Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Keeping Busy

I've been keeping pretty busy over the last few days, and in a stunning development one of these activities will actually result in me receiving some money. I did my taxes so I can get my refund as soon as possible. I received my W2 in the mail on Friday, so I figured I would go ahead and get that out of the way. Last year I got my refund via direct deposit about 3 weeks after I mailed the return, so I'm hoping for about the same this year.

I found a few jobs of interest on the federal jobs website, so I have been spending a lot of time over the last couple of days trying to get my applications in order for 2 jobs that close tomorrow. I finally have those ready to go and I will fax them tomorrow. These jobs don't pay much, but I'm finding it harder to be picky these days. The job search is still not showing much in the way of results. I got a phone message yesterday from a company that I had applied to in October. They had another opening come up and wanted to know if I was still interested. I called today to tell them yes, but I got voice mail. No one returned my call today, but hopefully I will hear back from them tomorrow. It's amazing how busy I feel these days even though I am not working.

I also wanted to wish Holli good luck with her new job that starts tomorrow. Things have been pretty hectic for her with the move and unpacking, and now she has contracted strep throat just in time to start her new job. I'm sending positive thoughts your way, Holli, and you have lots of people pulling for you!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

I'm so thankful that it has rained here twice in the last week. We are in a pretty severe drought situation, about 14 inches under the normal rainfall for all of last year. It was the 5th driest year on record at DFW. Last Sunday I got about an inch of rain in my backyard, and today ought to be pretty close to that (update: 1.9 inches!). It only rained once here in November and once in December, and both of those were less than half an inch. When I was running on Friday, I saw one of the houses in the neighborhood had run a hose to a sprinkler that was sitting on their roof. At first I thought that was overkill, but the more I thought about it I realized that there is no reason the field behind my street couldn't catch on fire. That would be bad. I love waking up to rain in the morning, which was the case today.

I got my application for grad school mailed in. I struggled a little with the essay, and I didn't think it was all that good, but I'm not too worried about it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm thinking it will be more important that they get the money I will be paying them. Pftz.

I think I have my running groove back. The last two weeks I have been able to do my 5 miles without stopping. Woo-hoo!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Four Things

I was tagged by Anne to do this list, and I actually didn't mind because I haven't felt very inspired about blogging lately.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
K Mart cashier (I got paid in cash and had to wear a tie to work)
Domino’s Pizza Delivery Driver (The store got robbed once while I was on a delivery)
Custodian at Disney World
Manufacturing engineer

Four movies you could watch over and over (I could have probably picked 40!):
The Big Lebowski
Boogie Nights
This Is Spinal Tap
The original Star Wars

Four places you’ve lived:
Atlanta, GA
Richardson, TX
Houston, TX
McKinney, TX

Four TV shows you love to watch:
The Office
Arrested Development

Four places you’ve been on vacation:
Costa Rica
Santa Fe

Four websites you visit daily:
Yahoo Mail
DVD File
The blogs I link to

Four of your favorite foods:
Pork chops
Red curry with chicken
Fried okra

Four places you’d rather be:
Hiking in the mountains somewhere
Lounging on a beach with a drink
Earning a decent paycheck
Oklahoma City ;)

Four albums you can’t live without:
Lost In Space – Aimee Mann
Midnight Vultures - Beck
The Mollusk – Ween
Bone Machine – Tom Waits

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to do this list, knock yourself out!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

GRE Final Scores

I was surprised to receive my official GRE scores in the mail today. I guess I didn't expect them to come so quickly. The 680 verbal score ended up being in the 95th percentile, and the 700 math score was in the 68th percentile. I was surprised to see that people generally score higher on the math section, I guess because that has always been more of a struggle for me personally. The essays turned out very well, I got a 5.5 overall on a scale of 0-6, which was in the 86th percentile. The 5.5 is an average of the 2 essays, so it looks like I got a 6 on one and a 5 on the other. I would be curious to know which essay received the higher score, but I don't think there's any way to find out.

Currently I am working on getting my first application completed so I can mail it tomorrow. I have to write a one to two page essay saying why I want to go into library science. I guess I need to get my 5.5 ass in gear!

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Ugh. I've known this day was coming for a couple of months now, but that didn't make it any easier to take. Holli and Faith moved today. I've been very lucky to be able to spend so much time with them, and I've also become very attached to both of them. It was nice being able to leave my house and land in Holliworld 10 minutes later. They're so much fun to be around, and they helped me to not dwell on some of the crappy things that have been going on in my life the last few months, and for that I am very grateful. I'm going to miss being so close to them.

