Conclave  1

Posted on Wednesday, 3 October 2007 at 02:44 AM. About Ames. About this is my lifestyle.

WOODSo as usual, I haven't posted anything in a while. I thought it might be useful to share that this Saturday I'll be out in the wood (not woods, we don't have that many 'round here) watching a bunch of young men and women drink beer and chop wood. There will be many different ways of chopping wood, at least five. Also, a chaw-spittin' contest.

This is my lifestyle, this is what I do. Awesome.

More True Stories of Iowa  0

Posted on Friday, 20 April 2007 at 01:46 PM. About Ames.

I've come to the conclusion that the reason so many police officers are dour people is not because they spend all their time dealing with criminals and shady dealings, because that is not how their time is spent; for the most part they must respond to calls that would be hilarious if they were someone else's problem. But, alas:

April 14: At 7:35 p.m., an anonymous person reported there were 10 juveniles fighting outside Mastercuts, 2801 Grand Ave., and mall security was not in the area.

April 15: A sick raccoon was reported in the front yard of 1804 Maxwell Ave.

April 16: At 12:01 a.m., M.J. Kitzman reported that there was "a strange orange light in the sky that traveled from the northeast to the southwest 15 percent faster than an airplane." Kitzman just wanted to know if anyone else had filed reports.

April 16: At 2:52 p.m., an anonymous person reported a highly intoxicated woman was running around Kellogg Apartments, 720 Kellogg Ave., ringing doorbells.

April 16: Matt Randall, of Coldwater Golf Links, 615 S. 16th St., reported that sometime overnight someone had taken some golf carts and driven them into the water.

April 17: At 1:34 a.m., an anonymous person reported there were people riding around on golf carts without lights near the Cyclone Truck Stop, 1811 S. Dayton Ave.

April 17: At 8:05 p.m., Lavila Hatten, 1422 Meadowlane Ave., called 911 and asked for the time.

April 17: At 9:58 p.m., an anonymous person reported a suspicious person wearing a blue sweater but couldn't explain why they were suspicious.

April 17: At 11:43 p.m., people were reported in the pool at Sterling University Plains, 4912 Mortensen Road.

April 18: At 12:18 a.m., people were reported back in the pool at Sterling University Plains, 4912 Mortensen Road.

My life seems so pleasantly dull by comparison.

Life in Iowa, redux  0

Posted on Wednesday, 21 February 2007 at 05:58 AM. About Ames.

I'm still around. I've been staying out of trouble, though we've no end of it here in Iowa:

Feb. 11: An anonymous person reported he wanted the police department to be aware that there are groups of red-headed people with five to six people per group, going around town causing havoc.

Heaven help us!

Life in Iowa  0

Posted on Friday, 29 September 2006 at 05:17 AM. About Ames.
September 27, 2006 - An officer on patrol observed a riding mower parked in an intersection. The vehicle was moved to a safe area.

More updates as the situation warrants.

His motives remain unknown  1

Posted on Monday, 24 April 2006 at 04:57 AM. About Ames.

The police blotter is the best thing about the local paper:

First United Methodist Church, 576 Kellogg Ave., reported a man taking off his clothes, swearing and throwing rocks at the church April 17.
David Ficken, 516 N. Dakota Ave. No. 47, reported seeing an eight-foot hairy person ripping down trees near a trailer court April 18.

UPDATE: The police blotter from VEISHEA Friday evening is available now too. Looks pretty tame, though there is at least one good story in there:

An unidentified male reported he had to dive out of a second story window at 824 Clark Ave. to escape people who he said were trying to beat him up April 21. An officer investigated.

Real Ultimate VEISHEA  0

Posted on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 08:47 PM. About Ames.

This weekend marked the passing of Iowa State University's annual festival, VEISHEA, and was it ever a blast.

A quick overview: VEISHEA started in 1922 as a sort of public fair, where area residents came by train to see the University's facilities and accomplishments. The students chipped in and provided entertainment in the form of food stands, a parade, public competitions, a theatrical performance, and so on.

