Monday, December 24, 2007

Break Glass Ceiling--Check

I finally broke the Top 100!!! Number 92! HOLLA!!!

A VERY big accomplishment since Oregon is not exactly being accomodating weather-wise. I think I would have been drier having jumped into a swimming pool than I was after my second run tonight. I was SO unmotivated to be anywhere other than on the couch with a glass of wine and A&E's Pride and Prejudice--all six hours of it!--on the TV. To see that the run from hell was the one that got me into my coveted number 92 spot is just such sweet satisfaction.

Stay tuned! I've got my eyes on breaking another ceiling and getting in the top 75 to finish!

It's only 10 miles a day--no big deal (HA!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

patience is not a virtue I possess

Ugh. I am sitting at work, with nothing to do (for the first time in about 2 months)and no motivation to take any sort of initiative today. I would ask for work, but I also don’t want to get stuck alphabetizing the storage closet for the last two hours before our glorious 10-day holiday break, so I am attempting to lay low under the “Can You Do Me A Favor” radar and just get the hell out of here!

I am stoked for the Blue Light Special. I have built in snooze time to my morning routine and usually bask in the glorious 20 minutes of sleep indulgence that I take. It’s a mind trick, but one that works for me. This morning, however, there was no happy drifting back into sleep for a precious few minutes. No, this morning I was AWAKE! I tried my damndest to relax and take my snooze allocation, but nothing doing. I’m too excited and my body/sub-conscious just can’t forgo their impatience to be back in Oregon long enough for me to catch my ZZZs or get through work without looking at the clock and sighing at least once every 3 minutes.

And now I have exactly 2 hours and 21 minutes until I take my nightly run (still trying to get in the top 100 for the Jog Off That Nog Challenge) and head over to Therapy for a martini with the girls. Normally, I would consider myself a pretty mentally healthy person, but tonight I’ll take the therapy (I mean I’m obviously having anxiety issues to get on that plane and get back to Pacific Standard)—so long as it comes in the form of a very neat gin martini with a dish of extra olives.

I can seriously feel the cool slippery liquid sliding past my welcoming palate and into my tummy.

Two hours, 17 minutes.

I’m gonna need two martinis by the time I get out of here. I am so absolutely horrid at waiting.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No. 154

Moved up again! YAY!

2 Days until Bethany's Oregon "Blue Light Special"!!!

Can't wait to visit and party with you guys!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Still out of the top 100, but have improved 33 spots! Angel--you'd better be ready to go through doggie boot camp! Cause T-Minus 4 days until we test out that energy resource Mom has been bragging about.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I guess you also should know that I am like No.196 out of about a million and you can't actually see my times yet damn it! But when I catch up to the top 100, my name is "FastAsUCan". Just keep looking for me! I'll be there!

My Very Public Insurance Policy

Ok people, I'm freakin' resolved, bound and determined to actually finish this 150 mile running challenge I've gotten myself into. The best way for me to guarantee this happening is to appeal to my pride and put my progress up for all to see. That way I can't back out or flake out when the going gets tough--as if it didn't get tough enough on that 8 mile run I took down Providence today. God those hills are killer--much worse than they look! I hope I can walk tomorrow, because I've got another 8 miles to do after work. Ah the life of an insanely ambitious 23-year-old woman. 

Check it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And another thing!

And P.S.

What the hell is up with the weather here? It's like 80 degrees today?

I was unaware that I had moved 20 miles North and into the tropics? Or is Charlotte on the same winter schedule as Austrailia now?

It's seriously freaking me out. Temperatures that usually dictate tanning by the pool make it very difficult to get into the holiday spirit. The only kind of skiing you can do is water skiing (if we had any water that is--stupid drought) and bikinis are more applicable than the gorgeous winter coat I just bought and have worn about 3 times.

Point being: No making fun of me when I think that 50 degrees is freezing when I get home.

“Jog off the Nog Challenge” or “I’ve freakin’ lost my Nog-gin Challenge”?

I think I just hit crazy.

Yes. I’m reasonably sure that I did. At about 7pm yesterday evening. When I got home from a run, sync-ed my iPod to Nike+ and found a challenge created by somebody in Oregon.


These were my first—very pleasant, very normal—initial thoughts. Click! I joined.

And then I looked at what I had done.

I am, as they say, an idiot.

Because I am now a member of a “150 miles in one month” challenge that I have to complete by December 31 and I have run about 12. That’s like 8 percent.

I am SUCH an idiot.

Because I’m not one of those reasonable people who would just get out of the group and let it go.

Oh no. I have to do it now. 7 Miles a day for 20 days. Ugghhhhh.

What’s more? Some woman named Kitty—get this---ran her’s in 10 days.

Show off.

She’s from Ohio. I just think they have a fixation with being number 1.

Yeah we’ll see how that goes without Greg Oden.

God I am such an idiot.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Double Agent's can be loyal too!

