Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grad School Annoyances

Someone asked me recently how I felt about some of the other grad students in my program. Simple, I don't know, I don't hang out with them. A few I have classes with this semester, I had class with last semester so there are some I enjoy, but for the vast majority, I really don't know.

However, having almost three weeks of class under our belts now, I can safely make the following observations about grad school and my classmates:

  1. A guy in one of my classes has a rat tail. I'm not even kidding. I hadn't noticed it the first week of class, but as I walked behind him (still seated) this week, I saw this glorious, braided, approximately 2 ft. long, rat tail streaming down his back. WTF. Jordan Knight called from 1991 and wanted his hair back.
  2. We have a first-semester gunner. Now, I thought these people were reserved for conversations and things I've read about law school, but as we all know, these are the same people known as "suck ups, teacher's pets," or any other name for someone who talks too much, asks too many questions, tries to one-up the professor (seriously, why?), or tries to undermine or annoyingly challenge the views of anyone else in the class. Unfortunately for this guy, he probably made a lot of enemies when, in talking about how we were politically socialized, told everyone he used to listen to 6 hrs. a day of talk radio. Yes, I know what you're thinking, and yes, I mean Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and probably a variety of other idiots. Good for you buddy.
  3. I have no use for the grad lab, mostly because I'm working during the hours it is open. If I need to use SPSS, I'll just go to the library or the 24-hr lab, thankyouverymuch. Also for the reasons listed above, I'd rather not spend any more time in the departmental areas than I have to. I do enjoy seeing my profs, especially those I had in undergrad and don't see often now, but working full-time doesn't exactly allow me hours to kill in the grad lab during the day. However, on one of my syllabuses (syllabi?), it states that additional reading is available on e-reserve and in the grad lab. Apparently this is not entirely true however because one of this week's readings is ONLY available in the grad lab...which I never visit. So, tomorrow morning - because I am a champion procrastinator - I will be there, copying whatever it is I should have read tonight and frantically coming up with a paragraph to turn in at class time in the evening.
In conclusion, why don't you help me out and just pray for classes (including night classes!) to get canceled tomorrow for this crazy snowstorm! Thanks!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Getting after it...

In order to make my 5K and half-marathon goal this year, I hopped back on the bandwagon with my "Couch to 5K" buddy, Robert Ulrey. This dude took the Cool Runnings "Couch to 5K" program and set it to podcasts. This way you don't have to time yourself, figure out when to run, walk, etc. He tells you when to do each and sets it to some motivating techno music.

Speaking of the music, I chuckle at it now, but it was extremely motivating about a year ago when I started using this plan. It was a bit of a rough patch and the song lyrics just kept reminding me that despite what had happened, I was stronger. Listening to it now reminds me of that and just makes me laugh a little to myself when I think about those times. 180 degrees.

Anyway, for some reason, although I got through the week 1 program with no trouble earlier this week, I just couldn't finish the last running interval. I felt lightheaded so I just slowed down and walked for a bit longer instead. My plan this semester is to run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I have an evening class on Wednesday so instead of waiting until the weekend for a rest day, I'm going to use Wednesday as such.

For anyone who is interested, here's the link for the podcasts and the program itself. If you're already pretty athletic or doing some running, here's another good beginner 5K training program.

Happy weekend peeps!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Inauguration Day Playlist

Get pumped people!!

Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Beautiful Day - U2
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
Waiting on the World to Change - John Mayer
Change is Gonna Come - Gavin DeGraw
Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2
Changes - David Bowie
The Rising - Bruce Springsteen
It's a Great Day to be Alive - Travis Tritt
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
America the Beautiful - Ray Charles
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole


Friday, January 9, 2009

2009 Resolutions...or, things I'd like to do before I'm 30.

**So I realize today is January 9th. I don't care. I put a lot of thought into these resolutions/goals and am just now posting them.

1. Take more risks - at work, with my personal life, fashion, etc. Not the "get yourself fired" kind of risks or anything, but try to push the envelope and encourage progressive thinking at work as much as I can. And, life is too short not to take risks that could result in happiness!

2. WORK OUT! I've been on quite a bit of a slump since I ran my 5K in September. Between the crunch of midterms through the end of the semester and the typical holiday sloth, it's time to kick it back into gear. I'd like to run a half marathon sometime before the end of the year and generally, be in as good, if not better shape than I was in September.
(*As of this posting I've been to the gym everyday this week.)
2(a). If you have any ideas, suggestions, races to run, etc. please pass those along. :)

3. Curb procrastination! Do homework and readings when assigned instead of at the last minute. Stay ahead of the game if possible.