When I arrived in Ames some eighty years later, not much had changed about VEISHEA, except that after eighty booze-filled nights it had also gained the dubious reputation of being one of Iowa's biggest and craziest parties, second only to RAGBRAI or perhaps the Drake Relays. Students would organize the parades and open-air concerts during the day, then retire at night to enormous house parties, packed to the brim with college students, teenagers, and total strangers who had come to Ames with the sole purpose of getting lit and seeing what kind of crazy stuff would happen. In the wee hours of April 18, 2004, the police in what they described as "routine fashion" shut down a party of some 400 people on Hunt Street near campus. The partygoers who were not arrested regrouped and mobbed Campustown, and the ensuing riot caused tens of thousands of dollars in property damage and the complete cancellation of VEISHEA 2005.

So expectations for VEISHEA 2006 were very high. This year's organizers of "the largest student-run celebration in the country" found themselves under extraordinary pressure from the city, the University, business owners, police and the student body to pull off an event that would attract tens of thousands of people yet not trash the campus in the process. The solution? Wear the bastards out.

This year's VEISHEA was a gargantuan affair, attracting as many as 75,000 people on Saturday with a list of events that was simply intimidating in scale for a town that boasts a summertime population a third that size. In the week running up to VEISHEA weekend, there was something going on every night--a stand-up comedy competition, a talent show hosted by the infamous William Hung, thirty hours of "playoffs" for the Battle of the Bands, and daily sporting competitions. Friday night, though, is when it really kicked off. Here, check out this schedule:

    • Noon - Opening ceremonies with President Geoffroy. Classes are still in session, so all that's happening is a performance by the competitive drum line and two hours of speeches by noted alumni. Beardshear Hall is opened up later in the afternoon with a series of exhibits highlighting the history of VEISHEA.
    • Five p.m. - Classes wrap up for the day and the ten-hour-long Battle of the Bands begins on the field south of the Campanille. Nearby Union Drive is flooded with people, drawn like moths to food stands and, of course, the ninety kilowatt Musco light array that can be seen for five miles in any direction.
    • Seven-thirty p.m. - The Battle of the Bands continues. A student production of "My Fair Lady" kicks off at Stephens Auditorium. People begin gathering at Hilton Coliseum next door for...
    • Nine p.m. - ...a stand-up show with Dave Attell, who by all accounts is already pretty hammered himself. He will go on to give a long and rambling routine, and even sober up halfway through to still be pretty funny. Across town on Colorado Avenue, Christian student group The Rock has set up another outdoor stage and is playing music for a couple hundred people.
    • Midnight - Hoover Hall fills up for a free showing of Boondock Saints. Meanwhile, thousands of people spill onto Central Campus to catch grunge band Local H, you know, "the ones who did that cover of 'Toxic' last year." They play the song, and about half the crowd soon boils off to go get some sleep or attend the nearby pancake feed, which will serve some 4,000 people before 4 a.m. and turn away several thousand more for lack of seating. But plenty of people stay for the massive mosh pit and the crowd finally starts dispersing around 3:00.
    • 7 in the bloody morning - Go to bed with pancakes, wake up with pancakes. Or stay up with pancakes. At this point hundreds of sorority and fraternity members have been up for hours moving their floats and vehicles into position for today's parade.
    • Nine a.m. - Campus opens up. Over a hundred student and community groups are set up across campus in various booths and tents. Two big tents on Central Campus are holding games for the kids, and the Memorial Union is bustling as the day's visitors to campus peruse a cultural festival and art show. Across campus in Gilman Hall, the chemistry and physics clubs are making things explode to a packed lecture hall, which gets out just in time for...
    • Eleven a.m. - The parade! Nearly one hundred floats, balloons, cars, and marching groups march through campus for a crowd of tens of thousands in the biggest parade what must be the biggest parade in Iowa in recent years. Some good photos will make their way onto the internets through blogs and the University photo service.
    • Noon - As the parade wraps up, the afternoon's activities kick off with the annual International Food Fair in the MU's Great Hall, a charity Twister tournament on Central Campus, two stages of dancers and demonstrations on Central Campus and outside Friley Hall, a canoe race, basketball, softball and volleyball tournaments, and another demonstration by the chemistry club.
    • Six p.m. - Ah, the big night. The Musco lights set up again and students flood back onto campus. Another nine hours of live music kick off, this time on not one but three stages, with side shows set up at Friley and Forker Halls. The main draw is easily the Nappy Roots at midnight, but some fifteen other bands will play over the course of the evening. Meanwhile, another performance of "My Fair Lady" kicks off at Stephens Auditorium.
    • Midnight - A firework display caps off the evening, though the on-campus concerts will continue until around 2:00. Partygoers and barhoppers pour out into the streets for a few minutes to watch the fireworks, then pour back off the streets to resume drinking.