It's official. I am no longer an Oregonian. After four hours of waiting at the DMV (LONG STORY) and three hydroplanes--in very Oregon-like driving conditions-- later, I am now a licensed driver, registered Democrat and organ donor in the state of North Carolina. I got 100% on my test--which I think was the shortest portion of my experience at the East Independence Department of Motor Vehicles Offices.

And though I am relieved to no longer be in possession of a "valid without photo" Oregon ID, I am quite remorse that I had to leave that piece of my Identity behind. I can now get into bars and on airplanes without harassment, but I won't get those little moments of wonderment with random strangers when they look and see I'm from a state that is 3000 miles and world of culture away. I love Charlotte and have been quite happy here, but I still have this nagging feeling that I've somehow betrayed my steadfast liberal roots and all the S.N.O.Bs. I wonder why the hell I've stuck around an environment full of people who think I'm crazy because I believe everybody should have access to health care or that recycling is worth the effort of putting that Coke can in a little red box rather than the big blue one.

I love where I'm at. I love the challenges and the experiences and my people here. But some days I wake up and it's raining just like it does down the I-5 corridor. And I'll be damned if I don't spend the day just wanting to go home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Did You Miss Me???

Well it's been a while, but I'm still here in the Queen City. Living it up! Making plans for London next year! I don't have a whole lot of time, since I am STILL computer-less (I'm not even going to go there with the insurance right now, because I still need good karma with them) and monopolizing office bandwidth to write this short notice of my continued existence. HOWEVER...I will have photographs up soon from the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer that is going on in Charlotte this weekend. Really looking forward to giving up my time and talent for a cause that has hit too close to home, one too many times for my clan. So check in next week for the whole she-bang and an update to-boot.

Peace.Love. Save The Whales.


Monday, September 17, 2007

A little bit more, a little bit more

This is how poor I am. I made my entire house go without toilet paper for two days, because I left the coupon my office manager gave me at work over the weekend. And saving a whopping $1.50 is a big deal right now!

It's honestly depressing. I work 40+ hours, but am stuck with an intern's pay, while my friends work the same or less than I do and make double. I love where I work, but I can't shake the feeling that somehow the world is just being completely unfair when it comes to this issue!

It's injustice I tell you! At least it feels like it when I walk by a pair of shoes that are calling my name like two Greek sirens (though admittedly, the shoes are almost always decidedly Italian). It just feels like a frustratingly big ordeal when I can't have what I want when I want. Isn't that what my college education was for!

OK. Reality check. I've passed the shoes. I'm out of the Siren's range. And once again, I remember that my financial woes are ridiculously smaller and more petty than what Afghan women have to deal with. I don't have to beg in order to support my children. And I don't feel so helpless that dousing my body with kerosene and lighting a match feels like the only way to exert some control over my life--even if it means that I end it as a result.

Last night I stayed up watching a CNN special on the condition of Afghanistan since the US invaded. To put it mildly, my personal depression turned to deep gratitude. I can't afford an Acura TL and I don't have cash laying around for Coach purses or Burberry jackets, but I can pay my bills and walk in public without being ridiculed or oppressed. I'm allowed to speak my mind. My ideas and words are considered worthy by men and women alike. Hell, my boss even lets me wear my nose stud without question!

It seems as though it's human nature to always want just a bit more than what we have. At times this be a good thing. That "reaching for the stars" attitude pushes us, but if we aren't careful--if we don't allow ourselves to put a situation into perspective--it can also hold us back.

I wouldn't mind a little bit more, but I also realize that when looking at my life through the lens of greater part of the world's whole, the sum of my experience is really quite great.

Still. Can somebody remind me of all of this the next time there is a sale at Nordstroms that I dare not even make a mental note of, for fear of maxing out every last credit card?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Joke: I can actually see the ass crack of dawn from this asana that I am currently in

Man. I am so out of shape. Hopelessly. Pathetically. Unbecoming-of-my-athlete-status-ly. I am so freakin' out of shape.

And I'm not sure, but I think my chakras--while having temporarily agreed to stay open and at peace--are sore from the yoga I am attempting to do without throwing out my back. Is that even possible? For chakras to be sore? Somebody with scientific knowledge can correct me, but I swear on the great Buddha's right lotus blossom that mine are.

The best part (for you, not for me): I am getting up at 6:00 am to do it all again. You have full permission to laugh your own ass off at me now and call me nuts.

I already know that I'm crazy. But I'm also out of shape and the only way for me to get strong without having the thighs of a WWE/Body Builder/Sumo wrestler is to do less lifting and more yoga.

Maybe if I really go off the deep end, I'll mix in a little pilates while I'm at it. I can just hear my hamstrings crying, begging for mercy.

