Monday, October 24, 2005

Halfway between Beanies and Business Suits

If a stranger could see a few random snapshots of my life right now, he or she would probably be confused at the strange hybrid that is me. The stranger would see either a) an insecure, naive youth who goes to school for its social aspect and is currently playing Grown-up in her sleek, expensive business suit and full-time job; or b) an intellectual, professional, confident classical-music fan who, on evenings and weekends, reverts to adolescent angst, punk rock music, and a steady diet of Corn Pops (from the box she keeps in her car) one meal per day to balance the scandalous price of fast food burritos.

So which one of these is me? In the true "halfway" spirit, I've decided that I haven't decided; although, while my options are both extremes, I think most people would choose B as a more accurate caricature. But, in a way, they're both true to reality. My mature side flees at the pulsing energy of a rock concert, being no match for my uncontrollable love for "headbanging" with a crowd of strangers. In the same and opposite way, I could easily trade my baggy pants and beanie for a crisp, collared shirt and heels, somewhat tame my long kinky hair with a few strategically placed clips, and carry out my duties at work or debate a political issue like a lawyer...while, all along, somehow feeling nearly the same esprit that I would at a strobe light-filled concert.

Somehow I've managed to assemble two very real but very different ways of life into one.

I sometimes think that finishing high school a year earlier than my peers deprived me of a single, precious year of rosy-cheeked idealism. Most "real" adults tell me my sooner-than-thou graduation was a wonderfully stragetic, mature move on my part which (ostensibly) allowed me to "get on with my real life" a year ahead of everyone else's game. And it undeniably has. But I also "dropped out" of college, two years before graduating, and moved on to "adulthood," a.k.a. a full time job paired with monthly bills. Granted, I am planning to go back to school...and it's only been nine months or so since I finished up at the community college. But while I enjoy my workplace and its promising environment, I can't shake the nagging suspicion that I've simply injected a strong dose of Business Suit Life into my Baggy Clothes Years, forever tainting this cherished but fleeting "carefree" period I've been allotted. What about the college life: living with friends, parties, all-night study sessions, and competing for the highest grade in the class? :) I know the college years are supposed to be the means towards an end, but our culture lauds them as a necessary and even critical period of life. Although this perception is almost certainly deeply flawed, and although I'm obviously sugarcoating collegiate life, it's hard to really "get on with my life" when I'm halfway convinced there's something precious I'm leaving behind. (It's harder still that nearly all of my peers are content with their part-time jobs and full-time classwork, well on their way to a Bachelor's degree.) I suspect (or realize), though, since I can't un-learn everything the Real World has taught me, that living two more years of the ultimate college life -- ultimately characterized by self-absorption and immaturity-- would disgust me all the more with its selfishness, and send me quickly merging back onto the highway towards adulthood.

Regardless of this vague conviction, the fact that I haven't finished college seems to have, in a vein quite similar to that described above, simply tainted this otherwise enjoyable Business Suit Life into an era of longing and wondering what might have been different. The paradox is, then: has my Business Suit Time altered my Beanie Years simply by interrupting them, or did my rapid exit from high school and more recent college "dropout" change my Business Suit Time?

Actually, here's the surprise: I can't see how it would matter in the least. It's just fun to write about. (Aren't you glad you're reading?) In any case, there are still more ways to look at this...and these are the wiser perspectives, although that doesn't make them any easier to accept. "Look," my little Practicality angel (or is it a demon?) says from his perch on my shoulder. "You're saving a lot of money this way, and if you didn't work, you probably wouldn't finish college for a long time." Whatever, annoying little voice. I know you're right, but you irritate me. Then I hear another louder voice -- not from my other shoulder, but perhaps from the Lord: "This is where I've put you, where you're supposed to be right now. I know you love school and you love life, but don't ever feel regrets for something I never planned for you." Pardon my facetiousness; I'm not trying to give God a script. But my relationship with God is really where my regrets end, and my forward-looking begins. Whatever I do and however I end up succeeding, I want it to be a reflection of God's glory, and not of my own motivation or intellect.

So for now, while I'm still figuring all this out, just don't laugh too hard when you see me driving to work eating Corn Pops, listening to MxPx and Josh Groban, and wearing a pinstriped business suit with my favorite blue-and-orange beanie. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

think about work. think about school. repeat.

