Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Filling Tires: A Learning Experience

     When I got back from my trip last week (that'll be a separate post) my dad reminded me to check my tire pressure. My front left tire has a leak in it, and needs filled up every so often. I haven't been home for a while, so I haven't had the opportunity to fill it up at home. I knew this day would come, but I had hoped to put it off indefinitely. I knelt down to check the pressure, and my knee went right in a puddle of mud. This should have told me that I was about to have a bad time. It didn't. I checked my tire, and it was low. Really low. Scarily low. I So, I hopped in the car and drove off to the gas station across the street from campus. I went inside to buy a red bull and get some quarters for the air pump machine thing.

     I came outside and it was raining. Hard. I had only been inside for a minute, but it was pouring. I should have seen this as an omen for the upcoming events, but I'm dumb and decided to proceed onward. I put my $1.50 in quarters into the machine, and it started making noise, so I connected it to my tire. The pump had a pressure gauge on it, so I periodically took a look at that to make sure I didn't inflate it too much. I noticed something odd though. Every time I looked, it showed less pressure.

     I'm no mechanic, but I had a hunch that something wasn't working. The pump was making sound, so it couldn't be that. I knew I had to act fast, because I had a limited amount of time. I took a quick look at the label to see how long I had. "CAR VACUUM. $1.50 FOR THREE MINUTES." Oh. That's probably the issue.

     Sure enough, I had definitely put money in the vacuum. Remember, it's pouring rain, and I am now soaked. I looked around hastily and found where to put money in for the pump. It needed $1.00 in quarters. I emptied my pockets and found $.50. I got lucky and found a quarter on the ground, so I only needed one more. I checked in my cupholder, where I keep all of my loose change. There was probably $50 in pennies and dimes, but not a single quarter. I checked under the seats. Not a single quarter. I checked under the pedals, not a single quarter. Finally, I looked in the side of my door. One single quarter.

     I put the money in the machine and filled my tire, and I went on my merry way. I learned a lot of things that day. I learned to read labels before putting money in things. I learned to keep better track of the change in my car. I learned to fill my tire with air. But most importantly, I learned that you WILL get a cold if you leave your jacket in your dorm and spend 30 minutes kneeling down in the rain.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homework, Homework, Homework

     The title of this blog explains why I haven't written anything in a while. I have been bogged down with an incredible amount of work, and I've been spending my precious free time trying to catch up on sleep rather than write.

     Saturday, we celebrated my dad's birthday. He didn't know I would be joining the family. I thought it would be a nice surprise, so I told my mom that I would be coming to surprise him. Spent the day catching up with everybody (it was the first time I'd seen my extended family since I started school) and enjoying everyone's company. It was a nice day.

     Sunday, I had a pretty busy day. I had an appointment to get some touch ups on one of my tattoos, which was as fun as you can expect being stabbed with needles repeatedly is, and I had a job interview at Gamestop. I hadn't really had a job interview up until this point (McDonalds hired me over the phone after applying online) so I was pretty nervous. It actually went incredibly well. The manager that was interviewing me had tattoos all over both arms, and he noticed the saran wrap peeking out from under my sleeve (tried to hide it, failed) and that broke the ice right away. It was a pretty casual interview, and things went really well.

     And then I did homework. Pretty much nonstop from then until now.

     Wednesday morning I had my one on one conference session with my writing professor. I can't remember if I mentioned this, but he takes time out of class twice per semester to meet with each student individually and discuss their writing and how they have improved. It had been nearly three weeks since I'd seen him (felt like a lifetime) and I have never been really confident in my writing, so I wasn't exactly excited.

     He loved it. All of it. He said I have a knack for writing short but powerful pieces (clearly he's never seen my blog) and have a great understanding of the principles of grammar. The only grades from the class come from these conferences, so there was definitely some pressure, but he ended it telling me that my writing is at A+ level and to keep doing what I'm doing. He also told me to feel free to tailor the upcoming assignments to what I feel will be beneficial to my career, because he cares more about the students getting what they need out of his class than strictly following the syllabus and curriculum. He's awesome.

     Since I don't have any interesting stories or funny jokes, I'm going to end this one off with what I feel is one of the better pieces I've written for that class. We had to write a poem. I honestly don't know what inspired this one, it just sort of came naturally.

The binding agent of the soul
The light in total darkness
It provides a map when lost and damaged
It opens the door when there is no way out
 A rescuer of the captured
A hand extended for the fallen
When there is nothing left
It is all that remains

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Busy Week

     It's been a while since I had a chance to sit down and make a blog post, so here goes. Sorry for the delay, I've been keeping busy.

