One more childhood dream, dead

I remember back when I was pretty young, I was quite intrigued by the idea of someday holding the world record for something. I remember thinking up all sorts of bizarre things that I could possibly obtain the record in. I decided early on that I wasn’t likely to ever get the record in an established category, which pretty much left me the option of thinking up my own, completely unique, category. The category usually took the form of “largest collection of stuff“, where stuff was something that took a long time to collect  I figured that if I got an early enough start, then once my collection was up to a decent size, I could reveal it, and then I could hold the record for as long as I kept collecting, since everyone else would have to start from scratch, and I’d already have a large collection.

The particular item I thought of most often was belly-button lint.  But as these things tend to go, I never did get around to collecting it.

So imagine my surprise today when I read an article about why the belly button collects lint in the first place.  At the end of the article, there’s a casual mention that the scientist has been collecting his own belly button lint since 1984, and has the world’s largest collection!  That would mean that he’s been collecting it since before I was born!

So had I ever started collecting, I would have had to wait until he stopped collecting, and then continued on for several more years–hardly the easy plan I thought it was.  Guess that just goes to show that I’m less unique than my 11 year old self thought I was.

Online Presence

In the weirdest mood tonight–got a good relaxing CD from someone I know from school, and listened to it earlier today.  Then later I was cleaning out a cabinet when I found a paper that contained a livejournal username of a friend from high school.  Just spent the last hour or so reading through all her old posts going back to freshman year.  So many things I never knew, so many that I figured out later, and so much youthful drama.  I really felt like I was back in high school for a few minutes, until I started to write this post and looked at the name on the CD.

I hadn’t spent much time thinking about high school in forever.  Not sure if I’m glad or sorry that I don’t have a blog/journal from that time to look back on.  It would be interesting to see how my thoughts and beliefs had developed over time, but I’m glad that I didn’t start my public blog until a few years later.

I was about to make the statemnt that I felt the person who started this blog is the same person I am now, but as I started to make the case, I realize that that is not the case at all. I have made quite a dramatic transition in the four years since this blog was started, (although two of them are not represented here).  It’s just not as striking publicly as was the transition I made in the 4 years before that, and I know it isn’t very well represented on the blog.  (There’s a lot of things I never posted about.)

I guess the reason I brought this up is because I’ve been applying for jobs, and I’ve heard so much about being careful of your online presence, in regards to what a future employer of client might think.  And I recall hearing a news story about how Obama is vetting all his advisors, and one of the questions is about everything they’ve ever posted online.  So I’ve been thinking off and on about what I’ve written, and how I’m represented.  I don’t think there’s really too much to be ashamed about–I’ve always been pretty reserved about what I’ve posted, and honestly, I’m not a person who’s prone to doing stupid things in the first place, much less posting the evidence of such hijinks.

In fact, I’m not sure if there’s a single thing that I’ve done that I would need to disclose.  Sure, there’s a lot of personal things that might be embarrassing on a personal level, and plenty of silly/crazy things that have been done with friends that don’t really make sense, but I can’t think of anything I’ve done (public or private) that I would absolutely never want to disclose.  And to my knowledge, none of the deeply embarrassing things are even disclosed on this blog.

I guess that’s the thing I was trying to express about the blog earlier–that by starting later, there was considerably more restraint in what was posted in the first place.  I’m not sure that my friend would disown the 15 year old version of herself, but some of her thoughts and rantings might prove to be a mite embarrassing if brought up in the right context…

I don’t envy the next generation, who have years of myspace and Facebook postings dating back to long before they had an adult level of maturity about what to post.

Understanding this Economic Mess

I know I haven’t blogged in quite a while, at first due to lack of interest, then due to lack of time, and then due to lack of readers, but I felt compelled to post this.  These guys are doing such good work, I had to give them a shout out publicly, and maybe there’s still someone reading that might find these links helpful.

So I’ve been trying to understand this economic thing we’ve gotten ourselves into, and I’ve found a few things that help a lot. I thought I’d link them, so that maybe someone else might find them.

Planet Money — The podcast is the most interesting part, but they have some blog posts that help, somewhat. Every weekday, they give a rundown of what’s happened, and what that means–no jargon, no degree in economics required. For an ongoing understanding of what’s happening, I recommend this.

