Palliative Polemic

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A Saturday for Tennis

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

I managed to roll out of bed this morning, get dressed, and get over to the tennis courts in time for the start of the meet. We played a triangle-meet with Anderson and Franklin. When I got there, it was still in the upper 30's/lower 40's outside. Fortunately, the coach had the tennis shed warmed up.

Now, most people in my position would not even go to the meet. Anymore, I am nothing more than a practice scrub on the team. My freshman and sophomore years, earning a spot on the team and playing meets were really important to me. I felt like I didn't get any respect playing in high school, and I wanted/needed to prove to myself and my old team that I indeed was a good player. However, the summer after my sophomore year, I played in a couple of tournaments and leagues in Maryland. That summer, I won my first two tennis trophies ever. I was the captain of the team that won the second league, and I also took second place in men's open doubles in one of the tournaments. I actually played men's open singles in that tournament, and lost in the quarters to the eventual champion (who happened to be one of the highest ranked players in the region). After that summer, my attitude about tennis changed; I had proven that I was a good player. I no longer needed to earn that affirmation by playing on the school's tennis team. Thus, I was free to play and enjoy myself, unfettered by any unnecessary stress about when I would get to play a match. Ever since then, I have had so much more fun on the team. Since I co-op'ed, I have been here five years; I took last year off from tennis to try out for the spring musical, so this year is my fourth on the team. The coach actually told me that he would letter me after playing four years; I don't know if he even remembers saying it, and frankly, I really don't care. I'm having fun, I'm getting plenty of exercise, and I'm getting better again. And unlike in high school, the guys on the team are all very accepting of me; they don't treat me any differently or disrespect my playing just because I'm not challenging for a varsity spot.

The meet lasted until about 4:30, when it was ended due to rain. It had actually been raining/sleeting off and on all day, but we managed to get all but one match in. In the end, we had beaten both Anderson and Franklin, 6-1 and 5-2 respectively, I believe.

I had planned to go to Wabash after the meet, but when I got home, I fell asleep and didn't wake up until after 8:00. It's alright, though; I'll be going up there next Friday for a toga party. I got some ICQs and IMs from some of them at about 11:00 asking where I was, and telling me that I should still head up there, but decided just to wait until next weekend. Instead, I watched Cape Fear with a couple of my brothers. Afterward, on a whim, I decided to try on some of the clothes that I had stored away. I found out that many of the clothes that I have not been able to wear since high school now fit me again. The feeling of putting on shirts that you haven't worn in four or five years, and having them fit better than they did originally, is pretty incredible.

Since I've got homework and two meetings tomorrow, I think I'm going to turn in a little early (early for Saturday being anytime before 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning).


The Job Search Begins

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Today was it: the Big Day. For the first time since going on co-op over two years ago, I had an interview. I got up a half-hour earlier than usual, just to ensure that I had plenty of time to get ready. Now, I should tell you: I love to interview. Some people dread interviews, but I don't understand why. I guess I just have a little bit of an advantage in the interview room; I'm generally good at developing a rapport with people I meet...including interviewers, and I also have little problem in public speaking situations. Not that I especially enjoy talking about myself or anything, but the idea that I'm that much closer to landing a job makes the whole process more enjoyable. Especially when I'm interviewing with a company that I would really like to work for, which was the case with today's interview.

I actually had all three classes and my first hour of work study before the interview, which was right in the middle of my last class of the day. I really didn't mind leaving class early, and since it was only Statistics, I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything too difficult to make up.

The interview itself took only about 20 minutes, but I think it went really well. The interviewer remembered me from the information session the night before, and commented on the insightful questions I had asked. That he remembered me, I took as a good sign; hopefully, he will also be more apt to remember me when the time comes in the next week or so to decide which students will get the plant trip offers. I'll try to explain briefly the process of receiving a job offer for engineering students. Generally, the student will first interview with the prospective company. This step is the one that I have the most trouble getting to, because a lot of companies have GPA restrictions for interview sign-up. (Anyone who knew me in high school may find my difficulty here surprising, but I decided as a freshman that I would have to choose between a stellar GPA and campus involvement and leadership. I chose campus involvement and leadership; the reason why will become apparent shortly.) In the interview, the student will discuss his collegiate experiences: job-related experience, campus involvement, community service, etc., in the attempt to demonstrate his ability to become a valuable employee of the company. This point is the point at which I begin to excel. As I mentioned before, I chose the campus involvement and leadership route, rather than the high GPA route. This choice for me was simple, for while I have more difficulty landing interviews, once in the interview, I am much better off. I have a plethora of experiences to discuss which demonstrate my ability to become a valuable employee; for this purpose, a 4.0 GPA is virtually meaningless (yes, it usually demonstrates dedication and hard work, but in a much more abstract manner, yielding few specific experiences to discuss). After the interview step, the interviewers will discuss the students interviewed, and decide which ones will proceed on to the next step: the plant trip. In this step, the company pays to bring the student in to the company's office to tour the facilities and meet (and possibly interview with) some of the personnel at the facilities. This step provides the student with the opportunity to experience the company first-hand, while providing the company the opportunity to observe how the student fits in with the company and its personnel. Sometimes, an additional interview step, or a second plant trip step, may be included in the process; but generally, the final step comes after the plant trip: the job offer. The company decides who, from among the students attending the plant trip, would best fit the company, and will send a letter to such student(s) containing the job offer, and a reply date. At this point, the process is in the hands of the student; he may choose to accept the offer, decline the offer, or wait to see what offers he will receive. Usually, the offer letter will include salary/compensation, benefits, and the ever-popular signing bonus. At any point in this process, the company may decide that the student is not a good fit for the company, and will send a rejection letter. This letter is known as a "phi letter" because the student will then mark the letter with a large, capital greek-letter phi. (To compare: plant trip offer letters are marked with a drawing of a factory, and job offer letters are marked with dollar signs.) The student will post all letters he receives during the job search process, usually on, or just beside, his door. As a reference, when I was trying to land a co-op, I ended up with about 12 phi letters before getting my one offer letter. Some students will have 40 or 50 phi letters before getting an offer.

So now, I will have to wait one to two weeks before I get either a plant trip offer letter or a phi letter. Some companies, students interview for only becuase they are eligible to interview with the company; thus, they are not overly concerned about getting a phi letter from such a company. But with this company, I would very much like to work for them, so I am definitely hoping for the best.

After the interview and a quick lunch, I headed over to work study. We had nothing to do today, so I played around on the internet looking at various online journal resource sites. At 4:00, I left to go to tennis practice. I drove by the courts, but didn't see anyone there, so I assumed that we weren't practicing, and went home. When I got in, I almost immediately got a message from a friend of mine at ISU, Andrea, who was attending a formal tonight and was spazzing about her dress. She wanted me to go over to ISU to reassure her that she was not over-dressed. Well, I had planned to go into town anyway, to meet the guys at Sonka's Irish Pub to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, so it was no big deal.

