Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Punch

Tuesday night. Another class, another blog.

Last night Andy and I went to see the Punch Brothers in concert. This bluegrass/jazz/classical band was formed by Chris Thile, member of Nickel Creek and widely seen as a prodigy. He's not only skilled at all kinds of instruments, but he's a composer as well, and that was obvious on the latest album, Punch.



Thile wrote an incredible, 40-minute, four-movement piece called "The Blind Leaving the Blind." It's about his recent divorce. Now, divorce is a terrible thing and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but I do think that the pain from that divorce led him to write one of the most beautiful, powerful, haunting, emotional pieces of music I have ever heard. It was good on the CD, but they played the whole thing last night, and it was perfect.

And they were really cool and funny, and we got their autographs.



Anyway, Andy and I had a great time. Amazing music and talent. Check them out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yesterday

Drove 6 hours in windy weather to Memphis.

Saw Andy's brother, wife and cute little baby (who also drove 6 hours to Memphis from OK).

Drove back 6 hours to Chattanooga, the last two hours of which were spent in torrential rains that followed us from Nashville.

Slept really well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Job status, part 1

I worked up the courage to talk to my boss today. I shouldn't have been nervous, though - she's really cool. Anyway, I wanted to ask her what I could expect after graduation as far as the job goes.

She said she likes the work I do, and she would be willing to increase my hours to four days a week (though they can't put me on full-time). There's a hitch, though. The magazine is having to bid right now for a project, and if they lose the bid, they'll have a tough year as far as finances go. So if the bid goes through, my job goes through. If not, well, no one knows yet.

They'll know the bid status next Friday.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday night blues



I'm in an evening class tonight. Every Tuesday night, I attend this class. It has a mouthful of a name: Mass Media Law & Ethics. It's taught by this old guy who likes to spend the two-and-a-half-hour-or-so class going off on tangents. He's not a full-time professor; I think he's an editor of some kind at the newspaper. Whoever he is, he's interminably boring, especially considering that he doesn't actually test us over any of the things we discuss in class. Tests consist of opinion-type essays, so there is no real incentive to pay attention. Needless to say, I spend the majority of the class surfing the internet or doing homework on my laptop. I come to class early so I can get one of the coveted back-row seats, so as to better surf/study. It's boring, it's a waste of my time, and worse still, it's a waste of my money.

Since I'm a senior and I'm graduating in a total of 40 days, I don't really even want to complain. I don't care enough.

But what's worse is that most of the other students in this class are from the current senior class. They all know each other and hang out all the time. They have inside jokes. They love having this class together. And I am not a part of that.

My class graduated a year ago. I got to have those classes with all of us together, where we laughed and talked and loved class. But at that time, I was a junior and they were seniors. Spending a year away from college is, I have come to discover, bittersweet.

So these are my Tuesday night blues. I'm bored and alone, and I can't wait for class to end.

That's not a picture of my dog or anything. I didn't even take it. It just looks sad, so I thought it was appropriate.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My first wedding

Ok, it's not my first wedding. It's just the first wedding I've ever shot.

I was asked by a friend to help her take pictures of this wedding. I am very amateur and I am a terrible novice, so my ratio of good pictures to total pictures was pretty low. And just before the reception, my (slow) camera got itself all twisted up and started corrupting the pictures, so I had to turn it off and spend the evening waiting for Tanya to finish shooting the reception. I was so scared I had lost the pictures, but when I got them home, I happily discovered I had only lost four.

Here are some of the good ones.






Sunday, March 22, 2009

About robots

I have been tempted to think that there are no more inventions to be invented. Could there possibly be more, other than better spaceships? Maybe I'm just distracted by my ideas of the hundreds or even thousands of inventions that were being created back in the day. Now, it seems as though the inventions have slowed.

Well, now I realize the problem is that I just haven't been to Japan.









I'm amazed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A train story

For those of you who don't know, I live next to some very active train tracks, by which I mean there are trains coming and going at all hours of the day and night.

The road I take to go to school/work/anywhere parallels those tracks, and at the very end, it curves around and I have to cross those tracks to continue my journey. I can go around, but it takes a lot longer.

So this morning, I come out of my driveway and the front engine of the train is right next to me, barreling down the tracks in the direction that I also need to go.

I think I can beat it. I have about 3 miles between me and the crossing.

The train is going about 50 mph, so I go like 60 (in a 30) but lucky me! There are no slow cars in front of me to block the way! The road is clear and the train is in my dust.

About half a mile before that final crossing is a smaller crossing. I'm almost to that first one, and I am so excited that I am going to beat this train.

Uh oh. Just ahead are two cars going very slowly, and in front of them is a big tractor, holding up the line. I can't pass.

I'm not stressed at this point. I actually think it's kind of funny that the one day I can beat the train is the one day I get stuck behind the tractor at the last minute. I'm just about at that first crossing, and I think maybe I can ditch this tractor and make it across, but the bells start dinging and the beams start lowering.

Oh well. Nice try, anyway. But then again, now we're on the straight part of the road and I can pass the tractor!

I step on the gas. I'm almost at the crossing. The tractor is way behind, but the two or three drivers in front of me do not seem to understand the urgency of the situation. Every second feels like an hour.

Finally, I make it to the crossing. I'm clear. I bump over it. Just behind me the beams lower and the bells ring and the train honks.

Yeah.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interesting...

