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I'm leaving on a jet plane....

(Katie Kaiser) Permanent link
  1. Power converter……check
  2. Plug adapter…..check

Six days until I get on a flight. I am Europe bound people!! Yep, this chick is going to go rock it out in Europe. I’ve been once before but only to London. If you’ve never been, make it a point to go one day. The people are fantastic, the food and atmosphere is lovely, and all of the cute British accents don’t hurt either J.

  1. Great book to read: Room by Emma Donoghue….check
  2. Camera with new battery…check

This whole trip came into play because of my boyfriend Paul. Him and his family made friends (YEARS ago) with another family’s foreign exchange student. He came for one summer and just kept coming back! Anyways, he’s getting married in France (where he lives) and invited Paul, his mom and his brother and even me to his wedding!

  1. iPod with my special Europe mix….check
  2. Teddy bear…check

It gets better….instead of them taking a honeymoon right away…they want to take us all over Europe! Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and more! I couldn’t be more excited to travel, eat new foods and take LOTS of pictures (which of course I’ll be posting here!).

  1. Fall boots and coat….check
  2. Lots of money to convert to euros so I can buy lots of croissants cheese and wine….umm kind of check??

The only drawback to taking this trip is the stress it may put on my class. At the moment I’ve gotten A’s on every quiz, and a B on my first exam. I’ve been to every class, participated, done the reading and rocked it out in lab class. Unfortunately, with my 10 day trip I’ll be missing a lecture exam AND a lab practical….not so good.

But here’s a tip kids….respect your teachers and their class and they’ll be more willing to help you out. I talked to my professor and she is allowing me to take the lecture exam at the end of the semester and I can take the lab practical as soon as I work out something with the great people who set up the labs at MC. I mean it’s a trip to EUROPE, who wouldn’t go???

  1. Print outs from class to study….check
  2. A HUGE smile on my face….DEFINITE CHECK!!

So readers (and fellow bloggers) here is my brief goodbye. I’ll try as hard as I can to post from Europe, and I promise to put up lots of pictures just for you!

Au revoir!!

Ps. Heres your funny thing of the week:

"If facebook exsisted years ago....."

 

Sloshing around, honest writing and Tom Lehrer Among Other Things

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link

    It's pouring. It's not just raining; it's sometimes so heavy that out west we would call it a “gully washer”. Since Maryland doesn't appear to have “gullies”, sloshing downpours are called “toad chokers” around our house. Let's hope any toads, terrapins or other wildlife are heading for higher ground since it's not over yet. Emails from the news alerts have been arriving in droves with warnings about flash floods, downpours and tornado watches. There was even one from MC that the Rockville campus has lost electricity in most of the buildings. It was raining so much that I drove our youngest down to his bus stop instead of just walking. You see, he really likes puddles for stamping in and splashing. Since showing up at school dripping wet with bits of fallen leaves in his hair would not be a good way to start the school day, I kept him separated from his favorite element. The school bus driver approved.

      This is a day to stay inside and among other things to do is classwork. I'm in the middle of my first paper of the semester. It's for the History seminar and my topic has about attempted suppression of ideas by either individuals or groups in authority. I also have a 2 page “mid-term” for this class, so I may be hiding in my room this weekend to work without lots of requests for “Mom!” and “Peanut butter please”. My Distance Learning Health class started on Monday and there were several practice exercises as well as a required tutorial on plagiarism with a quiz. The results get emailed to the professor. When I started at MC in '05 with an English class we were just told to not steal other people's work. Things have changed, I guess, as I think this is the fourth class that had a required lesson on how to cite properly and warning that cheating will get you an F in the assignment at the very least. Considering how easy it is to find out if something was written by someone else it's kind of sad that there are companies that sell pre-written papers to help people do something dishonest.

      Another thing that I've been doing is trying to find a part-time job. The kids' feet aren't getting any smaller among other expenses and it would also be nice to have some experience after being a stay-at-home mother for so long. That's the tricky part, I think, that employers want people who apply for jobs to have some experience, but you need a job to get some. I'd always meant to go back to work once the kids were old enough. So now that I can there's a recession. Sigh.

      For fun this week I remembered a Tom Lehrer comic song on the subject of plagiarism.

 

 

 

    And one I just came across that explains opera

Go, go, go shawty. It's your birthday.

(Besith Pineda) Permanent link

Yours truly turned 19 years old on Saturday.

Last weekend was a pretty big deal. Acting on impulse, I decided to ask my boss for Saturday and Sunday off; request that was met, to my surprise, with a yes. That’s 48 hours to myself, folks. My third weekend off in a period of two years. And as Montgomery College would put it, endless possibilities, anyone?

I’ll reserve the right to the details. Suffice it to say that I floated seamlessly through each hour, no guarantees made to anyone but to my mother to whom I’d promised lunch on Sunday. And additionally, that I knew it was my night when this song started playing ten minutes after getting to the club.

It has been such a turbulent year; one worthy of ceremonious partying

That, we did,


REUNITED WITH MY SPERRYS and it feels so good

I had left this lovely pair at my aunt’s house about a month ago and was finally able to pick them up on Saturday when I spent the day at her house in D.C. If my fellow blogger Britney has noticed heels on campus, then I’ve noticed the proliferation of these amazing shoes all over the school. Which is understandable, because the world has finally grasped the fact that they are pretty much amazing.

sperry topsiders



World Travel

This weekend was also marked by the creation of Besith’s World Travel Fund, currently residing on the desk next to my bed, carefully tucked underneath my printer.

Total Balance: $3

world travel

The Crayons from my trip to Target were used to create this work of art. No Superman boxers were worn, however; I think that the Ninja Turtles shirt makes up for this.

The idea emerged from a conversation with a co worker I highly respect, who was giving me tips on how to save money. One of the strategies she discussed involved using different envelopes to organize money, so to speak, that would be later used for specific purposes.

“You!” she said. “You want to travel the world. Start saving now.”

And she’s right. Small amounts add up over long periods of time, and since I know for a fact that I will not be traveling the world for a long time…Ha. Maybe this is actually worth a shot. In any case, it appeals to the practical dreamer in me - that person that dreams up situations and is sometimes courageous enough to find the logical steps towards them.

Anyone want to travel after graduation? Just shake off the shackles of school and work and peace out? Get lost for a little while? 

Let’s make it happen.

 



Another "Statistic"

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I have been thinking about something for a long time now...day in and day out I have been thinking this same thought repeatedly... If I could back in time I would assassinate whoever created algebra and statistics. I'm soooo serious its not even funny. Well maybe it's a little funny because I would never have had the guts to do it. But come on now algebra is not even REAL it has nothing to do with the real world! It is just something that school curriculum forces us to learn...why? because they want to make our lives MISERABLE.

Statistics on the other hand deals with real number and groups of people, etc... but alllllll of the work requires sooo many steps that by the time you realize you made a mistake you have to start the whole friggin problem over! I am currently taking MA116 and the work is fairly easy, but the problems require a bunch of steps that you spend forever working on. I have a wonderful teacher for this class but for some reason I keep doing horrible on the quizzes... I can do the mathXL with no problem and I understand everything my professor goes over in class. So why am I failing? because quizzes and test scare the crap out of me! As soon as the professor places the tests down in front of us I freeze up...and then everything goes blank, I forget how to do everything I was just able to do the night before.

So I have come to the conclusion that I hate math... I know thats not a good way to look at things but I really, really really believe math was created to torture students. I believe math stands for:

Misery

Absolute evil

Torture

Horrible

Those are all the words that come to mind when I think about math. I have my first test in statistics this upcoming Thursday... I have my study packet in front of me, my calculator, a pencil and my phone (for texting :)) and I am ready to be miserable... If anyone of you who happens to read this knows where I can find a time traveling machine please let me know. 

And Your Point Is...

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

In Harry Nilsson’s obscure 1971 fable, The Point!, an archetypical stranger-in-the-woods (referred to as “the pointed man”) notes: “A point in every direction is the same as no point at all!” Then he promptly disappears, leaving the protagonist puzzled.

            There is geometric truth to this bizarre statement. If you were to plot a point in the middle of a page and then draw an infinite number of congruent line segments stemming from this point to every point around it, the result would be a circle – which (in point of fact) has no physical point.

            And now that I have you thinking about points, let’s play connect the dots.

            An apple falls on Isaac Newton’s head at velocity v(t) defined as the lim h—› 0 s(t+h) – s(t)/ h. Velocity is a vector (that is, it has both direction and magnitude). A French philosopher named Pascal came up with a triangle thingy and John Locke wrote about man’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and property, which was then plagiarized by Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence which was signed on July 4, 1776. Provided the given information, what is the meaning of life?

            If you are a Douglas Adams fan, you probably skipped the calculus and immediately arrived at the answer, 42. If you have not arrived at the answer, don’t be alarmed; this is a problem to which most of the brightest men and women in history never devised an answer they found satisfactory.

            So, what, pray tell, was the point of listing a variety of pointless information and then asking a question with no definitive answer? Here’s the point: this information is a sample of the daily input into the average student’s brain. The answer to the question (What is the meaning of life?) is the output that most human beings endlessly seek.

            In high school, we are given a ponderous list of facts to memorize. The point of college is to do what most physicists deem impossible: draw order from chaos. College shows us how to take arbitrary dots, organize them, draw lines to connect them, and then locate the vertices (or points if you want to remain consistent with the geometric pun).

            Observe:

            Pascal’s triangle is used to multiply polynomials. Using his triangle, I can simplify the definition of the derivative and determine the instantaneous velocity of the apple as it collides with Isaac Newton’s noggin. While Isaac Newton tinkered with numbers and recognized mathematical patterns in nature, other thinkers were inspired to apply mathematical principles to reasoning. One such thinker was John Locke, who was one of many to inspire the American Revolution. Undoubtedly physics, and by extension, calculus, plays an integral role in warfare (no pun intended).

            Well how about that. I’ve drawn a circle, which we determined earlier to be the most pointless of geometric shapes.

            But perhaps we could look at this another way…

            Perhaps a circle only appears to be devoid of points. Logically, a circle cannot possess points when – in point of fact – a circle is quite simply, nothing but one great big point. 


High Fashion at MC?

(Brittany Sullivan) Permanent link

As the saying goes before you judge someone you should walk a mile in his or her shoes. However, I cannot say that I would wish to do so with what some girls chose to wear on their feet to school.

I am not sure if they chose to do so because of height impairment, stylish fads, or just pure insanity; but I have seen girls strutting their stuff around campus with 3-4 inch high heels on. Not only does that look extremely uncomfortable, and make others around you uncomfortable for you, but also it makes you look out of place. If you’re looking for the clubs, DC is just a hop and a skip up the road. Or if a date night is on your agenda you aren’t going to do much better than a slice of pizza and some M&M’s from MC Munchies by wearing those stilettos around here.

Now don’t get me wrong I love me some heels. But by wearing my three-inch gladiators around campus all day I think our relationship would end very badly, and I would want to snap the heel off and make them stylish flats. I tend to trip over my own feet on occasion so having to watch every crack, step, and dip around campus while lugging all my various items around would make life way more difficult.

Nonetheless, I have respect for the girls who wake up at 7 in the morning and have the energy to put together a stylish outfit. Some days I may venture to do this, and if I happen to do so it will be paired with a stylish set of Steve Madden flip-flops. 


 

It could always be worse.

(Marcia Myers) Permanent link

I really and I mean REALLY hate it when people say that. It does not make my situation any better to know somewhere else is suffering more than I am. It just annoys me and puts me in a worse mood to hear that. The other day though I think that saying was totally appropriate.

