Category Archives: School

I just want a standing desk.

I had a meeting with one of my professors yesterday on what I thought was about my Directed Readings course in the fall, but is actually about being recruited for his public policy center for a Ph.D.

This is the second time I’ve been approached to do a Ph.D. program by a different professor. Every time it happens, it really rocks the entire structure of my life. Going into the meeting, I could only think about building a gym with my boyfriend. Lifting, teaching people about their bodies, and learning about mine are three things that I care the most about on this planet.

But–am I doing myself a disservice? Is that really sustainable?

Working with this professor for an academic career would be an honor. The fact that he noticed me is even more of one. His policy fields are useful and do not reek of academic bullshit. He applies everything he does.

I veered from pursing an academic career because it would trap me in the fields of doing research for research’s sake. There’s no end goal in that for me.

This is the first time in the past five or so years that a Ph.D. actually sounds attractive.

If I go for it, which I’d say I’m still 60/40 on just going for my gym, I need a standing desk.

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Silver Linings

I would be lying to say this week has not been a challenge. Monday was the worst–my roommate’s case of the flu was confirmed (poor thing) and I’ve been  staying at a friend’s house, one of my podcast co-hosts, D1. This was so I could sleep (our townhome’s walls are quite thin) and so I would not be infected.

My anxiety about getting the flu got so dastardly, I went to our health clinic to get a flu test done. I don’t have the flu. Yay! But, in my hasty celebration, I shove my wallet in my pocket. A couple hours later, when I cannot find it, I realize it’s gone–as in lost permanently.

No, this is not as bad as one of my favorite podcaster’s stories where he loses his bag which contains his passport, iPad, laptop, 3DS, and all his possessions in a crowded Tokyo train station at rush hour. No, it’s definitely not as as bad as that. And while that does make me feel better, it’s still problematic. I cancel all my cards, and realize that pretty much everything in there is replaceable, and keep going with my week.

The first silver lining to this whole debacle is that I start talking to D1’s new girl friend, R, on the phone while I was over at his house, and mildy tipsy on Tequila. She’s one of the sweetest, smartest people I’ve met in a long time. D1 is gaga, and who can blame him, honestly? Do you remember the last time you talked on the phone with a gal pal of yours for an hour and felt totally comfortable? I don’t. That may be because that’s never happened to me before, ever. I hope we can meet in person soon.

Another silver lining, unrelated to the flu and wallet thing, is that I pulled a 245 5×5 deadlift, followed by 275 for a triple. 275 is a PR, and considering I got it for three feels almost surreal. I was so focused on getting that weight, that I didn’t notice until I got home that it was my first time getting that, ever. But, I got it for three. Incredible. Couple of my PL guys put some great tweaks in my form and approach, and I think at this point, this lift is going to skyrocket.

Needless to say I’m sore. And I’m tired. Had an interesting talk last night with H. We really discussed some valuable things, and I think our relationship is only going to improve. While that cloud darkened the horizon of my mind for a while, the fact that we are enjoying the sun right now speaks to the potential longevity of our relationship. We’re going to start up our little tiny Book Club again, and I’ve picked the selection. My Risk, Policy, and Law class assigned the first two chapters of Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, which sounds extremely dry, but I LOVED it.

Probably the best silver lining of all this week was that my faith in humanity was restored. Someone turned my wallet into the police station, and I got EVERYTHING back yesterday. It was in front of a building I never walk in front of. The world will never know on that one.

Last, but not least, here’s some great reading that’s been keeping me going this week:

“Why Don’t I Look Like Her? A Guide to Stop Comparing” I’m pretty bad about this, but I’m beginning to love my body for how I’ve improved and look. This was a pretty helpful read. I might have goals for my physique, but I’m starting to learn to love the process.

“Taking Care of Yourself When You Feel Like Shutting Down” This got me through Monday. Self care is paramount, and no amount of self flagellation will return a wallet to you.

“Get Your Hair Wet Activity” I love this idea! I really want to do it. It’s kind of like a love letter to yourself almost. Here’s from the site:

“A creative way to catalog all the upcoming adventures you’ll have is to keep them safe and tidy in a decorated mason jar. Each time you get out of your comfort zone or try something new, write it down on a strip of paper place it inside your jar. You can even color-code your memories — red for a time you spoke up, blue for a time you faced your fears, purple for learning a new skill — you get the idea! At the end of the year you can empty out the memories and bask it all the ways you got your hair wet and feel proud to be you.

