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December 30, 2009
How do you review 4 years of course material? Well, I guess it isn't quite 4 years of work, but its a lot. Senior Comprehensive exams are in a few weeks. I'm getting a little nervous. I have been organizing all my notes and old exams these past few weeks. I think I have gotten a system down. I am doing my best to review every day, but it gets boring after an hour of studying. I'll take a break to relax. However, after my break, I get anxious again, and I rush back to my notes. Its a vicious cycle, but I hope that it pays off.
I'm going back to school tomorrow. I hope being on campus motivates me to study even harder. I cant mess this up. If I dont pass Comps, then I dont graduate. I'm not really worried about passing, but I would like to pass with honors.
December 29, 2009
On Saturday, I saw my cousin, and she made the most ridiculous claim. She said Memphis does not have good BBQ anymore; she said the quality of the BBQ has gone down in recent years. I laughed, and I thought to myself that statement was ludicrous. Memphis is infamous for its BBQ. Of course, there are good restaurants around town.
On Monday, I decided to go to Interstate BBQ. Its famous, and the owners, the Neelys, even have their own cooking show on the Food Network. I ordered the ribs w/ a side of french fries and baked beans. To tell you the truth, it wasn't all that great. As a little boy, I thought that Interstate was the best BBQ in town. Now, this time around, it was just so-so.
There is a qualifier. I didn't go to the original restaurant. I went one of the Neely's "new locations." It could be that the new cooks are still learning or even reinventing the recipe. The food may have been better if I had gone to the original restaurant.
I'm not going to go so far as to say there is no good BBQ in Memphis. I still get excited to bring my friends home so they can eat it. Even if the Neely's have
ruined reinvented their recipe, I'm sure the BBQ here is better than any BBQ that my friends have ever eaten. So, I' not sweating it too much.
December 26, 2009
Although there was no Christmas tree, the holiday festivities at the King residence were enjoyable. Gone are the days when I woke up at 6 a.m. to open Christmas presents. This year, I woke up around 11 a.m. I knew the rest of my family would be arriving about 1. I helped clean the house and prepare dinner. I made bruschetta as an appetizer. I'm not sure if my family was too into it, but I wanted to try something different.
Once every one arrived, it was a party. We played Alvin and the Chipmunks' Christmas album while we ate dinner. This year, dinner consisted of lamb, chicken, broccoli, macaroni and cheese, carrots, and chocolate cake. It was a great meal. We laughed and caught up on old times... like usual.
After all the presents were opened, we played a game of Monopoly. Obviously, I won... You really shouldn't be surprised. If you've ever played Monopoly, you know that the game lasts for hours. I can say that I drove my family into bankruptcy in about 90 minutes.
As far as I can tell, all my friends had great Christmases. You may wonder how I could make such a judgement. Well, I got like 50 texts that morning wishing me Merry Christmas, and everyone was only too excited to tell me about their Christmas.
I hope you had a good Christmas too.
December 25, 2009
The Mystery of the Missing Christmas Tree
When I got home earlier this week, my mom asked me if I would help put up the Christmas tree. We are hosting Christmas dinner at my house this year, and my mom wants the house to look nice. Being on vacation, of course I was reluctant to help; all I wanted to do was lie in bed and study for comps. On Christmas Eve, I decided it was probably time to at least take the Christmas tree down from the attic. Well, it was the strangest thing. I went into the attic and there was no tree. Next, I went into our storage room and there was no tree. On top of the missing tree, I couldn't find any of the ornaments either. I asked my mom where the tree could be, and she told me it was in the attic. I told her that it wasn't, and she thought I was joking. After she realized I was serious, she started to get upset. She blamed me. She said that I took the tree down last year, and I should know where it was stored. Much to her chagrin, I reminded her that I wasn't even in America last year during Christmas season.
So I ask you, my faithful readers... how the hell do you lose a Christmas tree?
December 22, 2009
Back to Chicago
This weekend, I spent some time in Chicago with my buddy Matt. I gotta say... I love that city. Before this weekend, I never really imagined myself living there. It's a possibility now. The city is full of so much life. If I ever get a chance, I would like to live there.
