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December 27, 2007
My Christmas Was Wonderful... How 'Bout You?
My time being back home has been really relaxing. I got an early Christmas treat when my big sister from New York came home for a few days. Although we still argue like we live together, I think we had fun together this time around. Who knows why we were arguing... it may just be the nature of our relationship. We always argue.
By the time Christmas came, I noticed I wasn't as excited as I was when I was younger. I didn't even wake up until 10:30 this year. There was a point in time when I was awake at the crack of dawn on Christmas day. Even in high school, I remember this electricity in the air on Christmas Eve in my house. Not so much electricity this year.
This year, I think my joy came from passing out gifts. I gave my mom this mini art-set and some cash to go get her nails done. She hardly ever gets pampered. I bought my younger sister the new Beyonce Concert DVD. Needless to say, it's all she's been watching these past few days. I got these Christmas-theme wine glasses for my aunt. I think she really liked them. I got one of my buddies from high school a gift certificate for H&M. And I got a bunch other smaller gifts for friends and family.
It feels good to be able to spread a little happiness in the Christmas season. Whether the happiness stems from a kind compliment or a present from Macy's, I think I'm learning what the spirit of Christmas is.
I hope your Christmas was filled joy just as mine was.
December 20, 2007
Christmas in Chicago (pt. 2)
We last left this wonderful tale when my buddies and I were in F.A.O Schwartz.
After we played in the toy store, it was time for dinner. Dinner that evening was at Gibson's Steakhouse and Bar. Of course, I had never heard of Gibson's, but apparently, it's famous. And once we arrived, it was even more apparent that it is impossible to walk in and get a table. You see, Gibson's is one of those restaurants that the execs at Fortune 500 companies go to to close business deals. It was extremely interesting to see some of Chicago's major big-wigs and their trophy wives. One guy had to be 62 years old, and he was happily flirting with his 22-year-old Barbie of a wife.
We didn't have trouble getting a table because my roommate's uncle is semi-famous. I told you he owns one of Al Capone's old bars. So my roommates' uncle was able to get us a table.
Now, the food at this restaurant was incredible. All the steaks were at least 20 oz... no joke! I think my roommates and I all at the Chicago cut steak. It was about 24 oz. Everything they served us was so massive. Gibson's has these double-loaded bake potatoes... it was like a potato on steroids. I've never seen anything like it before in my life. Finally, we had desert. We thought we ordered just a slice of cake, but Gibson's gave us a whole cake instead. But it wasn't like a normal size cake... it was massive. The portions at this restaurant were huge!
After we ate (and by no means were we able to eat everything on our plates), we went to the famous Green Mill. That night, there was a big band playing. This was definitely my thing because I love live music. Also, there were several vocalists. The young lady who sang had an incredible voice. She performed Ella Fitzgerald's Goody Goody, and I swear there was a shadow of Ella when she sang that song. The music was incredible that night.
While we enjoyed the music, there was some dancing going on the dance floor. There was mostly an older crowd there (like between 40 and 60), and surprisingly enough, the old timers were dancing harder than anyone in the building. There were a few young people there dancing too. One young woman was so bold to walk over to our table and make each of us, my roommates and I, give her a dance. Addrian and Bobby, both piss poor dancers, chose slow songs were they would not have to work as hard. I, on the other hand, was a bit more ambitious and chose a fast song. So there you have it, I swing danced in a bar with a bunch of old people one time... I hope that sounds cool when I tell my grandkids.
On the day we left, we had some authentic Chicago-style pizza. The pizza is famous because it is the original deep dish pizza. But the pizza we ate prepared backwards. They had the dough... then they added the cheese.... then the sauce... then the toppings... I'm not sure if that originated in Chicago, but it sure was good.
After we stuffed ourselves with pizza, we made the drive back to good ole Indiana.
December 15, 2007
Christmas Time in Chicago (pt. 1)
Sorry for the pause in my blog entries. I haven't been able to access the internet for these past couple of days because my life has been so awesome.
This year, I finished with exams early. By early, I mean I was done on Tuesday. My two best friends were done by Wednesday, and we decided to take a little road trip to Chicago. We left Wednesday afternoon and we were there in about 3 hours.
We stayed at my roommates uncle's house. Now this uncle of his is particularly amazing because he owns this really famous bar in Chicago called the Green Mill. Once upon a time, the Green Mill was owned and run by Al Capone. The Green Mill has a really famous reputation and several movies have been filmed there such as Soul Food, Ocean's Twelve, and the Lake House. But more about the Green Mill later.
The first thing we did on Thursday was go shopping in downtown Chicago. It was really nice because you can imagine how much variety there is compared to Crawfordsville. We visited Neiman-Marcus, H&M, Borders, the Hersey's Store, and Starbucks. I didn't buy a whole lot but it was still fun to look around.
After we went shopping, we went to an authentic German market. The market was so cool because they sold everything to fine European chocolate to Christmas tree ornaments. They had a Santa Clause and a 60 foot Christmas Tree too. I feel stupid because I only photographed the Christmas tree with my camera, but I wish I had photographed it with my phone. It would had made an awesome background for my cell phone.
Finally, we visited Macy's on State St. This Macy's is famous because they have the Christmas windows that tell a story. This year, the windows told the story of the Nutcracker. It was really nice and the windows circumvented the entire department store. It was really awesome.