This American Life — A weekly radio show, tells all sorts of interesting true stories. They’ve done two really good shows about the economy that I want to point out:
The Giant Pool of Money, from back in May, on how the housing crisis came to be. (Free streaming on the website)
Another Frightening Show About the Economy, aired just this last weekend, which explains the current crisis, and what they see looking forward. If you have a spare hour, I highly recommend listening to this one. (Free streaming, or free download on the podcast through Sunday.)

Weird Dreams

Just a quick note to say that I’m still alive, have made it through the school year, and have been at home for a few weeks now. On the 20th, I went to the wedding of my former RA, Jake. It was nice to see everyone again, and I’m glad I was able to attend the wedding. (Pictures posted here) Now that it’s over, it is starting to hit me that the summer is really here. For the first two weeks, I knew that I would see several people in a few weeks. Now, that figure is up to a few months before I see them again. I hate summer.

And on to the title subject. At work the other day, one of the checkers was telling of a dream she had had. She was driving a semi truck on a freeway and had to take an exit because the headlights weren’t working and she couldn’t see. When she investigated the problem, she discovered that it was because her dress was covering the headlights. She still hasn’t figured out how exactly that came to be. I’ve heard this story 3 times now, and each time the bizarre factor has caused me to crack up completely. I felt that I should share this with my (by now) non-existent readership.Which reminds me. A week or two before school, I must have had the same sort of non sense dream, because I woke up with the deep conviction that “Amy doesn’t understand the concept of a day job.” I have no idea where this came from, but I was cross with Amy for it for almost an hour after I woke up. I still haven’t gotten around to telling this to her.By now, you can see that this is a completely random post, with no underlying point. I guess I’m back to normal. Don’t be expecting very frequent posts–I may not post again until school is starting.

Until I do, though, have fun, be safe, and God be with you. –Nathan

Dollar Challenge

Here on campus, there’s been a bit of a thing going around, called the “Dollar Challenge.” Although originally inspired by Christie AHD Max Kalchthaler, Villa has overcome the hatred of all things Christie and embraced the Challenge. The other day at dinner, Michael R. was issued a challenge by Jake H., to pour a glass of water on his head, and received the dollar. The dollar Jake paid with was the exact one that he had received for a previous challenge, and thus the “Dollar Challenge Dollar” was born.

If it isn’t clear yet, the Dollar Challenge is essentially a dare, in which the participant gets a dollar upon completion of the event. Friday night at dinner, we were trying to get someone else to accept a challenge, and somehow or other, we all decided that we would pressure Brett T. to accept the next challenge. A number of challenges were proposed at dinner, none accepted. On the way back to Villa, we stopped by Mehling, for Lindsey to get her glasses. Originally, we were just going to continue to Villa and meet Lindsey there, but we ended up deciding to wait for her to come back down. While we were waiting, Jake was talking to the Hall director of Mehling, and a few RAs that were in the hall office. Somewhere in this interval, Matt P. accepted a challenge to roll an apple into the office as if it were a grenade, shout “fire in the hole”, and tackle Jake to the ground. For this, he became the new owner of the Dollar Challenge Dollar.

Somewhere during this time, a new dollar challenge was thought up by the RAs, that Brett would wear a pair of boxers on the outside of his pants and parade around Mehling. We eventually gave up waiting for Lindsey, and returned to Villa, watching Fireflyonly to find that as she was not expecting for us to wait for her, she’d gone out the back way, and was already in Villa. Brett got on some boxers, and we decided to watch the first episode of Firefly–a very good series, but I digress. After it was over, we prepared to head over to Mehling.The entourage.

It was decided that Brett should have an escort, and we all decided to dress in kahaki pants and black shirts. Trying to remove the coatThe group assembled, and we escorted him to Mehling. There was a brief scuffle, and we were unable to convince him to remove his coat, so we decided he could leave it on.

We proceeded to escort him through all the floors, one at a time, and then up the stairwell to the next floor. All eight floors. We protected him from any stray threats in the rooms, as we stood in front of any open doorways until he had passed by. There was a small disturbance on the seventh floor, but we were able to protect him from it. Upon reaching the eighth floor, we descended, again, passing through each floor. The escort.(Mehling has one central hall, and stairwells on either end of the building.) This time, the insurgents on the seventh floor had obtained weapons, and we just barely saved Brett from being hit by a barrage of foam rings. Upon reaching the 2nd floor, we realized that the stairwell at that end of the building connected only to the outdoors, not to the first floor, so we decided that we would have to go back, and ended up detouring via the seventh floor, where we were able to quell the insurgency and got a few photo ops.

