Mom just sent me this. Two days, everyone, two days! Vote early, vote often, vote Kerry!
President Bush announced he has a five-point strategy for getting out of Iraq. Points six through 10 will be handled by the Kerry administration."
-- David Letterman
"President Bush says in the last month he has created 300,000 new jobs. Yeah, they're called Kerry campaign workers."
-- Craig Kilborn
"Is it me or is Bush going everywhere Kerry goes? So far in the past week, President Bush has followed John Kerry to Davenport, Iowa; New Mexico; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; and he follows him to Portland, Oregon. ...The only place he never followed John Kerry was Vietnam."
-- Jay Leno
"President Bush said that the people who are attacking our forces in Iraq are getting more and more desperate because we're making so much progress. So just remember, the worse it gets, the better it is."
-- Jay Leno
"As of yesterday, the Bush administration still hadn't found the source of the White House leak that outed a woman as a CIA operative. To recap, here are the things President Bush can't find: The source of the leak, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Osama bin Laden, the link between Saddam and Osama bin Laden, the guy who sent the anthrax through the mail, and his butt with two hands and a flashlight." --
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update"
"The White House now has disputed allegations by members of the House Intelligence Committee that President Bush went to war with Iraq based on vague intelligence. Of course he did: EVERYTHING Bush does is based on vague intelligence."
-- Jay Leno
"Bush is smart. I don't think that Bush will ever be impeached, 'cause unlike Clinton, Reagan, or even his father, George W. is immune from scandal. Because, if George W. testifies that he had no idea what was going on, wouldn't you believe him?"
Who would have thought Osama bin Laden might say something that makes sense?
"On the suddenly-appeared video tape, aired by the Arab television station Al-Jazeera, bin Laden threatened to launch new attacks against the United States similar to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people. Osama bin Laden has been accused by the United States of masterminding the terror attacks.
Bin Laden, in traditional white robes, a turban and a cloak, also accused Bush of misleading and deceiving the Americans after the Sept. 11 attacks,
"Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened," said the al Qaida leader.
"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands," bin Laden said."
I'm in a dressing-up kind of mood. And not like when you're a little kid and have a Dress-Up Box in the playroom, but real dressing up, like for a party or formal event. I think the last time I seriously went formal was my high school graduation, and I look back on those pictures and cringe.
But I bought every girl's traditional wardrobe staple - my "little black dress" - in Paris last year (not as glamorous as it may sound; it was something like twelve euro at H&M), and I just now tried it on again. It's a knee-length halter dress, plain black and made of thin swishy fabric, and if it looked good then, it looks great now. My shoulders and arms are toned from swimming, my face has thinned down and my little pot belly is on its way out - and if I do say so myself, I looked pretty damn good just now. Especially with dangly silver earrings. So - anybody have a place I can wear it to?
Anyway, I'm back in my faded red pajama ensemble as I type this.
Not much to say. Discovered that 500-odd songs did not get added to the iPod and went back and fixed it. Went to astronomy and heard that Vicki had her baby very early this morning, a little boy. Ordered three books off bn.com that I'd been wanting for a while. Picked up two more Kerry buttons (I Voted Early For Kerry/Edwards and Students for Kerry/Edwards) plus a sticker and a feminist VOTE sticker, all of which I wore to work today. (Total buttons: five. Are they all on my backpack? Oh yes.)
Just got struck by the lyrics of this catchy little song by Marco Borsato. It's one of those older, lesser-known ones that I had on CD and never really listened to until the iPod chanced across it today. But still, tell me this stanza isn't relevant today!
Dreigend langzaam wordt de atmosfeer een beetje warmer
De rijken worden rijker en de armen worden alsmaar armer
We blijven investeren in vernietigende wapens
Het gaat nog altijd prima met de oorlogsindustrie
Zeg mij maar wie wie wie wie wie heeft het gedaan
En wijs nou niet direct een ander als de schuldige aan
Zeg mij maar wie wie wie wie wie heeft het gedaan
Heeft er iemand nog het recht om vrijuit te gaan? Nee!
De kabouters en de paashaas zij hebben een alibi
Repelsteeltje en de kerstman zij waren het zeker niet...
Or, in English...
The atmosphere keeps threateningly warming up
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer
We keep on investing in destructive weapons
The war industry is always doing fine
Tell me who who who who who did this
Don't point right at someone else as the guilty one
Tell me who who who who who did this
Does anyone still have free rights? No!
