Friday, January 28, 2011

conversations from the Call Center

 Jenna and I talk about Mumford and Sons:

Me: I think I am in love with Marcus Mumford. Like, for real.

Jenna: Yeah, and he's not even the cutest one in the bunch.

Me: He's not the type that I usually find attractive... but there is something about him...

I love him.

Jenna: That must mean you like him for his personality.

That's how you know it's real.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

this is why my head hurts.

What do I do when I have 30ish hours to finish my application?

Address problems, review notes from the interview with my committee.
Look at adviser's notes.

Too scary.

...not so scary, they said all of this yesterday.

I can do this. All I have to do is start writing! 5 more days!

Open my application Word document. TrumanappJan13.doc...

Facebook. I already read this status. Bored.

Write half a sentence-

Facebook. what am I doing here? CONCENTRATE.

anxiety!!! I have about a day to get this all done!

Write a full sentence. This is going well! I can totally do this, I-

Facebook. maybe I should disconnect from the internet. But what if I need to get more research? OK, bad idea.

half a senten-

Gmail. OH NO. Email from adviser. Email demanding rapid completion of a specific question. She has to send it to the person who is writing my rec letter. Quick. I need to head him off and let him know I may have exaggerated things to make myself sound better. And more in charge. But they TOLD me to! Oh, he probably understands, maybe I don't need to forewarn him about-

OH YEAH I am supposed to be writing and revising! Shit. Back to that. Four words and....

this would be a good time to blog about this...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

winter winds

Tomorrow is my (first) interview for my scholarship.

I may find out that my desired occupation/plans of the future do not make me a good candidate, and thus won't be endorsed by the school, or I bomb the interview/application and I don't get endorsed from the school. Oh, yeah, and the third option: I get the committee's approval, toil away all week and weekend finishing the application, and turn it all in on February 1st.
Any way this goes, it is going to be a doozie of a week.

My plan for tomorrow is to go to my classes, eat lunch, and RELAX, rather than study useless facts and get myself in a tizzy.

Meanwhile, Mumford and Sons.

I am so all about these guys right now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

shark farts!

I am about to blerg all over this blog.

But first I need a Coke because I am getting a caffeine-withdrawal headache.

So I am finally in the final stages of finally being final with my final draft of the scholarship application. Finally.

I have the body filled out (ex:  list your awards and scholarships in order of significance. answer: voted Cougar Call Center Puzzle Master 2010) and I have all my essays finished. They just need...lots of touch ups. And a new paint job. Maybe some body work. It'll get there.
It is all officially due on February 1, only 12 days away. And then I promise I will stop talking about it.

During this whole process I have had so many weeks where I've said "as long as I can get through _____ I'll be OK" like "I just need to get through Wednesday and I'm scott free." Sometimes I don't even make plans for the day after that because I can not see that far into the future. Seriously. Well, I am saying it again. As long as I can get through Tuesday, I'll be fine.
Lemme splain.

This weekend will be fine, but Monday and Tuesday bear the mark of the beast.
Monday: first Conditioning and Learning quiz- a class I still haven't received my book for.
Then, immediately after my Happiness class (ironically [well, Alanis Morissette ironic]) I get to make up the Spanish final that I missed for the funeral. Three hours. of Spanish. that I haven't seen in two months.

Tuesday: First Spanish quiz. With maps.
Two papers due for Learning Disabilities.

and oh yeahs this other little thing I might get around to called my TRUMAN SCHOLARSHIP INTERVIEW. Gonna be grilled on NCLB and ESEA and what was in the NYT this morning and how many pages were in Psychology Today three months ago and would I die for my country and if I had to pick which Supreme Court justice would I invite to my birthday and what's a henweigh and how many licks does it really take to get to the center of a tootsie pop and what is the exact national debt at this moment... and anything else I might be expected to know as a person of the world that I defintiely don't know.

I thought it would be easy. Interviewers ask questions about you, and I like to talk about myself. A match made by Patti herself.  But alas, it is a bit more complicated and I may need a pint or two of ice cream afterward. But all I have to do is get through the interview and then I am scott free. Right?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In love with the problem problem:

Why I <3 my classes.