This day was tough. They like to tell you that here at Disney - that your internship is like a roller coaster. It will have ups and downs and last Tuesday was definitely one of my downs at work. At least it wasn't a long shift but it was eight hours, it was ridiculously humid (like rainclouds in the sky, only in Florida-humid), hot, and lovebugs were starting to come out. Yes, Lovebugs. Don't they sound sweet? The best thing I can say about them is that they don't bite but other than that they are super-annoying and to someone with an extreme dislike for bugs, somewhat stressful.

Anyways, what makes this work day particularly bad was the shortness of people and lack of rotations. Usually when there's enough people rotating positions and bringing breaks is easy and on time. On that day, 2 people had called in sick so we were tight. So tight that my break was about an hour late and one rotation came 45 minutes late. Since rotations come every 45 minutes - it was an hour and a half in the same position. I was going crazy.Then something happened to put the whole day in perspective.

A little boy came into the playground and he was having the best time. The first thing I noticed was his huge smile, followed by the extreme sweat coming from his brow. It was only when he went to wipe his brow that I noticed he had no arms. He was having a much better day than I was and his playing lifted up my whole attitude. It reminded me of a video I'd been shown a long time ago that I had forgotten and I want to share with you guys now.

 

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own inspiring moments. :)

Fix for the Political Junkies

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

The Mid-term elections are a little more than a month away and if you’re sick of scouring the Internet for the latest polls, these links will probably help. A fix for us political junkies :) 

Politicohttp://www.politico.com/ - Politico has some of the best nonpartisan reporting out there. You probably won't find any of the stuff impacted by the "noise machines". And it’s not just reporting, they have fantastic analysis pieces too. 

Politico 2010 - http://www.politico.com/2010/ - This is THE place to follow the Mid-Terms. Politico puts all the mid-term related articles here. They also post updates (not necessarily complete articles) of breaking events so it's nice to stay on top of what's going on!

Polling Center - http://www.politico.com/2010/pollingcenter.html - Politico puts the polls here as soon as they come in. You can click the “Race” link to follow the trend (if any) a race is heading towards.

Five Thirty Eight - http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/ - The name of the site comes from the number of electors in the electoral college (538). Nate Silver runs the site – baseball fans might know him as the author of Baseball Prospectus. Anyway, the reason 538 is cool is because they take polls and adjust them for their biases. A candidate's internal polling probably isn't going to be accurate all that often; similarly, some pollsters usually have biases because of the way they weigh 

538 accurately predicted the 2008 Presidential Election to 49 states (including the 2nd district of Nebraska going for Obama). 

Real Clear Politics - http://www.realclearpolitics.com/ - They do a great job listing articles about Politics from major newspapers/magazines and they have tons of polls too! The only issue with their "Average" is they don't take the biases of pollsters into effect.

Wall Street Journal - http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-politics-campaign.html- They have fantastic reporting too, but their Opinion columns usually lean to the right (it is owned by Rupert Murdoch after all!).

 

P.S. This really was me 2 years ago. Yep.

Politics

Summer in Fall, Returning Students, Fancy footwork and Japanese Rock

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link

 

So this is the first day of Autumn. Ha! It's back to Hot and Humid and I have to make sure that there are shorts and tee shirts for the youngest to wear to school. Maryland weather is variable in the spring and fall; we even had a thunderstorm that tried to knock out the power last night. When we got the first flicker, I started thinking about where I could take my laptop so that I could do my blog post this morning. But we never went dark, thank goodness. (So many of us “enjoyed” way too much of that this summer.) On top of that, with all of the schools back in full swing, the first cold-bug of the year has been shared around and it's made it to my house with the two teenagers. It's mornings like this that I'm glad I was born after coffee became available all over the world.


Anyway, I was reading that there are more of us “returning” or “non-traditional” students at colleges these days. About half of my classmates fit in that category, I think. It's an evening class, and a lot of us work or take care of children during the day; I don't know if the same is true for daytime classes. But twice this week I was talking to someone and the subject of going back to school came up. One was a secretary at my youngest child's school. I'd gone to pick him up after he'd bumped his head and was having a bad day. Visitors to schools now need to show a picture ID and I'd given her my Montgomery College student card. The lady mentioned that she was thinking of going back to school and I told her about how I'd started with the Distance Learning classes and that MC is very helpful and encouraging for older adults. Distance Learning isn't for everyone, I know; some people do better when they can interact with a professor and class in person. But I've met several people around my age who started at MC the same way with an on-line class or two and then taking some on campus, too.


Did you know that the White House thinks that community colleges are important, by the way? There's going to be a Summit meeting about them on the 5th of October led by Dr. Jill Biden, the VP's wife who has taught at community colleges for many years (I think she's at Northern Virginia CC now). Here's the link to the page about it http://www.whitehouse.gov/communitycollege and they're asking for students to contribute to the discussion.


To close this, I thought that I'd have a couple more unusual music videos. First is the “Flight of the Bumblebee” played mostly on the pedals of a pipe organ. This is one big bee.



Then there's “Smoke on the Water” with full western orchestra, a traditional Japanese instrumental group and vocalists singing in Japanese


Hide ya YouTube, hide ya exposure to Pop Culture

(Theo Eftimiades) Permanent link

 You may know Antoine Dodson, YouTube’s most recent celebrity, from his Bed Intruder video. Actually, you probably have seen or heard of this guy at some point. If you haven’t, you are in the minority. 

YouTube, specifically YouTube comedy, is becoming a defining element of Pop Culture, that being the composite of things “cultural” that the majority of people have in common. Everyone engaged in Pop Culture, which, to some extent, is most of us, is being exposed to the same material, whether it be celeb gossip, criticisms of political officers, etc. Comedy is no exception to this rule. Unlike politics and celebrity gossip, however, comedy has never had the venue to support far-reaching exposure to similar material, which is what we’ve always had with politics and celeb. gossip. Now, with the rise of the wildly popular YouTube, I’d go so far as to say that YouTube has provided that venue, and is unprecedented in its influence over Popular Culture’s understanding of comedy. What’s funny on YouTube has become a mutually foundational element of our conception of what’s funny in general. I don’t think there’s ever been such a large number of people being exposed to the same comedy, influencing them to find the same things funny.

I do like that I can go up to a friend who’s smoking at MC and tell them to “hide your cigarette, hide your lighter, cus they citing everybody out here,” making passerbyers chuckle, I admit. However, I have a complaint. J

My concern associated with the YouTube Takeover is that people are now being exposed to a homogenous selection of comedic videos, and there is so much to be missed in mass-conformity. As more people flock to YouTube for their non-mainstream-tv comedy, other forms of comedy become endangered. In time, comedy that doesn’t fit the mold of what YouTube determines to be funny might lose popularity--to an extent I’m not really willing to estimate. How could it be any other way when the same YouTube community determines what comedy you’re being exposed to as often as you are sent a funny video with more than, say 100K views?

I vote a Bureau for Endangered Comedy be created. At this moment, countries are playing with the idea of creating institutions responsible for measuring national happiness. I say we skip 100 years in history, logically extend this idea of appreciating non-YouTube comedy, and preemptively create a National Bureau for the Propagation of Obscure Comedy That You Wont Find Tend to on YouTube (NBPOCTYWTF, for short.)  

Did you know that Mr. T has a show now? Mr T’s Cooking Revolution is a hilarious show; the writers feed Mr T. god awful lines, and he dishes them out (no cooking pun intended) like a champ. Because this show isn’t on YouTube or a Major TV channel, the comedy is really being lost. Ninja Warrior, a show imported from Japan has actually developed a pretty intense cult following, but is not as big as I think it would have been in the past. That show takes all the magic of Legends of the Hidden Temple (for those of you who may have watched in on Nickelodeon,) multiplies it by two, sends it over to Japan, and then brings it back for us to laugh at. Pre YouTube, shows like Ninja Warrior and Mr T’s Cooking Revolution might have attracted more comedy seekers. Now, people can just hop on YouTube and watch Pandas sneeze instead.  

Anyways, here’s me contradicting myself cus I likeee doinnn it:
 

In the beginning,

(Besith Pineda) Permanent link

There was a hum from a poet whose pulse fell DRUM DRUM DRUM

LIFE&BOATS - an expression coined by my friend Daniel and me after a particularly interesting conversation on the boat ride at the Fair (you know, that ride that swings back and forth and is guaranteed to make you sick). The premise being that: life and boats are very much alike, that the up and down is both enjoyable and uncontrollable, and that you never know when you might find yourself unwillingly strapped down to the bench of one as you helplessly watch a girl you care very much for walk away with some guy, causing your insides to recoil with hate/love. Thus, any mildly challenging obstacle we are presented with on a daily basis is dismissed with a somber, understanding look into each other’s eyes, and the whispered, sometimes yelled explanation across the room; “LIFE AND BOATS, man.”


College. Work. LIFE&BOATS.
Last week was absolutely hectic. I had originally intended to write a day to day account about it (read: I wrote it), but I realized just in time that the minute details of my life are, indeed, incredibly interesting. To me alone. I wouldn't’t subject you to that.

It’s been almost two months since I moved out of my house. It wasn’t ideal and it wasn’t necessarily all that I wanted, but it happened; so in my newfound spirit of instant, knee-jerk reaction, I adjusted accordingly. I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t been fun. The last 58 days have been defined by sudden freedom; by 2 a.m. hang out sessions, and the music bouncing off garage walls. By excursions into D.C. to break through the edges of the suburbs that so closely wrap around us. I have attended way too many movie nights, made too many plans I could not keep, and had too many study sessions inexplicably ending in procrastination.

It’s been exhausting, but in that exhilarating - no apologies made - foot to the pedal - all - or - nothing way. Which matches my intensity. So life’s been good.

Last week, I suppose, was my first jolt back to reality. I cannot precisely put my finger on it, but in between three classes, endless hours spent commuting, and the approximately 42 hours that I worked in between my two jobs, exhaustion stopped being a natural high and started seeping deep into my bones.

I was tired.

Simply, irrevocably tired.
It was scary, for a moment. For the first time in the six months since I’ve worked the two jobs (at one time during the summer pulling through 70 hour weeks), and for the first time since I was kicked out (dignity is for the insecure), I questioned my ability to pull this off.

What in the world did I get myself into, I wondered, the question, bearing so many implications, demanded confrontation but I had no time

People get held back by the voice inside them

Friday, you see, rolled around with its teasingly slow gait, and this particular night found my friends and me at a club in D.C. Having agreed that the week had been too stressful for all of us, we had committed ourselves to dancing the tension away. Six hours later found me in front of the place I now call home, at precisely 3:47 in the morning. I was tired, aching. But the sky was absolutely gorgeous so I laid outside on a bench, looking up at the stars.

The poet's got a proposal/He would always hope but never know/What it feels to be free

It was a time to regroup. 
        It reminded me of Monday afternoon, when I had found some time to lay on a bench on campus after class - laying on benches, I’ve decided, might be my new thing/preparation for perpetually imminent homelessness - and read a book, watching the sunlight dance around the edges of the paper. 
        It captured Thursday, when a friend I recently reconnected with and I made our Best Friendship official (9.16.2010. <3), because we are jokesters like that. Though there really was no need for it; sometimes you just meet someone beautiful and know that you will spend countless hours with them, laughing. 
        It brought back the brightness of lunch with my mother earlier that week, moments during which we giggle without reason, because none is needed. Because there is love, tangled somewhere among unspoken words and our utter bewilderment with each other, and we know it.
The monotony of the day the day became unimportant, and it left me with the most important moments.