Though that begs the question: Are you even supposed to do yoga AND Pilate's? Aren't they inherently at odds? One: the lifestyle of the rich and spiritually lacking slash seeking some sort of assurance that they aren't completely selfish and greedy cause I do YOGA and/or the commune-seeking organic-eating raw-food-vegan-who still drinks tea-which technically is cooked-but gets away with it because their friends are all too damn high to care-hippie left-over and/or college wannabe. The other: the type-A control-freak who must discipline every aspect of their life right down to the very cells and strings which align to form their bodies in order to exist and not grow old b/c that would mean less ability-sharpness-and the all important-but never forgotten even at the end of this very long run on sentence-CONTROL.


Let go v. Hold on. Should be a good match between my lazy and increasingly soft muscle groups.

Or maybe I am just thinking about this entirely too much because my chakras really are freed up from the energy sun-moon link sequence that I completed this evening and my head won't turn off just quite yet. Not to mention that I probably really shouldn't judge, since half of the above judged as just a bit ridiculous qualities/characteristics/insecurities are in fact my very own.

So. See you at 6:00 if anyone wants to join my for a challenging advanced series. I'm sure the West Coasters are especially keen on being there at the East Coast's "Ass Crack of Dawn" with me and all my chakras.

But don't complain that I never invite you to anything.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Cry Me A River

In my next life I will be independently wealthy. I will spend labor day in New York watching the US Open instead of in Charlotte cleaning my house and trying (god help me) to finally finish unpacking. I will more than likely end up doing everything but that neccessary task, but such is the life of a poor intern. No money to go exotic and fascinating places and no desire to accomplish the mundane tasks that need doing.

Have I cried you a big enough river yet?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Being Old School...

I was standing at the copy machine today--begging it to please please please do this one little favor for me-- and realized in a flash of insight how pathetically attached to technology we are. Call me crazy, but something's out of whack when your machines take on personalities of their own and you start talking to them like there is an acutal person standing in front of you.

As it happens, our copy machine is the worst. Yesterday she refused to hole punch or staple my supplements and crashed 5 minutes before our meeting--without printing the one page we needed. It was as if that chunky body of nuts, bolts, ink and toner was actually angry at the world and was going to tell us about it, like a teenager whose been told they are too young to go to a party or some other rubbish. Chad was forced to basically molest her in order to get a tiny scrap of paper released from her deepest recesses.

Not to mention my journey round the house this morning to find my mischvious and constantly missing USB-compatible card reader, so I could email the photos resting on my CF flashcard to my editor. No dice. I had to go to the drug store at lunch and convert the files onto a CD. Except the CD drive there wasn't working. Evidently the photo machine was having a bad day too. So I had to come back later when it was fixed and instead of emailing the photos at 10:00 am, it was dark before they arrived safe and sound in her inbox.

Whatever happened to the days of the one-hour photo counter and a stamp?

Well, I'll tell you straight up. They are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long gone that it's ridiculous.
Those who attempt to hang on are scoffed at and constantly bombarded with demands to, "get with it". It's not so much about keeping up with the Jones's anymore as keeping up with the vast array of newer, brighter, bigger/smaller, and better.

But my drama filled experience with our copy machine has got me thinking that maybe they're on to something.

Maybe Grandma Polly is actually smarter than the rest of us for refusing to buy a digital camera and printing dock; instead, continuing to use old school Kodak and taking her film into WalMart by the load. Though Kodak soon won't even be making film, except for professional grade, she's held strong to her tangible way of doing things.

Maybe she's right and what you see should still be what you get. The iPhone is pretty sweet (so suculent to the human eye that I would probably give my left and right arms to have one). Blue tooth, wireless Internet, nanotech--well they're all great, but have you noticed there seems to be a new law roaming around the universe that says if something is due, past due or should have been done yesterday, every piece of technology will malfunction at precisely the WORST moment?

You WILL get the blue screen of death on the last question of your timed online midterm--with a mere 30 seconds to finish without penalty. Your printer WILL go offline and/or run out of ink 20 minutes before your 40-page thesis is due (which you have, of course, waited until the last second to print b/c you, of course, waited until the last second to write it and have only finished cranking that baby out a short 45-minute nap ago). Or, and this is the worst, your flash drive WILL REFUSE to work b/c you have neglected to keep that handy dandy protective cap on it and some infinitesimal micro-something-or-other-made-of-silica is now malfunctioning. Yes. That is the worst. All that information sitting right there in your hand and you can't access it. IT IS. THE WORST. EVER.

To the tech-heads and those obsessed with linear progress in the universe, I may be way out of line, but maybe--just maybe--we all need to get a bit old school about life and go back to a more tangible existence, rather than continue to feed the arms race into the invisible, the incalculable, the ineffable.


Or maybe I should just go ahead, sell my soul for an iPhone and be done with it .

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do you really think you can "spike" on my ass? Really?