While I was hanging out this weekend, I got to taste Chicago pizza. I had no idea, but Chicago-style pizza is big business. Chicago pizza is so big that chains like Pizza Hut and Dominoes have gone out of business in recent years. Apparently, they could not compete with the local pizzarias. Only recently, Pizza Hut has made a return to Chicago. Matt speculates that the only reason it was able to come back is because they started serving pasta and wings.
I had no idea the pizza business was so competitive. Of course, I had to taste this pizza. We ordered Giordano's famous stuffed pizza. It was probably the best pie I ever had. We ordered a simple pepperoni, and thing weighed like 7 pounds! I'm not joking. This pizza weighed more than my sister's new born baby. It was massive. When we opened the box, the pizza looked a little unusual. Instead of the cheese and toppings being on top of the pizza, the sauce was on top. The cheese was stuffed in between the sauce and crust. It was marvelous.
Matt's mom wrapped me up a couple of slices for me to take back to Memphis, but I forgot them. I know... I'm an idiot. I'm thinking about asking Matt to bring a pizza back to school with him... What do you think the odds are?
December 18, 2009
I'm done with finals! I had my last test yesterday, and I can say I have been productive ever since. I finally had time to beat Super Mario Bros. It took a few hours, but I can say that I got it done. Now, I just have to collect all the secret stuff.It should keep me busy when I get back to campus.
I'm planning on going home on Saturday. Usually, I fly home, but this time I'm taking a bus. Now I'm not a fan of the Greyhound, but I took the Megabus when I was in New York earlier in the semester. It's a really nice bus line. I didn't have any trouble with late drivers, and the bus was clean. So, I'm going to take it to Memphis.
I'm leaving Memphis to come to campus on New Years Eve. I'll party with my pledge brothers, and then I have to start cramming for Comps. I'll speak more about Comps later. Right now, I just want to enjoy my Christmas break.
December 16, 2009
The Princess and the Frog
Alright, one thing you may not know about me is that I love Disney movies. My favorite is 101 Dalmations. I think its the use of jazz music that attracts me to this film so much. In the opening sequence, when the dots are chasing after one another, there is a jazz piano that plays in the background. I probably saw this movie for the first time when I was three. This memory probably represents when I first fell in love with jazz. Even more, it represents when I fell in love with the piano. I could watch that opening sequence over and over again. I cared very little about the pretty pictures on the screen, but it was the music that captivated me.
The Lion King. Aladdin. The Little Mermaid. Hercules.The Aristocats. The Sword and the Stone. Its something about these movies that are timeless. When I have nothing else to do at home, I sometimes watch these movies. Well, there is a new Disney movie that is being added to the animated cannon. I've read that the Princess and the Frog is the best animated movie since the Lion King. For someone who loves Disney movies, thats a pretty big claim to make. I haven't spoken with anyone that has seen it personally, but it did debut number 1 at the box office last weekend. I think it looks promising.
So, when I get to Memphis, watching this movie will be on the top of my list.
December 14, 2009
Yep. You guessed right. That's me in the Wally costume. This year, Wally will be featured in the Wabash magazine. In this issue, there will be a focus on healthy lifestyles. Wally will be seen engaging in all sorts of healthy activities, like running, lifting weights, and doing yoga. I was really surprised when Public Affairs approached me about the project. Immediately I said yes, and I have been doing photoshoots in the Wally costume all semester.
However, being Wally isn't all glitz and glamour. One would think, with those huge muscles, Wally would be in better shape. Well, I'm here to tell you that he isn't. Wally had difficulty running on the treadmill, mostly because he has huge feet. Wally also had a lot of issues playing basketball with Brent Harris. Most of the issues Wally had was because he only has four fingers, but, trust me, Wally was getting tired pretty quickly in the first half of the basketball game. Overall, I would say Wally needed this photoshoot to help him realize the poor physical shape he's in.