How does this apply to you? Well, I'm not sure. I guess my point is that life positively sucks and my hope would be that you’re aware of this. Next time MC gets too be too much; next time your four jobs get a little too demanding; that one next time when you just feel the waves of exhaustion wash over you; do what we do.

LIFE&BOATS, guys.
We’ve got disss.

…Or at least, let’s pretend that we do.

And we keep holding on
And we keep being strong
And we keep going on
And on and on and on

Love at FED EX field

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As most of you may know this previous sunday the Redskins played the Texans and lost. I am not a Redskins fan, I live among the STARS :) *hint* *hint*. But I have never been to an NFL game and when I was offered a chance to go see the Redskins lose against the Texans I happily obliged!

When we arrived at the game it was close to 3pm and it was hotttttttttt, it felt like it was close to 100 degrees. We walked through parking lots and saw the groups of people chatting by their mini grills, beers in hand with red and gold painted faces. I heard a voice in my head keep saying "you trader, why are you at a skins game???" I thought to myself  "This all would be worth the guilty feelings when the game is over".

Our seats were in a section called the "12th Man" I have no idea what that means but what I do know was that the section was a stomping zone :/. I personally am not one for noise and with over 100 people stomping continuously I began to get a headache. If I would have been at MC I would have asked if they could tone it down a bit, but being at a Redskins game with excited/angry/anxious people I decided to bite my tongue. I thought to myself "This will all be worth it when the game is over".

After the Redskins lost (which I knew they would) I was lucky enough to have a pass to get into the "Players Parking Lot" (where the family and players park their expensive cars and return when the game is over). While all the people who came with me were running around getting autographs I was standing looking toward the entrance of the parking lot waiting...waiting...waiting...

After about ten more minutes of staring at the entrance my palms got sweaty, my eyes bulged out of my head and my heart stopped. I finally saw what I had been waiting for the whooollllleee day... Full Back,Mike Sellers, number 45 on the Redskins team. Oh how I hated the Redskins, but I love Mike Sellers and thinks he's the one for me :). I asked him for his autograph and asked him if he would take a picture with me. He said yes and I could have fainted, I sometimes live in a dream world and if that dream world some day became a real world it would just be me and Mike Sellers there... on a beach drinking pina coladas and staring into eachother's eyes all day every day.

So this previous Sunday was the greatest day of all, the Redskins lost and I met the man of my dreams<3.

 

 

Peanut Butter Beneath the Bodhi Tree

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

    
I couldn’t remember the last time I had Jif® Peanut Butter. Some time ago – perhaps when I was in middle school – my mom had stopped buying Jif® in favor of natural peanut butter.

            I do not feel the least slighted by this. This is not “Woe is me! I am deprived of my beloved Jif®! The back of my wrist is so soothing against my forehead!” On the contrary, I prefer natural peanut butter to Jif®, mostly because Jif® tastes like the filling of a Nutter Butter when you are used to the natural stuff. Regardless of my peanut-buttery preferences, I do enjoy an occasional peanut butter sandwich with Jif® Peanut Butter.

            On Sunday, I was visiting with a high school friend of mine who had come home for the weekend. We had spent the day noting suspicious similarities between our philosophy professors, playing with her mom’s Shih Tzu puppy and rotting our brains watching Vlogbrothers.

            Sometime that afternoon, my friend noticed that I hadn’t eaten all day and so reminded me that woman does not live by bread alone, but books are not exactly life-sustaining either. She directed me to the bread, a plate, a knife and a jar of crunchy Jif® Peanut Butter.

            Having made the sandwich, I assumed a bachelorly posture, leaning my butt against the counter and hunching over my plate. I stared at the calendar on the opposite wall as I ate. September featured a picture of nuns riding a tilt-whirl.

            After that, my thoughts dissipated like morning mist on a warm day. Thoughts of Calculus, weariness, and my unfinished philosophy paper faded out of sight. As I stared at the pictures of nuns enjoying carny rides, all I could think was: peanut butter is delicious.

            My silent meditation steeped for several moments before my friend, trying to strike up a conversation asked, “So, you enjoying that sandwich there?”

            I looked up at her, chewing thoughtfully. I looked down at my sandwich.

            “Actually I am,” I replied, smiling and explained what I had just been thinking about.

            “Having a religious moment with the peanut butter?” she asked. “Are you experiencing

            “Yes,” I said. “And it’s very tasty.”

            This is typical of the banter that discourses between us, but on Sunday, it was something a little more. I may not have been sitting beneath a Bodhi tree, but I really did have a revelation as I stood in an average American kitchen eating an average peanut butter sandwich.

            What I experienced could be called mindfulness: a total absorption in and awareness of the single moment being experienced. Retrospectively, the moment was fleeting, but at the time, at that very instant, the peanut butter sandwich, the company of my friend, and the amusing picture of laughing nuns were eternal.

            I experienced something else in that moment: santosha. Complete, unwavering, unconditional contentment.

            It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. It’s easy to say, “I’ll be happy when it’s winter break” or “I’ll be happy when I have a sports car” or “I’ll be happy when I’m a writer” but it’s not true, because happiness comes from within. Sometimes we all need a little help to find santosha, but big things like cars and houses probably won’t help us. It’s just little things…like peanut butter sandwiches. 

Hail or Bail to the Redskins?

(Brittany Sullivan) Permanent link

Last year as the Redskins season came to an end you could walk through the mall and see anything with burgundy and gold being put on clearance. Even the die-hard fans were glad to see the players walk off the field after most games.  But with the start of a new season, a new coach, and a new quarterback, things are looking up…or are they?

The morale of the Redskins appeared to be good as the season opener approached, and everyone seemed ready to forget the past and focus on the present. With the gates opened at noon, fans rallied together for the biggest rivalry of all time: Dallas vs. Redskins. By the time eight o’clock approached everyone was on the edge of their seats to see if the new Redskins team would come out swinging, and that’s exactly what they did. With a 13-7 victory under their belt, Redskins was something no one was ashamed to mention anymore.

At the start of classes on Monday I found many people sporting new last names on their backs. A few Mosses to my left, a Cooley to my right…I think I even spotted a Campbell roaming around (I guess they didn’t hear the news on that one). It was if everyone that day had rummaged to the back of their closet and dusted off the dirt from their Redskins jersey, and were proud as ever of the team just a few short months ago they had all given up on.

So with the next big game against the Texans, all fans held their heads high with a slight ego as they entered Fed Ex field last Sunday. Little would they know that the game would end in overtime by a field goal. Once again the Redskins let an easy victory slip through their fingers by letting the opponent come back after being 17 points behind.

Needless to say burgundy and gold was not such a popular outfit choice on this Monday morning. But hey, you gotta love them redskins =) 

DisneyWorld - Summarized

(Marcia Myers) Permanent link

So for a lack of a better subject, today I will go about summarizing all the different parks of Disney - because unlike the Disneylands around the world, Disneyworld has 4 very different parks. Differences that a lot of people don't actually realize

I'll start off with my home - Hollywood Studios. It was recently changed from MGM which is what you probably know it as (or the one with the big Mickey Hat). Hollywood Studios is focused on it's name. It's full of movie-related things. From Backstage shows, to rides based on movies it's got everything a real movie-junkie would love. Plus, if you're a thrill ride person than this is the place to head - Rock N' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are some of the best rides in Disneyworld.. As they like to say here at the studios - it's the Hollywood that never was and always will be.

The next, most obvious one is Magic Kingdom. Lots of people refer to it as Disneyworld because it's what you actually think of - Cinderella's Castle, the Flying Dumbo, Space Mountain. It's a larger park with actually a lot of different stuff - not just the little kid things. It's hard to summarize Magic Kingdom in anyways - it includes of variety of "Lands"- from Frontierland which resembles an idealic Old West to Tomorrowland - full of science-fiction fun.

Animal Kingdom is the newest of the four parks and doesn't have quite as much as the others. While Epcot and Magic Kingdom need two days to do everything, you can sometimes finish Animal Kingdom in a few hours. It's a wonderful park because it's focused on conservation and the planet. It's basically the biggest, coolest zoo you've ever been to in your life. Not that I'm hating on the National Zoo (which has the obvious advantage of being closer and free.)

I left the best for last - Epcot! Stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow but among the cast we like to call it Every Person Comes Out Tired. It's humongous. In my mind it's really two parks. One part is focused on the future - the technology and where we're headed along with some of the coolest rides and the other half is focused on the wonders of a variety of nations. From Morocco to China you can visit mini-areas designed to resemble their native area and are only staffed by people from that area. Of course among the college program the World Showcase is popular for the drinking around the world. Where you take a shot from each country and see how far you can make it around.

That's just the four main parks - we also have Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney, DisneyQuest to name a few of the other things to do if for some crazy reason you're tired of Disney parks. Though I love all of them in their own way I really think Epcot is my favorite - What about you? I'd love to hear about other Disney memories or what YOUR favorite park is! Leave a comment! :)

Gum and a Hit and Run

(Katie Kaiser) Permanent link

I definately got my good deed in yesterday. (sorry I'm posting a day late, although I got my good deed in, I had a really bad day at work :()

Started my day at 8 with my Biology class. We had an exam today (I did ok on it, thanks for asking), and since I finished early today, I had a mini break before our lab started at 9. I decided that I wanted to go back to my car for a piece of gum (wintergreen…yes!) before I had to return.

I was sitting in my car for a little bit, chewing my gum (yummy) and listening to Mumford and Sons when I noticed a girl driving a little bit too fast in the parking lot. Without slowing, she turned quickly into an empty spot and completely scratched the whole side of the car next to hers. My jaw dropped, gum fell out…I was stunned. The driver pulled through the space and put her car in park.

I sunk low in my seat; I lifted my head so my eyes were just barely above my steering wheel. Was the driver going to do something? Anything?? I watched her for what seemed as an eternity until finally a girl plopped out of the passenger seat, closed the driver door and took off for class. She didn’t even look at the car she hit to see if there was any damage. The driver simply walked to her morning class as if nothing had ever happened.

Seriously?? SERIOUSLY? Not even a glance? I couldn’t let this one go. I know that if someone had hit my car and didn’t leave any contact information and didn’t show any remorse, I’d lose it. So I played my big sister card. I got out a sheet of paper, wrote what happened down, included the make and model of the vehicle that hit this person’s car and left my phone number. I discreetly tucked the note in the driver door handle of the car and went to my lab.

While walking back to my car from lab I noticed a big white security truck next to the car that was hit. I immediately ran over and explained that I wrote the note. They took more of my information and thanked me for my good deed. I felt really bad for the girl, she had JUST gotten her car fixed and now it has to go back to the shop.

You see, MC is family (I’m sure the driver didn’t get the memo). I may not know you, but I have your back. Your book falls, I’ll get em, need help finding a class, I got you….someone hits your car….I’m gonna help you out. I mean how would you feel if you walked out of a hard day at class to your car that was hit?? Exactly. Do a good deed, do right by people and good things will come.

Hey at least the driver wasn't like this one:

 

It’s a plane…it’s a bird…it’s Dirty Harry?

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

I'm sure by now all of you have heard that Clint Eastwood was offered the roles of Superman and James Bond. Well if you haven't...you have now! Eastwood revealed this in an interview with the LA Times. Check out the article (http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2010/09/07/clint-eastwood-as-superman-or-james-bond-it-could-have-happened-he-says/), LA Times has some pretty cool photoshopped pictures of Eastwood as the Man of Steel and 007. 

