Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Love Songs, Turkey Soup, and Shoes

I sit here with a full arsenal of Hershey's kisses and a very bored roommate. Rachel and I are bored out of our minds. Not just a little bit, but I mean bored. I have a long list of stuff to do, but none of it is ever going to be important, nor do I much care if it ever gets done, but somehow I feel compelled to finish little projects.

Knowing that everybody loves great love songs, I pirated and compiled a list of the greatest love songs onto a CD for my mom. Well, apparently, she didn't like all the songs, so she made her own list which is almost fifty songs long! And my sister did the same thing with a good thirty songs. They demanded that I make them new CD sets of the greatest love songs (in their opinions). So I downloaded. And I created lists. Now I have to burn them. Wish me luck.

Turkey soup is good. Especially when I roasted the turkey myself, chopped it up, and then turned it into soup. Note to self: more pepper. Always more pepper. I'll be eating soup for a week, there is so much! And sooo tasty. Rachel loves it too.

Nothing new to report really... Christmas was good. My family spent the day at the coast since we previously celebrated with our important people. Took Dad Geocaching for the first time - I don't think he is too enthusiastic about the sport, but he may also be frustrated because the GPS signal was bouncy and we were working in an area with tree cover. Hopefully, I can get him out again and we will have more luck. I got a bunch of awesome stuff from my parents. Dad got me toys: giant microbes and pixel blocks. Mom got me practical gifts including new washcloths and hand towels, baking pans, a winter/rain coat, and shoes. Cabela's had a major sale, and I got brand new Merrell shoes (retail $90) for under $30! Cabela's has some awesome deals going on right now... check it out if you can.

So that's it for now. I am going to finish eating my kisses.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sanity, sort of

Holy paperclips Batman, it's been forever since I last posted! Well, the good news is that I've finally calmed down since finals week ended. :) Bad news: now I'm bored. At least I've kept pretty busy the last few days... here's a quick recap of my now-sane life:

Blue Screen of Death: I was trying to figure out why my CD-RW drive wouldn't work when I received the Blue Screen of Death. Having never before seen the dread' Blue Screen, I was a bit concerned. When I saw, "All physical memory has been deleted," I was more than a bit concerned. I didn't know what to do! Logical course of action when the computer has gone wonky: shut it off. At least if it doesn't have power it can't fuck things up any worse, right? In theory, correct. I killed it and restarted it, praying the whole time my files would still be intact and that the Blue Screen of Death had not, in fact, destroyed my life's work. Somehow, miraculously, my computer started and opened everything correctly. Stupid Blue Screen of Death. Take that! In the end, I purchased a new DVD/CD+/-RW drive (after much research, price comparing, and careful delibration) and got a pretty reasonable deal after a rebate offer. So I had to install this new contraption, and remember, I'm fresh off the dread' Blue Screen attack. Opened the guts up, popped the old CD-RW drive out, slid the new one in, closed 'er up, and turned it on. No go. BIOS screen. Now being tech un-savvy, the BIOS screen means just as much to me as the Blue Screen of Death, but instead, it's black. Between the Blue Screen and the BIOS screen, I was at the end of my short rope. Called a friend who kindly came by and fixed me up. Apparently I had my drives backward, though installed technically correctly, or something, but in the end, I was wrong. Everything worked beautifully, and now I have a DVD burner. YAY! :D Until the screensaver died. I'm using a standard Windows screensaver, but it wouldn't come on like I wanted it to. Took me two days to solve that problem, but I did. As of this morning, my computer is finally working correctly again! *keyboard not found, press any key to continue*

Christmas: Saturday, December 17th was spent at my Aunt's house in NE Albany. Everybody was there! Grandma and Grandpa and all of their kids, their kids' spouses, their grandkids, and now two great-grandkids. We're a big bunch! And there was so much food... we all agreed to make snacky food, but everybody brought enough snacky food for everybody else... oh dear, there was so much food. Good food. A few presents, lots of laughter, lots of everybody simply being there. That's what the holiday was about for us - everybody was there. :)

Dates: So I've gone out on a couple dates recently and everybody wants to know about them. Yes, I had fun. No, I don't intend on exploring any sort of relationship with the boys I went on dates with. They are nice boys, but they are not the kinds of boys I'm looking for to date. I'm only 22, not in any rush to date or get married. OH! And if you haven't seen it, go see "Just Friends!" It is laugh-out-loud hilarious --- and coming from me, that says something!

So why have I been too busy to update my blog? Calendars! During finals week, Mom called me up and reminded me to get busy working on our family calendars and that I only had one week because we were celebrating the holiday a week earlier than normal this year. Shit. Panic. Cry. Moving on... :)

Calendars: These calendars are custom-made using Publisher. I've been creating them since 2000, and my mom did them on her computer starting (I think) around '97 (with a different program). Since I started creating them, they've solidified into a single format and style. Each year I simply have to update the changing dates and add/delete people as necessary (births, deaths, marriages, divorces, the usual stuff). I opened a new document this year, got everything set up, transferred my text as necessary, and then began the long and painful task of finding graphics online. I don't know what the files are called, but I need to find a place that provides small graphics without white edges or borders so that when I place the image on top of another picture, I don't have white spaces. Can anyone help with that? But anyway, instead of using Google to search for pictures, I've been taking pictures each time I go Geocaching. The 2006 calendars are about 90% original images I took myself with my Sony DSC-W5 digital camera. Yay me for thinking ahead! I printed 10 copies, Mom padded them with the thingy-do-hickey, Whitney wrapped them, everybody "ooh-ed" and "awe-ed" at them at Christmas. I hope everybody likes them. Sorry about the error in February, I think I missed Washington's Birthday or something minor. Oh well.

And then there is work. Working about 30 hours a week during the break, which isn't bad... I'm staying busy and keeping warm and out of trouble. Life could be worse. Hopefully I'll keep this blog more updated, but if nothing happens here, know that I'm okay and nothing exciting is happening.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Proof Miracles Exist

My cousin Matthew is leaving his rehabilitation center tomorrow and is coming home for good. Matthew suffered major head/brain trauma just over a month ago. By only a miraculous series of events, he is alive and doing better each day. You can read more of his story at the link to the left, "Matthew Mead's Message Board." A very big "thank you" to the big guy above. :) Thank you.

How to Avoid Finals Week

I spent yesterday at the coast. Patrick and I left town by 9am and we were in Lincoln City by 10:30am (with a quick pit-stop at Ainslee's to pick up some delicious salt-water taffy). The day was overcast but cold and dry. We went to the factory outlets; I got a new coat! We'll see how long the white stays white, but I'm hopeful. I got a $300 Columbia winter jacket for just under $100 (*happy dance!*).

After shopping, we headed off to find some Geocaches! We had some trouble getting started... and only got sorta lost once or twice... but over the course of the afternoon, we managed to find three caches of the six we hoped to find. I'm convinced that two were simply missing, because when we went to find them, there was no place for them to be hiding and caches are never buried. Long story short, we got a few and that's good enough. I'm not out there for quantity, the fun is in the hunt and in the places we were able to see.