Winthrop's first annual Sweet Elite Has-Been Athlete Reunion was a complete success. I arrived home sandy, sun-burned and sweaty Saturday night from my first volleyball outing in about a year to a living room packed full of boys watching Beckham. And I'm not kidding you, the soccer channel was on THE ENTIRE WEEKEND, wake or sleep. They were only too happy to engage in an orgy of soccer, beer and belching. I, on the other hand, missed the Blake-Federer final of the Cincinnati Open due to their futbol bender.

Janette (our temporary roommate, fellow Big South Intern and vballer) concurs that it was definitely a bit much.

But I would be lying through my freshly whitened teeth if I tried to say that having so many people around our place wasn't satisfying.

We felt loved. We felt popular. Like we are the cool kids living in the big city.

Well, at least a city bigger than Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Back to Janette. Man, that copper Chevy coup pulled up in my driveway just in time. Finally! Another set of XX chromosomes set at the office. The boys were driving me nuts, God bless em'. Just too many fake golf swings every time you try and have a conversation. And too many boasts about how they would sooooooooooooooooo spike on my ass if we ever played volleyball.

Right. I was the starting Libero (i.e. the most bad-ass defender on a team) at a top 30 division I school, made the all-conference team, went to the NCAAs every year and you are going to spike on my ass? I don't think so. Give yourself a reality check and admit that you will not beat me at my game unless you actually played it. Especially if you weren't an athlete.

And who even says "spike" anymore? Is it 1990? Have I just mistakenly fast-forwarded my personal reality 17 1/2 years?

I'm just saying...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Approaching Loserdom.....NOW

I am officially a loser. I turned down two invitations to go out and see people in a non-work atmosphere, so that I could stay home and whiten my teeth (my love for anything and everything coffee has made this more and more necessary in order to not look like I have constantly just eaten a yellow lollipop) and watch the James Blake tennis matches that I dvr'ed (God I love that little gadget, I've got yoga and power kickboxing programed in at 1 am tonight so I can do them in my living room tomorrow morning. And while this might seem overenthusiastic to most, I'll stand by my assessment that dvr is really pretty freakin' awesome in my book).

In case you're wondering Blake won both matches. Fabulously. FINALLY. I am hoping he is back and ready to take New York by storm. Still bummed that my intern salary will not afford me going up there to visit Sameer and catch a few rounds, but I've got dvr now, so at least I can watch all the matches. It's a small comfort.

I am also playing real volleyball for the first time in for-eva-eva tomorrow and I. AM. PUMPED.
It has been shamefully too long since I've been on a court--hardwood or sand. So hopefully that age-old adage about remembering how to ride a bike will apply to serving, digging, passing and shot making. Thank God it's three's and I don't have to worry about blocking or hitting. Let the tall people jump around like they are "the (wo)man" and then I'll sneak in and take away their glory with one little arm--shot out from my body at the very last second and angled just so, sending the Baden directly to the setter, only to result in my own tall people slamming it in the other team's face.

I've been visualizing. Can you tell?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last Train Has Left The Station...What a downer

July was my last National SAAC meeting. I'm more than a little bummed that this part of my life journey is done. But I'll get over it. Just so long as there's a reunion in Cancun soon!
Some shots from our community service at the nations largest homeless shelter in Washington D.C. and from our abysmal kickball outing...I don't want to talk about it.

Stubborn streaks that run in families make it hard to stop sweating the small stuff--but I'm still gonna try. That's how stubborn I am.

Stupid Lottery. I suppose my chances were slim to none, but I really felt like I was owed some good fortune after the week I had. Obviously I didn't have the golden ticket, but neither did anyone else, so better luck next week. Actually, better luck this week--THANK GOD!!! The insurance is being wonderful. My claims' adjuster is not your stereotypical cold bottom-line-only-focused shrew. Rather she was sympathetic and pulled through for me in a big way. There is no chance on this earth--short of winning the lottery or inheriting money from a mysterious source--that I could have come up with $3500 to replace everything that was taken.

We have a new roomie from Pittsburg and of course Meg knows her. I swear, that girl knows the entire population of Pennsylvania and probably half of Atlanta. Janette will only be crashing temporarily at chez BethBethMichael et Will, but I am looking forward to having another volleyballer around the house and the office. I hope she doesn't mind sleeping on a couch and working in a file room! Ahhhhhh, the life of an intern!

Before I jot off, I just have to give a little shout out to my Grandpa Earl. He died one year ago yesterday and it's been a rough one for us all. I usually do well coming to terms with this fact, but every once in a while, I'll find myself crying in traffic for no good reason other than I just miss him like hell.

Damn it! You got me again.

I had rough weekend and I couldn't figure why I was so touchy. I was seriously freaking out about the dumbest things. I got mad at Will for asking when the Internet would get hooked up and if everybody that I've yelled at driving in the past week could have heard me, I'd probably be in the hospital from all the beat downs that would have come my way. But I think I was really just suffering all over again from a broken-heart and unwilling to admit that I'm still not over the fact that he is gone.