Now, I haven't really talked to Andrea for a couple of months, because we are both extremely busy. So, it was nice to get to see her and catch up a little bit. I reassured her that she looked great in her dress, that the evening was going to go smoothly, and insisted that she have a good time. I saw her off, and then headed back over to Sonka's. When I got to Sonka's the place was absolutely packed; unfortunately, none of my brothers were there, so I went home. I found out later that they had left about 15 minutes before I got there, and went to eat at Garfield's.

I ended up going to see The Hurricane at one of the cheap theaters with a group of about 8 people. I thought it was a really good movie, but then, I tend to like movies based on actual occurences. I guess you could say that I'm a bit of a history buff; granted, The Hurricane isn't exactly based on ancient history. Still, I had never heard the story, and found it to be quite interesting.

When we got back home, I decided to give Nicole a call, since her group of friends usually goes out to the Bally on the weekends. The Bally (actually, the Ballyhoo Tavern) is one of the more popular bars among the college students, especially greeks. Inside, it is a sports-bar atmosphere, but outside (a patio, covered and heated this time of year) is one of the best dancing spots in Terre Haute. I spent many a night with Nicole this past summer dancing the night away at the Bally. When I called, I got quite a pleasant surprise: one of Nicole's best friends, Angela, was in town. She is one of Nicole's sorority sisters, and one of her best friends. She and I are also pretty good friends (one of my fraternity brothers and I double-dated with Nicole and Angela at our spring formal last year). She graduated in December, and hasn't been back very often since; needless to say, I was glad to talk to her. We ended up meeting them at the Bally at about midnight. My fraternity brother (the same one from the double-date) and I danced there with Nicole and Angela, and their sorority sisters, and stayed until about 1:30. Interestingly, the CollegeClub people were at the Bally, giving away prizes and having Stupid College Tricks contests. I also ran into a couple girls from Rose, and a guy from my floor freshman year who graduated last year. He and his wife (also from my freshman class) were in town for a fraternity function of some sort, and it's amazing that I ran into them, because by that time, the Bally was really, really packed. Eventually, we decided that the place was just too packed, and that we were getting tired, and decided to go home. Since I have to be up for a tennis meet at 9:00 in the morning, that decision was probably a pretty wise one.

All in all, not a bad way to spend St. Patrick's Day. I was a little disappointed, though. I wore a "Kiss me I'm Irish" button to the Bally. It must have been broken or something because only one girl, Natasha, actually did so. And that was only because she is a good friend of mine anyway. Or maybe, I just used up all of my mojo at the interview, so I was running low at the Bally ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh well.


Another Day, and a Surprise or Two

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Yet another day has passed in what is turning out to be quite an eventful week. Classes went pretty much as they normally do. I did my design homework for tomorrow during work study, becuase I wasn't able to meet with my group this afternoon. I had two important things to do: pick up my suit, and go meet Amanda's horse ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather wasn't all that nice today; in fact, it was pretty much putrid, raining/misting all day off and on. When I got to the Woods, the rain was on-again, so Amanda and I waited for better weather to go see her horse. While we were waiting, her sister, Natalie, who also goes to the Woods, came into Amanda's room completely spazzing out. Apparently, she had a, ah, male visitor on the way, and was not even close to being "prepared." So Amanda and I were solicited to help her get ready. Amanda cleaned Natalie's room, while I tried to help...I think I managed to pick up a stack of CDs from the floor and put them on the table ๐Ÿ™‚

It was at this point that the first surprising thing of the day happened: while I was helping Natalie hang a poster in her room, someone came up and grabbed me from behind...I turned around, and it was Sarah...she had come over to talk to me. (I've got to give some of the credit here to Amanda...she had my back...she told Sarah that I was there.) We went to her room for maybe 10 minutes and got caught up (I hadn't talked to her for about two weeks). Then we went back down the hall (only like 3 doors away) to SO's room, and Sarah gave me a hug before she left. Now, her hugging me is nothing new, per se, because that used to be the normal way that we would say goodbye. But it was the first time in maybe a month (including the two weeks during which I didn't talk to her) that she was the one to initiate it. A good sign? Maybe...I honestly don't know. While I was talking to her, I was trying to get an idea of how, if at all, my feeing toward her had changed. By the time she left, I really didn't know how I felt. I think that if she would just let me take her out one more time, things would straighten themselves out a little bit better. I really don't feel as close to her as I was a month and a half ago...but then, we have spent so little time together. I want to be able to spend some real "quality" time with her, so that I can know if we can still regain that closeness. I'll give her a call after this weekend, and we'll see what happens.

So anyway, Sarah left, and I got back to helping Natalie get ready for her big night. Now, part of getting ready included a trip to the grocery store and a stop at the hotel to prepare the room. (Let's just say, my services were reqired for the purchase of certain items.) So we got the room all ready and headed back to the Woods. Now, during this drive, I got to know Natalie *really* well, probably better than I thought I would ever know anyone (besides Nicole, but that is a story for another day). She was worried that she was embarrassing me; little did she know that it is nearly impossible to embarrass me. Rather, I found it all to be quite entertaining. Her candor in talking to me, someone she didn't really know at all (I had met her once, about a month prior), was probably the second most surprising thing of the day.

When we got back to the Woods, we *finally* got to head over to the horse barns to meet Amanda's horse. We spent maybe ten minutes there, and fed him some oreos, before heading back to the dorm. It was about 5:30 by this point, and I had planned to be at school at 7:00 for an information session with Johnson Controls, the company with whom I'm interviewing tomorrow. We hung out in her room playing around on the computer...and all of a sudden we both realized that we needed to leave. It was 6:35; she was supposed to be with a group singing, and I needed to make the drive back to school in order to be there by 7:00. So I dropped her off at the Conserv (music hall at the Woods) and got back to school. I walked in the door at exactly 7:00, only to see everyone getting up to leave. Apparently, the session was from 6:00-8:00, not 7:00-9:00 as I had written down. No worries; I just went up and talked to the representatives there, and it actually worked out better, because I got the chance to ask all of the questions that I had about the company. That is also good because they will remember me better after the interviews tomorrow. And, hopefully that translates into a job offer...

I came back home, and after doing my Statistics homework, I decided to try on my new suit. I've got to say...I've got *so* much confidence wearing this suit. I wore it around the house for about two hours because I felt so good wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚

I don't really feel like I've written much today. I've been talking with a lot of people today, and I think I might sleep some to mull some thoughts over, and add some more in the morning...

On second thought, I don't have time this morning to add anything more.


