Category Archives: Summer 2012

So it’s almost time for school…

I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly excited. However, I’m anticipating that I’ll be getting busy with coursework soon enough so I’m switching from the usual, if not sporadic, post-per-day to a more reasonable post-per-week. Besides, it’s not like awesome stuff happens every day. Just most days. And even then, it’s a bit of a stretch.

Aside from schoolwork, I’m gonna try out something called the Paleo Diet as well as actually using my gym membership and the school pool for once. It’s a bandwagon thing, I know, but reading through quite a few websites, it seems like less of a “diet” and more of a “’cause you shouldn’t be eating that anyway, stupid” sort of thing. No processed foods, nothing with an ingredient list that has font smaller than War and Peace, no foods that come from a box. Again, common sense. It’s what I was doing before, only to a sharper degree. I’m not too worried about nutrition as much as I am about working out, though.

That’s gonna be fun, working out in public. I’m used to using the treadmills in public, that’s not a problem, but I want to use the weights. I’ve never used the weights at the gym before and everyone else knows what the hell they’re doing. What if I do something wrong and pull a muscle? Or someone laughs at me and my squats? Even worse, what if someone I know sees me lift more than what they weigh? Would they be awed or peeved, terrified possibly? Maybe I should try it out with a blindfold or something.

Oddly enough, I’m not as apprehensive about going to the pool in the morning. I think it’s because I’ve already done that before my sophomore year. Sure, I still sport shorts and T-shirts when I go to swim, but it’s morning! It’s so early that there’s barely anybody there and whoever is present is either a) incredibly focused on doing their thing or b) partially asleep, so they won’t even notice your form (or lack thereof). Honestly, I can barely float on my back. My “stroke” is a mixture of doggy paddling and kicking like my swimming buddy told me to, without bending my knees. I’m planning to swim in the mornings about three days a week to start, but I’m probably still not going to shave my legs.

Which reminds me, both my sister and my mother still want to hold me down and shave or wax every last bit of hair from my body. Meanwhile, they’re both still tutting at me for getting my hair cut short a few months ago. Something about being more “feminine” because I’m a girl or whatever. I don’t particularly care about the hair; I got it cut short because it’s extremely curly and it can’t tangle up like this. Also, I had been wanting to cut it short for quite a while so, one day, I just decided to go for it. I was going to wait a bit to lose some weight and let my face thin out a bit more but fuck it. I may have gained some of the weight back, but I certainly didn’t lose my sass.

So, that’s pretty much that. I think I’ll be posting on Sundays just because that’s when I’ll have the most free time. Let me rephrase that; Sundays are when I should have the most free time, but knowing me, Sundays will be the days when I’m trying to catch up with homework so I’ll be online. Probably.

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Went a little too far with the experimenting…

But I think it was worth it. See, I’m all out of my delicious vanilla chai tea bags and, being the thrifty person (read: cheapskate) that I am, I can’t bring myself to buy another box while I still have some more chai tea. It’s from another brand that tends to make their chai actually have a pungent punch, which I’m sure is a worth attribute of that kind of tea, but I prefer my drinks to be a bit more gentle in aroma. It’s probably why I couldn’t drink that root beer I made in middle school. It’s not that I don’t like root beer, but the smell was a little too sharp.

But what was I saying? The chai, right. Anyway, I brewed myself a cup, dreading the intensely spicy smell, when I found myself looking around the pantry for something to add to it. That’s when I remembered that we still had some of that caramel sauce left over. It’s just your generic ice cream topping, no big deal. I wasn’t even planning to add the caramel, but I thought to myself “It’s sweeter than milk, why not?” and in went a tablespoon of the stuff. Wonderful. The sugary syrup dissolved beautifully into the warm tea, leaving only an opaque amber liquid. I wonder if it’ll work with chocolate syrup too…

Sorry if that sounds a little weird, but this is what I do when I’m bored: I’ll walk into the kitchen, mix a few things together, and see if it worked or not. Now, the caramel chai tea may have worked but that’s not to say that all of my concoctions have been as harmonious. If something didn’t work, I’d probably know it for sure by the next morning, to put it mildly. Despite my seemingly reckless endeavors, I consider myself to be extremely careful when it comes to putting something in my mouth. What am I talking about? Well, not that, in case you were wondering. I’m talking about the annual recalls of such-and-such a fruit or vegetable.

