August 30, 2006

i'm 22 now but i won't be for long

I've been thinking lately about the possibility of my career in creative writing. After getting rejected from master of fine arts in creative writing programs at Iowa, NYU, Bowling Green, Montana and Oregon State this spring, it put some doubt into my head about whether that's something I'll be able to achieve. It also makes me regret not devoting more time to my writng in college when I really had time to concentrate on it. I was happy with the work I did, but I often only wrote the bare minimum required for my creative writing workshops.
When you start thinking about the future, it's very easy to get ahead of yourself. It's a quick path from 22 to 30 when you're thinking about what you want to do over the next few years of your life. I'm 22 and none of my writing has won any school awards or been published in anything beyond Mindprints back at Willowbrook.
I'm no longer in an environment where I get to work closely with professors, have people read my work and give me feedback. Can I continue to improve on my work to the point where I'll eventually have something good enough to get me into grad school? I worry about these things.
Right now I'm reading Dubliners by James Joyce. While reading the back cover of the book, I discovered that Joyce was 22 in 1904 when he began writing the stories that would eventually become the book. That gives me some hope. Sure, he'd already published a few things before then, but nothing of great significance. And I've sort of published stuff. I am a working newspaper reporter.
Now, I'm in no way comparing myself to James Joyce. Not beyond the fact that I'm age he was when he started Dubliners. All I'm saying is, although when you're 22 and done with school it's easy to feel like you're set on the path you're life is going to take, there's still a lot of time to grow and develop.
This all reminds me of an interesting book I heard about that I'm curious to read. It's called When They Were 22. It tells the story of 100 famous people when they were 22, a turning point in their lives. An example from

Oprah Winfrey dropped out of college to become a newsreader in Nashville, and at 22 moved to Baltimore to work at another station where she landed her own talk show

Although it's easy to feel like I'll never make a career in writing beyond newspapers, I guess there's still plenty of time to make that happen. And even if I don't, I'm thankful that I do have a job doing something I enjoy. My grandfather once told me one of his regrets in life was never having a job doing something he loved. I'm blessed to have that at 22.

Theme song from The Office

In celebration of the Best Comedy Emmy. Although this year, I think I would have rather seen it go to Scrubs or Arrested Development.

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August 18, 2006

We got a free upgrade for snakes on a plane


So I was thinking last night while watching Snakes on a Plane that the passengers might all be safe if they hid up in first class, which they eventually did. But apparently, inflating the giant life raft to plug the hole at the top of the stairway was unnecessary.
This is what Mark Herbert, senior keeper at Brookfield Zoo's Feathers and Scales exhibit told the Chicago Tribune's RedEye:

"They make them more aggressive than what they normally would be," Herbert said. They can't climb up staircases, have thought processes or hold grudges, he added.

So the moral of the story is, if you're ever on a plane full of snakes, you better hope it's one of those fancy jumbo jets with a second deck.

This Temporary Life - Death Cab for Cutie (from Future Soundtrack for America

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August 15, 2006

it's in the photograph

What you can tell about me from my Facebook profile

I spend time sitting by ponds.
I like to eat a lot. (Interests: food of all kinds, Niro's Gyros at 2 a.m., Diet Coke, Taco Bell. Favorite Quotes: People are bastard coated bastards with bastard fillings. Groups: Bobo Eaters of America, Champaign needs a White Castle, Dos Reales, Lost in the Supermarket, Nobody, and I Mean Nobody, Puts Ketchup On a Hot Dog, Portillo's Rocks My Face off, and We Love Pokey Stix!)
I list a lot of bands, tv shows, book and movies so I can try to look hip.
I even like movies with titles in other languages! How hip can I get?
I work for a confusing company with many different names.
My exact home address.
I took a lot of care and creativity in creating my AIM screen name. I took a nickname AND added my birthday.
I've read books, beause I can list quotes from them!
John Elton is a racial popster.
I have 164 friend at U of I. Or at least 164 people who I added that weren't mean enough to say no.
I have a girlfriend who can do something no one else seems to be able to, take good pictures of me.
I have a blog AND I work at a newspaper. Seriously, how am I not the hippest person alive?
I still like Ska.
I read poetry, which means I'm too cool for you.
I majored in not making money.
I'm the only person at U of I who listed Wordplay as one of their favorite movies.
I don't care if joining a group (I heart Detective Stabler) makes me look gay. If I wanna join it, I'm gonna.