I’m too tired to name this one

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Okay, so I'll start up where I left off from this morning. I was dead tired when I went to class. I didn't even bother getting dressed. I just threw on a sweatshirt and put on a pair of shoes. Not to worry; the class was just Senior seminar, pretty much a pointless class. It's pass/fail, and based only on attendance. It's actually called Professional Practice, and we're supposed to be discussing things that will help us after graduation. So far we've looked at a chemical process modeling software package that we use in Design class, and chemical literature abstracts. Both *potentially* useful, but I think we could be discussing more useful things, like how to invest all the money we're supposedly going to be making ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I could barely keep my eyes open, much less focused on the overhead. So, I browsed through the catalog that came with the jeans I got on Monday. Not very exciting, I know, but the class went a little faster that way.

I did get some good news in class, though: apparently, one of my Design group members got bored last night, and decided to do our homework that is due for tomorrow, so we didn't have to meet this afternoon. That meant that I got to take a nap instead. Needless to say, I was quite grateful. I slept pretty much the rest of the afternoon. Not a big deal; since tennis practice was canceled (once again, sunny and in the 60's...perfect weather), I had nothing to do until phonathon. I chatted with Amanda and Heather off and on, too. Apparently, Heather has been having some problems with a conflict involving her, one of my brothers, and his girlfriend. She was telling me about it, which is great, especially if it helps her feel better about it. I just hope that she does not get any wrong ideas about her and I. I've never seen her as anything more than a friend, and especially with everything else I've got going on female-related, I don't need any more issues to deal with.

Speaking of female-related issues, I had a minor epiphany while trying to fall asleep this afternoon after class. I was thinking back to the entry I wrote for yesterday ( actually written this morning), and specifically about the "circumstances" under which I would be able to ask Amanda out. I started to think, in my half-asleep-random-thought-tangent state, that I was only rationalizing why I wasn't going after something that I possibly really wanted to go after, rationalizing in order to avoid getting hurt again. It is sort of a defense mechanism I induce sometimes. I mean, they are all legitimate concerns, but they also represent the risk involved. And risk is usually directly proportional to reward. What we've got now is really good, in my opinion; but am I rationalizing away the opportunity to have something even better? An intriguing train of thought, but for now at least, I'm going to leave it filed under "I was half-asleep when I came up with this thought."

Amanda was happy because she got to visit her horse today. She is still restricted from riding (due to previous shoulder surgery), but at least she got to spend time with him. I'm really excited; I get to go with her tomorrow to go meet her horse. I really love horses; I get that trait from my mother, who also loves horses. The best part about going to the Indiana State Fair was always going through the horse barns and seeing all the horses there. It's been way too long since I've been around a horse. Apparently, Amanda tells me, her horse is a bit feisty, especially around strangers. But she also told me that the way to his heart is through his stomach...via Oreos. (Yeah, she and her horse were made for each other. She refers to her horse as the number one man in her life.) So I'm going to go pick up my suit after class, then head over to the Woods (this routine sounds strikingly similar to Tuesday's) to go with Amanda to meet her horse.

So the rest of my evening was dinner, phonathon, and then back home to do homework. I only got 45 minutes to an hour of calling in, since this was my first night and I had to go through orientation. But I made 24 calls, which had I been there the whole night, would have been the most, or second most. Of those 24 calls, I got ahold of 5 people. Of those 5, I got 2 five-year pledges, and one "considering." Because it was timed right (read: I got lucky), my second 5-year pledge won me a cd. I got to choose between Lauryn Hill and Pearl Jam, so I picked Lauryn Hill. I got back home and called the girl I was going to work on my homework with, but when I went to meet her to do it, she already had it done, so I just borrowed her book and did it back here at home. It was a fairly easy assignment; I already had half of it done, I just had to set up some formulae in Excel to crunch some numbers. You may be interested to know that, if a tank explodes, and 500 people are working within 10 and 500 feet from the tank, evenly distributed, that 4 of them will die of lung hemorrhage, and another 10 will experience a ruptured eardrum (well, so will the 4 people with lung hemorrhages, but a ruptured eardrum seems to pale in comparison to being dead). Believe it or not, I have to learn this stuff, because, as one of my professors told us, we are going to be chemical engineers, and we can kill people. Fun thought, eh? No responsibility, sirree. Don't I want to become a design engineer now ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, on that happy note, I think I'm going to finish this off and go to bed.


A Good Problem, Girl Confusion, and a Rude Awakening

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Part I -

I just got's 3:00 in the morning. So I'm going to wuss out and write this journal entry in the morning. Today was a busy day, so I'll have plenty to talk about when I wake up.

Part II -

Well, I had intended to sleep for about another hour and a half this morning, but the not-so-subtle sound of the dump truck dropping off a load of gravel right outside my window changed those plans...maybe after I finish writing this, I can go back to sleep for a while.

So, I'll start with my change of plans yesterday. I tried on my suit Monday night in preparation for my upcoming interviews. Well, when I put on the pants, they were so big I couldn't even get a belt on. And I was practically swimming in the jacket. So I called my dad at work to discuss it, and we conferenced in my mom (one of the many advantages of them working in the same place). I was going to see if my suit could be taken in, but apparently the size difference is too great for that, so my mom suggested that I go to Ayers and get a new suit and put it on her card. Well, since my first interview is Friday morning, that meant that I would have to get it done yesterday (Tuesday) in order for it to be tailored by Thursday, so I could pick it up in time for my interview Friday. Fortunately, Amanda had Chem Lab until about 3:30, so I had time between my classes and when she and I left for Wabash to go take care of it.

Yesterday was also Badge Day on campus; sort of like Greek Pride day. All of the fraternity members (frat boys, as one of my friends lovingly referred to us) were to wear badge attire (basically Sunday dress) and wear their fraternity badges to school. A couple of the fraternities made badge attire mandatory, but my fraternity feels that our guys have enough pride in ourselves to do it on our own. I'm glad to say that I didn't see even one of my brothers not wearing badge attire.

Classes were pretty much normal. I started work study - apparently, because of the campus phone-athon, we don't have much work to do during the day, which means that I'll have plenty of time for what little homework I have. My design group may have to meet in the alumni office, but oh well, I really need the money...

