A Fact of Life

September 29, 2007 at 2:34 pm (Death, Faerie, Friends)

I recently found out that a classmate of my brother from grade school was found dead in his bed, at the ripe old age of 21. According to his obituary, he died of natural causes, related to a heart condition. Putting aside the fact that I have heart issues as well, this news really made me stop and think.

In the month following graduation, two of my classmates from high school were killed, one shot at random in Boston, the other fell from the rigging on a tall ship he was working on. Going further into the past, another classmate committed suicide in our 7th grade year. Reaching even further into my past, I remember a classmate’s sister committed suicide while she was away at boarding school.

I have never really had an extensive network of contacts, having gone to (comparitively) small schools my whole life, and never having the desire to really break out of my intimate communities of friends and families. So the fact that I know of at least 5 people, all either my age, or barely a few years older than me, who have died prematurely, is sobering.

I don’t know quite what else to say about this. One natural cause, one murder, one accident, and two suicides. Life is dangerous. Accidents happen. Wrong place at the wrong time happens. Depression happens. Death is a fact of life. But we live in a world where we, teenagers, believe that we will live forever, we have all the time in the world, nothing can hurt or stop us. But we are wrong.

Edit: My faerie is working again. As soon as I posted this, “Going On Eighteen” by Dusty Drake came on my iPod:

Mama preached to me, boy be a kid just as long as you can
But I was hell-bent and bound and determined to be my old man
I was ready to drive and I wanted a job
Hungry to chase my dreams
Way back when I was twelve years old going on eighteen

Those four years of college I stretched into six and a half
If I woke up in time after parties you’d catch me in class
I moved back home, stayed out, slept in
‘Til one Monday morning I heard Daddy scream
You’re twenty-four years old boy, going on eighteen

Hey all I’m dying to do is to live
Just tryin’ to take what the day has to give
Everyone wants but they don’t always get what’s expected of me
They say act your age, don’t break no mold
Be young when you’re young and old when you’re old
They say I’m in the prime of my life, hell if I know what that means
In the back of my mind I’m still going on eighteen

Got the wife, got the kids, got the job, got the cars and the house
In life’s little rulebook it falls under “all settled down”
But give a handful of friends a handful drinks
It’s like riding a time machine
Abunch of thirytsomething-year-old guys going on eighteen

Hey all I’m dying to do is to live
Just tryin’ to take what the day has to give
Everyone wants but they don’t always get what’s expected of me
They say act your age, don’t break no mold
Be young when you’re young and old when you’re old
They say I’m in the prime of my life, hell if I know what that means
In the back of my mind I’m still going on eighteen

Now I preach to my boy be a kid just as long as you can
But he’s hell-bent and determined
To be his old man


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Bad Bookstore

September 26, 2007 at 1:20 pm (Rants, School, UR)

So I went into the UR bookstore yesterday for two reasons:
1) to pick up a book for a class that I realized I had never bought
2) to maybe pick up a magazine or two, since my magazine subscriptions won’t be kicking in for a few weeks yet

And, though I easily found the book I needed (thank goodness, considering I needed to read it for today) the magazine section was absolutely pitiful. Basically, the only magazines there are teen and fashion magazines, e.g. Cosmo, Allure, etc. There are even bridal magazines! I was looking for Time, or Newsweek, or some sort of similar, at leastr semi-intellectual, magazine, and what do I find? More magazines to make sluts and drones out of every female in America. Fantastic. I thought we were supposed to be learning something in college. I thought college was a time to, you know, be intellectual and stuff. Guess I was wrong.

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The Library

September 24, 2007 at 3:55 pm (Books, Rants, School, UR)

Ok, maybe I’ve been spoiled by my hometown library / the Minuteman Library Network (ok, I definitely have been), but shouldn’t I be able to expect that my university’s library has a good number of books that I might actually want? Apparently not. It seems like everytime I try to search for a book (or movie, for that matter, but that’s why my roomies and I sprung for Netflix), the library does not have it. Anywhere. I mean, honestly! A library needs to have books, otherwise it wouldn’t be a library. And our library certainly has books. Just not good ones. Not recent ones. I mean, honestly. I understand that a gazillion books come out every year, but I have worked at a library, and I know that it is possible to keep at least semi up-to-date with the recent releases. Kinda makes me wish I chose a school that has a bigger library. Not that I ever go to the library here of course. But if they had more books that I wanted, maybe I would….

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My New Major

September 24, 2007 at 3:53 pm (Uncategorized)

I think I want to major in philanthropy. Which means business. Which I swore I would never do. But maybe I should rethink that. But I’ve already started my sophmore year, and I kinda want to graduate with my friends. So maybe not. Maybe I’ll just keep it as a back-burner passion and move on from there. Who knows what graduation will bring? But that’s 2.75 years away. So we won’t think about that now.

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The Billionaire Who Wasn’t

September 24, 2007 at 3:46 pm (Books)

My mom sent me a recent Business Week magazine, and the book review in it was about a new book that just came out titled The Billionaire Who Wasnt: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing. It looks to be a fascinating study of a man who built a huge international business and made, literally, billions of dollars, yet devoted his life to giving it all away, with one stipulation: that no one should know about it. From the brief review I read, he seems like a fascinating man, certainly a rarity in today’s culture, where everyone’s goal seems to be to garner as much recognition as you can, whether you deserve it or not. I am definitely going to try to find this book, and read it when I have the time. Who knows when that will be, but at least I have the intention, right?