I can’t imagine Eastwood doing Superman. Superman's always come off as a one-dimensional and a  ‘goody-two shoes’ type of character to me. If Eastwood did do the role and had been typecasted into that sort of thing, we might not have gotten a Walt Kowalski type character later in his life

While we’re on the subject of Eastwood and Superheroes, what would you think of Clint Eastwood playing – or even better, directing – Batman? I would be surprised if Warner Bros never offered him the chance to direct the Batman series after Schumacher ruined it. Eastwood is one of the best directors Warner Bros has working for them and him directing Batman would have brought the films some much needed critical heft after Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.

Eastwood also says he wouldn’t have been comfortable doing Bond because that was Sean Connery’s thing, but I think we really missed out on an awesome interpretation of Bond. Eastwood could have easily put his own spin on 007 and taken Bond in an entirely new direction. Whenever I watch Daniel Craig play Bond I’ve always thought he took a few cues from Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.

Wouldn’t it have been AWESOME if this encounter took place in a James Bond film?


Class Projects, Working Together, Rocking the American Revolution and... a Literary Dinosaur?

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link

 

So, here we are at week 3. It's finally getting cooler, thank goodness. I may have lived in the east for over thirty years but my Montana upbringing has stayed with me and I find the humidity pretty uncomfortable at times. Even when it's 90 degrees in Montana, it's still dry and the air isn't so thick that it has to be chewed to breathe it. Anyway, we're still doing well in getting everyone up early for school, though the two teenagers are resisting going to bed at a reasonable time so that they can get enough sleep. Our youngest is having a hard time adjusting to his new school and I've had to go in twice. We're working with his teacher and the para-educators to help him learn to cope, but at times he feels overwhelmed, I think, and he's also testing the people and the boundaries. It's all normal, but rough going for everyone.


In class, I had a project with one of the other students that involved making a Power Point slide show and then giving a joint presentation in class. Here's another example of how more options in getting a college education can work out very well. Since he had other classes on campus and I'm over in eastern Montgomery County, my classmate and I divided the work and communicated via email. We both did the assigned readings, of course, but he has much more experience in Power Point than I do. Since I only made my first one a year ago, and about three more after that, I don't know some of the more subtle and complicated aspects of the program. For my part, I could do extra research to get more background information on our topic with a visit to a local library and some of the books at our house. So we worked together. I would send him an email with information about one section. He would email back to me with a question or a point that he had found. Then we repeated the process several times over the week. The day before class he sent me the slide show as a work in progress and it looked great. I sent him a couple of corrections and we had a couple more emails with more information. We didn't physically meet until right before class when he showed me the finished program on his laptop. I think that it went quite nicely and the professor said that we had covered the subject well.


After last week's success with embedding the videos, I decided to try it again this week. Two of my favorite subjects are literature and history. The first clip was made as a mock advertisement for action figures of the Bronte sisters who wrote such classics as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights


 

The second is, I think, a great rock song and video on the American Revolution

SNUBBED

(Theo Eftimiades) Permanent link

 Hello Friends,

I see that MC has put the link to the blog on the main page, and so I feel I must introduce myself again, for all you new viweres.
-My name is Theo Eftimiades.
-I don’t talk about my life, my toils, struggles, loves, experiences, insights, accomplishments, etc.
-I don’t “do” creative writing


I write Abstract Me.
 
If Abstract Me isn’t very you, that’s fine. There are other blogs to check out.

 

Abstract Me is not creative writing; It is the opposite of creative writing. Creative writing is contorting the structure of your ideas so that they fit into characters, premises, logically flowing arguments, etc. Creative writing is training your words to fit a creative purpose. My words don’t fit purposes; they are fat, lazy, do what they want, and are definitely not creative.

Enjoy them profusely.

As per usual, here’s me posting a funny video so that my blog catches eyes

 



blog fro nt

                                                         ^^^^^^^Find Waldo and the two missing bloggers^^^^^^




On another note,

Unicorns: Menace to societal integrity or feared foe?
(Note, please listen to this song (

 

) while you read the following paragraph)

Unicorns are the friendliest animal in the horse family. Unicorns make it a point to strike up conversation wherever they go. Due to the alienating nature of their horn, before unicorn even strikes up conversation with you, you know a unicorn is present. While some might argue that the distinctive nature of the unicorn’s horn would essentially ostracize the unicorn from traditional social interaction, studies have concluded to the contrary. Findings suggest that the necessarily friendly nature of the unicorn actually serves to perpetuate its socialization into groups, meaning that it was an aptitude for adopting the characteristics needed to exist regularly in a social group. Extending these findings, I might so far as to say that because unicorns are such socially adept creatures, the horn has come to be associated with social prowess, rather than being sharp. If you have a unicorn, you should call it crazy legs, because that’s a good name. Additionally, Unicorns are good because when you drive by them, you can call of your friends and tell them “I just saw a unicorn.” Life is full of priceless moments such as these. I suggest recording them on your phone.

(Thanks for reading about unicorns. If you were intrigued, consider playing Robot Unicorn for more information (http://games.adultswim.com/robot-unicorn-attack-twitchy-online-game.html)

 


So, last week I contented that the greatest animal ever invented was the Platypus. I also stated that I might defend my selection. Briefly, I’d like to identify reasons supporting my claim.
Platypus - Poison Type
Weakness: Lightning
Resistance: Fire 

Features:
1. The only venomous aquatic mammal.
2. Has an duck’s bill, making it cute. 
3. Has an otter’s webbed feet, making it speedy.
4. Has very water resistant fur, which makes it good for coats, if you manage to slay one.
5. It looks like a duck, but acts like a dog—DuckDog 
6. Duckdog Duckdog Duckdog Duckdog Duckdog Duckdog 
7. LAYS EGGS.
8. Has a beaver’s tail
9. Pla-ty-pus (3 syllables) 
10. They use electric fields, rather than the five traditional sense, as a means of locating their prey, which could be anything, from microscopic organisms to humans. 

 

 

 

When life gives you Bellsprouts, use your Muk.  

Wanna Disco, Wanna See Me Disco?

(Besith Pineda) Permanent link

This week. My goal is to post an entry that does not directly relate to LIFE.

I mean, I am essentially being paid (yes, totally sicing that up) to write about “my life at MC.” My life at Montgomery College; specifically, my life at the Rockville Campus. The idea being, I suppose, that by writing about this I will make a connection to you, the reader. To inform you. To persuade you. To change you. I feel like I have only lightly brushed over this topic.

Blogging is for the self-absorbed.


I guess that I would gladly write something that directly spoke to you, if I knew you. But I have not the faintest idea who you are. I know me. I try to figure me out on a daily basis. And so sitting here, behind a computer screen - sentences that I write on the corners of notebooks, sometimes scribbled on the insides of my hands, on loose paper, folded in four, words tucked into the seams of my jeans - materialize behind an indecisive cursor. And they’re usually about my existence. Shared with the hope that they might make the trajectory from your eyes into your bloodstream to then be violently pumped through the valves of your heart.

As a reader (never a writer), I know that I live for this feeling.

And so I apologize if things haven’t been more school-related around hurrr.

My life at MC is pretty…legit. When an English professor I had during the Fall 2009 semester contacted me about the opportunity to write for the school about a month ago - and that kind of relentless commitment to offering students opportunities, even after they have left the confines of the classroom, should be noted when speaking about what kind of spirit MC embodies - I immediately got to writing the sample that was required.

It asked a big question; “Why did you choose to attend Montgomery College?” I answered, in precisely 500 words, that MC was never a choice but a forced, if wise, decision.

Because it was honest.

It still holds true. I could have never imagined that I would end up at community college because... I was a pretty decent student at school Because I worked hard and I had high aspirations; a couple bright, now temporarily dashed, Ivy League dreams. Some top school hopes. But then there’s life (here we go again) and stuff happens and you readjust.

Though I’d like to point out that I understand that the reasons students decide to attend MC cover an expansive range other than "mid life crisis at the age of 18."

Montgomery College is an amazing opportunity at redemption. I think that a vast majority of us take it for granted, to have this high quality education at our disposal when so many others don’t. The facilities, the technology, the variety of courses offered, the (mostly) passionate and committed faculty have not ceased to impress me.

The staff gets no comment from me, other than, to the lovely people at the Student Services Building: it really don’t hurt to smile, ya know. My days are long and tedious too.

I like to live my life (*cue eye roll*) with purpose, and this school, which coats its students with high demands and ambitions inspires me everyday to actually get out of bed and go to school and learn.

And for that, I am thankful.

I am the most politically incorrect person I know. I’ve yet, for instance, to find offense in Santa’s seasonal “ho ho hos” and I am the first to one to join the joke when it is time to do some hatin’ on good ol’ MC, but I also like to recognize that I am pretty darn lucky that this place exists.

It’s nice to be able to get my education on, regardless of the circumstances in, well, my life. Ha.

In conclusion, it’s been a pretty lousy and hectic week. And this song/choreography, by quite possibly one of the best bands evah, always cheers me up. So you should definitely check it out.

 

Until next week!

Technical Difficulties

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

I had planned to attach a video of one of the greatest Pink Floyd songs (because I allude to it in the blog, and those of you who haven't been exposed to it should be). Unfortunately, Sam is technologically challenged and couldn't figure it out. So here's the link. 

Time (according to Pink Floyd)

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

Being a college student is sometimes like running a perpetual mental marathon.

            I’ll lay it to you in athletic terms: imagine you are in ancient Sparta. A council of elders reviews 200 (or since it’s Sparta, let’s say 300) of the finest runners. Of these, the elders choose 100 based on a variety of qualities. Some of the chosen have the greatest endurance, some are the strongest and some are quite simply the fastest. The elders congratulate the 100 runners for having survived such exacting competition and explain that these runners will be part of a unique training regimen.

Then the chosen are commanded to run. This seems paltry at first and the chosen run the traditional 42 kilometer marathon with no trouble. They reach their destination barely breaking a sweat – they have the greatest speed, strength and endurance after all. But the triumph is short-lived. The elders command the chosen to start running again at once. Confused and starting to feel a little dubious, the chosen obey and after the 3rd marathon in a row, they start to feel not so good about their talents any more.

As a college student – especially as a Montgomery Scholar – I am expected to read a lot. (To give you a sense of perspective, I am capable of reading five moderate length novels in a day if I am uninterrupted. When I say a lot of reading, I mean A LOT.)

Everything I read is of course fascinating, and I’ll admit my nerdom: I love to read; I love to learn. None of this helps alleviate the pressure of time constraints.

  My eyes dart madly over the pages of a book propped open with my fifth cup of coffee. My thumb has friction burns from furiously turning the pages. I am running through the woods on my fifth straight marathon, not thinking about anything, just breathing and putting my feet down. I dare not consider my exhaustion for if I stop, I know I will never start again. The adrenaline rushes to every corner of my body carried by the caffeine – my destination is three pages away!

And then I’m finished and flooded by the ecstatic surge of endorphins! I am triumphant for five seconds until I collapse into bed.

The next morning I rise only to do it all again.

To put it in the succinct words of Pink Floyd: “and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking, racing around to come up behind you again.”

I am in eternal pursuit of something as eternally elusive as King Pellinore's 
 white hart: knowledge.

Before you dismiss me as lofty or say: “I can’t possibly do that; why would I want to chase something I know I can’t catch?” Hear me out.

Once you have caught something, do you continue chasing it? Of course not, that would be absurd. As much fun as it is to have caught a lightning bug, it’s never so much fun to catch it as it is to pursue it. The chase is the point. Enjoy it. To put it in athletic terms: the more often you run, the farther you can venture. That’s what counts.