So I finished classes, ate a really quick lunch, and headed off to the mall. I thought ahead enough to grab a change of clothes, since I was still in badge attire. SO I get to Ayres and go in to start looking for a suit. They're having their Spring sale, 30-50% off...yeah me. My old suit size was 52 regular. My new suit size is a 48 regular. I've lost 4 suit sizes in about 10 weeks. Wow. Now, their selection in 48R was not as great as the other smaller sizes, so I ended up having to buy a more expensive suit. It was $430, on sale for $310; add in a shirt and tie, and it came to almost $400. I can't think of any other time I've spent $400 at one time, where school was not involved. But, it was for a good cause: Get Chip a Job ๐Ÿ™‚ While I was there, I headed upstairs to housewares to check on a skillet for my dad. While they were here for the musical, they bought me a new skillet. Now, I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I love to cook. They got me at 12-in skillet, 18/10 Stainless Steel Farberware Millennium series. It is non-stick; personally I prefer all stainless, without the coating (mainly because I have no qualms with cooking with butter or oil, and the real reason for non-stick cookware is that such cookware eliminates the need for butter or oil in cooking. Contrary to popular belief, un-coated cookware is just as easy to clean as non-stick cookware, when it is used and treated correctly.), but I'm certainly not going to complain. I love this skillet; it lives with me in my room (along with the cutlery set I got for Christmas and most of my other cooking accouterments), because I don't trust the rest of the guys living here to treat it correctly. That sentiment may sound strange, considering I live with my brothers, but believe me, it is justified. And if you think about it, brothers or not, they are still a bunch of college guys, thus not usually too handy in the kitchen. So anyway, when they bought me the skillet, it was on sale %50 off. My dad asked me to check while I was at Ayers to see of they were still on sale. Unfortunately, they were not.

Those errands taken care of, I headed over to the Woods. When I got there, Amanda was not back from lab yet, but fortunately her roommate (Erin) was, so she came downstairs and escorted me to their room (since the Woods is all-female, males must be escorted whenever they are in the dorm). We stopped for a couple minutes to say hi to Rene and Elisa, two other of my friends there, and girlfriends of two of my brothers, and while we were talking, Amanda got back from lab. So we headed to her room, I changed clothes, she checked email, got ready, and we left.

Since I had never driven to Wabash from the west side of Terre Haute, she showed me all the little shortcuts to get there. She also showed me where her accident had been, as well as where Erica, another Woodsie (and the owner of the car Amanda wrecked in), also had an accident. Now, I don't remember if I mentioned RO's accident. It happened on the Thursday of our quarter break. I was visiting the TKE house since they had invited me up there to hang out, and Amanda (and Erica, too) was there to audition for the Wabash performance of Othello. (Erica was also auditioning...she is going out with one of the TKE's and is also the house sweetheart.) Well, by some twist of plans, Amanda was to drive Erica's car back to the Woods, Erica would drive her boyfriend Mike's car back the next morning, and I would give Mike a ride with me back to pick up his car sometime the next day also. Well, Amanda left (with another Woodsie who had auditioned) and all was well. Then, we got a message on AOL IM from Amanda's roommate, telling us to answer the house phone when it rang, because it was an emergency. Amanda had been in a pretty bad accident on the way back to the Woods. As it turns out, both girls in the car are okay. Erica and Mike drove out to the site of the accident and accompanied the two girls to the hospital. They called us at the house to let us know that both girls were okay, but shaken up. But for the rest of the night, I was really worried, and didn't really know why until yesterday. Amanda told me yesterday that she recently found out that while in the hospital getting X-rays, while still in shock, she passed out a couple of times, and actually stopped breathing, and had to receive CPR and the whole treatment. Scary thought. She and I seem more and more to have some kind of strange connection. She was telling me about two separate incidents in which she had a dream about one of her younger siblings getting hurt, only to find out that something strikingly similar had happened. I also had such an incident about my sister losing a tooth. Now, I'm not big on the whole psychic power thing, but I do believe in supernatural powers (if that's tough to swallow, think rather that God talks to us in different ways). Looking back, I think that something was telling me to be worried that night (I'm also a big believer in the conviction of the Holy Spirit). I felt the conviction to pray, and I did. Only now do I know why.

So we get to the TKE house, I drop Amanda off, and walk over to the tennis courts to watch the meet. Wabash is ranked slightly higher than us in the Midwest region, and they have played 13 matches already this season. I believe this meet was our 5th or 6th at most. Despite all that, we actually played them really well. We ended up losing 5-2 or 6-1, but a lot of matches went to 3 sets, and the set scores were like 6-4, 5-7, 7-6; in other words, it was a much closer meet than the match score indicated. We were generally pleased with how we played. If we're playing this well now, we should be really good when the conference tournament comes around. We'll need it; three of the teams in our conference are ranked nationally. Now you have some idea of why I won't see any matches this year. I'm good enough to play at your average, run-of-the-mill Division III school, but here, I'm just happy to be practicing. I did, however, figure out one reason why I did well in the King of the Hill drill the other day: I'm the only left-handed player on the team, and the guys are not used to hitting against a lefty, much less trying to return a left-handed serve. Damn, and I thought it was just because I was getting better ๐Ÿ™‚ But, inadvertently, I may have helped us win our one match point. The the four singles match was against a lefty, and our guy playing him had played against me in king of the hill. It's a long-shot, I know, but a guy can dream, can't he? ๐Ÿ™‚

I got back to the TKE house and waited around with Amanda for the guys to finish chapter. When they got out of Chapter, a group of us played Therapy. Therapy is a board game I've never played before, but it was actually kind of fun. Especially considering the Freudian twist to any game involving a group of college students. Despite the fact that I was at a marked disadvantage, since I knew (and was known by) everyone else playing the least, I somehow ended up winning. The game was a marathon, three-hour affair, so we were all quite happy to be done when it finished. I did receive a very high compliment, though, during the game (at least, in my humble opinion). One of the guys told me that it was too bad that I went to Rose-Hulman, because I would have fit in very well with those guys in their house there at Wabash. At any rate, I appreciated the comment.

Afterward, four of us made a run to Blockbuster and Taco Bell. Now, due to my carb-restricted diet (and cash-restricted wallet), I decided to wait and get something to eat later (note that this was already like midnight, so I hadn't eaten for like 10 or 11 hours...needless to say I was starved). We went back to the house, Amanda threw the softball around in the basement with one of the guys for a while, then she and I made our goodbye rounds and took off. When we got back to Terre Haute (particularly noting the stench of the paper mill upon our return), we stopped at Denny's. I got something to eat, she got some Oreo dessert thing (big surprise there, eh), and then we headed back to the Woods. Now, she had made a comment earlier that night that she would not let me pay for her food, since "she's not mine" or something like that, so there was no way I was going to let her pay at Denny's ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that the two bucks or whatever it was, was anything to brag about, that's just the way that I am. So I dropped her off at the Woods at about 2:30 and drove back home.

