Friday, August 7, 2009

I'll have what he's having...

Oh, hai!

Hoo-rah for my first blog!

I'm a 22-year-old journalism/information sciences technology student. I'm about to enter my senior year of college at Penn State University in good ol' State College, Pa. (a.k.a. the best place on the planet). The few passions I've discovered so far in my short existence are writing, learning new languages (feeble as my attempts may be), current events, computers, techy type things, analyzing people and situations to the point of exhaustion and reading. I enjoy reading just about anything; I sometimes find myself reading ridiculous things out of boredom, like shampoo bottles or other personal-care products. You know it's bad when you're driving somewhere, kind of zoning out, and then out of nowhere you recite parts of a Bath and Body Works body wash label for no reason.

I'm a loser like that and I'm definitely that guy -- just to give you a brief introduction.

I should be doing something productive...

I've been meaning to delve into the blog-o-sphere and torment the masses with my incessant ramblings for some time now, but just haven't gotten around to it.

I find it odd that I'm choosing to start a blog now, considering my life is so stressful that I sometimes wake up feeling like Atlas, with the weight of the world on my shoulders...walking uphill...both the a path of broken glass...and a river of lemon juice...laced with iodine.

Things on my plate at the moment:

  • Senior year starting at Penn State.
  • Really awesome [slash] challenging classes this semester, with most of the work starting several days ago, even though the semester doesn't start for two weeks.
  • Exploring different grad school options.
  • Studying my little ass off for the GRE (think SAT [slash] ACT for graduate students, except even more ridiculous.)
  • Applying for a Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad for graduate school.
  • Developing my research proposal to accompany my Fulbright application.
  • Applying to American University's International Media program as a potential backup plan for grad school.
  • Applying to University of Pennsylvania's Journalism program as another option for grad school.
  • Paying off tons of credit card debt.
  • Winding down my summer with the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund copy editing internship at the Charleston Gazette in Charleston, W.Va.
  • Preparing for the NLGJA convention in Montreal.
  • Finding contacts for my story to be completed at said convention.

My inner monologue at this very minute is: "FUCK! QUIT WRITING! THERE ARE 2938492384 THINGS YOU COULD BE DOING!"

I'm not sure if I can insert "emoticons" in this blog, but this is what my current emoticon would be: >:O

Shamelessly copying, if that's what you want to call it...

I think I'm turning to this blog as a means of distraction to take my mind off of all the imminent deadlines, which in my mind are holding me up against a wall--arms pinned back--pummeling me in the stomach, brass knuckles and all.

I'm also doing this because my friend Alex kept a near-daily blog of her adventures as an intern in China this summer.

Alex, whom's blog I visited frequently, was insightful and amazing in her writing. I want to be able to have a contribution like that. Even if it is small. I feel like blogging is a cheap and easy form of folk art. Since I don't have any tactile talents or artsy-fartsy knowledge, my words are the only thing I can offer people.

Think of this as a cyber "Keeping up with the Joneses" if you will. Except I'm not buying a new car or boat, and this certainly will not help the economy.

I'm an addict, gimme my fix...*twitch*

One way in which I am helping the economy is the small fortune I've been spending on McDonalds Vanilla Iced Coffees. Today, I frequented McDonalds three times to get coffee. I'm so amped up on caffeine I'm shaking. It's like, I'm Keith Richards, coming down from a weekend with Courtney Love, after we had discovered the long-lost medicine cabinet of Anna Nichole Smith and went ape shit on it.

McDonalds is the only real option for coffee in this town, it seems. There are some Mom and Pop style coffeeshops, but they're off the beaten path, or in the city, which is a bit out of the way.

Also, another thing that is so odd is the absence of Starbucks. I think this is the most Starbucks-barren place I've ever been to. I think downtown Tehran probably has more Starbucks than Charleston. It's so bizarre to me. Back at school, I go to Starbucks like it's my job. There are at least two that I can think of in State College, probably less than a mile apart from each other. In between the two Starbucks are a Dunkin Donuts, handful of hometown coffeeshops and a McDonalds. It's like State College runs on caffeine.

Homsick homo... or... What is wrong with people here?

I've been mentioning State College a lot, but I suspect it's because I miss it so much.

West Virginia, while it does have its own little...nuances, is completely different from back home. I just miss coming home to my roommates and verbally abusing each other. I miss standing on our balcony, smoking cigarettes and shouting at people as they pass by (Most often, it's my roommate Jamie yelling at people. She's fearless when it comes to stuff like that. I'm envious.)

The people in West Virginia are generally nice, but things are done at such a slower pace here.

I've had a few experiences with people in West Virginia that will forever make me laugh.

Por ejemplo:

A few weeks ago, I was on my lunch break and was sitting in the dining room of Wendy's. This woman, I'd say somewhere in her mid-to-upper 30s, kept staring at me from across the room. It wasn't that type of stare where you glance up at the person when they're not looking, then quickly jerk your head away when they notice. This was full-on, blatant staring. I felt like I had grown a dick on my forehead or something. I was a little creeped out, but kept my head down and tried to ignore it. After about five minutes of this woman looking at me, she gets up to throw her trash away, walking past me because the trash bin was several feet behind me.

After I hear her dump her trash in the bin, she makes her way over to my table and stops right next to it, my head still down the entire time.

Then, the most bizarre thing came out of her mouth:

"Where did you get your lips done? I love them!"

To which I replied, "...uhh... they're not fake....all real."

This woman proceeded to talk to me about how she was dissatisfied with her lips as I was sitting there eating my lunch. I kept looking around me for the sign that read, "Please, come talk to me while I stuff my face with a Spicy Chicken Sandwich."

I didn't find one.

This woman was so God damn awkward. I wanted to get up and run. I acted polite, kept reassuring her that my lips were real and fought back laughs at what she was saying.

After I was done with my lunch, I said, "Well, I hope everything works out well for you."

This was pretty cryptic, but from my intonation, I really meant, "Hope your family realizes you're nuts and institutionalizes you soon. Lips are the last of your worries!"


I need action. I need background noise. I don't need to be harassed about my lips.

I crave my old routine. And as dorky as it sounds, I miss not being in class. Learning is something into which I've never had to put forth much effort. It comes so naturally to me. It's a comfort thing for me to sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture. Classroom lecture and discussion give me such a high. I'm really excited because I have a class on entomology (bug science) this semester. I think that's pretty exemplary of my level of "dorkdom."

I promise to keep up with this blog and keep you all posted on the inner workings of this cynical, twisted brain of mine.

But now, I need to get back to something productive.

Studying for the GRE, perhaps?


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