Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Steven Vincent

I know this is old news, having happened a week ago. Steven Vincent was an American reporter in Basra, Iraq who was abducted and killed last week. He has a blog, and I wanted to read what he was possibly killed over. As I was reading one of his last posts, this quote from a professor at Basra U. was especially chilling (regarding corruption in Basra): "We don't talk about this in public," a professor at Basra U. told me. "Get too explicit and you get 'disappeared.'" Damn. All the more reason for us to "finish the job", as President Bush says, and ensure that those who did this, and those like them, do not gain a foothold in Iraq.
Pete?

Camp Chimer

I think it is interesting that Kathryn didn't post a single word about Camp Chimer on her Blog before she went there on Sunday. For those not "in-the-know", Camp Chimer is a summer camp for kids who have either had a kidney transplant, or are on Dialysis, waiting on the list for a kidney transplant. Kathryn, Several of Kathryn's friends, her boyfriend, and I all went up on Saturday to help "setup" camp before it starts. I was surprised at how beautiful and picturesque the setting is where these kids will be enjoying a week of fun - away from worrying about everything for a week. It was really cool - we helped hang up signage, move tables and chairs, setup a little store where that the kids can spend the points that they earn throughout the week, and other various small tasks (mostly involving moving stuff from one location to another). It was really a lot of fun, and I was actually disappointed when they told us that setup was done and that we could go home.

Kathryn will be (has been) there all this week, as a volunteer camp counselor. This is the second year that she has done it, and she really loved the experience she had last year. I let her borrow my digital camera, so maybe we will get to see some fun pictures from her soon. Anyway, I just wanted to write about Camp Chimer (somebody had to do it), and to say how much I admire my sister for using her vacation time to help out others, which isn't a big surprise - Kathryn is an amazing person!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sometimes I can be such an idiot...

This little story happened to me last week:

I was on my way to buy my school books for the upcoming semester, and I realized that I didn't have any quarters for the meters in front of the bookstore. The bank was on my way, so I stopped in a took out $1 worth of quarters - needless to say this alone got me a strange look from the teller. Anyway, so I get to UMKC, and I go inside the bookstore - completely oblivious to the fact that I didn't put any money in the meter. So there I am, browsing the bookstore, looking at books I don't even need, postponing going to the front and paying $140.00 for a book about Calculus. Anyway, while I am looking at some other books, I put my hand in my pocket and feel four quarters in there - after a second, I hit myself in the forehead and quickly paid for the Calc book and ran outside - only to find the meter maid right next to my car, with a freshly printed ticket right on my windshield. I was extremely upset - at myself - for being such an IDIOT! Oh well, I guess we all have moments like that...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Blog Browsing...

You never really know what you are going to find when you click that "next blog" button in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen. Did you know that they chew leaves called "qat" in Yemen, everyday, for several hours a day? I had no idea until I stumbled across this blog. I googled it, and apparently it is a mild stimulant that has become a cultural phenomenon, where pretty much all social interaction revolves around chewing these leaves.

Anyway, back to the grindstone...

Friday, July 01, 2005

What a great idea...

I spent some time with my friend Karim over the weekend, and he started a new job at a cool new store called i-soldit, which is a place that people can take stuff they don't want and this store will put it on eBay, and then take a 30% cut of whatever the item sells for. It really is an ingenious scheme - there are SOOO many people who have a storage unit, or two, FULL of stuff they don't need and haven't even generally seen in several months. People are really lazy, so this is the perfect scheme - show up with a truck-full of stuff you don't want and let somebody else deal with it! Just come back a couple of weeks later and pickup a check! Or better yet, let them mail it to you! I wonder if this is going to cut-in to the donations at place like Goodwill, or the Salvation Army...
Once again, I am playing catchup...

Well, another week has gone by, and I haven't posted. I really wanted to post, but I just couldn't. Really - its been that crazy. This week I had a three-day class on a the technical details of the Radio Interface between a cell tower and a cellphone, which needless to say is a bit dry. So, for three days this week, I got to sit in class for 8 hours, and then go to school for another 3 hours afte that (Don't forget about homework after arriving home from school!). So, I was a little bit tired, and besides that, I didn't really have time to blog while I was at work. Okay, those are some pretty pathetic excuses...

Anyway, on a more postive note, I took my first Trig test, and I didn't do as well as I would have liked - I only got 86/100, but the thing that really irked me is I missed a question that was worth five points that I would have gotten right if I had spent just five more seconds on it - what is the cotangent of 90 degrees? - Well, I put UNDEFINED, which is wrong - the correct answer is ZERO! Duh!

