Thursday, May 27, 2004

Things are going great for my dad at the moment. In the past week he accepted an offer on the Paige House (which he's been trying to sell for more than half my life), he got offered a job (the best and closest of a dozen he applied for), and we've started serious work on the house.

And hey, it's good news for me too. I'm (finally) organizing my room and really moving in here, and there are finally plans to get rid of the cutesy paint job for a spoiled little girl's room that have been in my room for a couple years, so it's nice that we won't have to move to my dad's job across the state. And the work on the house I don't care about so much, but at least I'll probably be able to negotiate pay from it and it gives me something productive to do on days when I'm not subbing.

And speaking of which, I did it again today. Two of the classes were quite a bit worse than what I've had to deal with on other days. Still, it's worth the money. And it's good practice for next week. When I start doing it for two weeks straight, to replace a teacher who's leaving early. That should be, er, interesting.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Shrek 2: wow, that movie was good. This was the first "summer movie" I've seen so far, and it was definitely a good beginning. It had everything the first movie had, plus I think even more parody scenes. And it was a character-driven plot, unlike some movies where the characters' motivations come and go to get them where they need to be, and those characters are as fun as they were last time. And the animation - it's still cartoony, of course, but the animation was so good that some of the more realistic-looking characters, in some of the more fast-moving scenes, could be mistaken for live action.

One thing I didn't like: a song. In the first movie they managed to avoid ever having a musical number, but in this there was one. Now that I think of it, it fit with the plot and story at that point. But still, the thing that makes Shrek fun and funny is its opposition to that Disney stuff, so having a song in here threw me.

After seeing "Shrek" for the first time, I remember it made me all depressed. "Then I saw her face... now I'm a believer!" and all that horseshit. Of course, it came out in the second half of 2001, which wasn't a good time for me overall. But for whatever reason, this movie was just light and fun with no moving moral either way for me.

Also, I got my paycheck in the mail yesterday (or did I already mention this?) I finally have a positive cash flow. Cool. With luck I'll be able to find a relatively high-paying job (how do my friends and my sisters' friends do it, when I always seem to get stuck barely above minimum wage?) and work a lot this summer. Of course, I conveniently haven't started doing that yet, because subbing is so lucrative per hour that I don't want to get tied into anything else until the school is done with me. But I need money, and I badly need to keep busy to keep my mind off my problems.

Of course, I *really* need to fix those problems instead of looking for the best way to ignore them. But half a loaf is better than none...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Last night was both the Smallville season finale and the Angel series finale. (Yes, that's right, I watch (watched?) shows on the WB. Get over it.)

The Smallville finale was fun and exciting and suspenseful, I'll admit. Just like the two other season finales, it ended on several major cliffhangers. They outdid themselves this year - there were 5 cliffhangers, maybe 7 if you want to get picky. So it was exciting, but later I realized I might not be there in the fall to see how they turn out. Because I don't care. Some of the really interesting characters get passed over all the time for the eye candy that's mandatory on a WB show even if it can't act to save its life. Clark Kent seems like a jerk in this show, and several characters are painfully stupid for no reason but to advance the plot. At this point, I think I'll wait for a few weeks after the season starts and only download any eps if they get good reviews.

Angel, on the other hand, was excellent. Not perfect, sure, but damn close. I read a lot of bad reviews of it, but I don't know what people were talking about. Other than the fact that it didn't have much setup - the group they were fighting was only named the episode before - I wouldn't have changed one single thing. It was fun, it was smart, all the characters got the resolutions they deserved or at least needed, and in the end the heroes, the champions, went out fighting. Great TV. And with that, ends what began more than seven years ago with "Welcome to the Hellmouth". The Buffyverse is gone. Sure, I think there are still comic books, and we can always hold out hope for a movie or something, but both of the two series are cancelled.

Oh well. With the exception of the last two eps of Angel, they really went out with a whimper rather than a bang. They had their moments, but it's in the past.
What does he have that I don't have?

But now that I think of it, there's no good answer to that question. If the answer is "nothing", then the problem can only be that fate or whatever is out to get me. And if there is something (or things), then even if it can be changed, which maybe it can't, it would be too little, too late.

I've blown almost every chance I had; why should I expect any more?

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I got glasses yesterday.

My right eye is normal, or even better than average maybe, but my left eye has been weak for about 5 years or more. It's 20/40, or even worse. I had contacts - or rather, a contact, only in the left eye - for a few weeks during my senior year of high school, but that didn't last. When it broke, when the lens split, I decided that having a lens was too much hassle for too little reward. Whenever I've had my eyes tested, or tried on glasses close to my prescription, I've always described it like a 3D movie, because the biggest difference it makes is in depth perception. Normally I have bad depth perception, because one eye sees far and the other sees near, and the two barely bother to change focus, I think.