Now within the Macy's, they had a section devoted to F.A.O. Schwartz. I don't know if you are familiar with F.A.O. Schwartz, but it is that really famous toy store that is featured in the movie Big. Remember in Big, Tom Hanks plays the gigantic piano with his feet.... that was in F.A.O. Schwartz. This toy store is extremely expensive, but obviously it was really cool. The Batman that you see here is made entirely out Lego's.... it was going for $27,000 too! Of course, I would never pay $27,000 for a 6 ft. Lego Batman, but it was really cool to look at. They had life sized stuffed animals like lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants that were going for about $300. I think when you buy the set your child's room is suppose to resemble the African safari.
Whoo, we did more but that's enough for now. I'll tell you more about Gibson's Steakhouse and the Green Mill later.
December 09, 2007
The Reindeer Project
Its days like these that make me feel good.
APO is involved in The Reindeer Project, which is an initiative to buy a Christmas wish list for under privileged kids. Each kid was $80 and Beta was able to sponsor 3 kids! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a specific list of what the kids wanted, but I, and a couple guys in the house, just took $240 to Wal-Mart and ran up and down the toy aisle and started throwing things in the cart. I tried to pick toys that young kids would like. Spider-man toys, Hotwheels, footballs, basketballs, Barbie's, My Little Pony's, CLUE, Ants in my Pants, Monopoly Jr. (The Disney Edition), Candyland, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, and bunch other stuff too.
Its doing projects like this that make me feel good. I have no idea who the kids are that will receive these toys, but just imagining the expressions on their faces when they see this huge pile of gifts on Christmas day warms my heart. I'm glad I was able to give something to a child, who may not have received so much as a pair of socks this Christmas. These kids live extremely difficult lives everyday, but I hope this Christmas day, they can escape from their realities and just enjoy their holiday.
PS- There are more gifts than are pictured, but that's all I could fit into the frame... how awesome is that!
December 06, 2007
Fresh Fallen Snow
The climate is changing rapidly around here. A week ago, it was so warm, but now we have the season's first snowfall. The weather here is changing so fast…
I feel like there are some sudden changes in my life too... well, maybe not so sudden. I'm half-way done with my sophomore year. Can you believe it? I have 2 classes left in the semester. Where has the time gone? I think I’m getting old…
But that's not all that has changed in my life. People have actually elected me to office... I am a Rush Chair for Beta Theta Pi and the Secretary for Alpha Phi Omega. During the APO elections, I ran 3 times for positions before I finally got one. I gave the same speech to the APO guys, but I guess the 3rd time was the charm because I won the position of Secretary. You know, to be honest, a couple of years ago, I could not see people entrusting me with responsibility. And now look at me… I’m a leader.
But I also feel I’ve changed in my emotional life as well. I have a friend who is likely to be kicked out of school soon. I really feel sorry for him; he may have just thrown his life away. Given, he probably deserves to be kicked out because he was caught plagiarizing, but I still feel upset about it. This is a big step for me because a couple of years ago, I would not have cared less if any of my friends were being kicked out of school due to plagiarism. I would have reasoned that they deserved it because they were dumb enough to copy some one else’s work. I now understand that people are flawed. They make mistakes; it sometimes takes people to fall down several times before they learn their lesson and rectify their mistakes. I think that may have been the issue with my friend. He was caught once cheating, and it apparently didn’t affect him. He was caught twice, and it looks like he may learn his lesson this time because the punishment is so heavy. I pray he is able to pull his life together.
So there are not only changes going on outside, but I’ve noticed some changes within me too.
December 02, 2007
Beta Soiree '07
Girls are drama. Yeah, I said it, and I mean it too. Girls are dramatic and love to engage in dramatics for fun. The longer I study at an all-guy school, the more I see this trend. I mean, I have limited face time with college girls and this always seem to be a constant; girls love drama. I don't know if its the girls that are around me, the girls that are from around here, girls from my generation, girls in college, or just girls in general. But always with the drama.
Beta had our semi-formal last night and everyone got a date. My date was this girl in invited from IU, and we've known each other for about a year. I invited this girl because I thought she was fun and thought she wanted to hang out with me. But I guess I was wrong. She came with her friend who is dating one of the guys in the house. I guess her friend and her boyfriend were arguing over something silly the boyfriend said, but my date just had to police the situation. Every two minutes she wanted to check to see if they were still arguing, and let me promise you, their argument was over something trivial. I wanted to tell my date, "Hey, that is a grown man and woman. I'm pretty sure they can work out their issues without you." But I held my tongue.
More drama came from my date last night, but I just don't feel like going into it. I guess its just the small things that girls do that irk me. They seem overly concerned with what's going on in other people's lives. I just want to say, "Don't you have enough problems in your own life without trying to solve everyone else's?"
Now I realize, I'm generalizing. I'm sure all girls are not drama. But it just feels like it. I mean, I only have to see girls once a week. But it never fails, during that one day that I actually spend time with a lady-friend, it is always filled with some drama.
Quick disclaimer: these girls to the right didn't cause me any particular drama last night... they confirm the theory that all girls can't be dramatic. They are my pledge brother's girlfriends. I just liked the photograph of them