Friday, December 12, 2008

Death and life continues

Yesterday morning Dr. Callaway came to class, eyes red and moist and announced that Dr. Holcombe, our beloved poli sci chair, had collapsed in his office. She informed us that he had been taken to the hospital.

We were silent for most of the class presentations, shocked but hopeful for him.
At the end of class I was slow to gather my things.

Dr. Callaway is not an expressive woman. She is calm, composed, and amazingly placid. Getting her to smirk or giggle has become routine for me but an aloud laugh is something that still lights me up. It's an accomplishment.
Yesterday was the antithesis of all those high moments.
Still, she managed to hold it together in the face of a distraught student who received the news that he had in fact passed. The girl was barely able to form the words and found herself on Dr. C's shoulder, crying.

We left them and Callaway comforted her for a time before confirming the news to us, the lingerers who waited pensively out side.

I called Alyx, Sarah, and Nathan to tell them, unable to enjoy the rare snow in Texas that i crushed in my hands to keep them still.

I went to LDB and found Dr. Cooper and let him know that I might be late to our class because of what had happened.
I needed to check on people, talk to someone.
I ended up crying in the geology office.

AB 1--third floor--quiet.

I found myself in Callaway's office, offering anything she needed, worried for her.
"You all have so much to worry about, you shouldn't have to deal with this"
"We all need to deal with it, people are more important. We care about y'all"

They're surrogates, para-parents. While mom and dad can prepare you and raise you for your life in so many ways, professors prepare you to serve your passion, to do all those amazing things you've always dreamed about.
I get very invested in my professors. They're valuable assets. So when I see them in crisis--I am concerned.

We talked for a while, still shocked.

That night I called Alyx. We discussed the physical affect Holcombe's laugh would have in heaven. Tornadoes, we decided, would be the result.

Sporadic tears.

It wasn't until today when June, at work, asked us if we saw the email from SHSU about the death of Dr Holcombe that it all sunk in.
"Did you hear about the professor that died yesterday?!"
"Yes, June, I know about it."

Under five mins later, I lost the battle with my tears and April took me on a quick nature walk to get my mind off of it. She's a dear.

He was a great man, you know, huge personality, brilliant mind, amazing man. His laugh was huge and heartfelt, it was something that made the whole floor warm and welcoming.
His presence is missed already.

I am still worried about my professors. Emails have been sent, I want them to know that their students are here for them.

The funeral is in a week.

This afternoon and evening have been wonderful though. After April's walk, I was feeling much better. I love being outdoors, really.
We had a christmas party in the office. lots of food. Gwen makes a killer dish. seriously delicious.

We all put five dollars into a mega millions lottery pool. I've got plans for that money already!! haha
Far fetched sure, but you know, why not?

Tonight is also my 5th anniversary with Nathan!!
We had pizza, watched some stand up, cuddled, spent time together, good times :) I like it.
He had a job interview today!!! It seems like it went well so cross your fingers!!

I would really like this up turn to stay up. Get the job, win the millions--either one is great.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There aren't words

For how busy I am.
3 projects, a test, a quiz, two assignments, and a paper before the end of December.
Thanksgiving will not be a holiday but a whirlwind of visiting and then back to some serious catch up work. I really can't afford anything else in terms of time.
I hate it, but it's the way it is.

Aside from all of that--Amelia still have TGTD and I'm antsy for it, but happy that i haven't gotten it back yet because i'd drop everything and focus on it!

Tired, been working out, headaches haven't really stopped. Could be the lack of caffeine though, i'm quitting!

Next semester is set in stone, the books will be about 350, I'll be able to cover it!!!!
But if you want to get me something for christmas or my birthday: Check it! that's my text book list ;p

(also my general list here just in case ;p--and you would think i didn't have a backpack...well, actually, i don't have one that will hold my 17 in laptop :( )

Cultural Geography
Quantitative Methods of Political Science
Economic Geology
International Political Economy
Conflict and Terrorism

that is SO HOT you have no idea.

after this semester, I will have ONE left on my undergrad!
Which means next semester I will also be looking for dun dun dun GRAD SCHOOL.

