With My Nose to the Grindstone – 6/1/99

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I had to go back to classes today for the first time since last Thursday morning. Since I had that killer midterm last Wednesday in History of Science we took Thursday and Friday off. That means we hadn’t had a lecture class for a week. It is hard to go back after that. Also I have a test in Marriage and Family this Thursday. Great, another week of studying. (Maybe not a week, but it sure feels like it.)

This weekend Stuart is going out of town on a hang gliding trip. How am I going to amuse myself? Good question. I was hoping Kathe would come to Gainesville and keep me company, but I don’t think she will. I don’t have that many friends here in Gainesville now and I get lonely easily. I really miss my sisters. There was never a dull moment around the Alpha Chi Omega house, even when there were only five of us living there (at the end of last semester’s finals week). Here’s a good story from that time…

Jennifer Andreu is one of my sisters from Marianna, FL and she has a great southern accent. She also has a fake roach! Can you guess what happened? Another sister, Allison, is deathly afraid of roaches, especially since she had a large one attack her during “Days of Our Lives” once. Jennifer got a load of laughs when she threw the fake roach at Allison. It made her scream (during “Days” once again). Later the little rubber roach was planted in a box of Oreos. I can only imagine what people thought when they saw it lying there amongst the cookies. What a crazy girl Jennifer is. She is also the one who cut my hair at the drop of a hat one evening. She is also the girl whose date for our spring formal had won a pork-eating contest at Sonny’s! I could go on and on about her, but I will stop now. One of these days I will have to make a page dedicated to my sorority sisters that I mention here.
What I was trying to say a few paragraphs ago is that I should never live alone. I am glad I got this dorm with two roommates rather than a single where I would be by myself all the time. Here in the Apartment Residence Facility (ARF) I have my own little (stress little) bedroom, a kitchen, and a common living area. When Brandy and Liesl both leave for the weekend it is very quiet around here. I guess I need someone to talk to so I won’t get lonely as much. This is why I miss my sisters! Being able to go downstairs at the sorority house and find someone to talk to is a priceless opportunity that I shall never take for granted.

Why is it that whenever you get ready to do something that you aren’t sure is going to happen it never does? I went walking early tonight, came back, took a shower, and got ready in case Stuart called about watching a movie at his apartment. Just my luck tomorrow he’ll decide to watch the movie when I have just come back from walking when I look and smell horrible. It’s that how it always happens, though? I wish I had something else to do (besides homework) so I wouldn’t be sitting around here waiting for him to call. I guess I COULD be reading for History of Science, but that might be venturing too far into the realm of boredom. I guess I will have to venture there anyway now that I am finishing today’s ramblings.

Gathering of the Gleasons – 5/30/99

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My family is in Gainesville to visit me this weekend, and that includes mom, dad, Kenneth (my almost 17-year old brother, his birthday is June 19), and my grandparents. When I think about it, all of us have the last name “Gleason.” That’s pretty funny. They all came to town yesterday afternoon and it has been my job to figure out what to do with them since then! I really love my family and it is great to see them. I still get homesick for my family even after spending almost two years in an out-of-town college. I miss shopping with my mom, talking with my dad, lounging around the house I grew up in, and driving around Tallahassee (the town where I was born and raised). Going home every once in awhile is good for me because Tallahassee is the only other home I’ve ever had and it was hard to leave at first. Now I consider Gainesville more “home” because I spend more time here than anywhere else. Anyway, back to the story at hand.

Last night we all went to dinner at this great Italian restaurant in the mall called Rigatelli’s. They have the best food. I invited Stuart to come and meet my family for the first time. Let me just say that I met his whole family (mom, dad, older sister, and two younger brothers) awhile ago. I think I got the seal of approval from them, so that makes me happy. Now it was time for Stuart to be scrutinized by my family. I have talked about Stuart so much to my mom that she calls him “Mr. Wonderful,” which is a pretty good description. I knew everyone was going to like him, and I was right. Both of my parents and my grandparents commented on what a “nice young man” he was. You didn’t have to tell me!

