school, was in accelerated German, took a Law class with Seniors, had to take a Theology class and was pretty well challenged the first semester. To help pay my tuition, I worked the snack bar every other lunch hour, cleaned the school on Saturdays and even helped lug equipment for the soccer team. I had one best friend, and through her I had a close circle of about five more. Girls were in the minority by about 4 to 1 at this school, but I still wasn't able to make any guy friends, much less get a boyfriend. It seemed like I was surrounded by hot guys, but I was just not comfortable enough with myself to make a connection with any of them. I had put on some weight, due to stress I think, and was generally unhappy by the time Spring arrived, so I told my mother I'd like to go back to public school. RichBoy and I were still friends and he sensed how unhappy I was. He wanted us to start seeing each other again, but I turned him down. To his credit, it didn't make things weird between us. During this year, the Good Kisser, Windy and Sky all ended up dropping out of school. In retrospect, going to another school probably shielded me from being involved in some of the more criminal activities that related to their departures.

Marching band over the next summer was yet another cliche of seven girls and one guy - sensing a theme here? This time, Windy got this cute cymbal player, Mitchell, into our little group, which was up to ten when we included one of the girls' boyfriend and the guy who followed them both around. We usually took over the back of one of the busses and generally raised havoc. Mitchell and I got to be better friends, and in fact he was the only friend that lasted from tenth grade to post high school. I got my first job this summer as well, cashier at a discount store. It was nice to have cash, and the young guy from last summer worked there as well. He didn't go to my school and had quit marching band, so that was the only time I got to see him. I was still a chicken, however, and never told him I liked him. That's probably a good thing, since it's possible that he's gay. I had no gaydar back then, but I think if I met him now, I'd assume so. The same is true of Mitchell, except that he has actually told me that he's gay, but not until just a few years ago. Of course I wish these guys would have felt they could come out to me at the time, but I also realize they had their own stuff to deal with that had zilch to do with me.

Eleventh Grade brought me back to the public school I'd attended in seventh and ninth grades. I was on the Yearbook staff, since my sister was the editor, and I took classes at the local college for the first half of the day. I took an entire year of College Russian, a quarter of German and one of African Literature. I also did poorly in Chemistry class that year. My friends were a cliche of girls that I all knew from different places, a few from marching band, Summer Boy's little sister, and two girls from my church. We ate lunch together and did crosswords puzzles in the library after our homework was finished (wow, that's enough to put you sleep). I stupidly took an AP History class this year, instead of regular one, hoping to get some College credit. My teacher did a good job of mixing his political views with the dryness of American History, and I did a good job ignoring him while cross-stitching in the back of the class. I'd never needed to study before, but this was the rare class where the required reading really was required. I think I managed a C-. There was really only one guy that I hung out with that year. He was a bit of a geek that had a crush on me in seventh grade. We saw each other at school and talked on the phone, but never actually went out for some reason.

During the marching season after eleventh grade, Mitchell and I made a small cliche out of Windy's cousin and the Drum Major's little sister. Sometimes we included two other friends of his, a very skinny girl and a chubby guy. Mitchell had switched from the cymbals to the trombone, and I was now captain of the Honor Guard because I was the only veteran. I got to carry around a saber and whip it around when I saluted. Too bad it was only sharp at the tip! I quit my job at the store in August so I could go on a trip and take Driver's Ed. In October, I got a new job at a fabric and crafts store.

In Twelfth Grade, we took the ACT and my score was a 33 out of 36. I don't know how that translates to an SAT score, but I do know it's pretty good, even though my counselor just said I did "a good job" in a weird, non-encouraging way. I was taking a few college classes and some back at my high school, but it was just too easy to take a day off here and there. My sister had gone off to college, leaving her car behind, and I taught myself how to drive after I got my permit. I found that I had all the mechanics and rules down, I just needed practice driving so closely to other cars. I had a poetry class with one of Richboy's friends, who recognized me and brought me over to the dining hall with him one day and I got to see Richboy. I knew he had recently become a father and got an invitation to his wedding, which I had skipped for some reason.

