Monday, January 31, 2011

Deactivate: Newscasters



Facebook’s back to deactivating for a short while.
Just a short while.

Why?

Midterms.

Gotta focus – although I feel like I’m well prepared, and was prepared as of 3 PM today.

Also, Superbowl.

Status updates about the Superbowl, I can only imagine how many would show up in my newsfeed.

Facebook – the world thinking they’re newscasters to the rest of us.

But then again, me, blogging -- what is it for?

I consider the purpose to be a mere text extension of my life documentation for my own purposes. Something to amuse myself.

I am easily amused, after all.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Asheville: Bill Walker’s World of Hitches


The only thing I loose when I spend time looking at a map is time.
I do not loose my way.
I do not loose my marbles.
I do not loose my mind.
I do not loose sleep... wait, I guess I do sometimes.
And, retrospectively, looking at the first sentence I realize that I might actually save time sometimes in looking at a map because I do not spend time being lost in the urban-wilderness-jungle-things of America.

Maps do the same thing for my brain as biking does for my body. It gets me excited, intrigued, and I can do it for hours. I get hooked.

I love going to Google maps and turning off the labels and turning on the satellite. I love looking at patterns in the geography and, eventually, zooming in on a location and learning about it.

Today's explorations brought me to a delightful village I've heard about over and over through the Contra-muniity: Asheville.

I found it on the map and zoomed around the different areas of the town.

Is this place for real?

I hop on my imaginary bike in this ever so real town (I checked) and start to picture life there. Sounds cheesy, I know, but this is what I enjoy doing for kicks when I've got time to kill and am feeling like a good exploration.

A certain area caught my eye as I saw what looked like a bunch of parked trucks. What was it? It looked like a town of mobile homes with the main roads being Louisiana Ave and Brickyard Road.

To get there, you drive a ways down Emma Rd. You pass by Jaminson Street - street with empty lots on both sides that look like they used to host an array of mobile homes. After a bit you reach Louisna ave. At this intersection there are a few lovely shops you can go to such as…

Bill Walker’s World of Hitches

Grizzley’s Truck Service

And Fisher Flooring.


Taking a right on Louisana brings you to Quick Trip (convenience store?). I went into street view (Google Maps) and looked at the place… and there’s a guy doing a wheely on his… vespa? To see the guy, you have to be at the right place at the right time to see him. It's the photo that opened up this post. Check it!

As you go down Louisiana, you cross streets with names like Goodwill St and Hopedale Circle. This takes you to Blueberry Hill Mobile Home Park. Here there are more classy streets that have picturesque names like Mossy Log Lane and Misty Day Court.

What's with non-classy areas having classy names? It almost is enough to make me want to live there just so I can say, "Oh. You want my address? It's Margaret at 42 Pretty Honey Flowers Lane!" Yeah. That'd be cool.

Other streets in the area make me laugh. Chicadee Lane. It’s right next to Wood Duck Lane and Wren lane.

This leads to more and more curiosity.

The kids who live in this neighborhood go to Emma Elementary – a school of 500 students. Guess what. They pretty much have no students of Asian ethnicity. I set out to compare to my elementary school (although these are stats from these days, which are around 3 times more diverse than when I attended Menkore Elemenary School).

While Menkore, WA was 60% white, Emma was 41%. They were winners with their black population, 21% and 36% Hispanic. At Menkore it was only 3% black and 17% Hispanic (as of 2007-08, since then, those numbers have increased).

76% of their students qualified for free or reduced-lunch! This is huge! At Kenmore, we have the highest in the area at 36% which blows my mind, but there, it’s even more.


And, in case you were wondering, they had a snow day on Monday, the 24th. We did not.

And that's what I do in my free time...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear ____________.


This boy is not on Facebook. Yes. I know you want to hug him now. It's the sweater.

This is something I've had on my mind.
But haven't put on Facebook.

Because human beings are sensitive and think they're being attacked and... BLASFHSKDLJFSKDLJFLSDKJ.

So if I put it on Facebook, I am afraid I am afraid specific people would think was writing specifically to them. Yeah. Now I feel a bit coward like...

Anyways.

