Monday, November 8, 2010

How the #$%^ am I going to train for this?

     So, part of me getting off my @$$ is a feeling I have.  I feel that as we are more urbanized, we as people, and myself as a man, are getting soft.  Sometimes we have to do something to test our mettle, even a little bit.  It's cool to go to the gym, however, how often do we test ourselves against something real? I was thinking that if you have a job that demands physicality (hunters, farmers/cowboys, armed forces, protective forces, etc) this doesn't' apply to you.  How often do you push yourself out of your comfort zone.  So, I have decided that I want to I am going to do this: Warrior Dash.

   And if I do O.K., I may do another one, just for laughs.  I have already recruited some of my friends to do it.  It runs on 16 April and 17 April of next year in North Texas.  If nothing else, I will be in better shape than I am now.  But, I have one small obstacle to get around . . . .

     How the heck do I start training for this?

Going Back To The Gym (aka: The enemy is training and gaining)

     This started off as a conversation that I was having with a new friend of mine, here at university.  We were talking about getting older and being out of shape.  We talked about gyms and time and things of that nature.  Then the conversation turned to adventure racing, a little bit.  As the beers were going down we decided to stop being like many of our contemporaries, lamenting weight gain in our thirties and actually doing something about it.  I mean, I am not trying to recapture my 20's, but on the other side I should not just let myself look like $h!t, right? So, she and I made a pact to exercise. 

     But, thinking of all the other times people make these pacts and don't follow through, I put a twist on it.  I challenged her to do an adventure race with me.  We are doing a sprint.  What is that, you may ask?  Many times it is a 5K course littered with "challenges" (read: obstacles).  Some are longer, but you get the idea.  So, we are going to do one that was done here this past year called Warrior Dash.  It sounded like fun and it is six months away.  You have to pay to do it, so there is actually "skin in the game".  I have never done one, but I figure, "What the heck?" and why not?  If I train for this, the only thing I have to lose is weight.  And I gain a little bit of what I have allowed laziness to take from me.  And if I can lose some of this man moobage, that would be a plus.  Trust me, I won't look like this or this, but maybe I can be this guy.

     Today is day one.  And I will start with Couch to 5K.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Fever--Something I Don't Get.

     So, it is Election Night in the good ol' U.S. of A.  Every two years, we go to the polls to express our dissatisfaction with certain people that represent us or keep them employed because they are doing sssuuuuuuch a good job ( like the irony?).  As a person who likes to exercise his right to vote, I always try to keep informed on the issues, generally, and if I don't know something, I like to find out.  I may feel one way or the other about something, but I want to argue from facts and see how I feel about things from there.

     This mid-term election season has seen many people say a great deal of outlandish things just to sway people to their direction.  Most of the things aren't fact based.  I know, I know, you are probably thinking, "T.O.  How is that different from any other election cycle?"  Well, this time it feels that much more considering how the Presidential elections went.  And let's be completely honest.  Many people did not want to see a black man as President.  Yeah, I said it because-it's-true.  I am O.K. with this also.  They don't like the party that helped him get elected.  I get that, too.  But the lengths that some are going to, just to retake/reclaim/restore what they feel America should be, bother me.  Especially since I don't recall any of this talk being around when we had eight years of the other guy and twelve years of the Republican/conservatives controlling the Congress, for the most part. And before you start throwing stones, I am not calling anyone racist.  I saying how it looks.  Similar to the fact of the image of the inner city welfare

     The other thing that I don't get is this:  Why are national networks calling races before the polls are closed?  I get it, we always want to project winners and know things for certain.  But, did we not learn anything from the Bush/Gore debacle, no matter who you voted for?  I mean, they are proclaiming that a political party has won such-and-such with only ten percent of the precincts reporting and the polls across the country are not even closed yet.  I am currently taking a Statistics class and one thing I have learned is that this early sampling is very flawed.  The message you are also sending to those who have not voted yet, who may be wanting to vote, is that their vote doesn't count, since the thing has already been decided (not really).  To follow on that, I am really bothered by the fact that with only 1,000 out of over 8,000 precincts reporting, so far, the papers and news organizations are declaring a winner.  With only 10% reporting and the race at 55%-45% for the incumbent.

     This seems very un-American to me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why are we making Christianity unsexy?

     HOLA!  This is two small posts in one.  They kind of flowed together so I kept it as is.  I originally posted this on 7 October 2010, but did some revisions/corrections.  So, if you saw this before, this is why it looks different.

     To hear some people tell it, all Christian women should dress in billowy clothes that hide their figures, read bible verses all day and hope that some man will deign to look and see their inner beauty.  Don't exhibit any sexiness at all. That is how they did it in the Bible, right?

     I call garbage!

    I graduated from a Christian academy. I remember that the ugliest girls in my school were still ugly and dateless, the hottest girls still got dates and the average ones were doing the best they could.  Going into their adult lives, many remained single, if they didn't find a man by the time they left high school or college.  One trait they had in common was that they all tried to land their man by any means possible, within reason (Let's study the Bible together.  By the way, I made some carrot cake.  You say that's your favorite?  Wow! I didn't know . . . *in head high five*).  Left to muddle through of their own devices, they do what they can.  What this has resulted in is a good deal of single ladies (and men) in the church.  All you have to do is look around at many of the churches today and see how many single people there are or see how many people have just given up on finding a man/woman in church.