I started my new job yesterday! It was fun to transfer my name tag from one office to another and to check mailbox #34 instead of mailbox #41. I got all my files in order and threw away a ton of stuff I won't need. I have my very own file cabinet full of Expense Reimbursements and other important-sounding things with which I'll need to become acquainted at some point. Today I sorted the mail, updated the calendar and wrote 56 letters which I will put together with their envelopes later. It's very slow. But holy cow, there will be a lot to learn here in the coming months. My new boss is a wonderful person that I respect immensely. I like my office-mates too; they are both very nice and I think we'll all get along marvellously over the next year.

So when I'm not blissfully carrying out the duties of my new job (and even while I am), I've been thinking about what to major in (assuming I ever go back to school). If I couldn't comprehend a future beyond the two years it'd take to finish my B.A., I might major in Philosophy. Or maybe English Literature? I've also thought a History major, specific to someplace narrow and obscure like Moscow or Germany, would be super cool. But why do I always have to be plagued with desires to do useless things with my life? A word of wisdom to young college-bound grasshoppers: If the only thing you can do with your potential B.A. is teach it to undergrads, you'd better start looking in a new direction. Fast. Being an expert on the finer points of Geoffrey Chaucer's socioeconomic background might be cool for parties, but it's not going to get you anywhere in real life, such as helping you get a real job. Neither is a Russian History major, unless you're planning on grad school -- years and years of it -- which isn't really attractive to me at this point either. I'm looking for a useful and interesting major, but those two qualities are magnetic repellants and don't meet anywhere in our physical cosmos. The closest I've come, though, is Political Philosophy. That'd be interesting, because -- surprise -- I like politics and philosophy. And I think the Politics factor would be useful in a lot of areas especially like where I'm at now. It'd be a great background for an elected official! :P Plus, if I get married and I decide to stay home with my (theoretical) kid(s), I could (theoretically) enter the job market again without needing extra training, unlike a Graphic Design degree or something else technological that becomes archaic in six months unless you keep up with all the latest stuff.

Those are a few of my thoughts for today...thanks for reading! ~Moi

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Today's Web Harvest

Another slow day at work and they let me do whatever I want. So I decided to post a few interesting things I've found in the vast expanse of cyberspace. You're welcome to add a strange or interesting or funny link of their own, provided it's nothing offensive (or I'll Delete it! Ha!). Enjoy!!

First of all, guess what I just found on CNN! Aviator sunglasses are all the rage!

Posted September 23, 2005
From Haley Westbrook, University of Georgia

"With some taking their inspiration from the movie "Top Gun" and others from a local police officer, aviator style sunglasses can be seen all over campus. They come in a plethora of shape, sizes, and price ranges. Still, no other is as classy as a pair of the ever-so-popular Ray-Bans. Aviator style glasses are also flattering on most faces. So, start digging in your parent's collections of things from back in the day or go out and buy you a pair of these shades ... the style is definitely coming back!"

Quick, someone buy me a pair! For reference, I really like the ones the girl on the right is wearing. Not too dark and "The Fly"-esque. (Now if only she could sit up straight.) This just proves my inherent but often-accidental sense of fashion.

Also, I'm considering buying two of these and giving them to my (adoring, naturally) little brothers.

In other news, Ashton Kutcher, the winner of the genetic lottery, is so last week. And speaking of nauseating, so is pairing people's names together (TomKat, Bennifer, Dashmi) like gossip columnists seem to enjoy doing. (However, in an ironic joke played on us by society's rich and famous, to talk of the name-wedding atrocity too much, even in a snidely and derogatory manner, would be to give said Hollywood clowns more attention than they deserve.) Mr. Kutcher, the punk dating a 40-something woman, in a nearly unspeakable gush of emotion, said these exact words
of his mother -- er, his girlfriend or whatever they are:

"I hope the love that we share can resonate around the world so that someday I can hear its echo."

(I'll give you a moment to put away your barf bag.) You can just hear Michael Jackson's soft girly voice saying the same thing, can't you? Eeuw! Wipe off the slime! This is further proof that Hollywood-ites lack substance and are made of sound bytes and shallow sentiment. Tell us, Mr. Kutcher, what does that quote mean, anyways?? Wait...on second thought, please don't tell us. Please don't talk again, ever. Yes, you're hot. But you don't have to talk to be hot.

Enough cheese! On to our favorite feature: Bizzare Web Sites.

Hats of Meat I'm declining to attempt to explain anything about this strange and vaguely disturbing site. Please just go there and see for yourself.

Bubble Wrap "Game" For all you people who like to pop the bubble wrap that comes in the mail.

SuperBad Try to crack the code.

Photoblog A blog from an amazing photographer -- who could this mystery person be?! I must find her and give her all my money for her pictures!!