I love that proud to be me part. I am learning how to be, slowly.

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Filed under Adventures, Books, bro, Friends, H, Health, Likes, School, Workout

First Full Week of 2015 (1/52 Week Yoga Challenge)

Happy Sunday Funday, dear readers!

I have been meaning to write this entry for awhile. Lot has happened in the short time we have been in 2015!

As you recall, this past week was my full first week back to work. This coming Monday, I’ve got school on top of it. Depending upon my tuition waiver (which may have a full time requirement), I’ll be one or two classes. Tomorrow, regardless of money though, will be my first day of Organization Theory. I’m rather excited for the course, although not so much the 8-5 work schedule followed by a class 6:30-9:20. Scratch that, 7:15 to 5. Why?

This first full week, we have free opportunities to try out the Fit/Rec center classes. Morning yoga will be a wonderful experience, I’m just certain of it. The earliness of 7:15 will not. On the bright side, if I have to sit all day and don’t have the time to lift, this will make my tight-hipped body feel much better.

Speaking of yoga, just in case you thought I forgot–

When you see this, you know I did my part for the week!

When you see this, you know I did my part for the week!

On week one of fifty-tw0, I went above and beyond my requirements! To ease myself back into doing yoga solo, I did this restorative sequence from the December 2014 issue of Yoga Journal. I lit some soothing  candles, and improvised in my room. I don’t have bolsters, just giant euro-sham pillows. I don’t have a block either, but I use my thrifted Poe anthology.

It's seriously the perfect size.

It’s seriously the perfect size.

I followed the instructions and took an hour to do this. The legs up the wall pose felt insanely good on my hips, which have been more tight than usual because of my 40+ hour work week.

The next day, I suggested to my roomie J that we do one of her Denise Austin videos. She suggested the “Fat Blasting Yoga.” Denise Austin is pretty early 2000s hokey and tries to turn yoga into aerobics , BUT she did a Sun Salutation vinyasa flow sequence throughout, and reminded everyone the importance of alignment constantly. I’d say a good 20 minutes were mostly performing flow sequences with modifications. I felt yoga-worked afterwards, if that makes sense. But, I am aware of the lack of training that she has, so if I need to use a yoga video to fulfill my yoga week requirements, I’ll stick to Rodney Yee tapes.

Overall, I am pleased with my performance. While I don’t have roll-over credit for this yoga scheme I’m doing, the fact I’ve done two more 30 minute chunks of yoga during week one is great!

Three more tidbits relating to this week. I have been in correspondence with Proud2Bme, an initiative of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), which focuses on “building a nation where confidence rules”. It’s the place where I discovered Kate and her wonderful blog PB is Better than ED (a must-read for anyone alive on the planet). Kate, when I reached out to her, suggested I write for them as she has done in the past. Long story short, I have been accepted as an author for P2Bm! My first article is due January 30.

Basically, I am going to tell the story that I’ve been telling here for years–learning how to love my body through weightlifting. Telling this story on a public forum that will have my name attached is scary. It is scary, also, considering the fact that many of my friends and family will learn of my struggle. I know it has a happy ending because, hell, I’m living it. But the intimidation factor is huge.

Another tidbit is related to policy making in OK! I learned recently that a state legislator who I’ve known for a long time is coauthoring a bill about texting and driving. This is the “in” I’ve been wanting to have. He requested to read my policy analysis that I wrote on this topic for my first policy class this past fall. I hope it’s thorough enough for his needs. He’ll at least read the most important article, from which a lot of my content derives. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Lastly, as I was cleaning my room today, I watched the Director’s cut of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (1990) for GTGC. The beginning for me was challenging to get into (depictions of mental illness in media trigger some of my own anxieties), I enjoyed most of the film. The effects were delightfully gross out, not unlike John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). It didn’t drag like other 120 minuters I’ve seen. Craig Sheffer was very hot in this movie, and Cronenberg played creepy as if he didn’t know how to exist any other way.

It is LITERALLY as crazy as the poster looks.

Today, in my analysis, I’m going to justify why this film counts as a magical realism text. This is more of a formalist reading for me, but I feel like it deserves it. My other cohosts are going to talk about “Othering” and the AIDS epidemic of the 20th century. This episode should drop within the next week.

If you want to go waste an hour and a half, you can watch The Last Stand (with Arnie, love of my life) and listen to last week’s episode. Episode is definitely worth it though, so check them out.

