March 27, 2010 - 1:44 PM
To be completely fair and to maintain my own authorial integrity, my friends and I spent our time just outside of Tahoe in Truckee, CA. Regardless, our spring break has been exceptional.
After staying Tuesday night at my parents' place in San Mateo, Leslie, Kate, Boo and I met up with another carload of friends en route to eastern California where we spent the remaining few days of spring break. I couldn't really have asked for a better way to spend my time really. Good food. Good wine. Good friends. For fear of sounding cliché, we had everything we needed.
I particularly liked how we had impromptu themes for each night.
Wednesday night, we headed into town for dinner at El Toro Bravo and then came home to play board games and watch movies while sipping margaritas and munching on chips and salsa. Thursday night was chicken parmesan, spaghetti and wine. And tonight we're grilling burgers and cracking open some brews. Mexico, Italy and America. All in three days. Not too mention that we ate far better than our college student norm.
Our days were usually spent playing cards, watching movies and enjoying the weather. Wednesday, we rummaged through closets for winter clothing where we chose between different bright jackets, wool beanies and polyester jumpsuits. It was painfully obvious that these were all purchased in the Nineties. But we still rocked the suits proudly. We didn't plan on going much farther than the backyard anyways. They got us through a couple snowball fights and sledding.
Oddly enough, we stayed within the same decade and watched a Disney classic, Free Willy. It was on VHS, no less. Then we began watching This Is It, the movie of Michael Jackson rehearsing for his final tour, which I might add is awesome. If you're an MJ fan, which I am not shy to admit that I am, you have to see this movie.
Yesterday, we headed back into town for a little window-shopping. Truckee isn't the biggest of ski towns, but it was quaint. Elegant in its simplicity, one might say. We tasted the local chocolates and soaked up as much sunshine as possible. Actually, the temperature reached mid-50s during the day. I felt fine without a jacket, and Winston was wearing shorts all day.
We jumped in the hot tub in the afternoon. Barring any discrepancies later tonight, I think we've all made a minimum of two trips to the hot tub each day.
Now we're driving back to Eugene on Highway 20, somewhere between Truckee and Willows, CA. We decided to take the back roads as opposed to backtracking to Sacramento. Time wise it's supposedly faster. All I know is that my stomach would have been fine with the longer route. I've tried to keep my mind busy by enjoying the scenic forest drive and playing "Marco Polo" with signs between the two cars.
I guess college kids are supposed to celebrate spring break in Cabo or Hawaii, but we aren't really a group that judges themselves against the status quo. Very few people at the U of O do, I feel.
We chose snow over sand and we have no regrets. Plus, there's always next year.
Spring Break ‘010!!!
March 23, 2010 - 12:01 PM
After a belated beginning to my break week, I seem to have struck a mine a good fortune to counterbalance my recent tribulations.
I finally arrived home in the Bay Area on Saturday night - a mere twenty-nine hours after my Friday flight would have landed. Thankfully, my buddy, Andrew, had a final exam late in the week as well as an extra seat in his car.
So, as per usual, my parents and I went out to downtown San Mateo for dinner at Sushi Sam's. Sunday was a day of rest and acclimation, which I needed pretty badly considering that I had two big interviews for summer internships.
Yesterday, I met with Jordan and Vickie at the San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association (SPUR). SPUR is well known around the Bay Area for their progressive thinking in the world of community and urban planning. To be completely honest, I wouldn't care if I my job was typing notes and taking coffee orders. I just want to be somewhere in that office so I can soak up their knowledge. And if working there is anything like my interview, then I'm sold.
We started by talking about possible opportunities during the summer as a front desk ambassador, and possible maintaining a blog. (Thanks UO Annual Giving, you've given me a marketable asset.) But then the conversation slowly moved into baseball road tripping and campus tour guiding. We tried very hard to stay on topic, but personally I didn't mind. It was the most fun I've had during an interview.
