Crisis Averted

I hope I didn't get you all excited about the drama that was to unfold today. Turns out things didn't go quite as planned, but that's a good thing.
My manager was all set to fire someone and she was working herself up in a tizzy about it. She was really concerned that he would refuse to leave or he would get upset. When it comes right down to it, they just don't get along. She's the manager and he's not so, like a bad relationship, you can continue to suffer or you can end it and move on. I think this was what she felt she was supposed to do but she really didn't want to do it.
Honestly, he's our best employee, and it's a shame he's leaving but I really think it's time for him to move on. He put in his two weeks' notice this morning.
I'd have been beyond frustrated if I was him, too. One person was almost 40 minutes late and the other person was over an hour late, which is really bad because they live together and everyone knows they were out drinking last night.
I say, get your priorities straight. If you want to get shitfaced all the time, then find a job where you work at 3 in the afternoon, not one where you occasionally have to be in at 6 or 7 in the morning. It's totally disrespectful to your co-workers to walk in whenever you feel like it.

Because of these guys sauntering in hungover, our punctual employee was really pissed off. He's always there on time, if not early; he does everything that the morning shifts are supposed to cover before the first hour is up (panning muffins and other pastries, grinding the coffee of the day, etc…); all the customers know him and he has people's drinks ready before they even finish paying.

I'm sad he's leaving (it will be nearly impossible to fill his shoes) but I really feel this is the best situation for him. It's one of those things where you've been doing something for so long that you get used to it, even if you're miserable. I think he'll look back on this in a year and feel like it was one of the best decisions he's ever made.

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Çatalhöyük!

When you have “something else” going on in your life at any point, besides just work or school or your primary activity (such as staying home with your kids), you generally have more to chat about. Having a hobby or an art or something stimulating in some way. Of course, even stay-at-home moms who spend 24 hours a say with their kids have the ability to be more philosophical or intellectually stimulating than I happen to be.

Some people really enjoy staying busy all the time. When they're more active they have more to chat about and are energized by the activity (Charlie). I, on the other hand, lose steam easily. The more I sit around and read about history or literature or do math problems, the more I find myself juggling work and school, and the more running around I do in my free time for groceries, dog food, and housecleaning, the less inclined I am to feel inspired or motivated.

I think I'm disappointed that I seem unable to take something more meaningful from my classes and share it with you. It's not that I'm not learning, and not that I don't want to share. I just seem not to have that wonderful ability some people are blessed with: being able to simply, clearly, and efficiently summarize in an interesting way.

I do, however, enjoy saying Çatalhöyük, a word I learned during my first semester at Herron, in art history. The instructor was very adamant about the spelling and pronunciation of our ancestors' “first” (discovered as of now, anyway) city. I liked to walk around the house saying it over and over: Çatalhöyük! Çatalhöyük! (It's pronounced “shah-tall hoy-yuck” with a really hard, phlegmy h sound.) This was how I knew I wanted to write my first essay on that city for my current history course – because I found myself walking around the house saying it again today. That must be worth something, right? We'll see.

Puff, Puff, Give Up

Shawn is an employee at IUPUI and posted something on his blog about the tobacco-free policy at the school recently. I commented to him about it but I guess I'm not done with the subject since here we are.
I have to admit that I agree with him. Smokers are going to find ways around the rules whenever possible. We're evil, dirty, foul creatures who will stop at nothing to get our fix.
When I first heard IUPUI was going smoke-free I though “Oh, no,” because I was going to have to hide in my car. Then I heard you can't smoke anywhere on campus, including your own car in a parking lot. Now this pissed me off. If I'm not tossing cigarette butts all over the parking lot why can't I just have one on my car?
I also thought of all the people who were going to be walking to an adjacent sidewalk and puffing away, which I knew was going to piss off a lot of nonsmokers. But how can you solve that? How are people going to be punished if they break the rules?

To be completely honest, and please don't tell this to the people who created the policy, this just may be the push I need to quit. When I return to IUPUI I'll probably do one of three things: quit smoking altogether (yeah, right); end up on Michigan with everyone else and pissing off the nonsmokers, going out of my way and finding myself late for a class; or I'll do something really pathetic like organize my class schedule in such a way as to afford me the time to puff away. That's really sad.