I think just about everyone who reads my blog also reads Holli's, and some of you talk on the phone, so you know what a special person she is. I don't often meet people who have the same strange sense of humor that I do, but Holli is one of them. I haven't spent a lot of time around kids, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Faith. After being around her, I think it is impossible to know Faith and not love her. I'm even going to miss Nate Nate. In any bad situation it helps to try and pick out the positives, so here goes: they're only a 3 hour drive away, we can still talk on the phone, there's always email.

It's been so warm around here this winter, but last night a cold front blew in. It was 10 degrees colder today, and it's supposed to be even colder tomorrow. Somehow, that seems appropriate.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Helpful Hint Thursday

I've been inspired by Acumamakiki and an incident that took place this evening to do a Helpful Hint Thursday post. I realize that Thursday is almost over, but it isn't quite yet! My hint is a cure for hiccups that my mother claims to have invented. For years I thought my grandmother had invented this, but I recently talked to my mom about it and she claims authorship. Here's the hint: when you have the hiccups, go into the bathroom with a beverage and drink while you are peeing. I usually use water, but it works with beer too. I don't know how this works, but it has almost always done the trick for me. Tonight Holli got a case of the hiccups (probably too much 'root' beer) so I told her about this cure. She tried it - no more hiccups! I'd be curious to know if this works for anyone else out there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Organic on a Budget

Multiple post alert!

I believe in eating organic food whenever I can, but when you're on a budget that isn't always easy. One thing organic foods are not is cheap. The February issue of Consumer Reports had a very interesting article along these lines. The basic gist of the article is that there are some foods that you should buy organic as much as possible, and some others that you might be able to skip if you're trying to save money. They also have a couple of items that they don't recommend buying organic at all. The recommendation part of the report can be found here.

Paging Mr. Schmo

I realize that I'm way behind the curve on this one, but I recently just watched Joe Schmo Season 1 on DVD and I thought it was really entertaining. When it was on originally, a guy that I worked with saw it and told me it was funny. I couldn't watch it at that time because I didn't get that channel on my basic cable package. Then when Holli mentioned it a few weeks ago, I knew I had to rent it from Netflix. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this show was.

If you're not familiar with the show, the basic premise is that they took a group of actors and one 'regular' guy and put them in a house together. The regular guy, or 'Joe Schmo', thought that this was a real reality show called The Lap of Luxury where the last person left in the house would win $100,000. The actors were in on the gag. There were the usual reality show competitions every week to see who would win immunity, and one person would get voted off every week. One of the things that was really funny about this show was that it parodied all the reality show cliches. Among the group of actors was 'The Gay Guy', 'The Asshole', 'The Rich Bitch', and 'The Virgin'. The host was billed as 'The Smarmy Host'. These actors were way over the top, and it was fun to see the regular guy, Matt, interact with these people. The 'Gay Guy' sounded like Tony Montana. One of the funniest characters to me was Hutch, The Asshole. His fake asshole behavior really cracked me up. I also loved how each contestant had their own 'Lap of Luxury' plate with their picture on it. When they got voted off, their plate was smashed by the host in a fireplace. Too funny! It really made the most of a lot of the stupid things that happen on 'real' reality shows.

Some of the competitions were really funny too, like Hands on a Hooker and the talent show. The talent show featured Matt doing his beat-boxing, which was just completely hilarious. I also liked the gay guy's magic show with crappy non-tricks, and Hutch's completely sincere version of 'America the Beautiful'.

The other thing that was really enjoyable about this show was Matt himself. They went out and found one of the nicest guys in America. For the most part he was so nice to everyone, even when all this crazy shit was going on around him. He seemed very genuine, and he when he finds out it was all fake he's even worried about having done anything to have hurt the actors' feelings. There was something kind of touching about how nice this guy was, and the actors all ended up just loving this guy. If you haven't seen this show yet, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Movie Time

Last week I went to see the new Woody Allen film, Match Point. I've been a big fan of Woody Allen's films for about 9 years now. I think it's amazing how he turns out a film every year, even though I will concede that most of his recent efforts have been kind of spotty. I have found something to enjoy in most of them, however, although I thought that Hollywood Ending was atrocious. That is the one film of his that I refused to buy on DVD. I feel that Sweet and Lowdown is the best of his recent efforts. Match Point has gotten a lot of positive press and has been touted as a return to form. Initially, I was really blown away by it. I think the performances are really good, and the fact that it's set in London provided a refreshing change from the usual New York location. The more I got to thinking, though, something emerged that did bother me. The plot is very similar to Crimes and Misdemeanors, which is one of the best Woody films there is. I guess if you're going to rip someone off, who better than yourself? So, while I think Match Point is an excellent film worth watching, I have to deduct some points for not being entirely original.

