Archive for February, 2008

“old” as a state of mind…

February 28th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

I remember being told in seventh grade social studies that being “old” is a state of mind. Or, “I’m not old, I’m experienced.” And it was funny. I was 12 years old, and the idea of being old was funny.

Okay. I’m not saying I’m old. But the years of competitive sports and athletic activity are beginning to take their toll. Since the beginning of the semester I’ve been working to get back in shape, manage school, sleep enough, and win. And yet, I can’t help but shake the feeling at every tournament that in sports, “old” is more than a state of mind. The tall, blonde girl in the back of this photo is the kind of right side hitter that pounds the ball every chance she gets — even if it’s the first hit of the day. And what am I doing? Getting warmed up. That consists of three or four easy approaches and swings, to make sure my body and mind are in agreement that it’s time to play. I’ve tried before (not since I was 18). And the results are disastrous – the body cries, “What are you doing?! I’m not warmed up yet!” and the shoulder shrieks.

I’m pretty sure the days of endless energy and excitement (and pounding the ball as hard as possible) are over. I’ll probably never hold a really ugly pink “All-Tournament Team” hat so excitedly after winning a tournament. If I ever make an all-tournament team again, I’ll probably sleep my way through the awards ceremony. Before that, though I’ll go wrap my old right shoulder in ice and icy-hot patches and take a double dose of ibuprofen (aspirin just doesn’t do the job right). But who are we kidding, the chances of making an all-tournament team are proportional with your height. It wasn’t so bad when I was 14, and everyone was the same height. A little natural talent went a long way then. But now, 5’8″ doesn’t hold much on 6’0″ when it comes to an outside hitter. Oh well.

I’m going to continue to tell myself old is a state of mind. I don’t feel old, minus my right shoulder, and occasionally my right ankle (which I fractured jumping out of a tree like a moron). The age is fine. I’ll have to convince my destined-to-become-arthritic joints that time is the least of my worries.

When it comes to volleyball, sometimes it’s the experience that matters. Knowing where to hit the ball or how to read a hitter is paramount. But you know what, it’s the explosive excitement of youth that makes the game (and all games) exciting. Nobody hates a speed-shattering kill or a mind-blowing dive.

Now if only I could turn back the clock.

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stoked

February 27th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

I found out last night that the UMD women’s club volleyball team got a spot at national championships in Dallas this April. And I’m stoked. There’s no other word for it. Incidentally, according to Merriam-Webster, “stoked” was added to the dictionary in 1965 and is a slang word. Excuse the word nerd digression – I have a degree in journalism, after all – but I guess this means I’m in the habit of using 40-year-old slang. Does that make me dated? I have no idea.

That news made my day. We have a lot of work to do in the next coming weeks. When I’m not in class or working on homework (for, oh, the hour or so a day when I force myself to do something), I’m trying to hit the gym. Hopefully it’ll be worth it – but I guess only time will tell.

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econ: 1, donna: 0

February 25th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Last Monday we took an economics quiz that was apparently worth 20 percent of our grade. (I only realized it was worth 20 percent after I went home and checked out the syllabus two days later. Loyal readers, you might recall a previous blog post where I wondered where my motivation went? Here is the evidence). Anyway – a genius move on my part – I wrote that the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to lower inflation. Brilliant! The Federal Reserve typically decreases interest rates when the economy is sluggish, and increases them to halt inflation. I don’t know what I was thinking. That sort of bonehead move results in losing a few points here and there.

Anyway, econ seems to have gotten the best of me this time. I actually made a good grade on the quiz, besides the fact that I made a really stupid mistake. A lot of my classmates seem to have made the same mistake too. Not that it makes me feel better. (Okay, maybe a little). 🙂

On Saturday I played in a volleyball tournament at James Madison University in Virginia. I’d forgotten how long the drive is. It’s only really about 2 hours, but for some reason I thought it was an hour. Nonetheless, I am recovered, and ready for what this week will bring. That is, everything except for today’s accounting quiz.

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ethics and the men’s restroom

February 18th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

We’re taking a newly restructured ethics course this semester. It’s two credits, for a grade, when it used to be a required zero-credit course. We have three major requirements:

1. Write and perform an original play that explores an ethical issue (this is a big deal, and done at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center)
2. Write and perform a “role play” skit in class for discussion (this is a smaller deal)
3. Lead a group discussion with a huge group of your fellow classmates

The work required of us is sort of a controversial issue among my classmates, but I will ignore that for the sake of entertainment…blogertainment, I guess. I’m a playwright for no. 1 and had attended a mandatory playwright workshop. It was meant to help us generate new ideas for develop characters for our brief play.

This activity asked us to create two characters and have them act out a dialogue-less scene. They were to interact with one another through actions, when finally, one character would be pushed to speak. Here’s mine, to help the Monday blues pass by faster. This is original, what I wrote in class, so please don’t copy this. 🙂

The characters are Fred Frederickson and Ed Eddington, and Ed is already in the men’s restroom at Sushi Awesome.

The door to the men’s restroom at Sushi Awesome swings open. Fred’s face appears in the doorway. He scans the restroom and walks deliberately to the urinal next to the man and faces the wall.

Ed is acutely aware someone has entered the restroom and stood next to him. His head turns slightly in the direction of the person. There are four urinals, and the man has chosen the one right next to Ed. Ed’s body tenses visibly. His eyebrow twitches.

Fred silently fiddles with the zipper on his jacket. He is careful to stare ahead and studies the starburst pattern on the tiles in front of him.

Ed nervously turns his head away from Fred as he zips his fly and hurriedly moves the rest of his body away.

Fred takes care of business as he stares straight ahead. His movements are quick and sure.

