Category Archives: The Sunday Post

Well, hey, at least you remembered to vote…

Howdy! My university is currently in the middle of its Spring Break, something that doesn’t fail to amuse my comrades in the UC and CSU systems, who have their Break a bit later I believe. Nevertheless, I’ve elected to use this time to catch up on my schoolwork and, as our professor was kind enough to mention that his next exam would involve copious amounts of cell signalling pathways, I figured that I should probably get cracking on that. But before I do, it’s time for my usual blather in the form of the Sunday Post.

So, my university just finished having their student body elections to determine just who will be sitting at the helm for the next academic school year and, while the candidates that I supported unfortunately lost, I’m fairly happy with the results. Fairly happy with just a smidge of “Yep, I knew it”. See, while most of the other positions were embarrassingly uncontested, the race for president and vice president was much more heated than I remembered last year’s being. There were four candidates, which I’ll just summarize with  monikers that will, hopefully, be enlightening in regards to my own opinion of them as well as somewhat hilarious because at least one of the candidates totally was:

  1. The two people that you see pitching in everywhere: Clearly, my pick for this election. They actually came in second, I believe, which is definitely where I’d thought they’d be if they hadn’t just straight up won because they’re just that good. Both the potential president and VP are driven and responsive people who have consistently contributed to the university as a whole well before trying their hand at an actual office. I would trust them with all of my issues, or at least the ones relevant to my experiences here at Pacific. So, why didn’t they win? It’s probably a mix of the other two candidates having a bit of a Ross Perot effect and their sheer comparability with the candidates who actually did win. Again, I felt that they were really, really close; they could’ve taken it if not for numbers 2 and 3.
  2. The two inexperienced frat boys with nothing but partying on the brain: Now, I’ve actually gotten a LOT of flak for calling these two “frat boys” and I get that not all of the people in fraternities (or sororities, for that matter) behave in that stereotypical manner that we’re all accustomed to. However, these two fit the bill to a T. Traditionally, the people that run for President and VP also happen to be upperclassmen, juniors and/or seniors who, having spent some time at the university, a) want to contribute to their student body, preferably before they graduate and b) have taken the time to make those connections to, not only students, but the faculty that they’ll soon be working closely with in their new positions. While this group had plenty of a), I felt that not only were they lacking b), but were a bit too naive in their ambitions. Would it be great if Pacific had more of a social scene? I guess, but that’s not why we’re here. Could we make improvements to the catering company that serves our school? Sure, but you could’ve done that anyway if you organize, connect, and are incredibly persistent. One of my band directors back in high school said it to me this way: you don’t need to be in a position of power to have power. These two running for office did nothing, I feel, but detract from the much more viable candidates; their biggest appeal had an emotional sob story as their linchpin, not the interests of the student body. I would’ve recommended that they sit on the sidelines and mature a bit more, become a bit more certain and aware of what they say and how they carry themselves, and only then toss their hat into the ring. Do I sound harsh and critical? Yes, I hope so! I actually want them to reevaluate their strategy, cut out that ridiculous and irrelevant crap about having it so much harder than everyone else (because everyone does in their own way, get over it), and come back sharp and focused. They could easily come back next year and take the office; they’ve got the time to do so.
  3. The BUSI/COMM double robots: Honestly, these two came out of nowhere. I could be exaggerating or it could be due to my coursework keeping me on the other side of campus, but I had never seen or heard of these people before the election. I’m not saying that they’re terrible; at least they had the good sense to not call Stockton “ghetto” in front of people who are actually from Stockton (like The Frat Boys did; truly cringe-worthy). And, really, if you think about it, people who are versed in the art of public speaking and business management are probably more than qualified to hold a public office, or at least I’d hope so. But, see, while I’m certain that these two could theoretically be strong contenders, what with their training in their respective fields, I felt that they were overall forgettable. I went to the debates that were supposed to exhibit all of the candidates at their best and these two didn’t make much of an impression. Again, it’s a bit of a shame; their talents have been cultivated for this sort of thing and yet they neglected to put points into their Charisma, so to speak. I only call them robots because one had a monotone and the other had some hyperinflections going on or something.
  4. The already-made men: Or, to the rest of the student body, our new President and Vice President for the 2013-2014 academic year. Now, why do I call them “already-made”? Because, like the Mafia, these two already had an “in”; they both have prior experience in the student body office under Arts and Entertainment, better known as the section of ASuop that is the most public, the most influential, and definitely in better standing than all of the rest of ASuop combined. Why? A&E throws the parties, hosts the concerts, and generally caters to students. Here on campus, if you’ve ever been to an event hosted by ASuop, it was most likely A&E’s doing. What’s more, they did exactly what one should do when in a favorable position like this one: they capitalized on it immensely. And it worked for them, clearly. Again, I would’ve voted for these two if the people that I actually voted for had not appeared just because they are that favorable; they know the system from the inside-out, they have those crucial connections in place already, and they’re generally amicable people, either naturally or because they’ve grown accustomed to it in their work. 