In the end, everything went off very smoothly and according to schedule. I worked both nights delivering pizzas, and the crowds in Campustown proper weren't that much bigger than on any other nice night in April. Granted, the house parties were more brazen than usual, and there were more people doing stupid things--the police could have kept busy all night just trying to keep up with all the people wandering around with open containers. Not that they weren't doing that all night anyway. Besides fielding their "party response teams" again, agents of The Man were ticketing and arresting people for alcohol law violations left and right. My favorite story from the evening came from one of my co-workers at the pizza place, who was coming back from a delivery when he saw a young man walking by himself down Welch Avenue and drinking a forty-ounce bottle of Bud Light. A police officer happened to be driving by going the other way, and upon seeing this, the officer immediately stopped his car, jumped out, slapped the forty-oh out of the young man's hand, threw the kid in the back of his car and drove off. Thirty seconds, in and out. Bam.

But liquor law violations notwithstanding, everyone was remarkably well-behaved. There were fewer fights than you would expect, and not much vandalism besides the usual idiots throwing things off of the balconies at Chamberlain Lofts. I think a good part of this is because with the sheer number of events and things to do, the VEISHEA organizers generated a lot of good will. You could really see it in the way people were acting Friday and Saturday nights: the prevailing attitude wasn't exactly friendly and welcoming, but everyone was civil, which is more than you can say for the drunken masses in Ames on any given weekend. Even my friends who actively refuse to attend University events because they view it as "selling out" went to a few things on Friday and had good things to say about it afterwards.

So that was VEISHEA this year--sort of a youth fair on steroids. I'm not sure that everyone who attended was as enthusiastic about it as I was, but turnout was still excellent and most people seemed to have a good time, which is the best anyone could have hoped for.

For my part, I had a great time and got a little sunburned for the second time in as many weeks. I didn't get to catch any of the concerts because of work, but I saw RJD2 and Blueprint at the Mews on Thursday so I didn't feel too bad about missing the Nappy Roots. More about that other show soon, though...

Civics follow-up  80

Posted on Friday, 9 December 2005 at 03:36 AM. About Ames.

About that election thing--it's old news to anyone living in Ames, but Ryan Doll won his runoff election. By a good margin, too. What's new is that there is a lengthy and insightful story in Thursday evening's Ames Tribune about a few of the people who made it happen. They are good kids, and I am glad to see them get a little attention for their efforts.

I had more of a speech, but hey, I just got off work and hey, it's three in the morning. I'll launch off into a treatise on youth politics later. (Note to self: actually do that this time instead of just talking about doing shit.)

Tid bit nippy  0

Posted on Tuesday, 6 December 2005 at 12:48 PM. About Ames. About movies.

Oh yeah, I'm back in Ames. I was chased by a blizzard the whole way back, and it hasn't really warmed up here since then:

New Record!

The meteorologists think it might get above freezing for a few hours on Saturday, so that's good. Weather like this is really discourages going out, though, and my roommate and I have just been stockpiling vital supplies to ride it out--food, movies, fine imported whiskey. I finally saw Kung Fu Hustle on Saturday, which was quite quality, though I'm not sure it needs a sequel.