But who knows, maybe I'll be able to quit before then. I guess only time and motivation will tell.

Little Miss Sunshine

I wouldn’t say I’m above par but I definitely have gotten back into the swing of things after only a week of classes. I’ve already taken two quizzes, made all the stupid online introductions instructors seem to require of you (remind me later to save a generic bio in Word to copy-and-paste in discussion boards for future online classes), and I’ve managed to get all the books I need.
Mind you, the total cost ended up being somewhere around a rent payment, which is appalling, but it’s done and I can’t go back. I paid out-of-pocket (ouch, seriously, but at least it was spread out over a couple of months). The upside is that I’ll get more back in financial aid since I didn’t take out a book loan.

I also had a tattoo touched up today. It was my first work-over-another-work and it was free! Yay for touch-ups. It looks a ton better, although I regret having gotten the tattoo so small. Sometimes I wish tattoos weren’t quite so permanent so I could just sort of Etch-A-Sketch-out and start all over again. It’s not that I don’t really like the ones I have; it’s just that they’re all in places where I want to get OTHER tattoos. It’s sort of like eating too much at dinner and then looking at dessert. I think “Oh, I sure would like to have that but there’s already something there!”
Now it’s time to start working on some new ones. If only I could figure out a new place to start getting worked on. I’m a little nervous about the idea of sleeves, even though I basically kind of started one. It’s like me and polo shirts: I couldn’t look more butch if I tried. Throw in some upper arm tattoos and I might as well have a mullet and start dating k.d. lang.

I almost went to the movies by myself tonight. I wanted to see “Little Miss Sunshine” but I really did have too much homework to skip out for two hours. I want to see it partly because I desperately love Steve Carell, but also because it has a 93% Fresh rating on the critics’ Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes.
It really sounds like a delightful movie and I could use something superb after hearing about people getting together movie-going groups to see Snakes on a Plane. Not that I don’t think it seems like a great waste of time and brain cells, but there’s something I find disturbing about the fact that Wikipedia has more information available on this “film” than on the Epic of Gilgamesh, which I was researching for a paper earlier this evening. Or that you can have a pretty highly personalized message sent to a friend’s cell phone.

Okay, that’s actually pretty funny.

One More F- Up

I discovered something about the community college I'm taking courses with. They pride themselves on their “transition program.” Go from the two-year community college straight into your choice of a gazillion four-year institutions for a high-falutin' Bachelor's. Save money, don't worry about parking passes, take smaller classes with instructors who really care.

The thing I find interesting about this is the first part: how great their transition program is because it applies to everything; ISU, IUPUI, IU, Butler, U of I, Purdue, South Bend, Lafayette, Bloomington, Marion, Cincinnati, you name it . . . And yet every single one of their campuses (half a dozen off the top of my head) chooses whatever curriculum they please? I can't figure out how I can transfer credits from one world civilization course when the Indianapolis course uses one text, Bloomington has another, Richmond teaches with a third. Not to mention the fact that the Internet courses are often different from the on-campus courses.

How fucking difficult is it to just have an across-the-board curriculum for each branch of the institution?

I read my butt off the past two days, alternating between the horrifyingly long and dreadful Gilgamesh epic poem and the first chapter of my world civ book. (Meanwhile trying to balance work, cooking, dogs, house cleaning.) Upon completing both, and after finishing my math homework, but not before tackling ANY of my biology, I read through the questions the instructors had posted and sat back down with my printed questions, being all studious and prepared and shit. As I read the questions for history, I found myself confused. What the hell is this prof talking about? On page 13 so-and-so says what? There's no quote on page 13. So I pick up his syllabus again, only to discover that, yet again, I have been given incorrect information. The professor, based out of one campus, requires a specific textbook. I have the one listed on the bookstore web site and available on campus. Silly, silly me.

After getting my shit together I called bookstore after bookstore in town, including used bookstores. Oh, guess what? It's out of print. So then I started searching online and found the cheapest, closest copy somewhere in Indiana through Amazon. I then wrote the seller and begged him to send it as soon as possible. He said he'd mail it tomorrow since I paid for expedited shipping. I have a 300-500 word essay and a quiz due on the first chapter alone by Sunday evening.

