When I grow up, I want to be just like Charles Ofdensen.  Ofdensen is a master fencer, master lawyer, and master babysitter to the most metal band in the world, Dethklok.  Because someone this awesome is hard to come by in real life, it makes sense that he’s a character on the Adult Swim show, Metalocaylpse.

He works for gods.  He puts up with an insane amount of shit for his job and somehow manages to keep his composure.  The man even faked his death to better take care of his band!

Though he’s rather ruthless and callous, he so very obviously cares for the band as people:  “You would probably have to kill me to get them away from me.”  He fights to (what we think is) the death for his band on multiple occasions.

While it would probably be physically impossible for me to be in such awesomely metal situations in real life, I want to be able to live up to those sorts of standards.  I want to be the best at my job.  I want to kick ass and take names.  I want to be completely confident and self-assured.  I want to be able to protect those I care about most… and have a snappy one-liner while doing it.  And if those I care about would be willing to do the same for me… well, that’s just icing on the cake.




We said I love you.

A little over a week ago, I stumbled upon a blog post.  This blog post pretty much summed up my feelings about my year in art history classes:  “…much of what we are taught is important is STUPID–STUPID, and OVERRATED.”  We learned about all the most famous works of art, like the Mona Lisa, and I was bored.  Bored, bored, bored.

And my teacher understood how bored, bored, bored we are, so she threw in actual interesting pieces of art.

Mary posts one of the artists the teacher threw into the class to make it more interesting:  Durer.  As Mary so succinctly put it, Durer is metal.  I particularly enjoy dark, trippy pieces of work.

I have several more favorite pieces of art from that class.

Allegory of Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time by Bronzino

Allegory of Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time by Bronzino

It’s one of those paintings of the female figure that populates the art world, but this is a strange one.  Venus and Cupid (technically related) are making out.  That little Folly creature is enjoying the view, and Time definitely has a WTF-face.

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a huge piece.  It is meant to depict Paradise, then Earth with sinful people, then Hell where the Devil is torturing sinful people.  This was actually a piece they hung in bars at the time to pick up the drinker’s spirits.

Up close, there are so many strange little people in the piece.  There is even a store that sells statues of them–I want a couple so badly!

Saturn Devouring his Child by Goya

Saturn Devouring his Child by Goya

And my all time favorite:  Saturn Devouring his Child.  It’s a rough, dark, twisted piece and I love it for that.  Goya was a dark artist and always managed to make his subjects seem strangely monster-like and animalistic.

I have always managed to find exceptionally good–or at least interesting–art off the beaten track.  It’s always worth exploring.

Can you see stars? by SweetSteffie

Photo by SweetSteffie on Flickr

I have the hardest time not biting my nails.  I tend to be an idle biter–rather than a nervous one.  If I don’t have enough to do with my hands, I bite my nails.  If I’m bored, it’s especially bad… even if I do have things to do with my hands.  I feel bad about my nails:  They’re not pretty and they hurt–I bite far down.

I’ve done my best to find ways to stop me from biting my nails.  I’ve heard of coating them with hot sauce, but I touch my face (bad habit, I know) and eyes too often for that to be safe.  I’ve tried snapping my wrist with a rubberband, but I forget to snap the band.  I’ve tried that no-bite nail polish, but I am not bothered by the taste.  (And it looks like semen when I paint it on.  Not pleasant.)

Finally, I decided that I would just forego waiting to grow out my nails before painting them.  I picked up a black nailpolish and painted my nails.  Remarkably, I did not bite my nails while I had the nailpolish on.  I kept up painting and making my nails pristine.  It was working!

Until I let the paint chip and wear away, because I didn’t have time to paint them.  I could see the whites of my nails and, for whatever reason, that triggered the urge to bite again.

So… I painted my nails again over on the day before Thanksgiving.  I haven’t bitten since then… but I’m getting back to the no-time point again.  I need something other than the nailpolish, obviously, to convince me not to bite my nails.  The pure joy I feel when my nails are actually useful for scratching is close, but not entirely convincing.

Julian Rotter presented the idea of the Locus of Control in his personality theory.  There are several types of Loci, but the two main types are internal or external.  External can be things like society or supernatural, if you’re so inclined:  You didn’t go to class because it was raining.  Internal is your own personal reasons for events:  You go to class because you enjoy the lecture and you enjoy learning.