Seriously, folks, has our technology not advanced to such a degree that this sort of thing can be avoided? It’s almost ridiculous how either the lettuce or the spinach and now the melons are somehow tainted with E. coli or some other generally harmless bacteria. Yes, people can die, but what a way to go. It’s from something that happens to be in the wrong place because, surprise, you already do have E. coli in your gut. It’s normal for them to be around, just not in that particular place, near your mouth and lungs and stuff. Does that make sense?

Honestly, it wouldn’t take much for them to be on food. All they need is an opportunity, brought about by carelessly forgetting to wash your hands or keeping tools used for cultivation filthy. Is hand soap expensive or something? Does handling food not merit enough attention to detail? I don’t know what you think, but these outbreaks are ridiculous. They’re silly and they shouldn’t be an issue. It’s things like this that irritate me! It’s people that are too stubborn to actually double-check the quality of their product because they’re most likely focused on quantity. News flash, you idiot; even if you make a shit-ton of melons, what’s the point if people get sick from them?! What can you say to the families who lost people because of your killer produce? “Sorry, derp, but hey, check it out. We grew a LOT of melons.” I suppose that the worst part of all of this is that all I can do is sit here and type, angrily aware that I can do nothing but vent and not buy any cantaloupes. I’m just one consumer among many! My actions have no worth unless there are many, many more that share my sentiments.

And now I’m all riled up. I’m just gonna go make myself another cup of that caramel chai. Ugh.

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There’s something to be said about off-brands…

And I’m not talking about the generic, in-store brands that are obviously not the “usual”. I’m talking about the brands that try to not only offer the same product as the more expensive competition but go so far as to put it in a similarly colored package, the mascots eerily similar to one another. How can you tell that they’re not the same? The back of the cereal box is a rather strident difference.

A classic staple of the breakfast experience for the growing child, the back of a cereal box is generally half of the reason to even purchase that particular kind of sugary puff in the first place. The other half is, of course, the sugary puff in question. But the back of the box, a place that’s usually filled with puzzles and things, right? Well, I think I’ve found the most depressing cereal box ever and it’s one of those off-brands. The back details only the joys of meteorology, which I’m sure is fun in and of itself, in the form of several blocks of text.

Now, given the mascot on the front, this particular product is targeted towards young children; the cartoonish gecko-thing on the front says as much. So why not present the subject matter in a way that could appeal to kids, like a puzzle or maybe some bright, colorful doppler radar images that they would then have to decipher. Something, anything, other than a chunk of words that cannot hope to reach hyper little kids in the morning.

Then again, who am I to talk about blocks of text? Who am I to talk about anything?

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Okay, so about that chick in black dragonhide…

[Just a little warning: the following is entirely about RuneScape. Your own experience with the game will most likely vary, though every game has its own quirks and oddities. There are just ones that I’ve found during the course of my gameplay. It should go without saying that none of this will make sense unless you’ve played the game. My apologies.]

As it turns out, it was less of an elaborate rouse to fleece me for quite a bit of coin but more of someone who plays entirely too much with other people and finds themselves unable to function without the companionship of others. I’m actually a little disappointed; it seems I assumed that they were some kind of player-killing mastermind. Instead, they were rather…pathetic, I guess? But how much is that worth, really, from one person who is obsessed with the game to another? Our styles of play were different, that’s all.

Yes, this is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me, I don’t do the whole ‘let’s role play and be together and traipse about everywhere in this virtual land’ thing”. This cat flies solo.

But yeah. We left the zoo after (he? she??) they wheedled me into trying co-op Slayer tasks, which was fine with me. I only went to the zoo to shoot wolves and heroes and jogres (oh my!) and didn’t really have anything planned for the day. But then we teleported to Edgeville…which is basically a little speck of a town that is much too close to the Wilderness for my taste. And then she told me to go get the highest dragonhide armor I could get, as well as quite a few relatively expensive pieces of equipment for our upcoming expedition. That’s when the bells started to go off, my caveat latching onto the forefront of my mind. Trust no bitch…

Got my equipment, a rather nice set of red dragonhide ranging armor that actually matched my usual cape. I decided to splurge on the amulets and rings because what’s the point of amassing a bunch of wealth and then not using it? It’s probably why I’ll never be rich IRL, though my abode will most likely be nicely furnished and neat. Anyway, got my gear, got my Slayer gem, and we’re ready to roll. The first task: kill 61 ankous.