OK for now. The run-off election for that college student's city council campaign is today. It's not my ward, so I can't vote, but hopefully others will brave the weather to get to the polls. There were only about twelve hundred people who voted in the regular election in November, so turn-out will be important in this one.

Results  196

Posted on Friday, 18 November 2005 at 06:35 AM. About Ames. About Rapid City.

We ended up getting more ice than snow here. Between moving and buying a new car over the summer, I somehow lost all six of my ice scrapers and wound up being forty-five minutes late to my part-time job tonight because instead of driving to work I was standing outside in the cold, trying to dig a couple inches of ice off my car with my mittens. I don't think any of those countless episodes of MacGyver I watched as a kid rubbed off on me.

For the motherland crew: Tonight it will snow again here, on into the morning. I'm due to return to South Dakota this weekend, but I might have to put it off until Monday if we get dumped on. I'm coming back, though! My kid sister has been telling me all these crazy stories of how the town has changed, and how our high school is even more like a prison now than ever, so I figure I'd better come back and check things out. Shake things up a bit, maybe see if I run into any of my old friends or history teachers now that I'm old enough to patronize the taverns.

Speaking of prisons, former Rapid City state senator Alan Aker (emph. former) got a column in the Journal sometime while I was away. I don't know too much about the guy, except that I always voted against him for various reasons. I certainly didn't know he took seriously that Spiro Agnew line about how "there are people in our society who should be separated and discarded." But there it is in black and white. I'm sitting here scratching my head and trying to decide whether it was worth trading "what the rotten kids need is less coddling and attention" for "Joseph McCarthy was a great American hero."

But back here in Iowa, apparently campus celebrity/activist/student governor Drew Miller has some kind of blog. For months, every time I've gone to the Campustown coffee shop, Drew Miller has been there with his laptop, apparently filling out his intarweblog with news on local politics. Which surprises me, because the man is one of the hardest-working bachelors I know! I always just assumed he was just there trying to get on Facebook girls. Ah well.

and December too  212

Posted on Monday, 14 November 2005 at 01:16 PM. About Ames.

The weekend here was pretty wild. Despite it being halfway through autumn and despite the fact that we've already had two frosts this season, on Saturday a line of tornadoes swept through the state over the weekend, destroying dozens of homes and killing a lady. One even touched down on the outskirts of the town here, delaying a big football game against the University of Colorado, which the Cyclones eventually won. Fitting, I guess, though I'm still trying to find a way to explain to the Livingston family that the twister that flattened their house was a "lucky twister."

So Friday it was warm, with thunderstorms and tornadoes. Yesterday was cooler. Today and tomorrow it is going to snow. My friend Carl is convinced we can pin this one on global warming. Somehow.

The first link I've been saving to post: when I head back home to Rapid City, I usually drive through the small town of Denison, Iowa. It has been a major destination point for immigrants from Latin America coming to the States for work, and apparently there is a passable book out about the town called, appropriately, Denison, Iowa. The New York Times published a review a while back. I'll let you know if I get my hands on a copy of the book.

November has come  206

Posted on Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 05:24 AM. About Ames.

I admit I am a consummate liar. At least when it comes to updating this website. I fixed the sidebar a bit, though. Hopefully I will be able to redesign the site over break or something. Whenever break happens.

Elections here were yesterday. For once, everyone I voted for won their respective races, which was a very pleasant feeling. By all accounts, voters acted to punish backers (and even prospective supporters) of the proposed Wolford Mall, a massive, economy-crushing project to be built on the edge of town that was approved by the outgoing city council on the night of the elections. Which is fine with me. Plus in a nice related story, voters in Roland, a town of 1,300 about 15 miles from here, elected a high school senior to be their mayor. The reason? He was the only one willing to step up to do it.

OK. I have a whole archive of stuff to post, but for now... hey, I got my new mobile phone's camera to work with the gallery software here. It will be a while before I can use it casually, but there's a start.

Fall semester  1228

Posted on Thursday, 8 September 2005 at 12:59 AM. About Ames.

