What to do, what to do...
 My free time at work just started to accumulate, so why not create a page for daily observations and ponderings on life so I can occupy said free time! What a great a idea, I think I just will...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the writer and the writer only, and do not necessarily reflect those of  HSU. If something offends you then read the rules of this site. Regardless, just sit and enjoy these ramblings and realize that  the writer is only digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole...

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February '02

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May 12, 2003 - Freedom
   
So school is out for the semester. You know what that means?  I have to find new excuse for not updating this page (just kidding).  I guess now that I don't have my large projects and essays to worry about that I should start working on this page again and bring all of you who are interested up to date. Before I begin, I would like everyone to know that I have a new personality test page up detailing my results. This page might tell you a little more about the enigma that is Jay, or it might jsut make me look like an idiot. Either way, it going to be fun! 

Working backwards from this date, I'll emphasize my important days and then elaborate on them as I have time. (updated May 16)

    May 9-11 My first weekend living at home since Christmas. Other than the pain of moving a year's worth of collected crap from my dorm (1, 2, 3) to my house, not much happened. It took me two full truckloads to get everything out of the dorm, and I spent nearly 10 hours across 2 days doing it.  I had no idea over the course of the year I had acquired so much stuff. Usually the hardest things to move are my speakers/receiver, TV, and computer, all of which were extremely easy this year.  Instead I had to remove all of the "luxury" items such as framed paintings, posters, doors, fountains/bells/giraffes, lamps, pillows, food, and chairs.  Once again I the pleasure of freaking people out with my door. I received many an odd look when people opened the elevator doors only to find an anime covered wooden door staring right back at them. The worst part of the entire ordeal was inspection. Since the dorm is brand new and this was the first year anyone lived in it, every minor scratch, stain, and dent was counted and charged to us.  The RA's were seemingly going around each room with magnifying glass trying to find slight discolorations in the floor and walls, you would think we were hiding drugs or something by the way they tore through that place.  When all was said and done I finally was allowed to go home and rest.  At least for 20 minutes, that is...  Unfortunately I had a gig at my High School playing in the pit for the choir's production of The Sound of Music.  I dressed totally in black and played my trumpet for what I'm hoping will be my final time. After playing three rehearsals and three full performances I'm pretty sure I have the entire musical memorized word for word. Sadly enough I've never even seen the actual movie. My weekend consisted of the three performances so I didn't get to do much else since the play ran like four hours long (well at least it seemed like it did).  Don't get me wrong though, it wasn't that bad of an experience. I enjoyed doing it and am glad I did (especially after looking at the check they gave me), but as of recently playing my trumpet has become more of a hassle than a luxury.  I think it's about time I retired my trumpet just so I have less hobbies to take me away from my real work. 

    May 2-4  Friday was the big opening of X2, and also it was the last Friday my college friends and I would have to hang out together thus we were looking for some way to end the year with a bang. Coincidence? I think not.  After "accidentally" skipping BOTH of my classes (interestingly enough, my last two classes of the entire semester) on Friday I was pretty revved up for the movie.  (Personal note: Insert more stuff here you procrastinating dolt)   Also procrastinated working on my Art History report.  Saturday saw me training at my new job as a lifeguard at the Magic Springs amusement park, and then accidentally running across my High School Prom at 1 AM that night/morning.  It's rather odd to go out for a walk across campus at 1 AM only to find that the college's rec center is currently occupied by high school students who still remember you 3 years after you graduated. Look forward to pictures from both...

   April 25-27 Played a "piano concert" on the campus of OBU during their spring fling.  Took an impromptu trip to my birthplace of Paris, TX to celebrate James' birthday with some his family and friends.  Watched Mulholland Dr. with all of them and the proceeded to explain what happened in the movie for an hour after it was over.  Also took alot of pictures which are in the process of being developed.

    April 18-20 One of the best weekends I've ever had, this one involved a female friend of mine who I mentioned earlier.

    April 11-13 Friday I had a Province meeting at Arkansas Tech for Phi Mu Alpha. Of course I can't mention anything from the metting other than it was fun, and it took forever. I ended up going to a brothers house in Benton and sleeping there at 4 AM only to wake up at 8 AM so I could go to a brass band competition in Little Rock.  This was probably the busiest weekend I've had in a while but boy was it ever fun...

Of course alot happened during these weeks that I didn't mention but for memory's sake I'm only puttting down what I know off the top of my head so I can elaborate on them later.  These paragraphs will grow larger as this week continues, that I guarantee. 

 

April 18, 2003 - Oaths and Oafs
    
Before I write about  my week, please note that my Spring Break description is still being updated. (Last updated April 22).
    The two weeks after Spring Break were extremely busy and difficult. So busy and difficult that I don't have time to write about them. I'll be back.... (once again work and procrastination hit forcing me not to write what I wanted to write...)