So, why didn’t I vote for the people with the in, then? Believe it or not, it’s precisely because they had the in and there was a better candidate, in my opinion, who wasn’t so deep into the very system that I wanted to change as a voter. Nothing against ASuop, but come on: you’re going to have a sort of nepotism inherent in place. Who gets hired? People who know people who are already working there. Who controls the flow of information? The people who work there. Who has intimate contact with the people who actually run this institution? The people who work there, especially the President of the Student Body. It’s literally their job to be the mouthpiece for the President of the University, to act as a kind of bridge between the students and the regents. And I believe that the current acting president and VP are also cut from the same cloth, being people who got their start in the Student Body Office. Have they done their job as that increasingly vital connection? Nope. Is it too far-fetched to assume that the president-elect and his VP will do exactly the same thing and be just as ineffectual? Not at all, methinks.

Keep in mind that this is just an assumption. There is also the possibility of our new officers kicking all sorts of ass, so to speak, and rallying to the students’ defense in matters that are near and dear to our hearts, like those nasty tuition hikes and certain unwise decisions to build certain buildings that, while picturesque, are generally pointless and without great merit in addressing the issue of overpopulation in the residence halls (which, granted, could be solved in other ways, though I have a sneaking suspicion that our Board of Regents isn’t too overly concerned about the matter or anything aside from remaining “financially solvent”, to use their jargon). So, yes, I’m horribly cynical when it comes to the people in charge of our student body. I’m just basing this on what I’ve seen in my time here at Pacific: absolutely nothing being done, no pushes to keep our Board in check, no transparency in matters that affect all of us, nada.

Granted, it is rather difficult to be effectual when that body that you’re supposed to hold accountable makes it damned difficult to do so. It’s not uncommon that an initiative to take both the students’ view and the regents’ view into account in the form of, oh, let’s say a committee of some sort, to be undercut by an unwillingness to communicate effectively. Or to just stop at talking without actually doing anything. Or to not even have the chance to talk because some people can’t be bothered to rearrange their schedules to accommodate the people they claim to represent, who are trying to do that and work on their various degrees so that they can contribute in their respective fields. I have a feeling that, in order to effectively be heard as a student body, it’s going to take more than effective point-men at the forefront (which the president-elect and his running mate totally are).

I’m going to be utterly and cruelly blunt: it’s going to take our regents, the people that we’ve entrusted the future of our school to, getting their heads out of their collective ass and trusting us, the students, to hold some sort of awareness and attentiveness when it comes to more than just tuition hikes. It’s going to take the students, in turn, to worry more about what’s going to happen in their time here and cultivating the ability to empathize with the regents as well as project their visions of the future beyond their undergraduate careers in this institution and actually giving a shit about what will happen to this place after they leave. And, most of all, everybody is going to have to stop trying to look good and actually fucking doing something. Give me some results, not a building that I have no use for! Don’t give me a bullshit plan for the future and then sit on your hands about the details! I want answers to my questions, not your usual, infuriating, PC runaround! I want our President to hold consistent office hours, just like every other professor on campus is beholden to whether people actually show up or not. Either that, or welcome everyone to your house on campus instead of those parties for the select few that you seem to damned insistent on; those aren’t enough. You can’t go around sampling only a few and believing that you have the voice of the entire student body, Madam President. It’s statistical bullshittery, it makes for opinions tainted by pointless pandering, and it needs to stop. Why am I demanding the unreasonable? Because I want the unreasonable: to get involved in a way that doesn’t detract from why I am actually here.

