Saturday, October 30, 2004

So, progress on that "to do" list?

  1. Done.
  2. Made relatively definite plans to see Danielle Monday at noon. And serendipitiously, the fact that my story fell through didn't matter - I just wrote a story about something else. Amusingly enough, that was the second week in a row the same story fell through and I found something arguably even better.
  3. I'm going with Nisha.
  4. Close enough. I did some catching up, though as I expected not all. And I'm told I don't have to catch up completely either, because getting the response paragraphs is what she uses for attendance so she doesn't expect to have one for every day. That itself is only debatably good, but the point is, I need to do only one or two for next Tuesday instead of three or four.
  5. Done. I mean, it's always a work in progress of course, but we're roughly where we're supposed to be at this time of the week.
  6. Shit.
  7. Not yet, but this is one of the only two things I have left for the weekend, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I need to organize, prioritize, and generally get to work. Hmmm, maybe a "to do" list will help.
  1. Do case study for Business Ethics, and meet with group to prepare for presentation. Easy and not too time-consuming, but important because due ASAP.
  2. Talk to Danielle Beyer come Hell or high water for that story about her judicial (disciplinary?) advisory group. I thought we had agreed to meet Monday at noon but she never showed, so one of us must have got the time wrong. And I'd like to have my story done before Wednesday night again, so that's relatively pressing too.
  3. Find a date for the Viennese Ball, if I want to go to that.
  4. Read up to Book III Canto xi of "The Faerie Queene" before class at 12:30 Thursday, and catch up on response paragraphs. Well, catching up might be an unrealistic goal, but do at least two so I'll have made progress and not be as far behind.
  5. Do regular CT stuff - put together a budget for next week and edit this week's stories and pages - ASAP, because Sandeep will be around less than usual.
  6. Finish my Take Five application by Monday Nov. 1 — which also requires deciding once and for all about my major(s), whether I want to double major or single major and double minor.
  7. Read some of the American Literature assignments before class on Monday. Most of this should be easy, maybe even fun, but whenever next quiz is I want to be prepared for it, unlike the last one.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Frickin' hilarious.

It's a parody of Bush/Cheney's "Wolves" ad. You know, the vague, fear-mongering one that completely misrepresents important facts about Kerry or Edwards. Oh wait, that could describe every single ad they've run. Well then, it's a parody of the Bush/Cheney ad with wolves in it.
On dailykos they're making predictions for how the election will go. I'm too lazy to sign up for an account there just to post one prediction and way too lazy to do all the electoral college math, so I'll just post my prediction here.

If this election is influenced by a spoiler candidate, it won't be Ralph Nader. It will be Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party candidate.

After four years of everyone (rightly or wrongly) blaming Nader for the 2000 election, after literally dozens of people who endorsed him in 2000 now endorsing Kerry and asking Nader to withdraw, after the Green Party withdrawing their support for him, after Dean firing up the left in ways that Washington insiders never could (God, I love Vermont), I think Nader has a snowball's chance in Hell of influencing this. Of course, we shouldn't dismiss him completely, but still.

Badnarik, on the other hand... in four years, Bush and the rest of the Republicans have done exactly two things for Libertarians or libertarians. He's lowered taxes (while raping the concept of fiscal responsibility in the process) and let the assault weapons ban expire. Meanwhile, he's also added 800,000 people to the federal government, endorsed an amendment to the Constitution to limit states' rights, and pushed what is probably America's most Orwellian bit of legislation ever, the USA PATRIOT Act. For the first time in history as far as I know, certainly the first time in my lifetime, America has seen what happens when the checks and balances get pushed aside and Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches of government. (Or for that matter, any one party.) If even two percent of the country is libertarian, well-informed, and fair-minded, that two percent cannot possibly vote for Bush in two weeks.

Wishful thinking? Armchair quarterbacking? Maybe. But if I'm right, then damn, I'll feel like a genius on November 3.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Wow, small world.

