Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Bleed GREEN!

So this weekend, I am going to Aggieland to watch the A&M/Citadel game on Saturday. Nathan and I will be leaving on friday and we probably will arrive just in time for Midnight Yell. This is going to be an interesting experience becasue everybody will actually be excited about going to a pep rally. A&M is very serious about their pride. Maroon and white all the way and to your grave.. I like that kind of spirit. At UNT, there are only small sections of people who actually contain a small, but similar level of pride as Aggies do. I am excited to see this event. I have never really been on campus before at A&M so that will be awesome too. At one time, I considered going to A&M becasue they have an excellent meteorology program, and also, I felt that I would fit right in with the Aggie traditions and pride. But I chose UNT instead, becasue my heart was (and still is) telling me to go teach and we (UNT) have a great education program. Plus, UNT is substantially cheaper to attend. I LOVE UNT and I am glad that I came here because I have made many great friends and I have made some great connections that will definately help out in the future.. There have been a lot of great times and experiences that I will not give up for the world.. and even though I will be rooting for the Aggies, I STILL BLEED GREEN

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Memories from 9-11

On the Dallas Morning News website, they were asking for personal reflections about 9/11, so I decided I would incorporate it into today's blog...

On 9/11, I was in second period, Choir. Ironically, we were practicing the National Anthem for a special performance that we had in a few days. I remember our principal, Dr. Hebert, coming on the announcements... "May I have you attention please... [pauses for a moment] Today is one that will be recorded in the history books and you will remember this day for the rest of your lives.." He told us about the tragedy in New York and the Pentagon. He told us that we could go to the Counseling Center if we needed to speak with counselors about the tragedy and that he was also canceling any after school events: practices, auditions, etc. "This is a day that we all need to be with our families," he said. After that, I went to my English class, where the teacher refused to allow anyone to watch TV news coverage, which made me mad because I had not been able to get any information beyond what Dr. Hebert gave us. At lunch that day, I remember my friends and me talking about what happened. One of the things that I was brought up was gas prices. My friends and I were worried that the event would cause gas to increase in price and run short. We advised each other to fill up our cars before we went home from school. Another interesting reflection was that we all were glad that George Bush was in office instead of Al Gore. For some reason, we felt that Al Gore could not a good job in handling this tragic event. (Boy were we wrong!)

Looking back five years later, 9/11 changed the way that I look at the rest of the world. I actually try to understand other cultures and try to learn why they feel and do the things that they do. I was only 17 at the time of the tragedy and did not really have an appreciation for other cultures. Now, I try to learn as much as I can about other cultures to have an understanding about where they are coming from. Also, I have lost my sense of security. I guess before that time, I was innocent in the fact that I could be safe from anything. I felt that my mom could protect me from anything bad that could happen. When I went to bed on that Tuesday night, I no longer had that feeling. I felt that I was "on my own." Even though I knew that she would be there, I felt that she could not really protect me anymore and that the only person who could protect me was me. At the age of 17, that is not a cool feeling to have because at that age, there is still a lot of learning to be done. I do not have that feeling much anymore, but, there are sometimes when I could just have that underlying, unspoken sense of security again...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina Remembered

Today is the first anniversary of when the worst hurricane in recent history hit the LA/MS coastline. Belo's New Orleans station, WWL-TV is doing all day coverage of this event and remembering the people lost and commemorating rebuilding. I remember this time last year, it was the first day of school at UNT and while I was working, I had a screen with WWL in one corner and WDSU (the local NBC station) in the other listening to their coverage of the event. Right before I had to go to class, I remember one of the stations reporting that there was a hole developing in the roof of the Superdome. I remembered going to the Superdome for the New Orleans bowl back in 2004 and I couldn't fathom so many people in that stadium. It was already in bad shape compared to other stadiums that I have been to, so that certainly did not help their situation. It was such a horrible situation. It was very sombering to watch people go through loosing their homes and personal possessions and sometimes, even family members. I have never been in that situation. When I lived in the Greater Houston area, we experienced many tropical storms and minimal hurricanes, but we were never in a position where our property or face any type of evacuation. I think that Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 was the worst that I had been through, and even then, we did not have any storm damage in my area. The worst that I had to deal with that was when I was working and trying to check out the long lines of people who depleted supplies at the grocery store.

