Monthly Archives: December 2010

We Make Norman Rockwell Jealous

The holidays at my house are never exactly like those from a hallmark movie.  Although to be honest these days, whose are?  My brothers and I are all over the age of 20, so there’s no tearing apart wrapping paper fanatically for new toys.  My parents plan on moving soon, so this is the last Christmas in the house I’ve lived in for 15 years, which one would think it’d be a little more special, but really it’s not.

So what is special about our family Christmases? Quite a few things, actually.  We have one odd tradition that seems to turn heads when I try to explain.  Christmas celebrations last three days in my house.  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, AND the day after Christmas.  The 26th of December is actually our biggest holiday gathering, my dad’s side of the family gets together.  We drink and be merry.  I have one of those families that when outsiders meet them, the phrase “Liz, I LOVE your family” is often uttered.  We’re that family.

To paint a picture, I’ll introduce some family members.

Uncle Nat.  He’s a car salesmen. That would speak for itself, but I must delve into specifics.  Every conversation is him trying to sell something.  Whether it be a car to my brother, or his idea for his new book (it’s been “in the works” for years) Simple Solutions to the World’s Problems. Use your imagination on that one.

Uncle Bob.  He comes in tow with my Aunt Bonnie–not a real aunt, because they’re not married, but still my aunt nonetheless.  What also comes in tow is their giant yellow lab, Mack.  My dad insists on always calling the dog “Matt,” which is my brother’s name.  It was funny one time, and then never again.

My grandfather.  He’s my only living grandparent.  He is the greatest man ever.  His voice reminds me of James Earl Jones.  He says what’s on his mind, regardless if it’s politically correct, racist, or impolite. He’s like Clint Eastwood, but aged a lot better.  He’s a WWII veteran from Guadalcanal and in his late 80s…the rules of society don’t apply to him anymore.   And yet he still puts up with my dad forcing him to watch Band of Brothers or The Pacific.

So long story short slightly less long, the holidays are about getting together and sharing time with close friends and family.  And that’s exactly what we do.  We talk, we laugh, we drink, we talk some more, we compare my dad and his brothers’ hair loss, and we laugh some more.  It’s not quite Normal Rockwell.  But what does Norman Rockwell know?  The people in his pictures all look like my roommate when she’s had too much to drink–completely red in the face and all too giddy for real life.  SO, I’m thinking my family would probably make Norman Rockwell jealous.

Happy Holidays!


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Semester 5 is in the books

Another semester is done and gone.  September seemed to take forever, October flew by, November gave me a break, and December–well, December is still here.  And we all know how I feel about December from prior posts.

The semester as a whole was pretty low-key.  My laziness level reached epic proportions.  I limited my chances to imbibe to tailgating for football games, and a few nights here and there–including Halloween.  Here’s some proof…

I promise we had the other two.

Who knows what happened…  Perhaps I took school a little more seriously this semester?  I had a job, forcing me to work earlier hours.  Perhaps my circadian rhythm changed from night owl to early bird.  Bummer.

Any who, grades-wise thus far, I’ve gotten two A’s.  More evidence…

I mastered the Screen Capture on my Macbook

For those of you that don’t know, that’s a RECORD for me.

Last Spring, I received my first A in Labor Relations in Professional Sports.  It was a total jock class, filled with athletes.  But still, it was a fun class.

This semester, my A’s were in two legitimate classes.  Two classes actually actually counting towards my major in Journalism.  Broadcast News Writing & Writing for Print Media.  My major GPA has jumped to 3.7.  During exams, I only had two.  I just finished my last one hours ago.  The first one I studied night and day for about three days.  I got an 81, securing me a B for the class.  My brother, Matt, will be so proud of me!

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m pretty excited about this.

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Is that a smirk?

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I work at the computer labs on campus.  It’s an easy job.  I sit at a computer for my whole shift.  I get up once every hour to count the number of people in the lab and enter it into a spreadsheet.  I help people when their stuff doesn’t print.  For this job, I was trained for many, many hours.  I get the same type of people every shift.  They all ask the same questions.  I have compiled a list of the types of people I encounter at work.

Those who Copy — These people have an insatiable need to use a copier.  Well, too bad, you picked the lab that doesn’t have a copier.  I can direct you to one that does.  Soon I plan to fashion a sign that directs patrons to a copier so I do not exhaust my voice-box giving directions.

Those who can’t navigate to the Scanners — The lab has three scanners.  One in a teaching lab, and two at the end of a row a computers, clearly marked with a visible-to-all-those-except-the-blind sign.  One works with a Mac, one with a PC.  Most people who wish to scan simply cannot find the scanners.  This isn’t Muppet Treasure Island, people!  There is not secret treasure map that leads you to the Holy Grail of scanners!  To fix this problem-of-the-blind, I am forced to literally walk each patron to said scanners.  It is demeaning on both parts.