Long story short: am I glad that I voted in the ASuop elections, despite the fact that the people I supported didn’t win? You bet your ass I am!

 

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‘Cause everyone loves a good power play…

Oh, wait a minute. No!

But before I start in on this most egregious of things to happen yesterday at work, Happy New Year everyone! Here’s hoping that 2013 will be filled with less of the crap that 2012 brought along with it. Or we can do what people with rational minds do and try to make things better regardless of whatever year we happen to find ourselves in. But yeah, back to the power play thing…

So, I was working at the campus grocery store, as I am wont to do in order to get some of that work-study money. I sometimes think to myself that it would be much more helpful if the feds just paid me the allotted amount upfront but then I take a look at my bank statements and my spending habits and quickly go “Never mind, then. Carry on.” Again, it’s an alright job; lots of movement back and forth so I can at least be somewhat active, lots of putting things from Room A onto Shelf B, it’s repetitive, it’s relatively stress-free as I don’t have to think too hard, and it’s basically a very, very blue collar job, one that someone with a high school diploma could easily expect to do for the rest of their lives. Or at least until the manager shoves off, but that requires a bit of something that is not really “taught” so much as “acquired through other means”. The point is that my job is fairly basic. I know all too well where I stand in the world and that’s alright. It’s not like I’m planning on being a cashier/stocker (or “merchandiser”, as my boss put it) for the rest of my life.

But, of course, what would a Sunday Post be without me bitching about someone who happened to waltz into the store while I was working and then proceed to do something stupid? It’s almost as though I can’t go a weekend without someone being so brain-numbingly idiotic that I don’t feel compelled to parse it out here the next day. I’ve come to expect it, actually, as I have nothing else to write about otherwise. But that’s neither here nor there. Let me just lay out this little gem for you, the first moron of the year.

As is the custom of many convenience stores nowadays, we accept major credit cards and cash in addition to the oft used option of the university meal plan. Be it from a credit union or from a national bank of some sort, as long as it’s either Master Card or Visa, you’re good. Not sure why you’d want to spend almost six bucks for a sandwich that was most likely put out a couple days ago, the paper now soggy with condensation, but you can if you’d like. However, if there is any one thing you need to understand about the campus convenience store, it’s simply that we’re geared to provide for students. Students with meal plans…and nothing else, certainly nothing as fancy and outdated as checks.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely correct. We more likely than not do accept checks as a form of payment because they are a legitimate form of payment. We just don’t cash them. I’m sure my manager can give a clearer and more official answer to that question and resolve it more thoroughly but, really, who the hell still uses checks?

The lady that came in yesterday clearly does. Now, she wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination an “old” lady, graying hair and flaccid skin betraying her age despite the nouveau-chic clothes and powdered face. No, she was simply “older”, probably in her early forties and relatively in good health. She came up to me (the only employee in the store at the time) and asked me, straight face and all, if I could cash her a check. She must have registered the look of bewilderment that certainly crossed my face because she repeated herself, “Can I cash a check here?”

“I’m sorry, we don’t cash checks.” A perfectly worded response. Perfect because it’s, y’know, the truth. In my three years of working at the same place under the same boss, we’ve never been trained in the Art of Cashing A Check. Shoot, I’ve just only rediscovered the now Lost Art of Partial Payment; it was damn handy for when people with a little bit of meal plan money left wanted to polish it off and then pay the rest using credit cards or cash, whatever was most convenient for them. Nobody teaches you that and nobody’s bothered telling anyone (or, at the very least, me) what to do if confronted by someone holding a checkbook.