So far in life, we’ve been preparing for something. But to quote the omnipotent Pink Floyd again: “And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun.”

            This is it. This is life. So run. Run fast. Run hard. And most importantly: enjoy the breeze as it whips through your hair.



 

Looney Week

 Permanent link

tongueoutHi all!

Last week was a very, very, very, very busy week. I had entirely too much homework confused, I don't know which class is going to be the death of me: Spanish 201, or Statistics...I'd put my money on Statistics only because I SUCK at math ( laughing out loud) but on the bright side I did manage to snag an awesome internship!! happyWhich is the highlight of my life at the moment. Hard work does pay off...I also have decided that I'm checking myself into rehab... from S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G. I spend entirely too much money on clothes, shoes, and accessories and I always find myself complaining about how badly I need a car. So I have made the decision to stop spending and start saving for a car happy. I recently printed out some cars that I'm interested in including: The new 2door Honda Accord, The convertible Toyota Solara and my ultimate favorite... the Jeep Liberty :). I taped all of the pictures of the cars to my notebook and labeled them "My Motivation" (laughing out loud). I hope it works because Metro is becoming too costly and it's about time I got myself a set of wheels.

This semester here at MC Takoma Park/ Silver Spring campus I have seen twice as many people than I used to here. The main floor of the Student Center is always packed with students as well as the second floor lounge area. Many people must be getting 'hip' to "saving money" instead of going away to huge, expensive Universities. When I first started here there weren't as many students here as there are now. I remember walking down the halls seeing three or four students every now and then....but now I see fifteen to twenty students everywhere I go! It's amazing how this school is growing.

I have been looking online on some nice places to go visit during winter break this year... Does anyone ever feel like dropping everything and buying the first plane ticket out of here? and just going to Florida, Hawaii, or some other place where you don't have to worry about school or work? or am I the only person who wastes their time thinking about the impossible? biggrin 

 

Legal Lunacy

(Brittany Sullivan) Permanent link

When I was nine, I anxiously anticipated my tenth birthday so I would finally be double-digits. Then I counted down the days till I was thirteen so I could be a full functioning high-strung, hormonal, emotional teenager. After that sixteen was the next big birthday I looked forward to, which ended up being an epic fail, involving my boyfriend of a year and a half deciding this was the perfect time to end our relationship (so much for sweet sixteen). And then I couldn’t wait to be seventeen just so I could get into what the Motion Picture Association of America deemed to be an “R” material movie. Now my eighteenth birthday has come and gone, and I am officially an adult. Its not like I am dying to run out and get a tattoo or random piercing. I don’t really have a huge desire to gamble, and changing my name really isn’t on my list of things to do. The reason that I am ecstatic to finally be eighteen is so I can do something as simple as going to CVS and buying cough medicine.

            It was a few days before my birthday and I could barley catch my breath between coughs, and if they would stop I couldn’t lie down or they would start up again. Feeling like crap I really had no desire to peel myself off the couch and get into my car to go to the local CVS that is about 5 minutes away. But after constant nagging from my mom who was also sick to go get her a milkshake from McDonalds I decided to do something somewhat productive with my day and run those two errands.

            Walking into the CVS I had a very fashionable outfit of gray baggy sweatpants and an equally gray baggy sweatshirt which basically summed up my whole mood of just feeling like complete BLAH! I had a messy bun on top of my head and dark circles under my eye from not getting much sleep. I maneuvered my way through the body wash and shampoo isles until I came to the section that sold the cough medicine. After much contemplation I decided to go with the grape liquid flavor because it would make me want to throw up the least. As I carried my bottle to the front I waited in line for about five minutes because the woman in front of me had mistaken CVS for the grocery store and had a cart full of random items. As I managed my way up to the front I started hacking up a lung and handed the cashier my bottle and rummaged through my purse to grab my wallet to pay. When I looked up again I didn’t see my medicine in a bag but rather it sat to the side and the cashier with a smug look asked to see my ID. Not really understanding I showed it to her, and she handed it back and said “I’m sorry why don’t you try coming back when your 18.” I gave the woman a blank stare, coughed slightly, and responded mockingly, “You got to be kidding me?” She smiled put the bottle under the counter and asked for next in line. Not being on a lot of sleep I wasn’t really processing my thoughts and preceded to shout, “Does it look like I’m trying to get high, I just want to stop coughing!” Realizing it was time to leave I turned and headed for the door. I treated myself to a milkshake from McDonalds after that and continued to cough the entire way home.

            If I looked like a druggie looking for my next high I’m not quite sure. But I do know that since I am 18 now things will be a lot easier, or could become way more complicated depending on which way you look at it.

 

Roommates and Surprises!

(Marcia Myers) Permanent link

There is nothing cooler than a surprise party. Especially when a person is really, truly, surprised.

I actually had one thrown for my 18th. I wasn't completely surprised though they did get me to scream when my best friend from NC popped out.


My favorite thing is to plan or be part of a party though. I don't know if I've talked about it yet but I have the most fantastic roommates. Five of them – Aissia, Angelica, Yomaris, Edmarie & Daly. It was honestly the thing I was most worried about coming to the Disney program – what would my roommates be like?


When I got here and initially met them I was still worried because all of my roommates are originally from Puerto Rico – so fluent Spanish speakers. Having taken only one semester of Spanish in my first year of college I can really only pick up words. So I was worried mostly about being lonely in a apartment full of people who spoke another language.


I really couldn't have been more wrong. They're all so much fun! We love to hang out and go shopping (or window-shopping really.), go to water parks, watch movies, cook, clean and of course plan surprise parties.


We all had the same idea when Aissia mentioned her birthday was going to be last Wednesday and luckily for us 4 out of the 6 roomies had the day off. Aissia was working and it seemed everything would work out perfectly. We would have 8 hours to clean, shop and prepare for a surprise party!


We scrubbed the apartment down while baking a cake, went to the dollar store to get dorky decorations and than stopped by the grocery store for chips & pizza. We live in what's called a “Wellness” Apartment meaning if we bring alcohol in the door we are instantly terminated from the program so there wasn't any drinking involved. Though we're all so crazy and silly without it I really can't imagine us with it.


As it got closer to 6:00, we heard from our 5th roommate Yomaris that she had gotten an early release so she could come home and help us. So 4 of us were setting up with Yomie on the way when Aissia called. Saying she would be home in about 20 minutes. About 3 hours earlier than we had expected her. Of course we started screaming and flailing about but we somehow managed to tell Aissia we were at Walmart so she'd expect the apartment to be empty, get dressed up, start pizzas, finish decorating, and take a bunch of pictures. (Yomie ran in during all of this and also managed to get dressed up and help a bit!)


It was really perfect. She walked in completely surprised – eyes filling up with tears while reading the card we'd made and seeing all the little things we'd done like getting a bouquet of flowers and a balloon.


Birthdays really are the best!  Thoughts & Birthday Stories are welcome!

With Liberty And Justice For All

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

Looking at it retrospectively, I don’t think my life was ever really complicated until the fourth grade. All I cared about before that was playing dress ups and pretend games and running around outside and reading fairy tales. My parents encouraged me to live simply. They never watched the news in front of me or allowed me to watch movies with a rating over PG. My world was simple, small, and neat. I usually didn’t even know what day of the year it was, unless it was Christmas, Halloween or my birthday.

            I remember when my life did become complicated. The fourth graders at Sherwood Elementary School had just switched back from math class to homeroom. My friends and I were laughing about something at our desks; I don’t remember what. I do remember having Little Women propped open on my desk, as if I had been planning to read it before my classmates and I started talking.

            One of the women who worked at the school had come in to talk to my fourth grade teacher, leaving us at liberty to talk and laugh. My teacher had emigrated from India some years past, but she often still dressed in beautiful saris and jingling gold jewelry. Her accent tumbled gently like a stream over rocks and her laugh had more music to it than the best-tuned orchestra. Sometimes, she let us hear her laugh when other grown ups visited to talk to her. That day, she didn’t.

            “There has been a national emergency,” she said gravely when the administrator lady had left.

The word “emergency” triggered a Pavlovian reaction in me; my heart plummeted into my gut and started racing while my little imagination worked overtime to find out what it could be. Was it disease? Or earthquake? Or tornados? Or fire? Or war?

They didn’t tell us, but I heard them mention “The World Trade Center” which I had never heard of before. The sent us home early and on the bus, I heard a woman on the radio say, “The pentagon is in flames.” I knew what the pentagon was and I started to get even more scared.

When I got home, my dad explained what had happened; he used the word “hijacker” which had previously been unknown to my vocabulary. I didn’t know at the time what day it was. I know now that it was September 11, 2001.

The attacks shattered my neat little world. Everything was pandemonium afterwards. I remember my older brother was all the way in Wyoming. I was too scared to eat, too scared to do anything but lay on the couch watching Sesame Street videos, trying to anesthetize myself to it all.

But the real complications set in after the fear had gone away. Why did people do this? Though I initially went for the “we’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys” answer it didn’t really make sense to me after awhile. If America is the good guy, how come we are fighting a war in a part of the world I didn’t know existed?

I remember there was a little Muslim girl who lived down the street from me. When we got off of the bus together in the months after the attacks, kids would yell hateful things at her father who was waiting there, just because of the way he was dressed. I couldn’t understand why they would yell these things at this kind man, his wife and little daughter. It made me feel ashamed.

I started to wonder what it meant to be American. I had always known I was one, but I had never actually though about it. Now, nine years later, I think I’ve come to my answer.

Being an American, in my opinion, means promising and protecting freedom for everyone. (No, I am not advocating that we run off with bombs to “liberate” the world). Yes, technically, as an American you have the right to disagree with people. You have the right to protest and burn people’s scriptures. But bear in mind, those same people have equal right to burn your scriptures. You have a right to protest where a mosque is being built. Muslims have the right to build a mosque there. I have the right to say all this. You have the right to disagree with me.

That’s the meaning of being an American. Protecting the rights of all the fellows of your homeland, not just when it’s convenient. Freedom does not mean freedom for everyone except slaves. Freedom does not mean freedom for everyone except Japanese Americans. Freedom does not mean freedom for everyone except Muslims.

This is a nation “with liberty and justice for all”. I think today of all days, it’s important to remember that. 

CORE - Best thing (so far) about a Montgomery Scholar

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

One of the coolest things about being a Montgomery Scholar (so far) is the true interdisciplinary approach the program champions. I don’t know what the current definition of “interdisciplinary” is, but I’ve always looked at it as simply acknowledging that History, for example, could provide valuable insight into Literature (among other things) and vice-versa. “Interdisciplinary” seems to be quite a big buzzword these days in higher education. A Google search for “Interdisciplinary Studies” comes up with more 9 million results. YIKES! 

 

Take a look at the picture below

Blog

Source: http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/dec2005/chronicle/crosstalk.html

While that picture captures the basic idea behind interdisciplinary studies – this notion that knowledge can overlap (in this case between Physics and Biology), I think it also captures the problem with subjects are taught in most places. Classes are taught independent of each other and students are left on their own to make these connections. So someone studying Camus or Sartre might just walk away thinking that Existentialism is ‘plain depressing’ without understanding the historical context (i.e., World War II) modern existentialism comes from. See that green overlap region in the picture? My point is it could be much, much bigger.

            I think the Montgomery Scholars’ “CORE”. What is CORE you ask? If you’re an Apple aficionado, it’s probably where you stop eating. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Anyway the answer really depends on when you ask that question. If it’s on Monday or Wednesday night, the answer is usually “OMG. SO. MUCH. READING. DASDASDALK” or something to that effect. If you ask us right after CORE, most of us would probably answer “BESTEST THING EVER!!!!!”