Honestly, if the next two semesters go like I hope and think they will--I'll want to stay at SHSU for grad (weak i know! but here's why)--If I have the independent study and have substantial findings there, then I'll have something I can really work with in grad and put together a thesis that I can totally be proud of.
I could probably do that at whatever school (likely UT, though of course Yawn --the poli sci adviser-- pushes the Bush school--not to be confused with the Busch school...but their program stops at undergrad ;p)
but at SHSU--there is Dr. C., who is...AMAZING and incredibly helpful and within my happy little comfort zone that makes me a productive little bee.

We'll see. It's not likely, but we'll see.

Now I must go back to work. reading reading reading reading...I wonder if I'll ever sleep again.

PS--My mom has a MYSPACE!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just a click a day

Save The World - One Click At A Time!

On each of these websites, you can click a button to support the cause -- each click creates funding, and costs you nothing! Bookmark these sites, and click once a day!

Click here to post this on your page or 'blog

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Repeat, repeat

This past week was fantastic. Truly. Not but two moments did I find myself feeling irritated or gritting my teeth.
Can we have a repeat?
I hope.
I have three papers due very close together. First is Power Transition vs Balance of Power for Dr. Callaway. The last paper (I briefly discussed it here) was a smashing success, now again I hope to repeat the success. I think I will. Or, rather, I hope I will.
When it comes to power parity vs power hierarchy, I find myself pretty decisive and realized I briefly hit on it in the first paper! Good sign, right? Hope.
That is due Thursday.

Next is Dr Biles's analytical paper worth the majority of my grade and over a topic I really can't bring myself to care about. However, he went over exactly what he's looking for and I think I can construct something worth a decent grade.
The last paper we did was worth 30%. I got a 95/100.
Yeah, let's repeat.
Due the 28th

Third is the one that gives me most pause as it will require a crazy amount of work.
Dr Baldwin--chair of the Geology department, intimidating and hysterical brash crazy English man.
However, a scientific paper over climate change and it's effect on sea-level under 3000 words is...yikes.
However, it is structured much like the first paper we had in Biles's class. So I am feeling a little more confident. If I can find someone familiar with the Chicago format then I will feel even better
Due Nov 4th.

Busy? Yes.

But it'll be okay, I just need to work and keep at it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Hurricane and Life in an International World

Hurricane Ike hit Friday the 12th with impressive force, making it's presence felt even in Ohio. It knocked out the power for over two million people and I personally am still without power. However, the cool front that spared a good portion of Galveston from looking like Boliver was also quite nice for the first week without power. The temperatures were low 80s in the highs and low 60s in the lows, quite comfortable. That being said, I've done quite a bit of reading these past days as school and work were both closed on Thursday afternoon until this past Monday the 22nd. Neat eh?

I was able to do a lot of handwritten work, but my assignments, I have to admit, have fallen behind because of my lack of electricity. I've almost caught up, however, and am happy as a clam that my work has power (even if our library was flooded).
When the storm hit I had a quarter tank of gas. I didn't get another chance to fill up until wednesday and only just, as I avoided the lines by going when it was still dark. That was also the first day we had ice.
No worries though, we never lost water and we have natural gas stoves and water heaters. Hot showers, hot food.
People who can't live without power crack me up, by the way. To see them twitch and fidget and not be able to be anything like content without the TV or the AC or the PC or what have you on is both entertaining and disheartening at once.
Sure, I was txting on my cell phone often, I could use the power to do my assignments, but meh, for the most part: I read.

I did quite a bit of that reading for my IR class (and what turns out, will inadvertently be the focus of my poli sci degree). Lots of reading, lots of note taking, lots of me musing about this paper that was due last Tuesday and is now due Thursday.

When asked to label myself either realist or liberal I find myself cringing. Why? Both have horrendous blind spots and neither seem to get human nature quite right. Both are rooted in their view of the individual but neither seem to get the full picture. Both claim that states act rationally yet neither seem to be able to account for the contradictory behavior that can be found in their theories.

For example, a realist would claim that self interested states are aggressive in nature because they have to be in order to maintain security. Therefore you come to the security dilemma where in order to be secure you must arm yourself against your rival or neighbor, but then in order to be secure your rival must arm themselves, so then you must arm yourself even more to be secure, and so on and so forth until it becomes an all out arms race.
It happens, to be sure, it's happened before, it will likely happen again.
Here's the thing--why is that the only road to security?

