Anna said...


less time on academia, MORE TIME ON THE BLOG!

Ye haven't updated in epochs! :D

Well, she has a point. It seems that this semester has been more demanding on me then I originally thought it would be. I guess that's what happens when you take two English classes and other classes that make you read a crap-ton of books all the time. I've barely had time to think about the blog, much less write up an entry. Even as I'm typing this, I'm sitting in my Environment and Society class not paying attention to some old video about Microcredit.

Not to say that microcredit is boring. I think Muhammad Yunus is on the right track with his Grameen Bank. What really strikes me is the similarity to the global economic situation that we are in now. Both Yunus and the U.S. government have the same idea: throw money at the problem. People need money to run their businesses and make them grow. But here's the problem, once you hand out a little money, people expect a little more later. And then more. Until you have too many people who need the money and there's no money left to give. Where does it stop? Or where does this extra money come from?

Speaking of Environment and Society, if you really want to put yourself into a state of depression that makes you want to stop using water all together, read When the Rivers Run Dry. This book, written by Fred Pearce, gives far too many examples of the water crisis that is haunting our world. The way he makes it sound, there's no guarantee that water will come out of my faucet tomorrow.

A taste:
"It takes between 250 and 650 gallons of water to grow a pound of rice. That is more water than many households use in a week. For just a bag of rice. Keep going. It takes 130 gallons to grow a pund of wheat and 65 gallons for a pound of potatoes....
We are all used to reading detailed technical information about the nutritional content of most food. Maybe it's time that we were given some clues as to how much water it took to grow and process the food. As the world's rivers run dry, it matters."

Yeah, I told you. It goes on to tell you about lakes that have completely dried up, how farmers are taking all of the water out of the ground that will not be replaced and how the Rio Grande is barely even a river anymore. Important to know, but not fun to read.

But class is coming to an end and that means that I must leave you. But I will leave you with a list of my favorite albums from 2008. A very short list, but if you haven't bought these CDs yet, do it now.

Okkervil River, The Stand Ins
She & Him, Volume I
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes


It snowed today. And some other unlikely news

As a long time central-North Carolina resident, I have a habit of not believing local weathermen when they tell me it's going to snow. The area has a long history of mocking the hundreds of closed schools, dozens of salt trucks and thousands of pounds of salt that await that blustery winter storm by bringing small flurries or often nothing at all. So when the wizards of weather said that we would get up to four inches of snow last night, I thought "OK, that means there might be some ice on my car tomorrow. No worries." Imagine my surprise when I woke up to this:

Yep, that's right. We got our four inches. But here's the best part: UNC stayed open. The bookstore stayed open. Instead of enjoying the first good snow that I've seen since high school, I was in the bookstore selling books to students who had no business being on campus in the first place. UNC and our buddies in Durham were the only two universities in the area that I know of that stayed open. Even N.C. State closed. I guess they figured that if the busses could still run everyone could get to class.

But wait. One of the girls that was supposed to work today couldn't come in because her bus stopped running. Why did it stop running, you ask? Because a bus that route wasn't able to make it up the steep hill on Hillsborough Street and ended up sliding back down. But that's not enough reason to cancel classes apparently.

UNC eventually did come to its senses and closed school at 3:30 p.m. and delayed tomorrow's opening until 10 a.m. But while most of the other businesses (including Student Stores) closed their doors early today because of the weather, the Tarheel Book Store soldiered on, which means I had to work until 5 p.m. No snow playing for me.

Maybe next time, assuming there is a next time anywhere in the near future.


In other news, I was selected as a co-editor for the Carrboro Commons, a twice-monthly online publication that is published by my Community Journalism class. I'm not sure how I got the job, but I'll take it. I'm very excited and it should be an interesting endeavor. Check out the site over the next few weeks to see how it progresses.

Remember this day

Yesterday I spent the hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. doing something that I've never done before: celebrating the birthday of one of the most influential leaders in American history. I had to be there for a class, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that it made me realize how historic today -- January 20 -- really is.

Countless speakers talked spoke about Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream. How much he did in his short 39 years. How he changed the face of America and gave hope to millions of people. We've all heard about his dream in history classes or on TV. Over the years since King's death, we've seen this dream start to materialize. Sure, there is much more to be done, but on Monday I heard speaker after speaker say one thing: when Barack Obama takes the oath, King's dream will be realized.

It was hard not to get a little emotional as I watched the oath and the speech that followed on a small screen in the middle of the bookstore I work at. This is a historic day. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, everyone has to realize how importance of this event. Whether you like his politics or not, how amazing is it that America has elected an African-American president just 40 years after the death of King?

I sat there hoping -- like my friend Chris -- that the bullets wouldn't come. That fear will never go away. We've come far, but we obviously have much farther to go if we have to constantly worry about our president going out in public.