Another movie that I watched recently (along with Holli) was Grizzly Man. This movie has received very good reviews and I've been wanting to see it for months now. It is a documentary about the guy (Timothy Treadwell) who would go to Alaska every year and hang out in the wild with grizzly bears. He went on 13 such 'expeditions' before being killed and eaten by a bear a few years ago. I think he thought that he was doing something positive by bringing attention to the fact that bears are endangered, but after seeing this film I have to say that I don't think what he was doing was really in the best interest of the bears. I think it's possible to bring attention to them without conditioning them to be comfortable around humans. I'm sure for him it was a very powerful experience to feel like he was a 'bear' in some ways, and I think that would be a really amazing feeling to have, but it seems kind of selfish. He also seemed to be pretty naive in a lot of ways about how nature works. I will say that the footage that Timothy Treadwell shot is pretty amazing to watch (at least the footage that doesn't include himself). And I will also say that Andy Dick is a shoe-in to play him in the musical.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Weird Dream of the Week

This dream wasn't really all that weird, but it is kind of funny. Last night I dreamed that I was hanging out with comedy great David Cross. I think I dreamed this because I was just talking about him last night to Holli. I was describing how he would do that weird voice on Mr. Show where he would pinch his neck and it would make his voice sound really strange. In the dream we were sitting on a couch watching TV, and I said "Hey, remember Indomitable Spirit? Where you were basically just a head and you were playing the drums?" (Explanation for those not familiar with Mr. Show: Indomitable Spirit was a band made up of absurdly handicapped people, like a guy with just a head playing the flute. David Cross was a drummer with no arms. In my dream I got him mixed up with the guy who was just a head.) He just said: "Yeah, that was pretty funny." You could tell I was totally beating him down by being such a lameass. Kind of made me think of the 'Chris Farley Show' on SNL when he had Paul McCartney on and he asked him: "Do you remember when you were in the Beatles?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hello, My Name is Pigpen

I’m filthy. Absolutely filthy. I haven’t taken a shower in 2 days, which isn’t so bad by itself, but when you combine it with the fact that I have also run twice in the last 2 days, it’s now kind of gross. I guess I’ve been suffering from a GRE hangover that makes me want to do as little as possible (the running is very guilt-driven, which may be a more powerful motivator!). I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know, however, that I do plan to take a shower immediately after posting this, and I’m actually looking forward to it!

Speaking of running, I’m not sure what the deal is but it has been very difficult lately. I have found myself walking much more than usual. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have been on an irregular schedule over the holidays, or if it’s mental weakness, or if it’s that all of the crap that I ate over the holidays has made me sluggish. Hopefully I will get back to my previous level of performance soon.

Today I am returning my GRE prep book to the library. This will feel really good, because I have literally had this book checked out for almost 2 months solid. I’m getting so tired of seeing that book lying around!

I haven’t talked about TV shows in a while, and finally there is something for me to talk about. Scrubs has returned. I have to say that last night there was a segment that was one of the funniest things I have ever seen on television. It was the scene set to “Kung Fu Fighting” where Turk and Todd beat up all of the Asian residents. Holy moly. For one thing, it was extremely over-the-top in the kung-fu movie style. But the other thing that made it so great was that it was stretched out so far that it became absurd. I couldn’t believe I was seeing something like this on network television, it was just so bizarre and it went on forever. I will say that I am a little put off by the tendency of this show to kind of have a ‘message of the week’ every time, and that message is sometimes pretty sappy. However, the funny moments are just so bizarre and mesh so well with my sense of humor that I’m willing to overlook this flaw. I mean, come on, Turk sang ‘Safety Dance’ for crying out loud! And on another note, new episodes of Lost start again tonight!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Test Results

The test went...

great! Much to my surprise I ended up getting a higher score on math than on verbal - I got a 680 on verbal and a 700 on math. Strangely enough, this is exactly what I got on the SAT back in the day. I think my math brush up this weekend helped me a lot. I think I did pretty well on the essays too, but I won't know my scores on those for a few weeks. I was a little worried because I ran out of time on the math section, had to start guessing, and still didn't finish all the questions. I am glad this hurdle is behind me, now I can get to work on my applications. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

T-Minus 14 Hours

As requested, here's another post so KY warming liquid isn't my last post. Oops. Doesn't really work if I mention it does it? Hey, I already get hits from the porno site, so google doesn't scare me.