This former hurricane will be remembered forever and will always be used as the comparison, similar to how people used to compare Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to every other storm for the longest time. Prior to Katrina, Andrew was the most costliest weather disaster to date. It will also be used as the reminder to people that it is important to evacuate when it is needed. It is sad that people need that push and reminder of what happened with this storm to take the situation seriously. Katrina also has given citizens more reason to be suspicious of their governments. Some people hold the government responsible for the lack of response to this disaster, and as they should. The government was not quick to respond to this disaster, and this could be partly due to the movement of FEMA under the Department of Homeland Security. That movement just added an extra layer of bureaucracy that is just unnecessary.

With all of this rememberance going on, there is a minimal tropical storm heading towards the Miami/South Florida area. It only has 45 mph winds which is a minimal tropical storm. They should get a good rain with some gusts of winds. However, experienced Floridians are preparing for the worst, which is the smart thing to do.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What is this water from the sky??

It is finally raining!! YAY!! It is about time that we got a good drenching. It will do nothing to releive the drought conditions here in North Texas, but it will do good for the greenery and the soil. The last time that I remember a good drenching rain like this was in May. An inch today will do us good, but it is unfortunate that we cannot have more..

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Of Wheels and Fortunes

Today I went to a taping of Wheel of Fortune. It was pretty cool. They taped it at Nokia Live in Grand Prairie. It was a special "North Texas/Dallas" edition. Instead of calling it one or the other, they used both. In the title of the show, they called it "Wheel of fortune Dallas," however, when Vanna was doing her spots and doing her segways to and from commercials, she would say "North Texas." So as a viewer and resident, I was confused about from where that actually were coming from... But it was really cool. We got to sit through 3 tapings for 3 different days worth of episodes. It was "Family Week," so there were 2 players for each color. Only one team, a mom and son team from Lancaster, won the final puzzle and walked away with 30K and the money that they won from the previous puzzles. It was a great time, there was only one time that they had to redo something, when one guy spinned the wheel when there was only vowels left in the puzzle. Vanna and Pat were really nice. Pat came out during one break and sat in the audience, spoke with a kid, and let him go on the stage and spin the wheel. Vanna came out for a while and did a quick Q&A session. She was really cool and tried to get everybody's questions answered and she even signed a few autographs for a couple of girls and a guy who had his picture taken with her 17-18 years ago.. It was just a really cool experience. Now I can say that I have been apart of a studio audience and that I have seen a tv show being taped live. Now I am going to split my time between the Emmy's and Katrina Documentaries on the Weather Channel until Entourage at 9! Oh, by the way, Pat and Vanna aren't that tall. Also, the stage and the wheel were a lot smaller that I expected them to be. When you watch it on tv, things are a lot bigger than they actually are..

Friday, August 25, 2006

My Very Educated Mother Just [cant] Serve Us Nine pizzas...

Well it is official, Pluto is no longer a planet. It has been demoted to a "dwarf planet," which has been defined as similar to a planet but had not cleared the "neighborhood" around its orbit. As we all know, Pluto has an irregular orbit which is not the same as the other 8 planets. Pluto's is egg shaped and is just weird. Now, we will have to re-learn the planets, subtracting Pluto from the equation. New neumonics will have to be created to make this memorable for students in elementary school. I like some of the ones that the Quick came up with:

  • "My virtual enemy, Mommy, just surves us nothing."
  • "Meek villains expecting malice just stew until noon."
  • "Monkeys vary enthusiastically; meanwhile, jackalopes stare unhappily now."
  • "My very efficient Mary Jane shares unlimited narcotics." <-- The funniest

I bet that textbook publishers are loving this.. They will be making heaps of money as school districts all over the world purchase their updated science books, laughing all the way to the bank. It shouldnt be a major adjustment for students though because we knew all along that it was teetering whether or not it was a planet or not to begin with due to its inconsistencies with the other planets.