The young lady you see is Sara. Kim Johnson, of Public Affairs, said that there will be a feature where the wives of Wabash alum state what they wish their husbands will do to be healthier. These quotes will be anonymous... I can only imagine what some of the wives will say. Kim asked me if I knew a young lady who would want to be in the magazine. I guess the idea is that if you live healthy and protect your body, you'll be able to take a picture with a pretty girl. From this photo, you can tell that Wally was pretty excited to be getting a kissed by a girl. To be honest, I don't think Wally gets out of Crawfordsville much... in fact, I don't think that he gets off campus much. It must be hard on him being around guys all the time. I'll be sure to suggest the next time Wally does a photoshoot, there should be a pretty girl involved. I think he would like that.
December 11, 2009
Wonder What College is Really Like
You know, its funny. I contantly hear Wabash guys asking, "I wonder what college life is really like?" I wonder what its like to go to school with girls? I wonder what its like to care about what I'm wearing? I wonder what its like having a fraternity mixer? I wonder what its like having a Chipotle near campus? Most seniors will say that the past 4 years have not been the traditional college experience.
You really hear these conversation once guys return from a weekend at Depauw, Purdue, or IU. When you go to another campus, its like being in a different world. Even if the campus doesn't vary much in size or type of student (Depauw), the presence of girls makes a huge difference. Everything somehow looks cleaner. The people are cleaner. The living units are cleaner. It just seems to make a huge difference.
A couple of buddies and I began to wonder what we might be like if we chose to go to a state school. I think we all decided that we would totally different people. I think the consensus was that we would all probably be womanizing alcoholics. We probably wouldn't be as devoted to our studies. And we probably wouldn't have made so many close friends.
Attending Wabash does have its positive outcomes, but sometimes I wonder about the road not taken. If I were at a state school, I feel like I would be superficial. I might be materialistic and sort of vain. But, thats not the case. I feel like Wabash has shaped me not to look at what's on the surface, but to look at what's beneath it. It matters how you treat people. You really ought of try to respect everyone you meet. I definitely learned that lesson here.
And when I think I think of my overall Wabash experience, I really wouldn't trade it for anything.
December 09, 2009
Although there is no snow in Crawfordsville...
One year ago, I had the pleasure of going to the Swiss Alps. And to be totally honest with you, there was a little more snow in the Alps than it is in Indiana. It was absolutely beautiful. I remember when Brad and I arrived in Interlaken. The town sits in between two lakes and it is surrounded by mountains. Its really breathtaking to see. The first thing we did together was paraglide. Essentially, we ran off a mountain and parachuted toward the ground. I know that sounds cool, but it was freezing cold. The second thing we did was go sledding. I know that sounds cool too, but it was so dangerous. Wel,, maybe it was only dangerous for me because I had never do it before. I couldn't control the sled and well, and I face planted several times. There was one time I almost slammed right into a tree... I was sure I was going to lose my two front teeth.
I wanted to share the picture with you. We were on top of Mt Jungfraujoch, the highest peak in Europe. There was so much snow up there! I know Indiana will never get that much snow, but there is always hoping.
December 08, 2009
12 Days of Christmas
Hahaha. Its not really 12 days until Christmas, but I'm pretending like it is. Last week, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a ton of Christmas decorations for the common room. I bought Christmas lights and tinsel, and a bunch of us decorated the common room while listening to Christmas music on Pandora. After we set up the lights and tinsel, I put wrapping paper on all the doors in the bar. Also, I added some bows. Its a really nice effect; when you walk into the room, the doors look like several giant Christmas presents.
Because my friends and I are usually up late, I've made sure that I'm spreading Christmas cheer. Instead of watching stupid Youtube videos at 1 oclock in the morning, I have started encouraging the guys that we watch classic Christmas shows. For instance, we've already watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and Elf this week. I'm thinking we should watch Rudolph and the Alvin and the Chipmunk Christmas Special later this week.
Overall, I think it has been shaping up to be a wonderful Christmas at the Beta house. I'll be sure to update you on all the Christmas-related activity.
December 05, 2009
The Sherry Ross Chapel
I had the pleasure of attending one of the most heartfelt Chapel Talks of my Wabash career. Sherry Ross did an amazing job speaking this past Thursday. Her speech was beautifully written and delivered, but actually getting her to commit to speaking was a pretty big challenge.
Over the summer, my friend Cliff asked me what I thought about Sherry Ross giving a Chapel talk. I told him it was brilliant idea. She's a fierce supporter of the college, and she is committed to all its students. Even more, if you know Sherry, she's an extremely humble woman. I thought it would be cool for her to give a fly-on-the-wall perspective about the Dean's office.