A liberal perspective would claim that the security dilemma can be avoided by cooperation, by economic openness, and by mitigated institutions. Collective security would prevent state A from attacking state B because of their friends C-Z and social norms that would shame any such aggression.
Problem with collective security is that if state A decides to attack anyway, you'd better hope that B-Z aren't totally disarmed and have an incentive to support a resistance.

What's the solution?
Prove that violence is irrational, that violent conflict is not in the nation's interest.
Problem: It can be. Often.

How can we overcome that? Well increased economic interdependence can possibly lower the incentive to go to war, to be aggressive. If country A has investments in countries C-Z, in the form of direct dollars, multi national cooperations, and so on, and they attack country B, then countries C-Z can punish country A economically and be effective. That is, if all those countries with investments within country A decide they can afford it.
The whole damn thing is rife with problems

And thus--I'm very reluctant to label myself, despite being asked to in general.

Aside from the two mainstream theories there are several 'radical' or alternative theories such as constructivism (which I find just as flawed but interesting none the less) and of course dependency and world systems theories. None of those I find particularly appealing.

I'm afraid she might get a nonanswer from me on this front.

ps I have a stomach ache.

Listening to: Enya - From Where I Am
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 12, 2008

Natural Disasters--From a Geologist's View

A golden rule of science: Science isn't malicious.
There is no intent or agendas among rocks, there are simply processes that forces compel them to undergo.

Likewise, neither does weather.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, wild fires, floods, rock falls, volcanic eruptions, sink holes, mud flows, tornadoes, tsunami, climate change, etc. are all natural and largely unpredictable phenomena. We've gotten better about predicting or forecasting them, but we've largely been stuck simply /detecting/ them.
As for stopping them or preventing them? Not so much!
We can mitigate, and I believe we should, we should bolt rocks when we make horrendously sharp vertical road cuts, we should net loose unconsolidated stone on hillsides next to homes, we should plant low lying grasses and ground cover on hills of mud to stabilize them, we should work on early warning programs for volcanoes, tsunami, storms, and floods, we should study wild fires and try to find the proper balance between 'conservation' and overgrowth that ensures a fire won't be local but catastrophic.

Here's what we shouldn't do--

Attempt to change the course of rives--an entity that by it's very nature will seek the path of least resistance, and that resistance varies over time

Blame climate change on people AND make any attempt to reverse it. Cut your pollutants sure, but stop focusing on CO2 and start taking a look at methane (something rice patties produce in over abundance! take that you veggie slayers)

Build on barrier islands (especially) or beaches--it's just dumb. Like rivers, beaches and barriers islands move and changed based on the PHYSICS OF THE OCEAN/SEA/LAKE.
When you build on a barrier island or beach you are building on SAND. Remember that story from the Bible? Anyone? Anyone at all? Come on I'm not even Christian and I know that one! Build on ROCK people. And when a hurricane comes and you leave your house on the beach don't be surprised if you come back and find that suddenly you are the proud owner of not beach front property, but ocean property.

This brings me to my largest beef this weekend: Galveston.

Now, disclaimer: I don't want to see anyone get hurt. I don't want people to lose their sentimental possessions, but part of me does want them to realize that they shouldn't be living on a sandbar, a sandbar that is largely (now) man made.

What do I mean? You know the seawall? It's there to hold the island together because it IS just one big pile of sand. They come and dump new sand at huge expense to the taxpayers and then within a WEEK (or in this case a weekend) it will be gone. Yesterday they dumped enough sand to make the 15ft seawall (normally about 10 feet of it is exposed) to leave only a couple feet exposed--all along the seawall. The tonnage of sand used is mind boggling, and it will all be gone come Monday.

After Ike passes over, people will go to their homes and collect on their insurance money. Then they will REBUILD right back on the same site and the next time a storm comes, they will do the same and play ignorant about it.

Barrier islands are neat to visit, they're some cool geology and oceanography taking place, but they're not places to /live/. They're called BARRIERS because they're supposed to protect the mainland from the brunt of storms (specifically storm surge). It's in the name! What about living on a barrier island sounds like a good proposition?