That drive gives me about 20 minutes of good thinking time, especially at 2:30 in the morning, when there is basically no other traffic. And guess what I was thinking about. I have mentioned previously that I would consider asking Amanda out, under the right circumstances. Well, those circumstances basically consist of three major criteria: one, that my brother is not in the picture; two, that I have no reason to be concerned about the warning I had received from Rene about being interested in her; and three, that she indicate to me that she is interested. The first criterion goes back to previous experience with girls and fraternity brothers, and I won't go in to the details now. Interestingly, she told me yesterday on the way to Wabash that she and my brother were no longer an issue. Mainly because he was still interested in his sort-of-ex girlfriend. The second criterion is based on my respect for the opinion of Rene. But, Amanda has actually told me about the concern in question, and I am not bothered by it. The third criterion goes back to a promise that I made to Amanda that I would not ask her out unless she told me she was interested in dating. I haven't heard anything from her along those lines, so that third criterion is also out there. I suppose I should add a fourth criterion: I believe that she is interested in getting back together with her previous ex-boyfriend, and if that is what will make her the most happy, I don't want to get in the way. So, I guess a fourth criterion is that she does not get back together with her previous ex-boyfriend. This is all kind of confusing for me, because we're getting to be good friends, and in the past I have not always been very good at keeping romantic feelings separate from close friendships with girls. I've lost a couple of close friends that way (of course, I've developed some very good friendships that way, too), and I don't want that to happen here. I guess that's why I've written so much about it in here; it helps to sort my thoughts and feelings. Fortunately, she and I are both fairly blunt when it comes to saying what's on our minds, so this whole discussion I'm having is fairly other words, I know that she knows what I'm thinking.

Well, so much for going back to sleep. My alarm just went off, telling me it's time to get up and get ready for my one class today. Oh well, who needs sleep anyway. Oh yeah, I do ๐Ÿ™‚ (note to you-know-who: no matter how much we're alike in other ways, required sleep is one way that I will never be just like you ๐Ÿ™‚ ) So, I think that's all for now.


Goals and a Milestone

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

I think today has been a really good day. When I went to check my campus mail before Design, I had a little blue slip. Now, those familiar with the Rose-Hulman mail room know that little blue slips are very good, because they mean that you have received a package. I was actually expecting a package. As I was talking to my parents on the phone last night, my mom mentioned that she had ordered a pair of jeans for me. I wear Eddie Bauer jeans, and I had asked her to order a new pair for me, since there are no Eddie Bauer stores around here. As I requested, she ordered a pair of 38-inch waist jeans (38-30 to be exact), because the pair of 40's that I have are getting loose. Now, at the beginning of January, I was wearing 44's. I have not been able to wear 38's since about my sophomore year of high school (for those of you keeping count, that's about seven years ago). So, when I got home from classes, I just had to try them on. And they actually fit! I've actually lost 6 inches off of my waist in less then two and a half months. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about that.

I also dropped out of the musical today. My "official" excuse was that the first weekend of the show is the same weekend that I have my fraternity's spring initiation and also our spring formal. It is true, I really do want to attend both, since they will be my last as an undergraduate. But had I been given a better role, or even if the chorus had more than our paltry ten minutes of stage time, I could, and probably would have, made an exception.

I started my work study today. I'll be working the hour between my Design and Health Safety and Loss classes, as well as the three hours between Statistics and tennis practice, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Also, for the rest of March, I'll be working 7-9 at night for the Alumni Phonathon, on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. That comes out to like 24 hours a week, but I need the money. I'm working in the Alumni Relations office. I worked there my freshman year, and they've been begging me to come back ever since then. This is the first time since then that I've had free time to actually work. Yeah, I keep pretty busy; but then, you probably already figured that out.

Ironically, tennis practice was canceled today. Pretty much all the snow has melted off, and today was maybe low 50's, sunny, and not very windy. But apparently, at the time the coach made the decision to cancel practice, the weather looked a bit ominous, so he canceled it. He also canceled practice for Wednesday, because he can't be there. I'm going to be suffering some major tennis withdrawal by Thursday. The Wabash meet is tomorrow. This is one of our bigger meets, as Wabash is a long-time rival. Apparently, they are also ranked higher than us, so we really want to win. Now, I won't be playing, but I'm still going to root the team on. It will also give me the opportunity to stop in at the TKE house and see what's up with the guys there. I'm taking Amanda with me, since she also has a lot of good friends there.

Thinking about graduation has made me think about my long term goals. Actually, my long term goals have been pretty well set since back in high school. Although I'm studying chemical engineering, I don't want to be an engineer the rest of my life. I actually want to become a missionary in Central or South America. I've known that this was my calling for a long time. The chemical engineering degree will hopefully open doors for me, as well as provide a means of supporting myself. I've also been one with a real desire to help others, in whatever way I can. I think that an engineering degree will enable me to help others, especially if I end up in a developing country somewhere in Central or South America. That plan should also explain the Spanish minor. I've studied Spanish for about 7 years, although I haven't used in in a year or two, so I'm a little rusty. I actually tested as fluent when I graduated high school, so when the time comes, I'm sure I won't have much trouble picking it back up. I would love to take some time after graduation this summer and go on another mission trip. I think it would be an excellent way to remind myself why I have set the long-term goals that I have set, right before starting some job at fifty thousand dollars a year. Money has never been all that important to me, but I don't want to get comfortable working as a chemical engineer and lose sight of my ultimate dreams. I'll have to see if I can afford it, though. If God wants me to go, he will provide the way. Of that, I am confident.

Well, life is back to normal, at least socially. The Woods and ISU are both back from spring break, which means that all the people I normally talk to and hang out with are around again. Not that I don't talk to or hang out with other Rose-Hulman students, but just going on the number of students here compared with the other schools, I have as many non-Rose friends as Rose friends.

So I think I've written enough for today. I'll get tomorrow's entry done when I get back from Wabash tomorrow night.


Burying the Hatchet

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

So all that snow we got yesterday is melting off today...there's still some around, but the 6-7 inches we got is down to 1-2...never a dull moment. But I'm not complaining, I'm just ready for spring to be here finally.

I had my usual talk with my parents today. We always talk on the phone on Sunday evenings, just to keep in touch. I've never been one to be homesick at all, but I am close to my parents. So it's good to talk to them regularly. Things are pretty much normal at home. We talked about graduation and my job search. I've got two interviews coming up: one this week, one next week. We'll see how those go. We talked about graduation because my mom is worrying about planning my graduation reception. We decided to have it here at the house, and have it catered. Such things would have been a lot easier, logistically, before my parents moved (more correctly, were transferred) to Maryland. But we have plenty of time to get it all worked out.