My friend was at the inauguration, standing on the mall just behind the pool in front of the Capital. He said he got choked up during the speech. There were shots of people in Manhattan and Harlem just standing out in the streets -- stopping whatever they were doing -- and watching Obama speak. There is excitement in the air. There is hope. There is love.

I'm so proud to be an American today. I never thought I would see this so early in my life. Here's to the next eight years.


What I learned on my first day of class

It's the first day of my last semester of undergraduate classes. I shudder as I type that. But I won't get into my post-graduation fear. I decided to take a hodge-podge of classes this semester just to see what was out there, and mostly because I only needed one for my major and UNC won't let me underload and be a full-time student any more.

So here's what the schedule looks like: 10 a.m., American Novel; 12 a.m., Environment and Society; 3 p.m., Chaucer; 4 p.m., Community Journalism. I don't have Tuesday and Thursday classes, so I get to enjoy everything in the span of seven hours.

Here is what I learned in each class. Remember, this is only the first day.

American Novel: if you walk into the first class 10 minutes late, you will have to sit in the last available desk wedged in a corner in the back of the room after being shown the seat by a student waving their arms like one of those guys on an airport runway with the glow sticks.

Environment and Society: Despite the fact that I like all the work he is doing for the environment and global warming, Al Gore is a pompous ass. We watched the special features of his move "An Inconvenient Truth," and it was basically 20 minutes of him talking about how the world is going to melt in the next 50 years, broken up with condescending chuckles.

Chaucer: Not only are we reading Chaucer, but we're reading Chaucer in the original Middle English. Ha ha. No seriously. It's honestly not as hard as it sounds. It's easier to read than it is to unerstand it spoken. Here's a taste: "O our Scots nables wer richt laith/To weet their cork-heiled schoone;/Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd,/Their hats they swam aboone." I'll let you think about that one for a little bit.

Community Journalism: Over 97% of newspapers in the U.S. are considered small (less than 50,000 circulation). And they're thriving. Apparently Asheville has a bunch of them. There are 190 in North Carolina. I guess that's where I'll be looking for a job in a few months.

Overall, a pretty good day. It's not going to be as easy as last semester, but I think I can handle that.

On a quick sidenote, check out this headline from the Washington Post: Economy Made Few Gains in Bush Years. No.... Way to break that big story, WaPo!!!

Now I need to get to all that reading. Yay classes!

Picture from www.backoftheclass.net


Yes, I am still alive

In this internet age, it's scary how disconnected and alone you can feel when you don't have a functioning computer for a few weeks. I feel like I haven't talked to my friends, have no idea what is going on in the world and have neglected all of my loyal followers on this wonderful blog.

But never fear, my computer is back and so am I.

Here is a quick rundown of the end of 2008 and the very beginning of 2009:

Dec. 21 - Dec. 24: Scrambled like a mad man trying to get last minute Christmas shopping done, because of course I wait until the last minute along with every other male in America.

Dec. 25: Christmas with the family. Promised a MacBook, but not sure when I'll ever get it. It's looking like it will be around graduation.

Dec. 26: Left for Charlotte to meet the band and get ready for the Meineke Car Care Bowl where UNC played West Virginia.

Dec. 27: Watched an exciting game that Carolina gave away in the last five minutes with a fumble and an interception. Typical. Sang karaoke with the band. Kinda.

Dec. 28-31: Went to my girlfriend's house in Charlotte. Had great fun. Saw "Marley and Me." Only shed one tear. Got the original Star Wars movies on DVD, a sweet wallet and Obama's book. Watched football. Threw a football. Went ice skating. Ended up staying a lot longer than I planned to.

Dec. 31-Jan. 1: Went to a friend's house in Charlotte with my girlfriend to celebrate the New Year. Felt good after quite a few Knob Creek on the rocks. Kissed at the New Year. Met fun people. Shot myself in the stomach with a roman candle. Had a roman candle war with my girlfriend. She totally owned me. Finally left Charlotte on New Years Day.

Jan. 3: Went to Greensboro with the girlfriend to have Christmas with my mom's family. Got a tent. Played dirty santa. Started out with a pressure cooker, but it got stolen and ended up with a beautiful painting of the bell tower in Chapel Hill. Ate good food. Played a lot of Guitar Hero with my cousins.

Jan. 4: Came back to Chapel Hill. Watched the UNC basketball team fall apart against Boston College. Cussed a lot. Went out to Franklin Street with some friends to make it all better.

And here we are, back in the present. I have pictures of some of this stuff, but I just got the computer back and haven't taken the time to put them all on here. It will happen soon enough and they will show up on my Flickr.

I'll be updating regularly again, assuming that I don't collapse under the stress of a new semester. Or the stress of graduating. Or the stress of finding a job.

I will leave you with the link to a very interesting story that I found in the News and Observer today. It's about a teacher who marries a homeless man. Hilarity ensues. Enjoy.

Merry New Year.