So Grandpa--just remember that I will always remember. You are--as Nat and Natalie so aptly put it--unforgettable. I still look to you when I'm freaking out and sweating it. I still remember how hard you worked to make others happy and when I just can't get over myself I remember the selfless example you set and follow it--though sometimes I'm a little pouty about it. I know that's the kind of person I'd rather be any and every day.

I'll keep trying not to sweat the small stuff. You just keep coming in and making me cry. It kind of feels good actually.Because even though it hurts, I'm still thinking of you. And that brings me the kind of joy that no pain can stand up to.

Love you much!


Friday, August 10, 2007

I have the worst luck ever, but I still bought a lottery ticket this week!

Um, I think I might be cursed? Otherwise, I just cannot explain the rout of rotten luck I have had lately. In addition to being robbed last Saturday, last night I spent two hours in the Shell Station on Sharon and Fairview after my jeep started leaking antifreeze in the Nordstrom parking lot at South Park b/c it's 100+ degrees here and evidently cars don't like that. Especially ones that would be old enough to consume alcohol were they human beings. Needless to say, despite becoming bosom buddies with the Turkish attendant who let me sit behind the counter and chill with him in the air conditioning, it wasn't my first choice of where or how to spend my evening. Seriously now. What are the odds of all this BS happening at once?

As Ms.McGrane would put it,"I am sooooooooooo over it!"

And I am. Over it. Determined not to let it make me bitter or negative. Grandpa Earl always advised us to "not sweat the small stuff" and thank God some of that attitude has stuck with me. I'll roll with the punches, but punch back if I have to. Right about now, I feel like punching the evil twin of Lady Luck, the three fates and whatever evil spirits are kicking it around my life sphere, in the face.


Little do they know I have a black belt in kicking negativity in the ass and silver linings are attracted to my presence like kids to a mess.

I even bought a lottery ticket last night, just cause.

My mantra this week: "Tell the negative committee that meets in the back of your head to sit down and shut up!"

Monday, August 6, 2007

Sorry grandma, there will be no photo of my lovely burglarized house for some time. Yes. I did say burglarized. Yes. I am quite angry about it. Yes we are having the locks re-keyed and asking for a security system. The police and the crime scene people already came by. No forced entry. Probably somebody who did work on the house and made a copy of the key so that the second we moved in and happened to leave--they could come and ruin our otherwise very happy day.

I don't feel violated, just annoyed that I get to deal with all of this. There are certainly worse things that happen in life, but right now this is the worst. I have no laptop, no camera, no iPod. And Irony just won't stop throwing punches.

Exhibit A: Roommate Will has had a streak of bad electronics luck. I jokingly told him that he'd better not bring his curse into to our house. Ha ha on me. Curse came, saw and conquered.

Exhibit B: Kept saying how much I wanted a new computer...guess I'm going to get it! Weeks of insurance paperwork and negotiations later with a hopeful outcome of reembursment

Exhibit C: No sooner are my camera and laptop wretched away from me then do I receive several offers to do freelance work--for which I really need both. Thank God Jennie is a wonderful friend and is going to let me borrow her SLR. I'm promising not to take it back to the house though--ever. No need to bring the curse on her!

Exhibit D: Nice police woman who dusted for fingerprints, just like on CSI (except--and no offense meant to her--she was no where near as good looking as Gary Dourdan), said that in the four years that she had worked our area, she'd never once heard of a break-in in our neighborhood. Just our luck, eh.

So, sorry grandma. No picture of my lovely burgled house. But I promise it will be the first picture I take with my new camera. The second being of our shiny new locks and the third of the panel to the security system--which will probably never be needed again once we get it. How do I know this? I know irony on a close personal level and I know that irony won't be able to resist the delicious temptation for one more good laugh at us over this one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Newest Article

P.S. Check out my latest article for the NCAA News!!!

Here's the link!!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLN4g3NPUESYGYxqb6kWhCjhgihqYeCDFfj_zcVKBMpDlQwNTIQz8qJzU9MblSP1jfWz9AvyA3NDSiPN8RANobkoo!/delta/base64xml/L3dJdyEvd0ZNQUFzQUsvNElVRS82XzBfMTVL?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/NCAA/NCAA+News/NCAA+News+Online/2007/Association-wide/Unsporting+conduct+-+07-30-07+NCAA+News

I'm a Big Kid Now...

I think my big girlness has reached a whole new level. I have a house. After two weekends on the road and an 80-hour work week, I moved myself from Rock Hill, SC up the road to the "Big City." No, not New York (I WISH!!!). During rush hour I yearn for NYC's subway system. Nope, Charlotte is it for me right now. And after 6 trips back and forth with a loaded Jeep, I am done with carrying boxes for more than a while.

Though not done with unpacking them. Our entire first floor is stuffed with the stuff of three human beings and we need to make room for the stuff of one more. Which means Mikey and I have a lot of work to do before the weekend. Looks like that nap I was going to take after work is looking less and less likely!