CORE is essentially a 3-hour class with our History, Philosophy, Literature and Music professors in the same room. But fret not, we have a 15-minute break so that students (but usually teachers) can make a quick Starbucks run. I kid you not, CORE is seriously one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It’s like watching an epic intellectual tag-team match. 

Tag Team (Resized)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This week we looked at some Slave Narratives for Literature. Professor Furgol (History) jumps in and gives us the Historical audience for the narratives and why certain points were emphasized and others not so much. Professor Tobler (Music) talks about the music of the time period. And yesterday, Professor Pfanstiehl (Anthropology) arranged a fantastic roundtable where Dr. Leone, who dug Frederick Douglass' plantation, presented. (More info here - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15383164)

How many students can brag about learning about Confucius, the Qin and Pipa in the same class? Next week's schedule? Early Modern China, Chinese Literature, Daoism, Buddhism and Buddhist Music. Seriously cannot wait 

Attending Community College isn’t all bad ;) P.S. The video is slightly inappropriate and yes it's a parody...


The Saints Are Coming

(Katie Kaiser) Permanent link

Who Dat Nation. “Who dat, Drew dat, Two dat!” A deafening chant from a city that never sleeps and uses anything as an excuse for an all-night party. Beads, jazz, Café du monde and good old Cajun living. It just doesn’t get any better than New Orleans.

I must admit that I wasn’t always a Saints fan. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and was born a Steelers fan. I wasn’t really into it though, and honestly I think Ben has messed up so much in his personal life that I don’t even enjoy watching him play anymore (From Ben to Drew…what an upgrade!). I moved to Maryland when I was young, and never became a skins fan (sorry). At least I wasn’t a cowboy fan right???

Anyways, about 3 years ago a wonderful man and his wonderful family came into my life and welcomed me with open arms into the “Who Dat” Nation. We bought tickets our first winter together to go visit the rest of his family down on the bayou and of course New Orleans.  My first memory of New Orleans was the ride from the airport to the French Quarter. It had been almost exactly two years after Katrina and you could still see water marks on houses and were tarps still on roofs of still shattered houses. There were still houses with giant x’s and numbers spray painted on (x’s meant that house was searched, numbers meant either the unit who checked it or how many people were found dead). It was horrifying to think about how much suffering these people had gone through in our own country. As tears flowed silently down my cheek I said to myself, “How do you come back from something like this?”

nola home

When we finally made it to the French Quarter and eventually Bourbon Street, I knew the answer immediately. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes…what a sight! The whole street was bumping with music, people were dancing everywhere, and smiles were all around. You see, New Orleans has heart, it has soul. It’s a city that is truly one big family united by love. Love in their food, love in their music and culture, and love in their people. Nothing can break that.

superdome

After experiencing that, how could I not be a Saints fan? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a team that stands for love and hope? In hard times they raised New Orleans’ spirit. When they came back, the city came back. They’re more than a football team; they’re the heart and life of New Orleans. I now wear my number nine Drew Brees jersey with pride. When I hear “When the Saints Go Marching In”, I grab a napkin and wave it.

 I’m a Saints fan, I’m a New Orleans fan, I am.

 

 

Go Hard in the Paint

(Theo Eftimiades) Permanent link

 Shameless ploy for views: 

 

 

Perhaps you haven’t heard, but the semi-circular road connecting both sides of MC Rockville’s campus has closed for repairs. Due to there being delays in the process of receiving the permit to perform that construction, it’s starting now, as opposed to during the summer, when student volume is lower. One might misconstrue my implying that this construction should have been done during the summer as whining, but I’m not whining; there is a perfectly legitimate reason I bring this up.

Take a ride on the imagination train with me, and you’ll see why:  

It’s 9:51—you have 9 minutes (10 actually, being that the teacher takes like a minute to do attendance) before you are set to be administered a test on which your performance will determine every element of the rest of your life. The test is going to take you 49 minutes exactly, you’re sure of it. Being even one minute late means failure…Where do you park?

 If you park on the curb in front your building, which might be the prudent choice given the circumstances I’m throwing at you, SWAT arrests you, in the process finding the Prairie Dogs you’ve recently smuggled in from Mexico, getting you 40 years in jail.

A tasty Prairie Dog

^ Serious Business ^

 

The lots right next to campus seldom have open spots, so you can’t commit to going there.

The parking lots across North Campus Drive? Aha, perfect. WAIT, NO, BE WARY OF THAT WHICH IS DECIDED HASTILY, LEST YOU FORGET that your potential wife-to-be sits next to you in class, and if you show up for the test sweaty, which is an inevitable consequence of walking to class from across North Campus Drive in the 120 degree weather, she will marry the guy that sits in front of you. Yes, the one that always comes to class unprepared, asking you for pencils, paper, pens, gum. The one who sags his jeans and wears a corny Orioles baseball cap backwards; that very one.

So, where do you park??? The overflow parking at the pool is where you park, my sweet. THAT is where you go. From 8(ish) to 4(ish), a shuttle ferries students back and forth between the overflow lot and the front of the security building. Additionally, the shuttle will get you from the lot to whatever class you have to get to in nine minutes or less. I GUARANTEE you get to class in nine minutes, sweat-free, allowing for you to both finish your test and marry that damsel sitting next to you, or your money back.

...

Anyways, have you ever woken up to find something weird in your yard? A family of deer? A family of wildlife enthusiasts? Well, remember how you felt—remember how your brain tried to make sense of something that didn’t make any—and now try to empathize with me.
I woke up with this on my lawn:

Metal Beast

As a matter of fact, I woke up to a bbq-party being thrown in honor of the arrival of this—thing; this metal beast that crawled out of the depths of one of the Soviet Union’s abandoned missile depots, threw up it’s explosives, doggy-paddled over the Pacific Ocean, floated through the Panama Canal and up through the Atlantic, stumbled like the zombified, legless Iron Giant onto my lawn, and DIED. WHY NOT THE NEIGHBOR’S LAWN, HMM THING? HMM??
It’s been two weeks now. The grass beneath the beast grows tall. The creature is nesting… Nesting in my front yard. You might be wondering “what is this thing, Theo?”
You will never know.
ENDOFBLOG.EXE

P.S.
Some food for thought for next week:
What’s the best animal in the world?
My only friend

Boom, right there
Explanation next week—if I feel like it.

P.P.S.
Boom, another shameless ploy for views:
 

Thanks To Steph and Dat Fart for inspiration
  


Learning from Those Who Came Before and how Old Spice inspired Students to Go the Library

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link

Adjusting to new situations can be hard on adults and children. I was reading posts from the other student bloggers about their experiences with the start of the semester and some of stresses that they've experienced. My family and I have survived the first week of school, but there were some lumpy patches along the way. Our youngest is still having some difficulty adjusting to middle school and has been acting out in some unusual ways. But I haven't gotten a call to come down to his class yet this week. I'll admit that if the phone rings during the day, my first thought is “Is it his teacher?”

 His brother and sister are settling in at the high school, but now they have to get used to doing homework everyday and resisting the urge to put it off for something that is more entertaining. I've tried to tell them that I really do understand the temptation to put work aside for something that's more fun. I learned that the hard way when I was their age and when I first went to college; I had a bad case of “This is boring. I'll do it later.” So I'm trying to help them really understand that the lessons need to be done first and then they can relax without the work hanging over their heads like the Sword of Damocles. I've also pointed out that they have two days off from school this week (Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah) and one next week for the primary election. But there's still the lure of reading a book for pleasure or watching a video, or in my daughter's case connecting with some of her friends on-line.

 I didn't have class this week, because of the Labor Day holiday, but I'm still doing the readings and some research for a joint presentation next week. We're looking at some of the major developments in human history such as using fire, tools and symbolic language. It's been fascinating to learn about some of the ways that human beings in different parts of the world have done these things and the civilizations that grew. Can you imagine a time when having a controlled fire was new and exciting? Now we can have heat, cooling, lights or cooking on at the touch of a switch in many parts of the world. Communications have blossomed as well. You're reading these symbols that I've typed on a machine at my house and sent to the college. I can even add pictures or videos to illustrate an idea. Then many people might see the words and pictures and understand what I mean.

For fun here are a pair of videos that show how an ad for body wash has inspired one that encourages good study habits. (My kids think it's weird that I like the second one so much.) Just to let you know: the gentleman in the first video doesn't have a shirt on.

Old Spice


 

Studying

On Superman Boxers and Lifee

(Besith Pineda) Permanent link

 

Three hard lessons, three easy steps to follow.

How many Montgomery College students, I wondered the other day, live on their own/support themselves/have moved away from home? And how are they doing? In other words, are they also slowly making their descent into insanity like me? But are they ascending towards something bigger with every moment? Below, I present to you the three biggest lessons this journey has taught me so far.

What have you learned?


Never, Ever Refuse a Free Meal

This is basic. In order to live, so that you can work insane hours and stay up until obscene times of the morning doing homework (YAY LIFE), you have to eat. It is sustenance, livelihood. Food also happens to be the most costly expenditure, which is a shame, because it’s kind of necessary and I’d rather spend my money on Harry Potter posters and legal music; the stuff that feeds the soul. If I were fo’reals writing a blog about how to survive on your own, I would tell you to devise a budget, invest in a cookbook, go grocery shopping and make your own food. Because, ya know, that’s the sensible solution to a fairly serious issues. However, I luckily do not take my life that seriously. So here’s my piece: Never ever refuse a FREE meal.

They’re everywhere, once you know how to look. Should your best friend’s mother offer you a three course meal (soup, salad, entrée) some 30 minutes after you have eaten a full breakfast, you eat it. Because it’s home cooked food. And because that doesn’t come around often. Free pasta topped with chicken of a questionable nature from your boss? Excellent, dinner! The roommate made dessert today? I’ll have it for breakfast, thanks.

So it’s not healthy/physically beneficial. Neither is stress.

Stay Childish

A week after officially moving out, I accompanied a friend to Target where I remembered that I needed a basket for my dirty laundry.

As an aside, has anyone ever stopped to consider all of the stuff you can’t take with you when you leave your home? Laundry basket, desk, A CHAIR TO SIT ON, comforter, toilet paper, etc. I was granted the alleged privilege of taking my bed?

In any case, my purchases that day included the essential container for my dirty clothes, a laptop case, a book….crayons and Superman boxers.

It was an act driven by sentimentality, picking up a box of 25 cent crayons and placing them down at the register. Perhaps the acknowledgement that well, I don’t really need them. That, hey, I’m a college kid and things are a lot more highlighter-esque serious nowadays. But deep down, the carefully controlled mad hope that I might use them someday. You know, that evening when I won’t have customers to help, and homework to skim through and parties to attend.

Just paper, solid wax colors and me in Superman underwear; at your weakest, it is sometimes nice to pretend that you are, indeed, made of steel.

Life already has enough Kryptonite in it. Fight its effects with blatant immaturity.

Don’t Be Too Surprised When People Come Through For You

The big secret, then, is that I actually did not move out of my house; I got kicked out. And if I was very open about this event with everyone around me at the time, I did so out of the need to tell my story, explain my reasons and justify the choices I had made. I did it for my own mental health. My shock was redundant when - one after one - friends, co-workers and distanced family members did their best to help. Before the week was over, I had found three different places to stay at, received numerous offers of food (which I accepted, OBVS), and heard the honest goodwill wishes of countless people.

Call me naïve, but I have good reason to believe that positive vibes physically vibrate.