Dr. K used me as an example in class:

So, Ashley didn’t show up for class on Monday.  Ashley always shows up to class, so I was actually worried about her.  She showed up at Psi Chi that night and told me, “I’m sorry, I overslept.”  …I like that!  She owned up to her mistake!

I was pretty sure he was going to rag on me the entire time for not showing up.  It took an interesting turn:  He was proud of me for simply owning up to my mistake.

I do my best to own up to my mistakes and behaviors, though I have lapses like everything else.  It’s a joy to work with someone who was willing to share success and take some of the blame–instead of working that silly blame-game down whatever chain is available.

I have variants on reoccuring nightmares.  The same thing happens, but the setting is always different.  One of the more lucid ones took place on an underwater university that sort of looked like Sealab.  The most recent one took place on a floating world that looked like something out of a Mario game.  In each one, I’m walking around and holding my schedule.  As I’m reading it over, I realize that I’ve been missing going to one class for the entire semester.  As that dread settles in, I realize that I’m also missing something else… but I can’t place what is missing.

After spending ages in another part of the university, I then realize that I’m missing my favorite class–either with Dr. S or Dr. K.  I spend the rest of the dream racing to the class and hoping that I didn’t miss anything.  If I’m particularly lucky, I spend that time completely and hopelessly lost and wake up with the feeling that I just missed class.

For Argumentative Writing, our class was forced to play Second Life.  Had this requirement been listed on the class listing, I would not have taken this class.  I was familiar with the game through general geekdom and I knew I wanted nothing to do with it.  It’s for furries and pedophiles.  The fact that my university has a presence within the game is even more embarrassing.

We all signed up for Second Life while sitting in one room of the library–we have a section of the library staff dedicated to this shit.  20 people playing Second Life in one room.  Adam and I spent the time playing Monopoly on top of a building that was supposed to represent one of our dorms.  We have had assignments in Second Life, including one where we had to spend an hour on the server and write about our impressions of the game.

You want to know my impression?  It’s a horrible game over-glorified instant messenger client with horrible controls and dismal graphics.  I dropped from “fly” and spent over a minute stuck in a corner.  Nothing about this game is intuitive; it requires a lot more time to learn it than I’m willing to put in.

I’m absolutely convinced that the only reason we’re playing this thing is because our teacher needs to justify her addiction to it.  I think it’s similar to the rest of the teachers playing this game.  The only department that could possibly justify classes in Second Life would be the multimedia department.  We still haven’t really been given a reason why we’re participating in it.

The BBC recently posted an article, detailing the world’s changing thoughts towards Second Life.  It makes me feel better when the rest of the world starts to realize what crap it is:

IBM bought property in 2006, American Apparel opened a shop the same summer, Reuters installed avatar journalist Adam Pasick – also known as Adam Reuters – to report on virtual happenings, and countries established virtual embassies.

The number of people joining the site jumped from 450,000 to four million in 2007.

But just as quickly as it had flared, media interest ebbed away. References plummeted by 40% in 2008 and dropped further this year. And businesses diverted their resources back to real life.

American Apparel closed its shop just one year after opening. Reuters pulled its correspondent in October 2008. When asked about his virtual experience, Pasick says: “It isn’t a subject we like to revisit.”

I’ll agree that Second Life may be a worthwhile hobby for some people, but I think that businesses and organizations (and countries) really shouldn’t have a presence.  It’s one of those things that may be a lot more interesting with future technologies, but right now, it’s just depressing.

My Job


I love my job, I really do.  I work as a seamstress in a higher-end clothing store.  That means I get to hang out in the backroom, not interact with customers, and watch movies and listen to music while I work.  It.  Is.  Great!

However, there are some parts of the job I hate.  I have four complaints:

  1. I particularly hate pre-wrinkled jeans.  The bottoms of the jeans look like they’ve been washed and worn for months, so the bottoms are bunched up and wrinkled.  It takes forever to press those wrinkles out.
  2. Even more than pre-wrinkled jeans, I hate vented jeans.  Vented jeans have a slit in the side of the leg for about two inches, making the bottom of the jeans wider.  (You could just buy flared jeans, I promise.)  Customers often want me to maintain the vent when I take up their jeans.  It’s a pain in the ass to keep the vent, because most jeans aren’t made to take the vent any higher than it was.  Most frustrating is when the customer wants me to add vents.  It adds another 20+ minutes to my total time spent on the damn jeans.
  3. I had one customer want me to change all of the buttons on her jeans when none were damaged, just because she liked the newer buttons better.

