Archive for January, 2001

Quibbles – 01.29.01

Monday, January 29th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
” ‘Damage control is easy. Reading Klingon – that’s hard.’ ”
Mr. Scott, “Star Trek IV”

I keep telling myself that January is almost over and I can start another folder to store these diary entries that is labeled with a new month. The one marked “January” is starting to get a little full! It’s funny how I had a serious case of writer’s block in August when I first got back to Gainesville and lots of notable things were happening. Now that the days are coming and going with little to distinguish them from one another I am a limitless source of information which I spill unheedingly into my diary. Life has its phases so, I suppose, I am allowed to have one of wordiness now and then. Today, however I have two points to address that are not from my daily life but from outside sources.

1) Girl Scouts
I got an email today from the UF Career Resource Center promoting a recruitment for summer camps. Since I was a counselor for three summers when I was in high school and I miss those days dearly my heart ached when I read about this event. I saw that two Girl Scout councils are going to be in attendance and I decided to check out their webpages to see what kinds of camps they have. When I was browsing I came across the Girl Scout Promise and Law – things I learned when I was about ten years old – but not as I remember them. The Promise was changed when I was about five because it used the word “mankind” and a women’s organization didn’t like that reference. Luckily it hasn’t changed since then. The Law, however, is not even a shadow of the verse I memorized years ago. Here are the words we used to say every morning at camp when we raised the flag and the ones I can still recite by heart:

I will do my best:
to be honest,
to be fair,
to help where I am needed,
to be cheerful,
to be friendly and considerate,
to be a sister to every Girl Scout,
to respect authority,
to use resources wisely,
to protect and improve the world around me,
and to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions

Here, in contrast, are the ones I read off the webpage:

I will do my best to be:
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to,
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout

When I think on it, the word are not the same but the meaning behind them remains. There is still something lacking of the old statement that I miss when I read this new Law. I know I am making this sound very melodramatic but I remember being proud that I didn’t have to look on a card to recall these words every morning. Anyone who was in my Girl Scout troop (Troop 258 of the Apalachee Bend between 1985 and 1996) will remember that we learned the old Law using a rap we had learned from another troop. In the end the purpose of the Girl Scouts, no matter how it is stated, can be summed up by the last line of that rap – “It all ads up in the end, you see, to loving God, my neighbor, and me!” I guess I will have to learn the new Law if I am going to work at a summer camp next year. I am planning to go to the Camp Recruitment just to see what kind of camp work they have in mind. I also want them to remember me if I show up this time next year wanting a job!

2) Harry Potter
One of my favorite websites to visit every day is The Leaky Cauldron, a Harry Potter weblog that is constantly posting news on the books and the upcoming movie. Today there was a link to a couple of LA Times letters to the editor complaining about the casting for Harry in the movie, scheduled to be released this November. Here are a couple of choice quotes:

Radcliffe looks like a well-fed prep school boy; Harry is skinny to the point of malnutrition! Unimportant quibbles? Not with Chris Columbus as director. Add things up, and I’ll bet we get “Home Alone” with magic wands. Sounds like Rowling sold the “Potter” rights to Voldemort.

I showed my four children the picture of Harry and Hedwig on the front of Calendar and waited for their exclamations of delight. The only response I received was a disgusted, “That is not what Harry’s hair looks like.” I hope the makers of this film are paying attention to detail, because the children certainly are.

Alternate Super Bowl Amusements – 01.28.01

Sunday, January 28th, 2001

Quotes of the Day:
“Mystery Science Theater 3000″, “Werewolf” – aired 01.27.01 on the Sci-Fi Channel
1) “Ah yes, Concerto in A Minor for cello and werewolf.”
2) “It turns out there are small parts AND small actors!”
3) “It’s possible the antidote to being a werewolf is Immodium AD.”