I'll stop bitching to you about this and only say that I have learned something here. I shall apply it in the future so I don't find myself in this situation at the beginning of my final semester at this wonderful, wonderful institution.

In a Tizzy

So I've already had to drop one class and register for another. My second level Spanish course is only offered at 5:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays or online, through Bloomington. I found out while I was printing out the syllabus that you have to come to their campus for five minute oral exams. F–k that. I immediately began searching for another course to fulfill an IUPUI gened requirement and enrolled in Western Civilization online.
Now I have to return my Spanish textbook ($130), which, by the way, was the wrong one – Bloomington uses a different book than Indy which makes total sense, get my history textbook, and also pick up the Literature book. I found out I do need it, but had thought I didn't, figuring I could just Google Beowulf or check things out at the library.

It was a frenzied evening when I got home from work, but for the most part it's all straightened out. I just have to find time to trade in the book and get my new ones at some point tomorrow.

I'm already finished with some of my homework, though. So, yeah. That's nice.

Too Many Users Logged In

Today is officially the first day of fall semester classes. I don't have to be at work till later this afternoon and I'm only taking two courses on campus so I figured I'd use this morning to get acquainted with my remaining two online classes, figure out what rooms and buildings I needed to go to tomorrow, print out syllabi, all that good stuff. I've tried signing in to the online courses and nothing happens.
So I walked over to work and made myself a white chocolate mocha, came back, tried again. This time I got a message that “Too many users are logged in” and I should try again later. So I wasted some more time going through my “blog roll” and checking out the latest Hollywood gossip before returning, dutifully plunking out my student ID and password, only to receive a new message: “We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please contact your system administrator.”

For one thing, I don't even know who the system administrator is. For another thing, I find it highly improbable that there are millions of students logging on to Ivy Tech's web site at 8am on a Monday morning. Then again, perhaps many more students take courses from home than I realize.

I have a feeling this is indicative of the next semester. If not the entire year. Since I'll finally be a junior in December and I'll be able to get more in financial aid, I considered returning to IUPUI in the spring rather than next fall. But, I figure, no matter what I'm getting more back by taking my courses at a community college and transferring the credits. It would be a major pain to adjust everything in just a couple of weeks before returning to IUPUI; transferring financial aid and credits before the semester was over, getting with an advisor and working under the assumption that I'll pass everything (they seem to enjoy jerking me around about that: “Well, this semester isn't technically over yet and a lot can happen . . .”), not to mention all the trips I'd have to make with no parking pass. I can't imagine that anything would get straightened out. Besides, IUPUI passes are now up to almost $70 per semester. SEVENTY BUCKS! Just to friggin' park.

So I'll probably just finish out the year here, possibly even take a summer class or two, and transfer back for all of my upper-level major courses.

Now. If only I could figure out what I definitely want to major in.

Birthdays and Dreams and Trips. Oh, My!

I had a dream last night that all our furniture was way too big for any other house. The ceilings are already around nine feet tall, but in the dream they were twice as high and the bookcases reached all the way up and were twice as wide. The couch was twelve feet long and stood five feet tall. It was like something out of a cartoon. I just kept saying “Why did we get such big furniture? Why?”
We got take-out from a little Greek place down the street and I was telling Charlie about the dream which led to a discussion about What's Next. Will Cavan stay? If so, how long? Can we afford this place on our own? Can we afford it if we're both in school? Will the landlord knock off some of the rent if we agree to a two-year lease in June? Doesn't it totally blow to be thinking about this already?

In other news I just placed an order for a very special birthday gift for a friend. I can't tell you what it is since he reads this occasionally. Suffice it to say that I think it will be really good and I'm breaking my own arm patting myself on the back.

Lastly, our Ikea/Weber Grill trip over Labor Day weekend may be cancelled. It appears my parents are inviting the family over to their house, which hasn't happened in years and years. I think I might regret taking the trip, though. It's unclear exactly how much money I would have spent if I went, but I know it'd probably be too much. So perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. It's much better to spend time with your family that you don't see very often than to go on an adrelaine-fueled spending spree at Ikea.

Or so I keep telling myself. Tyler Durden would be mortally offended.