Here’s the book description from Amazon.com:

In 1988 Forbes Magazine hailed Chuck Feeney as the twenty-third richest American alive. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a blue-collar Irish-American family during the Depression, a veteran of the Korean War, he had made a fortune as founder of Duty Free Shoppers, the world’s largest duty-free retail chain. But secretly, Feeney had already transferred all his wealth to his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. Only in 1997, when he sold his duty free interests, was he “outed” as one of the greatest and most mysterious American philanthropists in modern times. A frugal man who travels economy class and does not own a house or a car, Feeney then went “underground” again, until he decided in 2005 to cooperate in a biography to promote giving-while-living. Now in his mid-seventies, he is determined his foundation should spend the remaining $4 billion in his lifetime. The Billionaire Who Wasn’t is a tale of one of the greatest untold retail triumphs of the twentieth century, and of what happens to a unique man and his family when confronted with wealth beyond imagining.

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The Nature of Friendship

September 23, 2007 at 8:54 pm (Friends, Rants, School)

(more procrastination…)

I have discovered something quite interesting on the nature of friendship since coming to college: sometimes you discover close friends where you never realized before. Ok, that was extremely awkwardly written, but I shall attempt to explain.

Before coming to college, I figured I had my niche of friends, and they had their friends with whom I was sort of friends with, but not really close friends or anything. And then I came to college. And now I’ve become really close to one of my sorta-close friends, and moved a bit away from others; I barely talk to some friends, only keeping in touch through some quality Facebook-stalking and gossiping with other friends. But I kinda expected all of these, considering how hard it is to really keep a friendship going when you’re separated by multiple states, even with the internet.

What I didn’t expect, however, was that I’d actually get closer to certain people that I had never really considered myself to be friends with. Sure, we were friends-of-friends, but never actually close. Until college. Suddenly we start attending the same get-togethers on the rare occasions we are home from school, and we start talking, and then that communication continues when we return to school. Shocking.

Ok, maybe it’s not really that shocking, but I thought it was really interesting to note, and it really surprised me – in a good way! Friends are always good! Ok, I’m going to stop ranting now…

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South Freeman Lip Sync

September 23, 2007 at 8:14 pm (UR, Videos)

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September 23, 2007 at 8:04 pm (School)

Ok, so I’m procrastinating. And have been all day. Seriously. I have a 4-5 page paper due on Tuesday, and I had plans to spend the weekend doing it so that I don’t have to worry about it tomorrow, but that is looking like it is not going to be happening.

I don’t understand it; I’m ususally really good about being able to just sit down and make myself write a paper like this. Maybe its because I’m doing it ahead of time rather than the night before its due? I don’t know. I’ve supposedly been working on it all day, but all I’ve done is put post-it notes throughout the book and write and intro. And we’re supposed to concentrate on 2 main passages, but my thesis kinda spreads out over the whole book, with a few specific instances, not just 2 main ones. I don’t know if that will be beneficial or detremential to my grade. Hopefully the former. Obviously. If I hoped for the latter, something would seriously be wrong with me. Ah well.

And none of my other homework is getting done either. I mean, I’ve had all day to get this paper done, read a few hundred pages of books for other classes, not to mention grade those logic homeworks. But what have I done? Absolutely nothing. Its really sad. I have no idea where my day went. I want my day back! And I want tomorrow off to get all this stuff done that I didn’t do today. Except I know that I’ll just waste all my time tomorrow and start at midnight. This is bad. Like, really bad. Really, really, really bad. I’m about to shoot myself in the foot. Or rather, shoot my college career in the foot. Great. Just what I always wanted.

Ok, time to work on this paper. Seriously.

PS How come I can write a few hundred words here in a matter of minutes, but it takes me days to write the same amount for a school assignment? Its just not fair…

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Learning Curves

September 22, 2007 at 2:08 pm (Blogs)

So I found this blog the same way I’m sure many others found it: through Blogger’s Blogs of Note page. When I have the time, I really enjoy looking at the ones listed there, but this is one of the ones that I have latched onto and read just about every single day.

The author is a female Calculus professor at a big university somewhere in the US, I believe. Her blog, Learning Curves, is simply a day-by-day commentary of her life and extremely interesting observations about her classes, her students, the book she is currently co-authoring, and whatever else pops up.

My only complaint is that there is no way to access any archive of her posts, so I can’t waste more time simply reading her blog! Ahh well, at least I have the comments section for each post to feep me coming back to older posts…

Edit: No more complaints! I just discovered Google Reader and it actually sends its little minions out to recover old posts, so I can just keep on scrolling down, down, down, and there they are! Old posts! Yey!!!

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How Alarming!

September 22, 2007 at 1:41 pm (Sleep, UR)

I love college. Especially college students. Especially special college students. Like the ones who decided it would be a good idea to pull the fire alarm in my dorm last night. Twice. At midnight and 2am. When I was actually asleep. And the alarm is of course right outside my door. And the second time we went outside, it was raining. And both times, the police showed up tout-de-suite, but the fire department took another good 10 minutes or so. All while the alarm was blaring. Gives me such faith that if there actually was a fire, the arsonist would be arrested, but all our stuff would go up in flames anyway. Fun times.

And then of course, I couldn’t get back to sleep until about 4am. And my computer wouldn’t connect to the internet, so I was stuck playing a gazillion games of solitaire until I felt I was exhausted enough to actually be able to sleep again.

Oh, and did I mention that my bedside alarm went off at 6am the same night? Yes, that would be the alarm that is brand new and has never been set for any time in the entire time I have owned it, since my roomate and I get up at the same time anyway.

I think my poltergeist from last year followed me and decided last night would be a good night to mess with me. Or to get me back for my kinda-surly attitude last night. Who knows… I just hope I can get some actual sleep tonight. But to be honest, I’m not counting on it

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