     Last Tuesday, I took a test to skip Elementary Programming. I know how to write code, so that course was completely unnecessary for me. The test was 90 minutes, so I was a bit nervous I wouldn't have time to finish it. Turns out, it was actually only 9 questions. I was done in 15 minutes. I got the results a couple of days later, and I passed.

     Had an exam in Criminal Justice on Wednesday. I absolutely love that class. I did decently well on the exam (93.06%). The professor used my name in one of the questions. I stole 700 fanny packs. I got a good kick out of that.

     Friday night was the first competition for the Cyberdefense team. I knew basically nothing. I spent most of Friday and part of Saturday looking over shoulders learning what people were doing. It seems like a great learning experience, but I don't think I'll be able to balance it, school, and a job, so I'm not going to be a part of the team this year. Might do it next year. We'll see.

     Went home on Sunday to pick some things up. I needed my Wii for a project (trust me. It's for school) and figured I'd pick up some games and my guitar. A friend of mine is teaching me to play guitar. Hopefully I'll be able to play soon.

      Monday I had a meeting with my advisor to discuss next semester. It was supposed to be 30 minutes, but we talked for well over an hour. We discussed a bunch of things: studying abroad, graduating early, getting my Master's, what classes I need to take over the summer. I've got a pretty good grasp on what I need to do to finish this all up as soon as possible. I'm going to be taking an extra class next semester and a few over the summers, and possibly some extras next year. I'm definitely graduating a year early.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Movie Day

     Another title for this could have been "The Big Assignment Due Tuesday and My Excuses For Not Doing It".

     For reasons completely unrelated to procrastination, I decided to make Sunday a movie day. I woke up at 3 in the afternoon, and made this decision completely unrelated to my upcoming project proposal. I ended up watching four movies and doing zero homeworks.

     I started of with the best movie of all time, Die Hard. Easily my favorite movie. I've probably seen it forty times or so. I make a point to watch it every few months, and every Christmas. This time was just as enjoyable as every other time. I considered watching it twice in a row, but I ended up moving on to something else.

     There was a Reddit thread a couple days ago about the best movies, and while my choice of Die Hard was quite popular, The Breakfast Club beat it out. I'd never actually seen that movie, but I had noticed it was recently made available for streaming on Netflix, so I figured I'd give it a shot. It was actually a lot better than I expected it to be. It's not quite Die Hard, but it was an enjoyable movie that I could see myself enjoying again.

     I watched Die Hard a second time. Deal with it.

     Up next was Hot Rod. It's a stupid movie with a premise similar to Napoleon Dynamite: awkward kids do things. Specifically, an awkward kid wants to jump his moped over fifteen busses. I watched this movie for the first time a few years ago simply because Andy Samberg is in it and he's a comedic genius, but I really like it. It's a really easy movie to watch, and the writing is just fantastic. It actually rivals Die Hard in my mind.

     I almost watched Die Hard again, but I saw School of Rock in my recommended viewings, and I had to end the night off with that. I hadn't seen that movie in years, so I didn't remember how good it is. I had fun.

     So I guess I'm spending this evening doing that homework.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

School Activities

     Most of this week was pretty dry. The last two days were not.

     I went to Gamestop. Again. I've been to six different Gamestop locations since moving. I might have a problem. I grabbed my game, and while I was paying, I casually asked the employee if she knew if they had any positions open. I mentioned in an earlier post that I left my job back home, and I still haven't gotten a new one. I hit a stroke of luck! They are actually hiring a bunch of people. She gave me an application, and told me to come back in two weeks for open interviews. Wish me luck on that one, I've wanted to work at Gamestop since I was a kid.

     Yesterday, there was a meeting for the school's Cyber Defense Team. I had been really interested in this when I heard about it at orientation, so I stopped by. It seems like it'll be a blast, even though I don't really know anything that will be helpful (yet). They've got training sessions for new kids every Tuesday, which I will definitely be attending. There's also a competition next weekend that I'm going to go to. They said that, more often than not, the new kids end up being useful for these ones. I also spent some time on their IRC channel chatting with the members and getting to know them. Everyone seems super eager to teach the new kids. I'm very excited.

     Super Smash Bros is one of my favorite games. There's a new one coming out next month. I am VERY excited. Nintendo released a limited access demo yesterday. I didn't get it. They gave out four codes to everyone that did. I DID manage to get a code from a friend. Excited to finally get to play, I booted up my 3DS, only to find out that it doesn't work on the wifi network in my dorm. Some issue with the security settings. Not about to be defeated by this, I walked across campus to a different wifi network. At midnight. I sat on a bench alone in the dark for half an hour as this demo downloaded. Worth every second.