I am sick, sick of folks doing things in this format:

"Dear *INATIMITE OBJECT OR GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT WILL NEVER READ THIS*
I know that ____________________ but _________________ so please ________________.
Love. Me."

They write to fried chicken.
They write to Facebook.
They write to teachers.
They write to glue sticks.
They write to (this one REALLY gets me) DRIVERS IN OTHER CARS.

And then they do what? Post it on Facebook.

This is an outrage!
Lies!

First off, they aren't really thinking, "Dear _______." They are thinking more on the lines of, "You lame ol' _________."

Second, they're sending it to the world instead of who/what they really want to hear it. What does that do? Make them feel good, like they did something? They did nothing. Facebook is creating a senseless lazy generation who thinks that a few likes is an accomplishment or confirmation that they have friends or even an identity.

Third, they actually think all 942 friends of theirs on Facebook care.
Sad thing is, some do.

Fourth, all it is is complaining. Period. Complaining on Facebook? Irks. It irks me.

Fifth...

I don't have a fifth. I am too upset right now.

I am going to go beat up some small animals.

Dear Glue Stick,
I really need you to stop being so sticky so I can get my homework done.
Love,
Me

Monday, January 24, 2011

Running On the Bus

One of the biggest perks of riding the bus is the folks I get to run into.

And if running into people was really, well, running into them -- I would be a very hurt person from all of those collisions.

Here are a few shots I've collected in less than a month of folks I've ran into on the bus and already known. This is only a portion. Sometimes I forget to document. Usually not, though.

Sometimes, I just get the feeling I'll run into someone I know when I hop on a bus. Does that ever, ever happen when you get into a car? I sure hope not. I would be much creeped out if, say, Chris was in the backseat of my car (which I do not) when I got into it late on a Thursday night in Georgetown.

I'll post some of the captions I used, too, with the shots when they were slammed on Facebook. So it might get repetitive on the bus-running-bam theme.


[dec 19 10] - Running Bus

Bus rides are for running into people -- something that is very dangerous if you do in a car. If you run into someone in a car, then they can get hurt. If you run into someone on a bus, though, you're likely to get a short conversation.

I don't know this kid, but I do know his name and face and that his father unit had cancer.

So I was curious -- how was his dad?

"Austin."

No response.
Guess it wasn't him.

Three minutes later.

"Austin."

He turned his head. Must be him.

Inquired and...
Yes! His father is doing well. Cured, in fact! All better. Cancer is gone. That is the greatest news I could ever get on a bus ride, I think. Probably top of the charts for busnews.

[stoic pose] in action.

(if I had been thinking I would have moved more to get a better reflection framed in the window and not half cut off his hands...)



[dec 20 10] - In Transit

Running into another Sound Transit regular, Chris[topher].

Bus rides are long enough to catch up. Ask how life is. How the lives of others are. And then say good bye.

Chris is wearing normal pants.

He also has identical taste in water as I. 250 mL bottles of San Pellegrino
.



[jan 23 11] - 522

Rode the bus.
Then there was Austin.

I don't think I've held a conversation with him in around a year since we were both at Red Square at the same time during Winter Quarter 2010.

We used to eat lunch together daily. And we were in the same clan of Prom-Kids who went to Dick's and rode in the Previa.



[jan 13 11] - Bus Bus Bus - That's a Triple Bus For Ya

Ran into another person on the bus because that is just what busses are for.

In this case, it was the well-postured Miles.
I don't know his name. But I bet I could get it within 8 seconds by just typing in Miles into the Facebook search. I'm guessing there aren't many Miles that I share an abundance of mutual friends with.

Let's see.

He was the third one listed.
First listed was Miles San**** (12 mutual friends) and then Miles Chel*** (10 mutual friends).

In third was Miles L***** (mit 5 gemeinsame Freunde).

Our connection is S****** Community College. He's with the Ebbtide. That could mean he was or he is with the Ebbtide. I don't know at the moment.

He was on his way home from working at the toy shop. We both wrote postcards to Alyson. Overall, productive bus trip.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back At School

Warning: Mundane post. Posted for documentation purposes only. Not for your enjoyment. Nor interest. Unless you like routines as much as I do...