The lady looked put out, shoulders slumping a bit, mouth in a bit of a frown. Here I thought was the end of it, as my word was honest and firm. But that wouldn’t make for a good tale, now would it? Just as I turned to try and diminish the pile of candies obstructing the middle of the floor, the good woman lifts her head once more and utters the most irrelevant thing in this particular situation: “I work in [insert name of very important and obviously administrative building on campus].” I was a bit flabbergasted for a second but then told her no again, in the most PR way as I could manage, pointed her to the nearest ATM, and bid her good day. She left, not without grumbling about missing the film she most wanted to see and quite possibly angered by the very notion that a cheeky cashier had denied her the expediency someone of her “position” so clearly deserves.

Or not. See, there are stupid customers, who are more like jesters to the bored employee, relatively harmless in their stupidity, and then there are people like this lady, who I’m sure is a very upstanding citizen in nearly all respects but just so happens to be a bit full of herself. I spent a good bit of time turning that conversation over and over in my head; it’s something that I tend to do when I’m not thinking of much else. It’s a bit of a problem, actually, over-thinking, but I engage in it anyway because, really, what else am I supposed to do while I’m moving boxes to and fro? So I’m replaying the encounter again and again and I find what exactly bothers me: Why did she mention her position? More to the point, why did she mention her management of the univeristy and then expect me, as a student of said managed university, to magically submit to her command despite the fact that I had denied her previously? Because, if anything, one “no” should’ve been enough. More than enough; I know more about the capabilities of my position, the things that I’m allowed and not allowed to do at the till, than she does. Why? Because it’s my job and I’m a good employee. It was then that two words popped into my head: “power play”.

There is little that irritates me more than when someone uses their relatively higher position to get something that they want, everything else be damned. Truth be told, I would have been more amenable to finding out what the protocol for such a situation actually was had this fine madam wielded her title more like a rapier and less like a hammer. What can I say? I admire finesse and am disgusted by crude and tactless plays in turn, however “efficient” they may be. Again, this lady might as well have been swinging a hammer upside my head, not that it did her much good, but to what purpose, madam? Don’t people who know they’re going to a film festival carry cash with them, or are the so-called elite who actually have time to kill on a Saturday just beyond paper money? I have no sympathy for the unprepared.

Let me just make this abundantly clear: I don’t care who you are or what you do in life, I’m pretty damn aware that I’m like a cockroach compared to you in terms of current occupation because I work a minimum wage job while you have an office and a salary as well as everything else that comes with that. You can use that all you want and try to prod me into falling in line and doing what you say. Go for it, make me fetch stuff from the back, look for something I already know we don’t have, even double-bag your one item just because it comes in a glass container. But if I say we don’t cash checks, we don’t cash fucking checks. Have a nice day.

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If I can, might as well…

It’d be a waste otherwise, right? So, taking my leave from my established loop of playing Runescape/writing stuff/reading Moby Dick, I hooked up my controller to my laptop and fired up Onlive. I think the last time I was playing games via Onlive was sometime in the summer so the Marketplace had a few games that I had only heard of but never actually played for the past six months. More to the point, there were more free trials to check out so check them out I did.

Yes, I’m going to be judging video games based on whether or not they can grab me in the first thirty minutes or not. To my credit, it’s not often I attempt to review things; it’s a nice break from the usual “what’s been going on in my life” posts that seem to dominate this blog. For those interested, nothing has been going on, literally, as I’m still on break. And now, without further ado, here are five games from the Marketplace that had a Free Trial feature for me to try out in no particular order:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution
Honestly, the only things I knew about Warhammer 40K when I picked it were that there’s a tabletop version of it and that space marines are somehow involved. And that’s pretty much the gist of it, or at least of the prologue mission you can play as a sort of tutorial to how the controls work. Lots of clicking, a few hotkeys, and no use for the controller that I had hooked up to my USB port much to my dismay. I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that the only reason that I had signed up for Onlive was to turn my laptop into a console with a screen; it’s just how I prefer to control things.