But if there is anything I've learned, it's that people will continue to do whatever it is they do as long as they feel that there will be someone to pull them out whether it's their insurance company or their government.
Unfortunately, when people get so complacent, they will make mistakes and lose their lives. See Katrina.
I love New Orleans, I think it's an amazing city, but I also realize that people are living in a bowl that was engineered by a haphazard conglomeration of trying to 'stabilize' the Mississippi and trying, ironically to keep the city above sea level (the irony stems from the fact that the Mississippi historically would provide the materials to replenish the land and build it up. when they build the levees they effectively halted any restoring material from flowing in. But every time you build a building or add weight or have a rain storm you either wash away sediment or you compact it and thus it subsides--lowering the level of the city even further). The tragedy of Katrina was the loss of life that never should have happened (at least not on the scale that it did, some people you just can't force to move). Proper planning, better maintenance, better care could all have reduced the number of people who died.
However--the property damage, people can blame all they want on the army corps of engineers but they need to look at themselves as well and realize where they were living. I applaud the people who made their exodus when Katrina came or at least when they moved back, built on higher ground. I applaud the people who learned a lesson from the storm.
I think it was a MISTAKE to try and rebuild portions of the city. I think it encourages a very very bad behavior.

One day it will be a lesson that Galveston will have to endure (perhaps this weekend, you never know) and decide if it's really worth it to rebuild on a pile of unstable, shifting (rightfully so) sand.

The most important lesson in geology: When people get hurt by the Earth, chances are they did something to put themselves in harms way.

Solution? Minimize your risk, don't up your insurance.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who Am I?

I've had three different tests taken in regards to me, one by myself, two by people who I consider as knowing me pretty well. These are my three results:

ENFP The Inspirer
Enthusiastic, idealistic, and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills. Need to live life in accordance with their inner values. Excited by new ideas, but bored with details. Open-minded and flexible, with a broad range of interests and abilities.

ISFP The Peacemaker
Quiet, serious, sensitive and kind. Do not like conflict, and not likely to do things which may generate conflict. Loyal and faithful. Extremely well-developed senses, and aesthetic appreciation for beauty. Not interested in leading or controlling others. Flexible and open-minded. Likely to be original and creative. Enjoy the present moment.

The Duty Fulfiller
Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Well-developed powers of concentration. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards identified goals. They can usually accomplish any task once they have set their mind to it.

So who am i?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin--a Dark Horse

I think I've come to the conclusion that the biggest thing this choice brings to the campaign is that people are now talking about his side of it.
She's new, she's fresh, she's highly inexperienced and has made some iffy calls in the past that I still need to research more, but she's a hardliner who has built a budding career on ethics and reform.

I do worry about her seven years of experience, as it is counter to everything the McCain campaign has been trying to build this summer. However, the choice of Biden as Obama's VP lessens the impact of the inexperience card.
Biden is also sort of a blah choice, it's safe, it's old--it'll calm a lot of people on the dem side (i've already seen this first hand).

It remains to be seen if the choice of Palin will be a net gain or loss for McCain.
One thing is for sure, the historic implications of this election will not go unnoted. At the very least we have the most diverse line up of candidates that we've ever had from demographics to policies.

This started as an election that Republicans couldn't win. Their only hope was McCain.
In an election that the democrats couldn't lose, they fought over Clinton or Obama--embittering many of their core supporters while doing so.
Between the two of them--it's even ground.
Their VP's could very well tip that balance. More to the point--McCain's VP could tip it.

So what makes him feel so secure as to be able to pick a dark horse?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Semesters Start Strangely

They really do.

Within the first day, I realized we had made a mistake and promptly dropped my public policy class (which turns out i took already under a different course name) and exchanged with with Forensic Geology.
I'm excited.
So excited, and tomorrow is the first time I'll run in there. It will also be the first time I'm balanced between geology and political science. My geography class is even a mix of the two.

I really think that the more time I spend around Callaway, the better and stronger I feel in political science. It's hard to explain and the only way I can is to contrast it with my freak out over my geology class--I have to write a scientific paper and yes, i am NERVOUS about it. Especially since he spent the first hour of class bashing creative writing ;p

But I'm rather secure in her classes, comfortable I suppose. I dig it.