As someone who grew up being told that no one but yo family has got yo back, the biggest lesson was learning to unlearn; to recognize that the world is big and small simultaneously; that, yes, the door to your “home” might be closed, but the doors to other homes open without requiring an access code of desired behavior that suppresses your individuality as a human being.

And that’s how you learn to live without apologizing for who you are.

Lastly, never forget:

When In Doubt, Blog It Out; Blog Like You’ve Got Everything Under Control

supahman

The Room

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

    
The only natural light in the room came in through the shaded stained glass windows. Ghosts of leaves in the wind danced across the colored panes, making the deep reds and teals shimmer like water. With little sunlight to supplement, the incandescent bulbs cast their cozy amber hues over the lair, like a heavy net, secluding the languid atmosphere within from the busy breezes of the outside world.

            The bookshelves lining the walls emitted a faint aroma of salted timber, a result, no doubt, of both the caramel colored wood from which they were constructed and the endless volumes they housed, discoursing a variety of topics, ranging from Einsteinian physics to shamanism.           

The room was a treasure trove, and yet it was not excessive; there were no heaps of gold on which a greedy dragon lay, encrusting her soft under belly with an armor of doubloons. Large ornamental daggers hung from the walls in stark contrast to the many large sculptures of the Buddha. A reproduction of Carl Juang’s legendary “Red Book” was propped open on an old-fashioned bookstand so that any passerby could admire the decadent illuminations and elegant German calligraphy. A crimson drum, which I could barely put my arms around, was stashed against the wall, daring a passerby to test its thunderous tones. Beside this stood a black, wooden wardrobe, inscribed with the signs of a zodiac. Anyone with an iota of curiosity would be overcome by the desire to unlock it  and find Narnia.

This is not the setting from my latest novel. This is Professor Robert White’s basement, where he graciously hosts “Philo Café”, a convocation of Montgomery Scholars that hearkens back to some Platonic forum.  

This Friday afternoon was something of a triumph: as freshman Montgomery Scholars, my comrades and I had survived our first week of classes. Slightly zombified by the exertion of readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmatic (and, in some cases, pulling all-nighters to converse on “oovoo”) we invaded the home of our kindly philosophy professor, armed with brownies in casserole dishes, potato chips, and some mind-blowing Russian candy. We proceeded to drape our teenaged selves across a variety of armchairs and a much-loved couch (which sinks so far when you sit on it that your knees end up somewhere in the region of your navel).

Professor White began the business of the gathering by striking up a room-wide conversation about the amazing neurological wisdom of the heart. From here, our discussion propagated through an array of seemingly unrelated subjects: from cognitive philosophy to the purpose of out of body experiences: from déjà vu to (my personal favorite) time travel. Though our discussions became sometimes heated and intense, we never shattered through the pleasantly lazy and warm atmosphere.

This room has an old soul; the walls have ears. The room hears us, perhaps even laughs lovingly at how young and naïve we all are. The room mediates for us, telling us to be calm when we become frustrated with our debates. If ever a room could tell stories, this room could. This room is alive, full of memory. When we all depart and turn out the lights, the room is not empty. The air is thick with echoes of the conversations of the scholars who came before. 

The 13th Grade

(Brittany Sullivan) Permanent link

It was another Thursday afternoon and I found myself standing in the parking lot of the Germantown campus. Now having just come from Rockville, Germantown looked like the scene of an old western movie where tumbleweed should start rolling down the street and a man with a cowboy hat, spurs on his boots, and a gun in his holster should appear.

            I lugged my Macbook on one shoulder and my backpack on the other. In one hand I held onto my purse, and in the other hand my phone was pressed to my ear. You could say I was the walking definition of a packrat. I was wearing a tie-dye shirt, soffe shorts, and sneakers, because according to my acting teacher jeans and flip flops inhibit the acting process so I had to dress as if I were going to a gym class.

            As I finally made my way to the cafeteria, I dropped my books onto one of the round four-seater tables and sprawled my things all over it. I flipped open my Macbook, grabbed my math book, and found a composition book to scribble my answers into.

            No sooner had I attempted to solve one of my problems on linear equations was I interrupted by a group of people sitting next to me. “Excuse me,” a girl said grabbing my attention. “We were just wondering if you were a cheerleader,” she stated more than asking.  It took me a second to process this “question”. Yes, I had been a cheerleader for two years in high school. I had also done, gymnastics, basketball, and softball. I replied with a weary yes, still uncertain as to what I had done to draw attention to myself or give off the impression that I was a cheerleader. “I knew she was,” the girl exclaimed enthusiastically to her friends. Then turning back to me she explained, “I’m sorry we just said you had to be either a pom or a cheerleader because you have athletic legs, and I said you were definitely a cheerleader because you were blonde.” A little baffled by all of this I grabbed all of my things and decided that I no longer had a desire to do my math homework anymore.

            Stereotyping is indisputably an issue at Montgomery College. I think that this is why you will find people stick to their “own kind.” I have to say I still feel a degree of high school when I walk through the campus. You will find people of color congregated in one place, while a group of Asians are sitting over in a different area. At a campus that is so ethnically and economically diverse I find it interesting that people still feel the need to cling to the outward features.  

            Truthfully, I was nervous coming to Montgomery College at the Rockville campus because I was coming from a primarily white private school. However, everyone that I have come in contact with, for the most part, has been extremely friendly. I just wish that with the amount of diversity we have there would not continue to be so much segregation.

 

The All-Knowing, All-Powerful Hourly Employee

(Marcia Myers) Permanent link
I know everything.


I know everything.



Today, it started to sprinkle and there was a lightning storm in the area. So, we closed our attraction down because it's a playground and really, you shouldn't let little kids play in the lightning.


My goodness, it was like we were evil people. Why had we closed the playground? When would we re-open? Was the park closing early? Why were all the attractions in the park closed? (They weren't.) When will the rain stop? Are the fireworks still going to happen? Along with my personal favorite – Can you open this up for us? We came here all the way from Brazil to see this attraction.


I mean, I wasn't really frustrated by this – it actually brought me a lot of amusement. I'm a sarcastic person and spent the next hour answering these questions correctly and then with my own answers muttered under my breath to my co-worker. “I've closed the playground because I'm really just tired of working.”, “Yeah, the rain will stop in approximately 23 minutes and 5 seconds”, “Oh? Your kids really love this attraction? My goodness! Let me open it just for you!”


I'm lucky that when I came to Disney I had visited the park before so I can answer some of the non-traditional questions. Non-Traditional questions meaning anything other than “Where is the closest Bathroom?” - Which I'm sometimes tempted to answer with “Hmm, not sure about the closest but I can tell you the farthest!” (Really, my day would be more fun if I just said whatever I wanted :P) So I can help people with what shows they don't want to miss and what the good restaurants are – which sometimes people can't.


As far as the program itself – it's all going pretty well so far. The playground is still not the most exciting but I find fun ways to pass the time. I'm also working a lot of hours. Here at Disney they refer to the College Program Employees as CP's. Which we like to say actually means “Closes Parks” because we all work the closing shifts. I'm working about 45-49 hours a week. Some people are jealous since they're working more like 32 but I think I might rather have the free time. To also be completely honest – you are not getting paid that much to work at Disney if you hadn't guessed that already. I make enough to cover my rent, food and a little extra but not enough to do anything crazy like Sky Diving or eating out every night.


To end this rambling on a fun note check out notalwaysright.com. It's my guilty pleasure for reading about some of the ridiculous things that people say to all types of people who work in retail. ]\


Thanks for reading! Comments are loved! :)  

 

" It's Finally F.R.I.D.A.Y"

 Permanent link

 

I know I’m late guys sorry, sorry sorry. This has been a hectic week for me; I have been running around all week like a chicken with its head cut off. But I am here now so let’s begin!

Ahhh, I am feeling relaxed right now sitting on the couch in my Dallas Cowboys Snuggie (a blanket with sleeves). I am glad that this first week of school is over, my financial aid is approved, I have all my books for class on time, and that I am finally happy with all of my classes this semester. I can not accurately count how much time I spent trying to get everything done but I know that I have dedicated at least eleven hours of my life dealing with frustrating situations, and I will never get that time backsad. But let’s talk about the good things: Like how I am extremely happy with my classes this semester!

Usually every semester I get a class that I totally hate and I often spend the whole class session thinking of what I am going to do next semester to make sure this never happens again. This past summer I finally found the solution to my problem… www.ratemyprofessor.com. I do not know why I never heard of this website before but I definitely was missing out on some good information. For those of you who do not know what ratemyproffesor.com is let me be the first one to tell you  it is the best thing…Ok maybe not the best thing but it is a very, very resourceful way of finding out the best teachers for whatever classes you need. Previous students of many of Montgomery College’s professors go on this website to rate the professors on easiness, helpfulness, and they give comments about what they did and didn’t like about the professor’s way of doing things. CAUTION: Students do not always believe what every student writes, some students don’t apply themselves and therefore deserve the grade(s) that they receive.

This is the first semester where I have been able to get all of my books before the first week of school biggrin I am very happy about that for two main reasons: 1) I don’t have to ask my professors if they have copies of the reading assignments and then have to fight the rest class to get a copy before they all run out (usually majority of the class needs the copies too). 2) I don’t have to ask a classmate (whom I do not know yet) if they would allow me to take their book to the library to make copies of the assigned reading. I feel kind of weird doing that during the beginning of the semester. No one really knows each other ( unless two friends signed up together for the same class) and I feel weird asking someone I don’t know to make copies from their book, usually the classmate either looks at you like you’re crazy, or they say “sorry I have a class right after this”. So I am greatly relieved that I have all of my books happy

There is just one more thing that I have to get off my chest that has been bothering me for the past week… I am taking Spanish 201 this semester and what I have noticed from Spanish 102, and the one that I am taking now is that the ENTIRE BOOK IS IN SPANISH (even the directions are in Spanish)!!!!!!! I do not understand why the Author’s can’t make half the page in Spanish and the other half in English… well I sort of understand because I honestly wouldn’t read the Spanish side (laughing out loud) so, I technically wouldn’t be learning angel But come onnn… I always feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know what the book is saying. I look around the class and everyone’s mouth is moving and their discussing the reading while I’m sitting there looking foolish. I am lucky that I have the best Spanish teacher (in my personal opinion) at the Takoma Park/ Silver Spring campus, Ms. Shelley Jones. She is amazing and I honestly don’t know how I would survive Spanish class without her constant help, and tutoring. This is my third time taking her for a Spanish course and I wouldn’t take anyone else (by choice). So if you’re like me (can’t read Spanish to save your life) and looking to take a Spanish course I give Ms. Jones two thumbs WAYYYY up. See you all next week!


happy

First Impressions!

(Sairam Nagulapalli) Permanent link

First impressions tend to be pretty powerful – at least in my case. I’m usually overly critical of any new thing I have to try – don’t feel intimidated; I’m overly critical of myself too! These first impressions usually define how I’ll view something for years to come. So I decided I’d write about my first impressions of MC and surprisingly almost all of them were positive!

            As an aside, this week wasn’t the first time I’ve been to Montgomery College. I attended “Cornerstone” (Orientation of sorts) and advising sessions with other Montgomery Scholars over the summer. Heck, I even used the Montgomery College library for my Extended Essay and Internal Assessments. But this is the first week I’ve attended Montgomery College while college was in full session and this was a whole new experience!

            You know that old adage about never judging a book by its cover? That’s pretty true in MC’s case. MC looks…really old from the outside. Maybe it’s just because my high school was brand new or maybe it’s the contrast of the new Science Center with the older buildings (For those of you not considering MC for this reason alone, don’t forget Harvard is 374 years old!). Anyway, all you have to do is take a class a MC to realize that not only are the classrooms equipped with the latest technologies, but also that teachers perfectly integrate technology to enhance the classroom.