Thinking about graduation made me think about high school. My five-year high school reunion is this summer. I've got mixed feelings about the whole thing. I guess I should explain a little bit about my high school experience. Now, I've never been shy, inhibited, or otherwise introverted. But in high school, I was never in the "in" social crowd. To be honest, I never wanted to be. I was the typical band/academic geek. Heck, I still am. Not to say that I didn't have friends in the "in" crowd. I've always been one who could make friends in just about any situation. It's actually kind of funny how my progression along the social ladder developed. My first six years and my last six years pretty much mirrored each other. In junior high, and early high school, I was the one that a lot of people liked to pick on. Looking back, I actually asked for some of it. I didn't develop a lot of social grace until the later years. But I was also overweight from about third grade on. Now, I've always been a pretty strong person inside, so most of it never got to me. But it left a bad taste in my mouth toward the people I grew up with. As I began to grow and mature, I found that I was more at ease socially with my classmates. And by my senior year, I was generally accepted, although I still did not "hang out" with the in crowd. No matter; for the most part I had earned the respect of my peers, which was enough for me. But when I graduated, I still had a distaste for what I had experienced. Now, this distaste creates a difficult situation, as I also am someone who generally is unable to hold a grudge. But until recently, I had let the bitterness toward my high school experience linger. I've finally realized that in order to be truly happy and at peace with myself, I must forgive all, and let go the bitterness. So that's what I'm doing. And the reunion this summer will be my first opportunity to bury a lot of old hatchets. And it is true, time does help heal all wounds. As I look back, I realize that a lot of what I went through was a result of a lack of maturity on the part of my schoolmates. My experiences also helped me grow up and mature socially, and I recognize that now. I never could have back then. I now realize (as I did then too, in part) that a lot of the problems I faced were due to the different set of values by which I have lived my life. I've always been a person with direction and a competitive spirit. I've always had the inner strength to drive myself toward whatever I wanted to achieve. To be honest, high school was a joke to me. I found very little challenge there, academically. I challenged myself in other ways. (Now, there were some obvious exceptions; namely, some of the teachers there who pushed their students always to do their best, like Mr. Smith, Mr. Rice, and Ms. Davis, among others.) I also had more of a world vision than most of the students there. Three times by my freshman year of high school, I had been out of the country on mission trips. I had gained a much greater understanding of the things that were really the most important in life. I guess I just grew up faster than the normal teenager. Looking back, I just really didn't relate to a lot of my classmates, and they probably didn't know how to handle me. A perfect example: the band took a trip to King's Island my junior year. I actually spent about half the day hanging out with the chaperones, by choice. I enjoyed the company and the conversation more. I know; I'm strange; what can I say ๐Ÿ™‚ Going away to college, for me, was the perfect opportunity to wipe the proverbial slate clean. Only a handful of people knew me when I got to college. I didn't try to change myself or my image; rather, I made myself believe that others around me would accept me for who I am. That belief was proven true, overwhelmingly. So now, I intend to go to my high school reunion with the same belief; that after five years, my old high school classmates will accept me for who I am.

I had planned on writing more, but I think what I have written will do for today. Interestingly, the more I am writing these journal entries, the more I think of to write. So, I'm sure I'll have no problems continuing tomorrow.


Conversations and Girl Problems

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Okay, so I can be a real idiot sometimes. Today is the 11th, not the 10th. I wrote the March 10th entry this morning - and it was because I woke up thinking that today was the 10th. I actually have a calendar hanging on my wall, but it's still on December. No, it's not because I'm too lazy to change the month. The calendar is my fraternity's annual calendar we produce to raise money for charity. Each year we select 12 ladies to grace the calendar. Miss December, I'll call her Nicole, is a really good friend of mine, and I promised her that I would leave the calendar on her month. So, true to my word, it's still on December. Am I a sucker, or what?

So anyway, I'm going to write another entry today. That's alright; I have plenty more to write. I really did very little today. I could have done some homework, but I'm going to do that tomorrow. That's the other nice thing about this quarter; in spite of all the group work for Design, I actually have very little homework. Instead, I spent some time cleaning up the journal. I also started cleaning up my room, becuase it needs it. As busy as I was this week, I pretty much neglected my room. I like having a clean room, but without a roommate to keep me accountable, I'm not always good about it. Besides, I'm almost only in my room to sleep. If I were in here more often I'm sure things would be different.

So when you're doing something mundane like cleaning your room, your mind tends to wander. As my mind wandered, I started thinking about the whole Sarah thing again. I guess now would be a good time to recount the whole tale. I asked her to the formal while we were at my fraternity's Luau party. In casual conversation, I found out that she had broken up with her boyfriend (in her words, "a while ago"). So we were dancing together all night anyway, and I decided to go for broke and ask her to the formal. She accepted enthusiastically. She's drinking a little bit, and decides that she wants something more than the beer in the party, so I take her to the annex (I'll explain the house layout later) to get some vodka. Well, she drinks the vodka and starts to get more tipsy. About that time, one of my brothers, who at the time did not know that I had just successfully asked her out, started hitting on her. He apparently took her to his room to chill, and she spent like the next hour or so trying to find me. I was in and out because I was a Designated Driver, so it took me a while to find her. So I finally find her in a small lounge in the annex with my brother. They're sitting on the futon, and I sit down in the recliner and we're talking. So Sarah decides to get up (she's drunk at this point, and not walking well), and sit with me. So for the next, I don't remember, half hour, hour...she's laying on my lap. Well, if you know me, you know I'm not going to try anything, so nothing happened. I finally decided that she needed to go home to sleep in her own bed, so I drove her back to the Woods.