April 10, 2003 - Time moves backward
   
Lots has happened since coming back from Spring break, but I'm currently behind on posts here so I still need to discuss things that happened 3 weeks ago...

I have over 300 pictures of my trip to Europe, but since time is very limited right now I've only scanned a few with the friends I made while on the trip. Hopefully over the summer I'll be able to scan the rest and have a picture journal of the entire thing. Periodically check my pictures folder to see if I've posted anything new.

    My Spring break began with me waking up early to pick up my paycheck and deposit in my starving bank account.  I was scheduled to leave at 9 AM so I had to a very short amount of time to work with.  The hardest part of my plan was to pick up my check early since I wasn't sure when they had them printed and if I would even be able to pick it up before noon.  Luckily, I was able to pick it up from the mailroom with ease, all I had to do was go to the bank and deposit it and I was prepared for my big trip.  Except things didn't turn out that way. As it turns out, my bank doesn't open until 9 AM so there was no way for me to deposit my checks before I left for my trip.  I ended up having to give the money to my parents and rely on them for money of the course of the trip. In retrospect that was probably a bad idea because I still don't think they gave me all of my money back, but that's a whole 'nother story. 
    Before I left, I saluted my old dorm room and bid it farewell. The wrecking crew was coming upon in it that day and once my room was gone so would be all of my wall paintings.  Long live Oaks, you will be missed!  Afterwards, I went to my house and left for the airport.
    Not much happened at the airport. We arrived early and ended up waiting for our plane for about two hours. In that time I read a few magazines and discussed the camera obscura theory with the the rest of the group which consisted of my parents and three of my mother's Spanish students.  From Little Rock we flew to Dallas where once again we had a two hour layover. At this point I was getting a little ancy because there is only so much waiting a person can do with out going crazy. I ended up just walking around the terminal for a while just to keep my body moving.  Finally we were allowed on the plane and then we were off to London! The ride was absolutely fantastic.  Each seat had it's own personal TV in front of it where you could watch movies or listen to a variety of radio stations.  The most interesting part was there was a channel that showed all of the statistics of the flight, such as what altitude we were at, the current outside temperature,  the distance to our destination, our current speed, a countdown until our arrival, and even a map of our current position in the world.  At one point the map showed us flying directly over Arkadelphia which was kind of depressing since we had left Arkadelphia 7 hours earlier and suddenly we were right back where we started, albeit 30,000 ft higher. I spent the first part of the eight hour trip watching movies on my screen and then tried to sleep for the rest of the trip. Except with such little space I couldn't get anywhere near horizontal so falling asleep was troublesome. To this day I don't think I slept a single minute, but I'm not sure, as all of my memories were a haze when we finally arrived in London (I had been awake 22 hours at that point).  The worst part was it was 7 AM in London when we arrived so it was a start of a brand new day and  I wasn't supposed to fall asleep for another16 hours. It was going to be a long day.
    The first thing I had to get used to in London was the whole "driving on the opposite side of the road" thing they do there.  Now I believe talking about that is so cliché since that's what everyone talks about when they go to London. Just let it be known that it did feel odd and I don't think I could have driven in London without having some major wrecks.  For the first few hours in London all I could think about was how much I wanted to sleep.  It took alot of walking around (and a couple of migraine pills containing oodles of caffeine) to finally wake me up. The first place we tried to visit was Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, but unfortunately there was a large anti-war protest going on at the time. Everyone in the US thought I was crazy for going to Europe when supposedly everyone there hated Americans. Other than the protest in London we saw nothing that indicated anyone hated Americans. And the protest was directed toward Tony Blair with a few signs mentioning Bush.  It felt like we had more freedom in Europe than we have had in the post 9-11 United States. While we were casually watching a peaceful protest against Blair (which seemed to be full of aging hippies) people in San Francisco and Chicago were rioting and being arrested for doing the same thing.
    After snapping a few shots of Big Ben and the protesters surrounding it, we departed for the Tower of London which is less of a tower and more of a fortress. I'm not going to bore you with all the historical details but I will say the place was very cool and entertaining. Our tour guide (a Yeoman Warder) was absolutely hilarious with his dry-British humour, and interestingly enough his brother-in-law is a pastor at a church in Little Rock. It's a small world after all.  At that point it was getting dark outside so we took the Metro back to the hotel ("Mind the gap") where we met the other groups we would be touring with.  The first day we were together can be compared to a kid's first day of elementary school. All of us "kids" (I use the term loosely since we were all in the 14-22 age range) huddled together with the rest of our respective groups and refused to leave the safety of our parents/chaperones.  We all sat at different tables for dinner with periodic looks towards the kids in other groups to see what we were up against.  Speaking of dinner, that first night was probably the worst dinner of the entire trip. The restaurant didn't want to make a different meal for the vegetarians so they made one large vegetarian meal and gave it to everyone.  I had a few problems with this meal: 1. There was no meat in it  2. They made lasagna with no meat  3. They thought that by putting a really small piece of food on a rather large plate the meal would look big  4. They thought that if they put the soup in a really big bowl we wouldn't realize that they only filled the bowl 1/4 of an inch.  5. There was no friggin meat in it, heck there wasn't even any vegetables as far as I could tell.  Normally I am understanding person who doesn't mind trying new things, especially new foods. But we were told we were getting chicken cordon bleu while the vegetarians were getting lasagna. If the told us we were all getting lasagna I wouldn't have minded so much, but the fact that they were too lazy to cook two separate entrees really bothered me.  Luckily all the other meals we had on the trip were absolutely superb.  After dinner everyone went back to the hotel where we ended our 37 hour day by instantaneously falling asleep we when hit our beds.
    Sleep was more of a tease than a relief since we had to be awake by 6:30 AM. I don't even wake up that early during the school year and there was no way my body was going to let me do it during my vacation.  Luckily the showers were equipped with "elephant washing" shower heads with enough water pressure to take the paint off the walls.  I discovered this the hard way (literally) when I groggily stumbled into the shower and turned it on only to be knocked flat on my ass derrière by water pressure from hell.  It took plenty of effort and will power to stand up again, but in the end I had one great shower and one red body (from the pressure).  After eating a decent breakfast, we departed on a bus to tour the city of London and learn some history while we were at it.  I probably learned more during those four hours than I did in my entire AP European History class in high school.  We periodically stopped at important places to take pictures, but since I don't have any of them scanned I really can't talk about them.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and I much rather scan 3 pictures than type 3000 words. 
    Our bus tour ended with the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace where we marched side by side with guards as the went to the palace. Once it was over with we went to the original Hard Rock Cafe for good burgers and good music. Afterwards everyone did their own thing in London. I went to the Natural History Museum and caught an awesome dinosaur exhibit while others in my group went to the war museum and the queen's museum.  When I finished at the museum, I took a nice long hike into one of London's "parks". Again I use park loosely because the place was bigger than most Arkansas cities.  At least 30,000 people were frolicking and relaxing in the park at the time I was there, it was a magnificent site. It seemed like the perfect place to meet new people and have a good time after a long day's work.  We intended to stay in the park for about 30 minutes, but on our way out we passed by street artists selling their work. Some pieces were mediocre but we passed a few which demanded us to stop and view them.  We spent an hour doing this and missed out on any opportunities to view anything else in London before dinner.  I still believe it was all worth it.
   Once again we were up bright and early to start our day touring. This time we were leaving London and heading through south England until we eventually crossed over into France. Most of Monday was spent on a bus with a few stops at random stations. Our first major stop was at Stonehenge, which is eerily amazing.  What you never see in the pictures of Stonehenge is that it has two major roads on either side of it which always have cars flying by on them.  Most of the residents probably don't even notice the rocks any more, they probably see them as an annoying detour. Stonehenge really does not make any sense in it's placement. You will be driving over rolling hills and through a mist that never seems to disappear when suddenly there's a bunch of rocks sitting in the middle of no where.
    After our Stonehenge stop we hopped on the bus for a short ride to Salisbury where once again you have the strange placement of a large religious center. Salisbury is just your normal small English city with pubs and shops, except in the center of the city you have giant cathedral which dwarfs all other cathedrals. While I could talk about the history about this place (lord knows there's alot of it), I'm going to skip ahead a bit since the truly fun stuff is about to happen. 