Well, tomorrow is the test. I've pretty much run out of time at this point to do anymore studying. I did some practice questions today. I really need to slow down on the math questions and take my time as much as possible. Holli, I think you did inspire me some with how easily you came up with answers on some of those essay topics. Sometimes I'm pretty good about talking out of my ass, tomorrow I just need to be good at writing out of my ass. Am I as prepared as I could or maybe even should be? No. Am I prepared enough? Probably. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Study Break

Weird dreams have been in short supply lately, so I submit for your approval 'Weird Commercial Juxtaposition of the Week'. This won't really be a weekly feature, but bear with me.

Today I was getting a glass of water in my kitchen when a commercial for 'KY Warming Liquid Personal Lubricant' appeared on my television. Hmm, a bit risque for daytime TV, but what the hell. The commercial ended with a woman getting a rubdown from hubby (or perhaps just some random man). I wouldn't exactly describe her as having moans of ecstasy, but something was about to go down. As I'm standing there thinking "Hmm...", suddenly a black woman in a hairnet pops out of a doorway on the TV and says: "You hungry?". Apparently this was a commercial for Post Honey Nut Clusters or somesuch. Now maybe I'm just punchy from studying, or just have a stupid sense of humor, but I have to admit I laughed. Hard.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Who Knew?

First off I have to share something funny about the end of my post yesterday. My sister was in the Peace Corps in Panama a few years ago. She worked with the Ngobe-Bugle native population there. Apparently the word for 'butthole' in Ngobe is 'hunu'. My sister told me that after learning this, she and one of the other volunteers that she worked with would laugh uncontrollably whenever someone would say in English: "Who knew?" So, I guess I'm just a butthole.

I spent several hours today doing practice math problems for the GRE. I am getting a better idea of some of my particular areas of weakness, which is good. Tomorrow I want to start practicing on some of the essays. Holli gave me the idea to bore you all with my efforts, so I am planning to post some of these essays. I'll try to clearly identify them so you can skip them if you want to.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Grind

Back in October I went to the dentist, and at the end of the exam after the dentist looked at my teeth he said: "It looks like you've been grinding your teeth." I said: "It does?". And he said: "Yes." He didn't seem very concerned about it, and didn't tell me that there was any action I should take, so I didn't think much of it. While I was at my grandmother's house I was in the bathroom one morning looking at my tongue, when I noticed that I have a bevel worn across my front 4 bottom teeth. Holy shit! That probably means that the back of my front 4 top teeth probably are worn like that too. I was suitably freaked out enough to go buy a mouthguard to wear at night that same very same day. It isn't the most fun thing in the world to wear, but I guess it beats having teeth worn down to nubs. I have stress? Who knew?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Off the Road Again

Wow it feels weird to be home. I guess I've only been here 2 days in the last 2 weeks. I had a great visit to OKC to spend some time with Holli and Faith. A big thank you to Holli and her family for their hospitality! The New Year's Eve party was fun. I was a bit concerned because I didn't know anyone there besides H&F, but the people I met were really friendly. There was also some good food there. We agreed that Faith probably had more fun than us, what with dancing and making me chase her through the house (Holli should have some pictures at some point). You could see her energy level draining before midnight hit. She started staggering around and had trouble standing up before completely zonking out. She did manage to stay awake throughout the drive home so as not to miss a minute of 'Shrek' on the DVD player.

Yesterday after awakening from afternoon naptime, we discovered that there were wildfires burning fairly close by. The sky was pretty smoky. After it appeared that the fires were not an imminent danger Holli and I went out to see King Kong. It is a good piece of entertainment and a nice technical achievement, but since it is a tragedy it was kind of a sad story (even with knowing the story beforehand). I felt kind of bad that Holli was a bit upset by the movie.

On another note, I have signed up to take the GRE test next Monday afternoon. I was hoping to have studied a little bit more by this point - I guess this week I will need to buckle down. I have pretty much decided to focus in on the writing portion at this point, with a little bit of math review thrown in. It will feel really good to get this thing out of the way!