A story:

At the end of my last class today, instead of just filing out the back of the big, two-story Food Science Building auditorium like I always do, I went down to the stage to talk to the professor about something and left through a side door I'd never noticed. It opened into this basement hallway I'd never seen before. In both directions there were bright red EXIT signs hanging from the ceiling, and beyond them on each far wall was a hand-written sign reading, "NO EXIT."

Then someone else walked out of the lecture hall and, ignoring the signs, went down the hall, walked into a door at the end and promptly walked right back out. "Guess the sign was right," he said, and we wandered around for a while, trying different doors until we made our way out.

No point to that, really, just my emo moment of the day. Anyway, INTAR-WEB I'm back! I'll see what I can do about getting things going again.

This Is Your April!  1

Posted on Friday, 15 April 2005 at 04:31 AM. About Ames.

Oh man. I've been really busy lately. Also it is four in the morning right now... I just wrote something in an email that is worth repeating, so I will repeat it here:

It turns out all the crazy rumors I heard about that unfortunate incident last Friday were true, and now the kids who received the knife are being charged with assault:
Two arrests made in Saturday stabbings
It's what they call 'tragicomic.' To enhance your appreciation of the lighter aspects of this drama, a story:
Supposedly this Jeffrey fellow stopped by a local video rental store a few weeks ago and asked the manager to tell the police, if they should ever ask, that at a certain date and time he was not robbing a convenience store across town but, in fact, here renting videos. Having never actually met the lad before, the manager pondered this for a bit and then went to the back of the store, removed the surveillance video of Mr. Lundgren that had just been recorded, and took it to the police.
So *that's* the kind of crime we deal with here in Ames. Epic, but only in its stupidity.

So my life has not been without excitement.

If you are in Ames, you should go to the Battle of the Bands this Saturday, because it will be awesome. As Jeremy Hilbert so poignantly said, "you better bring a second pair of socks to the battle in the anticipation your first pair will be rocked off."


Rebuild Site  157

Posted on Friday, 31 December 2004 at 05:40 AM. About Ames. About Technical.

Doing some more work on the more mundane parts of the site. I think I have a solution to our comment spam problems up and running, and I should have done it much sooner. Viagra robots are accounting for about a fifth of our bandwidth usage right now--which doesn't take much, admittedly, but it is a bit unsettling. Most popular for some reason was this entry about flan.

Anyway, among other things, I integrated more of my old writing in with the Movable Type 'blog here. Some of it is pretty telling as it concerns my current situation, and I'm kind of surprised. I had thought things were going pretty well before last year. But now I'm starting to remember that even in my first couple of semesters at Iowa State--around the time I wrote this, in fact--I was seriously considering transferring to the University of Minnesota. If only I had gone through with it; probably it would have saved me a lot of misery. Shucks, if nothing else it would have totally saved Jesse's last Minneapolis trip.

But I suppose that's all in the past.

Here, let me change the subject very quickly: I saw a strange bumper sticker while driving for work the other day. "NO PAIN, NO JANE," with white letters over red background on an otherwise unadorned black Nissan pickup truck. I wondered what it could possibly mean. Was it a euphemism for wifebeating? The pickup truck of a weekend dominatrix? The mark of some kind of sadomasochist drug dealing cartel?

I made a note of it, and when I looked it up later it turned out to be the slogan of some yuppie ski resort in Colorado.BASSOOOOOOOON Disappointing, but not a big surprise. While riding out to New York in April, I saw a much more impressive bumper sticker near Iowa City that read only "Osama Yo Mama," without even a copyright mark to explain why. Ever since then I've been checking out the rear ends of passing cars, waiting for something better than "Osama Yo Mama." I don't know that it will ever come.

BONUS SOMETHING-OR-OTHER: An intar-web friend--I think on a dare from noted collage master Chris L. Seebe'oh--created a collage of bassoonists. Also bassoons. What. It is five in the morning and this is all I have for you. Please DO NOT QUESTION.

Other days  0

Posted on Thursday, 12 August 2004 at 03:51 AM. About Ames.