Less than 72 hours left!

Less than 72 hours left until the official start to the Fall 2006 semester.. I am always excited about the start of a semester... new classes, football season, a sense of newness on campus.. It is pretty cool... However, sometimes it feels like, I never had a break between semesters. This will be a good semester though because it will be my last as an undergraduate. In December, accompanied by several friends, I will be walking across the stage in the Coliseum getting a piece of paper that says that I know something and will begin a new chapter in my life, "After College." I totally wont be "out" of college though becasue I will still work for the University and will also be attending Grad School in the Spring. This semester will be loads of fun consisting of Music in Pop Culture, Japanese History, African American History and Short Stories. I am just waiting for the SMU game on September 9 so I can hear the Green Brigade...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Its the end of the 'Dome as we know it..

All native Houstonians have that one happy memory of their trip to the Astrodome, most of them are associated with an Astros game or the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (or now known as Rodeo Houston). Ever since Reliant Stadium was built right next door (and Enron/Minute Maid Park in downtown), everybody has vacated the old domed stadium. Harris County has been wondering what it would do with the building ever since HLSR, the Astros and the defunct Oilers moved out of the stadium. The only recent activity that it saw was as a shelter for victims of Hurricane Katrina (who were quickly whisked away due to Houston's own evacuation with Hurricane Rita). Initially, they [Harris County] talked about demolishing the building. Now, it seems that they are supporting a new project that entails turning the insides of the 'Dome into a hotel. It is just sad to see it being something other than an event arena. I suppose that it is better than it being leveled to the ground. I just hope that the developers pay appropriate homage to the building, because it definitely deserves it. It does not necessarily have a place in Houston's skyline, but it still holds a special place in its heart. There is a lot of history there.. Selena's last performance, millions of dollars in scholarships given away from HSLR, many sports games (although not any worth a coveted pennant), Nolan Ryan played there... the list goes on.

A Short History:
The Astrodome opened its doors on April 9, 1965, as the first domed, multi-purpose stadium. It was given the title of "The Eighth Wonder of the World," for its unique design for its time. It had a futuristic look and feel to the building. Inside, they had concessionaires that wore "space" clothes and sold "space dogs" and other such futuristic items. The Astrodome inspired the name for Astroworld, the awesome Six Flags amusement park that just closed a year ago this October. Interestingly enough, the Astrodome not the first domed structure. The local ABC affiliate, KTRK, commissioned a new building for its studios and it was a domed. The architect who worked on that project later designed the Astrodome..

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When the Levees Broke

Last night I watched the first 2 acts of Spike Lee's 'When the Levees Broke' on HBO. It was very good. Reading about it at the end of last week, there was a lot of controversy being discussed about "He only featured black people," or "He did not tell the whole story." I think that he did a good job getting a view from all New Orlenians and surrounding community members. This is good to see becuase it allows those who were not there, in the area, to have a greater understanding of what really happened, more than the networks can cover. There were a lot of first hand narratives and a lot of pictures of destruction. The ending was very sobering because Lee chose to show many pictures of bodies that were just lying there in the water. It was hard to watch. They all were laying in the same position. It was just very sad. I am excited to see the rest of it tonight. I remember the whole thing as it happened. Right before it hit and afterwards, I was tuned in at work and at home online watching the local tv stations directly because they were broadcasting their coverage online, which was great for those like me who are nerds and also great for those who were from the area and wanted to stay connected to the news from their hometown. WDSU (Hearst-Argyle owned and NBC station) and WWL (Belo-owned and CBS station) provided great coverage online. It was interesting to watch them as they improvised and tried the best to stay on the air while they evacuated themselves to different parts of the area. Both stations had to go to different places to base their broadcasts. WWL broadcasted from their transmitter site and from LSU for most of their broadcasts and WDSU moved all of their staff to a Hearst-Argyle sister station in Jackson, WAPT, which has really interesting, because that is the first dual broadcast that I had seen. H-A also committed a first when the News Director in New Orleans decided to shut things down in New Orleans and handed their broadcast over to staff at the A-H flagship station in Orlando, FL, WESH, which provided coverage for both Orlando and New Orleans (people in Orlando were probably like, what is this doing on my station? This is not affecting my area!) which according to what I have read, that has not been done before. There is a great video that H-A produced explaining what happened on the H-A website and how everything worked. It is really interesting. It was definately a new situation for the TV news industry..

