november 2004 archive

Sunday, November 28, 2004

::keepin' it real::

two weeks ago i held high ambitions for my college application. well, i have come to the unfortunate but wise decision to spend a little more time on my essays than i initially allowed.
this is actually a very difficult decision for me. it means a whole quarter lost, but i strongly believe it will improve my chances for admission. it is a very reluctant descision that i make. my heart aches for school right now more than ever.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

::thanks be for giving::

this bit of traveling josh and i have been doing in the desert has indeed been cathartic. even with the admissions essays riding on my back, i've been able to relax, which is strange. not that there haven't been stressful moments. i think i've successfully outlined most of my thoughts, but writing is another story.

i have missed writing here, and i appreciate how much i've been able to keep up with my friends in having access to the 'net, but it looks like i'll need a little extra time before i get back into this. the last month here at school is going to require my full attention.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

::saturday funnies::

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Thursday, November 18, 2004

::check your CAPS LOCK at the door::

in response to this comment from a previous post

first, a little courtesy goes a long way in conveying your point. please refrain from SHOUTING in the future.

second, i am a college student who did a speech on this topic based on what is being tested in eugene, oregon. i have done a fair amount of research on the topic. i'm not flying blind.

third, i didn't go into great detail because of a lack of time (classes, homework, full-time job). at the very least, i found it difficult to pass up the opportunity to get the word out. however, i'll do my best to sum up, for your benefit. simply:
one: our gas tax is swiftly becoming obsolete, especially with the advances being made to improve the fuel efficiency of our cars. i recognize that there is a sore need to revise our current methods for funding the upkeep of our roads.

two: i am in favor of hybrid and alternate fuel source vehicles.

three: i value my privacy highly. i disagree with the notion that the public should have to submit to having gps devices mounted in their vehicles. i do not believe the government needs to know what roads i've traveled and when.

four: there is threat of an additional tax for those who would be on the roads at peak times. regarding those who, for example, work in the OC but live in riverside county because they can not afford the cost of homes nearer their workplace, this is an extremely harsh penalty. the 91 fwy carries the bulk of these cars, and the metrolink eases some of the burden.

as far as congestion is concerned, of course it is a problem. traveling in rush hour traffic can at least double the amount of time it takes to get from point a to point b. however, central london has a rather interesting way of combating that which deserves a second look. at least it is a little less invasive in comparison to the gps proposal.

five: i lack a better solution to the problem stated in #1, but i'm not willing to give up #3.
that, m. nolips & fellow readers, is where i'm coming from. hopefully that is a better explanation than, well, none at all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

::californians, be aware::

DMV Chief Backs Tax by Mile

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday appointed a new Department of Motor Vehicles director who has advocated taxing motorists for every mile they drive -- by placing tracking devices in their cars.

The idea would mean a significant overhaul of how California collects taxes to maintain its often-crumbling roads. Under the plan, the state gas tax-- now 18 cents a gallon-- would be replaced with a tax on every mile traveled by each car and truck.

The notion has not been endorsed by Schwarzenegger but is gaining acceptance among transportation and budget experts. As Californians drive increasingly more fuel-efficient cars, state officials are alarmed that the gasoline tax will not raise enough money to keep up with road needs.

. . . "You are arguing against people taking risks on technology development," said Beal, warning that some mile-tracking systems could invite fraud more than the reliable tax meters at the pump.

Any change in the state's gasoline tax would have to be approved by the Legislature.

Privacy advocates worry about the government tracking the whereabouts of every car in California. In one scenario -- currently being tested in Oregon -- tracking devices send a signal to a GPS satellite following the car, and that information would be used to calculate the tax bill. Other devices send a signal directly from the car to the pump, which calculates the tax based on the odometer reading.

Annalee Newitz, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which monitors privacy issues, said if the device "can communicate with a satellite and then communicate back with another device on the ground, it could be used for something else. That would be my concern: How are limits placed on how this device could be used?"