So Long, So Long - Dashboard Confessional (featuring Adam Duritz)
It's on the new album. It's pretty cool.

Which leads to one more thing you can tell about me from my facebook profile:
I still like Dashboard.

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August 9, 2006

stuck in the middle with you

I was surprised when I got in the car today and heard on NPR that Connecticut's Sen. Joe
Lieberman lost his state's democratic primary to political newcomer Ned Lamont.
I've always respected Lieberman in much the same way that I respect Arizona's Sen John McCain. They're both party politicians that aren't afraid to go against their party and vote with their conscience in the way they feel is best for America. Politicians like Lieberman and McCain are a necessity in a time then the Republican Party is pulling hard to the right and the Democratic Party is tugging equally hard to the left. For self-proclaimed moderates like me, people like Lieberman and McCain are the kind I want to see in office. While I don't agree with either of them on everything, I know that they will both say what they feel, instead of simply towing the party line like so many other politicians.
Lamont defeated Lieberman by focusing his campaign almost solely on the war in Iraq. Lieberman has angered many on the left through his unflinching support of the President's position on Iraq. By mobilizing that disenfranchized base of Democratic voters, Lamont was able to seal his primary victory. This raises a big question. Is the Democratic path to victory to move farther to the left? Or is this only a strategy that will work in liberal northeastern states and in Democratic primaries?
Exit polls show that Lamont won the vote by about 4 percent, about 52 percent to 48 percent. Lieberman has vowed to run as an independent in November, whether the Democratic Party wants his to or not. With 48 percent of the people voting in the Democratic primary supporting him, Lieberman could probably win as independent, considering the low turnout in primaries and the number of unaffiliated voters that would support a moderate candidate. Who knows, Connecticut Republicans might even throw themselves behind Lieberman's independent campaign, because his victory is probably more likely than a Republican victory in the state.
Take into mind that all of this comes from a person with only a novice's understanding of the situation. These are just some thoughts I had as I was driving to work.

No More Smiles - Smoking Popes

What can I say? I'm excited about their reunion and the possiblity of seeing them at the Highdive in September.

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August 7, 2006

say goodnight, but mean goodbye

I don't know how this happened. Apparently, one of my favorite bands has been broken up for a year, and I had absolutely no idea.
Realizing that it had been a while since I looked at band Web sites, I was doing a little searching when I decided to go to The Get Up Kids Web site. I can't believe this is how I found out that they played their last show last July in Kansas City. I had no idea. I've been listening to The Get Up Kids for 6 or 7 years now and I've always enjoyed their music immensely. They've matured a lot since the days of Four Minute Mile. Although their most recent album Guilt Show was slightly more forgetable than Something to Write Home About and On a Wire, it was still a pretty solid album, and it's sad to see them go. And especially sad to find out about it a YEAR after it happened.
This tells me one thing. I need to stay more current with what's going on in music.
Well, at least The New Amsterdams and Reggie and the Full Effect are still going strong. Personally, I know I'll be playing some Get Up Kids when I get home tonight.

I'm a Loner Dottie, a Rebel - The Get Up Kids

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August 4, 2006

this is a public service announcement, this is only a test

I don't know if you've all heard, but University police at U of I have signed up for facebook account with their e-mail addresses. This is a lot scary than employers using facebook, if you ask me. Anyway, they've already handed out one ticket for obstruction of justice to a kid who lied to them about knowing a person they caught peeing in the bushes.
Here is a story about it from the Daily Illini
The Tribune did a story on it too. (Two days later.)
The DI reporter who wrote the story has posted a list of e-mail addresses belonging to University police officers on his facebook profile and also in his blog. Check that out for updates on the story. But for your personal information, so you can block this officers from being able to see your facebook account here's the list of e-mail addresses to block:

To block them, go to My Privacy at the bottom of the menu on the left side of the page. Go down to Block People and search each e-mail address. This will give you the option of being able to block them from seeing your profile.
For those of you who attend other colleges, I suggest you find out if the university police at your school are given .edu e-mail addresses (as staff members of the university, they probably are) and do the same thing. I have no reason to block these people from seeing my profile, but I might just out of principle.

A Sunday Kind of Love - Etta James

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