3. Keep track of finances using (shameless plug) mint. com. So far, I love it.
3(a). Pay off car payment. Should be done this year!!!
3(b). Start an IRA.

4. Read the remaining unread books on my shelves and read 15 new, preferably some classics.

5. Say NO! Sometimes you just have to prioritize and say no to some things.

6. Learn to play guitar and/or piano. (Not sure when or how I will accomplish this just yet. Summer project?)

7. Take my lunch to work. Or, don't waste gas driving less than a mile home for lunch. It's nice to get out of the office during the day, but it's just as easy to make something ahead of time and take time to read the newspaper at the office instead. I will miss my guilty pleasure of "Days of Our Lives" though. :(

8. Visit friends more often. Travel more.

9. Entertain friends new and old at home.

10. Get my apartment more organized, purge things/clothes/items/paperwork I don't need, and simplify.

Need some fun ideas for your own resolutions/future plans? Check out this fun list:

**EDIT: 11. Buckle down, sign up for the June 2009 LSAT, study, and get the darn thing over with so part II of my 5-year plan can begin.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

NY Resolutions...

...aaaand I'm still working on them. Can't get motivated to finish. Is that a bad omen?

On the up side, I've worked out every day this week (I know, it's only Tuesday, but I'm on a roll people), I'm going shopping (for a bridal shower gift), ice skating, and hanging out with a new friend this weekend!

Here's to leaving 2008 behind and welcoming 2009!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Races

Since I've set a goal of running a half-marathon before the end of the year, I've decided to track down a few races (5K) that I could use as motivation and training until then, and my options for half-marathons. So far, these are the options I find most intriguing:

3/7/09 - Miller Park Stampede, Bloomington IL
3/14/09* - Run to LSB 3K, Decatur IL (beer at the end...bonus)
(*Usually on St. Patrick's Day weekend, kicking off the Decatur parade.)
3/28/09 - Penguin in the Park, Decatur IL
4/11/09 - Illinois Marathon (and 5K), Champaign IL
4/11/09 - Lake Sara Dam Run, Effingham IL

5/2/09 - Indianapolis 500 Mini-Marathon, Indianapolis IN
9/13/09 - Chicago Half Marathon, Chicago IL

So, who is coming with me??

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A long December, and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last...

2008 - The Good

Spent NYE 2007 with a group of good friends from home, dressed as a pirate.

I had the pleasure and honor of attending the weddings of: Katie (Strejc) & Sean Fischer, Aimee (Showers) & Shine Lin, and Caleb & Kim Judy

Spent a wonderful weekend visiting awesome college friends in Findlay, OH. The bad: puked on twice by Baby Alex.

Shared good times with friends in Decatur.

Learned to trust my instincts, see red flags, listen to and trust my friends' and family's instincts (even after the fact), and really figure out what I want and deserve.

Lake of the Ozarks - almost dying in a potentially capsized pontoon boat, but meeting new friends :)

Visited old college friends in Chicago while taking an LSAT prep course. (Still trying to decide when to actually take the exam.)

Spent a weekend in Tennessee with college friends, went whitewater rafting and learned of Baby Minton!

Deciding to return to grad school and getting an A and a B!!!

Ran my first EVER 5K!!!

Helped to plan and host an extremely successful 10-year high school reunion

Jamby Crawl 2008 - 80's Hollywood (Flashdance baby!)

Home for the holidays, always good.

Celebrating the impending arrival of Baby Jacob and learning about Peanut Weber-Johnson!

Spending a fun NYE 2008 with pals in Memphis, TN!

2008 - The Bad & Ugly

Continued family drama over the death of Great-G'ma

The break-up and, I'm not too ashamed to admit it, lingering hostility and a little pleasant vindication for myself.

My friends' family health issues

Co-workers' family health issues/deaths

All in all, I give 2008 a B-. It could have been worse I suppose and I am truly thankful for the many, many, many blessings I do have. Not the least of which have been my friends near and far that have listened to me cry, complain, speak in triplicate when inebriated, put up with whatever I throw down. I hope I've done the same for them and will continue to work toward that end in the coming year.

Speaking of...resolutions coming shortly.