I miss naps so very badly. Why, oh why, didn't I take advantage of them when they were mandatory in kindergarten??? I have promised myself at least an hour of bliss on Saturday and it's pretty much my motivation to get through the week. I'm still getting back into "40-hours+ work-week" shape and the conditioning regimen is kicking my ass.

Still, I'm determined. And I've got to get there soon, so I can pick up a second job and make some extra $$$.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

To All Those Who Have Been Waiting A Month For Me To Return Their Phone Call

Alright. After getting called out by my dad (who I haven't quite convinced to start a blog of his own for philosophical ranting, musing and digressing) for not updating my own blog in quite some time, I've made the executive decision to provide an update on the life and times of yours truly.

I've been working at the Big South Conference for almost a month now. In between learning how to use the fancy telephone, copy machine and actually waking up/get out the door on-time again, I've found a house and housemates. I'm officially becoming a resident of North Cack-a-lack on Tuesday, the thirty-first day of July, this year of our lord, two thousand and seven. I have to admit, I am more than a little heartbroken to give up my valid-without-photo Oregon ID. Though getting pick-pocketed and having to deal with the always rude TSA agents and annoyed bartenders (who never seem satisfied with a government ID sans photo) is not exactly my idea of FUN, it's been a conversation starter--even before I lost the original. I guess my nostalgia is born out of the feeling that this is the last marker of the end of an era for me. I am no longer a kid--which I understood, but am realizing fully only now.

I have an adult job. I have to pay taxes and bills. And damn it, I can't take naps anymore except on Saturdays. But I am also excited about moving to a new city--even if it is only 30 minutes up the road. I'm looking forward to being a young professional and to taking advantage of all the opportunities and challenges that come with this status. Hopefully one of those opportunities will allow me to continue to tell the stories that matter in this world; to give a voice to those who are lacking; to do something that makes a positive difference to our tiny speck of planet that still means the world to those who call it home.

I hope you are also doing well in your worlds. Here's to plotting collision courses and bosom-buddy reunions.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing is Never Enough

Today is a good day. It is the first truly good day of year 23. Why, you politely ask? I got a job today. Ahhhhhhhh. I can feel a pretty large amount of that stress (which has been eating away at my peace and contented state of being for some time now, despite lots yoga and running and healthy doses of temporary denial) dissipating, evaporating and getting gone so-to-speak. And you, my friends, you are looking at the newest Big South Intern! Well, you are reading her words at least (If you are looking at me without my knowledge, please stop. It's creepy). Now if I can just get a part-time gig working with some sort of writing entity--newspapers, online newspapers, magazines holla at your girl--I will probably be one of the happier people you know in your life circles. I'm already coasting at "elated" for the time-being. Hopefully nothing else wonderful happens today, or else I will be in danger of bursting into a million little pieces of joy that just couldn't contain itself inside of me...

OK, that's a lie. I'll take all the good I can get. Mae West was mostly right when she said, "Too much of a good thing is never enough." Right now it's definitely enough. We'll see about tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Zeus is letting loose!

We've been having some mad crazy thunder n' lightening storms down here, so you know I've been ecstatic. Like a kid in a candy store, but I can't touch anything. I keep doing the "it's not fair" dance in my mind. And I know you're not really supposed to be outside during these things, but I couldn't help myself the other night when we got a rager. Freaked my roommate and her boyfriend out when I came tearing through the living room at midnight with my Olympus and the look of a mad scientist whose seen Frankenstein outside the window on my face. That baby lasted TWO HOURS!!! Granted, I only got a few minutes to shoot before the blankets of warm southern rain came pelting down and my instincts told me that my SLR wasn't going to fare well--but I did manage to get one lonely shot with a lightening bolt in it. I was pretty damn proud of myself...believe me, it's harder than it looks. I'm just hoping the next week brings more storms, so I can get in some practice.

This was just something cool I did with the streetlight, while waiting for the next flash of lightening to hit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

God Bless Starbucks

Ethanol? Yuck. Who wants to run off of nasty tasting alcohol compounds? Nope. It's espresso for me! My fuel of choice: A venti non-fat no-whip mocha. It's $4.00 and counting...but seriously worth every penny!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Static Electricity

Almost everyday I drive by this work site at the top of a hill that overlooks the Catawba River. Almost everyday I promise myself that I am going to take photos at sunset of the electricity towers that are only visible while they work on this project. I finally did it the other day. Comments and Critique welcome...

Is 23 All It's Cracked Up To Be? The Verdict Is Still Out On This One...

I'm 23 now. For the first time in my short life I can answer affirmatively to the question: Do you feel any different in your new ripe-old age? I'm not yet sure why 23 seems so much older, holds so much more emotional impact and sends my heart rate into overdrive. I think it might have something to do with having no clue where my life is going beyond July 31 and knowing that every choice I make now could mean the difference between writing alongside Maureen Dowd and getting stuck somewhere along the way. Yet, as soon as I work myself up over the seriousness of each new, pressing decision, my inner rebel kicks in its two-cents: Why the hell do you want to follow a safe, conventional path? BORING!!! UNFULFILLING!!!