The Dollar Challenge DollarUpon reaching the ground floor, Brett tried to escape to Villa, but we were able to catch up with him, and escorted him back to his room, where he collected the Dollar Challenge Dollar from Matt, his roommate. The guards decided to return to Mehling to offer to guard the RAs on their rounds, as we weren’t quite sure they would be safe on the seventh floor. Jake the negotiator.Jake was chosen as negotiator. They felt that they would be safe in Mehling, but suggested that they might not be safe traveling to Wendy’s for frosties. Driving a hard bargain, Jake was able to get them to arrange a dessert date for us, with some Mehling ladies, at Papa Haydns at some date near Valentines day. (It did help that Jake is behind on planning events again.) With that agreement, we proceeded to pile into 2 cars, (By then, we numbered only eight, plus Jake, who stayed with the RAs.) Only the drive thru was open, and the fellow had to verify that Michael wanted to order 10 frosties. They were obtained, and we returned to campus, delivered the frosties, and returned to Villa, and watched another episode of Firefly. All in all, quite a memorable night–and I must say, the best Dollar Challenge Ever.

More pictures from this event can be found on Page 3 of the Sophomore Gallery.

There’s good..

…in putting on some good music, disconnecting your brain, and playing something like minesweeper from muscle memory

…in meditating on your life, and any issues/events that may be happening.

The danger is in doing both at the same time. I always walk away from one of those sessions feeling as if life is just a big, but trivial, game. Not exactly the best outlook.

Keepin’ Busy?

I was going to do a year in review post, but I got sidetracked, and never did get it written before the new year got here. I suppose I could still write it, but I never managed to motivate myself, and I’m still not motivated to finish it.

I haven’t really been doing anything this break. I was intending to work at A&J for a few weeks, and the manager had at one point indicated that he was likely to be in need of additional help over the break–but that apparently didn’t come true.So in lieu of working there, I’ve been keeping fairly busy around the house, doing all sorts of stuff. I helped decorate for Christmas, and then this last week, helped un-decorate. You wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff we have that goes up. There’s garland that hangs in both hallways, in the family room, and upstairs, too; about 40 different wall/window hangings (flat, paper things, whether commercially produced, or made by my sister and I in school); several stuffed Christmas characters (Father Christmas (3 sizes), and two dolls, “Merry” and “Chris”) as well as 2 nativity scenes; two Christmas trees (one artificial, one real); about a dozen small stuffed, umm, ornaments that are traditionally spread out through the house, and a whole load of other things that I’ve forgotten. All goes up, and then it all comes back down. Oh yeah, there’s the Christmas lights outside, too. Luckily for me, my dad put the lights up before Thanksgiving, but I got the job of taking them down and packing them away. Have you ever tried to put a string of icicle lights back into the box? Let me tell you, it’s not exactly easy. I’ve actually gotten pretty good, after I paid very close attention to how a new set came out of the box.

SlouchOne of the family mysteries comes up every year when we take down the ornaments from the tree. Everything is boxed up, back into the boxes that we have been using for as many years as I can remember. One of the boxes has the cryptic message “slouch” written on the side. No one knows how it got there, or what it means, but every year someone or other makes a comment about it. Okay, that’s a pretty lame family mystery, but it’s the best I can do.

Gingerbread HouseI also helped with some baking this break, and my sister and I put together this gingerbread house. She had received it as a kit (everything but the icing) from a friend last Christmas, and for some reason, decided to save it until this year. It was “fully edible” according to the box, but after sitting for a year, in a non-airtight container, everything was pretty hard, and I certainly won’t be trying to eat it. I like my teeth as they are.

I upgraded this blog to WordPress 2.0, from 1.5. You won’t notice much change, except in the way images are handled, which allows me (and thus you) to comment on the pictures.