Crazy but dangerous! Louis Farrakhan, the ostensibly "Honorable" Minister of the Nation of Islam, opened his trap again. Please laugh at this man and his following, but don't laugh too long because these people are angry and hate-filled and quite dangerous.

10k For A Wife F'real! This guy says he's not desperate, but...

enjoy today's crop, folks! & post your own strange/interesting sites & news~

Sunday, October 09, 2005

my photoblog

So my awesome friend "George" got me my very own photoblog last night. I've spent the past several hours (ok, like 30 minutes) putting pictures up so you, friends and strangers alike, could see them. Checkitout: another furious tale! you can tell I like the name. Not much else happening. Yesterday we watched the devastating Huskers game -- Texas Tech beat us 31-34. They were ahead 21-0, then we came back and we were ahead at 27-31. Then they got a touchdown in the last twenty seconds of the game to win. How depressing. Poor Huskers -- they haven't lost a homecoming game in like 35 years! Plus, now we aren't undefeated.

After licking our wounds from the game, we ate ice cream and hung out at one of the apartments. George also showed me how to use the macro feature on my camera, so I took pictures of my shoe and my roses all night. Some of them are on my photoblog...but here's one of the first ones I took using my sweet macro setting. (I have a fairly-low-end camera.) What lovely texture on the fabric! :)

A tribute to Poker, one of our favorite pastimes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Yesterday I sat at Barnes & Noble reading a book...can't remember what it was called, but it was about card counters from MIT who go to all these Vegas casinos and can basically predict the blackjack system using undercover teams. Intriguing. I read the first half yesterday, and I'm planning to read the second half this evening. It sure beats paying the stupid $15 to have it for good.

I don't know about you all, but I generally treat B&N like a library with a cafe: you go there, read their books, drink some outrageously expensive cappucino to support the establishment (and also because outrageously expensive cappucino is outrageously tasty), and leave. It's a great deal if you don't like paying insane prices for books you'll only read once, but you just have to be prepared to stick around a while to get some significant reading in. Also, if you're going to use this strategy, I'd recommend having someplace to write down what page or chapter you're on when you leave. Don't write it on the wall because they'll probably wash it off and you'll forget where you were (unless you use a Sharpie or something). Also, I wouldn't suggest dog-earing the book, either, because someone might buy that particular copy and then you'd be lost.

Quote of the Day: Little (7 year old) sister gravely asked, in the middle of a serious movie: "Did you all know that some people think Elvis was an alien?"

This time of year

Annoying things about fall and winter:

  • Having to bundle up until I look like a large round barrel.
  • Pumpkin-flavor mania: pumpkin lattes, pumpkin Blizzards at Dairy Queen, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin-cranberry porkchops, pumpkin candy. blecch to all of those.
  • Coldness in general, and not being able to get my hands warm.
  • Halloween.
  • The general idea among most conservative churches that Halloween is pure evil, resulting in so many "Harvest Parties" where kids get dressed up, play games, and get candy anyways.
  • Being late to work because the snow plows haven't been out yet.
  • When hundreds of dry leaves blow across the street looking like so much like little suicidal lemmings that I feel compelled to brake to avoid killing them.
  • All the stupid limp scarecrows people drag out of hibernation each fall to lay slumped on their front porches against a hay bale or other nonsensical decoration. Plus, this most often occurs in urban areas where most people have never seen a scarecrow or a hay bale in its natural environment.
  • When it's snowy: not being in total control of my car every millisecond of a trip.
  • Bland, monochromatic skies and scenery.
  • White toilet-paper ghosts hanging from trees that get all wet and pulpy when it rains, and plastic-trash-bag pumpkins filled with moldy leaves that stink like a sewer when it rains.
  • Snow that's covered with car exhaust so it's brown and slimy.
  • Bare, dead, sad trees and bushes that look like leftovers from a nuclear fallout.
Please feel free to add your own...this list isn't exhaustive by any means. I may add to it at a later time, too. Sometime, maybe I'll post what I do like about this time of year...but it wouldn't be interesting. Those lists are usually sappy or, as my friends like to hear me say, "big buckets of cheese." later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


My 2003 Alero, Car, and I have had a good relationship ever since he came into my life last year. His previous owner had beaten him, but his emotional scars were healing and he was ready for a new home. Actually, since I wasn't making any car payments at the time, he wasn't really mine, but his care was entrusted to me by my father. In exchange for transportation, I equipped Car with a nice pinstriping job, a rose hanging from the rearview mirror, a clean interior, and a Tommy Boy-scented car freshener. We were inseparable and life was lovely.