The dwarves and the Easter bunny - they have an alibi
Rumplestiltskin and Santa Klaus - they didn't do it...
I'll tell you who "did it"... GEORGE W. BUSH!!! And in six days we're going to OUTSOURCE HIM... right out of the White House!!!
As promised, here I am! I'm home early, since we got the entire two-hour astronomy period for a 35-question exam... nice, very nice. And I'm wondering if we'll have class Thursday... Vicki's going to the hospital tomorrow to be induced - that baby just doesn't want to seem to come - and Ata might want to stay with her. (For those who don't know, Ata and Vicki are the husband-and-wife team who teach our astronomy class.)
Anyhow, my big news of the week has to do with Dad's work. They apparently have some sort of drawing every year where they give away prizes - the grand prize this year was a 52" plasma TV. (No, we didn't win it.) But Dad did win three other things. A $100 AmEx gift certificate (nice, but not too exciting)... two tickets to anywhere in the continental US (they're adding a third and taking Catie to New York for Christmas while I'm in NL) ... and the third ... an iPod! Which he gave to me!
(Here comes the iPod saga...) I've been wanting one for a while now - Scott had one last year which he listened to nonstop, and Catie got a 40-gig one for Christmas, too, while I was gone. This one is only 15 GB, but it holds a surprising amount. I tried to get Catie to switch with me - she only has one gig of music, so I don't see why she needs such a huge one - but she of course wouldn't, so I've been experimenting with this one and it's not all that bad. I think it might actually hold most of my music, not counting the CDs I rarely listen to. There won't be ANY spare room left, but Dad and I made a deal that if I learned all the ins and outs of this one and taught him how to use it, that he would buy me the 40 gig.
Learning the ins and outs has not been as easy as I might have hoped. First, files H through Z of my downloaded music library somehow all disappeared - and I do mean disappeared. Not in the Recycle Bin, not in some other folder - nowhere. I was practically in tears until Dad reminded me that I had a backup hard drive. That was the first time I've actually needed that thing. I back it up once a month or so, but always regarded it as a chore. But I was sure grateful for it yesterday.
Second, I realized that this iPod is not the HP version (yes, there is an HP iPod) and therefore does not support .wma files. The majority of the CDs that I have copied to my computer are in .wma, simply because that's smaller than .mp3. So yesterday I had to convert all of those back to .mp3 in order to use them on the iPod, and that, plus copying other CDs into iTunes (because iTunes is the only software you can use with an iPod), took the better part of yesterday - about 10 hours in total.
Third, even though I thought I had my massive library pretty well organized, iTunes picks up on all these tiny little details. I mean, who cares about the composer of these songs? So much of the time, instead of falling neatly into Artist - Title format, there are other things there, like the composer or other random text that the users I downloaded the songs from apparently had on their computers. I was having to go through and change the file information one by one by one, and it was taking an eternity. I was also ending up with multiple copies of a lot of songs. That made me realize that simply dumping everything onto the iPod exactly as it was was not a good idea, and that my only recourse was to delete the entire library and start again. Which is what I spent all of yesterday doing. Phase one is complete - all my CDs are imported into iTunes and they are perfectly labeled and organized by album. This afternoon I'll start on the downloaded files. Brace yourselves. Only once it's all finished and perfect will I import it to the iPod - I'm currently listening to that with my "first try" - just the same mess of disorganized titles that I had before.
But anyway, as for a real review - I do like the iPod and I definitely like iTunes. You can make Smart Playlists which search for certain components in filenames - whether that's the artist or genre or release year - and not only put all those files in one spot, but automatically add new files to them as you get them. Also, you have merely to open iTunes and plug in the iPod, and any changes in your library are automatically detected and formatted - you don't have to go through and try to remember it all and do it manually. The iPod itself is well designed, although I for some reason did not get the little 'remote control' attachment for my headphones - therefore when I'm walking around campus with it on my hip in its case, I have to open up the case every time I want to adjust the volume or skip to the next song. That's annoying, but I'm sure I can get headphones with a remote and that'll make it all better. The only thing I've discovered so far that I really hate is the battery life - they say 8 hours, but it's more like 5 - maybe 6 if you just let it run and didn't skip songs or turn it on and off at all. It's only a generation II - as near as I can figure - while Apple is now up to generation IV - so that could account for it. The new ones are supposed to go for 12 hours.