Now I’m curious, how was your first week of 2015?

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To Do

I would have been lying to you if I said that I was looking forward to work this week. I have to make up hours from the Christmas break, which I will be working after my usual hours for awhile.

But that’s okay. I’m the happiest I’ve been with my job, which I didn’t expect at all. Primarily, I’m returning to an old to-do list technique which I find helpful.

image

A bad example of a good technique. This mostly has DOTA references on it.

I used to have notebooks full of pages and pages of sheets just like this one.

This technique is derived from a productivity how-to from the internet. To set it up, you have four columns, with the column headers “Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Break”. On the sides, you have today’s date, tomorrow’s date, and the day after tomorrow’s date. I charted these tasks for the day of, and two days in advance.

In terms of task priority, a primary task is the most important task to do, secondary the next two important tasks, tertiary the next three important tasks. Break is just stuff to do that isn’t important, but should be done sometime, perhaps as a break between these other tasks.

My favorite part about this technique is autofilling the next two days. When you complete today’s primary task, secondary task one moves to primary. This happens for all of the tasks in the columns. If you make it through your entire day, the next day replaces the one you’re on.

Yeah, it’s a to-do list on steroids. One that never finishes (unless you stop charting) which is probably why I stopped doing it.

I remember in undergrad thinking, “wow, this list sure gives me a lot of anxiety!” That doesn’t discount it’s effectiveness though. When I was in the midst of having panic attacks in my car at the thought of studying for World Lit II, I don’t think I was in a place to handle this technique.

A couple years later, I think I can handle this much better. Putting boundaries on the list it helps a lot. You could do this by only charting today’s activities, or not being focused on “go go go” every second. But in those stressful periods of forced “go go go”, nothing can beat this technique.

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That’s Some GoodTrash… (Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Part 2)

First of fun things I need to update you about, second general life update.

I have fulfilled a lifelong, bucket list dream. I may not be on NPR, but I have achieved the next best thing. I am a regular host and contributor to the GoodTrash Genre Cast. What is GTGC? It’s a weekly film analysis podcast that has dabblings of pop culture, reviews, and general tom foolery.

This came about by a friend, and host-in-chief, asking me to be on the program for a special Harry Potter episode. Apparently they liked me quite a bit, because starting with episode 80, they invited me back as a permanent host! I am thankful they did, because even though I’ve only been doing this since July 2014, I can’t imagine my life without these friends of mine.

I’d love for you to check out our work. I’d encourage you to start from the beginning, and you’ll hear me eventually. If you notice, my sidebar has an RSS feed of our most recent episodes. If you want to connect using other social media means, look at our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. I’m sure I’ll expand some of my more inspired analysis on this blog!

Short entry, but I need to watch this week’s film “The Last Stand,” the most recent Schwarzenegger film, so we can record tonight. This month, we’re attempting to watch films no one on our podcast has seen to analyse. I love Arnie so much (“Total Recall” was my favorite movie I had to watch from 2014 for the podcast), so I am glad to get another dose. He’s such a guilty pleasure.

Also, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015 is going to be my year.

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1/3

by Klaus Pichler

I talk about food a lot. However, there’s an underbelly, a darkside to what we consume daily that ought to consume our minds and consciences until it is solved. There is an ongoing problem occurring in the United States and throughout the world. The figure 1/3 may seem like a harmless fraction, but consider the implications of this statement.

According to a 2011 United Nations report, the world wastes 1/3 of the food it produces.

1/3, a harmless little fraction now represents a very large number, which in turn represents a very large problem.

Narrowing the problem slightly, a turn to look at the United States produces more staggering statistics. Each year, Americans waste nearly 1/4 to 1/2 to food it produces. Using the conservative figure, this can be in the range of 160 billion pounds of food wasted per year. Food waste is defined broadly by Anthony Gallow in “Consumer Food Waste in the U.S.” as “all food purchased (or produced at home) that is not actually ingested by humans” (13). In comparison to this staggering statistic, a figure cited by the non-profit organization “Food not Bombs” says the total amount to feed the hungry of the United States is that of only 4 billion pounds.

In the fast-paced, fast-food society of the United States of America, the consumer drives the production of a variety of resources. Capitalism, at its core, caters to this highly demanding mode of existence. Webster’s Standard Dictionary defines the noun resource as something “that is available for use”.  Under that definition, what happens when the multitude of resources are not available for use anymore?