At least, it seemed like everything was fine. Living in the Lovely Midwest, naturally ethanol fuel seems like a good option as it's significantly cheaper than regular fuel. But apparently Car wasn't appreciating the yummy ethanol I'd been feeding him. Does he talk to me about the issue? You'd think he'd have that much decency. But noooOOOooo. Whether or not it was a leftover from his reactionary attitude towards his former owner, he vengefully retaliated by suffocating one of his fuel injectors and antagonizing the rest, ostensibly with leftover-ethanol-residue.

So when my "poor" black-and-white baby started making choking noises and shivering like he had pnuemonia, I did the first thing any benevolent car owner would. I took him right to the car hospital. (He got all excited 'cause he thought it was named after him.) After a quick checkup, they informed me that it wasn't the apocalyptic converter (or whatever) but those fuel injectors which were causing the shivers. It was going to take several car nurses and a doctor to heal my baby that day. And in return for a clean bill of health, they were going to take $803 from my bank account. And they did. Blast! Here I was, happy for a new job to net me several extra thousand dollars a year, hoping to save it for my childrens' college fund, or at least a color Ipod and a decent pair of aviator sunglasses. My parents, bless their hearts, paid for half of Car's healing, since he's technically theirs even though I'm the main user and am making payments now. And Car is back to normal these days, although I have to feed him more expensive cuisine these days in the form of 91-octane petroleum. His tastes have simply matured, I suppose. can't keep 'em kids forever. He must really appreciate the new diet, though, because my fuel mileage has since improved significantly.

toodles for today folks. If Uncle Steve is reading this, congratulations on overcoming the technology! ;)

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Nice Salad of Topics

"It is the spectator...that art really mirrors."

I bought the book A Picture of Dorian Gray (by Oscar Wilde) on Sunday. I read the whole thing yesterday. It was amazing. I had to stop after each chapter and just think about what I'd read because there was so much to it. It was dark, contemplative, focused, and rich with philosophy, both explicit and implicit. The main character is Dorian Gray: a young, handsome man who has his portrait is painted when he's around twenty years old. He wishes that he didn't have to grow old, and is jealous that the portrait will remain beautiful long after he's old and decrepit. (Dorian is also just a wee bit vain.) He's rich and powerful, and due to the influence of an older obsessively-philosophical friend, he takes a strictly amoral, sensual approach to life -- and by that I mean he's extravagantly indulgent of all his senses. Eventually he becomes scabby and selfish and cruel. About halfway through the book, Dorian realizes the portrait is changing to reflect his true soul. The picture becomes cruel, harsh, and bloodstained...while Dorian's own physical appearance remains youthful and vibrant. Horrified at what he has become, he even tries doing a "good" thing near the end of the book, but only sees hypocrisy sneering at him from the painting. The ending was abrupt, but left me speechless in a last-paragraph twist. I'm still trying to process all the aspects of the story. The book reminded me frequently of The Scarlet Letter (by Nathaniel Hawthorne), one of my favorite novels of all time. There are many parallel themes such as hidden evil and the effects of secret sins, both on us and those we come into contact with. I wonder if Wilde ever read Hawthorne's stuff. Dorian Gray's portrait hidden in the attic is graphically reminiscent of Arthur Dimmesdale's scarlet letter hidden underneath his shirt on his flesh, both portraying the man's true nature while their outward appearances -- Dorian's glowing youth, Arthur's strict Puritanism -- remain spotless. The evil inside both of them impacts a wide array of people as well as their own hearts. I didn't mean to make this into a textual analysis, Literature is alive, people.

I know you all love "a nice salad of topics," so here's one more for the, um, garnish (I guess). I found these two pictures when I was posting on a forum. But they're so cute, I have to post them here too. I love baby goats. I think most of them are cuter than most baby people.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

the Today Montage

Ok, so it's not really a montage. But I was pretty camera-happy today and I'm sharing the fruits of my labors. The males of the household (Dad, and the two brothers) were shooting rifles and then at the game today and We The Females watched Kate & Leopold. It was a really nice slow day.

First things first. I got a new pair of shoes that I got last night. I know you're all dying to see what they look like...

Nebraska won the game, yahoo! We beat Iowa! Final score (in case you can't see it on this pic of our non-cable TV): 20-27, double overtime.

Two pictures of the flowers Dad got me to congratulate me on my new job...

Rachel sat on my lap while we watched Kate & Leopold. This is a picture of our feet. (For some reason, my camera is taking fuzzy pictures today.)

page hit counter