I was bored - as I had been for most of the last thirteen years. I didn't see the point to all of this, so I started skipping two days here and taking an afternoon off there. I wrote myself excuse notes and made up any homework I'd missed in the two high school classes I was still enrolled in. The irony is that some of the days I skipped my school, I hung out with Mitchell and his friends at their high school. Finally I didn't go for 5 days in a row and the school called my mother at work. When she called to see what was going on, I told her how bored I was with all of it, and that I really didn't think I could take it anymore. She was great about it all and didn't make me feel as if I'd disappointed her in any way. She said I had to see a shrink and talk to my counselor at school about my options. He gave us some guff about them "giving me all kinds of opportunities" and basically defended the system again. I told him I just wanted to finish what I needed to and get my diploma, since I had enough credits but not all the required ones. For the last few months of my senior year, I went to the alternative high school where so many of my friends had ended up. I even saw the Good Kisser and Windy a few times. The set-up was that I had two credits of English and one of Social Studies to finish, so I got about 10 minutes with each teacher on the days I chose to come in, and after about 15 assignments, they'd grant me one credit. The 10 minutes consisted of me handing in my homework, a little discussion and them giving me the new assignment. My English teacher had me read A Thousand Acres, Jane Eyre and King Lear, which quickly became my favorite Shakespeare play. All in all, it seemed like this is where I should have been for the last two years. But I had not put my slacker ways completely behind me and I didn't exactly finish both of my English credits by the end of the year. They let me go through the regular ceremony anyway, but no diploma. I never went back to finish that credit, and ended up getting my GED in 1998.

Maybe I'll have some reflective analysis on this soon, as I've never written it all out at once like this.

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Decade has Passed

2005 is the tenth anniversary of both Yahoo and the end of my high school career (I didn't graduate, more about that later). The first 13 years of my formal education were a disappointment overall, mostly due to me not being a normal kid, I think.

I went to kindergarten, first and second grades at an elementary school in a town so small that we had less than thirty kids in each class. I have vague memories of being in Junior Great Books, which was a group that read and discussed stories. We were also let out early each Wednesday to attend Religion, even though we went to a public school. Being Protestant in a Catholic town meant we had about ten kids in our section, while the other section had about 60 and was taught by nuns. I also remember having one best friend each school year, but not much else about the other kids. Kindergarten was full of projects and fun activites, but first and second grade were mostly sitting at my desk doing assignments.

We then moved to the larger town where I finished elementary at one of the two large primary schools in town. When I started in third grade, we had K-6 in the building, but by the time I got to sixth grade, we had only 4-6 in the building, as the town was in the midst of a growth spurt. In third grade we learned cursive writing, I got chicken pox, and the whole class wrote letters to President Regan about the Cold War. I got a form letter back and I still have the picture of him on horseback that came with it. They gave me some test when I first got there to decide what reading and math classes I should be in. Even though I did well on them both, they put me in the second best math class, until my mother found out and sent a note with me to school one day telling them to put me in the best one. I had one close girl friend in third grade, and I got kissed by a boy for the first time since preschool. He was from Laos, we wrote each other notes and he walked me to the bus after school. We made kites in art class, but I don't think mine flew very well.

Fourth grade was a time I felt I needed to carry way too many books, and I had an English teacher who seemed to understand that I was smart, but needed some organization. She gave me a nice leather bound schedule book. We did one project where we wrote our names in cursive, made a mirror image of it and then tried to make a picture out of the result. I ended up making a bed, since 'Sarah' is high on both ends and low in the middle. In art class, we got to dip candles, but the teacher had an odd system of penalties if you "double dipped", with cards and time-outs. He must have been bored. We also had to learn our multiplication tables, and once we could recite all ten of them by memory, we got to work on word problems in these color coded books that were like 20 pages each. I finished all of my tables the first day, and got through all of the books while the rest of the kids memorized their tables.

In fifth grade, the town changed many of the boundaries for each school and the size of my class swelled to around 200 kids, which meant we had 8 classes, split into two pods of four classes each. The kids in each pod would split between the four teachers for each subject, except Art/Music/PhyEd. We went to different rooms for those. My homeroom teacher was from New Zealand, and I remember her giving us a spelling test and saying the word "tropics", but I couldn't understand what word she was saying. When we were studying Ancient Greece, we had to do a class presentation, and I did a puppet show of Oedipus' story. I also became part of a cliche for the first time in fifth grade, which meant I had more than just one friend. There were a total of six of us, and I was the last to join. My membership in this cliche only lasted until the end of the school year. I think we were split up into different classes the next year. Fifth grade was also the year I thought it would be a good idea to repeatedly put valentine candy on the desk of the boy I had a crush on. I think I did it about 5 times and he never found out it was me.

Sixth grade was the same set up, with 8 classes in 2 pods. We found out the they were turning the school into a Junior High between our seventh and eight grade years. This meant we would go to the big high school for 7th, back to the elementary building (now a junior high) for 8th, and then back to the high school for ninth grade. Split from my friends of the previous year, and the first time at a different school from my sister who was only a year ahead of me, sixth grade was not a fun time for me socially. We had to do science projects, and I remember helping some of the other kids with their projects, but not doing very well on mine. I had a lime green notebook that I drew a logo for Guns N Roses when I was bored during class. This was 1988, so there was a Presidential Election to keep track of, and we had a whole class on public speaking where we had to do a Demonstration Speech and recite poem in front of the class. It was not fun. We got to write plays, and we actually performed four of the ones the kids wrote. I played both a bird and priest in one of them. During this year, I also met a boy that I would have huge crush on for the next two years. He went to my church, and he was in a program that I attended Saturdays for gifted kids. He went to school in a small town near mine, and played trombone in the school band. His school came to play with mine on Mondays, and he sat right in front of me, since I played the baritone.

