As Leah intimated, I'm going back to school. They let me in, and more importantly they let me in in time for me to attend the first day of classes, which will be this Tuesday. There was some doubt that I had managed the timing correctly, but happily everything worked out fine. I planned to write a celebratory post, but unfortunately before I had a chance to do so the wind was taken out of my sails by a heretofore forgotten-by-me feature of university life, to wit, buying textbooks.
Yes, I went into the bookstore with my class list clutched in my hands, ready to experience anew the joy of learning, only to be hit by a series of crushing blows as I noticed the reading list for each sucessive course. $93.95 here, $110.30 there... it really adds up! Considering the semester's imminent start, however, I had choice but to hand over the cash (in the form of invisible plastic dollars, of course). But as soon as I got home I was on the internets checking out Amazon and Half.com (of which I have heard much in the past couple days, strangely enough). Just about every book I had to buy was cheaper on the line; unable to resist, I ordered every title that was more than $15 cheaper, and in the end I saved myself about a hundred bucks. That is, assuming the campus bookstore lets me take back the volumes I got from them. If not, um, my plan will have worked less well.
I don't have to say here that this textbook business is a big scam. In my online searching I noticed that, while the latest volume of any given work was selling for some $77.00, last year's version was around twenty-five dollars. That's a big difference. I was tempted, but who knows if some vital bit of information was added in the new edition that will make all the difference on the final?! Plus, they change the cover: if I show up in class with the 9th ed. when everyone else has the 10th they'll all know how poor I am. Curse those greedy professors and the publishing companies that support their evil ways!
Dan and i are fishally both back to school now, although he's working much harder than i am, on account of being a full time student who completes his masters approixmately a hundred million years before i do. To celebrate, i thought i would surprise Dan with an apple crisp because he's gonna be a teacher - get it? apples? and also because it's pretty hard to screw up an apple crisp, no matter how inept a baker i am. Still, i enlisted the help of three counselors, 1) the farmer who told me which apples to buy, 2) Dan's mother who told me how long to cook the apples, and 3) my mother who called back a half hour too late to be helpful on the previous two counts, but who reiterated my decisions anyway.
When Dan came home from school two hours after i had finished work, the surprise wasn't as surprising as i had anticipated.
"You're making apples? Yummy!" was his response, which i had anticipated to be more like:
"Oh my frickin God, you actually cooked something? To what do we owe this stupendous occasion!!! You must be unduly moved with love and gratitude to engage in such an activity at which you traditionally perform so poorly! And imagine, just for my fleeting pleasure!"
Or something like that. But no matter, the proof was in the non-pudding dessert, which as of 9pm has all gone into the bellies of Dan and his lovely wife Sara Lee. I mean Leah.
I am stretching on the living room floor as Dan opens a package he just received in the mail. He rushes to the DVD player and throws in a disk.
"This is something you have to see," he says.
"What is it?" I ask, "Something for school?"
"Just something you have to see now," he replies.
With great anticipation I wait for the DVD to start playing. As the main menu comes up I see a rotation of bizarrely familiar images: a historic house in concord, the Lexington monument, sites in Boston...
"Oh my goodness!" I laugh as familiar geekily grimaces pop up on the screen, "It's the video from the MacWorld conference!"
Yes, a year ago some of our friends from the internet, Eric and Tim, came to stay at our house for conferencing, site-seeing, and general laid-back vacationing. This was a repeat visit, following up on the previous year's conference when Tim and Eric stayed at our Arlington apartment. Conference II was more successful hosting-wise, in my opinion, since our new home is quite more spacious than our previous apartment, and our house gives me the invaluable ability to be on a different floor from the din created by Mario-kart. When they get together, Dan and these fellows have the uncanny ability to play Mario Kart for hundreds of hours on end. Or at least that is my perception.
Looking at the video, it seems they managed to find time to do many things non-Mario, such as play badminton with rakes and baseball-bats. After watching quite a long stretch of badminton variations, I began to ponder what other stupid/mildly amusing stunts go undocumented daily. That half-hour this morning I spent trying to pull hair-clumps our of Rascal's butt? Could be cinematic gold set to the right Cure song.
Anyway, we were not blessed with a visit this year, on account of there being no 2006 MacWorld conference. I found myself missing their visit this year, and not in small part because it allows Dan and me to show off our constant self up-grades. The first year we didn't have a house, the second year we had a house, but now we have a lot of nicer stuff in it, including a very sweet puppy who responds to commands in a manner which might be considered a trick. (On the other hand, puppy has caused house rugs to be dirtier, thus slight status downgrade.)
More importantly, however, it's nice to have people staying over who enjoy easy things like backyard badminton and pancake syrup made from corn. All our older friends have such extravagant tastes that it seems to cost us a hundred bucks every time we want to throw a dinner party!