            Since Sam already covered about how awesome the Scholars are, I'll skip over that! The students in general are incredibly friendly! They don’t mind a pesky freshman bothering them about the PE building as they’re trying to get to their classes! Montgomery College isn’t an enormous campus to get around but when you’re lugging around 10 pounds worth of textbooks, you yearn for a shorter way to get to your classes. You also realize that you should have gotten a Kindle, but that’s a discussion for another day.

            Also, the campus is always lively! There are people chatting about their teachers or gossiping about the latest trends nearly everywhere! But you wouldn’t know that from just going to class as I’m (somewhat) certain all classes are capped at somewhere around 30.

            A couple of other things I’ve noticed – the Science East building is right next to the Science West building…WEIRD (A friend and I decided the names were cooler than "Science Right and Science Left buildings"  – the administration must have thought so too!). The campus is really, really diverse. And finally, the restrooms are always incredibly clean! Major props to the Janitorial staff!

P.S. As far as first impressions go, I’m not supposed to be studying in that picture of me in the Bio. It’s a Philosophy book I’m reading with an “inquisitive” look on my face – but in my infinite wisdom I decided to look down and not hold the book up! True Story.

Back to School, Back to School.......

(Katie Kaiser) Permanent link

The first feeling I had when I walked on to campus early Tuesday morning was pure relief. It felt as if a huge weight was finally lifted from my shoulders and I could finally breathe again. Now I know that anyone can read this blog, but as I no longer care about what people may think  I will be completely honest: I flunked out of my freshman year. I hardly ever went to classes, and when I did, it was like I wasn’t even present at all. I rarely participated and often ended the semester without learning a single classmate's name. I wasn’t always like that though; I used to be a pretty good student and was very active in my school. It may seem crazy, but I can’t thank MC enough for giving me the kick in the butt I needed. Being out of school without a degree was a lot harder than actually being in college. No one would hire me for a professional position. I once sent out 200 resumes and only got 5 responses back: 4 were scams (thank you craigslist, at least you're reliable for something...) and one was a very polite “no”. Now that I’ve gotten my “yes” from MC, I couldn’t be happier to be back on track.

Anyways, Happy First Week of Classes! I was so excited for this week. I spent all of Monday night preparing for my first day back. Printed a map (it’s my 1st time at Germantown), threw together a binder, applied a mud mask (ok, I’m not a girly girl but everyone likes to be pampered…), and most importantly, I made a great mix cd. It’s a must people, so get on it!

I love all types of music, but that night I was in a weird mood but here’s a little bit of my mix:

1) "Saucy Jack"- Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes (A fricken fantastic New Orleans band my cajun boyfriend introduced me to. Fun guys, and great music check em out!)

2) "Little Lion Man"- Mumford and Sons (a great irish folk/rock band new to the scene. I'm irish so of course I love my fellow brothers plus it's pretty awesome that the lead singer not only plays the guitar, but he hits the bass drum all at the same time!)

3) "Kandi"- One Eskimo (pretty cool animated video, and I love the sound clip from an old Candi Staton song)

4) "Heard it Through the Grapevine"- Gladys Knight and the Pips (my all time favorite version of this song. It doesn't get much better than Gladys!)

Whats on your mix??

I've learned (and put back into place this week) that everyne needs a good homework system. I'll put on music (note sample mix above), maybe an old movie (Ferris Buller's Day Off and Billy Madison are GREAT ONES!) but what I really love is taking a few "reading breaks" by mixing in funny and just plain AWESOME stuff that people put on the internet. The web isn't just for information people, so laugh it up! I'll leave you with a classic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 8 months, 8 days....

(Besith Pineda) Permanent link

 …and a number of hours, I went back to school. But I’m not counting or anything.

Thank you, Montgomery College, for the unrelenting flexibility you provide. What other educational institution would allow me to drop out of school after my first semester, make plans to move out of the country, say final, teary-eyed goodbyes and change my mind at the very last minute to then spend countless months in my pajamas - apathetic and lethargic - eating cereal for lunch and watching nights turn into days, only to welcome me again a year later with open arms?

No other place I know of. And so here's to hoping that this semester teaches me a thing or two about how to avoid run-on sentences.

Soul searching was necessary. Because honestly, a year ago, I had absolutely no idea what road I was walking and much less where it was taking me. And because you never quite appreciate how amazing it is to lead a busy life until you have spent many days without one.

I never thought that would me. An ambitious student, and a college drop out. The overwhelming need to do something with my hands, and the petty 20 hours I worked a week. The boundless energy draining right out of my fingertips as I juggled countless contradictions.

Sometimes you just need to stop. You look around and watch the falling scenery. You walk. A straight line, every so often, but mostly looping circles. But you need to walk because you need to be able to say that you have traveled. The point is that you have traveled.

There was, then, an incredible sense of arriving for me; an incredible sense of relief when I sat at a desk for the first time this year on Monday. The deep conviction that I knew where I was going because I had spent so much time wandering and I now understood the difference between the two.

I would recommend it.

It is uncertain. It is terrifying. But it is far better than pretending to walk with direction.

Take drastic action, and do nothing. Get lost for a little while. Get real comfortable living out of your pajamas. Watch the world spin madly on, without regards as to whether or not you’re keeping up. And decide, right there and then, what is it exactly that will inspire your best efforts to spin along with it, around it, ahead of it. What will you get up for every morning?

Just consider the question for a moment.

What do you open your eyes for? 

My very own reasons figured out, I had other daunting questions to wrestle with on my first day back.

- What, exactly, is the ratio of attractive people in the Rockville Campus to that of the Germantown Campus?

- Where in the world is the Theatre Arts Building and how can I get there in less than three minutes?

- When is lunch yo?

- Why do I always spill coffee on myself?

- How do I wipe off this triumphant smile off my face?

I found a map and I’m beginning to resign myself to the inevitable stains on my shirts. But pride, that feeling of weathered arrival, like a ship coming back to shore, is hard to shake.

Sugar, Spice, and everything Nice (Noooo Chemical X)

(Theo Eftimiades) Permanent link

Haiii everyoneee,

Thankss for lookin’ at my bloggg.
You can pretty much figure out my writing style after reading half of the paragraph below. If it’s not your cup of tea, check out the other bloggers on this site. They’re nice people.
I have some sweet blogjects planned for the future, but this is my first timeewink, so give me a leeetle break.
Enjoy

First and foremost,

 


 I’ve been having problems with services provided by the guys in the suits these days…
-My mailman delivers the mail on an inconsistent timetable, knowing I get cranky if I don’t have my Vogue by afternoon tea.
-My library cold bloodedly charged me 60 cents in “Mystery charges.” Not cool.   
-The bus passed me today and came 4 minutes early yesterday.
-Selective Service made me register for a draft, but they didn’t give me league rules, a draft time, or even a sport; they just said it might be coming. If I end up drafting some guy on injured-reserve again because I’m not at the computer when this draft happens, I’m not updating my team, ever.
-Military.com SOMEHOW got my email address and won’t stop sending Emails, trying to recruit me. I’ve responded to every email by asking politely for them to take me off of their distribution list, but I keep getting spammed. If this continues, I will have no choice but to join the Ohio Militia out of spite.

On a serious-er note:

Metro has gone too far with fare increases. Recently introduced was the “Peak-of-the-Peak,” an hour-and-half long time interval during which you have to pay additional money to ride the train. Luckily for us, Metro anticipated non-government workers’ inability to afford this new Peak-of-the-Stupid, and the Exitfare machines now accept kidneys as payment.

 

A friend introduced me to a way to avoid being ripped off by the Organ Bandits, so I’ll share it with you:
SmarTrips (this word looks strange when you have to write it) cost $2.50 (Recently lowered from $5.) If your trip is going to end up costing more than $2.50, which it will if you are riding anywhere during during Peak-of-the-Stupid, just let your SmarTrip run negative, throw it away, and get a new one.  Of course this is less convenient than loading a SmarTrip up with 200 bucks and just refilling when it runs out, but it saves tasty dollars.

Fortunately for myself, I’ve been raising a herd of oxen for like 10 years now, so I can just take the Oregon Trail to school. The only reason I still even take the metro is that I’ve been unable to get my hands on anything to cure Snakebite, and I really don’t want to take the risk of a Rattlesnake biting me when I have nothing to heal myself with. I’ve already checked 7-11, Rite-Aid, and Giant; nobody carries anything. And before anyone asks, I’ve also checked with Fort Totten, who, apparently, doesn’t even sell bullets. What kind of fort are they even running over there? A fort for ants? 


Anyways, school started this week at Montgomery College, a college which has been called many things:

1.Harvard on the Pike
2. Yale on the Rail
3. Columbia Community College
4. Cambridge cross’ the BayBridge

While all of MC appreciates the comparisons, I am going so farrr as to say zat dese are poorly thought out names…

1. MC is actually off of Hungerford drive, not Rockville Pike. The Pike becomes Hungerford once you cross over 28 (Viers Mill rd.)
2. There are railings on campus, in addition to handicap-friendly ramps, but there is no rail that MC is on. 
3. Columbia, MD is 30 minutes away, so unless this name refers to the Columbia Bank, which is three minutes away from campus, this name makes about as much sense as referring to MC as Paint Branch High School Community College or Chick Filet in Down Town Silver Spring Community College.  
4. The Bay Bridge is s000 scary.
 
In conclusion,

 

And So It Begins...

(Melissa Williamson) Permanent link

 I'm feeling dazed and it's only Wednesday as I'm writing. Monday was the first day of school for the Montgomery County Public Schools andMontgomery College. It was a busy and long day.

 

This is a year for milestones as my oldest son is a senior, my daughter is a freshman and the younger boy has moved up to middle school. He's in a Special Education class since he has mild Down Syndrome. Since both schools start early the whole family was up around 6 A.M. and the kids were out the door by 7:10 or so. My husband took the two older ones to their school on his way to work while I got the youngest to his bus, which was a bit late but that's to be expected for the first week or so.

 

As the day passed, I had two calls from the middle school because my son was not having a good day in such a new situation. He was overwhelmed at times and they wanted to know how we handle him when he gets upset or doesn't cooperate at home. Then his brother and sister missed their bus home since the arrangement of vehicles has been totally rearranged. Once they were picked up I got a call from the little one's bus driver who didn't know where our street was. I gave him directions and he found us around 4.

 

By then I was glad that my husband had said that he would get pizza for dinner as I had to get to the Germantown campus by 7 for my first class. There's no direct route from here in eastern Montgomery county and I have to cross ICC construction twice. Since I'm traveling during rush hour, I try to leave by 5:50 at the latest. I made it to class on time and it felt good to be back. I'd had a break of about 2 months after a compressed Distance Learning Biology class for the Summer I session. It was nice to be able to read things that weren't for a class and for some reason I went on a historical mystery kick. But I found that I really was looking forward to getting back to school. I love my kids, but it was very nice to have some discussions with other adults and consider other people's ideas. I got home around 10 PM and they had saved some pizza for me.

  

This semester I'm taking a seven week history seminar with the Renaissance Scholars program. I'm also going to finish my Health requirement with a late starting Distance Learning class.  It's amazing how many ways there are to get an education. If it weren't for the MC on-line program, I don't think that I could have gone back to school in 2005. Now if we can all survive the first week of school it would be nice; maybe another cup of coffee would help.

  

So, how did your first week go?

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