As a freshman I took a class called Intro to Academic Writing, because I was naive and listened to my previously-unknown-to-me Honors adviser, who said that since I had already completed my English requirement with AP classes I should take this intro class to help me write papers in college. I unwittingly signed up, and did not realize until the first or second week of classes what "Introduction to Academic Writing" actually meant. It meant reading journal articles, analyzing "academic" writing styles and teaching me a trick called the "quote sandwich," which I still use in all my papers to this day. However, the most important thing I took from this class was "the problem problem."

In an article by Gerald Graff, he describes the "problem problem" in the academic community as the "tendency to make seemingly obvious assumptions explicit" and a "general obsession with searching for problems where often there do not seem to be any." I was relieved in reading this article that someone else had noticed how "academics" tend to create issues where there don't seem to be issues simply to have something to write about, and thus securing their employment through "searching for problems where there don't seem to be any." While in this class, I discovered a resentment towards academics, or perhaps my professor, for writing things I had to read about which did not need to be read about at all. Perhaps this is more the case in liberal arts disciplines, perhaps not. I just knew I was fed up with reading articles and writing papers about “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adults." Do we really need to analyze how people revise their writing? It happens, it's over, move on.

More recently, however, as I began seeing the problem problem as the underlying architecture for every college course I have ever taken (and therefore higher education in general, I believe), I realized that I do not hate the problem problem as strongly as I thought. In fact, I LOVE it.

Case in point: Happiness.

This semester, I am taking a class called Happiness. That's it. That's the whole name of the class. It is a Psychology class AND a Philosophy class, so we have two professors, 70 students (which is about as big as it gets at CofC) and a whole curriculum of the problem problem.

I noticed in my Family and Childhood Issues class that Psychology is about a lot of unknowns. Most things can not be measured in this discipline, and most of the things that can be measured can not be measured reliably, like happiness. We spent most of the class supplying questions as answers, discussing what influences a child's development: "What about his SES?" "Maybe there is a history of illness?" "Parental discord or harmony?"
My Happiness class is slightly more concrete, but only because Philosophy is a different discipline. Instead of inventing questions to define the situation, each person invents answers. That is why each Philosopher has his own "ism" or theory he is associated with.  There are dualists, idealists, hedonists, and anarchists. So when you get a group full of Question majors in a room with a group full of Answer majors, interesting things happen.

I love this class. I love all my classes because of the problem problem. When there is nothing left to write about, make something to write about.
And read that book, because so far it is excellent.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

welcome back, beeches

I got my hair cut! And I have bangs. I look so cute I feel like I need to buy new clothes. And floss more. And stop drinking soda. Or something.

Meanwhile, outside of Hair Land: I received an email from the Dragon Lady telling me that my final draft of the scholarship application is due to her by Thursday. Which is so so close.
I may cry.

I am getting all the online scholarship filled out and if I take too long listing my accomplishments on one page, it cuts me off and doesn't save any of my stuff. mreeehhhh.

I don't know if I can do thissssss.

ALSO: this weird banging/clanking noise kept waking me up last night. I am told that the heat is turning on, but honestly it sounds like squirrels are stuck in there playing croquet.

As long as they don't burrow through the walls, I'll be fine.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chopsticks wisdom:

Fear is paying interest on a debt you may not owe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I wish...

I wish it would stop being cold.
I know it's not that cold. I still don't like it.

I wish people from my high school/university would quit getting married. It's freaking me out.

I wish my scholarship would apply for itself. ...wait.

I wish I hadn't eaten popcorn for dinner. Or seen How Do You Know. How do you know it's gonna be an awful movie? Answer: you don't. Not for a while. You get drawn in by Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon, who (separately) have not steered you wrong in the past, and you spend the whole two hours wondering how this movie is going to pull itself together and then it doesn't.

I wish Facebook would stop showing me pictures of people I don't want to see. I am sure there is a way to block this, but I am too lazy to do anything but complain.

I wish Hogwarts was real. Wait, no. Then that would mean...nevermind.

I wish that the groundhog sees his damn shadow. Or whatever means no more winter.

I wish Brother would put more songs up.

I wish I could go back to Charleston without having to go back to class.

Happy Epiphany everyone!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I haven't written much because a lot has been happening this break. And when I say "a lot" I mean "a lot of knitting patterns." But I won't bore you. I have a story. A little snapshot of Christmas break in the DeBuys house.

In the afternoon of New Year's Eve, all is calm in the house. Mom and Dad are out shopping and returning heinous Christmas presents. Daniel is in the basement, playing Oblivion. Sean is downtown at Tech with his girlfriend. And Ryan and I are sitting, peaceably, in the living room watching the 4th season of The Office as I am knitting a scarf for my friend Mallory. All is calm. All is bright.
So of course you know some disturbance is coming.