I am back at school (full course load - 15 credits) and loving it.
Thoroughly loving it.

I figured that, after a full year of this school, the novelty of it all would have worn off but that is not yet the case. I still look forward to each day.

Part of the reason why school is so good to me is the routine. Here's what my daily school schedule has looked like since the 3rd:

6-6:30 AM - Wake up and either tidy up room, eat breakfast, or reset alarm to 7 AM.

7 AM - Time for the day to start. Preparing for the day and walking, mentally, through the day's upcoming activities multiple times.

8 AM - Walk out the door. 1 mile walk to the bus stop.

8:15 AM - Arrive at bus stop early, chat with Kelsey or Lisa.

9:04 AM - Arrive at school. Socialize or meander until 9:20.

9:20 AM - Enter first classroom, Economics. Set out pencil cup (keep them in a mason jar), water, agenda, piece of notebook paper, and check that my homework is there. Talk to my neighbors around me and try to get each one to smile.

10:15 AM - Make sure I understand exactly what my homework is for that night. Reiterate. Say it out loud. Write it out. Reconfirm.

10:20 AM - Next class, logic. Repeat process.

11:20 AM - Official school hours are over. Head over to the library to power through as much homework and reading as possible.

And this is where the day varies from seeing friends, to going to SANCA for the German Wheel, to biking, to heading home. My meds wear off by 1 PM so I try and get all my homework done by then. After 1, it's almost a useless attempt (but I have my backup meds I can take if needed)

Around 9 PM - Start thinking about bed.

9:30 PM - Start the bedtime routine.

And hopefully I'm in bed between 10 and 10:30 PM.

My body benefits from lots of sleep.

Anyways, this quater will be awesome. Already meeting lots of new friends and getting reacquainted with new ones.

My teachers are wonderful and understanding. I am prepared to go to them if I need extra help.

I am also working on doing my homework ahead of time. So far, this has been working well. My agenda is my lifeline.

Stoked for this quarter.
I am determined to not get left behind.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Leaving the Wedding Early - SPD



We were about to sit down for the reception when my mom whispered to me, "You want to go, don't you..." It wasn't a question. It was her 20 years of parenting me, knowing I was uncomfortable, on edge, and desperate to leave.

My SPD "flared" up on Saturday. In fact, it acted up all weekend. Sounds made me cringe. Jeans stayed on for only minutes. And my social anxiety went through the roof.

It started with entering the sanctuary. I was ok, at first, till my mom asked me to sit down. That's when I started to get anxious. I wanted to dance and wiggle (I love organ music) and so I reached into my box in search for a fidget toy.

Only toy I found was a delightful finger puppet.

With him, I calmed down a bit and made it better. But I couldn't keep from swinging, moving, or letting my emotions get the best of me.

It was a beautiful wedding, by the way.

But I have a hard time in social settings in which I know the folks but don't really have any connections with them. In this case, it was my old church friends. I hate small talk and I don't really like being in the company of folks in such a situation.

When we got to the reception, waiting to go in the hall, I stuck to my mom like glue. "There's Natalie," she would say. I would nod and then keep on with whatever my mom was doing.

I don't know what it was. SPD? ADHD? Me, the weirdo?

All I know is that I was overwhelmed and I felt trapped.

What was it about that situation that put me at such distress? They were all people I used to be close to. I ought not to have issues.

Anyways, I was beyond relief when my mom gave me the option to leave before we even sat down. We went out for Teriyaki food together, which was delicious, and then headed home.

I am fine entering houses packed full of rowdy 20 somethings that I don't know late in the evening. Put me in house of random folks singing Scottish songs and I'm fine. But put me with my ex-peers in a hallway and I'll get skiddish.

Not sure what happened...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pretzel Necklaces, Forest Concerts, and 139 Days


[12/11/10] - Vera Project/Hollow Earth Radio DIY Holiday Fair

Here is the story of when I ran into this dude that I didn't know I had met but when I showed him my notebook, apparently he had written his name in it 139 days ago in Olympia.

This Christmas's DIY Fair kept me busy for 3 solida hours. It was delightful!