Today, I just left from another informational interview with Manav and Angie at the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, or just Stewardship Council for short. The organization was established in 2004 to protect and enhance over 140,000 acres watershed and forested land owned by PG&E. However, they also have a separate but related initiative that invests in youth programs than focuses on enhancing childhood development through environmental stewardship. My career goals more closely align with the land management side of the organization, but my theory is that we're all working on the same project. And at this point I don't really care which side of the equation I'm on as long as I'm doing something.
It was incredibly refreshing to walk out of both of those interviews knowing that there are like-minded people out there. Also, I treated these interviews as a test of what I've learned in the past year of environmental studies and public policy courses. I'm proud to report that Oregon has prepared me very well. I feel confident that there will have somewhere to go after graduation.
The other bit of good news I received was a call from the Eugene Police Department saying they found my stolen bag! I have no idea where they found it or how they found it yet, but at least I know it's in safe hands now. They didn't see my wallet inside, understandably, and I'm betting that my hoagie won't return either, although I didn't ask them. I should be able to pick it up and find out for myself next Monday.
The world has a funny way of working things out sometimes. I'm just relieved to see the scale is beginning to tilt back in my favor. Let's hope the good fortune continues as my professors post grades for last quarter.
March 19, 2010 - 1:30 PM
Well, I'm sitting in the Eugene Airport right now and I have a little bit of bad news. I missed my flight home for spring break. Don't worry, I'm standby on another one that leaves later this afternoon. And technically I could still ride with my friends to the Bay Area tomorrow, but I'd really like to sleep in my own bed tonight. The one at my parent's house, that it. Not so much the one in Eugene.
It's especially disappointing considering that today started off with such real promise. This morning I had to finish up one last assignment before I could legitimately close the books on winter term 2010.
At 7:30 am, I woke up (miraculously) and put the finishing touches on my lesson plan for the Environmental Leadership Program. Then I tidied up the house a little, enjoyed the morning sunshine on my roof for a little bit before Winston came over to head to the barbershop.
It isn't often that I make a trip to a real barbershop for my bimonthly haircut. Actually, I can't remember the last time my hair was cut by someone other than my roommate, Ross, or my mother. Today, though, I had just cause to do so. For one, I have a few internship interviews next week so I need to look sharp. Also, there's a coupon in the UO Student Survival Pack for a free haircut from Sport Clips. How could I pass that up?
Sport Clips apparently is a national chain of barbershops that has bridges the gap between the modern women's salon and the old school men's barbershop. They have televisions on every wall playing games and highlights from the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Winston and I chatted with them about Mike Bellotti resigning as Athletic Director to become a football analyst on ESPN.
It was pretty sweet, if you ask me. They may have a returning customer.
Unfortunately, back to reality, I was cutting is far too close for United Airlines. I arrived at the airport around 12:45, the exact time my flight began boarding. I thought I'd be just fine. I had my computer out, belt off and toiletries bag ready for security check. Only one thing stopped me. I didn't realize that you had to check in 30 minutes before departure.
Now, I'm usually a professional at this stuff. I thrive under pressure situations. I just can't believe that after years an entire lifetime of travelling, I forgot to check-in online. It's so simple. If I'd just logged in online this morning when I woke up and printed out my boarding pass, I'd sitting on a plane 30,000 feet above Lake Shasta right now. Instead, I'm sitting in the airport terminal waiting for the flight attendant to call standby for an oversold flight.
I really screwed up on this one. At least I have a fresh new haircut.
March 18, 2010 - 2:14 PM
As the quarter winds down and the winter clouds start to share the sky with remnants of sunshine, my roommates and I have taken part in an underappreciated American pastime. Spring Cleaning!
We grabbed all the Windex, Clorox and Pine-Sol we had, mopped the entire living room, kitchen and bathroom, and even cleaned out our coat closet, which I don't think anyone has ever dared to put a coat in. Along with the pounds of dust bunnies and grime that we found throughout the nooks and crannies, we slowly noticed some intricacies about our house that made us all laugh pretty hard because they reminded that we live in the epitome of a college house.
See if this sounds familiar to anyone. You know you live in a college house when...