Right as Michael Scott is threatening to throw himself off the roof of the building (onto a Moon Bounce castle) the lights flicker, the TV shuts off, and the refrigerator powers down.

The power is out. The afternoon is ruined.

 A quick call to Mom confirms that the electric bill has been paid, and then Ryan and I sit and look at each other, the question "Now what?" hanging unspoken on the air.

Daniel comes rushing up the stairs out of the dark basement. A surprisingly delayed reaction considering he was plugged into the Matrix and was most likely engulfed in darkness almost instantly.

Now we are all sitting in the living room, sadly at a loss for what to do. Then survival mode takes over.
"Daniel!" I scream, as he jumps off the couch, "whatever you do, DO NOT open the fridge! I mean it! Not even for a second! Ryan, check if the phone is working."
Ryan goes to the phone, and picks it up. "I think the batteries are low. Or it's out. It was probably an EMP. Your cell phone won't work either," (my brother is suggesting that the power is out due to an electromagnetic pulse, which he believes can be weaponized and used to "wipe out an entire city's powers of communication"). I remind him that I called mom on my cell phone already, and he looks a bit mollified.

Dad gets home and we discover that the power outage is most likely due to a car crash on the road by our house. Ryan and Daniel actually played outside. With a ball. Together. I even took the dog for a walk (while also observing the power outage around the neighborhood. I felt a bit like a spy. Because I am a nerd).

When Einstein and I got back to the house, Mom was home and we started lighting candles in preparation for the sun going down and what was reported to be a 4 hour outage. Awesome. I convinced Daniel to take a shower while light was still coming in the windows (score!) and Ryan told Dad about his EMP theory.

A few days before this, we all painted pottery with my aunt Colleen. Three of our family's pieces (that's an even 50%) had Saints colors or a fleur de lis. Or both. Anyway, they had finally been fired and picked up and we admired our pieces in the thin sunlight still streaming through the kitchen windows.

Daniel came downstairs, freshly clean, and Mom tells him to unwrap the other pieces carefully, so that we can take a picture to send to Colleen. I went upstairs to retrieve my (awesome pineapple) bowl from my room, and on the way back downstairs, I hear many things. Allow me to paint a word picture of this scene:

Mom: Careful, Daniel, careful-
Ryan: Daniel, WHAT? Ahhhahhhhh! Get it! AAHH!
Dad: WhAT! Daniel! NO DON'T TOUCH IT
[I am still coming down the stairs, faster now, and I see the dog chasing the cat out of the kitchen]
Mom: AH! OW Ow owowowow
(stomping, stomping)
Dad: Daniel! WHY did you do that?
Mom: I tried to warn him... OW, ooh, that was stupid. 
[Daniel, distraught, flees upstairs in a fit]

I finally round the corner to see white fluff suspended in the air, falling slowly like fat snow. My first thought, as I see Dad at the open sliding glass door, is that the cat has attacked some snowy white bird and let it into the house, and now its downy feathers are decorating our kitchen.

The actual story is even better:
Daniel, being careful to handle the potter delicately, and being instructed to "save the tissue paper" that wraps them, had cautiously peeled the paper away from the ceramic box he was unwrapping, and placed the large piece of tissue paper on the kitchen table, right next to the candles we had just lit. My mother, seeing this happen, tried to warn him, but was unable to stop the paper from catching on fire. Wanting to save the table, and our house, from going up in flames, she grabbed the flaming paper and threw it on the floor. This movement made the flame more intense, and ashes (like white fluffy snow flurries) floated around the clouds of stress as my parents stomped out the flames. They then turned on Daniel, who blamed himself for almost killing the family and ran upstairs in tears.

So, the results from this day: 

  1. Daniel cried for a little bit until we assured him it wasn't really his fault
  2. Mom burned her hand while saving the family (which she has shown me 47 times, because "you didn't believe me that I got burned but I did, look!")
  3. and the power was out for a whopping 65 minutes.

  1. Daniel took a shower
  2. Einstein took a walk
  3. Ryan and Daniel played a game that didn't need controllers
  4. the kitchen was swept (to clean up all the ash)
  5. Mom got a battle scar, and...
  6. I got another fun story to tell.

I think this one goes in the win column.