So I'm in limbo. Looking for summer work and a new roommate. Looking for direction and inspiration. Trying to gain real and valuable journalistic experience, but also savoring every moment at my pool before I become too entrenched in real-world shackles.

It's been 11 days into my love/hate relationship with 23 and though I feel like it's too early to call this might be a tougher year than I've expected. That being said, it will probably be more profound. It will probably yield remarkable identity discoveries. It will probably be worth it. Wait...rewind. It will definitely be worth it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Round One of The NH Presidential Debates Doesn't Disappoint

Whew. I’m worn out from the two hours I just spent trying to watch to the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate AND pay attention to the media and blogger commentary online. For once in my life I was begging for a commercial break.

The wait was worth it. The only critique I can offer concerns inequity of time each candidate received to use his or her voice. Still, it was overall the best presidential debate I’ve seen in my young life (the first I can remember being the 1992 debates that I watched with my dad). Elizabeth Edwards said quite eloquently to Larry King that the American people finally got the give and take interaction and honest answers about policy that they are deserving of. Also noted was that the audience questions were a great touch of democracy to the whole process. I couldn’t agree more and that’s what brings me to the topic I’d like to throw out to the wolves. We, of course, heard about Iraq and Iran, immigration, oil prices, the deficit and health care. But something that peaked my own interest—as a college-age voter—was a question posed by a young man about mandatory service in the armed forces.

The candidate response was interesting to say the least. None of the candidates seemed keen on reinstating the draft or on requiring mandatory service, but both Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel commented that using service in the armed forces and community service organizations could be a catalyst for a two-way relationship between college students and the U.S. Government in terms of financing higher education.

Mike Gravel proposed that every year of service in organizations like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or in a branch of the armed services could bring fours years of paid education. This started a conversation that touched on the struggle middle-class families are facing in financing college educations deemed so necessary for success these days, on the scandals involving student loan providers and the rising price vs. the quality of state education.

I really liked the values that Chris Dodd put forth about the fleecing of American families in the education racket and some creative ways to finance higher education while at the same time getting the so-called “Generation Entitlement” to earn the privilege of an American college degree through service to others.

Though it could be called minor, this issue really hit home for me. The preparation of future generations directly contributes to the quality of this nation. We can’t expect to get something out of nothing in terms of a skilled and educated labor force. Education has been at the core of American values since the days of the American Revolution and if we want to re-build upon the strengths of American values then we must re-invest in our youth.

But what do the other bloggers think? What issue hit home for you and who answered to it best? Readers: Don’t hold those comments back! If we want to have a real discussion about the future of this nation, we need debate and dissent!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Ohhhh The Drama!!!

If the 2008 presidential race keeps up its current level of drama, the nightly news may out do Grey's Anatomy for juiciest content on evening television.

Tonight's top story: A new poll by the University of New Hampshire shows that despite Hillary Clinton's impressive fundraising capabilities, former White House wannabes John Edwards and Al Gore have stolen quite a few points from her early lead in the race for the Democratic nomination. Edwards has edged into second place just behind Clinton and Gore (who STILL isn't running) has actually gained points consistently since the race began.

Edwards is dangerous. Although I don't think he's going to get many votes because of his wife's battle with cancer, I do believe that her willingness to be public about the their situation made people remember he was running in the midst of the Hillary-Obama drama. And he needed that attention. His strategy of laying low while Hillary and Obama beat the crap out of each other through the media was starting to hurt him, because people forgot he was an option. But over the past few weeks, his numbers are up and he's right back in it--with people actually listening.

In 2000, Al Gore as a presidential candidate was seen by a lot of democrats as a kind of settlement. We voted for him, because he was the lesser of two evils and because he had White House experience with a president that most of us saw as very successful. Still--he was known in more than a few circles as Al "the bore" Gore. He didn't seem to have any zest, though Tipper's skills on the drums gave a minute hint that something could be hiding behind his monotone daily address.

An Oscar winning documentary later and suddenly he's the most interesting person in politics with a thriving "Mickey Mouse" candidacy on the democratic roster. He was actually hilarious on Jay Leno. I was rolling on the ground laughing with him instead of at him--and I couldn't believe it. Could we have misjudged him 8 years ago?

11 percent of Democrats sampled in New Hampshire (+ or - 5 points) seem to think so although he STILL ISN'T on the ballot (I honestly can't get over it). Even the conservative Christians (many of whom have decided that being "green" is no longer a heathen hippie thing to do and rather a service to God's creation) are giving the man props for his work in bringing awareness to what the White House still describes as a naturally based phenomenon that shouldn't worry us in the least, and most all scientists describe as most certainly aggravated by humankind's irresponsible pollution of the land, air and sea. Who would have EVER thought that Global warming might be the issue that actually brings people in this nation together? And wouldn't it be crazy--ridiculous even-- if it brought them together over Al Gore as a nominee? I might have to eat my hat.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Third Party Candidate's The Charm?