But glasses are less hassle than a contact lens, and it seems (though this could be just my imagination) that my vision has got a little worse lately. So I got glasses on Saturday. They're squarish, thin-framed, and black.

So, a summary: I now have glasses, regularly spike my hair, have lost more than 10 pounds since freshman year, and own several button-down shirts and a leather jacket, which may not be the very latest "cool" fashion but are still very different from what I used to wear. I think I would be practically unrecognizable to a high school friend. Wow.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to write this or not. I had hopes of surprising some people with the glasses, and when I hit the "publish" button I've blown any chance of that. But it finally occurred to me - so what? I mean, surprising people just for the fun of surprising them - well, that might, maybe, be nice. But surprising people to fish for compliments, or to see if my look has really changed as much as I think, or worst of all, in the hopes that they would find me more attractive... No. That way, madness lies. I need to let it go, give up. My life may or may not be bad, but thinking like that couldn't make it anything other than worse.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

It went well.

My job as a substitute happened to be on a day that the teacher only had four classes, and he's the teacher of "College Prep Chemistry" so it's not a very hard group of kids, but even so... it went well. At the moment I'm planning on doing this for as long as I can get away with it and still get some job for the rest of the summer. Because as I said, the pay is pretty damn good, especially for the amount of work involved.

It's funny, a tiny bit. I don't want to be a teacher. And it used to drive me nuts, how most people would hear I was an English major and say, "Oh, you want to be a teacher?" I don't want to. Partly because, yes, it's what my parents have done and I want to make my own way in the world, so to speak, and not just follow in their footsteps. And partly because I think I'd go nuts, dealing with kids constantly like that. They don't want to be there, most of them hate you, they'll take all their adolescent frustration and confusion out on you - it's a recipe for misery. Also because I'd at least like the chance of money. Sure, I know that the writer/journalist track I'm aiming for is not a lucrative field, but at least there's a chance of prosperity if I work my ass off or become outstandingly excellent or something, whereas the only reward for the best teacher in the world is a medal and fifteen minutes of fame.

And yet despite all that, I'm happy to have a job as a substitute, and enjoying it, at least after the first day. Funny.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Suddenly I have a job, but it's not as good news as it sounds like. I'm going to be subbing at my dad's school tomorrow. (He's a high school principal.) A science teacher called in sick at the last minute or something, so I've got to do it. On the one hand, the pay is good, and even though science isn't my area I should be able to fudge it well enough to get through one single day of high school-level classes... but on the other hand, do I really want to go back to high school? Really? I didn't like it much the first time; why would things go any better as a substitute teacher than as a student?

Oh well. The pay is good, by the standards of a guy like me. I mean, I'm an English major who hasn't even finished a degree yet; with that in mind, I should be lucky to get a job making more than $10/hour thrown at me without even trying. I can survive one single day of anything. If it goes well, I'll do it again until I find a regular job, and if not, it's only one day.
Cleaning my room - or in this case, moving in and organizing it - always takes forever. Because I always just have to read every book I pick up.
I'm home for break.

Pros: relaxing. living space. The cats, and Felicia, the old poodle. Nice weather. Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing. The only things I have to do any time soon are find a job and clean my room, which is child's play compared to exam week.

Cons: My sister's pug Fiji. The pest may look cute, but that doesn't come close to making up for how it tears up every bag or box it can reach. And refuses to obey simple commands like "stay".

Sunday, May 09, 2004

So, I got in a fight today. Well, if you can call a few shoves and a little grappling a "fight". I should be glad it didn't go farther. An actual fight might have involved Security and might have got a friend in trouble - the girl whose room this was happening in - and might have hurt someone and would have broken every rule Mr. Rotta taught me. (Not literally every rule, obviously, but still.) I should be glad it didn't go farther. But I'm not. Because I truly fucking loathe the guy it was with. It's like how everyone agrees that this or that dictator on the other side of the world is evil incarnate, but they only get in a screaming fit about local politicians or their rude neighbor. Because that's what they have to deal with in daily life. If I try to be objective, he isn't all that bad. He's immature and loud and is pretty naïve, but I've looked past those in other people so that alone shouldn't be why I hate him. Hell, in different circumstances, I might even think he was fun, or at least funny. But in these circumstances, I would cheerfully torture him with my bare hands without a second thought if there wouldn't be any consequences. My younger sister in the worst mood I've ever seen, the guy back in high school who raped a friend of mine, the guy my ex-girlfriend dumped me for - I would happily spend ten minute with any of these people instead of spending 5 with him.

As I was saying, I wish I'd got in a fight with him because tonight was probably my last chance to beat the hell out of that insufferable little shit. But I also wish it because I lost. I mean, those shoves and grappling I mentioned, I came out the worse every time. Sure, there are excuses, but it really sucks.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Terminator 2 is on the Sci-Fi channel. Cool!