     Why is this?  It is because many "true" Christian churches don't teach their women to be sexual or how to righteously attract a mate.   Now, there is a difference between being sexual and being slutty.  Classy/Trashy.  You get it.  We as humans are sexual beings.  If it wasn't meant to be this way, well, we would be extinct.  There are always ways to be sexual without over exposure.  But it is o.k. to put a little tease on the table.  And if you don't believe the need for this kind of teaching, all you have to do is look at the "worldly" competition.

     Speaking of the world, I am always amazed by my friends who "find" religion.  Or, better yet, those who "rediscover" religion after having taken in all the world had to offer and rejecting it.  Especially those that have attracted your mate/spouse or reached a certain point in life, good or bad. After you see the "world" isn't what you thought it was, you ran back to your Faith.  That's cool, I guess.  However, to me, this usually  happens when you have used the tools you learned out "in the world" to get what you wanted. It's kinda like the minority who makes it to the top and then wants to take away affirmative action (Clarence Thomas).  Then you will evangelize to the world about the "evils" of it all, especially when talking to, and about,  your gender mates.  Usually, this will be women talking about/cutting down other women's actions in a very non-Christian way.

      But, instead of taking a judgmental tone, perhaps it should be instructional.  You may be the person who made mistakes and wants to help people not make them.  You may be the person who feels they lived a righteous life.  Either way you could be helping your friend/church congregant/gender mate with insights about showing how they could do better without belittling them.  Oh, wait, did you forget that all of this is a journey?  Let me help you with that.

     Why such a harsh tone?  Because all religions like to emphasize the great and forget the bad happened.  But as a Christian, I remember that our religion was founded by the wounded.  I remember that there were prostitutes, killers, adulators and polygamists in our past who found their way.  By passing instant judgment like you never "sinned" is an affront to the very tenant of this religion. Before you take the twig out of your neighbors eye, take the tree out of yours(and the stick up you ass while at it). 

     Especially when you were in the club on Friday/Saturday and in church Saturday/Sunday.  Oh, you forgot?  Let me help you.  And you wonder why they call many Christians hypocrites.

Breast Cancer Awareness and Why you shouldn't be worried


     This post will offend two people, in particular.  To those people, read this with an open mind, then judge for yourself.  To everyone else, this post will take a left curve.  I hope you enjoy.

***End Warning***

     I love Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I always feel attached to it.  Why?  Because I love the female breast.  I do, with NO APOLOGIES.  I am straight, however, even gay men love the breastises.  I won't go any more graphic than that.  But anyone who knows me in IRL (in real life) knows how  I feel about the female form.  My mom has breasts and she gave me life and fed me from those things. So, what is there not to love?

     On a serious note,  I have a friend who's mother died of breast cancer, fairly recently.  She is religious (Christian) and prayed for her mother.  But, I guess it was  her time to go (God decided or let it happen).  My friend has been all about breast cancer awareness.  She does the walks and she shares the news.  She is  a new convert (think about your friend who just stopped smoking or just losta great deal of weight/adopted a healthier lifestyle).

     Well, if you have a Facebook/MySpace/E-mail, you are probably aware that, for the past few years, there has been a gimmick to make people more aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Last year, it was "Put the color of your bra in your status".  This year is "Put where you like to put your purse when you come in from work".  You can find a link to an article explaining it here.

     Well, said friend feels that it is a mockery of "The Fight" and as a Christian woman, it demeans all women of Faith.  She feels that breast cancer is not sexy and should not be put in such a light.  Several of her friends made the same comment.  They feel it is unbecoming of a Christian woman and is misleading, causing people to lust in their hearts and advocate women of Faith not to participate.  At this, I have to draw a line in the sand and call bullshit.  The following is an open letter to her.

Dear Friend,
     Right now is a really tough time for you.  My heart bleeds, know of the pain that you go through, everyday, knowing that your Mother was taken away from you before the time that anyone was ready for.  I wish I could share your pain, but I can't, because your experience is unique and I would not insult you by pretending that I know otherwise.  I don't know the pain of having to explain what death is to two young children or comfort the emptiness that you have.  All I can do is be the best friend that I can be, when you need me.  That is what this poor sinner will do.

     But to pass judgement on people who are trying to bring a light-hearted face to a very serious cause is beneath you.  Right now, it runs counter to what you feel. Your mother was a victim of this terrible disease.  But, by condemning those people, you belittle the people that have survived and use humor to deal with a very serious cause.  I want you to look at the woman who is getting a double mastectomy. She sees a major sign of her womanhood lost forever.  Tell her that she can't be sexy any more.  Tell the woman who went through/is going through chemo and is stuck with the stigma of a cancer patient that it is not o.k. to make light of her situation.  I point this last one to you.  I followed you through your family's struggle and I KNOW that your mother tried to make the best of a bad situation.  This current way was not her way, but I don't think your mother would have been so harsh on people trying to shed light on serious thing. 

     Who cares, if some men, think it is sexual.  When they find out what it is about, they are most likely to back you vs not having cared in the first place.  Doesn't a cracked vessel not still carry water?  And truth be told, if your pastor/fellow church congregants/church leaders read that in your status and the first thing they thought about was where you "like *sex* wherever",  this is not an issue for me or the public, but for you and them and your husband.  Please don't love me any less for this, I am just trying to bring a little different perspective to you.