I was just doing some last-minute Googling on candidates running for office in Vermont to make a less uninformed decision. I was looking up Tabby Connor, a candidate for Vermont's House of Representative who is most notable for being only 21 years old. I find an article about her on a college newspaper Web site. It isn't immediately obvious what college that's from, so I look around a bit. I eventually find that it's Brown, but on the way I see that their photo editor is one Marissa Hauptman - who was the CT's photo editor for a while, who was a friend-of-a-friend of mine freshman, maybe sophomore year. She transferred, and apparently the place she transferred to was Brown. Small world.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Well, this is certainly an unusual reason for a break. I've taken them before on Wednesday nights, usually because I'd leave the office to get quotes or something and take a few minutes extra off for whatever reason. And earlier in the afternoon, before things really get busy, I've taken naps. But this is the first time work was cut short by a fire alarm.

Yes, Wilson Commons is evacuated, and the CT office with it. I happened to be in the bathroom at the time, and I was damn lucky the alarm there wasn't making any noise. Since I live so close, I figured I'd just walk back to my room where I could have a seat and stuff, and have someone call me when we can go back.

I've experienced another fire alarm in Wilson Commons before, in fact. I was writing the story about the SA Constitution, and the Senate meeting on it was setting the Senate's standard for ridiculous, disorganized arguments. Because there had been weekly meetings of the Constitution Committee where anyone could go to give their two cents, but no one went, so a half-dozen problems came up on the night that should have been a simple yes or no vote. The debate on that one issue lasted about three hours. It finally finished around midnight and they moved on to the other order of business when the fire alarm went off, so they took a shouted, perfunctory vote as everyone was walking out the door.

Good omens about the rest of the night: for possibly the first time ever since I've been an editor, I chose to write a story this week and had it done before 6:30 at night. Which means I can devote my time to other stuff, and the part that is made almost impossible by distractions is finished.

Bad omens: I got an hour or two less than usual of sleep last night. I was yawning out loud by 2:30 in the afternoon. Hopefully enough caffeine and sugar will get me though the night all right. Well, hopefully it won't be that late a night - but let's be realistic.

Damn. I didn't bring my backpack with me when I came back here. All the work that could be done in a few spare minutes, like now, is in the CT office.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Yesterday I went to the gym around noon. After getting back from there, I went with five or so other people to go apple picking. I came away with almost 10 pounds of apples, about a quarter pound of raspberries (including a breed I had never seen before, which was yellow), and a half-dozen great donuts (which are all gone now. What was the point of even going to the gym?)

Also, that event, if not that date, marks one year of blogging. (This post wasn't the first one, but the two before it were just experimenting and stuff.) Sooo... what's changed in the past year? Anything? What's blogging done for me? Again - anything?

Well, the first question - some things have definitely changed. I'm now more assertive, motivated, and outgoing than I was a year ago. Writing pointed responses to angry e-mails I've got for my CT writing, being a substitute teacher, starting to take anti-depressants, finally reaching some kind of stable state between me and Gretchen, kissing Katye - all that would have been almost unimaginable in the fall of 2003. So things have definitely changed for the better, but I'm not sure that they've changed enough.

Fuck, I was just about to list all the problems I didn't manage to fix - but overly critical much? What, did I expect to go from loser to Renaissance man in six weeks or less? Things are better, so it would be pretty damn stupid of me to list all the reasons they aren't perfect. I have stuff to aim for, goals in mind, more ways I could improve - there's nothing bad about that.

As for blogging? I don't know, it's been fun. It's hardly what I had originally thought it would be - %50 diary, %40 fiction, %10 politics or philosophical musing or whatever. It didn't take me long to realize that a weblog was a bad format for fiction. And I might have made an effort to write more and post it on the server space that UR provides, but the CT took priority - I never had the time or motivation to set up that web page and write enough fiction to make it worthwhile. I've just been using this mostly as a diary. I've censored it a bit because (as I've explained before) there's always stuff I wouldn't want everyone to know about, but other than that I've been using this just like I used to use a journal kept with Word on a Zip disc, and before that with a pen on paper. To organize my thoughts and think about things more deeply - with the added benefit of getting feedback once in a while. Politics has appeared now and then, and I plan to do another political post soon, but basically, well, it's just for fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I've realized a new "rule to live by" which, if I can stick to it, would probably greatly improve how I'm doing in classes.

For my purposes, "the last minute" is now defined as "midnight of the night before the real last minute."