Buttons aside, the game seems pretty lore-heavy, something that I expected from a game that’s akin to Baldur’s Gate. No, seriously, this game could’ve been Baldur’s Gate in a different setting with different names for the same thing. Instead of “characters”, you have “units”. Instead of fighting evil, you fight the Chaos Legions or the Orkz. It’s a real-time strategy game and, as my brother-in-law will tell you, I am not a fan. At all. RTS games make me feel a bit too removed from what’s going on ’cause it’s not my ass down on the map getting shot at. It seems perfect for those with a bit of a God Complex, though, so more power to you if you enjoy these kinds of games.

After the fairly linear Prologue and introductory cutscene, I got to choose which faction to play as. Of course, I picked the Eldar, which seem to be some kind of blue-green bird race that will be the “elves” of the universe. Everyone else seemed a bit more cutthroat and absolutely encased in steel armor out the wazoo, giant bodies with all too tiny heads. Is it really any surprise that I chose the slimmer and trimmer faction which also had a female lead character? I was five seconds into the first map when I facepalmed myself; I could have totally passed on the Prologue mission because, surprise, the first map pretty much takes you by the hand and tells you where to go. I’m grateful for the assist, but come on! I could’ve spent those fifteen minutes traversing the icky-looking (though that may have just been my shitty graphics card) marshland I got stuck in.

So, my thirty minutes were parsed out to about 50% Prologue mission, 5% obligatory, unskippable, and incredibly long cutscene that sets the entire universe up, and 45% getting halfway through the map as the blue-green bird people. As I was playing it, I was thinking to myself “I already have Baldur’s Gate and this is pretty much it.” Would I buy it? No. Would I play it again? Maybe with a longer trial period; I have a feeling that this is one of those games that needs to build up a bit of momentum before it can actually entertain. Odds are that it is a good game, but it’s not in my niche. I’m already a bit wary when taking on an RTS but the bulky space marine thing is not for me.

The Darkness II
Guns, demon-like things, and an emo character who has lost the light in his life because he’s a gangster. I don’t mind the mechanic of this first-person shooter so much as its plot because, honestly, what else was I supposed to expect from the flagrant gun-waving the game was showing me in its introduction? I did like how they introduced the game to me, though, via some guy shakily recounting the events of the prequel to me in hushed tones and jerky movements. It was a nice change of pace from the usual majestic and slightly boring way of doing things with the monologue and the panoramic scenes.

The first “level” is, as usual, a how-to-do-stuff routine. You learn the camera control by checking out the chick working the counter, you learn how to fight by getting tossed into the fray, and then the Darkness comes and you have to use it in order to proceed. That being said, the levels begin to turn generic. Run to this spot, killing people on the way, use cover to get around (or not, if there are plenty of car doors), et cetera. Again, plenty of guns, though I found myself sticking mainly to using my demon arms when I got to the subway. While you can dual-wield pistols, which is pretty badass, I was using my bullets to shoot out the lights.

All things being considered, The Darkness II seems to be your average, run-of-the-mill FPS with a bit of a gothic twist. I’ll admit that the story does a lot more for me than the gameplay and those demon powers are pretty freakin’ sweet, but is it enough for me to consider buying the whole game? Not really. If this ever gets made into a (good) movie, I’ll probably watch it, if only to find out what happens to poor Jackie.

Darksiders II
I’m a sucker for role-playing games, especially ones where you get to play as Death and go on a quest to save your brother, War, from a council that is pissed off because humankind was somehow exterminated in the events of Darksiders. I didn’t play Darksiders and, quite frankly, I don’t care what happened. I liked this game because there wasn’t any futzing around with the intro, you just dived into the action, scythes (and hammers, oddly enough) a-whirl.

The first level was fairly linear, with slight puzzle-ish elements tossed in to make travel at least a bit more engaging. I like the aesthetic and I like the combat, though about half of the things that I dodged still managed to freakin’ hit me. Not that it hurt, as I decided to play on the easiest setting (same for all of the other games I’m writing about in this post), but it was still annoying. Here I am, trying to get a combo on War with my attacks and this mofo’s all like “Nope.” and manages to hit me with an AoE sword slash that just juggles me up into the air. I was this close to kicking his butt but then my trial ended and I was left with no satisfying resolution.