With all Love and Respect,


P.S.  To argue from a religious standpoint that this is wrong . . .I have another point reloaded for you in three days.  It just needs to finish cooking in the kitchen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It Is Better To Be Thought A Fool in Silence . . .

     I was occasioned to remember a quote that I heard when I was a child.  It has been reworked many times but, essentially, the passage is, "It is better t be thought a fool in silence, then to speak and remove all doubt."(Abraham Lincoln or Socrates).  The reason why this is the subject of my post, today is that, during my college career and in life, I have come to the realization that I don't know ANYTHING.  This is true for most people.  Now, I don't mean that people are stupid, it is just that we don't seek information that could be detrimental to our world view.

     An example of this is a person who I have become recently acquainted with who lives in my dorm.  This comes from a very sheltered home life and has a very limited view of the world.  Anytime that you try to introduce a new side of an argument/statement/discussion with him, he tries to make it fit his view of things, even if he is wrong.  You could tell him something that is a fact, a verifiable fact, and he will get upset and say that you are calling him ignorant and being dismissive.  I told him that I wasn't criticizing him, I was just letting him know that he was misinformed and pointing him to the truth.

     Another example of this is someone who makes up facts just to fit their argument.  I get furious when someone is making an argument and you can just see them making up the "fact" just to make their point.  Instead of admitting they may not have the full answer, they will just plow through, trying to justify themselves.

     However, more directly, I see this in my classes.  I see this a great deal.  Especially with the younger kiddos.  The will argue with people with PhDs over things that are a settled fact/theory just because it doesn't go with the "thing my brother's best friend's sister who worked as a secretary for so-and-so said".  It is funny how they want to be right in the face of being wrong.

      In these cases, you have people who are trying to make an argument with incomplete/missing information.  Many of us have been guilty of this, myself included.  The difference is, if you don't know, say you don't know.  Because, when everything comes out, you end up just looking stupid if you don't have your facts right.  And even when we are wrong, we should be able to admit it.  It makes you look more intelligent by acknowledging that you were not correct and that you are open to changing.

     That's my take.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The First Days of School

     School started on Thursday.

     WHAT?  Why not on Monday or a Wednesday?  What kinda sense does that make?  Who knows.  All I know is that I was there.  Coming back, getting into the swing of things is really cool.  Now that I am in my second semester of University, I feel that I have everything under control and I am all Kool-n-the-Gang.  Now, for some simple observations.

     1.) I moved back into the dorms (which I am not in love with) but, since I didn't have a job, I gotta go with what I can afford.  However, this will probably be my last semester in the dorms, for two reasons.  the first is, I don't care for it here.  It's small and I share it with another dude.  We sleep  a foot away from each other.  My dorm room is the size of a hotel room because, it USED to be a hotel room.  My dorm is a converted Motel 6/Super 8/fill-in-the-blank.  I also have a good amount of things.  And you can't have people over. Especially, if you want female company (not THAT kind of company, perverts).  Just sayin'.  Plus, I didn't get my old roommate and it takes patience to put up with me at times.  He "got" me.  And that is saying a lot when you live  *that* close together.
     Second reason:  The dorms are cool, but I will be looking for a "real" job or internship soon and I need to start establishing for the future.  A more space with furniture and cooking facilities future.  The grown-up look future.  The, "Hey, let's get together at my place." future.  See where I am going?

     2.) People keep asking my stuff like I know things.  This is cool because it means I look like I belong.  SWEET!

     3.)  The college bookstore is a racket.  Every time I go there, I feel my wallet screaming from getting ass-raped.  I am taking a statistics class. $100+ for the book and $175 for a F'ING GRAPHING CALCULATOR?!?!?!  Another $175 and I would have a netbook and I could do the calculations while surfing the web through this boring class.

     4.)  I am going to my first college football game.  I am really excited for that.

     5.)  I GOT A JOB!!!  I start the paperwork tomorrow.  It is working for the Catering department at my University.  It wasn't the job I was really looking for, but hell, I need money sooo, yea.  Back to skills that pay the bill.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The End of Summer, New School Year and this blog.


     So, it has been a full month since I have posted anything.  Truth be told, I haven't had anything worthwhile to post.  But, to get this thing rebooted and get the creative juices flowing, I will recap the summer as best as I can. I think the best way to do this is to set out the goals that I had for myself and tell you how everything shook out.  Vamanos!

Goal #1:  Work and save money
     Yeah  A lot of the former, none of the latter.  I ended up not working my old job as a tour guide and worked in a restaurant.  It was cool, but in a down economy in a tourist destination, not that profitable.  Which means I worked a lot of hours.  For not that much money. Yep.

Goal #2:  Hang out with my friends:
     I did very little of that.  See #1.

Goal #3:  Go toobing, A LOT:
     I went three times.  See #1.

Goal #4:  Have fun:
     As much as possible.  Yet again, I refer you to #1.

Goal #5:  Decide on the direction of my blog:
    That, I did do.  I am going to post once a month, minimum, something that has to do with International Studies/Relations.  That will be a schedule, promise.  I just haven't decided the day to pick.  I am leaning towards the 1st (cheesy), the fifteenth (because it is mid-month payday) or just pick some random date for utterly ridiculous reasons.  The other stuff I post will just be stuff that happens to me as a student (mainly) and random observations.  That is what you can expect.  I promise. 