Monday, August 21, 2006

Entourage and others

Well, the season finale for Entourage is next Sunday. This is a bitter-sweet day for Entourage fans. We are excited to find out what will happen next? Will Ari really get fired? Will Ari's new agency fail without Vince? Will Vince be able to survive after paying $20k for a pair of shoes? And then it sucks because we have to wait a whole year for a new episode.. Entourage has a weird time for is season. I guess that it is pretty convenient because they play the episodes in the summer, and is easier for people of its demographic (18-30's) to watch it because they are either out of school or their work schedule is adjusted somewhat for the summer and it is easier to catch the episode? But it shouldn't matter anyways, because it comes on at 9pm on Sundays.. Who knows.. It is just another show that I will have to patiently wait for new episodes for. The Office is killing me.. I have to find out what happens with Pam and Jim! My little Office-a-thon is now over, so I am all caught up, but, I am still wanting more.. I have now switched focus and now watching The Real World - Las Vegas, which is not the best season, but I only have LV and the original New York season on DVD.. I have not seen many episodes of this season's Real World - Key West. From what I have seen, it is not a very riveting season. It is the same 'ole mess that it always is.. No surprise..

Farmers Branch goes crazy over illegals!

Today, the Farmers Branch City Council is meeting to consider creating policies that would restrict illegal immigrants within their community. They will fine employers who give these people jobs (which should be done in the first place) and will make it illegal for property owners of homes or apartment complexes to rent to illegals. In addition, they will be printing all city documents in english only and will eliminate subsidies for illegal immigrants in the city's youth programs. I agree that employers should be fined and that the city has the right to only produce documents in english only, but I think that it is not right for them to take money away from youth programs and to restrict where illegal immigrants can or cannot live. Is there not a law out there that prevents discrimination within the housing industry? If they are able to pay the rent, why should their status matter? Yes, they should not even be here in the first place, but still, they still need a place to stay, and if the rent is paid, then so what? Also, it is not the children's fault that their parents made them come to the states illegally. Why should they be penalized for something that they have no control over? These programs are there to benefit all children and if they are illegal, then it could help them accumulate to the culture and learn how to be a good citizen. I just think that FB City Council is just being a little drastic. Yes, the United States, Texas in particular, has a problem with illegal immigration, but is this really a necessary step?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blogging and The Office

It is weird.. I have a blog, and I am just now getting into reading other people's blogs (religiously). I have read some before, and I have had one that I read really regularly, but I am not gaining more that I am starting to read on a more, religiously/regular basis. Yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog that is maintained by the actress who plays Pam from NBC's The Office. It is on Myspace and it is pretty cool. She maintains it herself (not by her assistant) and she shares information about the upcoming season and also other projects that she is working on. She will also answer questions that fans email to her about the show/her life/other projects. It is really cool. She even accepted my friend request! After reading her blog and another blog that is maintained by the actress who plays Angela, I was on an Office high and wanted to watch The Office. I got through the first season, maybe I can make a good dent in the second season tonight... It is a really good show. I am really wrapped up (along with the rest of America) with the Jam (Pam/Jim) relationship and its possible outcomes. That whole situation is a hard situation. You have Pam who is engaged to her high school love who has been playing around and not ready to commit (they have been engaged for 3 years) and then you have Jim, who is her co-worker and partner in crime that they commit in the office (office pranks, not literal crime) and over time, he has developed a crush on her. He tells her his feelings (something that he has been wanting to do for a long time) and then she says no, which is dumb because it is obvious that she cannot get anywhere with Roy, her fiance. I really want them to get together, becasue they will make a better couple than her and Roy... Grrr... I just have to wait until September 21 to find out... I cant wait!!!!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To XM or Not to XM... That is the question.....