The big news I alluded to earlier is this:

  1. I'm taking a year off of school to establish Iowa residency and save myself thousands of dollars on college tuition. In return, I lose my health insurance and a bit of my scholarship package. Somehow I must work in Ames for a year, keeping my health and recovering my sanity in the process. Which leads me to...
  2. ...the months of December, April and May: they were a bit rough. Tonight I broke out my old social psychology textbook to find some answers, and it suggested that if someone had locked me in a room with six nice young women for a couple of hours, everything would be fine now (Myers 583) I'm not sure I buy it, but it's probably better than my solution at the time, which was the fetal position. Playing dead, while a useful course of action in case of bear attack, is not a skill that carries over well into daily life.
    I think that's all I should say about that in public.
  3. I'll be back in Rapid City this afternoon through Sunday to do laundry, deal with the family crisis (which I suppose is mine) and gawk at bikers in sweaters. Supposedly, this year's Rally is the coldest in history; I expect to validate this claim for myself soon.

Sorry for the drama and for not calling, even if I have never met you and don't know your phone number. Through the vast power of the Internet, I should be able to legally "steal" your "identity" and "stalk you" just based on the information your computer just gave me, just now, without you even knowing... but that's a lot of work, and I'm lazy. Oops, I mean depressed. MANAGED HEALTH CARE thank you for clarifying this! Where were you eight months ago when all I needed was a concerned phone call?

The Bali Satay House, the local Indonesian-restaurant-cum-night-club, finally got themselves a website. Unfortunately, last week's Arecee show was probably their last good show this month. Still, this advance is a great victory for Ames music fans tired of picking through the sea of weight-loss flyers on "the pole" in Campustown.

Referenced: Myers, David G. Social Psychology. 7th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2002.

Monday  0

Posted on Tuesday, 13 July 2004 at 03:39 AM. About Ames. About shows.

OK. I still haven't fixed that clock, but it never worked right anyway. Let's move on to other topics. In the past two weeks, I have:

  • Learned how to play canasta and mah jongg.
  • Started learning how to write computer programs in Java.
  • Exploded explosives.
  • Seen Soulive, well, live, at a nearby jazz festival. (They even played a crazy, twenty-minute version of One in Seven, which was pretty good.)
  • Sampled a half-liter of authentic, imported alt bier (Schlösser Alt, I think), which changed my whole outlook on alcohol... until something called a banana margarita changed it back.
  • And oh yeah, I f--well, maybe I should set that aside for a few days.

Suffice it to say that there will be news, soon. But not all good news. Truth be told, I haven't had a lot of that lately, but let's edit the sad parts for now, yes? At least until I have crafted responses and initiated the proper contingency plans. I have another four days or so to do this, so I guess I'll have more word soon.

For now... hey look, it's peg-board beads for nerds! I fully intend to make some of these, as soon as possible.

Sunday  2

Posted on Sunday, 20 June 2004 at 07:10 AM. About Ames. About New York.

I guess I haven't really written anything in a while, eh?

Well... no. But I haven't done much of anything else in the last two months. Wait, no, that's not true. It's more like this:

In April I went to New York. Then I came back and didn't do anything at all for a month. This was bad. Then in May I got some nasty letters, so I've been gradually rejoining society. Now it's nearly June and I'm still stuck in Iowa, with most/all of my posse elsewhere and millipedes crawling all over the house. The clock on the endtable behind me is making a strange noise--not unlike that of a goose--but I intend to fix that too.

However, it is 7 am and I am going to bed instead of getting up, so OK for now.

All-nighter fallout  1

Posted on Friday, 2 April 2004 at 01:03 PM. About Ames.
Besides the four main categories of materials mentioned here, three other materials have influenced the bicycle industry enough to merit mention: beryllium, magnesium and metal matrix composites, or MMCs. The former can be wrapped up in a single sentence, written by John Markoff for the New York Times: “Some [exotic materials], like beryllium, which is highly toxic without special treatment, have already been tried and are generally regarded as failures.” The latter two, fortunately, have been more successful.