Stuart left to go home for the weekend as soon as dinner was over. I’m not exactly sure of his schedule, but I know that he was planning to go to a big party tonight. Crazy boy. He won’t be back until Monday evening and I already miss him! Am I pitiful or what?

I just got back from a trip to the mall with my mom and grandmother. We spent a lot of time there, but we didn’t buy much. I actually bought a toering at Afterthoughts, but as soon as I tried it on it was too big for my toe! I felt kinda dumb taking it back as soon as I bought it, but the salesgirl said that wasn’t strange at all. In the process of trying on my new toering, my old one broke!! You don’t know how angry that made me. I bought it on Wednesday at Old Navy and I have only worn it twice. I can only hope that I will get my money back for that piece of junk. I am on a little jewelry kick right now. I looked at earcuffs at Afterthoughts too, but I didn’t buy one. Something to think about. And another thing: where can you buy silver hoop earrings in this town? Sorry, just thought I’d get everything out.

Dinner plans are probably on the horizon. I eat way too much with my family around. Having to buy and prepare your own meals significantly reduces them to plain, cheap, and simple dishes. I am used to cereal for breakfast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and either pasta or rice for dinner. I don’t deviate from that pattern too often. This weekend I am getting delicious meals that happen to be huge and quite filling. Doughnuts for breakfast is a nice change, but I do love cereal – I crave it. Food is a lot of fun when you think about it. I’ll just leave you with that thought.

What a Busy Day – 5/26/99

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Let me tell you about the great day I’ve been having. It all started at 8:00 AM when my alarm clock went off. No way I was going to get up that early in the morning! So let’s skip ahead to 8:20 AM when I actually did get out of bed. I remembered that my History of Science (HS) midterm was today and I freaked out. I had been studying for about three days straight for this test and I still didn’t feel the least bit prepared. I had my Marriage and Family (MF) class at 9:30 AM this morning so I had to delay my HS studying for at least the hour and fifteen minutes I spent there. Of course there was a fire drill during class too! Why in the heck would the university have a fire drill during a class period? It beats the heck out of me. Anyway, after class was over I headed to the J. Wayne Reitz Student Union to study.

I got there and got settled around 11 AM. I sat in the food court where there are several restaurants. When I started there were only a few people there eating or studying. Around 11:30 AM the slow influx of people turned into a massive tidal wave! The University of Florida is holding Preview sessions for incoming freshman now and I think they got out of a seminar around 11:30 AM. Anyway, the place was packed. The ambient noise seemed to help me concentrate. I worked straight from 11 AM until 12:30 PM when I got a little surprise.

I was in the middle of writing down some information I could use for a possible essay question when suddenly a pair of hands covers me eyes. “I wonder who it could be?” Of course it is my wonderful boyfriend Stuart coming to see how I was doing. I don’t know if he knew I would be there or whether he just came for lunch. Either way I was very happy to see him. Earlier I had been thinking how nice it would be if he showed up. My wish came true! It was nice to have someone to eat lunch with, but my studying pattern was interrupted and I didn’t get back into the grove at all, even after Stuart left.

My HS midterm was scheduled for 3:30 PM that afternoon. Even when I showed up to take the test I didn’t feel prepared for it. I estimate that I studied for two days straight with only a little slack time. Was I prepared? More than I thought I was. We had to write four identifications (five minutes each) and then a thirty-minute essay. We had been given a list of 39 possible identifications and 6 possible essay questions beforehand, but it wasn’t as helpful as it seemed. When it was all over my hand and elbow were killing me! I think it went pretty well considering how unprepared I felt before the test. When I find out how I did I will put it in a later entry.