Long story short: this is the kind of game that I enjoy. It goes without saying that I would probably buy this and play it, only to get stuck at a much harder level somewhere down the line, stepping away from it for about half a year, and then coming back to it, ready to kick some ass. It’s just fun. That’s all you need to know.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V
Now, I know that I’ve said that I’m not one for RTS games, but when I saw that Civ V had a free trial, I just had to go for it. Thirty minutes is nowhere near long enough to even begin to explore the game, though, so I had to speed through the (*sigh*) long and obligatory cutscene that establishes what the game is actually about and the starting screen. It looked as though there were a bunch of different settings you could’ve fiddled around with but, as I’m not entirely familiar with any of the previous Civilization games, I left well enough alone and just accepted whatever the computer dished out.

I got to play as Queen Elizabeth, which was pretty neat, although maybe I should’ve at least had a gander at who else I could have played as. I got to meet Prince Darius (who was kind of a prick, truth be told) and Montezuma (nice fellow, though his spearmen were a little too close for comfort), fight off a few barbarians, adopt a policy of liberty, and establish both London and York before my time ran out. Not bad, when you consider that these sorts of games can go on for ages. Still, I fail to see the hype my brother-in-law was drumming up when he was anxiously awaiting the release date. It’s alright, fairly user-friendly, and the graphics are nice and bright. Do I care for the tedium of building cities? Not really; I had my military units constantly on the prowl for more barbarians to kill. Would I play this game in full? Probably not; thirty minutes was already too long, if only because there was nothing else going on. It’s alright, though, all things considered, so it’s not like I hated it.

So, there you go! I saw quite a few other games with free trials to tempt me. And then there was Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Suffice it to say that I won’t be getting near that one with a ten meter pole, thank you very much.

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Sure, it’s the thought that counts…

But I’d still like for my gifts to not be shitty, y’know? Maybe it’s the latent perfectionist coming out of me after a long semester of being less-than-perfect but if I’m going to take the time to make something, it’s gonna be spot on. It just has to be. Of course, this also means that the gift’s going to a very close friend of mine; it’s not like I’m going to expend so much effort (and surprisingly bruised fingers) on something that I’m just going to get a mere acquaintance. I mean, of course I want to get everyone a little something, but I go the extra mile on purpose. I’d like to think that my actions are the one with the bullhorn, not my words.

Maybe it’s just me, but I actually do feel pained when I have to parse out my gift-giving within a certain circle of friends. What do you give someone that you’d rather not be super close to so that there’s no room for ambiguity regarding your particular and slightly dubious friendship? Conversely, does giving someone I like gift upon gift upon gift render my feelings so transparent that they will only ever trespass on the other person’s will? And how about that friend that you’re honestly not totally over but you’ve made peace with the fact that whatever fantasies you can dream up in the middle of the night are nothing but pipe dreams? Just what do you get for them? I have no clue.

Is this gift too showy? Too cheap? Does it look like I stayed up the night before making it or is it peerless in design? Will they ever even use this? Do they happen to have a dozen of these in their possession already? When Christmas rolls around, I can’t help but fret.

But back to the recipients of said gifts. I’m not fond of leaving people out but you know what? I guess it can’t be helped. There are people that I’m more in tune with and there are people who should quit mentioning avocado ice cream because, seriously, a day trip with you, alone and in a city that you happen to know like the back of your hand, is not in the cards. Or a trip to the flea market on a Saturday; I work weekends so that I can have my late weeknights. Or Target. Or the dollar store. Or, basically, anywhere else. Seriously, your persistence is rather legendary, I’ll give you that. Now fuck off. Please.

Unfortunately for me, this person just so happens to run in the same crowd as all the rest of the people I know and like, so I can’t really gift anybody anything there. Maybe if I wasn’t so much of a cheapskate, I’d be a bit more disappointed. But do you know what this means? I can focus on the two gifts that are giving me a bit of a hassle: the gift that goes to The Current Crush and the gift that goes to The Former Crush. I can’t help it! They are both gorgeous in their own way and, dammit, I couldn’t call myself a gentleman of any sort if I didn’t wish them a Happy Holidays, shove my gift into their hands, and then proceed to smile like a doofus while they open it out of a sense of duty. They will be loved, if not by me then by the things I get to appeal to their sense of pleasure.