OK, I'm sorry that I've babbled on for so long about my new electronic toy - a lot of that is Part I of my review/explanation for Dad about how it works. :)
As for other stuff going on... MY FINANCIAL AID IS IN!!! Quick recap: I'm supposed to get it at the beginning of the semester - the last week in August - but due to my abroad grades being late coming in, I didn't get it until this morning. There is a certain subject line that every UF student knows by heart - it's the subject line of any e-mail from Financial Affairs, good or bad. "Avoid holds on your account - Urgent Financial Information". I had been hoping to see that subject line in my Inbox for months, and this morning, there it was! It took me a second to rub the sleep from my eyes and register that - and then I started the celebratory cheering. I'm OK now! No more going to Publix and carefully adding up prices so I don't go over the $15 I have in my wallet. No more turning away from that paperback book or scented candle because I can't afford to be set back even a few bucks. No more worrying that I'm going to come up short on my rent. I'm rich again! (Well, by student standards.) :)
I have a job interview tomorrow with a company that drives mini-coaches (they seat 8-9 people) to and from the Jacksonville Airport. The president and his assistant are coming to meet me at Panera. They want to give me one 12-hour shirt on the weekends, $9/hr plus tips. That's a hundred bucks a weekend, easy. Hook me up!
Sixteen days till LASIK. Can't wait!!!
One week until the election. Go, Kerry, go! (I got to shake John Edwards' hand twice at the rally last weekend... I shoved my way in between an oblivious husband and a massive baby carriage.)
Guess that's all, folks... but I'll try to do this more regularly from now on so that you don't just get this stream-of-consciousness dribble, OK? :)
I know, I know, I've been away for a while... but hang in there... I'll update tonight, I promise! You'll hear all about rebellious iTunes software and backstroke shoulders and the magic words "Avoid Holds On Your Account". :)
To Vicki, my astronomy teacher: Please have your baby exactly four days late, so that we will not have to take our exam on Tuesday.
I got lost in Norman Hall yesterday and therefore could not do my teaching observation. Meridith, I know you must think I am the biggest non-freshman ditz to ever walk the campus, but could you please e-mail me back and tell me that tomorrow is okay too?
I have to come up with an idea for a TESL activity that I would do if I were a real teacher, and then do it with our class. Others have done Mad Libs, logic puzzles with vocabulary, and giving-directions activities. Anyone have any ideas for me?
Fifteen days until Bush gets his @$$ knocked out of office... at least, if this campus and my family have anything to say about it.
I want it to be Friday - right now. One, so I can go back to the financial aid office and rip into them for STILL not paying me, and two, so that I can go pick up my lovely check from work, fattened up by the addition of that extra day they tried to stiff from me last time.
The Jags meet up with the Colts again on Sunday... this is a big one...
And on Monday I get to register for Spring classes. Oh, the wonderful skipping of LIN 3201 that will be done...
My life has been turned into a perpetual state of "When My Financial Aid Comes In." It seems like that's my answer for every question beginning with 'when' these days, made worse by the fact that I do not have a specific date. "When are you going to order your winter jacket?" "When my financial aid comes in." "When will you have your 'emergency' money back at the level it should be?" "When my financial aid comes in." "When's our next linguistics exam?" "When my financial aid c... oh, wait..."
But really, I hate this state of limbo. Mostly for superficial reasons (like Dan Brown books and Bath & Body Works candles) but I really can't stand it. Some people will argue that you have to take the cost into account with everything you buy, and normally I would agree. I am not what could be called a 'big spender' or a 'shopaholic', not by any stretch of the imagination. My sister is further down that spectrum than I am, and even she doesn't really rank up there with the Clueless cast or anything. But I still think I should be able to just buy the occasional six-dollar paperback when the mood strikes me instead of having to put such a simple thing on hold Until My Financial Aid Comes In.
Also, my roommates C (who is leaving Monday) and P (who is new here) are having a ball going wild in the Gator Apparel store this week. P has a cute little zip-up jacket I'd love to have, and C just bought a newly designed sweatshirt. I'm dying for a couple of T-shirts, among them a "College of Liberal Arts and Sciences" one. (Yes, I am a nerd.) And then there's the iPod - a dream, a ways down the road. M with his hoity-toity full-time job wanted to buy it for me for Christmas (and one for himself, too), but I told him there was no way in hell I was going to let him spend that much money on me. (They cost even more there than here.) Anyway, but that non-necessary stuff obviously has to wait.