I promised Stuart that I would make dinner after my test. This required a trip to the grocery store because we were having tacos and I needed the necessary ingredients. Dinner was delicious, if I do say so myself, and nothing got burned or burned down in the cooking process. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” says my mother. At least that’s been her experience. I hope she is right! Brandy, Stuart, and I watched “Dawson’s Creek” at 9 PM, probably much to Stuart’s dismay. It speaks well for him that he sat through such a sappy show. It was wonderful to have him around this evening to talk to. I was glad that the test and my dinner creation had gone so well. After the stress of preparing for my exam I relaxed eagerly and I anticipate a sound sleep tonight.

Studying – 5/24/99

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When you are a high school student, your teachers will tell you that you are being prepared for the rigors of college through their methods. Perhaps they do not know how wrong they are, but when I came to the University of Florida I found myself in quite a bind. To set the groundwork for my argument I will say that I graduated from high school in 1997 with a 4.55 weighted (3.95 unweighted) GPA which made me Summa Cum Laude and placed my twelfth in my class of 470. I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought college was going to be like taking more high school classes. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Now that I have completed four college semesters and working on the fifth, I can safely say that I now know what college is all about. Surviving isn’t as hard as it may seem to some of you but it isn’t as easy as it looks to others. I have a History of Science (HIS 3463) midterm on Wednesday afternoon and I am terrified. Before I had the experience with tests that I accumulated over the last four semesters I would not have know how to study for a test like the one I will be facing in less than two days. Also I didn’t have any older friends at UF that could have given me vital advice. For those of you who are going to college soon, or those of you who still don’t have the first clue how to study for a test, I will humbly give you my advice. Studying is a process that must be tackled carefully through these steps:

1) First of all make sure you attend EVERY lecture and discussion session. This is the most valuable activity you can engage in while in college. Take careful notes for later reference and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
2) Review your class notes paying attention to what has been emphasized by the instructor. Take notes on your notes so you will have a more concise and shorter version of them at hand for reference. This establishes a sound foundation for your knowledge on the subject at hand.
3) Read (or reread) sections of the text book if applicable. Take notes on your reading. Make sure to write down everything important even if it overlaps with your class notes. In general, writing something down helps you to remember it better than if you only read it.
4) If this is a math or science class that requires problem solving, practice practice practice! That is the best advice. I have had my share of these kinds of courses. The best way to know how to work any problem the professor throws at you is to know how to do the examples. Never underestimate the power of repetition!
5) If this a history class or any other class that requires essay answers you need to know how to write a good essay. I recommend the 5-paragraph method, but that is because I am a very structured person. If you are given potential topics or questions ahead of time make detailed outlines of how you would respond to them. Make lists of the information you know about each topic and make sure to memorize them if necessary. That was always necessary for me.
6) By this time you should be prepared for the exam, but you may not feel that way. Take a deep breath and remember how much you studied. You won’t do as badly as you think. I have a hard time following my own advice, which is why I am freeking out about this midterm on Wednesday.

Well, now you know my personal method I follow to prepare for a test. My system hasn’t let me down too many times yet. The field that I am in sometimes doesn’t let you get away with the kind of studying I do. People think it is crazy to study very hard for a test and still do badly. Of course it’s not crazy – I do it all the time! Sometimes no amount of studying will fully prepare you for what lies ahead. Sometime a professor will give you a test over stuff you have never seen before and you studying method will fail. Don’t give up! Realize that it wasn’t you that failed to meet criteria, but it was the professor that failed to teach. Sometimes it isn’t your fault and it is important to recognize those times. Don’t despair (as I often have) because there is always a way to redeem yourself. Now get off the Internet and start studying!! (I am going to join you.)

The Phantom Menace – 5/21/99

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WARNING!! Spoilers ahead… If you want to be surprised then don’t read this page.

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Boy was I glad to see those words on a big screen again! I must admit that I skipped school (with a good number of my friends) the day the “Star Wars: A New Hope” Special Edition premiered in movie theaters just to go to the earliest show possible. Ever since I was a little girl I have been waiting for the Prequels and now finally we are able to see Episode I. As I mentioned in an earlier entry my roommates, Liesl and Brandy, and my boyfriend Stuart saw “The Phantom Menace” on Wednesday, the day it was released. I was not lucky enough to get tickets for opening day due to class interference. It all turned out ok, however. I had a nice evening with Stuart and neither one of us had to worry about getting up early to go to work or class. Anyway, on to my opinion of the new movie!