Sometimes I don’t know why I bother though. I mean, I can fret over whether it’s too much or too little until the cows come home, but that’s not going to change the fact that, to them, I’m just being friendly and nice. It’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong; regardless of how I felt or how I’m feeling, being friends is preferable to the alternative of not knowing of each other’s existence. Never that. But one’s just a little too dense and I can’t even tell what the other’s thinking half the time. There are times that we’re in sync and it’s funny how they happen to get a little freaked out (usually to the tune of “OMG how did you know I was singing that?!”), but neither of them seems to appreciate the depth of my emotions. Given that my emotions are basically a jellyfish, big, transparent, and just kind of floating there, this is a hell of an achievement.

So, where am I drawing this conclusion from anyway? How about Pokemon Day? I had come up with the idea to hand out Pokemon cards and I chanced upon a shiny Milotic while I was opening a bunch of booster packs. It was a pretty card so, naturally, I wanted to give it to someone that I think is pretty. But after going through all of the trouble of separating that card from the rest through devious and clever means, it hit me: she’s probably not going to appreciate it for the meticulously orchestrated event that it is, y’know? To her, it was going to be a product of random chance, not a deliberate attempt both celebrate her own beauty and stroke my implacable ego. So I did the sensible thing and give it to someone who definitely appreciated the effort, effectively scrapping my own designs.

Moral of the story: simply giving things isn’t going to make someone swoon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give anything; if you feel compelled to do so by whatever happens to rule you, then by all means go for it. Just recognize that the recipient may take it as nothing more than a sweet gesture because they can. So, I’m going to give them both something for sure which leaves just one more question: who gets the biggest gift? The person I’ve known longer or the person that I’m in lesbians with in a big, big way?

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It had quite a punch for something that’s touted as being mini…

So, I’m officially on break and not a minute too soon! To be honest, I was getting rather close to losing sight of just why in the world I’m working towards my bachelor’s in the first place. Needless to say I’m enjoying the ever-loving crap out of my time off. And what better way to kick off Winter Break than by going to a mini-con?

Maybe I shouldn’t call it “mini”, despite a few con-goers’ reactions to the fact that it was smaller than the full convention held in the summer. I may not have been able to have gone to the “big” con, but there were a LOT more things that I was expecting! Then again, I suppose I wasn’t expecting much in the way of things that actually interest me. Given that I only ever heard about this con from someone whose interests are more towards the realm of superheroes and comic books, I’ll admit that I had sort of written this event off as something interesting but with nothing to interest me.

Clearly, not the case.

My interests lie more in the anime and manga sub-culture that seems to overlap with the comic book scene at times. Don’t get me wrong, I know a bit about the X-Men and I loved Thor and The Avengers. And you know what? There was plenty of stuff for me at the mini-con! I chanced upon a booth that had Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic card singles, I got two little Chocobo plushies for a song, and I even managed to make it early enough to get a free copy of Avengers vs. X-Men. All in all, a lovely Sunday with some friends. Why can’t all cons be like this?

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Finals, finals, finals will make you go insane…

Good morning and happy…Monday? Oops. It seems that Sunday ran away from me, what with all of the fro-yo and then getting to help out for the Faraday Lecture. Shoot, the entire weekend ran away from me; I had been planning to go and watch Rise of the Guardians either Friday or Sunday, but I think I’ll have to reschedule it to later today after my first final. And why not? Public transportation’s always a bit of an adventure.

But, my goodness. Finals Week already? It’s rather hard to believe. Or is it just what everyone else had been warning me about since before I came to college? “Enjoy every bit of it ’cause it’s going to go by fast.” I’m starting to think so because I can distinctly remember just how slow and plodding my freshman year went by. Relatively speaking, my senior year is just zooming by! The scariest thought right now seems to be how, in just five more months, I’m going to graduate. I’d better prepare myself for what comes afterwards.