It’s funny how many other distractions present themselves on the day when the most anticipated professional football game in the country is played. The only reason I would watch the Super Bowl is the chance I would catch the movie trailer for “The Fellowship of the Ring” or “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” mingled with the other high budget commercials that will air during the game. I have been watching a couple of websites recently to see if either of these movie previews will indeed be shown and it seems Harry Potter will be absent from the mix. No matter how excited I am to see the Lord of the Rings footage it just doesn’t seem worth it to sit through the many hours of game coverage for that short glimpse. Besides, the trailer is now showing with the new Kevin Costner movie, “Thirteen Days.” Somehow it will cost less to pay for the movie ticket than watch the Super Bowl.

To compete with CBS, the network that is airing the Super Bowl tonight, a lot of other stations have been running movie after movie to keep viewers glued to their signal rather than the only one showing football. (Funny enough, I just saw a promotional clip for “The Mists of Avalon,” a TNT original movie coming out sometime this year. I am less than fifty pages from the end of the book and I am anxious to see how it is adapted for TV.) At six o’clock there are three different movies I would like to watch. The only reason this is a good situation for me is that I seem to get more homework done when I am in front of the TV. I know this sounds strange but I also like doing schoolwork at the food court during the lunchtime madness so I guess it makes sense. Anyway, I have gotten a lot done today but I haven’t left the house at all and that makes me feel pretty lazy. Somehow getting outside and taking a walk would be more satisfying now than having all of my work done.

Valentine’s Day isn’t very far off and my little candy stash is a testament to that fact. I am a sucker for sweets and every holiday has at least one that I can’t lay off of. Right now I have some Butterfinger hearts and Valentine’s Day candy corn within reach and no matter how disgusted I am for eating so much I can’t keep from going for more. As soon as this holiday is over I will be obligated to eat as many Hershey’s jellybeans as I can get my hands on since they only surface in the stores for Easter. This is the first year I haven’t had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day since high school and it is the first time I have regretted not having one at all since I became single again. I do plan to hand out valentines to my friends, however, just like I did in elementary school. I just won’t have a sweetheart, that’s all. At this point in my life that’s not a bad thing and I will only feel a brief twinge of disappointment when I think about it. On February fifteenth it won’t matter at all.

The Music of My Heart – 01.26.01

Friday, January 26th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
” ‘If the good Lord has intended us to walk he wouldn’t have invented roller skates.’ ”
Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Every weekend I take at least one trip down Archer Road to do some grocery shopping and Old Navy browsing. During the week I always look forward to getting out of my little world that exists between the aerospace engineering building and my sorority house. I get my supply of yogurt and sweets for the week and indulge in a fast food meal (tonight it was Schlotzsky’s pizza). So I was driving to Albertson’s tonight and, as usual, jamming to my N’Sync and Brittney Spears CDs when I realized how funny I must look to people in other cars who might be watching me. Sometimes when I am driving I look around at the other cars to see if anyone else is as into their music as I am. I have written about favorite songs and how they affect my mood in a couple of other entries. Music is so powerful that it has the ability to stir your soul in a way that nothing else can. It’s too bad I don’t have a CD player in my room because the only place I have to listen to my cherished CD collection is my car. Not that that’s a bad thing but it’s not the best place to daydream, which is what usually happens when I get into a song. I have an extremely vivid imagination that formed when I was a little girl, as my parents tell me, and it loves to take over my brain when I should be paying attention to something else. That’s probably why I like to sing and dance in my car – because I can let my imagination run free and not that many other people will see. I wonder why I don’t see more people jamming their cars? Am I just strange or are other people just restraining themselves? I refuse to believe that I am the only one who is moved by music.

I have one more bit of information to share from my shopping trip tonight. As I was waiting at a traffic light near I-75I saw a billboard that caught my attention. It read “You Get the Government You Elect!” My first thought was, “Not this year!” At least we didn’t get the president that the majority of the population voted for. I got a kick out of that propaganda which was obviously put up before the November election. The whole election blunder can ALMOST be forgiven because of the amusing irony I saw in that billboard.