We did see a few interesting places:
Lunch by Devil's Lake in Lincoln City was awesome (and so cold!). Patrick, the lobster claw/arm is still going to get you, I promise. We stopped next to Siletz Bay to go caching, and ended up enjoying the view instead of finding the cache. Too bad the tide was in while we were there. And our last stop at Gleneden was simply beautiful. I'd already nabbed the cache at the wayside (and sadly, it has since been plundered), but we hung out on the cliff for a while watching the waves roll in. Some of them were a good two- or three-hundred yards long and so green... I'll try to get a picture up soon.

So the day wasn't perfect, but it was a wonderful and much-needed diversion from my paper writing and studying. 56 caches and counting!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Brief History and the Value of Handwriting (ENG495 Final Paper)

Please note: I am this paper's original author. DO NOT use this paper as your own work. Cite me if you quote me. And don't even think you can get away with plagiarism.

In attempting to research handwriting, I had some difficulty finding relevant sources and information. If I were seeking facts about writing in general, more sources could apply, but I tried to stick strictly to the art of handwriting. Contemporary information about handwriting abounds, especially due to the resurgence of calligraphy as a fine art, but historical information is spotty. If I researched for decades, I would never be able to write a full history of handwriting, and I shall not attempt to cover every aspect of handwriting or its history in this essay. Instead, I will try to answer two important questions: first, how did handwriting develop? Second, how have attitudes toward handwriting changed as other communication technologies have developed?

A Brief History of Handwriting
Handwriting has been around since man first picked up a stick and drew a symbol in the dirt to communicate with another human. Denis Baron wrote in his essay, From Pencils to Pixels, “We normally assume that writing was invited to transcribe speech, but that is not strictly correct. The earliest Sumerian inscriptions, dating from ca. 3500 BCE, recorded not conversations, incantations, or other sorts of oral utterances, but land sales, business transactions, and tax accounts” (Baron 19). An historical gap exists for handwriting between the Sumerians and the later Greeks and Romans. Few examples of handwritten (literally carved in stone) communication still survive. Mary Bellis wrote an article on about.com about the history of writing utensils. She said, “The earliest means of writing that approached pen and paper as we know them today was developed by the Greeks. They employed a writing stylus, made of metal, bone or ivory, to place marks upon wax-coated tablets. The tablets made in hinged pairs, closed to protect the scribe's notes. The first examples of handwriting (purely text messages made by hand) originated in Greece. The Grecian scholar, Cadmus invented the written letter—text messages on paper sent from one individual to another” (Bellis). She continued about the Chinese inventing ‘Indian Ink’ around 2700 BCE. The invention of ink in China (and other cultures with inks in different colors made from different materials) paralleled the invention of paper. “The early Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Hebrews, used papyrus and parchment papers. One of the oldest pieces of writing on papyrus known to us today is the Egyptian "Prisse Papyrus" which dates back to 2000 BCE” (Bellis). Only the most wealthy citizens of ancient societies were literate enough or had enough time to value and understand handwriting, so the skill was not widely known.

While ink made writing possible, the invention of the pencil probably changed handwriting more so than any other event. Baron continues, “Just as writing was not designed initially as a way of recording speech, the pencil was not invented to be a writing device. The ancient lead-pointed stylus was used to scribe lines—the lead made a faint pencil-like mark on a surface, suitable for marking off measurements but not for writing” (Baron 22). Modern pencils do not contain lead. All mechanical pencils and the vast majority of wooden pencils contain graphite instead of lead. The first pencils were made by joiners to scribe measurements in wood because they didn’t leave a permanent dent in the wood. The pencil was later adopted by note-takers, scientists, and others who needed to write, sketch, or take measurements in the field. “Early pencils had knobs at one end so that they could be fastened with string or chain to a notebook, creating the precursor to the laptop computer” (Baron 22).

Moving from quill pens to fountain pens also made handwriting an easier skill to master. Bellis writes, “The fountain pen's design came after a thousand years of using quill-pens. Early inventors observed the apparent natural ink reserve found in the hollow channel of a bird's feather and tried to produce a similar effect, with a man-made pen that would hold more ink and not require constant dipping into the ink well. However, a feather is not a pen, only a natural object modified to suit man's needs. Filling a long thin reservoir made of hard rubber with ink and sticking a metal 'nib' at the bottom was not enough to produce a smooth writing instrument. Lewis Waterman, an insurance salesman, was inspired to improve the early fountain pen designs after destroying a valuable sales contract with leaky-pen ink. Lewis Waterman's idea was to add an air hole in the nib and three grooves inside the feed mechanism” (Bellis). Knowing a few Waterman fountain pen owners for some time, I can attest to the design and functionality of his pens. I overheard a woman in a store once tell a saleswoman, “I couldn’t live without my Waterman so much that I bought four more just in case I lost the first one.”

Pencils and pens work well in the hand, but not all communication occurs now with the force of ink or graphite onto paper. Typewriters were the first transition to the world we know as typing. The Wikipedia article on typewriters recounts much of typing history. “In 1714, Henry Mill obtained a patent in Britain for a machine that from the patent sounds similar to a typewriter, but nothing further is known... Other early developers of writing machines include Pellegrino Turri (1808) who also invented carbon paper. Many of these earliest machines, including Turri's, were developed to allow the blind to write” (Wikipedia). The typewriter we know today was invented by Giuseppe Ravizza in 1855, however, typing speeds did not outpace traditional handwriting until after 1870. Electric typewriters debuted in the 1970’s.

The line between electronic typewriter and computer blurred toward the end of the 1980’s, and computers took the lead when it came to text production. I remember when my parents purchased our first computer. Dad told Mom the computer was simply a fancy calculator and would be phased out in favor of new technologies within the decade. Mom ignored him and got one anyway. Nearly twenty years later, Mom laughed at Dad last week when he was agonizing over which kind of processor to have Dell put in his brand new personal laptop. I should mention, though, that Dad had to correspond with Dell by hand. He refused to order his new laptop over the Internet (“Some thug will steal my credit card information and create a new identity.”) or over the phone (“The government is listening.”). And he didn’t buy a laptop to surf the Internet from his recliner, oh no. He physically ripped the Wireless Internet Card out of the laptop just in case somehow, the wireless signal bounced across the living room carpet magically into his computer where “thugs” could raid his personal data. Clearly, Dad prefers handwritten communication due to its security and formality. I don’t blame him.