    Once again keep checking back here for more information, I have a much more to tell.
 

March 31, 2003 - Spring has arrived!
   Before I discuss my Spring Break I have one quick humorous story to share that happened before I left.  A couple of my classmates volunteered for our local PBS station the weekend before Spring Break.  Their jobs were to answer phones and take donations while the TV station played various programs catered to it's viewers.  In between programs the camera switched to the phone room where a host would ask for donations to keep the station alive. During this time the camera focused on random people answering phones (all of which were my friends) which gave me a chance to have a little fun.  One of my friends (Misty) asked me to record the show so she could see herself on TV when she got back, but I decided to make it interesting.  During one of the "Please donate" speeches I called the station to talk to any one of my friends on TV, and coincidently Misty ended up being the person who answered my call.   Since the program was live I could see how Misty reacted to each of my comments, and of course I made some interesting comments.  Each time the camera focused on her I would tell a joke or tell her to "raise her eyebrows" or something odd just to make her laugh and embarrass her. The volunteers were supposed to be pretty serious so the having a volunteer visibly laughing and turning red on TV probably wasn't what the program director intended the public to see.  Misty, bless her heart, tried so hard to be serious while I was talking to her. She kept changing the subject back to "How much would you like to donate" and tried to treat me like a regular "customer".  But every time the conversation started becoming too serious for my tastes I would revert back to making her laugh and embarrassing her on screen. After making her turn a few shades red on live TV I figured should be nice and at least donate something for her troubles. I gave as much as my poor-college bank account would allow, and personally I think it was totally worth every penny.  Best thing was I had the entire ordeal on tape and could watch it whenever I needed a good laugh.
    On a quick side note, after I finished talking to Misty I left to meet an old friend for coffee. While nothing humorous (at least to you)  happened, I did have a great time and am really looking forward to going out with her again. I had not talked to her in almost a year and initially thought it would be a little awkward seeing her again, but surprisingly we really connected and had a wonderful time.  I only write this because maybe something more will happen later and it would be nice to have a written history of our "first" meeting.  As for my Spring Break...well...