After spending time and money on four birthday tables for my sorority family members since August I finally got to enjoy my own last night. I think this was the first time I had more than enough people to sit at my table – usually I have trouble filling all of the seats! Katherine remembered how much I hate Publix cakes and got me one from Kash N Karry instead. I am sure my sisters think I am ancient since they saw the big candles reading “22″ on top of my cake. Little do they know that I will be back next year and that number will be up to “23.” Anyway, it was nice to get all of my little sisters and one of my grand-littles together even though the meal was hardly edible and we mostly ate breadsticks. I am going to miss my “family” when I am in California this summer and fall. Katherine has been around as my little sister for three years now and I can always count on her. I am grateful that they took the time to make my birthday table so nice.

My weekend promises to be slow since I only have homework on the schedule so far. Tomorrow night is the annual Alpha Chi Omega Woodser but I have opted not to go this year. Stu and I went last year and it is rather peaceful, as date functions go. I remember how cold it was that night. It looks like it might be that cold again tomorrow night but I am going to be spending it in my unnaturally warm room. I was so wordy this past week in my diary but I don’t see that trend continuing. As always I am trying to keep my promise of not discussing routine day-to-day matters here so that means it might be awhile before I have anything to share! Maybe my brain will come up with something that warrants publishing, like the little filibuster on music above.

P.S. I picked up a copy of the February issue of Entertainment Weekly today and it has a little bit of information on the new Lord of the Rings movies. If anyone is looking for some eye candy check out the newest pictures in the magazine.

Pictures and More – 01.22.01

Monday, January 22nd, 2001

Quote of the Day:
” ‘You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born but what they grow to be!’ ”
Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

My friend Meghan forwarded me these pictures (5/7/11: Sorry, I couldn’t find the actual photos to post here!) from the Inaugural Parade because another one of our friends is in them. Danny is a senior at the Merchant Marine Academy and I know I have written about him before. I put his name on the second picture so that you can tell which one he is (the second one from the right, holding the sword). I don’t envy them having to march in the cold on Saturday.

Speaking of weather, thing have changed again here in Florida. Last Friday it was close to eighty degrees, that’s about fifteen degrees higher than normal for January, and I remembered what it was like to get sweaty walking to class. Then on Saturday it hardly got to fifty degrees! When I went out to my car that morning to go grocery shopping there was ice on the windshield! I have never had to deal with this before but I had to scrape the ice off before I could see through the windshield. I guess a cold front went through overnight but there was a huge contrast in weather between Friday and Saturday. It was rather chilly today also and I am enjoying it immensely.

High School Story – 01.22.01

Monday, January 22nd, 2001

(First) Quote of the Day:
“No one ever accused me of having small hair!”
Mrs. Stephens

Setting: Tenth-grade English classroom a few minutes before the bell rings for the start of class and before we have any teacher supervision
Characters: Danny (the same guy in the picture in today’s other entry), Mrs. Gaskin (English teacher)

Danny is sitting at Mrs. Gaskin’s desk, with his hands folded, pretending to be her. Imagine a lanky boy, over six feet tall, sitting very primly behind a teacher’s desk and you will know what the rest of us are looking at.

“OK class, settle down,” Danny says in a very high pitched voice as he imitates Mrs. Gaskin. Everyone laughs at the impression and some begin to jokingly ask questions about daughter Carla (the one who got arrested for defacing Leon High School) or current fashion trends. Suddenly the door swings open and our real English teacher rushes into the room with something in her hand. Mrs. Gaskin’s customary high heels click across the floor and her hair looks as large as ever. Danny squirms in the chair and looks nervous knowing that he should be at his own desk but she is distraught and doesn’t protest.

”Look at this!” she cries and shoves the object, which is a rather hefty bright red shoulder pad with large white polka dots all over it, under Danny’s nose for inspection. He stutters a response that is almost inaudible.

“What do I do – put it back in or take the other one out?” Mrs. Gaskin asks with a hint of panic in her voice. She surveys the lopsided shoulders of her dress and looks at Danny for advice.

So that’s the bulk of the story. It is probably the funniest memory I have from high school and now it still makes me laugh out loud. Others who were in that period of Mrs. Gaskin’s class will remember this episode. It was really hilarious.