I have missed several classes lately for bad reasons. I don't mind missing them for good reasons, which can include, "I have something more important to do," or "I'm dead tired," or even "Nothing is going to happen, going to class won't affect my grade at all, there's no point." Sometimes those are good reasons. But I don't think it's a good reason to miss class because I put something off until the last minute and underestimated how long it would take me. And that's happened twice in the past week. As far as I know, the teachers haven't taken points off when I've handed something in at the end of class instead of the beginning, but, A) why press my luck, and B) classes don't have to be my first priority, but they damn well shouldn't be my last.

My work ethic is strange, really. Working for myself or my family, there's practically none. Hell, just look at the CT: I'm all over articles and I'm cheerful until 6 a.m. on Thursday, but Chad has been telling me to tack some front pages up on the wall and I've been dodging him for weeks. And other examples abound. But for a boss, I'm eager to please. When I applied for a job as a sub, my dad was genuinely shocked when I got a good (and by good, I mean glowing) letter of recommendation from a previous boss. And despite the many reasons not to, I only missed one or two days at the [shudder] junk mail factory, even though it would have been easy to miss more.
Okay, so technically, we didn't live the dream this week - technically.

For news, managing editor and editor-in-chief, and I think sports, getting out before 6 a.m. is called living the dream. Today, we called the paper done at 6:09 a.m. In other words... not too bad.

We were helped enormously by Meliora Weekend. A whole bunch of stories which just required writers to go to talks, ceremonies or whatever, and write about them. And in several of the cases the writer volunteered or was going anyway, so finding writers was easy too. I think we only had one story that required anything like investigation this week. There were only two reasons why we weren't out of there by 2 a.m. One: other people. When six different editors want to print their page at once, it takes a while. And two: I had to write that one investigative story (about a student government snafu. They make the CT look responsible and organized, and anyone who's written for us knows that's damn scary), and it involved a hearing that happened at 8 p.m. Wednesday. If that story could have been written even a little bit earlier, if we had the printer and proofreaders all to ourselves by some miracle, we could have been out of there by 2 a.m. - hell, 11 p.m. But considering this is the real world - no, 6:09 is nothing to complain about, I guess.

Of course, I'd be a lot more exultant (or simply asleep) if I didn't have a paper to write for a class, which I've barely started on and I've put off until the last minute. Yes, I'm an idiot.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The hall has gone crazy. Rich came over to visit with me and Seth, and he always livens things up. Also, James Ng had come to get advice on an article from me. It needed work, but hey, he's just starting. And both James and Kenny were extremely hyper. And James met Rich for the first time, and promptly got hit on. (Bizarrely enough, James and Rich's ex-boyfriend have the same last name and both speak Cantonese as their first language...)

Which reminds me, I think a conversation I had this afternoon was the funniest I've had in a long, long time. (This isn't verbatim. Sorry. But I think I've got all the important stuff and got it in the right order. Wow, I'm really getting into the journalism thing if I put a disclaimer like that on my personal journal/blog.)

I've just handed in homework to my teacher after a class in Meliora 212, and I've gone back up the stairs and I see Katye sitting on the couch at the top of the stairs, waiting to meet someone.

KATYE: So why are you so dressed up?
ME: No reason, I just felt like it.

Seth walks by on his way to a class.

SETH: Oh, nice shirt, Cyrus.

Katye says something snide.

SETH: Well you know, I'll bet Katye's just paying so much attention to how you're dressed because she has a crush on you.

He goes on to his class. Katye and I stick around and keep talking, a bit awkwardly after that remark.

KATYE: I think he really has a crush on you, and he's just projecting it onto me. Be careful, Cyrus.
ME: Meh, I'm used to it.
KATYE: You're used to getting hit on by gay guys? Happens a lot, does it?
ME: Yeah, I guess. I can think of two. That's relatively a lot.
KATYE: And how many girls have hit on you?
ME (thinking): Maybe two... definitely one.
KATYE: You're attracting more gay guys than girls? I'd be worried. It makes you wonder...

Just then, Rich comes up the stairs. Apparently he was in a class, which was taking a break just then because it was a 2 1/2 hour class. So when I see him, I say -

ME: Ah, speak of the devil.
RICH: Me? You were talking about me?
ME: Oh, I was just telling her a story. About Las Vegas.
RICH (joking): Did you tell her about how I sodomized you?
KATYE: I don't want to know. I don't want to know. I don't want to know.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Shit. They want my blood.