     Yeah.  Like I haven't said that before.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Break and the Malaise

     YEAH! Internet access.

     So, it has been a month since I have written anything.  The last two weeks has been laziness and the entire month of July and part of August was because of lack of computer or reliable access to internet service.  But it feels good to be writing and today I want to write about breaks.  Not the kind of breaks like something got destroyed in a physical sense, but break in the way of...well, taking a pause in something.

     One thing that I have discovered about summer vacations is that they are not the same, for me,  as they used to be, when I was a child.  It used to be fun, getting out of school and just playing all time and not having any much responsibility.  I remember that we used to travel as a family and do a great  many things.  However, now that I have returned to school, as an adult, I don't view this break in the same way, especially this summer.  It isn't that I have more or less responsibility than I did before.  This break was different in that I wasn't in summer school, like I was at community college.   I didn't travel. I didn't do anything "interesting".  I didn't do anything but work.  I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere, learning anything and could feel myself kind of falling away.  And all summer, I couldn't wait until school started again.  And here it is and I embrace it with open arms.  And I wasn't sure why, at first.  Then, the answer hit me.

     It is in the doing of something that we enjoy or a goal that we wish to pursue that gives us meaning.  It could be anything like being a parent, working a good job, being a better partner or person.  It could be traveling or bettering yourself through some type of education (ie. taking a class in pottery).  Whatever that "thing" is, the happiest, most fulfilled and successful people I know found it.  I want to ultimately find mine.

     Until then, school will suit me juuuuust fine.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Moral Hazard...Just a little bit.

Written on 3 July 2010.

     This was a Facebook post that a friend of mine posted. Although this would make for a lively in person debate, this is not possible. However, I felt my thoughts on it deserved more than a quick reply. And, since I was not able to actively participate in the ongoing discussion at that time, this is my humble reply.

     “Americans who appose governmental control always make the claim that they prefer social responsibility instead, case in point the growing crisis of obesity. In principle that sounds great, assuming that people are inherently responsible. However, people are not, and they will always take the path of least resistance. So what should the government do? Watch as society leaps to its demise and do nothing?” –M

     M. What we have here are two questions that are up for debate. One is the question of how much government is too much government and the second is how much responsibility is given to the individual. You and I have had debates about the former, so I wan to address the later. As a social liberal, I feel that you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else or affect the collective good of society.

          Having said that, I believe, in our current society, that people don’t realize the TRUE COST of a thing. It is funny that you mention obesity because a fellow student and I used this example in an argument. If you get fat on your own accord, we in a society are encouraged/forced to accommodate you. Granted, there are some people that are obese for medically valid reasons. However, in a majority of cases, people are obese because of lifestyle choice. Now, for some that fall in the lifestyle choice category, they make these decisions without the full benefit of knowledge or education. For others, they willfully do it to themselves. For others, they simply don’t have a choice (i.e. poverty makes them choose cheap, unhealthy food over more expensive healthy food). I would like to exclude this third group for a moment and address the first two.

     Follow me here. I promise there is a point.

     Let’s frame this argument in the realm of Universal Healthcare. For the sake of argument, let’s assume everyone is entitled to the same basic amount. Two checkups a year, free emergency care and free primary care. Now, we tell everyone, “If you get sick, we will take care of you. If you have an emergency, we have you covered. Your basic care will be taken care of, cost free. But anything that you do to yourself, you have to pay for, full cost, unless you have supplemental private insurance.” Who wouldn’t want a chance at that? You go to the doctor and the doctor tells you, “You are 20 pounds overweight. You need to change your diet, drop twenty pounds in the next three months or you will be paying a fee/penalty for every visit.” Would you do it? What if this free care included lifestyle help? Classes that would help you make better choices? Even surgeries if you are obese? We have now eliminated the uneducated, because now EVERYONE has access to the same info. This only leaves us with those who willfully make a lifestyle choice. So that person goes back to the doctor, and says, “Hey Doc, I didn’t lose the weight and now I have complications. Can you help me?” Then the doctor helps them, but at the TRUE COST of the decision (i.e. the costs of pills, treatment etc., that can easily go into the thousands). Those tow problems solved, without grossly invasive government intervention. There are some that say that this doesn’t work. This is untrue because it is already being done in the private sector, without government involvement. This is a good case for moral hazard.

     Now, I want to address the issuse of people knowing better, but not having money to do it. This is where we need government intervention. Those who want to eat better but can’t afford it need the government’s help. We are all aware (I hope) about the dangers of our current food supply situation. However, this is a private business concern. I don’t want to go all Food Nation on you, but until the government intercedes in the broken parts of our food supply, the government should help those who want to help themselves, insetad of subsidizing the obesity of America.

     M. This went a little longer than I anticipated. I welcome your insight into this. Or, if any of your friends read this, I would be interested to see what they see in your feed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Little Things

     This was written on 28 June 2010.
      It has been a month since I have been back in San Antonio. I am staying with a friend of mine in a pretty decent house. However, her house has NO A/C!! She rents and when I first got to her place, I was wondering to myself, “What kind of landlord rents a house with no air conditioning?” This house isn’t even equipped with fans. Who does that? For anyone who hasn’t been to San Antonio, Texas, it is F—KING HOT during the summer months. Two summers ago, it was so hot that there was one month of 100 degree days. Being in any building without adequate ventilation is akin to being in an oven.