Petroleum, natural gas, and water all fall under this concept of a resource that in the future may not be  readily available for use. Unfortunately, a very important commodity not contemplated using this concept is that of food. Food, despite its availability on the shelves of gas stations and in aluminum cans in food pantries, should be treated with the respect that these other difficult-to-renew resources receive even though this is typically not the case.

My proposed best solution to this problem is that of consumer education efforts.

The largest problem with educational programming is accountability—how will businesses and consumers be held responsible for the information they gather? They may be sent to mandatory food waste prevention trainings trainings, but how many will actually do anything with the information? The phrase “You can lead a horse to water…” definitely comes to mind in this instance. However, consumer education and prevention efforts will yield positive results across the board.

Eventual savings (somewhere to the tune of $150-160 billion dollars) will outweigh immediate costs of starting the program making efficiency high. It is highly feasible that this could be incorporated into public education and mandatory food-service trainings. The best part of educational programming is that teaching the consumer and the business the implications of food waste will hopefully encourage them to waste less on the most part thus making effectiveness high.

So what now?

Continue to talk about it. Tell everyone you know. Share the number 1/3. See what happens. People are already coming up with creative and innovative ways of conveying this information. Photographer Klaus Pichler’s new exhibit, entitled One Third displays food destined for disposal in various stages of decay, along with a tagline about where the food is from, energy needed to produce it, and the ingredients. This display, besides turning stomachs, is turning gears in the mind of its audience members. Pichler is looking for wide distribution to non-profits around the world in order to raise continuous awareness to the problem.

The goal in writing this blog entry is to raise awareness to motivate audience members to waste less food. The effort to raise mindfulness through the presentation of this may only get one person to consider not trashing their leftovers they bring home from a big meal, or consider eating the food they already possess instead of getting pizza delivered.

That’s okay though.

However, if that one person continues to make life choices that support the concept of decreasing food waste, that will be enough to consider my work and research on this issue a success.

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Filed under Food, Project Enrichment, School, Writing

Books

A main aspect of my existence as an English major are, of course, books. The acquisition of new books, however, is problematic.

During the school year, I don’t have a lot of time for fun reading–doesn’t stop me from having at least two books I’m starting on at a time though–and therefore multitude of collected books on the ever present “to read” list piles up.

Added a few new babies to that collection yesterday at our University’s Friends of the Library Booksale. Patrons can donate books and the library goes through their collection and pulls out-of-date or old materials for selling.

Some golden finds were the entire VHS collection of “Upstairs, Downstairs,” which I’ve been dying to see for ages, a few Norton Anthologies (sadly, I already have all of the ones I needed although I might go back to purchase any of the modern ones…books on half.com don’t sell themselves!), and a John Updike novel that I almost purchased because we just finished studying him.

However, I feel happy with my selections:

A combination of work and pleasure...

Longman Anthology of World Literature by Women: I am quite excited about this, I’m sure that this will get a lot of use. I frequently choose female authors for my various research grants, breaks up the monotony of the “dead white guys” club.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging: This came out in 2001. I read half of it whenever I was in the 6th or 7th grade and my mom freaked out and turned it in to the library. It is pretty raunchy for young adult literature, but I think more than ten years separation is enough time. I always wanted to read the sequels too, so here’s my silly-lit for the summer.

A Short History of Literary Criticism: A lot of used book places don’t have a lot of literary criticism books. I have one on my Kindle and the one I used for my Lit Crit class. Best class I’ve ever had as an undergraduate.

Understanding Clinical Nutrition: I’ve been looking for a reliable nutrition source for ages and this textbook came out in 2006. I think the current students at my school are only using the 2009-2010 edition now, so it isn’t really that out of date. As someone who lifts, I want to know why the body works and what could make mine work better.

Of course, these books are in addition to this:

Summer reading....shelf.

I should not add any more books to my ever growing reading list. But I do anyway. I love my paper friends.

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Filed under American Literature, Books, British Literature, English, Purchases, School

Separated

Coffee

via Ben Cumming

 Richard had forgotten why as he packed the last vestiges of his books and papers into the trunk of the car. He continued to forget why as he slept in Angela’s embrace, the closest thing to a free man he had ever been. He had tasted the bold taste of the new and fresh, like the cup of coffee he poured himself as he signed the final paper. He tried not to be reminded of Joann as Angela rummaged around in the refrigerator for the orange juice.

The coffee was hot and bitter.

A/N: This is a continuance of the short story “Separating” by John Updike.