I also got my first Spanish test back, and I got an 85/100 - do I see a pattern developing here? Am I really a "B" student? NO! Its just been a crazy two weeks, and I am chalking it up to experience - I am planning on getting 100's on my next two tests, so I am not really sweating it.

So what are my plans for the fourth? Buckle down and STUDY!
Now THIS is exciting...

They finally added native picture support to BlogSpot! Yeah! Now I don't have to use the cumbersome Picasa to upload pictures to my blog! And it will make it MUCH easier for my family to post pictures!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

In the Spirit of the new Batman movie...

...I bring you this link. Too funny.
At least I have an excuse...

Well, its been awhile since I posted - about a week - but at least I have a good excuse! I have been preparing for yesterday, which was insane. I came down with a cold on Tuesday, which makes it even worse, because yesterday not only did I have my Annual review with my boss, but I also had to take the Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT), which is a graduation requirement at UMKC. The WEPT is a test where you receive a packet with 7-8 articles on a particular subject (Stem-Cell Research, in my case), and then they give you three hours to construct a critical essay in which you pick a side and defend it. So, I show up at the WEPT test about an hour early to go over the articles (we get them in advance, at least), and to go over the highlighting that I did previously. The test is only offered on one day per semester, with 2 sessions per day, so as you would expect there were at least 100 - 150 people in attendance. The session that I was taking was at 3pm, for reasons I will get to in a minute. Well, it turned out that the room that they had scheduled to hold the test in was occupied until 3:30pm, so they decided to change rooms, which was to a much smaller auditorium style room. Luckily, I was one of the first people in, because as it started filling up it became apparent that there wasn't enough room for everyone. Their solution? Just have people sit on the ground! Can you imagine trying to write a three-hour critical essay, restricted to the information contained in 7-8 articles, with correct MLA-style format, while sitting on a hard laminate-tile floor? Uggh! But actually, the people seated at desks weren't much better off. The chairs have a TINY little area that can loosely be called a desk, because it isn't even the size of a regular 8.5" x 11" piece of paper! Needless to say it was a very draining three hours, but I was able to complete my essay and works cited page in a about 2 hours and fifty minutes. And then the fun part - I had to take the WEPT at 3pm because I had to go straight from there to my Spanish class, and take a test over the first two chapters that we are studying this semester - and that's not all - after I get home I have to spend two hours on Trig homework because we have a quiz the next day! Lets just say its been a stressful week!

Friday, June 17, 2005

I Love Golf...

Well, UnoKidney has inspired me to make a confession - as her friend Melissa says, "Confession Is Good For the Sole" - or was that Soul? Anyway, doesn't matter - my confession is that I am addicted to Golf.

Now, for most people this wouldn't seem like an earth-shattering admission. I mean, lots of people are addicted to golf - they love to play it, etc. etc. etc.

I'm a little bit...different. I haven't actually played any golf in over five years. I've been to the driving range once in those five years, and had a great time hacking away at some balls, but I haven't set foot on a golf course.

My addiction is Watching Golf on Television (WGT), and following golfing news on the Internet. As probably only a handful of people know, this week is the U.S. Open, which is one of the four Major tournaments in golf. I can't get enough. I've read at least 50 articles about the U.S. Open. Everything from weather conditions, course conditions, player highlights, predictions, history, and on and on and on. This Sunday I will probably be spending at least a little bit of time parked in front of the Television indulging my addiction, WGT. I don't know what it is, but there is something about Golf - it is a sport that, for the players and the fans, takes an extreme amount of patience. Most Baseball games, for example, are a mere two to three hours long. By comparison, Golf is played in six-hour rounds over four days, at the end of which the person with the lowest score (not the highest) is declared winner of the tournament. I love following the tourament leaderboards each day to see who is leading, who was leading but now is no longer leading, who had a good day, where the top ten golfers in the world are in the rankings, and how they got there.

Each week there is a huge field of players - 156 in the U.S. Open - and any of them can be in contention in any given week - of course, it is not uncommon to see many of the same names at the top of the leaderboard from week to week, so naturally I have my favorite players. Woods, Singh, Mickelson, Scott, Couples, Love III, and on and on and on. One of the crazy things about golf, unlike other major sports, is that players can be around for a long, long time. Jack Nicklaus, for example, will stop playing professional golf this year. He started playing golf in 1962 - 43 years ago. So it is possible to follow and watch the same players for years and years - which just doesn't happen in sports like baseball and basketball, and especially not in football!

I'm not really sure how I got bit by the golf bug, but there it is - my addicition - WGT.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

M&M's will never be the same...literally

When I saw this site my first impulse was to place an order - with my name on them, of course!