    I had another customer want me to take out the perfectly fine zipper fly because it was pulling open.  Guess what?  It’s not because of the zipper.  It’s because the pants are too tight.  Get bigger jeans.  Lots of your requests are ridiculous.

  4. My biggest complaint is people who do not wash their jeans before they bring them in for me to alter.  One guy wore his jeans into the store on a particularly stormy day.  His jeans were caked with mud up to the knee.  I don’t know why he wore those jeans into the store and changed into the jeans he was carrying.  It makes no sense to me.

    The most disgusting pair of jeans I’d seen though… I could not touch them.  It was literally a biohazard.  This lady wanted her jeans patched in the back.  This in and of itself was a nearly impossible task, because it would have involved me reconstructing the entire back half of the jeans.  What made it completely unbearable was the fact that the inside of the jeans were almost completely soaked in blood.  Blood.

What really makes it all worth it is how amazing my coworkers are.  My boss is hilarious and friendly.  My coworkers adore me.  There can be a high turnover rate, but the people I love the most stick around.  One even bought me a cookie yesterday!  Little things make everything the best.

Before Carson and I got ahold of Psychology Club, it was dismal.  We maybe got one email a semester from them and there were no events.  This is our second year of running it and now we have events every Wednesday, meetings every Monday, and have won awards!  We’re now a Model Psi Chi chapter.  We’re hoping to be number one next time.  One of the best indicators of our success is the success of our event from this past Wednesday.

With funds from the university, we hosted James Painter, a food psychologist from Eastern Illinois University.  His big shtick is portion sizes.  He even made a documentary called Portion Size Me.

The premise was that he would dictate the correct portion sizes for two of his grad students, consisting of only fast food.  The two students lost weight!

Dr. Painter is a stunning lecturer.  He’s amiable and hilarious.  He tells the most amusing anecdotes and is so damn energetic.  I would recommend him to anyone.

We had been expecting only 100 people to show up.  200 people showed up!  We had the exact right amount of food.  We sold a couple t-shirts.  And we gathered at least five boxes of canned goods for the local food bank.  It was so beyond successful.  I’m still exhausted from the sheer amount of awesomeness from that night.

Edit:  The amount of food we donated to the food bank was 156 lbs!  The woman who runs the food bank was beyond ecstatic.

On Saturday, I went to go see Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) for the third time.  There were hints that it was going to be a new show, because their new CD, Night Castle, had just been released.  It turns out that this show was the same one I had seen every time (Christmas Eve and Other Stories), but they are scheduled for a spring concert tour now!

As always, it was an absolutely stunning show.  Each year, TSO designs a new lighting scheme and it’s so beyond elaborate.  There are lasers and fire and other amazing special effects–like snow!

Showcasing the lights

Find more wallpapers at trans-siberian.com

A friend of mine was going to be helping with the take-down through the theater program, and we overheard him talking on the phone about how it was only going to be taking an hour or so for take-down.  We didn’t have the heart to tell him that there were at least five semis that took everything away; it was going to take a lot longer than an hour.

This year, the stage featured several large screens.

Christmas Eve and Other Stores features a narrative about an angel sent from heaven to find something “that no one could touch, but an angel could hold” and that described the season or humanity or something like that.  The story details his journey as he finds this thing.  The narrator, Bryan Hicks, is among the people that have what I call the voice of God.  (Morgan Freeman has a similar voice.)  TSO dubs him the Voice of All Voices.  He breaks up the songs with the story.

My favorite song in this show is, and always will be, First Snow.

Snow falls.  (Well, it didn’t this year, but that was about the only disappointing thing.)  Sarajevo 12/24 more than made up for the lack of snow.  The song, which is usually sobering due to the narrative that precedes it.  This year, they used the screens to juxtapose the song with clips of political rallies, silhouettes of helicopters, and shapes that looked like bursts of gunfire.

The show is always split into two parts:  The story and then a silly bit.  During the silly bit, they previewed parts of Night Castle.  It’s going to be a non-Christmas story.  I particularly enjoyed their last non-Christmas album, Beethoven’s Last Night, so I’m really looking forward to this new show.  The rest of the silly bit was filled with the usual silly bit, including lots of fire, singing, and raised platforms.

There really are no good words to describe the awesome-ness of this concert.  I think it says a lot that over half of the people at the concert had already seen this same show before.  If you ever get the chance to see them, do it.  DO IT DO IT DO IT.