As a die hard Star Wars fan, but not the kind of person who would lay my life on the line for it, I was very pleased and impressed with George Lucas’s most recent installment of our favorite space epic. Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, and Jake Lloyd were all fabulous in their respective roles. All of the characters were interesting to see at a time before the Trilogy. Come to think of it, I don’t think there was much chance that I could have been disappointed anyway. The fans that WERE disappointed must have been the ones who were expecting the best movie they ever had seen or ever would see. I am not one of those fans, but I do have to say that some aspects of the movie were a let-down.

1) The character of Jar Jar Binks did not fit into the movie at all. George Lucas and the other people who created Star Wars were very careful to relate the movies to modern society in very minimal ways only. This keeps viewers from comparing it to modern life and gives Star Wars an ambiance that is like nothing they know firsthand. Jar Jar was obviously needed for comic relief since R2-D2 and C3PO were not present to provide it. Unfortunately modern humor such as Jar Jar employed has no place in a Star Wars movie, and I was unhappy with its presence. (Remember how cute it was on “Full House” when Stephanie would say “how rude” all the time? Somehow when Jar Jar said it all I could think about was that sitcom and not the movie at hand. Bad move, Lucas.) To make a long story short, I could have done without Jar Jar Binks completely.

2) I figured out the Queen switch thing WAY too easily. Let me tell you how. When one of the ladies-in-waiting said something to the queen for the first time I leaned over to Stuart and asked, “Was that her fifteen minutes of fame?” He answered no, and I immediately knew what was going on. Had we not had that short exchange it would have taken only a little longer for me to see. Other factors told me my instincts were right. Why else would the handmaiden’s character be more developed than the queen (who ends up being the mother of Luke and Leia)? Why else would the queen not look or sound like Natalie Portman? I guess if you weren’t clued in at the beginning it would take an observative person to see it otherwise. Not that I am saying anything about me or my observational skills (because usually they are very poor), but I am always skeptical when it comes to plot twists in movies.

3) After a quick comparison of the Jedi situation at the beginning of Phantom Menace and what I know of little Skywalker’s upbringing, I figured that Qui-Gon Jinn had to die. What a great way to start the movie! How else would Anakin turn up in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hands? I guess Liam Neeson just had a one-movie deal with Lucas, but I suppose he could present himself as a ghost as Obi-Wan did to Luke later in the Trilogy. Anything is possible. Too bad Darth Maul had to die also. He was an awesome character who deserved further development. Maybe there are more cool guys like him out there that will surface later. One can only hope.

4) The name of the game is continuity. This is a personal message to George Lucas: If these new movies do not fit with the original Trilogy I will be angry beyond words. I won’t be responsible for my own actions if you screw up here, buddy! But since there are still two more movies to present I can’t talk too much about this one yet. So far I can’t make Alec Guinness’s portrayal of Ben Kenobi match up with Ewan McGregor’s role. A few things aren’t adding up. Perhaps I am a bit too picky here, but I guarantee there are fans who will pick Phantom Menace apart much more closely than I have. Not that I complain about the use of Ewan McGregor! He’s a hottie all right! Notice, however, that the Scottish accent of Obi-Wan’s youth transforms as he enters old age and becomes English. Wow! Gotta find out the secret for that.

All in all I can complain that much. I saw a great movie with a wonderful guy at my side and a good time was had by all. (How many times can a use a synonym for “good” in one sentence?) After I see Phantom Menace the second time (or the third, or the fourth…) I will have more to say about it. How will I be able to wait until 2002 for the next movie? Only time will tell. If you made it this far through my ranting and raving I am seriously impressed. Thanks for your interest. I shall be going now. Tomorrow I am planning to study for my History of Science midterm all day so I can go to the beach on Sunday. Whoopie!