     And yet, she stays there, with a box fan in one room, with her little boy. So I asked her why. Her answer was that when she left her last apartment, she needed something in a hurry and this was the only thing available for her.With the financial situation she was in, at the time, it was a struggle and she had to take what she could get. She is in a sitution where she is not getting any financial support from the father of her children and it is really difficult for her to keep things together. Hence, she was lass concerened about AC and more concerned about keeping a roof over her kids head.

     It gives you insight into things that you should be grateful for. Little things. Like AC. And this is kind of a metaphor for life. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day of things and how much our lives may or may not suck and we don’t take stock of things that we do have. I bitch about my friend not having AC. She is more concerned about keeping a roof over her head. And I am lucky to go to college and have grants and financial aid, even if I am staying in a dorm. Even with no job at college, I am lucky to have what I have been given.

     But still, her house is f—king hot!!!!

Restaurants and Character

     This was written on 28 June 2010

     My summer so far has been less than interesting. Since leaving University, I went to San Antonio and took a job, waiting tables, on the San Antonio Riverwalk. It has been O.K. I waited tables for close to eight years, previously, so this new place is, well nothing new. But it reminds me of why I went back to college. It isn’t a bad way to make a living, but it isn’t ideal. One thing about waiting tables, or any service job, is that it gives you an insight into some of the silliest people that the human race has to offer.

     Here is the thing. You can tell a lot about a person by how they act in a restaurant. I mean, people come to restaurants and can turn from the nicest person to the biggest a-holes very quickly. They treat the waitstaff shabbily. If they have children, they let them run wild and then the servers become babysitters. I see loud cell phone conversations as if that person is the only one in the place. The list can go on forever and there are plenty of websites out there that will be happy to tell you what a-holes people are in restaurants. But for me, I think how people act in a restaurant tells you how they are in life, for the most part. Allow me to explain.

     Eating with people and golf can reveal how people really are. When you spend that much time with someone in an intimate, interactive setting, there is no script. You can’t always control your surroundings. And how you react in this setting when unexpected things occur reveal a lot about yourself. And how you treat the staff usually reflects on how you treat others in life that may “service” you, for example the mail clerk, secretary gardener, etc. My big thing, in a restaurant, is how people tip. This is not because I wait tables. I look to see if you are adequately compensating someone for their time and efforts. For me, this speaks volumes about how you would conduct business. If you are willing nickel and dime or flat out screw the server or bartender that means that you don’t put value on a person’s time or service. And that means we probabkly won’t do business or be friends.

I’m serious. I have broken up friendships over this issue.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Move Out (or how to fail at moving out of a dorm) PART 2

This is the continuation of events that took place on the second weekend in May, 2010.  It was a Friday.

     O.K.  So after having all those issues with leaving the dorm, I was finally in the truck, on my way out.  It was still raining.  I went to the storage facility.  Everything was going well and things were looking up.  I park the truck outside of my storage and I get out and go around to the passenger side to start unloading my stuff.  Suddenly, I heard a crash.  Now, I am thinking to myself, "Now, what?'  Well, the what was a bottle of Fanta that I had put in the passenger side seat so that I could drink it when I unloaded the U-haul (side note:  For those who don't know, I LOVE bottled soda.  I will take bottle over plastic any day.).  I had bought that Fanta as a quick pick me up on such a horrible starting day.  The bottle broke in the middle of the road of the storage place.  I had to clean it.  In the rain. 

     I unloaded the u-haul and realized that half my stuff was soaked (luckily, anything electronic was in plastic bins).  At this point, I didn't care anymore.  I threw everything into the storage, locked it and went to the truck to take it back . . .only to discover . . .there were no keys in the ignition.  I checked my pockets.  Nothing.  Door panels, floors, truck bed.  Nada.  Checked my messenger bag.  No dice..  I thought, "CRAP.  I must have dropped them in the storage."  Unloaded the storage.  Reloaded the storage.  Frustration is mounting.

     I took a deep breath.  Counted it out.  Looked around again.  I found the keys in the bottom of my messenger bag.  Drove off.  The time is now 4pm.  I have to turn in the U-haul and catch a bus to Dallas by five.  Get to the U-haul.  I wait for them to drive and drop me off at my bus.  I wait.  And wait.  Finally get dropped off in time to miss my 5pm bus.  No problem.  There is a 6pm bus.  But I will miss my connecting bus which will leave me stranded at the bus station for several hours.  I am travelling with alot of luggage. And I realise that I won't get back to my home until 5 in the morning.  I call a good friend of mine and explain my dilemma.  She agrees to put me up for the night.  I don't get home until 36 hours after I wanted to.  So, in the end, it worked out.  A very frustrating day of fail.

     "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."-Robert Burns

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Move Out (or how to fail at moving out of a dorm) PART 1.

This event took place on the second weekend of May 2010. It was a

     Uhaul? Check. Boxes packed? Check. Dorm Checklist? Check. These were the thoughts that I had on Thursday, as I was having thoughts about moving out of the dorm. Everytime that I have moved, in my adult life, things have never gone as planned. I was determined that this was going to be different. I had until Friday, 5pm, to move out, but since my last exam was Thursday, Friday had to be the day.  I had to move my stuff to storage, get checked out of the room and catch a bus to Dallas by 4pm and there was no room for error. I had lined up everything perfectly. You now the saying of the 6 Ps (Proper Preperation Prevents Piss Poor Performance)? I was going to be THAT guy.