Republican this. Democrat that. Back and forth. Tit for tat. It’s enough to make one wish they were born blind to the colors red and blue. Just give us some yellow or green for a change please.

Each day that passes in this political firestorm, I am more convinced that many Americans would act outrageously and vote against their parties-formally-known-as-sacred if somebody—anybody—would just step up and A) look at this nation holistically; beyond so-called red and blue interests B) operate in a straightforward manner and C) act with some freakin’ integrity. I certainly would. That being said, I believe the rise of an Independent candidate out of the primaries is not only possible, but also extremely probable.

Under traditional American political theology, an Independent candidate with a realistic shot at the White House is almost unfathomable. Especially with more than 70 years of very polarized politics behind us. However, I think Vicki may be right about Republicans seeking out alternative options this go around. That person may be found in a Democratic candidate who runs a family values oriented campaign, but truth-be-told, I believe the more likely scenario we will see is the second place finisher in a close primary going Independent and running the line down the middle. If our current political environment holds, this plan just might be audacious enough to work.

For example: John McCain, who despite his stance on the Iraq War, is very respected by right-leaning Democrats and Independents because he has traditionally distanced himself from extreme conservatism. Let’s say he gets edged out in the Republican primaries again. Depending on how he plays his cards with an Iraq strategy, he could very well steal the entire moderate vote out from under the Democratic and Republican nominees.

From the other side of the aisle, a dangerous Independent candidate could be found in Barack Obama. He is the single most dynamic candidate of this election thus far. Democratic candidates are scrambling to kill the Obama buzz and Republicans are simply scared as hell of him. If he continues to win respect from both sides of the aisle by walking his ethical talk, but loses out to another Democrat because of that nagging lack of experience, that Independent option could be the worst nightmare of the Democratic candidate who beats him.

The possibility of a “real” third choice in the 2008 general election may be dangerously optimistic, but I just can’t stop myself from dreaming up the various line-ups we could see. I keep saying to myself: Oh the possibilities! But cover my bases by also issuing a silent prayer: Please, oh please let one of them be a person I can actually feel good voting for…

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rookie of the Year

Being the president of the so-called "free world" is hard. Gray-hair growing, ulcer and heart attack-inducing, assassination-attempt-lurking around every corner, hard. Yet as election time grows near, there is a predictably optimistic assemblage of American-born politicians over the age of 35 who still think they are up for the job.

This year is no different. But an interesting phenomenon is occurring: The profiles of the most viable candidates are more diverse than we have ever seen before. It seems that diversity is leveling the playing field and, in a reflection of American culture, giving Americans a pool of candidates who truly represent the broad differences in our population. But more choices on the primary ballot won't make figuring out whose name to fill in on your ballot any easier.

Since the mid-term elections way back in November 2006, I've had to keep CNN on 24/7 and check The New York Times Online almost hourly just to keep up with the flurry of pre-primary election activity. As far as I can tell, the 2004 Bush v. Kerry match-up will seem absolutely boring in comparison to Hillary v. Obama or Giuliani v. Romney v. McCain. "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani, from New York City, hasn't even formally declared his candidacy and yet political know-it-alls from both sides of the aisle are already weighing in on his viability as a general electorate candidate.

One has to wonder why this year is suddenly more competitive than 2000 or 2004, but the answer is really quite simple: The White House is effectively up for grabs. Despite a slight advantage currently held by the newly empowered Democrats due to negative public sentiment over the war in Iraq, social security woes and a fragile economy; they have yet to prove that anybody from their party would actually do a better job in real and measurable terms. Moreso every single candidate, regardless of their party affiliation, has an uphill battle ahead within their own party and in the general electorate.

Hillary is a woman. Obama is black-or perhaps not black enough. McCain refuses to regret his support of the war in Iraq. Rudy Giuliani has never held a national office. Mitt Romney is-gasp-Mormon.

Read the list again. There can be no doubt that each candidate faces a strong social stigma, but this struggle might just produce the best political climate that American voters have seen in a long time. None of these politicians can merely rely on good looks and pretty words. Each will be forced to defend their ideas and values, create good policy and answer tough questions. There won't be any pre-screening audience inquiries in this race, at least not if that candidate wants to win.

This race is all about answering the tough questions that have been evaded for the past eight years. The result will hopefully be what American democracy is all about: Getting the best qualified and most deserving candidate into office. That is, somebody who appreciates where they are, how they got there, and who understands the privilege and responsibility that come with serving the American people.

Looking at the big picture, it is almost impossible for the next president of the United States to not break at least one of the previously mentioned barriers to political success. But is America ready for a female/black/Mormon/independent party president? I don't know, but we'd better get there by November.