Ed turns quickly on his heel and walks in short steps to the sink across the room. He dispenses soap first, then turns the faucet on with his left hand – hot water first. It burns his hand and he gasps noiselessly, then adds cold water. He begins to lather.

Fred slowly zips his fly and turns slowly, then saunters to the sink next to Ed. He turns on the water with both hands, equal amounts of each, and waits for the water to warm up before he places his hands under the faucet. He then dispenses soap onto his right hand, and begins to lather.

Ed rinses his hands off completely, and tears off a paper towel with his right hand, eyeing Fred cautiously. Fred returns quietly returns his gaze. Ed looks away, but Fred keeps watching. Ed looks up, and blushes when he sees Fred is still looking at him.

Ed is visibly perturbed and blurts out, fists clenched, “Why did you have to come to the bathroom too? Only women go to the bathroom in groups, man.”

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the hd dvd vs. blu-ray throwdown

February 14th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Today’s Managing Digital Business Markets class discussed platforms, and what happens when one party is able to dominate the market. This results in others designing products specifically for that platform, such as IBM’s mainframe and virtual monopoly before the 1980s. Of course, these periods of dominance sort of come and go. In the lecture, Dr. Bailey mentioned an interesting comparison to lemmings. Lemmings are small Arctic rodents (or small, green and blue men from a popular video game) that have been known to jump off cliffs and perhaps swim to exhaustion in migration attempts. Thanks to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming), it’s a myth that lemmings will jump off cliffs endingly. They apparently do so only when migrating and for some reason, the desire to press forward can result disastrously. Anyway, to play the classic Lemmings game, visit this lovely DHTML version: http://www.elizium.nu/scripts/lemmings/

I digress. I read a press release yesterday that HD DVD seems to be experiencing distribution difficulties. Blu-ray DVDs are obviously widely distributed, although they have not yet hit “mainstream.” (My definition of mainstream is usually when my family gets around to buying new technology after it’s been on the market for a good while). Netflix has decided not to carry HD DVD, and Best Buy will carry them, but continue to push Blu-ray sales. So I asked Dr. Bailey’s opinions on what might happen with this market, considering there are three players looking for platform dominance.

 The class consensus seems to be that Blu-ray will be the winner. And this is a pretty hot issue. I came across a blog on engadget.com that producer/director Michael Bay has “singlehandedly [won] the HD format war.” (Probably because he says, “Blu-ray’s better, and I told everyone”). Now, since Blu-ray hasn’t hit my mainstream yet, I’ve yet to view it, and I’ve yet to view an HD DVD.

Up until this summer, my family didn’t even have a branded DVD player, just one of those odd generic ones that looked as if we had won it in a raffle of some sort. Of course, we never enter raffles. And when we do, we never win anything. I once won an autographed book in a raffle at Girl Scout camp over the summer. I don’t believe the author is all that famous. And I also won a generic portable CD player/radio set. It’s definitely too small to be classified as a boombox. But there you go, my life raffle-winning achievements in less than a paragraph.

We’ll see who wins. Just give it a couple years. Will HD DVD become the Betamax of the future? Or will Blu-ray?

 P.S. The book I won is called “The Ghosts of Stony Clove” by Eileen Charbonneau. For $3.99, you can have your own brand-new paperback copy. Or $0.02 will suffice for a used one.  You won’t have a dog-eared, spine-busted, stained, and personally autographed copy like mine though. Apparently it’s part of a saga. I may have to invest in the sequel.

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have you seen my motivation?

February 13th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Disclaimer: This is in no way meant to offend anyone who is affected by a missing child. Content of this blog post is humorous in nature and only meant to joke about a MUCH less important personal loss. A missing child is extremely important, many times more so than my motivation.

I feel like I’m living in one of those “have you seen my child” advertisements that I get in the mail from time to time. I’m always sorry and sad that someone’s child is missing, and I sincerely wish I knew where they were. And it’s the same case with my motivation. I’m really sorry and sad that my motivation is missing. I wish I knew where it was.

We’ve had accounting quizzes two Wednesdays in a row so far, and I can’t find the motivation I need to study…I need desperately to find it. Perhaps I will take out a milk carton advertisement. (On a side note, there’s a children’s book called “The Face on the Milk Carton” by someone…I don’t remember the author’s name). 

Winter break was probably too long, I fell into patterns of sloth. I did go to the gym every day, but the only studying I did there was to read magazines as I did cardio and watch people around me as I lifted weights. I need to get back into the groove again. It might have something to do with grades from last semester. At UMD, “+/-” grades are awarded, but don’t factor into your GPA calculation. So you might receive a B+ and a B-, but it’s weighted the same way as a B. I worked pretty hard last semester in the hopes of getting As, but found a B+ or two instead…and I might as well have just gotten a B. That “+” is just a tease. It just tells me I was close, but not close enough…a taunting sort of flirtation.

I’d better go off and find my motivation now.

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getting off the haterade

February 12th, 2008 by under Uncategorized. 1 Comment.

Every so often I stumble across a song and become obsessed with it. I walk around with my music player on continuous play, I hit the “back” button on my computer so I can hear the song again and again. And somehow, it doesn’t get old. It’s still entertaining. I still like hearing it.

You’re laughing at me, but maybe it’s because you’re guilty of it too. I think this is sort of a vicious cycle. As time passes, my infatuation with the song wanes, and I forget about the song. (And this is after hours of listening time). Eventually, I’ll rediscover the song, and then I have about a 50 percent chance of becoming readdicted to the song. It works. It brings me hours of fun listening time (initially), and then later, a few more hours.

What’s that song of the moment? Brad Paisley’s “The World” – you can go to www.wmzq.com and listen to it on demand if you really like.

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