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Filed under American Literature, English, Fiction, Writing

Cranking my Anxiety

I wish I could get this tattooed across my brain.

via Pinterest

Let’s start off with defining some key terms. Pay attention now, there’s going to be a pop quiz later.

Cranking my anxiety v. The act of or initiation of additional anxiety or stressful situations that superceeds any rational thoughts and feelings. Think of a kickstart motorized bicycle.

My counselor told me to journal anytime I feel this way, so here goes.

Part of learning how to make myself a generally healthy person is that I see a shrink once a week through my school counseling center. Boy are we going to have a lot to talk about today.

It’s only 10:00 in the morning, and already my anxiety is through the roof. All of the things that are triggers for me are things that to normal people, with normal thought processes, are just life. To my anxiety, it’s like someone put me on a treadmill after injecting coffee in my veins.

To start off with, remember that paper-pushy job  I told you about? Well, turns out I misinterpreted an email and started rescheduling appointments. Turns out, the coworker whose appointments I’ve been rescheduling has already done so and I got my dates mixed up. I haven’t gone into the office yet (merely emailed my boss my mistake), so I have no idea what kind of turmoil I’ve caused in the office today already. That was at 7:00 this morning.

Second, I just got out of my American Lit class with my favorite professor. Normally, this isn’t cause for duress, but this time (due to my professor winning an award) we had a film crew in the class.

Despite being really good at English and school, I have this irrational fear of being that guy. Oh, don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s that kid, not necessarily the teacher’s pet, who always thinks he (or she, because there are she “that guys”) is right or that what they have to say is worth everyone listening to it.

I already feel like the actual teacher’s pet in this class anyway, so it doesn’t make it any better whenever a film crew is singling me out as “Target #1”. And, to top it all off, I had performance anxiety. In between not being able to say anything at all, I also got all the questions I tried to take a stab at wrong. Of course, now it is going to be documented that I am a huge dumb ass. At the same time, I was afraid of saying anything at all, any extra insights that I normally would have come up with, becasue I didn’t want to look like I was showing off or anything.

I need to lift so badly right now. I need to squat some really heavy weights and just not care about anyone right now. Not even care about me. Just take a vacation out of my own head.

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Filed under American Literature, English, Mental Health

A Day in Review as Told By Someone with Slightly Jumbly Thoughts

Today started as a sleepy day. The only reason I felt like I got out of bed in the first place was for coffee. Actually, I know that was the reason.  

I have an empty bag of Starbucks coffee in the car. I am too lazy to make coffee this morning. They will make it for me if I just give them that bag. I now have a purpose. Must attain.

I don’t even change out of my sweatpants and sleep sweatshirt. I pop on a gnarly baseball hat and I’m off to the local ‘bucks. I trade my wares in for some plain French roast, no room, and make my way–two blocks back, mind you–to my humble abode. Laundry and cleaning then occured, as well as listening to “I’m Blue (da ba dee)” on my circa 1997 tape player boombox.

Work starts at 11:00 today. And like what I’ve been doing for the past few days, I’ve been listening to this song on repeat. I just can’t get it out of my head:

For some reason, every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m on a catwalk, being a high-fashion model. I then strut myself across campus to my delightfully paper-pushy, cushy, workstudy job. Before I get to the University Center, I stopped to smell the roses.

Believe me, they look better than my megapixels can allow.

 It’s been raining off and on for the past few days here, and all the plants love it.  It’s like the world is in Technicolor.

After five hours of spreadsheets, I strutted myself back to my abode to nap for a couple hours before a movie screening that I wanted to attend for credit for my German class entitled “Dome of Heaven.”

The premise is that a Native American girl from a very rural town in Oklahoma has to overcome a fear of public speaking as well as her poverty-stricken homelife to make something of herself. Afterwards, there was a Q&A with the director as well as delicious free food.

Which leads me to now, drinking very cold coffee from the reception and typing this entry on a library computer. Why a library computer?  Because Apple called me to say that they still haven’t fixed my laptop. I’m starting to be beyond peeved at the situation, but what can you do at this point? If they bought me a new computer as an apology letter, I wouldn’t turn it down.

Next week I begin my training regimen for my half-marathon. I was going to start this week, to coincide with our cutting cycle, but none of the days have worked out at all and the aforementioned rain just makes everything wet and uncomfortable. Yes, a truly lame excuse.

Now to stop procrastinating from my blog writing class essay, and finish this entry.

There. Done.

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