     I walked back to my building to play the game, but I noticed it was a really nice night out, and there were people playing volleyball outside, so I sat down on a bench outside my building across from the volleyball court and booted up the game. After about 15 minutes, a cop drove by down to the parking lot. He got out, and walked up to where I was. He stood there for a minute, looked around, and then approached me. Apparently, he had gotten a report about suspicious activity in this location. I explained what I was doing (there isn't any sort of curfew, and tons of people were out) and told him I hadn't seen anything since I'd sat down. I offered to go inside, but he told me it was fine for me to be out there. He went on his way, after watching me play a match of Smash. Guess he's a fan too. 

     I ended up going inside shortly after, because I didn't want to cause any more issues (if the call had been about me sitting on the bench. The world will never know). I ended up staying up until 5 playing. 

     Didn't wake up until 2 or so this afternoon. I had decided to clean my room this weekend, so I got on that. It actually looks really good now. I finally got my posters hung up, and my desk is cleared off. I vacuumed up the place and it looks really nice. 

     I collect a lot of video games. Sometimes this involves tracking down copies of rare games. It can be really difficult to find certain games, and it can be even harder to find them for a good price. I have a multipage word document of games I've been looking for. Since I'm a bit away from home, I figured it couldn't hurt to see if I could get any of them. Much to my surprise, one I had been looking for for over a year was at a Gamestop about fifteen minutes away. 

     Needless to say, I got lost. Very lost. I did end up finding it, but not after walking around for twenty minutes. What was supposed to be a quick pickup turned into an hour long journey. I'm glad I finally found a copy of that game though. 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Cleaning Day

     Dorm inspections are this week, and my room was a total mess. Naturally, I had to clean it. I didn't expect it to take four hours. I had five bags of trash to take out. Taking out five bags of trash is hard. I wasn't about to make two trips though, so I struggled all the way to the dumpster. It was worth it.

     My carpet needed vacuuming. Turns out, I'm really bad at vacuuming. I don't know how, but that alone took an hour and a half. I don't have a big room. I don't know where that time went.

     While I was vacuuming, I noticed dust collecting in the vents of my consoles. I didn't have a can of air with me, so I grabbed a friend and drove to the nearest Walmart. He had been wanting me to take him to the store because he doesn't have a car. He just needed to pick up some snacks. He grabbed a cart, and I followed while he walked around the store putting things in the cart. Of course, I also put $30 of food in the cart (to be fair, $15 of that was a 10-pack of my favorite flavor of Monster). We could not find the cans of air. We asked someone, and he directed us to the air horns. I didn't need an air horn. I needed a can of compressed air. I guess an air horn is technically a can of compressed air, but I needed a different kind of can of compressed air.

     We had to ask four workers, but we finally found it. At this point, I was done with Walmart, so we went to the self checkout to pay for our items and leave. I was unaware you had to be ID'd to purchase cans of compressed air. The checkout kept saying someone would be over to assist me. No workers were to be found. We waited for almost fifteen minutes before someone finally came.

     When I returned to my room, I noticed a ton more trash sitting out that I must have missed. It can wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pocket Check

     I did laundry today for the first time. Nothing major happened. My clothes are still the same color and size as they were when I put them in the machines, so I'm counting it as a success. That is, until I returned to my room.

     I folded all of my clothes like a pro, and sat down to enjoy a nice cold IBC rootbeer and an hour of Minecraft. Within seconds, I was wearing the rootbeer. I was drenched. Nothing good happens on laundry day.

     When I locked myself out earlier in the year, I began checking my pockets every time I left any place. Wallet in back left pocket. Phone in front right pocket. Keys in front left pocket. It quickly became a ritual for me to do this check constantly. Today, I decided to go for a late night jog. It was around midnight, but I was bored and had nothing else to do. So I slipped on my running shorts and my sleeveless shirt and went. My running shorts didn't have a back pocket. Locked myself out again.

     For whatever reason, I grabbed my Playstation Vita instead of my phone. This left me unable to call anyone to let me in. I got a kind stranger to let me into the building and my hall, but I needed my own key (or a roommate's) to get me into my actual room. Luckily, the Vita has a facebook app. Unluckily, the app is garbage and barely works. After struggling with it for a while, I finally got a message through to my three roommates asking if anyone was around to let me in (yes, I did try knocking first). I waited and waited and finally got a reply. "I'm at Applebees, I'll be back soon." (I'm reminded of something my parents said about nothing good happening at Applebees.) I responded with gratitude and told him not to rush. I had my Vita, so I wasn't terribly bored. Until it died. Right away. 2 AM rolled around, and he arrived.

     And now I'm sitting here, waiting for 3 AM so I can get breakfast from McDonalds, because this incident left me very hungry.