The Value of Handwriting
In a study conducted by Pitney-Bowes, Inc., 66% of surveyed Americans trust their post office more than they trust their police department, Internet provider, school system, long distance carrier, the media, and the government. “Regular mail is considered to be the most private and secure form of communication with people” (Pitney-Bowes, Inc.). The USPS delivers mail rain or shine, but one never knows exactly where an e-mail is at any given point between sender and receiver. The study showed that, at the time of the survey, people preferred to use slower communication channels and handwritten messages for their most important correspondence.
Unlike 30 years ago, mail is not the primary form of communication for many people. According to the Report of the President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service, e-mailing is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to communicate, as is talking on the telephone with the advent of calling cards and “10-10-something-or-other” numbers (www.treas.gov). Instant messaging is another way of quick communication without cost. All of these forms of interaction are cheaper than physically writing a letter to someone and mailing it via “snail mail.” However, none of those forms support the intimacy and personality a handwritten letter provides. This paper was stolen from the internet without permission.
The real problem with handwriting today is the amount of time and skill it requires. Recounting his own handwriting learning process, Robert Klose commented, “Writing by hand is a slow process; the slower the better, actually. The physical act of slipping lines of wet ink onto paper is an almost organic connection between the writer and the word. And when one takes the time to emphasize shape, size, and proportion, one is lingering with those words, giving them time to percolate in the mind and settle in for the long haul. Using a computer gets the job done, but it is nothing like a meditative act. It's more like doing the dishes” (Klose). The simplicity of writing by hand allows one to think about the words and messages they are writing, thus making a handwritten letter the most intimate form of non-verbal communication available.

In addition to the intimate aspect, the value of handwritten letters goes almost unsaid. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington kept many letters and diaries that, without handwriting, would not exist. These personal diaries provide a window to the beginnings of the United States that books and official accounts cannot supply. Letters between soldiers and their wives at home during wars consist entirely of handwriting to this day. My friend Kevin commented in an Instant Messaging conversation, “While our soldiers are now able to instantaneously communicate with their families at home, nothing can replace the power and intimacy of a personally written letter. Should the worst befall a soldier on foreign soil far from home, that small scrap of paper with it's imperfect lettering and technique may be the only connection a widow or orphaned child may have to their loved one” (Perkins). My same friend later confessed, “I was good at [handwriting] and hated every minute of it. That kind of [stuff] is fine if you have a plethora of time, but when school years are cut short and test scores are in the toilet, it's time to refocus on the necessities” (Perkins). The academic, professional, and business worlds require typewritten documents, as they should. It would take too much time to write out a full inventory for a warehouse or a list of employees for a chain store. Furthermore, hand writing a twenty-page paper for class is not going to be much fun. Technology including spell-checkers, thesauruses, and other word processing advances allow people to type much faster and with greater accuracy than by traditional handwriting.

Handwriting uses have varied across every generation. Neanderthal man used his handwriting to communicate a great hunt or victory over an enemy. As above, the Sumerians used handwriting to seal business ventures. Likewise, Colonial Americans used handwriting for business and to correspond with one another when separated by a great distance. We, American twenty-somethings, use handwriting to jot down notes, to make a grocery list, and to simply leave someone a greeting. This paper was stolen from the internet without permission. However, we do not use handwriting as our most formal form of communication. I am forced to submit my term papers typewritten or electronically dropped off to my professor’s e-mail address. I often won’t even meet the person to which I correspond; they are nothing more than an e-mail address, no face or handshake necessary.

The demise of handwriting began well before technology intervened. Tamara Plakins Thornton writes in her book, Handwriting in America: A Cultural History, “In colonial America, the ability to read was treasured largely as the ability to gain direct access to Scripture. To ensure that children achieved Bible literacy, reading instruction took place at age six or seven, before the child assumed any substantial burden of work, in an informal, domestic (and therefore female) environment. Typically, children were taught by their mothers... Because reading and writing were understood to serve entirely different ends, instruction in one was divorced from instruction in the other. Reading was taught first, as a universal spiritual necessity; writing was taught second, and then only to some. That women were entrusted with reading instruction is just one indication that reading was perceived as an elementary skill, calling for no other abilities either to teach or to acquire it... The end product of this system of instruction was the ability to read the printed word, not to write—not even to read handwriting” (Thornton 5). Handwriting in colonial America was reserved for only the most wealthy families. The fact that so many people did learn to write is a testament to the value early Americans placed on handwriting skill and tradition.

The traditional styles of handwriting were abandoned from elementary school curricula in the 1920’s in favor of methods that produced a more fluid script and greater readability. Zaner-Bloser called this new style the “Palmer manuscript method” (Zaner-Bloser). As seen in Figure 1, the Palmer method incorporated two very simple strokes for early elementary students just learning to write; a ball shape and a stick shape were the only two strokes to master. In about third grade, a student was taught to slant their “sticks” to the right, to turn “balls” into ovals, and how to connect those two shapes into simple cursive handwriting. An example of the Zaner-Bloser script can be seen in Figure 2.

Newer forms of handwriting taught in classes across the country try to simplify cursive to a form hardly worthy of the name. “Monkey tails” and other odd terms are used to describe small hooks or loops added to the Palmer manuscript method to make it more complicated without decreasing speed or ease of writing. An example of the D’Nealian method is shown in Figure 3. The drawback to this new “D’Nealian” style is that students learn four strokes to print and then must learn four new strokes to write in cursive (Zaner-Bloser). My own sister learned the D’Nealian style of handwriting in elementary school, and then later learned the more traditional Zaner-Bloser method as her primary form of cursive because she thought it looked nicer and was easier to read. I learned the Zaner-Bloser method and use it for note-taking and general correspondence. For formal documents, I will sometimes even switch to the old Spencerian scripts of my grandparents.

The International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH), founded in 1949, is the oldest and largest penmanship association in the United States. IAMPETH's goals are to: “one, practice and teach the fine art of beautiful penmanship; two, restore the teaching of penmanship in schools; three, improve the handwriting of young people; four, honor the Master Penmen of today; and five, preserve and share with others the rich tradition of American Penmanship” (IAMPETH). The IAMPETH Master Penman Society was founded in 2001to recognize association members with exceptional handwriting ability. Clearly, the value of handwriting has not gone down even with the advent of computers. The greatest honor awarded to the Master Penman is the certificate: the Master must write his own. Figure 4 is one of many examples of such certificates (IAMPETH).

When handwriting became wide-spread, it was the fastest form of communication across great distances. This paper was stolen from the internet without permission. People valued handwriting for its permanency and beauty. Typewriters and computers threatened the age of handwriting, reducing and changing its use in modern society by many people. However, the fine art of handwriting remains a skill we each learn as children. Technology may have changed how we write and communicate with each other, but handwriting is still all around each of us. Every time we sign our names, send a letter, jot a note, pen out a grocery list, or simply scratch a reminder to ourselves, we employ the art of handwriting regardless of new technology. Handwriting is traditional. It is functional. And it is necessary.

Works Cited

Baron, Denis. “From Pencils to Pixels.” Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies. Ed. Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe. Logan, Utah, Utah State University Press, p15-33.

Bellis, Mary. “A Brief History of Writing Instruments.” 6 Dec 2005.
<
http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa100197.htm>.

The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH). Dec. 2005. 6 Dec. 2005. .

Klose, Robert. A Palmer-method Penman Recalls the Write Stuff.” Christian Science Monitor, 16 Apr. 2002: Vol. 94 Issue 99, p14, 1p.