This all happened two weeks before the formal. In the time between then and the formal, I had nightly musical rehearsal at the Woods. Well, I don't know how many hours I spent after rehearsal either in her room or in the dorm lobby talking and getting to know her. It all seemed to be going really well. I was really pumped for the formal. We held it at the Indinapolis Zoo. Now, until today, we got snow only one day this entire winter. Which day would that be? If you guessed the day of the formal, you guessed correctly. The drive to Indy took 2 hours, twice as long as normal. We got there like a half hour late. We got there at the same time as my brother Seeley and his date, Ariel. I introduced Sarah, and Ariel asked her if Sarah and I were going out. Well, Sarah answered no (which is fine, technically, this was a first date). Then Ariel asked her if we were *going* to be going out, and Sarah answered, "not to my knowledge." That bothered me a little. I can understand if she was maybe hesitant to answer that question from basically a complete stranger. Well, the rest of the night went fairly well. Towards the end of the dancing, they played a slow song, and I let one of my brothers who had gone stag cut in. Well, they played another slow song immediately after, and I went to cut back in, and she wouldn't let me. That kind of pissed me off; after all, I was the one with the date. Didn't I have the right to be dancing during the slow songs instead of sitting on the side with all the guys who went stag? I had to admit that part of my emotions there go back to all the high school dances I went to stag, and was lucky to get one slow dance. So anyway, they had one more fast song, then the last dance, which I did get. So I take her back to the Woods, and as I'm dropping her off, I hug her. (Like I know how to get a good-night kiss, but that's another story.) She tells me that she had a really good time, so I suggest that we should go out again sometime, and she says something like, "oh, definitely; give me a call." Which says to me that she is interested in going out again. Well, from then on, every time I've tried to ask her out, she's either got plans, or is too tired, or is busy, or is studying, or otherwise unable to go out. Needless to say, I was pretty confused. So, I turned to my connections: my other friends at the Woods. One such friend, Heather, who I know means well, kept telling me that I was in, and that she was leaning toward wanting to go out with me. Well, considering Sarah's actual responses to my inquiries, I decided to get some second opinions. I talked to one of Sarah's friends at our foam party. This friend told me some rather interesting things. She told me that Sarah had told her that she was looking for two things from guys: a (pardon the language) "fuck buddy" and close guy friends, and that she saw me as one of her close guy friends. Now this revelation bothered me; for one, I'm a virgin, I intend to wait for sex until I'm married. Not that I'm against any kind of physical intimacy, but I don't want to date someone who is looking exclusively for sex in the relationship. Second, that is a moot point if I've once again landed in the dreaded "friend zone." She also told me that Sarah had said these things following the Luau party where I first asked her out, almost a full month prior; so Sarah's feelings toward may or may not have changed. I decided to try other sources, such as Erin and Alice, both friends of mine and Woods students who were in the musical with me. Both said that they thought she was interested, but couldn't really explain her actions. So I finally went to the best possible person for answers: Sarah's best friend at the Woods. She told me that Sarah had done something similar to a guy from ISU during the fall semester. Basically, Sarah led him on, but then started ignoring him when he tried to ask her out. Apparently, he called her out on it, and she blew him off. She pissed the poor guy off so much that he now wants nothing to do with her. She also told me that Sarah still thinks that if she stops returning guys' calls, they will stop calling her. True, but not very mature. Well, by this point, I figured that I couldn't let myself get stressed out over the situation, because I had too much else going on in my life to get stressed outand depressed. So I took the attitude that if she is interested in dating me, she will make that interest apparent, and if not, then we would still be friends. Unfortunately, she had gotten to the point of not returning my phone calls, etc. Well, I felt that we had become too close as friends to let her get away with that, so I wrote her a long letter, saying basically how I felt about her, and that I needed to know what she was feeling/thinking. I said that I would understand whatever she told me, but that if she valued our friendship, she needed to talk to me. I told myself that I would leave it at that; that I would wait for her response. If none came, then her silence would be her answer. Lo and behold, about a week later, I get a message that she had called me wanting to talk. I had just gotten back from a late rehearsal and was tired, but I called and we talked about nothing in particular for 20 minutes. So, we were at least talking again, which was good. She has also left the door open for me to ask her out, but we still have not had a real "talk;" she still hasn't told me her intentions. The Woods (along with the rest of the colleges in Indiana it seems) has been on Spring Break for the past week, so I've had time to mull the situation over. If she ever decides to tell me that she is interested in dating, I'm still more than willing to date her, but I'm still looking elsewhere. Not that there are any other options currently. To be honest, not that there ever are.

Back to my day...

My room cleaning was interrupted by an AOL IM conversation with Amanda. This conversation was interesting at worst, enlightening at best. I really think that we are becoming good friends. Close enough as friends that, even if there were nothing going on between her and my brother, I don't know that I would want to jeopardize our friendship by asking her out. At any rate, I learned some things about her today. She is a very intriguing girl, and very difficult to figure out. Well, she told me some things today that helped my understand her a lot better. We talked again tonight. I told her about this journal, which she read. As I suspected, there wasn't anything I had written that she did not already know. Also, like this afternoon's conversation, I learned more about what makes this girl tick. We have a good thing with our friendship; we can talk about a lot of things without the pressure of her thinking I'm wanting to ask her out. I guess, in short, our conversations today has helped me realize how much I value our friendship. It's funny; I know a lot more about Sarah's personal life, but Amanda and I are much closer friends.

As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm drinking some decaf Starbucks I bought. I had never had Starbucks before, because Terre Haute must not be swank enough to get a Starbucks cafe. But the grocery store has recently begun selling the beans. Well, being the coffee fanatic that I am, I decided to try some. To be honest, I'm not all that keen on it. The beans are over-roasted by my tastes. I like medium-to-slightly-dark roasts, which allow for the fullest flavor with the least amount of bitterness. This Starbucks tastes almost burned. I'm adjusting to drinking decaf. One of the trade-offs of this diet is that I found out that my weight loss if fairly sensitive to caffeine. Now, I've never been a big pop drinker (I've been drinking, on average, a gallon of water per day since high school), but I do love a good cup of joe every now and then. So, until I reach my ideal weight, I'm switching to decaf. At least I'll still be able to get to sleep when I finish this.

Well, I've definitely now written enough for one day. Don't worry, there's plenty more for tomorrow.


A Busy Week and a Soapbox

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Well, so much for the early appearance of spring. All week it has been sunny and in the 70's...much like early June. But I woke up this morning to a snowstorm. Not that the snowstorm is really a big deal; this is Indiana, so I expect such things. But I was enjoying the warm weather.

You probably noticed that I didn't post any entries this week. That's because this week I was a lot busier than I intended to be. We started outdoor tennis practice this week, and unlike previous years, we're spending the first 20 minutes or so on conditioning. Not that conditioning is a bad thing...I certainly need it. But, I end the day physically a good way. The good thing is, although I took a year off from playing on the team, everything is coming back. We played a "king of the hill" drill yesterday, and I held my own against the top guys on the team. This ought to really help the weight loss, too. Let's see...I started at 268 at the beginning of January. By February I was down to 250, and by the beginning of March I was at 237. I'm shooting for 225 by spring break (April 1), and 200 by graduation (May 27). After that, we'll see, but my original ideal weight goal is 180. Once I get to 200 I may decide that I don't need to lose that much more, but I'll find that out when I get there. Most people are really supportive of what I'm doing. A few people, who I know are only genuinely concerned with my well-being, for which I am grateful, but also who do not know all of the facts, are concerned about the long term affects of the Atkins diet. One such concern should be dispelled when I give blood this quarter. If all is as expected, my blood pressure and cholesterol (which have always been normal), should be still normal, or slightly below normal. One of my brothers asked me about my energy level. To be completely honest, I've got so much more energy now. I would never be able to keep up with practice every day otherwise, because the coach is pushing us fairly hard.

Besides tennis practice, I've had Design group meetings every afternoon. The last 6 weeks of the class, each group will be working on its own plant design (called the Capstone Design Project, since it is the final project we do as seniors, and incorporates pretty much every class we've taken); however, for the first 4 weeks, we work through a plant design (in this case, a plant that separates propylene from propane) as a class. And the professors thought it would be a good idea to give us homework every night, due the next class. So, instead of being in lab, every afternoon is spent with my Design group.