This will be a super damn busy semester. It will, I know. But my second book is in my capable editor's hands and I'm looking forward to revision, I just am not sure when I'll have time to!
All my classes are writing enhanced with the exception of two: one is web based and one is web enhanced, Geography and Kine respectively. Both should be easy grades, though, provided I keep up with the work.

Aside from that--IR will be labor and thought intensive with more reading than I care to think about (but lol I've gotten a head start so :) ) and also a group presentation and four papers

Attitudes and Behaviours will be the worst, I think, in terms of work load--however I have the feeling that Biles isn't a hardass, he reiterated several times that our data work will be largely practice for the 60% worth in papers (two papers divided 40/20) of the grade

Ocenography will require a paper, a project, and delicious amounts of lecture

I have no idea what Forensic geology will have...none.

PS--popcorn is horrible the second time around. Horrible. Sharp shards of kernels slicing up your throat.

(Also lol lol and a little more lol)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Human Indifference Virus

This evening I went to dinner alone. I asked the waitress for a booth, as I usually do, in the back. I told her I was feeling anti-social today and she smiled sympathetically.
Coffee, I ordered coffee and began to revise the past two year's worth of poetry.
The booth next to me contained three kids, high school age I would guess. They couldn't remember what HIV stood for:
Hydrolic Immune Vitals
Human Inane Virus
Homo Immune Villian

Human Indifference Virus.

I almost agree with the last. For the first time, I didn't feel embarrassed about correcting them. They said they were falling asleep in their class, but at me they starred, mouth agape, attentive, afraid.

I tell them about how they can contract HIV and how they can't, that the fastest growing population is minority women. I tell them that the global and domestic impact will not just be political or social but economic as well, and that it's not a problem that can be cured overnight.

I don't convince them of their own mortality or that they're just as risk as the rest of the population without taking matters into their own hands, without being smart and safe in their behaviors. They don't feel any less bullet proof, or truly believe that being safe doesn't happen by default, but they do know that HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rough Week

This week has been rough. Not only was I the full timer at my office, but Nathan has had a record number of seizures, one episode of which landed him in the ER because they happened at school and his instructor flipped out.
As if the ER could do anything about epilepsy.

I'm extraordinarily tired and just feeling all around beat.

But, I did 'finish' TGTD. Finished as in I think i reached a stopping point at 88,700 words and I sent it to Amelia for the first cut.
I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to be adding on or subtracting, and I don't know how long it will be before I start the third in the series.

I will be taking the time while Amelia is editing to work on my other project-- peeks can be found at my deviantArt account. I think it will be a departure for me in terms of my prose. Mostly because I'll be working in a realistic and contemporary world, which is not something I have a lot of experience with with novel length work.
Of course any help with this project would be highly appreciated.
I'm excited to work with Jes on this. Can't wait.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I will be alone in my office today
And as of today—am working for 5 cents more than minimum wage.
Bleeding brilliant.
Why am I paid so little? I work for a public school, doing public good, serving the community and whatnot in what is arguably—a cush job. And compared to all my other jobs, it is—truly.
Still, I’m held to a professional standard that can’t be bought on minimum wage, working a limited number of hours with an endless amount of tasks.
It is not my supervisors that I take issue with here—it is the company itself. The college district.
Systems office would see us paid by the minuet. Wonderful, except that we’re capped at 19.5 hours and if you go over that 19.5 by even .01—it ticks off one less time you can do that, one time closer to termination.
You see, if an employee works more than 20 hours a week, they qualify for benefits from the district like dental, health care, sick leave, and so on.
Their choice is, however, to raise the number of employees at reduced rates rather than have a smaller number of more qualified, harder working, more available people.
Rather than a team of 50% of people working at 100% capacity they will take 100% of people at whatever capacity they can manage to muster up.
That is not to say the people I work with are inept—hardly. They are quite able, however they are /not allowed/ to work at their full capacity because of time constraints, because of that cap.
We volunteer to work more hours, to do more jobs, to be here more and we get punished.
So what does this lead to?
No, I won’t stay this extra hour to get the work done because, to be frank—it’ll put me over my hours.
Yes—I’ll stay but only if I can make it worth my while and stay x amount of hours later tomorrow also.
No, we can’t really give you that project because it takes y amount of hours and you are only here for z.
The result is delays in projects, in tasks, in paperwork being done. The result is frustration.
I wouldn’t mind working for 6.60 an hour if I could work more than 19.5 hours without fear of losing my job for—of all things—working too much.
But, to be frank—I do. Honestly, I’d mind that if I was working for 8.40 as I will be in September—oh no the rest of the staff assistants will still be at 6.60, I’m my title will change, giving me 8.40 an hour but still capped at 19.5
Minimum wage is perhaps, one of the worst things that can be done in an economy, second probably only to turning the mint presses on 24/7 or installing a price ceiling.
If we ever combine all three, well…You know in Indiana Jones Temple of Doom when he and Short Round are in the room where the floor and the ceiling are closing in? Yeah.
/end econ rant