So then we move to the jacket I'm going to order before my NL Christmas to replace my two cheap nylon winter coats, neither of which I have ever been fully satisfied with. This coat has now gone on sale and you even get a free hat ($25 value) when you order. Crossing my fingers that the sale is still on when I reach When-My-Financial-Aid-Comes-In nirvana. It should be.
And then we get down to the nitty-gritty - rent and food. I am shopping as infrequently as possible and buying certain items on campus using my Gator1 card to avoid having to go to Publix, so that situation is relatively under control. But as for rent... I have already had to crack into my so-called 'emergency' money to book my NL ticket (otherwise I would have wound up paying twice as much for it When My Financial Aid Comes In), and November 1 is going to wipe me out the rest of that fund. Also, Mom and I struck a deal that I would make a few of the upcoming car payments (something I am this year thankfully NOT paying for as I have in the past, seeing as Mom will inherit the car when I leave... or else we'll sell it) and that we would call that 'even' for the cost of my LASIK next month. It's a very good deal. But if My Financial Aid Doesn't Come In before the first of the month, either the car company or the rental office is going to get shorted. Wanna take bets?
By the way, none of this is a bid for pity or donations. The money WILL come in eventually. I'm just sort of frustrated and looking for somewhere to dump it, and isn't that what a blog is for?
Well, I got the verdict today, and I can have LASIK! November 11th is the big day. I'm really excited, but also kind of nervous, especially after hearing about all the things that can go wrong, but Mom said (quite rightly) that most of that is just a bunch of legal-covering-butt stuff - stuff they have to tell you to avoid getting sued. But anyway, so it's a Go!!! :)
Speaking of cheerful things... I'm not sure anyone in that 'circle' still reads this site, but a big fat CONGRATULATIONS to Aaron and Nitza on the birth of their first child on October 5th, daughter Sofía Lilí! That picture of her cross-eyed in the baby carrier is a heartbreaker if I ever saw one...
So they say bad things come in threes... do good things follow the same pattern? I hope so, because that will mean I'll get an A on m linguistics exam tomorrow morning, despite the fact that I have barely looked at the material, opting instead to hang out at Audrey's and Steven's and mooch a free dinner and watch the third presidential debate (and yell in chorus at the TV about Bush once again not answering questions - he never did tell us straight out if he would overturn Roe v. Wade).
Off to write a few e-mails and then turn in for the night. Cheerio!
So... I had my first LASIK consultation yesterday.
And it went pretty well. I really like that doctor I saw. There are four doctors in the practice and I've been seeing the same one - the one who's been there the longest - ever since I first got glasses when I was little. But this one was also really good.
Anyway, they did a lot of tests. The first one was just the little machine that we've all seen a thousand times - the one where you see a balloon or an airplane on a runway as it goes in and our of focus. Then they tested my vision to make sure that hadn't changed (still steady at -4.50 and -7.50) and then the pressure in my eyes (using drops, because I hate the machine that puffs air into your eyes - it feels like someone's poking me in the eye). I was given numbing drops for that because my eyes had to be touched with a probe (the description of which made my sister squirm and wrinkle her nose, but it wasn't bad - I didn't feel a thing). Next came the measure of corneal thickness, also something which requires the eye to be touched (and therefore numb). However, the drops which were supposed to keep me numb for 20 minutes apparently lasted only 5 minutes, because I definitely felt that probe when it touched my eyes (which surprised the aide). I have a high tolerance for medication, I've discovered over the years, and apparently that includes medicating drops. (I hope they use something different than that for the actual surgery!!!)
(And yes, Robin, he measured my pupil size - in normal light AND after being fully dilated - and I was told they were both normal.) :)
Anyway, the fly in the ointment - you knew there had to be one - is that I apparently have very thin corneas. That wouldn't be such a problem with my left eye, the doctor explained, because -4.50 isn't that bad. -7.50, however, is 'that bad', and requires almost twice as much cutting, which might cause a problem with a thin cornea.
He didn't say I couldn't have the surgery, but he used that little finding as a measure of which doctor to send me to - Dr. Maida, the one who's had the most experience with that sort of thing. I have to call him first thing Monday morning and set up a consult with him; they'll do the corneal measurements again and then look at all the other factors and tell me definitively whether or not I can do this. If I can, we'll set up a surgery date right then and there. If I can't, I will make my way home crying, because that will mean not just "no, you have to wait a year or two" - that will mean "your corneas are simply too thin and you cannot have this surgery at all". At least not with the current technology. And after imagining for weeks how great it would be to be independent from vision correction, that is not something I want to hear.