Perkins, Kevin. Trillian Instant Message Conversation to the author. 24 Nov. 2003. and 14 Mar. 2004.

Pitney-Bowes, Inc. “America’s Feelings about Mail.” May 2000. 6 Dec. 2005.

Thornton, Tamara Plakins. Handwriting in America: A Cultural History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Dec 2005. 6 Dec 2005. .

www.treas.gov. “Embracing the Future: Making the Tough Choices to Preserve Universal Mail Service. A Report of the President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service.” 9 Mar. 2004. 6 Dec. 2005. .

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting. Columbus, Ohio: Zaner-Bloser, Inc., 1993.

HSTS415 - Final Paper

Why has the acceptance of Darwinian evolution become so strong and universal among biologists? Sketch the major factors that have led to this current situation and evaluate the current acceptance of Darwinian evolution.

The current acceptance of Darwinian evolution has become incredibly strong due to many factors, most of which being a huge influx of genetics-related discoveries about evolution. Scientists have been able to pinpoint the amino acid in humans and modern gorillas that varies, and it is only one amino acid. Further genetic research points out that the same kinds of genes are found in all living organisms indicating a common ancestor. Darwinian evolution does not have to apply strictly to human evolution, but can be seen around the world in different animals and plants. Evidence of both land iguanas and finches evolving on the Galapagos Islands (where Darwin himself studied) shows how evolution occurs on a minor scale, perhaps a few hundred years for some species. Scientists and anthropologists have made discoveries that fill gaps in the fossil record. Cuvier was the first to look at fossils in the early 1800’s and figured out that newer animals were buried on top of older animals. Later, Richard Leakey and his team found ancient fossilized bones of early hominids (Ramapithecus, Homo habilis, and Australopithecus to name a few) in Africa that narrows the gap between theory and fact about human evolution.

While the scientific facts are overwhelming, there are sociological factors that play into the acceptance of Darwin’s theory. Not believing in evolution in this culture can be socially unacceptable. I have friends who are deeply religious and do not completely buy into Darwin’s theory, but they do not say anything to anyone because they fear they will be openly chastised for their beliefs. They would rather have people think they believe in hard science facts than in God. Also, evolution and creation must be taught in schools (at least in Oregon) equally, but some teachers fear teaching creation due to the required separation of church and state.

Those who take the time to study the evidence find evolution convincing. Simply put, the facts point that evolution must have occurred. There are no alternatives to Darwinian evolution that fill the same gaps and prove so clearly how things change. Biology, without evolution, is simply life until life ends. Evolution represents, or rather signifies, the ability of life to change, and that suggests “future.”

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Current mood: "Ho Hum"

Worked this morning and got off early (due to a number of factors, primarily that I wasn't feeling very well and the other lady wanted to finish my shift and I didn't mind in the least). Had a very pleasant conversation with my grandma, and later, my parents. Drove home, talked to my roommates, worked on one of my papers, and then got ready to go to a formal dinner at a fraternity.

So the events unfolded thusly: I went, I saw, I conquered. My "date" (nor any of the other boys) paid a single compliment my direction, which, though I did not expect it, I am sorely disappointed in their lack of social grace. Focus was mostly small-talk, story swapping, "my fish was bigger than your fish" tales. For some reason, I didn't even set up any expectations before I went, just decided to go with whatever happened. I remained social throughout the evening, though almost entirely with people I already knew. Food was pretty good. I made a quiet comment to Emily (roommate was there too, thankfully!) that my steak tasted like french toast. That's good though, surprisingly, maple-y steak-like-meat-substance sorta works well. The mint chocolate chip cheesecake was a bit... sweet to say the least. Also, not bad. Ooh, my salad rant: salad does *NOT* consist of WEEDS! Spinach is good, lettuce is good, WEEDS ARE NOT GOOD. And olives? And cheese? Ooooh weird salad.

I managed to be social and not look too goofy most of the night. I'm not honestly sure yet if I had fun. I went, I saw, I conquered (fear of people, fear of being social). "Fun" just isn't quite the right word. "Trying" with a hint of "humorously bland" tossed in.

Going to bed. I can't take any more talking for one day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Continued Frustration

My frustrations continue. Today has been a long day, but lunch was good and I am "working" now, updating a website (I'd link to it here, but it doesn't actually exist yet). Never in my life did I think I'd be designing a website, let alone a professional one for a multi-million-dollar organization. Kinda puts my bloggy to shame. :)

So last night, yesterday in fact, was horrible. I overslept (first time ever!) and was almost late to my student teaching job. Plus it was my last day, so I had to say good-bye to the students. I'm gonna miss those kids: they were so well-behaved and inquisitive. Then work was crazy and I got home a bit later than I wanted. I inhaled my dinner in anticipation of two different boys coming over (hehe, not like that, I wish!), but one was two hours later than I expected and the other stood me up entirely. If you say you're gonna call me back, call me back damnit. I'm also pretty pissed that a friend invited me earlier in the day to spend the evening with him then decided to go out with the guys instead. Not only that, but he didn't even go out with the guys. And while I was waiting at home for my two boys to show up, the evil boys from down the street came over and insulted me twice within the first minute they were here. Twice! Eventually they left, and my roommates were gone too. Bored and procrastinating, I went and got a movie, curled up on the couch near the fireplace, and watched "The Day After Tomorrow." Jake Gyllenhaal *swoon*

And today has not been much better. I let anger and a wrathful tongue get ahead of me this morning with a friend. The really sad part is that I don't regret it in the least. He will read this, and he knows he's had that coming for a very long time.

Today was my last English 495 class meeting... *sob.* They made me feel so welcome and accepted. For the first time in college, I knew everyones' name and a bit of info about them. I look forward to seeing them on campus in future terms and saying hi. --- The bad part about ENG495 is the KVAL broadcast about our class blog. They "quoted" one of my blog posts, but took my words entirely out of context. I'll copy my post here: ENG495 Blog Entry. They only showed the first two sentences! So now I look stupid and my words (if you read the rest of the post) were GOOD, not bad at all. I was just trying to be funny in a world of serious thought. Ouch. Lesson learned.

My roommates planned a girls' night. But they only invited my little sister. And she's blowing us off for a boy even though she said she'd come to our thing first.