   March 11, 2003 - Today's post is brought to you by dictionary.com
   
Yeesh, this semester became hectic alot quicker than the previous semesters.   If I don't find a way to mollify it soon I'm on my way to another nervous breakdown (not really).  With all of my various tasks I haven't found the time to limn my past month in a few paragraphs.  Time for a quick synopsis of the month:
 Valentines day- a wonderful holiday where giving and receiving chocolate is actually considered an act of romance rather than invoking the usual "are you trying to make me fat?" questions which always lead to the deadly "do you think I'm fat" debate which indubitably leads a vicious scrabble .  Plus you can actually give roses to people who deserve them without them thinking you're stalking them.  My Valentines day was nothing spectacular. I gave my female friends (as in plural, another advantage to having no votary of my own)  roses just like I do every year and I received hordes of chocolate in return.  And while no osculation occurred, I did receive a plethora of hugs and gratitude which is always salutary to my self-esteem.  Finally the day ended with a wonderful viewing of the new Daredevil movie. I must say I was quite impressed with the entire film.  I wasn't expecting too much from it since I knew virtually zilch about the character, which is for the best since enthusiasts probably found many things wrong with the movie (they always do...).   The movie was so entertaining that I returned the next day to watch it with my father (of course it being his birthday probably had some influence on my decision).
    Of course nothing ever really happenings during the weekdays, at least nothing that I can remember a month later.  I went to class, passed my tests, acted complaisant, procrastinated, and slept.  I also participated in a brass concert at my old high school.  The place has changed so much since I was there that I hardly could recognize anything, be it people or places.  It's almost as if it's a completely different milieu.  Even my inveterate wanderings through the halls felt less like reminiscence and more like I was the gaucherie of the school.   *end of dictionary endorsement*
     The following weekend (February 21 for those keeping track) I had another brass band concert to play in, but this time it was in Hot Springs. Of course the concert was grand and exciting but I still did not like waking up on a Saturday morning before noon (7 AM to be exact).  Afterwards I spent a day at the movies with my father (and by "day" I mean 8 hours of non-stop movies) and then came home and did the usual mucking around Thus ended my weekend and thus started a new week where nothing of importance happened... or did it?
     Monday was normal, I went to class and  despised the fact the my weekend ended so quickly and didn't accomplish anything.  But my prayers were answered when a second weekend happened right after Monday! At approximately 7 PM on Monday rain started to fall on our dry campus. As darkness encompassed the city that rain slowly began hardening into ice crystals. And finally by 9 PM Monday night the entire city was covered in a 2 inch thick layer of ice, which thankfully forced the administration to cancel school. And there was much rejoicing.  Craziness ensued, laughs were heard,  projects were postponed, giant age-old phrases were carved in ice( "all your base..."), and much dignity was lost (by multitudes of people slipping head-first and crashing into the ground) on this cold and icy night.  But it didn't end there.  Ice tends to melt into water as the temperature rises. And when the temperature drops again that water turns back into ice.  The next day the temperature couldn't seem to decide if it wanted to above 32 degrees or below it. Once again school was canceled as the streets kept changing back and forth form dangerous mud highways into ice-covered drives of doom. And there was much rejoicing.  Craziness ensued, laughs were heard.... On Thursday, we probably should have gone back to school since most of the streets were clear (due to us crazy college kids driving around doing crazy college kid stuff), but no one complained when classes were canceled one last time. There would have been rejoicing except we were all too exhausted to lift our hands. Thursday was a day to catch up on sleep and lounge about the room. I literally don't think I left my room the entire day, I was quite happy with my current warmth arrangements (and the recently acquired Xenosaga). 
   But thats not all.  Friday saw me missing my classes to go to Lubbock to visit an old friend at Texas Tech to go to his Junior recital.  I wish I could say more about the trip but its been over a month (as of this writing) and I have more pressing matters to attend to...  Maybe I'll write what I can after I finish my other updates.
     And so on and so forth...




 
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