So why am I alone in the office today?
Well technically, I'm not. See, I'm in the C building--the full time Art and Preforming Arts professor's offices.
The F building has 3 staff assistants over there at any given time, our Dom, whatever faculty are in today (including the Dean), whatever adjuncts are in and today one supervisor (usually two)

My building though has no one today. All professors are on vacation, my supervisor is on vacation, and most of the rest of the floor is empty.

You know what that means?
Wall charts!! yeah you have no idea what those are, but i am very very good friends with them. Oh yes.

So to work I go.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This past week

I've been sick as a dog.
No, dogs are generally pretty healthy. I've never understood that expression.
Sick as a hospital.
That's more like it.
That latent and then low level lethargy, followed by acute stomach stabs, punctuated by retching.
Sounds about right.

Needless to say, it seems the climax was yesterday when I was literally, once again, unable to stay upright for longer than an hour.
I’m so glad our couch is comfortable.
Still the mix of stabbing, heart burn, and nausea persists. It happens. It will happen again.
Until then I stay away from difficult to digest foods such as dairy, and suspicious ones such as wheat—it’s torture. I love wheat and everything wheat related.
I blame my mother for knowing how to cook and raising me with the beauty of whole grain.
Shit, I forgot to buy an avocado.
Excuse the non sequitur.

But today I felt well enough to weed eat. Yeah. We got an electric cordless weed eater. It weighs about five pounds but is quite powerful. No line jams, no cord pulling, gas guzzling, annoying engine sounds. Just the buzz of trimming. I came back in, took a shower, passed out for a couple of hours. Now I’m awake again and trying to catch up on a bit of work before going back to work.
Still—not very sociable today.
With any luck, I’ll be able to concentrate long enough to do some writing. I’ve been working on my as yet unnamed project and fiddling with TGTD. I’d really like to finish it. Really really really really would. I’m close. I can feel it. So. Freaking. Close.
The question is where and how to end it. Honestly, I’d like to end it at the far point in my mind, but that’s another 20k words easy.
Worth it? Perhaps. Just prepare to hear me whine and moan about it not being done until then.
moan moan moan.

Listening to: Chevelle - Forfeit
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow will be missed

Tony Snow, political commentator, noted journalist, and former White House press secretary was a fixture in my life. As many of you know politics and political science has been a part of my life, and a passion, since I was a child and remains so.
He was a man of integrity, candor, and dignity, and despite your politics you have to recognize that he was passionate and devoted to his work.

He will be missed.

This year is shaping up to be a year of loss, and yes--it is hard to deal with no matter how well you knew or knew of the person.

Listening to: Led Zeppelin - Ten Years Gone
via FoxyTunes

Friday, July 4, 2008

Furgal Fruit

Windfalls are beautiful. I'm no longer worried about my text books! That's all I have to say. <3

I found out yesterday evening that Nathan's GI Bill will expire at the start of September. FUN! What does that mean? $1,200 less a month in our pockets.

Why does this suck?
--Nathan is still in school until November.

--I'm still in school until forever.

--We have a $750 dollar a month rent on top of our other bills and expenses.

--Gas is $4.00 a gallon

-- My text books will total over $300 this semester

--and we still have to do this pesky thing called eating. Have you heard of it? It's a pain in the ass.