Yet some transportation experts say the technology has wider implications. Officials are intrigued by the idea because California could begin taxing people for using specific roads at specific times. To keep people off freeways at peak hours, for example, per-mile fees for city streets could be pegged at a lower rate than the highway. That could prompt people to use alternative routes.

. . .The appointment of Joan Borucki, a Democrat and longtime Caltrans official, has placed an advocate for a per-mile transportation tax within the top ranks of the Schwarzenegger administration.

She included the notion in the California Performance Review, a top-to-bottom audit ordered by Schwarzenegger last year. Borucki was the leader on the transportation section and pushed the idea of an odometer-based fee at an August public meeting in Riverside.

The idea has been circulating because more Californians are driving fuel-efficient cars, the review warned. Less gasoline consumed means less money for the state's coffers from the gas tax -- even though people are driving and damaging roads just as much. "Electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles or other future fuels would not be taxed under" the existing per-gallon system, the report said.

The administration said Borucki was not available Monday, but she said in a statement that she wants to transform the DMV "into a customer-friendly, service-oriented unit of our government." Borucki, who was on the California Transportation Commission for two years, still needs state Senate confirmation for the $123,255-a-year job. She started at Caltrans in 1980 and worked her way up to manager of new technology and deputy district director for planning.

"She's devoted, and she's knowledgeable about the state's situation," said Elizabeth Deakin, a policy expert with the UC Transportation Center who has known her for 15 years. "She understands the state's concerns about wanting good service, and she understands technology."

In Orange and San Diego counties, some freeways are using what is called "congestion pricing" -- vehicles pay to use certain lanes at peak hours. And two similar systems are being tested in Oregon.

Around Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council is placing global positioning devices in 500 cars to monitor where they drive -- and then calculating a usage fee based on the roads they use and the times they drive. In Eugene, Ore., test cars are being outfitted with tracking devices that link up with special gas pumps around the area.

Currently, cars with high fuel efficiency and large trucks don't generate enough revenue from fuel taxes to pay for the burden they place on roads, said Randall Pozdena, managing director of ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm. A large truck, he said, can do as much damage on a city street as 10,000 cars, but it still pays the same amount of per-gallon gasoline tax, assuming the gas was purchased in California in the first place.

Drivers "can start allocating how much time they spend on each type of street," said Andrew Poat, a former Caltrans official who works for the city of San Diego. It could get even more detailed: Large trucks could be charged higher fees for using residential streets rather than more fortified freeways.

"It's just like water. We're trying to get water and energy meters to tell you what time of day you use energy. You use energy at peak hours on a really hot day, you pay more for that... We need to start sending those price signals to users."

Still, privacy advocates worry about "usage creep" -- like how the driver's license has evolved into official identification for nearly everyone. The information collected about mileage potentially could be subpoenaed in a court case or used to track someone without their knowledge, they fear.

. . ."While some people are concerned about civil liberties, most people are not," Deakin said. "One of the things we found from focus groups and surveys is that most people said if the government wanted to track you, they have other ways to do it."
yeah, i'd like to see some of those focus groups. i actually did a speech on this topic last week, but it was on the pilot progrem being tested in oregon. this, folks, is breaking news. and way too important to overlook!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

::in the beginning::

word count: 456

there are 3 essays. this is the last (& very necessary) open-ended essay. per UC requirements, my three essays may not exceed 1000 words. one essay must be at least 600 words, but no more than 630. the other 2 should be around 200. therefore, this puppy either needs to fatten itself up a bit or trim some fat of the edge. or a little of both.

now, seriously, how often do you get to see the birthing of someone's future education on the 'net? wish me luck. offer your best thoughts. be constructive. try not to make me cry.

* * * * *

1997 left me trembling in its wake. I met my future husband. My parents moved out of state. I, on the cusp of my twenty-first birthday, determinedly stayed on in my lifelong locale of Southern California.