I don't think having a pity party for yourself is wrong when it's completely validated. I'm still working through a bit of grief over losing my friend; I'm trying to understand where I fit into my friends' lives (obviously I'm not ranking very high); and boys... OOH! *smacks forehead*

Misery 1, Company 0.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

A friend challenged me recently to think of the things in life that truly make me happy. So here's a list, just so the whole world knows.
  • Ever stuggled with a problem, had someone explain it to you over and over until it hurts to think? And then, you find someone else to explain it and *WHAM!* you finally *get* it. That literal "OHHH! I get it!" is a pretty awesome thing to watch a kid experience. That is the reason I want to teach.
  • Clean laundry smell. Yes, it's random, but I love the smell of clean laundry.
  • Rain. Not drizzle or a downpour, but that constant grey mid-afternoon rain that goes on forever in Oregon. I love to listen to it, to be out walking in it, the rain dappling my face and oustretched hands, making millions of rings in the many street puddles, cascading down my car window as I sit, mesmerized by the many awesome properties of water.
  • I love creating. doesn't matter much what I'm working on, be it a fingerpainting, a cake, or a term paper, I love the act of creating. Especially if there is fire or glue involved. Don't ask.
  • A great song. Doesn't have to be a specific genre or by any particular artist. I like a good beat, a great voice, and a simple tune.
  • Games. Board games, card games, made-up-on-the-spot games. Not to win, not to discover, just to be there, playing with a friend.
  • Mom's christmas sugar cookies. Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Christ, the season of giving, about family, about sharing. You take those cookies out of the equation and I'm gone. Okay, not literally, but I be very *not happy!*
  • New backpacks. I'm not a purse girl, but I love backpacks. I don't know why.
  • "Bliss." The feeling I get when I find a new Geocache.
  • The smell of Lebanon in the winter. Home.
  • Laughter. The sound of people laughing, not at anyone's expense, but just laughing, sharing a moment, a great idea. The feeling I get when I make an old person break their "wise old person" face into a big grin and hearty chuckle at a silly joke.
  • I love accomplishment, not to gain praise or have pride, but to know that I *did* something. Which is not something I can say for my seminar paper at the moment.
  • Dancing. The feeling of controlled movements that roll together into a fluid harmony. Not talking about strict waltzes... any dance that allows me to free the inner spirit.
  • Writing. Putting words, thoughts, emotions, ideas, *myself* onto paper.
  • I love photography. A great picture isn't worth a thousand words... a great picture doesn't need words. I love those pictures that keep your attention for hours, wondering if any human has ever sat on the clouds or touched the little stream or seen past the dark circles of eyes into the soul.
  • Men: David James Elliott, Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, George Clooney... the list will be updated later.
  • I should put family and friends on this list, but I hope you know you're all more important to me than a silly list... that all I have to say about that.
  • Blog comments. To know that someone out there read my drivel and cared enough to make a comment. That's the highlight for every blogger. *hint hint*

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

HSTS415 - Term Paper

Richard E. Leakey:

A Biography, A Comparison to Darwin, and An Evaluation

"To some, it might seem that I have always been accident prone but I do not think that is the case. It is just that I have lived a fairly active life in some quite wild places and misadventures do occur." –Richard Leakey, One Life, 26.

Can someone who has not gone to college to take classes and learn in a formal educational environment be considered an expert? Richard Leakey is a fine example of someone who has done just that. His work on human evolution and anthropology is entirely field-based expertise and expands Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to show how humans evolved over time.

Richard E. Leakey's book, Origins, was published in 1977, eight years after the discovery of 1470, better known as "Lucy." The book was translated into ten languages and sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. An Amazon search brings up approximately 45 titles by or about Leakey. Most of his books concern human evolution, and he is regarded by many as an expert in his field.

Born in 1944, Leakey never intended to become a biologist, let alone a leading expert in evolutionary theory and biology. He was six years old when his parents took him on an excavation and he found his first bone, the jaw of an extinct species of giant pig. Upon seeing their child utterly engrossed in his own silent work (unusual for a six-year-old) not far from them, Leakey's parents investigated and usurped his find. Leakey tells in his autobiography, "Every time I see this specimen in the collection of Kenya's National Museum, I remember the incident. Indeed, I often wonder if it contributed to my original firm decision to avoid at all costs a profession that involved excavation and the search for fossils!" (Leakey, One Life, 29).

But Leakey, through many events, became a sort of archaeologist himself. In 1972, Leakey's team discovered what is often considered the "missing link" in the human evolutionary saga, Lucy. Named for the Beatles song playing in camp at the time of discovery, Lucy was of the species Homo habilis, one of the earliest known varieties of hominid. Most scientists and biologists believe the earliest variety, Ramapithecus, to be more evolved than the Australopithecus genus, but less evolved than the Homo genus. However, scientists are not sure if humans (Homo sapiens sapiens and the Homo genus) evolved from either Ramapithecus or Australopithecus, but evidence suggests Ramapithecus was an intermediary between the other two genera. Leakey bases his evidence for this trend on bone structures, mainly the shape of the skull. He wrote in Origins Reconsidered,

"The cranium that goes by the now famous accession number 1470 was clearly of the large-brain, small-cheek-teeth type of hominid. With a cranial capacity of close to 800 cubic centimeters, 1470 was obviously a good candidate for Homo habilis, as my colleagues repeatedly told me. However, I insisted on publishing it as Homo sp., meaning, yes I agree it is Homo, but I'm not prepared to say what species it is... For my caution, I was roundly criticized… These days I believe that this is probably correct" (Leakey, Origins Reconsidered, 133)

There is still controversy over Lucy's exact taxonomy.

The Leakey Foundation's website recounts more of Richard's life:

"In the 30 years following Leakey's first expedition, he and his team of paleoanthropologists unearthed more than two-hundred fossils. Many of the fossils were of high quality, and the most famous (with Alan Walker in 1984), "Turkana Boy," a Homo erectus roughly 1.6 million years old, is one of the most complete skeletons ever found… Although no longer active in fieldwork, Richard Leakey, as one of the foremost authorities on wildlife and nature conservation, continues to educate others about the dangers of environmental degradation through his many lectures and books" (Leakey Foundation).

Richard Leakey's work on human evolution depends almost entirely upon Charles Darwin's work. Darwin wrote about natural selection and how species change over time. He said in The Descent of Man: "The early male forefathers of man were probably furnished with great canine teeth, but as they gradually acquired the habit of using stones, clubs, and other weapons for fighting their enemies or rivals they would use their jaws and teeth less and less. In this case the jaws, together with the teeth, would become reduced in size" (Leakey, Origins, 74). Darwin could not have known about hominid teeth or how humans possibly evolved: the first hard biological evidence of this was not unearthed until a century later.

Darwin's argument for evolution had a few problems which could not be ignored. First was time: Leakey writes in the introduction to Darwin’s Origin of Species, "He knew that the geological phenomena he would witness would not fit into the 6,000-year timescale calculated on a literal reading of the Bible" (Darwin 13). Darwin could see from the number of fossils collected, and from geologic strata, that the Earth had existed much longer than the Bible permitted. Estimates ranged widely, but Darwin put his Earth at approximately three-hundred-million years old, based on estimated rates of erosion of the North and South Downs area in England. Modern estimates suggest the Earth is about four billion years old (Darwin 21).

Another of Darwin's problems was the lack of a significant fossil record. Scientists of his time could see and classify different species and varieties, but they couldn't establish a pattern relating ancient animals to modern animals because "linking" fossils or remains of intermediary species had not yet been discovered. Darwin explains, "Few transitional fossils seemed to exist, and physiological reasoning suggested that there was no conceivable gradual path from gills to lungs, or from a normal vertebrate fore-limb to a wing" (Darwin 15). This led biologists to believe that evolution, if it occurred at all, was at the hand of God. Darwin always insisted that evolution was gradual, rather than punctuated, but he was faced with a fossil record that seemed to confirm sudden changes (Darwin 15). Some scientists now believe evolution occurred in spurts, according to major changes in climate or habitat for a species.