Oh, how silly of me to think things would go my way.

I get up Friday Morning, 9 am. I had reserved a pickup truck to be ready at 11am.  I got a ride to the U-haul, picked up my truck and got to the dorm. So far, so good, right? WRONG! As I pull up to the dorm, a flash flood warning is sounded. A rapidly forming thunderstorm was making it's way into the region. As soon as I got out of the truck, it starts pouring. Buckets of rain. I had yet to start moving my boxes out.

So, I get the RA to come and start checking my room. He then informs me that he can't start checking out my room until the boxes were out. SO, I had to move my boxes out of the room. In a torrential downpour. So, as you can imagine, I was EXTREMEMLY happy about this. After this feat was accomplished, the RA has several small things that he would like to have cleaned up.  I did them.  He came back and pointed out several more.

     Now, at this point, I am starting to get pissed.  I had already (I thought) cleaned the room, along with my roommate.  All my stuff is in the open bed of the truck getting wet/soaked.  I had to be out of the dorm by 5pm or risk getting a $100 cleaning charge.  I had to take my stuff to storage, still.  I had to get the U-haul back so that I could catch a bus, to Dallas.  ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS LEAVE.

     Finally, the RA looks at me.  He looks around one last time.  He shrugs.  Sensing my frustration, he signs off on the room.  I get to the truck, thinking the worst part of the day was over.  It was now 2:30.  I was way behind schedule.  But, I made space for that "just in case" time in my planning.  So I thought to myself, "All good.  Get to the storage, take the u-haul back and you still have an hour to spare."  What could get worse, right? 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's been a month . . .

     My apologies to myself for not posting in OVER A MONTH!!!  It wasn't a broken promise to myself as it was that I haven't had internet access and I have trepidation about mobile posting.  But, if I am going to do it, blogging, I have to try harder to find the means to do it.  So, for the next month, I promise to post alot more.  Probably from my phone.  Five posts are ready to go, just need proofreading. 

     We will see how this goes.  I am totally reloaded.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Job? I don't need no stinking job!

     Wait.  Actually, yes, yes I do.

     I took off this semester, from working, because I have been working my entire adult life and decided that, if I could budget, I could live off of student loans.  It has been great.  But, I now realize that school is about to be over and I have no idea what the heck I am going to do for the summer.  So, I have had some choices.  Here they are:

  •  Stay in university town area.  PRO:  I'll find a job that I can stay with through next semester.  CON:  I will have to go back to waiting tables.  And I will have to find that job.
  • Go back to the city that I came from.  PRO:  I KNOW that I have a job waiting for me when I get back.  CON:  I will have to go back to waiting tables.  Or my other gig as a tour guide.

     So you may be asking yourself, why are the CONS the same?  I don't hate waiting tables.  I surely didn't mind being a tour guide.  But, I need to find something that will put me in a better position to find a job in the "real" world. 
I am in my mid-thirties and internships aren't coming easily.  Or good jobs.  Because the economy still sucks.


*side note to any student reading this.  Waiting tables is a great way to make money.  But it's easy to get caught up in the lifestyle. Oh, and it can lead to cynicism on a massive scale. You can ask the Bitter Waitress or watch the movie Waiting.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Don't Date . . .much

     I had intended to write a post about love and dating.  But, I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to set it off.  Inspiration came from a photographer.  My cousin has a photography blog One Eye Open.  If you like photography that is a little out of the ordinary, you should check him out.  He is a talent.  Anyway.  He is the reason for the mood behind this post.  Check out the rest, after the video.
Gnarls Barkley - Who's Gonna Save My Soul? from yunusemre on Vimeo.
     O.K.  So I was talking with a young lady that I met in this college town.  We were enjoying a game of basketball on the T.V. She and talking about relationships in our thirties.  I mentioned the fact that I am not a huge fan of dating.  She looked at me and asked me, "Why not?"

     See, I have this theory.  You date to get married or you date to break up.  Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, "T.O.  That is as obvious as a bad toupee."  True.  But it goes further.  Many times, we fool ourselves into thinking someone is "The One".  We overlook those small flaws that others find annoying but you say is cute.  You can fix them.  They can change.  And in the end, they don't change.  And you remain disillusioned.  And the "The One" turns into "The One I Hate".  And when it comes to the break-up, we are MORE upset over the time wasted than with the person we are leaving.  So, for me, why go through that B.S.?

     But all this could have been avoided., if, we look at the situation realistically.   For me, that means I would just rather be friends. See, in your twenties, you tend to go through bullshit drama over the opposite sex (or if you are homosexual, gay/lesbian drama).  By the time you are in your thirties, you have pretty well established yourself and your habits, likes and dislikes.  So why play around on it? For the most part, you can love, share, laugh, cry and have most of your needs met by good friends.

      And, if you are in needing of the "bump chika-waa-waa", just be honest, upfront and discreet about it.  I mean, let's be real.  If it wasn't for the sex, most of our relationships may have not lasted all that long. True story.  And you save yourself the headache of  "being friends". or splitting up the stuff.

     You should only go through heartbreak once or twice.  The rest of it is just crap.

Friday, April 23, 2010

People touching people they don't know . . .I got issues.