My first living arrangement fell apart and I moved in what would be the first of six makeshift homes and five different roommates before settling down in San Clemente in August of 1998. Over the next three years, I worked steadily at various trades. I was Assistant Manager at a breakfast restaurant. I sought to unwind with a brief stint at a coffee shop. In 2000, I became acquainted with the banking industry, which is where I am today. A brief lunacy overcame me as I left banking for almost exactly one year when I accepted My Worst and Most Stressful Job Ever. At least it was only a year.

School, ever lingering in the back of my mind, came and went like a part-time lover. The affairs were torrid, but brief; often ending in a fit of depressed good-byes. Each time the withdrawal left me frustrated with my circumstances and wishing for more time, more energy, fewer debts. Married to independence, I always yielded to the demands which came monthly to my door. But my insatiable desire for education hovered. Watching. Willing. Waiting.

The gross number of withdrawals on my transcript wreaks absolute havoc on my confidence. It is such an awful misrepresentation of my abilities. Others have overcome worse obstacles. However, this was no minor hurdle. For me, this was the high jump; I am only five foot six and hardly limber enough to overcome that. Moreover, I spent many years honing in on my major. I toyed with music first, then elementary education, before settling in to focus on my writing ambitions.

It is nearly ten years since I graduated high school. Prior to meeting my future husband, I was accepted to Southern Oregon University. Planning on relocating with my parents, I deferred my enrollment for one year after high school. But sometimes the ties that bind need breaking and I am pleased with the path I have traveled these past years.

No longer shaken by lack of a home or strapped to tend to the bills on my own, I find myself excited about my education unlike anything else I've experienced previously in relation to my education. There is pride in my step as I stride into my classes at the local community college. There is a confidence so distinctly different and separate from most of those who surround me in the classroom. I am ready. I am furious for learning. I am steady. I am passionate about writing.

I am not a child any longer.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

::write rite, right? ::

below are the 3 essays required for my application for admissions. my responses are the premise for which i will write my essays. those who know me, know my blog, complete strangers, are welcome to offer your opinions via email or comments. this is only a starting block, and i'm providing some fun information as background for the reader, but i welcome the input. the clock is ticking.
Question One:
Focus: Academic Preparation
Rationale: The University seeks to enroll students who take initiative in pursuing their education (for example, developing a special interest in science, language or the performing arts; involvement in educational preparation programs including summer enrichment programs, research, or academic development programs such as EAOP, MESA, Puente, COSMOS or other similar programs.) This question seeks to understand a student's motivation and dedication to learning.
Question: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the field developed and describe any experience you have had in the field - such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities - and what you have gained from your involvement.
literary journalism seems to be a new and forthcoming major not readily available here in southern california. Neither Chapman, CSULB or CSUF offer a comparable program in Journalism, which is unfortunate only because i am putting all of my eggs in one basket (UCI). sheesh!
my enjoyment for writing is something that has stemmed from early childhood. in third grade, it was the kats of kactus kountry. in junior high, i started a bit of fan fiction based on leroux's the phantom of the opera. in high school, it was mostly reports and research papers. since then, i find myself closely attached to this two-and-a-half-year-old blog of mine. by their own definition, literary journalism is "prose that has evolved into a distinct branch of literature, prose that adopts the aims and techniques of the finest fiction." and i say, let me show you my blog! is that asinine? or completely avant garde? or ______? i think i've got something here that i don't want to give up. i've enjoyed writing about my life here, doing the occasional music criticism, and a degree just my land me a job in this field because i know my blogging skillz aren't enough. i have no paid experience, but i derive so much personal satisfaction from this pastime to know that i want this. at 27, with a tasting of some bland career options and nearly ten years of post-high school living, i've considered a multitude of options. i've done my seeking, my soul-searching, and i've stewed over this decision for enough time to know that i am ready to commit fully to pursuing & achieving excellence in this area.