Darwin also had trouble accounting for variation and heredity. Leaky writes, "He was particularly interested in the relative wide variations that can be seen in domesticated plants and animals, not only because of the analogy he drew between artificial and natural selection, but also because domesticated plants and animals seemed to him to offer the greatest hope for understanding the more general phenomena of inheritance" (Darwin 17). Darwin's contemporary, Jean Baptiste de Lamarck discussed a desire for change that caused a change to happen in the organism itself, and then to be passed on to its offspring. This "Lamarckism" as it is known, is a "use or disuse" theory. If an animal does not use a trait, the animal soon loses the trait. Likewise, if an animal possesses a trait that aids in its survival, the trait becomes more pronounced in its offspring. Leakey extends this idea to his own hominid research, using Lamarckism to account for hominid evolution.

Darwin had trouble accounting for human evolution in his first book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. While he never really addressed the issue in this book, he did write a minute amount. He identified what he believed to be a link between African apes and humans, and hypothesized that the human family evolved in Africa. Leakey's work suggests Darwin to have been correct, seeing as how all of the earliest hominid species have been found in Africa alone. "Darwin also formulated the notion that a complex of human-like characteristics—bipedal walking, tool making, and an enlarged brain—evolved in concert" (Leakey, Origins Reconsidered, 74). By the time Darwin published The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, he had theorized much about the origins of human history. "The hands and arms could hardly have been perfect enough to have manufactured weapons, or to have hurled stones and spears with true aim, as long as they were habitually used for supporting the whole weight of the body… or so long as they were especially fitted for climbing trees" (Leakey, Origins Reconsidered, 74). David Pilbeam, in Leakey's Origins Reconsidered, states, "For Darwin, the first evolutionary step our ancestors took away from the last common ancestry with the apes encompassed everything that came later to be identified—and valued—as 'human,' so plausible was it, so powerful an image, that it persisted until relatively recent times" (75). Darwin, unlike another of his contemporaries, Alfred Wallace, did not consider humans too intelligent, refined, or sophisticated to have natural selection apply to us.

Richard Leakey's work on human evolution greatly expounded Darwin's views. Humans did evolve, and Leakey's team uncovered much evidence to suggest this. Leakey writes in Origins,

"We left Ramapithecus, or rather the meager collection of fossil fragments that we know him by, tentatively exploring the forest fringes some nine to twelve million years ago. There then opens up an enormous fossil void until round about four million years ago. And it is not until the two- to three-million year stage that there is anything like enough hominid fossils for anyone to have a sensible conversation about. This yawning void is particularly frustrating because on one side of it there is just one creature, Ramapithecus, while milling about on the other side is a menagerie of hominids" (81).

The worst of Leakey's problems is, like Darwin's, the lack of a complete fossil record. The discovery of Lucy is special: it represents a nearly complete Homo habilis.

Richard Leakey didn’t disagree with Darwin’s work much at all. He expanded upon Darwin’s work, and due to the difference in time, was able to include some information about hominid genetics. Leakey wrote the introduction to Darwin’s The Illustrated Origin of Species, as well as abridging the edition. He writes at the end of the introduction, “...all aspects of modern evolution biology can be seen as party of a research programme inaugurated by The Origin of Species. It is without doubt the most import biological work ever written” (Darwin 43). The last statement is proof enough that Leakey agreed with Darwin’s work.

In order to evaluate Leakey and his work, we must examine his credibility. Can someone who has not gone to college to take classes and learn in a formal educational environment be considered an expert? Yes, they most definitely can be considered an expert! Leakey comes from a family of anthropologists/archaeologists. Both of his parents were known for great fossil discoveries in Africa; his mother even found one of the best-known examples of a Ramapithecus skull. Leakey, as mentioned above, never intended on following his family line into the sciences. Growing up in the African bush, having parents that took him on excavations, and helping his parents in their work earned Leakey the experience necessary to start out on his own. He never went to college, having never really passed his earlier classes with even mediocre marks. All of his life’s work is all he knows about archaeology and anthropology. Even without degrees and high distinction, Leakey has lectured around the world about his teams’ discoveries, about the need for more exploration, and about evolution. He expanded Darwin’s work, even introducing and abridging an edition of The Origin of Species. He is indeed a foremost expert on Kenya’s natural history and human evolution. Leakey’s field experience and team members who have credible degrees make him that much more valuable. Few people have the real-world experience he possesses. Richard Leakey has made a great name for himself in the subject of human evolution.

Works Cited

Leakey, Richard E. Introduction. The Illustrated Origin of Species. By Charles Darwin. New York: Hill and Wang, 1979.

Leakey, Richard E. One Life. Salem, New Hampshire: Salem House, 1983.

Leakey, Richard E. and Roger Lewin. Origins. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977.

Leakey, Richard E. and Roger Lewin. Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes us Human. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

The Leakey Foundation. 10 Sept. 2005. 15 Nov. 2005. .

Dead Week

Oh dear sweet seminar paper, how I love thee... all ten pages, every last word, a migraine and a half. And Mr. "I'm better than you are" Darwin, if you weren't already dead, I'd hang you every morning for a month. "Survival of the fittest," my whiny ass.

I have a HUGE pot of turkey noodle soup stewing in my new stock pot right now (thanks for the pot and the turkey, Mom, I love you a million times. Even got the last bag of egg noodles in the whole town this morning).

One thought: I will receive more value in heat energy this term by burning my now-outdated textbooks than by trying to return them to the bookstore. Not joking.

I will stop blogging and start writing another paper now... sheesh.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Worst Part of my Job

I work in a retirement facility, so I know lots of old people. Old people can be great. I've heard stories more funny than anything ever uttered by George Carlin. I've met people who have traveled to the farthest reaches of the globe (one man was an Air Force pilot, a bomber pilot in WWII and later a test pilot for the stealth jets, how cool is that?). Another lady keeps me laughing every day with a new prank. I've had full glasses of water turned over on the table so I have to create a mess when I clean up the table (this is NOT nice!). And I love to make the old people laugh.

When I started working in the facility, my Grandma (who lives there) introduced me to a few nice ladies. I made friends of them, and tried to learn as much as I could from them when I was working. Even now, they tell me how to pick the right man, how to do this or that craft project, how to keep my skin healthy, how to do just about anything. The old-wives'-tales amuse me to no end, and the truth in every story is apparent. I'm certain lemon juice can solve any problem. If not, find a good man. :)

One lady taught my father and his siblings when they were young in Sunday School at the First Christian Church. She had the biggest smile. I remember she would always come down to breakfast later than everyone, but never too late to get any food. This was always when I'd try to sit down and have my break. So, being two lonely people in a huge dining room, I'd often sit down and have breakfast with her. We laughed and laughed! I'd tell her my boy woes, she'd tell me what to do about them. She'd tell me about her problems, I'd offer what help I could (usually just a kind word, a smile, and a big hug). If ever I had a surrogate grandmother, she was it. Idella was a wonderful lady.