As it is now 1 am, I suppose I ought to be getting off to bed soon. I haven’t exactly been getting to bed early, because I’ve been reading books ever since I got home. And you know how it is when you’re toward the end of a good book–you just don’t get as much sleep. I brought home from the UP library a book by Phillip Pullman, called “The Amber Spyglass.” It’s the third in a 3 part series, so when things finally slowed down it was one of the first things I read.

I’ve also been reading the Narnia series, and have read three of the books. (I also saw the movie a week ago–it was very good.) Our family got the first 2 Harry Potter books for Christmas, and I read those, too. And then this morning, I finished “The Aquitaine Progression” by Robert Ludlum–a very good read. At the beginning, I was expecting it to read rather like a John Grisham book, but it ended up being more like a Tom Clancy–both of whom I like a lot.

And now looking at the clock I must really go.


Semester Recap

Now that the semester is over, I can’t claim schoolwork as an excuse for not posting–although I can say that at times, I just don’t feel like posting. Sometimes sitting in front of my computer is just not where I want to be. I certainly manage to do enough of it without posting, anyway.

I see that the last post was back over Thanksgiving break, after the soccer victory over Notre Dame. As most people must know by now, the team went on to win over Penn State in a (nerve-racking) shootout, and then to beat UCLA 4-0 in the championship match. It was hardly a game, with the first goal scored at 1:32 into the game, and the score 3-0 by the half. Still, there was celebration. The Drum Squad had showed up in force at the live “watch party” in the Chiles Center, and after the game, we went outside to ring (and actually, break) the victory bell that we traditionally ring after a win, and then we paraded all around campus. We went by the 6 dorms, and even decided to go into the commons and walk around the perimeter. Let me tell you, all those drums in there sounded impressive, that’s for sure. About 20 m inutes later, we arrived in Villa. Certainly a day to remember.

So many things have happened this semester, I can’t make up my mind which of them to try and type, and which to leave for later (which will likely be never). A few recent notes-Finals week was quite busy, and I ended up with three finals on Wednesday, never fun. All in all, I think I did pretty well, but I will find out later in the week, when final grades are posted online.

I’m currently listening to the latest CD from a a capella group called On the Rocks, a student group from UO. They’ve become quite popular around the dorm, even though we’ve never heard them in person. It’s a few hour trip, but would be worth it. I bought their most recent CD, and have been listening to it more or less non-stop ever since it arrived on Thursday. So far, everyone that’s heard it has liked it quite a bit, too.

The semester has been pretty fun, overall. I’ve been spending a lot of time with a group of friends, so it’ s been good. I’m also getting along with Cean pretty well–I’m not exaggerating much when I say that I have the best roommate I could ask for.

When I get to thinking about my college experience, at least in social terms, I see that I have had three more or less distinct semesters. The first was perhaps a “getting to know” (the school and myself) sort of semester. People I was likely to hang out with were Nik’s friends, generally. Somewhere near the end of the semester, things must have changed, although it was a pretty gradual change.

Second semester last year was a beginning to “fit in” sort of semester, where I found a group of friends I was more comfortible with, and attempted to integrate myself into that group. As Jake had asked me several times, I decided to go to Stible Buddy (the dorm Bible Study) for the first time, and rather liked it. I began to make a few friends through there, and would often come away with several things to think about. By the end of the semester, I was no longer an outsider, although I was neither a core member of the group.
Third semester (this last one), I began more or less where I left off, and advanced from there. For a while I was feeling as if I was back into the old routine, as Cean was better friends with about everyone that I was friends with, or so it seemed. But as time went on, I developed a few of my own friendships, and activities, and so on, and also got to be better friends with many of the people I was with last year.
This next semester may well be different again. I should begin where I left off, but there’s one more person. Michael R. has spent last semester studying in Granada, Spain, and will be back next semester. He’s good friends with several people in the dorm, and has kept in touch with them, but I have not been in touch with him. I don’t think his coming will be bad, but I think if will change the dynamic enough to make this next semester distinct from the previous one. There’s other issues with him coming, too, but I think they’re mostly in my head. In fact, I think a lot of what I notice occurring is actually just me forcing my hypotheses on the situation, and thinking that it fits. But I digress.

All of a sudden, it’s gotten a lot later than I had planned to stay up, so I think I’ll call it a night. Until next time, which could well be in 2006,