…Shit.

I had to go and buy rocktail. Rocktail! Expensive as hell on the Grand Exchange and possibly the best food that I’ve ever used in the game. Why didn’t I use it before? Because I never needed to! I made do with whatever and generally walked away from it relatively unscathed. Keep in mind, the highest fish that’s available on free-to-play is swordfish, which heals for 140 lifepoints. I went straight into member’s being able to fish sharks (200 lifepoints) but rocktail? I’m more than certain that I can’t haul them up from the infinite depths just yet. I’m good, but not that good.

But, yes, ankous. Scary motherfucking bony ghosts what live in the fourth level of the Stronghold of Security, which I still haven’t fully explored to be honest. So, that was fun, wandering about the second and third floors because I hadn’t cleared them yet and couldn’t access the shortcuts. Still haven’t cleared the fourth floor, though I managed to survive my first run in with ankous. Given my lower combat level and the fact that I was using a bow despite being a melee-based character, I’m chalking up my survival to rocktail and sharks. Didn’t get too much loot, though, because I wanted to stay alive.

So, Slayer-cherry popped and all, we decided (well, it was more like they decided and I said “Okay! :D”) to continue doing co-op missions. After slaughtering crocodiles, ghouls, Ice Warriors, cockatrices, and ankous (again), they finally signed off and I realized that we’d just spent the last twelve hours together and I had gotten nothing done. Like, less than what I usually would get done, by which I mean my allotments weren’t tended and my apple tree hadn’t been picked. Priorities, people.

I’ve got to admit, they were nice and stuff. I begrudge them nothing for making me spend pretty much three-quarters of what I had set aside for Herblore and Crafting training. And I went to bed that night feeling all warm and cuddly, with the thought of having made some friends who actually played regularly and invited me into a clan…

Until I woke up, logged in, and realized the cold, hard truth: this bitch won’t leave me alone! It’s like we had gone to Vegas for one of the Slayer missions and came out of it married and shit!!

I know there is no official “marriage” function in RuneScape, though some people can declare themselves bfs and gfs or whatever. Sometimes it’s because the person is legitimately an awesome person, but who are we fooling? It’s mostly because the other person gave them dragon claws or really expensive armor. It can be about love, but it’s mostly about stuff. Not that different from the real world, as far as I’ve observed.

Anyway. Person is now a ball and chain. I wanted to spend some time improving my Runecrafting in order to get a better version of the Explorer’s Ring. Person wanted to go Slaying again. Guess what we did? Slaying, of course. It’s fun, but not when you have to ask permission to go to the bank and get more food because ankous are best fought with sword and shield, not with a bow and arrow up close and they’re mercilessly whaling on you. You can get away with it when your skill level is higher, but not when you’re around the mid-range and not really focused on one style of combat. After feeling like I was being dragged along, I rediscovered the “Off Friends Chat” and “Off Clan Chat” buttons and not a moment too soon.

The lesson here, I guess, would be to either set boundaries or just be upfront if you’re a solo- or group-type of player in whatever game you play. I don’t care. I’m honestly way too happy to have regained my freedom to care that my Clue Scroll has a bunch of coordinates and I have no idea how to solve it. It was probably an asshole move to abruptly cut them off but they were being creepy and clingy and I want none of that. See ya!

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Here’s something that I can’t understand…

Why do people “powergame”? This is something that I see a lot of when I’m just going around, doing stuff because I feel like it in RuneScape. My day varies from running an agility course for an hour to going on a unicorn killing spree because I get bored and I need their horns to complete my stock of antipoisons before trekking into the Rift. But whenever I stay in one place for a long time, say at the fishing beach near Catherby, there will always be that one person who asks “You bot?”

There are several things that go through my mind at that point, one of them being “Why would I pay for a membership to just bot and do none of the other stuff that I paid for, like kill ogres or complete quests?”. The other is something along the lines of “Is that what you ask all of the other girls?” but that’s not the issue at hand here. It could be another post, though; it’s kind of sad when you can say that you’ve been hit on by “Inuyasha” on a roleplaying server.