     I can be a touchy feely guy.  I love touching my friends.  Pat on the back.  Hugs.  Leg humping (awkward . . . yet known to happen).  However, I don't like people I don't know touching me.  I dislike people I barely know touching me.  I gained this phobia from working in restaurants.  It's true.  The following is a true story.

     I saw a table walk in.  I was in the back of the house (restaurant area where all the "magic" happens).  I walk over meet, greet, food and beverage order.  Before I bring their drinks, I wash my hands.  Drop them off, being careful not to touch the rims of the glass (personal pet peeve,  that s--t is unsanitary).  Go to the back to prep some other stuff.  Check on the table.  Before I go back, I decide to wash my hands in the bathroom, in the front of the house (dining area).  I go in, use the bathroom stall, come out and wash.  During this process, the guy that I am serving came in, took a leak.  As I am washing, he finishes up and walks out of the bathroom, WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS!

     I try not to panic.  S--t is disgusting.  But, whatever.  I drop off the food. Everything is swell.  I am watching this guy eat and I am just a little repulsed.  Now, let me explain.  I have been places where soap and water have not been readily available.  I can excuse that.  But if there is soap or, at the minimum, water, use it.  At the end of the meal, the guy wanted to thank me and shake my hand and give compliments.  While he was doing this, my only thought was, "Please. Take your DICK BEATERS OFF OF ME, you nasty pig."

     I wish I had a witty end to this story, but I don't. Washing hands is beneficial.  It prevents the spread of disease.   Just do it.  And, because of people like that, I can't trust you touching me if I don't know you.  Even at that, I will ask you if you washed your hands.  And I will smell them, jerk. And if I don't believe you, I have sanitizer in my bag.  I don't care if you get offended.  Give your H1N1 to someone else.  

     Below is a video that really explains this situations in restaurants.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Awkward Older Pervyness

     We will call her Christina.
     She could be of any race.  I will only say the Christina is 18 and smoking hot.  Or 21 and smoking hot.  Just know that she is young (to me).  She sits next to me in class or I met her through classmates.  Or she chatted me up in a in a bar.  We parlay.  

     I am always upfront about my age and status.  She makes the comment that age is not a big issue.  She says that I don’t look thirty-five.  I take the compliment.  I return same, in a non-sexual way.  She mentions that her parents are in their early forties.  I say, “Cool.”  I make jokes that I am close to her parents’ age.  She says it doesn't bother her.  We can still hang out.  I say, “O.K.”  We exchange numbers.  

     She wants to know what’s up with me. 

     I am just trying to keep it cool and on the friend level.  

     And I am responsible. And adult.  But, at times, I can’t help thinking...,

     “Dammit, you are freaking hot.”  

     I am so glad I am not me in my 20’s.  At least . . . that is what I tell myself.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So, I missed a deadline?

O.K. So I missed my first deadline for posting.  I promise to be better about that.  But, hey!  I am new to writing deadlines for things that I am not required to do.  But to make up for that, this will be a double post week.  I may even do that today.  YAY!!!

                So…speaking of missing deadlines, I messed up major.  I had a paper due last Monday.  Consequence of e-mailing it in late was a 20% reduction in grade, OFF THE TOP.  Mid week, of the week it was due, I e-mail the professor about his stipulation for “scholarly sources” using a news/journal website as an example.  I also asked him his definition of scholarly. He said the journal was fine and news sources were great.  So, I wrote this paper, sourced the paper and had it ready to turn in.  On the due day, I go to class.  For some reason, in the e-mail I sent the professor, I neglected to ask him to clarify what he meant by scholarly sources, exactly.  So, in class, I asked him.  He wanted six, peer-reviewed, journal citations.

  “OH $h!t”, went through my mind.  

     I only had two and many newspaper/magazine sources.  This paper was due at midnight of due day.  E-mailed.  This class is all electronic.  So, at seven in the evening, I am in the library trying to find sources.  At eleven, I am back in the dorm accessing the online electronic journals.  At two in the morning, after reading/skimming HUNDREDS of pages of journals, trying to find relative sources, I am twenty minutes away from finishing the paper.  The entire time, I am praying that the professor will give leeway/consideration to the fact it was in before s/he woke up.    As I am accessing my last journal, the screen responds, “Webpage Unavailable.  No internet connection.  Would you like to run a diagnosis?”


     This fail was brought to you mostly by me, because I didn’t completely follow through on my assignment as early as I should have.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the internet service that is provided by a company that services the internet to the dorms.  Who I won’t name.  But it starts with and “A” and its name means, “The point in an orbit around the Earth that is most distant from the Earth.”

Proper Preparation Prevents (Piss) Poor Performance. 


Friday, April 2, 2010

I go to Network Night . . . awkwardness insues.

     So, since I have been here, I have been given the opportunity to go to Job Fairs and Network nights.  Some of these are open to all majors, some open to specific ones.  These job fairs are also open to Alumni of the college.  If you have ever been to one in the "real world" it is just the same on campus.  As an older student or alumni, you tend to stick out.  This is how it goes down.  First, you attend the seminar/open house/panel.  This usually has a list of employers who will speak for a few minutes, unless there are many.  Then, you would have a sheet of employers emailed to you ahead of time.  After the discussion, there is a period where snacks are provided while the panel goes out to their respective tables.  Then comes the inevitable discusion that goes like this.