I stopped by the blood drive today just out of curiosity. Sure enough, they still have that thing saying that you can't donate if you spent over six months in Western Europe any time after 1982. But this time, I noticed a clause they didn't have last time I checked: now, it's six months in Europe after 1982 but before 1996. So next time - I can't today - I should donate.

Shit. I've had blood drawn twice, just enough to be tested for blood or tissue type. Both times it made me so dizzy and nauseous that I had to sit down or lie down after. Don't ask me why; maybe I'd be fine if I just did it on a full stomach or didn't look at the syringe or something.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I'm watching commentary on the presidential debates right now on CNN. Maybe I'll be back later to write more about the debate in general, but one thing jumped out at me.

A fact-checking talking head just came on and "corrected" what Kerry had said about job loss under Bush. He said that Kerry claimed 1.6 million had been lost, but in reality, as far as private sector jobs go (emphasis mine, and it's not meant to represent an exact quote), only half that many jobs have been lost.

So, if 1.6 million jobs have been lost and only 800,000 of them are in the private sector, then that means... can you guess? It means... Bush has created 800,000 government jobs.

In my free time, I'm working on a list of myths and big lies. Lie #1: the Earth is flat. Lie #2: the Jews are our affliction. Lie #3: The Republican party is the party of smaller, limited government.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Huh. I would have posted once if not twice over the past few days, but Blogspot was having some weird technical difficulties. And I don't have the energy or even desire to write seperate posts with changed timestamps and stuff. So, here's my best attempt at remembering and summarizing what I was going to write.

Tuesday night: After seeing the Vice-Presidential debate, I left feeling depressed, convinced that Cheney had won by a little bit if not a lot. So I was surprised but relieved when Andrew Sullivan, Jesse and Ezra at, Kos, and several polls all said that Edwards had won or at least called it a tie. I've rarely been happier to be wrong.

Wednesday afternoon: Dude, I rule. I wrote four pages of a paper in about three hours and I think it turned out pretty good. Well, I probably shouldn't be patting myself on the back yet. But when I get it back, if I get a good grade on it, then a whole lot of patting myself on the back is merited. It must take some kind of writing skill to completely phone something in and get the same grade that a freshman would work hours on and plan carefully for. Also, when I quickly reviewed my paper at the last minute I found it a bit amusing how CT style is getting incorporated into all my writing (even here, with the italics and stuff).

Now: A very good CT night, I'd say. If we had had the usual five pages instead of six, or even if there weren't several other sections still around fighting with us for rank in the printer line, we would be out of here already. For once this week... nothing major went wrong. We assigned a lot of articles and more than enough of them came in, and were plenty long, and nothing really big came up at the last minute and so on.

I could get up to four hours of sleep tonight, depending on exactly how prepared I want to be for my classes tomorrow. And Meliora Weekend is on the way. Not bad at all. :)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Huh, I see I didn't post over the weekend. It's not that nothing happened, I just didn't feel like it.

I went to the Train concert. It was fun - good music, and the lead singer, whatshisname, had an entertaining stage presence or whatever you'd call it. I mean, the music was good, and so were the jokes. "You know how at some concerts, you'll get people tearing their shirts off, and flashing the band? Well... I'd just like to thank all the guys in the audience for not doing it here." And lots more like that. But I really feel sorry for CAB and/or UR Concerts. Just a couple weeks after the CT Ed Board wrote an editorial saying basically that entertainment on campus sucked, which pissed a lot of people off (rightly, IMO) because they put a lot of work into that stuff and it's normally hugely successful, they hold the Train concert and they get terrible attendance. That must have been a terrible night for Anna. Not only was there that problem, but all through the concert she kept looking for her boyfriend Jesse, who never showed up. Sure, as far as I know, it's possible that he never firmly agreed to, but still - Anna's a great person, it takes a real idiot to leave her hanging.

There are a ton of CT stories this week, and there probably will be next week with Meliora Weekend coming up. That sounds bad, but it's really not, because we won't have to run crappy stuff to fill space and us editors won't have to write anything important.

My big project for the week, maybe even more important than the paper due Wednesday for English class, is cleaning my room before my parents get here for Meliora Weekend. Compared to some people, it's not bad, but still - what they don't know won't hurt me. :)