Those who own PC’s and are forced to sit at a Mac — Upon walking in, these people are about to have their mind blown.  Sometimes I enjoy watching as they sit and oogle the pretty silver monitor and crisp, clean, white mouse as they wait to log-in.  Then they realize that the Mac only takes mere seconds to log-in, as opposed to the eons it takes for the PCs.  At least once a week I get an ignorant patron who comes up to the consultant desk complaining that Control + C, V, P, or Z doesn’t work.

Those who own Mac’s but are forced to sit at a PC — These people are just angry.

The Wanderers — These brain-dead folk wander around the lab during the busy rush-hour time (usually between classes in the early afternoon) when all the seats are taken.  They’re on the hunt for an open computer, but this is a slow hunt for them.  They walk slow, and they’re very absent-minded.  Completely oblivious to the frustrated people stuck behind them, trying to get around their slow-moving feet.

The Scavengers — These lovely ladies and fellows are the real winners in life.  They’re also on the hunt for an open computer, but they take a more drastic approach.  They hover.  They hover over a section of computers, or maybe even just one, waiting for it to be relinquished.  This makes not only everyone in the row uncomfortable, but us consultants as well.  What could possibly be so impertinent for you to print that you cannot wait in line like everyone else?!  Is it a map to the scanners?!

The Persuaders — These are the only types of patrons that have the ability to annoy the consultants.  Also the only type we deem necessary to get us out of our comfy chairs to come assist you.  These patrons are convinced their problem is the biggest ever and that no one else has encountered it prior to that very moment.  They are also determined to persuade the consultant to think the same.  They use a lot of “I”, “Me” and “My” phrases.  Such as, “My paper didn’t print.” and “I don’t know where my thing printed to.” They’re selfish and narrow-minded.  They’re convinced that it wasn’t their 36523482 megabyte print job that is slowing down the printer processor, but the printer itself must be just “stupid and slow.”

The Blind — There are blind people at my campus.  Seriously.  So much so they could all audition for the new Reese Witherspoon and Stevie Wonder movie–Legally Blind.  All of these blind people love the computer lab.  They love to come in, print papers, and stroll up to the giant, electric stapler, hit it, slam it, & drop-kick it, and then wonder what went wrong.  Completely ignoring the sign taped on and around the electric stapler reading:


As much as I love my job, it really tests my tolerance for stupid people.  Each day I’m reminded that these sub-humans were accepted into the same college as I was…

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An Ode to December

College students around the nation each view the 12th month differently.  From “My goodness, it’s December already?” to “HOLY DEMON SH*T HELL, WHEN THE F*CK WILL FINALS BE OVER!?”

I, for one, have expressed both of these views, as well as a multitude of ones in between.  Fortunately, my December has blessed me with a slightly lighter load–only two exams.  I have my professors to thank for that.  Alas, more time to complete this dedication the the last month of 2010.

To begin, December is famous for one thing–Holidays.  With that comes frantic shopping, snow, annoying festive music, and bitter cold.  And I do mean bitter.  The brisk wind slaps you in the face without even a simple apology.  It makes my walks into work quite disheartening.  To make things worse, that bitter, unforgiving, tear-jerking weather lasts until well after New Year’s.

How, you so eagerly ask, do I still love December?  I answer you honestly: I don’t.

December and I have a tolerate/hate relationship.  There is no love.  Just mild, grumbling toleration.

Imagine you’re hosting a party.  It’s a quiet, cozy party of close friends enjoying spinach and artichoke dip with pita chips, mutually-appreciated music, and homemade drinks.  Now imagine, right in the middle of telling an enchanting and seemingly hilarious story to your friends, another guest stomps in.  Crushing what was sure to be a great punchline to your story.

This guest is dressed in a dirty boots, a worn-out jacket, and carries a 30-pack of cheap beer.  Others greet him, thinking you’ve invited him and he’s supposed to be here, just a little late.  But you stay seated, glaring at the unwanted, unwarranted guest, fuming as he mouths off about some Cadillac that cut him off as he got off the grid-locked highway to get here.  That’s why he was late.

Within minutes, a guest (one of the originally invited ones) approaches you, asking if it’s OK that they invited a friend.  To your demise they motion to the cheap beer wielding behemoth that interrupted your story.  Ever the polite one, you brush it off, possibly using some form of the cliche “the more the merrier!”

It’s all down hill from there.  The party is never cozy again.  That mutually-appreciated music everyone was enjoying before has been changed to The Black Eyed Peas‘ “I Gotta Feeling”.

Happily, within the hour you find solace in a friend who speaks to you privately, complaining about the uninvited guest.  The two of you rant about it over chips and fresh dip.  Everything will be OK.

The moral of the story?  That rude, loud, and uninvited guest with terrible taste in beer crashing your lovely party?  That guest is December.  December forces itself through the door, and doesn’t get the hint when it has over-stayed its welcome.  And for argument’s sake, that betraying friend who invited December, that ex-friend is November.  And that best-friend who rants with you, that person is January.


Enjoy your December!

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