Anyways, one of the first booths I stopped by was that of Bicycle Records (http://bicyclerecords.com/). After talking to the guy who is half of the partnership that runs Bicycle Records, he mentioned he lived in Olympia. I spoke up of the joys of that place and he asked if I had been to any concerts there.

Concerts.
In Oly?
Had I?

"...there was this concert in a forrest..." I said. It was pretty obscure and I doubted that every soul out of Olympia had known about it.

That's when the conversation came to life.

He clicked in - "were there these two dudes making loud music?" (I forget exactly what he said -- so we'll just have to go with what I think I remember)

"Yeah!" I said, as I reached into my box to pull out my notebook where I remembered that one of the members of the band had written their band name is.

"Was the name of the band..." he began.

And as I opened the page, he said the name of the band written on it.

"Fall of Electricity."

"Wait," I said, "You're name's Ross -- and it's right here --- you wrote in my notebook!"

Yep. That dude had already written in my notebook.
He had written his name, his bands name, and another bands name.

And here he was again.

So he ate some pretzels off of my pretzel necklace.

And I'm still surprised because there are a whole lot of concerts, and a whole lot of bands, and I've only heard a few in Oly and the coincidence of running into the one dude who wrote in my notebook at the fair, well, that's just kinda crazy...


(http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4672608&l=d15a954856&id=504513649 - 139 days ago in the forest)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

18.9 Miles



Lately, I've been trying to starting using the bicycle more and more as my main means of transportation.

Yesterday I had to get from my college to the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA). With the bus it would have taken around an hour and a half. Driving? 46 minutes. I rode my bicycle.

I chose to ride because it is, for the most part, downhill.

True, there are some hills to climb, but it's not bad. In fact, here you go, have a visual:

See, it's rather friendly. In total, I ended up climbing around 350 feet of elevation over the ride. For me to just get home from sea level (which is what the bike trail is at) is 250 feet over a mile, so hills are something I can handle.

I do have to say, though, it was a longer ride than I had realized it would be. I was content, though, and very satisfied, riding along. I was joyful, in fact. I love singing on my bike as I whiz down streets and pass cars that are stuck in traffic.

This path took me through downtown Seattle. I had never ridden in the city before but found out is something I very much so enjoy. Is it dangerous? Excessively. But I love it for the challenges, the hills (if you haven't seen the hills of Seattle, you haven't lived) and the fact I had to be clued in to everything at once. Focused in. Focused and riding. It was like a video game in real life.

I would say it was a very successful trip and, chances are, I'll do it again next week for kicks.

I like bike.

Getting Physical



I stepped on the scale to make sure all was well with my body.

"Wait... what?"

My body weight was lower than normal. Much lower.

This ain't no New Years resolution, this is merely me staying active and my body loving it.

Lately I've been getting a whole lot more exercise in.

The top way I get it in is through biking to my destinations. It's ideal because I have to keep going once I start, there's no backing down or getting "too tired." In addition, it's in my target heart rate zone and usually it takes me around 30-50 minutes to get to a destination. The perfect amount of time to excercise.

Cycling is addicting. After biking frequently, I go nuts when I take a few days off.

Lately, biking has been either cold, icy, or rainy. Biking on ice was an unfamiliar experience for me but I think I've almost got it down. I find that I only need a t-shirt and sweatshirt when cycling, even in negative temperatures (negatives in Celsius).

I got in 20 miles of riding yesterday including my first trip through the heart of downtown Seattle.

Then there's circus school, I've started, at SANCA. I now do the German Wheel there. Try moving a 200 pound steel wheel with your body and controlling it. It takes a bit of effort and I'm loving it.

Contra dancing! That's Friday nights and a few hours of solid spinning, jumping, weaving, and twisting. Guaranteed to get you sweaty within minutes. I can't get enough of it.

Babysitting. When I babysit, I crawl, jump, pick up kids, and dance for hours. I use babysitting as an excellent excuse to move move move. Just last night me and the girl I've sat since she was three weeks danced for at least 50 minutes solid.

Anyways, it's been delightful having so many excuses to move and exercise. Absolutely love it. Stories to come...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year



Bit late - but this was the photo with which I wished the world Happy New Year.
The cute kid has a rad name.
But I can't tell you it.
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