In September 2004, her son made her move up to Forest Grove to be closer to him. I was sad she left our facility, but happy she could be closer to her family. I've missed her every day since she left. This morning, I was making some copies as I always do on the weekends, using the time it takes the copy machine to warm up to read the office log book (which contains major events of the facility: who died, who moved in/out, who broke what bone, who went to what hospital, etc.). There was a small note about halfway down the page, "Idella passed away." I read it, read past it, and then it hit me what I'd seen. I was immediately crushed. My sweet other Grandma was gone forever.

Idella taught me how to laugh. She taught me how to serve without selfish impulses. She opened my heart to old people, to love even if it means loss. My job would surely have ended before now if I'd not learned these things. I will miss her.

Idella, good morning my dear, I know you never understood all these newfangled computer things, but if you can read this, I love you. I've got your eggs and toast waiting, jelly too. I hope you're happy being the most beautiful flower to grace God's breakfast table today. Thank you for allowing me into your life, for being a great friend, for listening, for a lifetime of laughter, and for your love. May you sleep now in true peace.

Idella Osburn: Obituary

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend Musings

What to say, a million things have happened, all insignificant. I was supposed to write two more huge papers this weekend, but it seems that has not happened. My holiday was okay, complete with a turkey, mashed potatoes, family, and lots of driving. I worked, I slept, I even went Geocaching (and nabbed my 50th cache, totaling four in one day out). I fixed a computer, tried to help a friend, cleaned, and been an all-around helpful person... sort of. Shocking as it may be, my unselfishness means that I don't spend enough time on myself sometimes and that has been missing in my life. I must remember to set some time away for myself this week (ha, it's dead week, like that'll happen).

Other notes: I like iced molasses cookies. You really can't eat too many Junior Mints. Long fingernails suck. I like wrapping presents. Getting up at 4am for work really sucks. I am SO tired of writing papers AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

*This is Jaggy's computer. Jaggy seems to have suffered some sort of mental dysfunction. Please wait while I reboot her system. Press any key to continue.*

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

You Know Who You Are

So I'm sitting here in English again, looking busy, but I'm really not. It's cold in here, and I'm tired. Didn't sleep well last night (again, fifth night in a row).

EDIT: So apparently none of you knew anything about what I was writing so I've deleted the lines that were here. Thanks for not listening. Love you too.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Puddle

(This is a poem I wrote a long, long time ago. Somehow, today, it's appropriate.)

THE PUDDLE

The reflection I see
isn’t crystal clear
its hazy and tired
and stares back in fear.

Its scared of the days
and cries in the night
too afraid to argue
of what’s wrong or right.

It doesn’t know the difference
between fiction and fact
of the pictures
the mind's eye snaps.

Its inventful and cunning
smart but left unheard
for it has no mouth
and speaks not a word.

It has no eyes
nor any ears either
but there’s its face
staring back at me in the mirror.

I won’t look, I can’t look
the reflection’s not me.
One drop, then two,
the tears are set free.

The reflection is distorting.
The drops are coming fast.
I look up
and the cloud stares back.

The little mirror shakes
with ripples in the wind.
My mirror is a puddle.
My reflection is no more again.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Cocktail Party

So my roommates and I threw a cocktail party last night. If you weren't invited, don't feel bad, we'll get you in the next one. If you were there, I hope you had a great time! I know I didn't.

The night started off well. I left work and was home in enough time to shower and get ready. Had a nail polish incident, but otherwise things were going great. Picked up a friend on the way to El Presidente, and arrived early to dinner (which is good considering the reservations were in my name). Dinner was awesome! The food was pretty good, not what I'm used to, but not bad at all. I sat and had conversation with some cool people. We were home by 7:30pm or so... The real party started off nicely too. Rachel's chocolate fondue went over very well, and we had snacks and drinks. People were behaving themselves and playing a game. I didn't really know where to go, plus all the boys there were either taken or I'd already dated them (so that means there were like, four guys, one ex). One guy clung to my sister like a clam in a hurricane. He seemed like a nice guy, but still, back off dude. People made their own drinks throughout the night.

After a bit, a few more people showed up (I don't think Emily or Rachel knew them, and they certainly weren't my friends): they came in, drank all the alcohol, and left without so much as socializing with the rest of us. Not to be rude, but go buy your own booze and get the fuck out of my house. Thank you. Rachel went down the street and invited some boys over. I appreciate that single boys came over. I do not appreciate said single boys chewing tobacco in my house. Chew grosses me out, and it was really rude for them to be muttering about alcohol, bits of chew being spit everywhere. Turn off.

Oh, and then there is the social conundrum... I'm told most guys, in the long run of things, like nice, normal girls. Emily, Rachel, and I are nice, very normal (but unique and fun) girls. We are not heavy drinkers, not even mild drinkers, just socially and then one here and there. I guess the fun thing to do is to pressure us into drinking. The game gets really old. Don't try to get me to drink, I don't want to, you aren't going to make me so back off. Alcohol won't make me have more fun, won't make me lose my inhibitions, it just makes me louder and more stubborn. If guys really like nice girls that aren't drinking all the time, WHY do they want to get us drunk!?

And then there was the dancing. I love to dance, but I need someone who can lead and actually knows what he's doing (I can follow certain kinds really well, but I'm by no means any good). I was playing some really good swing music, and the dumb boys from down the street complained the entire night about it. No, I don't care that you don't like my music, it's my house, like it or leave. No, I don't have heavy rock music on my computer; I actually have class. Please don't touch my computer--it's not yours and you didn't ask. Moreover, get out of my bedroom. You're not good enough to be in there. So I switched my swing music over to some lyrical ballads, then to some Disney music (seriously, who doesn't like to sing to Disney music?), then finally back to swing. What a nightmare. The dumb boys were trying to country swing, but they weren't very good. Rachel commandeered my computer and put on some country music, but that made it impossible for the rest of us to converse at more than six inches. The music had to go. I didn't get to dance (okay, the dumb boys tried to get me to country swing, but I am NOT going to dance with a guy when the only thing I can see is a lip full of chew).

The night wore on unil 1:00am, and I was ready for it to end two hours before that. How do I say, "I had a nice time until everyone came over" without offending anyone?

I have always had trouble being social. I thought throwing an upscale, classy party with nice, tactful people would help me ease out into the world a bit more. Not so. The two boys I really wanted there didn't show up. I don't like drinking, but that's all people wanted me to do. I felt pressured, overwhelmed, unwanted, and princessy the whole night (and I am NOT a princess!).

Bottom line: party sucked. I'm done being social for a while, there's nothing in it for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

LINKS!