I have begun bulk production of bullshit, a small-scale manufacturing operation requiring the use of a very expensive vertical machining center and the use of a global acquisition/distribution network. Unprocessed human waste is shipped to me from such exotic locales as Tokyo and Helsinki, processed with high-carbon steel drill bits and titanium reamers in the VMC, and then braze welded by an Indian graduate student who studies microscalar tribology. I do the precision finishing myself, following up with lasers to spot-check surface roughness. The polished product is then shipped all over the world, COD.

Academia is a fantastic machine, rivaled only by the political marketing industry in sheer scope and efficiency. Cazart!

Contingencies  1

Posted on Monday, 8 March 2004 at 02:30 AM. About Ames.

Classes have been going this semester than the last two, but still I'm finding myself bombing one important class. So much so, in fact, that I think I'm going to be dropping it mid-term. Unfortunately, I already dropped another class because the prof was crazy, so in order to remain eligible for scholarships, I will need to add one credit in the form of a second-half semester course. I figured I would share my thoughts, partly to commit the list to words, but mostly because my slack-aciousness is forcing me to take a long, hard look at my choice of schooling. To wit, my options:

Botany 340: Biodiversity
Survey of the major groups of organisms and biological systems. Definition,
measurement, and patterns of distribution of organisms. Sources of information about biodiversity.
Why: It would definitely be a change of pace.
Why not: The course prerequisite is "one class in the life sciences." I haven't taken "life science" since high school, as far as I know, but I think I could fake it. However, the schedule is not clear on whether the class starts this week or last week. Sketchy.

Economics 338C: Topics in Grain Markets
A hands-on application of economic concepts and principles to agricultural commodity markets, marketing methods, risk management, and related agribusiness decision.
Why: I don't know anything about grain markets.
Why not: I don't know anything about grain markets.

Excercise and Sport Science, various
I can choose from golf, tennis or "triathlon training."
Why: Getting off my ass and getting in shape can only be a good thing. Plus, easy credit.
Why not: They're all full. Plus, I hate golf, am not quite ready to prepare for a triathlon, and... I like tennis, yes, but I have yet to win a game without the help of my trusty Dreamcast. There could be problems.

Liberal Arts & Sciences 380: Life in Iowa Orientation
Class work examines the sustainable community from five perspectives: politically, economically, spiritually, ecologically, and in community. Students perform research and asset mapping of the community in which they will be working.
Why: I will turn 21 in two weeks, and could use a reason to drink.
Why not: The last time I checked, people were emigrating from Iowa in droves, which would imply that it is not, in fact, a sustainable community. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that if I signed up, I would be required to take seven more credit hours of "Life in Iowa" work in the semesters to come, which would be a psychic trauma too dramatic to even contemplate.

Military Science 102: The United States Defense Establishment
This course instructs students on the U.S. Army's Principles of Warfighting. Students will gain an understanding of the applied skills, proven successful, required to defeat an opponent: militarily, athletically, or in the business world. Historical battles and significant military leaders will be analyzed to highlight dimensions of leadership that can be quantifiably assessed. Instruction will include programs to teach students the methodology used in ROTC to assess the leadership skills of both others and of self. Additional instruction will include time management, decision-making, counseling, rappelling, marksmanship, and confidence-building tasks.
Why: I'm dropping a class because I slept in constantly and missed not only a month of class, but two quizzes and a major exam. I could use time-management skills. And rappelling and marksmanship would be very helpful should I ever decide to take the dark path of the ninja engineer, in order to avenge the death of my father at the hands of a rival clan of hydrologists.
Why not: With a batting average below .500, perhaps the U.S. Army is not the best organization to teach me how to defeat an opponent. And anyway, this seems like an awfully bizarre mish-mash of skills for a one-credit course, unless that list of 'significant military leaders' isn't as long as they like to think...

University Studies 150: Dialogues on Diversity
An exploration of diversity within the context of the Iowa State University community through understanding human relations issues.
Why: Another easy credit, especially considering that "diversity within the context of Iowa State University" never gets past tokenism. Ask my roomate--a.k.a. "Da Asian"--about this sometime.
Why not: Do I really want to spend my hard-not-yet-earned-dollars on "University Studies?"