But before that, finals. This week is going to be a bit of a doozy. Cheers!

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So, it’s that time of year again…

Why does everyone procrastinate in college? Seriously. I have two exams, a lab report, homework, and then there’s that other lab report that is supposed to summarize the entirety of my research this semester.

Actually, that last one’s not that bad; I’m sure I can turn it in next week during finals and stuff. And, really, my pithy little research report is nothing compared to my grad student’s. She has to summarize five years worth of her life into an hour and then defend it! I’m nowhere close to that. Yet.

But yes. This weekend has pretty much run away from me. It was Friday and I blinked. Suddenly, it’s Monday and I’m thinking to myself “Well, crap, I just forgot to update my blog in all that commotion.” And whoo, boy. “Commotion” is certainly one way to describe it.

So, Friday was the day of my club’s semester event, the thing that we had been working towards so feverishly and planned out during every single weekly meeting that we had had so far. Thankfully, I got the chance to go out and have dinner with a couple friends afterwards. I swear, I was so busy running one of the games that I didn’t even have a chance to have some of Annie’s Okinawan dango or even a rice ball! It was crazy!! So it was nice to have that dinner as a bit of a post-event celebration. Sipping beer, chatting the breeze, unwinding after a long, stressful week…I rather liked it.

The next day was work as usual at The Grove and the beginning of students with too much meal plan coming to the realization that they have only a week at the most to get rid of about $300 meal plan dollars. I would have encouraged them to buy me groceries because, hey, why not, but I’m too polite to persist. It’s easy to be polite when you’re a bit of a coward. Also, they would have probably assumed I was joking, which is about half-right. But yeah, work came and went without a hitch. I think I only have one more week left in order for me to earn 100% of my work-study, which isn’t bad. Last semester, I think I ended up working right up until Finals Week, so taking on more hours went well. Shall I do it again next semester? Probably on a day that works better for me, sure. I kind of felt like I was stretching myself a bit too thinly this semester.

Sunday was a lot more relaxed, despite studying for my two midterms. It’s funny how I call them “midterms” when they’re on the last week of class. But yeah, spent the day per usual. In the lab from morning ’til night and then, unlike the usual, I went to see Scott Pilgrim at my friend’s place. Caitlin’s such a sweetie; she even made pasta with tofu and sauce. I provided a quarter-pound of Tootsie Rolls as dessert. I figured it was the least I could do, considering her hospitality. We ended up shooting the shit for a few hours after the movie, which has made me realize just how much I like talking when I’m stressed. I dunno, some people may claim that I’m always vocal, but I find that I’m more of a Chatty Cathy whenever something’s bothering me or, y’know, finals are right around the corner.

And then there’s today. I’m not sure if it’s the cool morning air or if it’s because Winter Break is so close that I can literally taste it, but I’m feeling strangely reinvigorated. Hell, it might just be because of the guest lecturer that came on Thursday, Dr. Sarah Keller. I got to have lunch with her along with one of my classmates and I’m not sure I was good company or not. I just remember feeling a bit down on myself for that embarrassing journal update the night before and thinking “Maybe I’m not cut out for biochemistry but I’ve already spent so much time on my major, just what the hell am I doing here?”

Yeah. Heavy stuff, yo.

But as the luncheon went on and Dr. Keller was sharing her own journey to where she was, I started feeling a bit better. She even gave me some advice for graduate school, which is always appreciated. I mean, my advisor is just a font of knowledge, but it’s always a bit too big picture, leaving the details for me to figure it out somehow. I’m just left there, at Point A, and over on the horizon is Point B, but the path is a bit murky, mired in fog. I suppose it’s because I’m a bit of a cautious person, but I was almost afraid of moving forward. But now, even if I do end up delaying my entry into graduate studies (which is less of a possibility and more of an eventuality, really), I have more of an idea of what to do.

So, taking stock of myself now: I think I’m ready for Break. Am I gonna relax right now? Nah, not yet. But soon.

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