And the paper doesn't actually look too bad. Of course, the commencement issue is not even half done yet, but hey. Considering how much I have done, how relatively little I have yet to do, and how much I plan to do, things aren't going half badly. It would be nice if the commencement issue were further along, but, well, it just isn't possible, considering the stories we're working with.

And in 24 hours, I'll be at home. Cooooool...

Friday, May 07, 2004

I should not be so excited and relieved about the D+ I got in Logical Methods in Philosophy.

Also, I wish I hadn't given away the last of my rum. If I have to be in here writing articles on a Friday night on barely any sleep last night, I don't want to be sober while doing it, dammit.

Also, I'm sortakindamaybe optimistic about the Game Theory class too. Because Alissa got a decent grade, and I know she did better than me on every homework, but still, I can't be that far behind her. But on the other hand, we got slightly different answers on most parts on the final, so... shit. I'm less optimistic again.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Three classes done, one to go. And two issues of the paper still.

Actually, that Game Theory exam today didn't go as badly as I expected. Of course, that's damning with faint praise, but still. I might - MIGHT - have got all three problems basically right. I'm %90 sure I got %90 of the first problem right. As for the second one, iff I read the question right, I did all right on it, but I might not have. Because there was this thing where it gave a formula for the profits that wasn't what I'd come up with intuitively, so I went with what was in the problem. If that's a typo or if I took it to mean something other than what it was then I probably got all of problem 2 wrong, but if not then I might have got it all right. And problem 3 was just weird. I didn't do a very complete job on it since I was running out of time (aren't exams supposed to be 3 hours, not less than 2?), and Alissa got something different on it from me and she's been doing much better in the class than I, so I don't know... Well, we'll see. If I did as well on this as I think I might have, AND if that fucking asshole professor grades on a curve (despite the fact that he's implied he doesn't), then I have a chance of getting a decent grade.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw something a minute ago that looked like fun: how to make your porn star name. What you do is, apparently, use the name of your first pet as the first name and the street you live on as the last name. Let's see... my family had a cat named Omar who died when I was like 5 and growing up I lived on Lilliesville Brook Road, but Lilliesville doesn't sound like a name and using just Lily or Lillie sounds too girly... I've also lived on South Main St. (boring) and now live on Morningside St. in another town, and of course, I live in Burton Hall... But then, if Omar died of old age when I was 5 he's hardly my pet, so maybe I should start counting with Panda, the cat that's basically "mine", but that's a dumb name for a person... Pand's nephews are Lucas and Felix...

Felix Burton? Lucas Lily? Heh, I've always liked alliteration. Omar Morningside? Cool!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

To judge by the timestamp on my away messages and stuff, I was in or around the CT office from about 3:30 on, I think. And all I have to show for it is mockups and three articles edited and placed. I'm in deep fucking shit for the summer issue and commencement issue and my two remaining exams.

Why so little? Well, partly because some of that is more work than it might sound like. Also because there's a TV in the office and Tuesday night is prime time, and also the Wilson Commons staff was giving away food in one of those study break things. Kudos, serving people!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Pros of livejournal:
- All my friends are doing it.
- It apparently has all kinds of interactions with friends and levels of access, like public posts vs. private ones, and a bunch of cool little extras like profiles and many different smileys and stuff.
- Huge and colorful variety of templates, and it has avatars, and it apparently allows at least some degree of graphics posting, and so on. (Counterpoint: the UR provides something like 100MB of free server space to every student, so if I just took an hour to figure out the details of how, I could post all kinds of stuff here by hosting it there and linking to it.)
- Comments, comments, comments. They are perfectly reliable and better than they've ever been here.

Pros of blogspot:
- I already have it.
- If you're willing to willing to mess around with HTML a little, this actually seems more customizable. I really like having that sidebar with all those links, for example, and as far as I can tell by looking at my friends' blogs, livejournal doesn't offer that.

Conclusions, for the moment:
- Livejournal is prettier, but blogspot is much more of a blank slate. It can be anything I'm willing to make it, but (correct me if I'm wrong) it looks like livejournal doesn't have that potential.
- I'm sticking with what I have, for now.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Perks of being an editor of the Campus Times:
- A chance for a trip to an annual college journalism conference. Four editors go every year. This year it was in Las Vegas.
- Free food on Wednesdays nights. Given the amount of time we put in over the entire week, the value of the free food works out to be the same as getting paid about $.50/hr, and the variety could be better, but still, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Free food from off-campus is very nice.
- A extracurricular activity that looks great on a resume. Speaks for itself, really.
- Free stuff people send us to review. All this belongs to the Features department, not news; but they aren't greedy. I've got a half-dozen comic books this way, and other people have claimed CDs. And yesterday I found a free ticket for two people to an advance screening of Van Helsing. Cooool... If I could figure out where the damn thing was playing!