But, yes, “botting”. I must say, the practice baffles me. I know I run around doing things solo, but that’s mostly because my friends either a) don’t know what RuneScape is, b) look at me quizzically when I admit to playing a game that hails from the early 2000s and ask “Why don’t you play WoW then?” or c) have an account, but don’t play anymore. But there is a bit of a differance between playing the way I do and doing something for a very, very long time: the bots have a goal. I usually don’t, other than “I’m bored of shooting wolves in Ardougne Zoo. Let’s go fishing in Catherby!” Bots are probably people who have some goal like “Cut down 15,000 maple trees” or “Gather 1 million gold by the end of the day”. Those are concrete and very time-consuming tasks, which I find myself unable to accomplish because it just so happens that woodcutting and getting money for money’s sake is so utterly mind-numbing to me.

Whatever happened to playing a game for its own sake? Why are there walkthroughs? I mean, I’m not above looking an item up in a database to find out how to get it, but using the strategy guide to play through the entire game? Why? How is that possibly fun? It can be argued that getting 100% is the best experience, but I’m not too sure about that. So what if it turns out that the pistol is the most useful weapon in Deus Ex Human Revolution, I’d rather use those upgrades for my combat rifle or my shotgun instead. It’s not about having the fastest clear time or unlocking every single damn thing for me. It’s usually about skulking about, sniping dudes in the face, and then quickly hiding when they become alarmed or whatever.

Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way. Why else would a bunch of different “Let’s Play” series exist on YouTube? I don’t watch them and fastidiously jot down notes, I watch them because it’s funny and because the people who are playing the game are (spoiler alert!) actually playing the game.

And someone just swooped in on my fun, wearing black dragonhide no less. They’re definitely a higher ranged level than me; I can only wear blue dragonhide. At least they’re nice enough, letting me snipe the wolves, though they don’t seem to know that an Ava Accumulator requires the completion of Animal Magnetism, a quest I’ve been eyeing for a while now because that Accumulator would help me conserve ammo while shooting stuff.

Needless to say, I’ve already added them to my friends list. Good convos are so hard to come by. Not to mention that they were trying to scope out my stats, asking me “What’s your attack? What’s your defence? How much money you got?” Nice try, foo, I was on Tutorial Island before you were even created, m’kay? Though I’ll give you points for trying; you’re been a lot more subtle than the first whackjob that tried to shake me down by claiming that they’d rented Varrock Castle and, as such, was taxing me for being there.

And now we’re gonna do some Slayer co-op. I’d better deposit all of my money, just in case I get led into the Wilderness. I’ve got more than enough to replace my blue dragonhide armor, so I’m not too worried. See, this is the way to play: shooting from the hip most of the time and just going with it, even though this person is being suspiciously nice and helpful. Lesson of the day: trust no bitch. Oh, and botting is no way to live.

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There can be no other way…

Can I just say something? Why is it so surprising to people when I say that I lost weight by eating less and moving more? I mean, I can see why it’d be a bit of a shock when you’re someone that’s known me for awhile and, more importantly, has been in the same P.E. class with me or something, having witnessed my lack of athletic ability firsthand. But when it’s people who don’t know me at all, I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at their skepticism. Of course, odds are these are the same kind of people that would fork over money with nary a thought to some kind of miracle drug that could let them change absolutely nothing and lose weight.

I say “lose weight” because, unfortunately, that’s all I see in their eyes. They want to get thinner, not necessarily fitter, though they might seem like one and the same to people who are well over a weight that their bodies can comfortably tolerate. And, guess what? You do get fitter as you get thinner…until you hit a point where you’re pretty fit and you can do things that you never thought you could do before, but you find yourself kinda grimacing at that last bit of belly fat that has had the audacity to remain. That’s the point where the whole “gotta be thin” mentality can crush you. You only see the fat, not the fit.

I’m guilty of thinking like this, actually. It took getting rather frequent headaches and my iPod app reminding me that 1,200 calories a day was just a suggestion in order to correct my behavior. It’s not fun, y’know, feeling lightheaded just to fit into my jeans. Yes, you’ve got to eat less, but you’ve also got to eat something. You’re breathing, blinking, typing, your millions upon millions of cells are busily going about, keeping you going. You’re gonna need to finance all of those operations and energy from food is the currency, so to speak. Starve yourself and your body will riot! But pig out and you will languish. It’s a strange balance you’ve got to strike and no super diet pill will do that for you, as much as you may wish it to.