In conclusion, thanks for the video Tim! One day when Iím old I will be glad to look back on myself demonstrating yoga poses in an athletic top entirely too small for me. Seriously, who thought I should wear that on camera?! My skin was waging war on two fronts! Also, I discovered that I look better with my hair up than down, and from the side my nose looks really really big, although Dan disagrees on the last point. I hope y'all come back and see us sometime soon.
As you can see, soing both school and work in the same week takes up alot of time. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually, but for now it's a bit overwhelming. Well, not overwhelming maybe, but time-consuming. In fact, the only time I have to write here is when I'm at school waiting for my class to start! So that's what you get.
More efficient, at least, at things other than writing in the blog...
I spent all day working on the computer, and when I decided I couldn't do it any more I made some cookies. They're mostly for Leah, since compared to her day mine was easy: she was over there working on the store from 8:00 in the morning until... well, she's still there now. She expects to be back at 11:00 or so. So she deserves cookies. But in any case, beyond the simple efficiency of managing to make cookies on an evening when I also made cornbread for my dinner, I accomplished an even greater feat. To set the scene, let me tell you that we have (and I think I've mentioned it in these pages) managed to finish off an entire batch of cookies before we even washed the bowl they were mixed in, to say nothing of the cookie sheets. And that's not because we eat cookies particularly quickly, either. So when this evening I had the bowl washed before the last cookies came out of the oven, and the cookie sheets clean and back in the cupboard before I ate even one cookie (not counting the obligitory tasting--ie, complete consumption--of a specimen from the first batch) it was something of an accomplishment. I cleaned the counters, too!
I credit the newfound work ethic that doing schoolwork again has brought me. Either that or it was just a fluke.
I tried to crack a joke in my MBA IT class last week, thinking i would find a receptive audience.
"I don't know how much of their business processes this company wants to automate over the internet," a colleague says.
"Yeah," i grin, "After all, it's not a truck!"
somewhere there are crickets.
"You know guys? The internet is not a truck? It's a series of tubes?"
After a brief silence which signaled the complete and total bombing of my joke, someone continued,
"Okay, so back to the case..."
Come ON people? You WORK in IT!!! How can i be the only nerd in a room full of nerds?
If YOU don't know what's not a truck, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DClkE64nFDY
The way with car problems is, they come up on you gradually so you don't really notice how bad they're getting until someone else tries to drive your car and comes back white-faced and shaking. With my first car it was the alignment; recently with this one it was the brakes. It's not that they stopped working, really, just that every time you applied them the car would shudder violently back and forth, as if the brakes were being applied unevenly. Which they were! Because the whole assembly was rusting away. I knew that, and I knew I needed to get them fixed, but I didn't have the time or the money until recently; now. finally, the repairs have been effected and I can slow my car like a civilized being again.
It's strange, though, to have the brakes not make any noise. Like I said I knew they were going, but I didn't realize how bad they were until I felt what it's like with them first. The only problem now is, without the accumstomed noise I've found myself, as I step on the brake pedal to come to a stop for example at the end of a highway exit, wondering if the brakes are in fact working at all. I guess I'll probably get used to it soon, though.
Mom: "Would you like a pear for dessert, Leah?"
Leah: "Um, can I have half a pear?"
Dan: "Half a pear is one."
Leah: "One of my 12-year-old Sunday-school students has wicked bad ADHD. I'm like, 'So, what are some of the rituals we do in the Episcopal church?' And she's like, 'I got a kitten!'"
Dan: "That's better than at my grad school, anyway. The teacher asks a question and the whole room is like silent."
Leah: "You should try business school. The kids in my class do NOT shut up."
Dan: "They're trying to impress the professor?"
Leah: "Yeah, and there's this one girl who always makes stupid comments like fifty times a lecture, when there are fifty other students in the class who want to talk too, and it's always really retarded comments she makes. Like last time, the professor was saying 'If you have a difficulty understanding the difference between involved and committed, if you had bacon and eggs this morning the hen was involved, the pig was committed.' And this girl raised her hand and said, 'That sounds really good; I didn't eat breakfast this morning."
Dan: "You mean she didn't say, 'I got a kitten!'??
I'm sick of school. Or, more accurately, I'm sick from school: too many days of staying up late and getting up (relatively) early and being stressed out have given me a sort of perpetual low-grade fever. And that's even though I've eaten more apples in the last few days than I did over the last six months! Lessons of old rhymes, why have you failed me?! Although, to be fair I haven't seen a doctor in some time, so I can't complain about them not staying away; the rhyme doesn't actually mention anything about keeping the apple-eater in perfect health.
I can't complain too much about the schooling, though—at least not in view of today's class. It's about elementary school science, and in our class meeting today we dropped mentos into diet coke bottles to see the lovely fountaining effect that doing so produces. Other activities have included disecting a twinkie, playing 'guess what's in the bag', and designing a spacecraft that could land on a planet made entirely of oobleck. So it's not just hitting the books.