Stay tuned for another post detailing my high school years. West Beverly High had nothing on me!

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Monday, August 23, 2004

I am 32 Flavors and then some

Ooh, a month without a post, my apologies. Much has happened. I moved and I finished Summer Semester. I got an A in both Writing and Trigonometry - yay! I still have to finish my 2 independent studies, though, and I start Acting and Calculus this week.

I went to Wild Mountain yesterday with two of my friends and we had a lot of fun on the alpine slide and go-karts. We certainly have a new summer tradition. We also went tubing down the Apple River in Wisconsin a few weeks ago. We've been doing that since 1999. I got to see my aunt and uncle from Vancouver, Wa last weekend. They were here to bring their daughter to college and look at houses, but they've decided not to move back :-(

Some of my stuff is still in storage, either in a storage unit or my friend's basement. It's like shopping every time I go to pick things up. I need to get the rest of my furniture out soon.

I don't have cable right now, so my hatred for the Olympics has increased since it is one of only 4 things I can watch. I don't even have internet, since the order for my phone service was put in wrong, and will hopefully be fixed by Thursday. So, although I do hate the Olympics, I have seen a lot of it because I watch the Today show in the morning. They're in Athens the whole time and it is cool to see so much of Greece. I really want to visit there, and now the infrastructure has been drastically improved. I think I should start going to every Olympic venue a year later.

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Independent Media Center | www.indymedia.org

Since I am busy working on my 12 page Final Paper for my Ethnic Studies class, here's a link to the
Independent Media Center, which is one of the groups I am profiling in my Anti-Globalization paper.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

College, two steps back

So, I dropped my Programming class today. I had been behind since the beginning of the class and had missed some assignments. I did some soul-searching this weekend and had a two conversations with a friend that helped me clear up some indecisions I had. When it gets down to it, I have to love whatever it is I am doing. While I am able to code in HTML, VB and am starting to learn Java, I don't enjoy coding or programming. I like solving math and logic problems. As I was avoiding homework this weekend, I cleaned out my craft closet and worked on some quilts. That's what I really enjoy: geometry, sewing, fabric and color. If I could make a living by quilting and doing puzzles, I'd be deliriously happy.

I am going to change my major to Applied Mathematics. I will still be done by Fall of 2006 if I keep taking 2 or 3 classes a quarter. I have to register for Summer and Fall on 4/20. That's another thing I enjoy, planning out the classes I will take. It's like a big puzzle. Anyway, I want to take an Independent Study in Algebra, a writing class, a public speaking class and maybe even trigonometry. The writing and speaking classes would be every Tuesday and Thursday for like six weeks each. Trig would be Mondays for five weeks. I might not be able to handle four classes, especially if I move this summer. I have a while to think about it.


Saturday, January 17, 2004


So, school started this week. I have a Programming class on Mondays and a Politics class on Wednesdays. The programming class is the second in a series, and I took the first one several years ago. Back then, they were teaching Turbo Pascal, and now it's Java. So, everyone in my class had a beginning Java class except me. I am going to review the first four chapters of the book, which we are skipping. I did fine on the first assignment, so I am not too worried. I don't have it next week because of MLK day.

My politics class is called The Politics of Resistance and Protest. There are four readings every week, to which we have to write 2, 3 or 4 response papers, plus a midterm of 6 pages and a final of 12. So, there's lots of reading and writing in my future. My teacher was saying that we aren't going to look at the historical facts surrounding, for example, the Civil Rights movement, but more the mechanics of how it was organized and their successes and failures. I am excited!

My major is Computer and Information Sciences. I figure it will take me 8 quarters, plus 6 CLEP tests to finish, if I take 2 classes per semester. So, I will finish in the summer of 2006. That's also the summer that I hit 10 years working at AT&T and turn 29. I think at that point I will want to move on to another job and/or city. I might need to go fall quarter as well, and I might stay at AT&T until 2007. Ideally, I would like to take a trip along the northern Mediterranean for my 30th birthday. Start in Portugal, go to Spain, the South of France, Monaco, Italy and Greece. Time permitting, I'd go to Morocco, Turkey and Cyprus, too. I'm not sure how long that would take me, so I might want to be in between jobs at that point. It also means I need to start saving for that trip right now!