Question Two:
Focus: Potential to Contribute
Rationale: UC welcomes the contributions each student brings to the campus learning community. This question seeks to determine an applicant's academic or creative interests, and potential to contribute to the vitality of the University
Question: Tell us about a talent, experience, contribution or personal quality you will bring to the University of California.
fast approaching my thirties and desiring to apply myself to a formal education speaks volumes on my behalf. my life experience and maturity will make me a boon to the student population. i am a pianist, percussionist, a film buff, a music junkie, an ambitious son-of-a-gun. i am furious muse. i'm desperately passionate about my husband, my friends, my family, and my cats. i've traveled, unscathed, to different countries such australia, new zealand, and new york city. i've reveled in the cultures of the world by sampling various culinary cuisines at the cheesecake factory. my life experience is a preamble for my wit.
...i suddenly am at a loss here. i don't know how to handle bragging about myself (that's what this is, right?). besides, my nose i pressed against the monitor now and i have to see the fairy godmother for a quick fix. please don't ask me to explain that. think back through your disney movies, ok?
Question Three:
Focus: Open-ended
Rationale: This question seeks to give students the opportunity to share important aspects of their schooling or their lives, such as personal circumstances, family experiences and opportunities that were or were not available at their school or college, which may not have been sufficiently addressed elsewhere in the application.
Question: Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application?
this is where i get to explain the phenomenon known as 186 units attempted, 62 completed, and a 2.8 gpa. i'm really looking forward to that, since the whole "dropping classes streak" started after my parents moved to oregon and i was making stabs at self-sufficiency. it's tricky trying to balance work and paying the bills with school. and, i wasn't able to do it. others have been more successful than me. but, barely 21, i found myself unprepared to deal with life on my own. except for my desire to remain in the place i had lived my whole life, survival was teeth-grittingly scary. in the first year, i moved 7 times & lived with 5 different people. discombobulated and distraught, still unsure of my major but wanting that higher education, i kept trying. at the first sign of declining grades, of not getting all i could from my classes, i dropped. i didn't want to fail. finally, now, i'm married. life is stable. work is stable. and i know i'm ready to hold on and ride this out with a firm commitment.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

::saturday funnies::

rules for better writing...NOT!

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

14. One should NEVER generalize.

15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

16. Don't use no double negatives.

17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

20. The passive voice is to be ignored.

21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.

22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.

23. Kill all exclamation points!!!

24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.

26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.

30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

Friday, November 12, 2004

::go go go::

it's official. the countdown has begun. i'm applying to uci for fall 2005 admissions. november 30, it's you & me. decisions are made. lives are being changed.

can i getta woot woot!?!

editor's note: i'll be living & breathing these questions for the next 10 days:
Question: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the field developed and describe any experience you have had in the field - such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities - and what you have gained from your involvement.
Question: Tell us about a talent, experience, contribution or personal quality you will bring to the University of California.
Question: Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

::it's circle to be square::

long i've been moping about the plague of the hire education, but only last night did it rear it's head and say to me: why are you taking speech? it's not required for transfer to uci? thank you, george, for planting the seed of doubt. i woke this morning, grabbed the latest school schedule, thumbing back to the igetc requirements, and am forced to read the ugly truth: speech is required for csu transfer ONLY.

speech, even with my recent foul-up, has been the favorite class of the semester. so, this news is devestating to me. not to mention that i'm suffering from a serious case of procrastination: my online class just absolutely blows chunks. i believe i'll pass, but i've gotten to know me really well, and this format of class-taking is hereto disallowed from the remainder of my undergraduate studies. classrooms are a must for me, i realize. i don't know what took me so long to realize this. and, perhaps i should have stuck with the "just one class" mantra that i started with, but i'm always pushing myself to the limits.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

::oh, really?::

at work, we require non-customers to provide a thumbprint when cashing a check. today, i asked a man to put his thumbprint on a check. mildly annoyed, i watched his response to my request: he pushed his thumb into the oil-based inkpad and thumbed the check half a dozen times.

"is that okay?" he queried.