Why the hate on weight-loss products? Because I’ve tried them, been guilt-tripped into trying them by my mother. So, I was in my sophomore year of high school and, of course, I was in my little niche as the bookworm. That’s what I got made fun of the most, being a textbook teacher’s pet who took Accelerated Reading way too far, not my weight or even the fact that my neck was definitely a darker color than the rest of me at the time (it’s faded away bit by bit, along with the weight; still not sure what it is­, which bugs me because I want to know). I remember that I got called into the nurse’s office in middle school to check just what the hell was on my neck, but it was just my neck.

Anyway, Mom decided that I needed to lose weight and be thinner in order to make friends or whatever, bless her heart. Allow me to make this perfectly clear: I may have been the bookworm, but I got along with everyone. Okay, mostly everyone; I ignored or ripped on the people I disliked, but generally, I’d just ignore them and be on my way. So, in her quest to “help” me, my mom bought a box of a certain dietary supplement (let’s say it rhymes with Apoxyjut) for me to put into my water and drink everyday. So I tried it. What else was I supposed to do? She’d already spent the money on it, a sum for a pittance, and she did have my well-being at heart, so I decided to try it.

To be honest, I had hoped that it would work so that I wouldn’t have to do much else except drink the stuff and continue my usual habits.

Nope. A pox on Apoxyjut; it had this awful flavor and only served to make me feel ill. It’s a different feeling to what I feel right now, not to mention that whatever losses I had made were just as easily gained back. That’s the biggest reason I view any weight-loss infomercials with narrowed eyes and a magnifying glass: what happens after I complete your regimen? Or I finish that bottle of pills you want me to swallow? There’s got to be something more to your program than two months of balls-to-the-wall-oh-my-gods-let-me-die-oh-hey-I-got-abs-and-a-T-shirt. Where do I go after I’ve been to the edge? Do I just go back to how I used to be and do it all over again?

Sustainability. Balance. Paying attention to how you feel as opposed to what numbers are displayed on the scale beneath your feet or on that tape measure around your body. Measurements are nice and quantitative, but they’re rather generalized, don’t you think? According to my own body mass index, I’m still overweight because I’m above a thirty. But if I take stock of how I feel, I’ve gotta say that I’ve never been able to lift as much weight as I can lift or reach behind me and grab my elbows or touch my toes without bending my knees. I’m not the fittest, so don’t ask me to climb the rock wall in the gym or anything, but there’s no denying my fitness. And I can only get better from here on.

So, really, today’s entry was not to motivate you but to remind myself of how far I’ve come. Again, summer vacation paired with my mom’s cooking and the loss of my iPod (which is a really, really handy way to track your progress if you’re into micromanagement) has only served to kind of demotivate me from continuing my progress. I feel as though I’ve hit a bit of brick, that I cannot pass, that what I want is just right there but irritatingly, infuriatingly enough, I don’t have the strength to get past this. Maybe it’s ’cause I tend to think too much; I already know what to do, but I can’t help but focus on what I’ve not been doing for the past month and a half. I nitpick, yet do nothing. Perhaps a little less talk and a little more action is needed?

I’ll do it. This is to get fitter and, most of all, this is for my own sake. This is what I feel weight-loss essentially is: eating less, moving more, and getting stronger in every way.

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Let me be impromptu for a minute here…

So, it’s Friday. Friday, the day that signifies the end of a too-long workweek. Friday, where people generally do things like get out of the house or decide to stay up late because there’s plenty of time to sleep it off later. Friday. And here I was thinking it was Thursday or something.

Gotta tell ya, I’m feeling really stupid right now.

This is part of the reason why I’m not exactly enamored by the idea of a certain long block of vacation time known to students as “summer break”. For one, there’s the slight amnesia regarding days of the week once you get rid of the only timekeeping device students are aware of during their studies, also known as a “class schedule”. And then there’s the general tendency to forget everything that you’ve struggled to learn during the course of the past nine or so months, which you’re going to be expected to recall almost perfectly after three months of loafing around, doing nothing that is related to said subject matter in the least. I suppose that the second reason doesn’t apply too heavily to more liberal majors, but when your major demands a fully stocked laboratory and plenty of fairly hazardous chemicals in order to “study”, you’re kind of slightly more screwed.