That's my university. I see now why we're only a third-tier school.

At any rate, I think I'll try for some dialoguing, then see if I can get into either Tennis or a class called "Great Environmental Writing" that would I would have to leave early from once a week. Although Chris Crouch, thanks to the magic of the internet, just recommended the biodiversity one... choices, choices. Please lend me your thoughts, if you have them.

An Early-Morning Drama  0

Posted on Sunday, 22 February 2004 at 10:15 PM. About Ames. About national affairs.

This is what I started writing last Wednesday:

I was sitting for my M & I exam this morning with fifteen minutes and half a problem to go when the loud, shrill siren of the fire alarm pierced the room. After a few moments of stupefied silence, my professor composed himself and said, "All right, here's what we'll do... turn in your exams and leave the building. You have two minutes. Class is over for the day." Anyway, the point is, I have some free time, so I thought I might get some thoughts down before starting my office hours at the station.

  • Much has been said about how Howard Dean has used the Internet to revolutionize political fundraising, as he raised some obscene amount of money in no time at all. After months of putting up with quotes in newspaper articles from swaggering bloggers about how "the power of the Internet has changed everything," it was strangely vindicating to wake up this morning and hear that Howard Dean will be the first presidential candidate in 25 years to raise the most money and not receive his party's nomination. The power of the Internet indeed!
  • We've been watching the AT&T Wireless acquisition at the house for a while now. It turns out the roommate and I are both GSM freaks, and Vodafone buying AT

...aaaaaaand then I puked my breakfast out. Don't ever give yourselves food poisoning, kids. It's bad mojo.

More news as events warrant, and boy, do they warrant!

Boots and busts  0

Posted on Thursday, 12 February 2004 at 11:59 PM. About Ames.

Another week below freezing. That makes three now. I'd like to say that this is some kind of personal record, but when I was 12 or 13, it was like this for the entire month of February. There was a week or so during which the temperature never even got above the zero mark. This was when I had a paper route and still walked to and from school, guaranteeing at least an hour spent in the frigid cold each and every day. It is hard to complain too much about this "Iowa cold." (Though I have had to buy a crowbar to get my car doors open on those mornings it is completely encased in ice.)

Right now I am writing from the computer lab on campus because one of my roommates has a very strange dating protocol, wherein we--the other roommate and myself--are barred from the house. I only mention this as a lead-in to the pictures I have recently obtained of our very kick-ass pad, which is a total dive but very spacious and cozy. (I hope to have these pictures available very soon.) Everyone in the Ames-area is invited to come over at any time, by the way--except right now, for obvious reasons. And also tomorrow and Saturday nights. I'm guessing Sunday isn't so good either. In fact, if someone else has a house I could hang out at for a while, I would appreciate a call or email--at the dot-org rapidfish, I am robert.

Other news: one Mr. Omar Tesdell--the co-founder of the student activism group Time for Peace, journalist, and all-around cool guy--won an award that puts him on par with one of the founders of Books for Children, an MIT group that sends books to kids in developing countries and that has spawned a number of similar organizations all over the country. This is pretty cool, mostly because it's a nice reminder that even podunk Iowa can spawn some pretty amazing people.

I needed that reminder after the police showed up at a house in our neighborhood last week and impounded a whole bunch of chemicals used in the production of ultra-high grade methamphetamines. I walked by the house in question Saturday night, and it looked like just another run-down house. At least I think it was the house in question, because there was no mailbox and no identifying numbers anywhere on the house; just peeling paint and bare wood. Many houses in Ames look like that or worse--most memorably, the one on the corner of 5th and Grand with the large holes in the walls and "ENTER HERE ---->" spraypainted on the side in black. It's to be expected, of course, even in a college town like this; it's just a nice reminder that most everything in the University's brochures is a falsehood of some sort.

Anyway, enough of my aimless rambling. I'm supposed to be here studying Spanish, so I might as well get to it. Adios!

This weblog is powered by Movable Type 2.63. Design by Matthew.