On top of that, every night this week after tennis practice, I participated in the phonathon my fraternity was doing to raise money for the fraternity's educational foundation. I actually didn't do too bad; in about 7 or 8 hours of work, I raised just under $1000. The chapter as a whole raised about $17,000.

So, as you can tell, I kept pretty busy. I went to pay my license plate fee on Wednesday. I got to the license branch at about 2:00, and the place was closed. Now, what kind of business closes at 12:30 on a business day. I can understand, maybe, if they were open for a few hours on Saturday to compensate, but they're not open Saturdays anymore, either. It turned out not to be a big deal; I just used to BMV-version ATM to register.

For a college student, I tend to be fairly politically active. I'm Republican; actually, I'm about as conservative as one can get without being fanatical. So, I found the events of this past Tuesday to be quite interesting. George W. Bush all but wrapped up the Republican nomination with his near-sweep of Super Tuesday. It's funny, Bush has been winning the Republican vote by about 3 to 1, yet the talking heads keep talking about the "division" in the party. The only way McCain stayed in the race was by getting the vote of Democrats and Independents who voted in the primaries. Now, I have no problem with independents voting in the Republican primary, but they should have to declare Republican affiliation (at least for the primary), and no one who votes in one party's primary should be able to vote in the other party's primary. If it weren't for Democrats voting in the Republican primary, the results would have been all too apparent a long time ago. And now, McCain is "suspending" his campaign. What the heck is that? Why not just give up, and let the party start pooling it's resources for the general election? Before, he at least put on a front of caring about the party, and "issues;" now, he just looks like a sore loser.

I watched Stigmata last night. I thought it was a really good movie. It is interesting - I was raised Christian (no affiliation to any particular denomination), and one of the reasons I could never be Catholic is precisely the main topic of the movie. The movie pretty much centered around the controversial Gospel of Thomas, which I have never read. Basically, in the movie, some priests translate a very old scroll, older than any of the canon Gospels. This new gospel, which the movie identifies as possibly being "the Gospel of Christ," begins, "The Kingdom of God is inside you. The Kingdom of God is all around you. Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift a stone and you will find me." (Sorry if I paraphrased that.) Now, although I have never read the Gospel of Thomas, this idea is one of the basic differences between Catholocism and the rest of Christianity. From what I understand, Catholics believe that believers must go through the Church as a mediator between the believer and God. However, protestant Christianity believes that no such mediation is necessary. If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend watching it. It's one of those movies that can really make you think, and can spawn some rather interesting conversations. I think, after watching the movie, that I'm going to try to find a copy of the Gospel of Thomas, and read it...just to see what is in it.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough for today. I'll keep trying to be more consistent with the journal. Hang in there while I develop the habit.


The Beginning

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

I have a confession to make...I'm actually writing this on the sixth. Oh well. I started the first day of my final quarter as a college student. It's funny; until this year, I really wasn't ready to leave college, but now I'm ready to graduate. Sure, there are a lot of things I'll miss about college life, but being the stereotypical poor college student is definitely not one of them. Granted, I don't yet havea job lined up, but I'm optimistic that I will get that taken care of before too long.

Anyway, about this quarter. I've been waiting five years to get the schedule I have this quarter. I start at 10:00, and am done by 1:30 every day. And ,after spring break (first week of April), I will start at 11:45 and still be done at 1:30. This is the first quarter in my five years of college that I won't have a lab.

Which means that I will have a lot more free time than I'm used to. But not to worry...I'll have no problem filling that time. Frist, I'm going to be practing with the tennis team again this year. I played my first three years here, but didn't last year because I was in the Spring musical. I'm in the musical again this year, but only got a chorus part, which is a bit disappointing. Especially since I've been in Drama the whole time I've been here. Granted, the first three years I only played in the pit orchestra; but still, I had a principle role last year, and this year I'm in the chorus. Needless to say, that upset me a little but. But my disappointment was tempered by my participation in the musical at St. Mary-of-the-Woods college (The Woods), an all-female catholic school about 20 minutes from here. We did The Pirates of Penzance, and I had the role of Samuel. That musical was one of the most fun things I've done in a while. Even though I'm going in to engineering, I hope to be able to pursue music and theater after graduation.

Speaking of the Woods brings up another issue; namely, the girls there. A few in particular have been important of late. The first, I'll call Sarah, and she works on the Tech crew at the Woods. I actually met her at the Woods porch dance at the beginning of this year, but I didn't get to know her well until I went to see Twelfth Night at the Woods last fall. The othe one, I'll call Amanda. I got to know her during the course of Pirates. Now, Sarah and I have actually gone out. I took her to my fraternity formal. Since then, she has been the source of much confusion and frustration. I'm sure I'll get into it more later, but in short, she tells me that she is interested in going out, but never seems to have time to do so. Amanda is different; under the right circumstances, I would consider asking her out. That said, those circumstances do not currently exist. For one, one of my brothers is interested in her (and in fact, they have gone out), and out of principle, I will not pursue someone my brother is interested in. Also, I have been told by a couple of people (who shall remain anonymous) that I shouldn't be interested in her. But we seem to have a good chemistry. There have been numerous times in which we have spent hours talking on AOL IM about anything and everything. We actually think a lot alike, which, knowing me, is kind of scary :). I know that I like her, but I don't know that I would ask her out. At the same time, the issue of Sarah is still there. This has been an ongoing thing for over two months now. I'm almost to the point where I don't know if I'm even still interested. For the past few weeks, I've been of the impression that, while I would willingly and happily date her if she were interested, I would have to assume that unless she tells me otherwise, she's not interested. In this case, I know that she knows exactly how I feel about her. In talking to some of her friends, I'm beginning to think that there is an insurmountable maturity differnece between us. Apparently, she has a habit of ignoring or otherwise not talking to guys who are interested in her...basically, a real high school approach. Well, I don't want to deal with high school immaturity in college. I'll explain the whole story in more detail later. I just bring it up now, because I've been think about it.

I'm feeling really good today. Over Christmas break, my parents introduced me to a diet that they had decided to try. It is called the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet is a ketogenic diet, which in short means that, by restricting carbohydrate intake, your body begins a process called ketosis/lypolysis. This medicalese means that, instead of metablolizing carbohydrates to form glucose (the fuel that the blood carries to cells), the body will breakdown body fat (lypolysis) to form ketones, which the body uses as an alternate fuel source. Despite what you may hear, this diet is nutritionally sound, and not only helps overweight, but also improves cholesterol and blood pressure, and other blood/heart conditions. Well, as of sometime last week, I had lost 31 punds since January 4 of this year. I'm wearing clothes I haven't been able to wear since high school (and even then, they were really tight). I'll get into this more later also, but I'm just excited right now because I can already see improvements in my tennis game. (Tennis is one of my original passions.)

Well, I'm going to get ready for tennis practice...I'll actually write a March 6th entry later today.