Normally I'm not a proponent of any kind of diet plans/pills/substances or anything related to those. Especially the ones that claim you can "Eat anything you want and still lose weight!!!"

And I'm also not a fan of the kinds of diets that try to deprive you of things like, say, grains or vegetables or something. Fresh nutrients are important, as is a balanced diet. Granted, I'm not the example of perfection on this issue, but that's what my ideals are, anyway.

So it was a surprise to me when I found an article on something called Sensa Tastants, and actually thought it sounded plausible. Basically, these are some sort of compounds (not sure yet what exactly) that you sprinkle on food and then you can eat anything you want and still lose weight!!!

No really, they work by stimulating your sense of taste and acting on the part of the brain that makes you feel full. So you can eat anything you want (though you should eat healthier things, of course), and your weight will improve because you'll naturally eat less. You'll eat less because you'll feel full faster because these little sprinkles made your brain think you were full. The scientist who developed them supposedly spent 25 years researching this.

My first thought was: really? And my second thought was: hmm, interesting. And my third thought was: well, I guess that makes sense, right?

I'm not touting this as a miracle diet. I'm sure it doesn't work on everyone all the time as well as they claim, but still, it's interesting to think about.

But it costs money, so I suppose the best alternative would just be to eat less of everything naturally without little sprinkles.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

49 days

Just 49 days until graduation (not counting today). I am having such a hard time concentrating or feeling motivated to do any kind of school work at all. It sucks because I have a lot to do, and I really need to do it well. I just don't want to do any of it. And as each day goes by, I feel less and less concerned about that. At first I was upset and confused to find myself so unmotivated. Now, I've come to terms with it, and I just don't care. I'll be honest, I'm usually a driven, motivated A student. This semester, I'm not doing A work, and I can't seem to get myself to want to.

I want to do anything else.

I baked bread last night. I should have taken pictures of it, but I forgot. Cinnamon raisin bread.

Andy and I are looking for a decent place to move into. We're too far away from my job and his school. Plus this house is really small. And I would really like a dishwasher. And two bedrooms would be nice, because having all this office and computer stuff right in the living room is a pain.

I picked up an apartment guide the other day and have been flipping through it. I told Andy to hide it from me because I keep looking at it, trying to pry apart the curtain of time just a little and peer into the future. I really, really want to know right now where we're going to move. I want to go apartment shopping today, this minute, and tour apartments and neighborhoods. I'm shaking with anticipation but I'm paralyzed by my current situation.

You see, the way it stands now, we can't afford any of the apartments in that apartment guide. However, if I get hired full time at the magazine after I graduate, my income will expand significantly, and we'll be able to afford a relatively nice apartment - maybe even one with a pool and tennis courts! But I can't know right now whether I'll get hired full time or part time, or even if I'll get hired at all. And it's too soon to ask. I need to wait a couple more weeks to talk to them about it.

So we can't know my income, which means we can't budget, which means we can't look for a suitable apartment to fit that budget, which means that I'm sitting here impatiently, desperately wanting to know the future.

This sucks. I should go do some homework.

Yeah, right.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Love in one season?

I have never understood the popularity of The Bachelor.

That's not really the point of this blog, for those I may have just offended. I understand that people out there like The Bachelor. Obviously, people like it. After all, it's on its 13th season, and has an audience of about 10 million.

I have lots of reasons for not liking it but I won't go into them here.

I was just interested to see the status of all those couples brought together by this wildly popular TV show. Everyone wants to believe that love can happen like this, but the stats aren't too good. Only two out of twelve bachelor's have stayed with the woman they were engaged to at the end of the show. This thirteenth one remains to be seen. You can find this information on Us Magazine and on Wikipedia.



I don't know the stats of The Bachelorette but I imagine they're pretty much along the same lines.

Why does this show keep running when the concept is so obviously unsuccessful?

Maybe we want to believe anyway. Maybe we just like to watch attractive people be attracted to other attractive people, like a modern form of romance novel or something. Everyone loves a good love story.

Thing is, it's not a love story. It's a tragedy. These are relationships of real people on the line, emotions and feelings and real people. And they're failing.

But you won't see that on The Bachelor. They only go to the "Happily Ever After" ending, but no further.

Incidentally, that couple up there, that's one of the couples who broke up. Too bad.

I respect this guy for not choosing anyone.

Chewy Chocolate-chunk Cookies

I found this recipe in Cook's Illustrated and decided I had to try it. So last night I slipped on my apron and busted out the flour, sugar, and cocoa. Here are some pictures of the finished product.





They turned out perfectly. They're just a little crispy on the outside, but soft and warm and chocolatey on the inside, with melted chocolate chunks in the center. Delicious.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend getaway II: For Robbie

We found a cool retro coke machine in the B&B (along with lots of other cool antiques). $.75 a bottle.




Weekend getaway

Well, it was sort of a weekend getaway. I wanted to get far, far away, but that wasn't really possible, so I opted for the next best thing: a weekend in any location other than the house. That left downtown Chattanooga. I really wanted to stay in a B&B, but they are more expensive than your standard Super 8, so we only stayed there Saturday night.
Here are a few pictures from our room at the Stone Fort Inn downtown.










The bed was super-squishy and nice; Andy seems to be enjoying his nap.
We also had dinner at a very busy Genghis Grill, and an amazing breakfast the next morning of scones, quiche, french toast and fruit in the B&B cafe. I didn't get pictures of those.