Thinking – 01.20.01

Saturday, January 20th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
” ‘The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe.’ ”
Mr. Scott, “Star Trek IV”

Maybe another reason my sisters think I am a nerd is my devotion to my webpage. I added a counter to this page last week and that proved my suspicion that very few people actually visit my diary. That doesn’t make much difference to me since I established this page for my family and my friends (a small number) and, of course, for myself. Recently it seems I have had either a great amount of time to spend writing for my diary or a great number of things to think about. Maybe both, since I have banned IPPD as a topic and since I haven’t been spending as much time working on it in the past few days. I know that I posted a new entry yesterday but I have a lot on my mind and I thought writing would help me sort things out.

It is my mom’s birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY! I won’t tell you how old she is because she might not appreciate it being broadcast all over the internet. In any case, I called home tonight to see if my dad had talked to her (she is on a trip) and we discussed an issue that has been of prime concern in my family lately. If you live in the state of Florida you have probably heard that the Board of Regents will be dissolved as of this summer, I have mentioned this issue here before, and my dad will lose his job because of our governor’s wonderful idea. My dad has two loose job offers already in the works – one at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers and another at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The job at FGCU is able to offer my dad his current salary but then my family would have to move to South Florida. This is something I know my mom is against. If FSU can’t come up with that same amount of money then at least my parents will be relocating sometime in July. The other day my dad told me he would rather stay in Tallahassee since he and my mom have been living there since before I was born. Nothing has been decided yet but in the next couple of weeks my dad will probably hear from FSU about the salary and everything will be resolved.

I have rather a lot of anxiety when I think about this situation. As I have mentioned before, I was born in Tallahassee and it is the only home I have ever known. The idea of moving at all makes me nostalgic and sad but if my family moves to Ft. Myers it will be when I am in California and that is what concerns me most. I will be going to Los Angeles in late May, my family will be leaving Tallahassee in July, and when I get back to Florida my home won’t be where it always has been before. The thought of having to go south to go home from Gainesville is a strange one. I have never envied people who have that situation because the highways are so crowded going south during the holidays. Now it might be my turn to know how that feels. I guess the only thing you can count on is change but up until now Tallahassee has been the one constant in my life and I hate to let it go. Sometimes I feel like I am at a point in my life where everything is transient – my address, my friends, my possessions. I don’t know if this normal for a twenty-two year old but I suspect that it is.

I can’t get that Christina Aguilera song, “Come on Over Baby,” out of my head. It was on the Disney Channel this afternoon and the tune is way too catchy to forget so easily. I didn’t turn on Disney to watch music videos, but for a great show called “Totally Circus” about kids who spend the summer putting on a circus in the northeast. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I have often wondered what kind of stuff I would have gotten in to if I had grown up somewhere other than North Florida. The summers after eighth, ninth, and tenth grades were spent at Girl Scout summer camp (Camp For All Seasons in Tallahassee) as a junior counselor and I loved every minute. I was an aquatic aide so I spent all of my time either at the pool teaching swimming lessons or the lake teaching canoeing strokes. When I came home I was very blonde and very tan – not a look I am very fond of but the time spent getting that look was great. My camp name was Holly, in case anyone wanted to know. (We kept our real names a secret from the campers because it was a ton of fun.) Anyway, I only mentioned all of this because “Totally Circus” reminded me of those summers I spent in my bathing suit. Watching that show I am seriously jealous of the talented kids who had the opportunity to experience something that exciting. I like to think I would have been good enough at something to be a part of that circus if I were the right age and in the right geographic location. Also, since I love ballet so much, I often think I could have been a decent figure skater if I had grown up farther north where it stays below freezing for longer than a few hours at a time. Can you tell that the US Figure Skating National Championship was on TV as well? I have just been bombarded with the media today.

Speaking of the media, tonight we have a new president, George W. Bush. Don’t blame me, I voted for Gore!

Why I’m a Nerd – 01.19.01

Friday, January 19th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Smash criminals. Save Gotham. Wear tights.”
-Sci-Fi Channel “Batman: The Series” commercial

Here’s a little something I thought up while trying to fall asleep a couple of nights ago. It tells you a little bit about me – how people see me and how I see myself.