The good news:
--Sept 1st I got to $8.40 an hour (though right now my hours are set for me to break even with my current rate...that will hopefully change). If I get to max out my hours I'll be making $100 more a month than I am now. This would be helpful to say the least

--We're supposedly starting a commuter shuttle from Montgomery College (where I work) to SHSU (where I go to school) that would save me an hour and a half of driving on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 160ish miles a week.
Which translates to $25ish bucks a week I'm not spending in gas.
Now--the question is how much will the shuttle cost? AND will it run at times that are doable for me? Tough questions, ones I can't find answers to, which is irksom.

--There is a Subway across the street from my house that should be opening soon, so they're currently hiring. Also, Mr. G would take me back in a heartbeat, I know, but that would mean back to the very stressful and exhausting restaurant setting. I really don't want a second job (let's face it, with dA it would be a third) because I'm taking 16 hours in Junior and Senior classes, but if I have to get one to make ends then I will.

--If we adhere to our strict budget right now then we'll have enough saved to take us through November when Nathan gets out of school and is able to work at a better paying and full time place. Get his career going and all of that.
This budget currently allocates $6 dollars a day for us to eat.

--If I get rid of my storage (ie haul it all home finally) I will save $60 a month, if I put my gym membership on a freeze then I'll save $30 a month. Total: $90 a month saved.

--That 6 bucks a day could lead to some healthy weight loss for the both of us. Not eating is green right?

--If we get my stuff out of storage I can sell some of my books at half price books and get a little extra cash. This would be hard for me...but I have a lot of books that I know I could part with (mostly ones I've scavenged from garage sales and the lot--and i have a /lot/ of those).

--I've got a kidney I'm not really using...

I'm sure that in the end, it will be okay. I'm crazy about budgeting and all of that stuff and so the challenge for me is keeping Nathan at least close to on track. I know it will be hard, but we don't really have much choice.
To say I'm stressed over it, though, would be a huge understatement, especially because my health still kind of sucks, I need a crown, a root canal, and another crown (grand total of $600 smackers. I know! I know!), OH and still haven't gotten an updated Rx for my eyes, let alone new lenses, since highschool! like...SOPHOMORE YEAR.
Also known as 5.5 years ago.

I have a doctor's appointment Monday:
Co-Pay: $30
Rxs: 75, 5, 5, 5...
Gas: $30 (yes, it takes half a tank to get there and back)
Total: $150

/end bitching

/start whining:
Still stuck on the same spot of TGTD. Though I have been revising things at my dA account . Which I hear is healthy.
Honestly, it's one of the last things on my mind currently.
I know, I'm probably over thinking, over stressing, all of that. I know.
I did get through a scene that was tugging at me. I would share it, and I have with a couple of people to get some prelim feedback but I don't think I will tonight as it currently doesn't stand on it's own, it's part of a larger work that I do not think wants to be written chronologically.

I might yet talk it into it...

Monday, June 30, 2008

books, books, and Still more books.

June has been a busy week. It started with down time with my mom and quickly sped up and has remained at a more or less breakneck pace. I can't wait until tomorrow and it is officially July and I can breathe again.
Still, it will be a more or less momentary reprieve. Work is just that kind of pace in the summer, and so I have to deal.

Once the semester starts I will be happy again and feeling more or less in something resembling control, or so I hope. Until then I get to think about My text books and perhaps slowly but surely buy them a check at a time. Looks like a lot of books eh? Well I have a lot of classes:
American Public Policy
International Relations
Political Attitudes and Behaviors
Physical Oceanography
World Geography
and kill me now but: Fitness for Life

No seriously. Apparently, it's required to the point of not being able to be waived, ever.

I have to admit though, I'm more tempted by the other books on my amazon list...there is this undeniable nerd in me that just screams for solid state physics.

Needless to say, however, that I have not been writing these past couple of weeks. And I'm irritated by it. I still haven't moved past the spot I was last update.
I did however have a very enjoyable lunch with a former professor of mine, food was decent, company was better.
Non sequitur much? (Firefox is advising me that sequitur is not a word...)
Eh, the logic makes sense in my head, but I suppose it only would if you were there.