So Nathan is deciding to get XM Satellite radio again and has asked if I want to join onto his account. I said yes initially because I really like XM, I have had it before and really enjoyed it, however, I am not in my car enough to really justify spending the money every month for it and to spend up to $120 for a new receiver. I had one, and then some jackass came and broke a window out of my car, tried unsuccessfully to steal my car and then and then decided to steal my XM receiver. The only way that I can justify getting XM again right now is if I get a portable receiver, the XM MyFi, which currently is running for $129 with a $30 mail-in rebate. That is a lot better than what it cost when they initially came out 2 years ago, but it is still a lot of money now and that could go to something else like bills or other things being that Finaid is not going to be good this year. However, I do have a birthday coming up, and with a birthday comes birthday money and if current trends stay the same, I could use that money to subsidize the purchase where I would only have to contribute a small portion of my own money. I would like to have it again becasue I enjoy listening to it, but I just have to make sure that it is really, truely worth the time and effort and cost to go for it and get it....It is definately something to think about..

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ready to go again...

Ok.. I am ready to go back abroad again.. It is weird.. On the last day in Edinburgh, I was really antsy to get home. At the airport, I practically ran onto the airplane. Now that I have been back home and returned to my routine at home and work, I am ready to go across the pond again to go exploring. Despite all of this worry about terrorism, I think that I would be ok. They have lifted the restrictions for carryons to and from the UK, so that is better and both nations have lowered their security risk levels, so all will return to some form of normalcy (except the whole ban on liquids thing). When I went to World Market this past friday, it was cool to see some of the products that I encountered while in the UK. I now have a place to buy tea that I liked. I just need to find a place that carries the bottled water that I really liked (Volvic) and Rebel Red beer that I really liked from Cork. I found some Dutch beer that I had while I was there, so I guess that that will do for now (but it is really expensive).. It would be really cool to do another study abroad or even cooler would be to do a semester abroad, but with graduation knocking on the door, there is no opportunity to do it now, and I am sure that I will not be able to do it as a graduate student. I will definately go back though. I looked at prices for travel to London Gatwick and London Heathrow, and it seems that if you book well ahead of time, you can get tickets starting from $563, which is alot cheaper than I initially thought... That makes a return more of a reality because I thought that round trip tickets were around $1000 or more... I will definately have to go to London and stay a few days there to explore.. Ireland will definately have to be on the itinerary also...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Home Again

Well, it is good to be home again and back to the old routine of work, chill, sleep and work again. The trip was awesome and I had a great time. Everybody was really cool and I was worried for nothing. Being in that kind of situation where you are forced to be with 11 other people in very tight quarters with a tight schedule will help speed things along and help develop friendships quickly. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would. Now I just have to take a break and relax before Fall semester starts back up again on the 28th. A lot of TV will be watched and I am hoping to get through the book that Brandon lent me, The Loch. Work is really slow right now so I am getting to do a lot of surfing, which is good, but I feel guilty because I am just getting paid to surf, but oh well.. Not much that I can do when there is no work to preform..

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Trip Pics

Hey Guys,
Here are some pictures from my trip that I have uploaded. This is not all, but alot of them are redundant landscape pictures, so I just chose the best ones from each place. There should be a description of each of them at the bottom of the picture.. Let me know if you cannot access the website and I will try to get them to you another way...
My camera did have issues with me, so I am missing the first week of the trip, but I will share those with ya'll later when I steal them from my other classmates...
Have a great afternoon!
Do you bleed GREEN?!?!?!?!?!?!