I thought this debate was much more evenly matched than the Kerry-Bush one - Cheney actually did a good job. And he even publicly went against Bush, on the gay marriage issue. I love it, I love it - his own administration doesn't agree with him!
Quote of the Evening: "Cheney's hunching over so far that his microphone is scratching on his coat and muffling his voice, which already sounds like his mouth is full of crackers. Straighten up, Dick. What is it with Republicans slouching? Didn't they learn anything in combat? Oh, sorry."
At this moment, I can't even rest it on the ground while typing, that's how bad it is. And it's throbbing even when I'm not putting weight on it. Renate's Ace bandage helps only very slightly, so I took it off again. I know it'll get down to a more manageable amount of pain in a minute - this is just how it works - but still: this is not fair. Can I have a new heel? Or at least get some store credit for it? Seven years it's been like this; that's a long enough trial. And I don't want to go back to the doctor.
Just popped two Aleve. Hopefully that'll help.
Other news... after long, nightmarish hours of making adjustments, I've got my schedule worked out for next semester:
Language and Dialect
English and its Relatives
Language and Culture
Math for Liberal Arts Majors
That leaves only one class which I still need to take, and then I'll be totally done with all my degree requirements. I could have fit that one in this time, too, but Utrecht always has tons of linguistics classes, so I opted to take that last requirement next year and do Spanish and swimming this spring instead of having a 100% difficult schedule.
The Spanish, by the way, is, yes, Intermediate, and yes, I am deeply ashamed of this fact. In all honesty, I probably could manage back at my previous level after a couple difficult first weeks, but I opted to go for the lower level - that schedule is very challenging as is; I don't need Spanish presentations and Spanish literature tests on top of it all. And I technically already know the language - I'll be able to handle the homework and all with no sweat. My grammar and such is still intact. I just need some thrice-weekly exposure to sort of 'remind' me how it all goes, since it has somewhat faded from my memory with the relatively recent acquisition of Dutch. Así cállate, porque ¡todavía puedo hablar español! :)
Aerobic Swimming is, contrary to popular belief, not water aerobics - it's merely a higher level of swimming than what I have now. A workout, basically, except that in this class, everyone will have been swimming for years, will know what they're doing, and won't need any technique work. Hopefully I'll learn how to correctly do butterfly in this class I'm in now - because I definitely can't go into that level with the pathetic dying-cow version of it which I do now.
Ahhh... the Aleve is starting to kick in. I can set my foot flat on the floor now and have only a light level of discomfort.
OK, guys, so my next question: which is the best mp3 player out there? I have 10 gigs of music on my computer, 99% of which are mp3s (the rest are WMAs) and I want a player that can hold them all with plenty of room to spare. My hard drive is almost full from all the music and movies I have, plus I transferred a lot of my CDs onto it while I was in the Netherlands, since I had a limited amount of space and didn't feel like schlepping CDs around. It'd be nice to free up some space by getting those off of there.
Anyway, so does anyone have a player that they really like? My sister has a 40-gig Apple iPod which she says she likes a lot, and since that's the one that has the best online reviews, I'm leaning towards that. It would be great for airplanes and trips. The only thing is, she says it's not organized all that great when it comes to individual albums and such. It doesn't seem to bother her, but it would bother me - I like lots of folders and 'compartments' to put things in, so that I can find things easily. But then again, she has one from a year ago, whereas they released an HP version of it this summer (made to sync up better with PCs) and I think that one has better organizational features. Anyway, so I'm leaning toward the iPod, but there are a lot of other ones out there now too - Creative has several nice ones, and I love the 256 MB player I have from them - I've had it about a year and a half and still can't find one single thing wrong with it, aside from the capacity. Anyway, we'll see.
I should really be doing linguistics, but I just can't. I'm having an attack of "why do I understand this stuff in the classroom but then don't understand it when I have to do it at home?" Haven't had one of those since senior year calculus. Oh well, I'll ask around in LIN 3201 tomorrow - some of the people in there take 3460 with me as well, so maybe they've gotten further than I have. It's due Tuesday.
I guess I've talked your ears off enough for now.
Tomorrow: Michael Moore speaks at the O'Connell Center! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for speaking on a Monday so that I don't have to work! Woohoo!
Got one more for you. That Jessi Klein's was funny, sure, but this one is factual and says exactly what I would have said, had I been narrating as we went along.Take a look at Paul Begala's debate blog, also from CNN.com.