Top ten reasons my sorority sisters think I am a nerd:
10) I wear glasses, not contacts
9) My movie collection
8) My textbook collection
7) I read books that aren’t required for a class
6) I have a t-shirt that says “Hogwarts” on it
5) X-Files
4) Star Wars
3) Star Trek
2) I have two computers
1) I spend Friday nights doing homework

Don’t get me wrong, I like being seen this way! Being thought of as a nerd has its advantages, as I have learned in high school and college. So if you think this list may also apply to you, be proud!

A Promise – 01.17.01

Wednesday, January 17th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“If we look too hard maybe we become mad, but if we continue to look we become liberated and we come awake as if from a dream.”
Fox Mulder, “X-Files”

I was talking to my mom tonight and we both decided that my diary has the potential to become something other than an inclusive portrayal of my average college life. I started to write an entry yesterday, but when the first two paragraphs basically said “I HATE IPPD” in as many ways as I could come up with, I decided against posting it. The truth is that IPPD has already taken over my life despite my attempts to reclaim it over the winter break. So throughout the semester the most prominent thing on my mind will probably be this infernal class and project. However, from this day forward I will try not to write too much about it here. I know IPPD is the driest topic on the web and it is not my place to further pollute the internet with boring banter. Just keep in mind between now and April that I am probably having to try extremely hard not to curse about IPPD in every entry. If the topic even comes up I promise that the news will be something important rather than the usual “stupid meeting” and “no sleep” references. To this I pledge my solemn word of honor.

Speaking of IPPD (I said “from this day forward”), we had another design review this afternoon. It wasn’t near as formal as the last ones have been but it was equally important to our project. Basically we had to present our schedule for the semester to three professors whose job it was to punch holes in our plan. Doesn’t that sound like fun? When it was all over I thought we got off rather easily because all three of the professors (one of whom was Dr. Fitz-Coy who knows exactly how our project is going so far) were very complimentary of our design. Now that the relief of getting that review over with as surged through my body I am going to take a short break from IPPD (until at least Friday). Then the fun of ordering parts, setting up lab experiments, and keeping our Boeing liaisons on their toes begins. (For those of you who are already saying, “Hey, she just said she wouldn’t write about IPPD anymore!” I will remind you that important information is still worthy of reference. Somehow design reviews qualify.)

Now that IPPD has been eliminated as a topic I hardly know what else there is to write about. Let’s see, what else am I involved with? The Internship and Career Fair is next Tuesday and Wednesday. If I don’t have my co-op offer from Boeing by then I will feel obligated to go look for another job for the summer in case that one falls through. I really hate having to put on a suit, pantyhose, and heels just to talk to recruiters who are all wearing polo shirts and khakis. We had an AIAA meeting this afternoon and that reminded me how far behind we are on our Engineering Fair project. The E-Fair is February 13-15 so that doesn’t leave much time for us to realize our lofty ambitions for the exhibit. How nice to realize that my life isn’t completely dictated by IPPD. Too bad all of the other things that are happening also involve a lot of work and not a lot of fun. I have come to the conclusion that engineering students aren’t allowed to have fun in college. We have no money, no free time, and no energy left when we get home at night. No wonder everyone outside the College of Engineering thinks we are nerds and geeks! And so, with that, I am going to go to bed because I have an early class tomorrow morning. I have no problem with being thought of as a nerd.

The Swing of Things – 01.11.01

Thursday, January 11th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Powers You Never Knew You Had and What to Do with Them Now You’ve Wised Up”
Book title from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I haven’t even started attending two of my classes yet (one begins tomorrow and the other not until next Tuesday) but that hasn’t stopped me from getting back into the swing of things around here. I know I will have some homework to do this weekend for one class but I have been spared otherwise. The only thing that has already dropped a load of work into our laps is IPPD. Ah yes, our favorite academic institution whose primary goal is to make us suffer as much as possible is back in full force before. I am still trying to get over my holiday sluggishness that has been keeping me from wanting to do anything productive. Starting a new book, The Mists of Avalon, hasn’t helped the situation at all.