I have links sorta like a blogroll, but not quite the same. I added one so you can e-mail me to the correct e-mail address. One is to a comics website. One link goes to my English 495/595 class blog's website: check this one out, it can get pretty interesting (and thanks to michaelf, I stole your code). The link to Matthew Mead's Message Board is probably the most important, and the reason I added the links section. My cousin Matthew is in OHSU's neurotrauma ward recovering from brain surgery post-head-trauma. Please follow the link, read about his recovery. He's getting better every day, but it'll be a long road still. I'll try to set up a section to write about him at some point... even if it's only for myself.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

So it's been a few days since I updated, but a lot has happened.

School sucks. I'm having a rough go of things lately... total lack of motivation combined with a ton of homework to finish. I am so tired of writing papers! I figure I only have about seven left out of the thirty two I had this term; two big papers and five or so little ones. When will it END?!

Student teaching continues wonderfully. The kids in my classroom enjoy my lessons and seem willing to listen. I like my supervising teacher too--she's cool. I will be sad when my time there ends.

Friend woes: I have few friends. That's okay with me, I don't need many. I would really appreciate it if the few I did have weren't always busy... or if I could find myself a nice, honest, kind boy... someone smart and funny. Tall, dark, and handsome would be nice, but I just want someone that can make me laugh, that I can be a goofball with...

Tomorrow night is our cocktail party. I'm terrified of people. This could be interesting. Got myself a new dress (fits like a glove), painted my nails (seven coats, sparkley red), and have my hair all planned out (wash and go). I feel obligated to go, seeing as how it was my idea, but I just don't know about all this socializing stuff yet. Scary.

I've always had issues sharing, and I'm often being reminded of why lately... so please don't ask to borrow anything. Go out and spend the money yourself...

My roommates destroyed my room tonight while I was at work. I had a shitty day and came home to find my bedroom covered in plastic straws and cheap paper napkins. They also hid two full decks of cards in my room. I'll be finding cards for the next century! Not happy about this, especially today. I intended to clean the house before our party and get a few things ready, but instead I've been looking for these damn cards all night. I appreciate that my roommates were thinking of me, thinking it would be funny, but I didn't really appreciate the prank at all. Not laughing, probably will never be laughing about this.

I need to learn how to make links on this thingy. Lots of stuff going on in different places, and I'll try to get links posted for everyone... wish me luck.

I need a hug.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Finding Time

Been a busy two days, so I haven't been able to post.

Yesterday was uneventful, aside from working 6 hours, homeworking for 8 hours, and still managing to find time for a party and movie in the evening. I was even in bed by 10pm. We watched "Donnie Darko." Weird, weird movie. I will have to watch it again to see if it was really that weird.

Today was insane! I got up at 0430 for work, was there by 0530. Things went pretty smoothly, but since I've been gone for two weeks, I had quite a few new residents to meet and get to know. I don't think anyone died in the two weeks I was gone, but some residents moved out (which sucks, but isn't as bad as when they die). My coworkers threw me a mini-party; it was nice. The cake was SUPER chocolatey! Tasties.

Off to go spend some "quality time" with a friend, hopefully things go well. I am feeling feisty today - my wrathful tongue may get ahead of my mind filter.

Made some hand-made rubber stamps by carving a pink rubber eraser with an x-acto knife. Things work well there, except that I'm a shitty rubber carver, so my star looks goofy. :)

My cousin had her baby last night, a boy, on his grandmother's (my aunt's) 50th birthday. Happy Birthday Aunt Patti! Congrats, Ashley, on your baby! Welcome to the family, Lucas!

Okay, that's all for now. I need caffeine.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Origins and Conclusions

Crazy day, but nice and easy nonetheless. Woke up early, had plenty of time this morning to do absolutely nothing. Went to English and KVAL filmed my class. We had a guest speaker, Paul Bausch, who talked about technology. He was a good speaker - I didn't fall asleep once! And he is very good about NOT doing PowerPoint karaoke; he needs to speak to my physics professor about that.

Went to physics just to pick up a paper my prof had reviewed. Walked in and up to him, told him my name and asked for my paper, thanked him for reviewing it, and walked out. I'm not going to listen to a guy read overheads that are simply copied from the book. And he wonders why kids don't go to class... um... DUH!

Got home around noon and started on my HSTS paper. I'm writing about Richard Leakey, his life, and how his work compares to that of Darwin's. I also have to evaluate Leakey's work. 8-10 pages with footnotes and citations. I've never used a footnote before! Footnotes are oldschool... I'm used to MLA in-text citations (which I thought the entire university required, especially the science department). This could get interesting. I'm typing it single-spaced, so I have almost a whole page of drivel so far. :)

Lots of stuff to do, no time to do it. Must stop blogging before it take over my knitting time, TV time, and/or solitaire time. Homework schmomework, I'm going to find some chocolate.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Icky day

I'd love to say I'm having a great day, but that is just not the case. Woke up this morning with a terrible headache and intestinal/pelvic pain. Made it to my elementary school for my practicum, and then I went to my Geo360 lab (which was useless!), then I came home. Forgot to drop my physics lab write-up off, so I'll have to go back to campus this afternoon and do that. Being sick sucks. At least they gave me the afternoon off from work - I have such an awesome job!

Luckily, it seems I only have two papers left to write for homework today, so I may actually get a small break from the insanity tonight. Boomtown Disc 2 arrived in the mail, so I even have quality entertainment. Ooh, and my soup this weekend--the leftovers are incredible! Nothing like having homemade chicken noodle soup at hand when you're sick.

To the obnoxious brats, old people, and professors that made me sick: %$#@!!!!
To the makers of Aleve: I love you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What not to do in class

How many opportunities will I have to blog while in class? We're discussing blogging and using a blog for our class. Exciting stuff. KVAL will be filming our class on Thursday. We're all going to be famous! "...I'd like to thank the Academy..."

Not much going on otherwise. Last night I went to Dixon to sit in the hot tub with Patrick and Emily. It was warm on an otherwise freezing night. When we arrived, many people were already in the hot tub, but we found room. In no time at all, the lifeguard came over and told us that too many people were in the hot tub, that some people needed to get out. We were the last ones to get in, it wasn't our problem right? She was bitchy. Wow, she was really bitchy. Figured she could have had a better response had she been nicer... but in any case, she told the people who had been in longest to get out. They were unhappy, but they did. Kinda seemed snooty to me. We only stayed about half an hour. Too warm for me.

Still sitting in class... I've been knitting the last few days, and I'm hooked. Even brought my knitting to class - which is what I'll be doing as soon as I'm done blogging. Yup, I'm done now.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Firstie

So this is my grand first post to my own Blogger blog. Wow.

Well, in any case, I'm "working" right now. LOL, how's this for hard work? I don't really have any idea what this blog is going to be about, or how often I'll use it, but I'm sure it'll be "me" in a hurry.

Events of note:
Turned 22 last week... my crazy roommates threw me a great party. I love my friends so much. Wrote three papers this weekend, a 4-pager, a 10-pager, and a 20-pager... yuck! Froze my ass off at the OSU Marching Band Championships on Saturday. Great fun, but too cold. Created a blog --> this is my blog.