I do enjoy him though, even if his chosen subject is one that literally hurts my brain, and it does, it's quite painful. (Still, I passed and worked my fingers down to bloody nubs to do it.) Mathematics is something that seeks to describe the universe, I can't help but respect that, though I've always gone about the study of the universe and its inhabitants in a different manner.
Still, it absolutely hurts this brain.

It's worth it, though.

Listening to: Tool - Parabola
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Perhaps I am rigid.

I hate being stuck. Truly. But there sometimes happens that I lose all motivations and momentum in a piece and it can be days, weeks, months, even years before I have it again.
I find it happens when I'm on the verge of a place I want to be a plot spike. I get nervous about making it what I see in my head, what I hear. I want it to live up to my vision of it.
I've been disappointed lately by my progress. I'm getting to the climax of TGTD--which will be a three part climax, separate spikes, I've gotten through two and I'm rather irritated and frustrated with them. They will be revised, but now I am even more nervous about the third.
Of course, I'm generally hard on myself when it comes to prose. What I really need is feedback, but yeah, that is understandably hard to come back 80k words into a sequel novel.
Soon, I'll get through it, I know. Until then, I'll just be frustrated and bury myself in dA work, poetry revision, and perhaps devote a good section of my thought to the primary question that I've sought to answer, though mostly for myself.
I am curious, by which should we judge a man's value and virtue, by his intent, or by his deeds?

That is, assuming each free from each other, an accidental deed vs an actionless intent.

Listening to:
Dead Can Dance - The Host of Seraphim
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Breakdown of Stone

Piece I'm currently trying to focus on for revision as I find myself terribly stuck with TGTD (Sequel to The Betrayer's Promise) at 82,755 words.


On the seventh day of the same clothes,
I tell her to get up and pull her body from the cushion
the specters of "HaMakom Yenachem..."
pulling at her hair in silver chains as she stands.

In the washroom, I undress her,
her body weak and vacant
too frail and heavy to do it herself.
I tip her head back beneath the water
wash the scent of tears from her hair
praying that the salt of them will dislodge the ghosts that grip the strands
trapping the fresh and warming smell of child
and threaten to pull her soul down the drain with them.

With hyssop and rose I cleanse her skin
she begs in a whisper for me to use the pumice.
I cannot deny her
I am too gentle and suddenly she is full of energy
seizes the stone from me
scrubs until the water runs red
and the specters are gone.

I dress her-- she sucks air in her teeth
the starched shirt too stiff on her new skin, and we
step into the light of the day and squint,
our shutter sensitive eyes pounding.

We stand before the dried mound of earth
she shoves her raw hand in a pocket
fingers a small stone, bringing it to the light.
“This is the place,” she says and places the stone.
It is the only one.

It's very rough, only having been through one edit so far.

I find myself struggling not only with the above in technical terms but TGTD in content terms. I don't think I can quite articulate my frustration at this point. My characters are being very difficult and I find myself being quite distracted by my own life events and they seem to be seeping into TGTD. It's annoying.
My other projects have found some attention since this stall, including one that will be quite difficult but interesting. It will be a collaboration, and more challenging, one that will cross two standards, American and Australian. How will we negotiate that? Somehow I don't think it will be a problem. The honesty of the piece, now that's another question.

The hardest hurdle in any piece is being honest enough. What do I mean?
Too often we sugar coat things, we dance around meaning, talk around it, soften it's edges, and really, not only is that an insult to the reader but a detriment to the piece itself.

Why do we do this? Perhaps fear and anxiety. It's difficult to take things and put them into that harsh light of realism in part because a writer is just as much of a person as the next. In the back of our minds is the look our mother would give us when she read a piece, it's not exactly pleasant. Solution? Push past it.
Or have a crass mother like mine, that works just as well.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why this?

This will be a largely private place for my rants, I think. Though we shall see. It's only been about three years since I've had any kind of journal outside of, I think it is time that I branch out from that again as my role on dA has become much more of the professional like and has stifled me from getting out thoughts that are unrelated to dA. It is just, quite simply, a different mindset. Even now I find myself in a different diction because I'm thinking of all things dA.
If you're interested in my more public life go to my DeviantArt page.
I really do love the place, truly.