Your dustpan is an empty soda box. We lost our dustpan somewhere in the shuffle of summer. Now that I think about it, we lost our best broom at the same time so I guess it makes sense. We've considered borrowing from neighbors, and we've flirted with the idea of buying a new one a few times as well. But more often than not we just find a newspaper or a thin piece of cardboard or during the laziest of times, we just sweet it into the fireplace. Now we have a permanent solution, relatively speaking. We put an empty 12-pack of Coca Cola sideways on the ground, put the flap down and sweep everything right in there. It's great because it doubles as a dustpan and trap. Genius!
Your door latch is held in with duct tape. Bright green duct tape at that. Obviously, there's a story behind all this so let me explain. The bottom screw that holds the latch into the wood came loose a long, long time ago. I'd screw it back in except I think my doorframe is literally dry rotting out. So there's no hope there. The top screw came loose when my friend, Winston, was trying to break into the room with a credit card. Don't worry, I was asleep and he needed to get his jacket and keys from my room. I completely understand where his mind was. I just question his implementation. Anyway, the only thing holding that door in place when I'm away is a few strips of duct tape. I don't think it matters too much, though. As I found out a few weeks back, Eugene thieves prefer climbing through windows rather than breaking down doors.
The walls are decorated with Oregon sports posters. Of course, we want to rep our Ducks as much as possible. But it shouldn't be overlooked that all of the posters are free at the University bookstore. We have the 2009 Oregon Baseball poster, the 2010 Oregon basketball posters (men's and women's) and the 2008 Oregon Football poster. Our pride and joy, however, is the foam fingers from the last basketball game at MacArthur Court. We've weaved them into the deer antlers above the fireplace now. They look great! Just take a look for yourself above.
New listings for rentals will start appearing after April 1st, and we'll start our search for a home next year after Spring Break. I'm excited to move, to be honest, but I'm starting to feel a little nostalgia for this house already. It's freezing cold wood floors in the winter. There is a distinct lack of a garbage disposal and a dishwasher. The window shades above the couches that always fall down when we adjust them. It's not the most majestic of shelters, but I'll always remember it as my first house.
March 15, 2010 - 5:53 AM
Insomnia is a very peculiar thing.
Why would our mind not want our body to recharge its batteries? It just doesn't make sense. I'm tired right now, yet I cannot fall asleep. But the worse part of it all is that I'm doing it to myself. I have little to no control over it. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, right? Does that mean I'm torturing myself?
Anyway, this week is going to be a long one. They're making me earn my Spring Break. I tried to rest as much as possible this weekend, however, knowing that finals week would likely bring early mornings with coffee and late nights at the library. This middle-of-the-night writing session was not a planned part of my agenda.
I have a study group at noon tomorrow for Planning & Policy Analysis, and I can assure you we're all equally excited to finish up with this course. It's not a bad course, by any means. In fact, I'm very interested in what we just finished discussing - the cost and benefit analysis of acting on global warming. It's just that I can only take so much economics before my head starts to spin. I'd rather just be taught the ideas of economics, without such a focus on the formal names and definitions. Oh well, you can't win them all I guess. All there is left to do is memorize about one hundred terms, like popular referenda and Utilitarian social welfare function, and I'm home free.
Tuesday morning I'll finish up with that final around 10AM and then probably head straight to the library again for start reviewing for Natural Resource Policy, which is on Thursday morning. It shouldn't be too difficult; I just need to brush up on the Endangered Species Act. For some reason, I struggle with remembering the names of government organizations, especially when it comes to who enforces what.
Wednesday, I'm meeting my ELP class at Glenwood Café for brunch. It's sort of sad because we all split off into our separate teams after this term ends, so we won't see as much of each other. At least, we won't be all together as a complete group. Environmental Ed was one of the more eye-opening courses I've taken at Oregon. The depth and the passion of both the course and my classmates was extremely fun to be a part of. I will surely miss that class.
After brunch, my team is riding to Prairie Mountain School for an afternoon site visit. Finally, we'll see who and what we're working with in the spring.
Speaking of spring, it's feeling more and more like springtime and less and less like the melancholy winter. I actually walked around Eugene yesterday in shorts and Birkenstocks.
Okay, I'm going to try that whole sleeping thing one more time. Wish me luck.