Of course, these reasons can be solved in a straight-forward, though not fairly simple, manner: obtaining a calendar to look at regularly and getting some kind of internship that is at least tangentially related to your major in order to keep things somewhat fresh. But there are a few things that I’d like to question if only for the sake of padding this entry: 1) who uses calendars aside from people who are stuck in some kind of cubicle (with all of their weekends circled in mercifully bright red ink with something akin to “NOT in this hellhole, whoo!” scribbled underneath) and 2) internships aren’t exactly being handed out to everyone on the street corner. I suppose that’s kind of why I’m looking uneasily at the future beyond a bachelor’s degree; jumping into a crowded pool of applicants isn’t something that is done without worry, you know? Surely, I’m not the only one with a bachelor’s of science in biochemistry who wants to conduct research eventually. The specialties and focuses may be different, sure, but the path to getting there is more of a throughway than some sort of abandoned country road.

But then you have those people, like my mother, who is so utterly confident in my bachelor’s (which I haven’t completed yet, as I’ve told her several times over the course of the summer) and in my subject that she believes that I’ll land an excellent job, no problem! Ha! She doesn’t exactly help her case by adding that irritating “it was God’s will that you went to college, you should be fine” shtick she seems to have grown entirely too fond of for my taste. Sure, Mom, it was totally about my faith (or notable lack thereof, not that she seems to have noticed) and not at all about my grades, or SATs, or any of the applications that I had to fill out, all of the hoops I had to jump through, in order to get accepted and get everything paid for in someway or another. I swear, that last loan disclosure statement may have just asked for my soul; I didn’t really read through the fine print, choosing to skim it quickly and sign off on it just to get it out of my face.

I mean, it’s great that there’s this push to get everyone educated. Every other commercial that’s on while I’m watching Jerry Springer seems to be about how to attend college from home or while raising children that were probably the result of kids making rash decisions with their lives for a little thrill (not that I could hold it against them, the little poots. Unless they’ve proven themselves to be uncouth little brats, in which case you probably still can’t, though the parents are fair game). I’ll admit, I’m not above scoffing at these options for education, but there is definitely something to be said about the sheer multitude of alternatives to the usual brick-and-mortar, outrageously overpriced, “traditional” college route to a bachelor’s, most notably the fact that, as competitive institutions, they can make it their goal to kick the traditional institutions right where it hurts by attracting everyone who would otherwise have no choice but to enroll in unyielding halls of aged stone. And that’s exactly what they seem to have accomplished, as far as I can tell (though I’m no expert in these sorts of matters), becoming the Wal-Mart to a university’s Trader Joe’s, churning out degrees in bulk rather than make everything they sell somehow special and exotic, which is more than a good enough reason to charge you out the ass for them. This can go a long way to explaining ever rising tuition (though, again, not an expert) with the extra sticker price going towards what kind of logo you want on your particular piece of paper when you finish.

Am I more than a bit disappointed with the system that’s currently in place for higher education? Yeah, though I guess I can always look at it in this way: at least I get to finish in the prescribed four years.

I suppose that was the biggest turn-off for me when I had looked at state universities, aside from the fact that the nearest one to my high school was widely regarded as “high school, part deux”. It was an alright university, with a somewhat reasonable (the word is relative here) price and manageable enough distance from home so that I could’ve saved money and not have had to sacrifice my cushy, comfy quarters. Alas, while obtaining admission was easy (laughably easy; I could’ve failed literally everything in my last year and probably still have gotten in because of my writing skills), their package was less than what I wanted to help pay off everything, so I went with my current place of study. Again, expensive, but at least they’re not shy about pouring on the funds. I just have to go about, being a literal billboard at times, and study in order to make something of myself.

That’s all it boils down to, doesn’t it? I’m making something of myself and this is the method I’ve chosen to do so. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s definitely been done before, so even I can do it too. Not everyone can just start up a business in their garage or suddenly stumble across the world’s next big thing, but they can spend the greater part of their lives reading, writing, and observing. And shelling out enough cash to make one wonder if the university president’s house is getting remodeled. Again.

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