"uh, not really...." i peevishly retorted.

try number two was much more productive.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

:: saturday funnies::

i thought for a while about the implications of leaving my readers with an image as disturbing as this. i thought maybe that wouldn't be wise considering my next post won't be for another 3-4 days. i thought perhaps new visitors wouldn't return because they prefer not to subject themselves to this brand of potty humor. but, alas, i couldn't pass it up. it's cute & disturbing all at once.

no, it's not monty, thankyouverymuch.

Friday, November 05, 2004


i don't know that i've ever been this relieved that it's friday. or so incredibly freaked out. i have 24hrs to complete a homework asignment that i've known about since the beginning of october. this ain't no episode of 24. jack bauer is not going to come to my rescue and pull the gun out of my mouth. the gun, carefully wielded by Homework, will remain in place until successfully vanquished by my deft knowledge of developmental psychology, keen observation skillz, and swiftly typing fingers.

happy friday to me!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

::uh, duh::

a florida resisdent provides some comic relief.

think about it, folks. i mean, convert lions to Chrisitanity? josh's mom had this wonderful insight:
What's the point in having the lion become a Christian? So he will PRAY "Thank you God for this food you provided?"

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

::in it::

i've started, so, if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll understand. here an excerpt from the barely 300 words i've thrown on paper for the NaNoWriMo challenge. no jokes, please. this is tough!
no other excerpts will be posted for copyright concerns. you can never be too careful as i see it. and, some publishers want first dibs on your work. blogging, as it were, is becoming a veritable publishing medium--yeah for that! i still ask you: will you pay me to entertain you? ah, just buy yourself some music c/o iTunes then. the college bookstore will thank you personally! i promise!
Staring at the red lights in front of her, Emily's mind wandered. "Traffic on The Bridge isn't usually this heavy this time of night," she mused. The Bridge. Oh, that gorgeous hunk of twisting metal that hung there with open arms, ready to greet wearisome travelers and wandering gypsies. Emily was neither, and The Bridge was no stranger to her ways. The radio hummed indiscriminately in the background as her Corolla idled wearily. Exhaling heavily, her thin hand fumbled unconsciously through the glove compartment. Shifting into park, Emily turned her attention to the search, which turned up a lone pack of Dunhills, matches, a cell phone charger, and the odd bits of paper. Glancing up at the parked cars around her, she noticed several other drivers had become preoccupied with the contents of their cars and the local scenery. "Only in my town," she thought, shaking her head. No one bothered to find the reason for the hold up.

Turning once more to the open glove box before her, Emily sifted through the crumpled paper and found one that got her attention. Heart skipping, she uncovered an envelope in the mess with her name on it. The writing was eerily familiar, and the flap of the envelope was loosely tucked inside itself. Opening the flap, she unfolded a piece of notebook paper which was folded the exact number of times necessary for it to fit perfectly and neatly in its enclosure. Hands trembling slightly, Emily unfolded the letter and instantly recognized the artsy scribbling of Lorne, her husband. Instantly, her face wrinkled up in anguish and tears burned her eyes. Lorne had been dead for three years.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

::post voting commentary::

this is an audio post - click to play

::get yer vote on!::

i'm off to vote. get into jeans, grab my voter guide, a good book, and my trainers. lucky me--i can walk to my local polling place.

i'll be in line long enough, but i'll humor you with my current playlist of songs containing the word "freedom" from the iTunes library:
Freedom Road: Blind Boys of Alabama
Freedom for My People: U2
Freedom: Paul McCartney
Cry Freedom: Dave Matthews Band
i think i have a small library. and, sadly, dave matthews isn't actually available on iTunes. i think dave needs a little push, don't you? join the 21st century, man!

and you: have you voted? go vote!

Monday, November 01, 2004


for the budding writer within all of us, why don't you join in the fray?! i, of course, don't have enough to do. prediction: lots of weekends locked up with the computer. hey, man, it's not going to kill me to try!

50,000 words, you & me have a date. november. i've got the chips if you've got the salsa! yup!