Shrew’s News – 5/19/99

[Copied from it’s original home at http://lyra23.tripod.com/news/5-19-99.html]

Let me start by saying that yes, I am a copycat. My best bud Kathe (with Kathe-dots) gave me the idea to post an internet diary with her “My So-Called Existence” (MSCE) and now I am following in her footsteps. The name I have picked for my diary is Shrew’s News. Cheesy, huh? My boyfriend Stuart is into rhyming things, so he should approve of this choice. The ultimate purpose of my webpage is to inform viewers what is going on in my life, and what better way to do that than through personal thought? Thanks Kathe! Even though I only have two summer classes I can’t expect to be able to post entries very often. Not that my life is all that interesting, but if you saw the amount of reading I have to do for class you would understand. So this is the foundation for my internet diary – searching for the truth and seeing what else comes along on the way.

I just got back from the University of Florida computer lab. I got an email from an Air Force Academy cadet that I will venture to call a friend, that disturbed me greatly. As I was walking home, a trip that takes about ten minutes, I came to a conclusion: if there is one constant in this world it is adversity. In the email I received my friend told me that he was tired of my bad opinion of ex-boyfriends. Now you can draw your own conclusions about what my opinion is, but I do look back at some of my past relationships with a bit of disgust. Who doesn’t? I think I can safely say that most women have bad opinions of ex-boyfriends (in general) because they have had bad experiences with their own. Does this seem reasonable? I do not wish to make my friend the bad guy in this situation because he is entitled to HIS opinions as much as I am entitled to mine. Nor do I wish to make myself into the oppressed embodiment of all that is good. I am certainly no angel. In fact, Stuart calls me the “devil child” and I have a great keychain that states “I only LOOK sweet and innocent.” Anyway I am sure I must have said something offensive that struck a nerve with my friend, but I don’t think he was justified with his violent response.

In the past I don’t think I have expressed my opinions as freely as I should have. Before now I have felt intimidated by opinionated people and rarely did I oppose them for that reason. Everyone should be able to say what they think, but in a way that does not degrade any particular person for their beliefs. My friend was perfectly warranted to have his bad ideas about me, but I think that when he sent a nasty email he crossed the line from standing up for what he believes and attacking an individual needlessly. Let me remind you that I don’t deny doing the same thing from time to time. If there is one thing that I hate in this world it is a hypocrite, and I cringe when admitting I am guilty of being what I hate. Situation such as this one that I encountered today open my eyes to the world. After today I will be more careful in what I say because I don’t want to repeat the mistake made by others.

Ah, Florida in the summertime. The soaring temperatures, the stifling humidity, and the unpredicatbale afternoon thundershowers. Can you tell I just got back from class and it was raining all the way? It is 5:30 PM and the sky is dark grey with rain clouds. It looks like we have a moist evening to look forward to.

In other news my roommate Brandy has already been to see “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” which starts today in Gainesville. Stuart is probably sitting in the theater right now watching it, and my other roommate Liesl just left for a later show. What’s wrong with this picture? I am the one who watched the original trilogy everyday as a child! I am the one who knows all of the old movies practically by heart! And I am the one who has tickets for Friday night at 7 PM. The system is corrupt. That and the fact that I didn’t go out and buy tickets as soon as they went on sale. Due to the fact that I have class at 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM, which kind of breaks up the day. (By the way, it is raining again – hard this time.) Oh well. “The Phantom Menace” will wait for me, I guess. Stuart says that the movie won’t change between now and then, but I have my suspicions. Too bad I will have to walk around with my ears covered until 7 PM Friday unless I want to know the ENTIRE plot before I go to the movie! The price you pay for inactivity is mighty high these days. I will have to find some other way to amuse myself while my apartment is empty. I guess I could laugh at the people who are waiting outside in the rain for the movie now, but I sincerely wish I could be one of them right now. *sigh*