ME: (thinking)  O.K.  Make sure you make eye contact.  Smile, but not too much.  You only have a moment to make a good impression. *breathe*

Person Behind Me: "Hiiiii.  I couldn't help but notice that you had some good questions in the seminar.  What's your major?"

ME: "International Studies.  And you?"

PBM: *Insert Major"

ME:  "Wow, Interesting . . ." * Insert small talk and  laugh*

PBM: *Insert more bs small talk and return nervous laughter*

ME:  "I'm a junior.  I'm a little bit older."

PBM:  "Really?  How old?"

Me: "Thirty Five"

      Awkward pause.

PBM: "Really, I thought you were, like, twenty six, tops!"

ME: "Thank you.  Chalk it up to heavy drinking.  It kept me preserved.  Just joking."

PBM: "So, why are you here?  Why did you come back to school?"

     At his moment, I never know what to really say.  I don't want to tell my life story, but at the same time, I didn't want to say that life is all wine and roses.  What to do . . what to do.

ME: "I don't want to work at a restaurant all my life. And I have worked with way too many Liberal Arts majors as a bartender and waiter who can't get jobs.   I want options so I can do better for myself.  And the job market is tough without a good degree.  And even that is not guaranteed."

PBM: "Umm . .  I am graduating in May with a *Insert Liberal Arts Degree* "

     Awkward silence as he/she contemplates how life will be and me wishing I didn't have to be here, at this moment.

Musings on Financial Aid

     I am on financial aid.  I am not ashamed to admit it.  In order to try to graduate in a timely manner, I am taking aid fort the last 1 1/2 years of school.  Why 1 1/2?  Because, like many older students, I put myself through community college while working full time.  I got my Associates Degree.  Now, I am at University. 

     So, I opened up my school e-mail to find that I am close to my maximum credit limit and am in danger of falling out of the Financial Aid program.  Scratching my head, I walked over to the Financial Aid Office to find out what was going on.  This semester was the second semester that I have taken aid.  How could I be over the limit?

      Some of you who are reading this are probably wondering what cap I'm talking about.

     It goes like this.  As a student, if you are eligible to receive aid (Pell Grants and scholarships) you have to graduate with under a certain amount of credits, depending on your major (if you are Pre-med, your cap would be higher).  I was approaching that cap.  I asked how could I be approaching that cap since I have never taken aid before?  Well here is the scoop.  Perhaps some of you failed out of school the first time and this is your second shot at school (like me).  But here is something they don't tell you:  If you retake classes you failed, even if you paid for them out of pocket, they still count towards your credit cap for aid.  Even if you have NEVER taken it before.  It is a catch twenty-two.  They want us to go to school, but you don't get credit for not leaching of aid while doing it.  However, people can be on aid for six years before they graduate.  Money they don't have to pay back or pay back on generous terms.  And if you want to appeal the cap, you have to have a very compelling reason (death in the family, traumatizing event at school, etc.).  Where is the parity in that?

     So, what does that mean for yours truly?  My aid will run out in Spring 2011, 1 1/2 semesters short of graduation.  Which means that I will have to get a job, or a paid internship.  I am not opposed.  Except, the way the formula tends to work is based on income.  You can be penalized for making too much money, even though you are going to school full time.  Which means you don't get as much aid.  Which means you may not finish as fast as you want because you can't afford it.  Or, you take out massive loans. 

     It is kinda like the welfare system.  Penalize people for trying not to use too much, reward those who won't try.

     Welcome to another wonderful part of being an older student.  Enjoy your stay.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

2!!!! aka The reason for the blog

     So, why did I decide to write this?  My first  reason that I want to do this is because I HATE writing.  Actually, hate is a strong word.  I don't love to write.  However, I realize that this may be because I don't do too much of it, outside of what is required for life.  So, this is an experiment to push myself harder than I have before.  I won't be Hemingway, that is certain.  I just want to be better and something I realize that I am weak at.

     The second reason I wanted to do this was on the suggestion/bet of a friend.  We were talking about some things that happened and she said, "You should have a blog!", to which I replied, "Maybe, I will . . ."  She said, "I bet you won't." and anyone who knows me knows that I don't back down from challenges much.  

     My third reason my most important (to me).  I am a new college student in my mid-thirties who is away from any home that I have know.  People in my predicament are called "Non-traditional Students".  We face unique challenges and situations.  I want to write about them so that I that I don't get too frustrated when things don't go my way or the way I think they should.

     Finally, this is just to put down for my friends (and anyone else who cares) so they can keep up with me.  I have met many wonderful people in life who live all over and this is a way to interact with me.  I don't know how often I will blog.  I am going to try once every two weeks to put down something, anything., just to keep writing.

     So welcome.  Here's to graduation in two years.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wow, My First Blog Post EVER!!!

I have a failing in life. I don't write prolifically.

I am quite capable of writing. I do it all the time, for school. Outside of that, not so much. I don't feel that I am that good at it. However, I LOVE to talk. I think that I am pretty good at telling a story. And, sometimes, cool stuff happens to me. So, I am writing this stuff down (some of it). This is a test to myself to try harder at it. In the process, I hope to gain more organization over my writing and push myself to better and give more discipline to it.

Why a blog? There are a couple of reasons. I will put that in the second post. But, until then, welcome to the ride. It could be short, it could be long. Either way, it's going to be alllllrriiiiight.