We have a Project Plan Review (PPR) next Wednesday so there is a lot of work to be done for IPPD before then. The Mod SQUAD met this morning and it seemed like we never had the break from school at all. I think it is a little unrealistic for the professors to expect us to be prepared for something like this after only a week back at school. I spent my afternoon trying to get in touch with anyone who might be able to help me schedule some testing time in the aerospace lab. I couldn’t find even one professor to talk to me. It is going to be difficult to have all of the information we need by next Wednesday if the weekend comes before I can get a hold of someone. I guess I should be working on IPPD stuff right now rather than writing about my mundane life. We scheduled our weekly meetings today and here is where they stand:

Meeting with Dr. Fitz-Coy – Monday 6th period (in between two of my classes)
Group meetings – Monday 8th and 10th periods (also in between classes)
Teleconference with Boeing engineers – Wednesday 6th period (in between two of my classes)

There are no classes on Monday because it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It’s kind of like a late Christmas present. Too bad we scheduled an IPPD meeting with Dr. Fitz-Coy on Monday morning. I am going to try and enjoy the weekend with very little homework to do. I’ll leave you with a list of flavors to avoid if you happen to pick up a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. I learned the hard way and I don’t want anyone else to have to search frantically for a garbage can when your mouth is on fire with a horrible taste!

Don’t eat these:
Black pepper
Booger
Grass
Horseradish
Sardine

Twenty-Two – 01.09.01

Tuesday, January 9th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“ ‘But there, my friends, songs like trees bear fruit only in their own time and their own way: and sometimes they are withered untimely.’ “
Treebeard, The Two Towers

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! I suppose the quote above is a little morose for an entry written on my birthday but I have already posted all of the ones not coming from Harry Potter books! At some point the “quote of the day” will turn into the “Harry Potter quote of the day” but I figured I would see how long I could hold off on that. Speaking of Harry Potter, I just finished the fourth book (second reading). I just thought I would share that information with everyone.

And now on to more important matters – namely my birthday. I have had a great day so far that has only involved one class and plenty of free time. An advantage to having a birthday in early January is that you avoid most of the stress that comes later in the semester from school and other related activities. If I was trying to celebrate my birthday a month from now I wouldn’t be able to lazily finish the fourth Harry Potter book or scan the WWW for famous people who share this date of birth. I did, however, have to walk to class at 9 AM this morning in bitterly cold wind. My ears were frozen by the time I got to the aerospace building! It seems another cold front has found its way through Florida. At least I am getting a lot of wear out of my winter coats and long-sleeve shirts! Anyway, back to my birthday again. Here are some interesting people who were all born on January 9.

The following people share my birthday:
1728 Thomas Warton poet laureate of England (Pleasures of Melancholy)
1870 Joseph B Strauss civil engineer/builder (Golden Gate Bridge)
1913 Richard Milhous Nixon 37th president (1968-74)
1967 Dave Matthews rock singer-musician
1978 A.J. McLean singer (Backstreet Boys)

OK so the list is somewhat less than impressive.

Today was the second day of spring semester classes and everything is going well so far. This week is going to be rather undemanding considering that two of my classes have been cancelled for the week. I was supposed to have three hours of class today but since our experimental methods professor is out of town I only had to go to one. It’s like he knew it was my birthday. There hasn’t been any homework assigned yet but since I have only been to two classes that is not too hard to believe. Mod SQUAD had its first meeting of the term last night to discuss scheduling. We have another meeting tomorrow after class to get the ball rolling on our project again. Here’s to another semester of pain.

So ends another one of my birthdays. I guess it wasn’t that exciting but I know I will look back at this leisure time in a couple of weeks and be envious. Too bad I am starting to get bored of it! One of my suitemates just brought me an impromptu birthday gift so that was nice. Also Meghan emailed me this morning to wish me a happy twenty-second. BREAKING NEWS: Stu just came by the house to drop off my birthday card! How sweet. A few people did remember my birthday (besides my parents who are obligated to remember). I don’t have class tomorrow until 11:45 AM so I should count that among my gifts. I guess I’ll just veg out until then.