Well, when we got around to inviting her to speak, she immediately said no. She started blushing furiously claiming that her greatest fear was public speaking. She was totally against it at first. But Cliff and I didn't stop there. We came back to Sherry's office for a week straight. We kept telling her how the campus would love to hear her story. Eventually, Cliff brought a calendar to her desk and told her that she had to pick a date to speak. Relunctantly, she agreed.
Over the next two months, I would stop by and check in on Sherry. I would ask if she needed help writing or if she wanted to brainstorm ideas. Every time I stopped by her office, she gave me a new excuse about why she couldn't speak. She gave me every excuse in the book. She even kept recommending other professors and faculty members that would do a better job than she would. Even though I knew she was scared, I kept encouraging her and telling her she would do an amazing job at Chapel.
During the week of her Chapel Talk, Cliff jokingly asked her if she had any demands before the big day. She laughed and said that she wanted a bowl of red and white M&M's on stage. But a thought came to mind. She asked if she could have Wally sit on stage with her. She said Wally would help ease her fears. Of course Cliff agreed.
When I say it was one of the most heartfelt Chapels, I mean it. Watch it for yourself. http://www.youtube.com/WabashCollege#p/c/4983AAA18E1CE402/0/lSePkrXR_sw
This Chapel Talk is for everyone who loves and cares about Wabash College.
December 01, 2009
The seniors across campus seem to be plagued with a particular illness. The illness has been observed across majors/minors and living units. Some symptoms include chronic laziness, tardiness, chronic procrastination, and overall lack of motivation in their academic performance. The situation is troubling. You see some promising leaders of tomorrow frequently skipping class and handing in late assignments. In general, I think that professors rely on seniors to drive class discussion. However, this is a time in the year when seniors seem to be least concerned about class discussion. If these seniors come to class at all, their attention is divided. You see this peculiar phenomena in religion, psychology, chemistry, calculus, and economics classes.
Now, I should note that not all seniors are suffering from this illness. Some are still as motivated as the day that they arrived to Wabash. You can still find some seniors who enjoy going to class, who enjoy submitting quality assignments on time, and who enjoy engaging in class discussion.
However, as a scientist, I have done the research. I can say, with confidence, that about 70% of seniors report that they anticipate doing the "bare minimum" in their classes after comps are completed. They report that they still intend on going to class. However, some report that the quality of their work will definitely go down, as they have already fulfilled their requirements to graduate. Others report that they expect to procrastinate on most assignments. Some say, they wish to just cruise on til graduation.
What could account for such an illness? What could influence these students to lose their drive to engage in the classroom. As a senior, I have a theory: First, it could be that seniors are simply burned out. Indeed, they have been at Wabash for seven semesters, and arguably, they are under more stress and pressure this year than at any other time during their Wabash career. For instance, some seniors are applying for jobs. Its a time consuming process blocking out chunks of time to meet with multiple potential employers. Some seniors are applying to graduate school. Its time consuming and stressful when some programs report that they are missing documents of your application, such as transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of reccomendation. And still others have no idea what they are doing at all next year. These individuals have not decided about what path they want to take. On top of worrying about what next year may hold, they are still students. They are still expected to produce quality work for thier professors. However, it seems that some students cant maintain it all. Once graduation is assured, some want to finalize their plans for next year and coast out the remainder of their senior year.
Now, I'll admit that I have been battling a mild case of senioritis. With all the pressure for applying to grad school, I've put some things on the back burner. Its mainly been my music that I have been neglecting. I haven't been able to practice as often as I would like, and it reflects in jazz band and my saxophone lessons. I've managed to not to catch a severe case by surrounding myself with other seniors who are motivated to end their senior year on a good note. No matter how busy they are, these seniors give a 110% on every activity that they are involved in.
Being around people like that really helps out. If any seniors are reading this, I would reccomend going to library and finding some people who look like they have been studying for hours. They should probably be sweating slightly and look particularly annoyed when you sit down next to them. Those are the people who will help you stay motivated for the remainder of your senior year.