2 Months to go

Everyone makes lists whether it be a top ten, bucket, or grocery. The list making process is what we do either to be organized or make it appear so. About 10 months ago, I contributed to the list making world by putting together 23 things I want to do before I turn 24.  In about 61 days(but really who is counting) I will be turning that awkward age, and while I have thought about the list, it took a few of my friends to make me actually go back and look at the list. So here is my update. And here is to hoping I can accomplish this all:

1) Spend more time with family and friends that have your back. Do not waste time with people because you feel bad when they wouldn’t do the same.

My family has definitely changed this year. With good, bad, and ugly news, however we are still a family. I love them more than they will ever know, but I do express it to them as much as I can.

As for friends, in the past year,my circle of friends have become smaller. This is not bad thing, but instead of spending time with people who I truly can’t stand sober, I spend it with people who truly matter to me and I to them. I can obviously work on this more, but as is life.

I say accomplished

2) Donate my hair to locks of love

Ummm…yea has not happened. Not going to lie, I love my long hair, and it is really hard for me to part ways with it. This is a we will see if it will be done in the next 61 days. If not, going on the list next year.

3) Be more direct, not passive aggressive. I sometimes don’t say things to make sure people don’t get mad at me. However somethings need to be said.

Still a work in progress, at least to myself. Some would argue that I have accomplished this, but there is always room for improvement. I will say accomplished, but always can do more.

4) Go Zip Lining

My good friends Carissa and Jen looked this up, and did you know there are no zip lining places in Arizona that are for individuals, only groups. So if anyone knows of any, maybe even ones I can drive to out of state, please let me know ASAP

5) Loose ** lbs and change my eating habits

Done and done. This last year I have lost a good amount of weight. I am not going to post how much, but let us just say that it more than my age, less than 100. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud and feel accomplished, but let’s move on.

6) Learn the secret to my nana’s chocolate chip cookies…

Yes I did. And no I am not telling you.

7) Write a funny story about my Grandpa

Let me start by saying, this hasn’t been done. With a subject like my grandpa, I have tried hundreds of times to do this, and I feel a constant brick wall in my way. I am not sure why,but it seems that way. Of all the things I need to accomplish, I hope this is one of them.

8 ) See the Suns win a championship…*cross fingers*( might change this before I die)

Every year, I think this is the year. This is the year the Suns are going to win it all And every year I am more disappointed than the last. And every year I think, why am I do this to myself? But then every year I am excited to watch them kick some butt and try to win it all. It is a cycle, a bad cycle. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Actually I would like them to win.

Oh yea, almost forgot. Spurs suck it!

9) Kiss in the Rain

It doesn’t rain a lot here, but I sure as hell got that kiss. And it was worth it.

10) Start my applied project for grad school

It has been started. I can’t talk too much about it, but I am uber excited for it.

11) Travel to a new state or country

I will like to welcome the sort of great state of Maryland to place I have been.

12) Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is 100 million

To be honest, I am not sure why I put this on my list. But it is something easy to do. This will surely get done. And when I win, I’m going to Disneyland.

13) Maybe update my blog more…maybe

Guess what I am doing right now? *Evil laugh*

14) Clean my closet out of clothes I never wear. Also clean out things I don’t need. Donate both.

For those who don’t know, my friends and I go shopping in my closet. It is true, I have a habit of buying clothes, and seeing them months later, forgetting I bought them. I do have a problem. I get it.

However, I did accomplish this goal. I cleaned out 3 bagfuls of clothes, had friends take them, and donate them. My closet looked rather bare for like a week, and it looked good for a week. But soon it was filled again. You can’t hate on a girl and her clothes

15) Take an unplanned trip for a couple days.

I have an issue with lack of time, and planning things. Most would not see a problem in this, but it would not hurt just to take off somewhere on a whim. I will keep everyone posted.

16) Eat something new that I have never ate before. Deer Maybe?

Alright so it wasn’t deer, however I did eat some amazing Maryland Crab. It is so good, I may have to update the sort of great state to the great state of Maryland. It will have to go through committee first.

17) Redesign my bedroom

Has it been redone in the last year? Yes. Has it been finished? Not really. A work in progress, but I say accomplished nevertheless.

18) Ask a guy out on a date

According to the boy, yes this has been done. He says because I plan everything out, this counts.

19) Learn to ride a bike

Same boy says he will teach me this before my birthday. While I believe he will try, I am not sure if after 23 years I will be able to. Keep your fingers crossed that I am able to do this and not hurt myself too bad.

20) Having an amazing St.Patty’s to make up for the lack of one when I was 22

I had a blast this last St.Patty’s day thanks to my loves. No I didn’t get to consume any of the Irish kinds, but dancing my butt off was good enough.

21) Go to a Cardinals game in their new stadium

I have not done this, but if anyone has extra tickets, I am more than willing to fill that seat.

22) Let people know I love and appreciate them. I would not be who I am without any of them

I do try to do this all the time, and I will continue.

23) Make 23 better than 22. Do not be depress about it. Wait until you are dead.

It has been an amazing year, and with still two months to go, it can only get better.


Life After I Gave Up My iPod

Below is a reflection of my week sans my iPod. Didn’t read it? Well let us back track:

My obsession
Why I gave it up
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven

Let’s be honest, you have time to kill. Once you have done that, you may understand my last afterwards. For the record, I am never doing this again. Almost didn’t make it:

I keep re-reading about my week without my iPod, and to be honest, at first, I sound a bit crazy. How is it that this medium has taken over my life the way it has? I know I once lived a life without an iPod, but I am not sure how to do it again. However as friends and family commented back on my blog postings, I began to realize I am not alone. Many others couldn’t live without their iPods and other forms of media for a week, and wondered how I am doing it.

By keeping a small journal and timeline of my thoughts throughout the week, I somehow found a way. I believed it better captured what I went through without my iPod. My journey showed my feelings of emptiness, withdrawals, and my dependency with this medium. At moments my feelings were heightened when people mention my week without my iPod. In a way, it made me want it more because I missed having it as a part of my everyday life and how I function with it. For me, it isn’t about the iPod itself, but what I use it for. I use it like a musician uses a metronome. It seems to keep the tempo and rhythm throughout my day, and when that was taken from me, everything seemed off, from working out to simply walking around.

As reflected throughout my notes, I felt that disconnect more than I thought I would. It didn’t seem right doing many of normal activities without my iPod, and when I tried other things, it felt as though I had put my shoes on the wrong feet. Sure I am wearing shoes to protect my feet, however it didn’t feel right. I am used to have this particular medium close by and as a part of my routine. At times, it did feel like I was wearing my shoes on the wrong feet, and while I did use other media to replace my iPod, I missed its functions and noise.

As I repeated many times, I love having noise around me whether it is music, someone talking, etc. While other media like television and radio did provide the noise I needed, I was sometimes left with little choice of what I wanted to listen to, and often times commercials and breaks interrupted the flow of the noise. Had I been plugged into my iPod with my own music and podcasts, I wouldn’t have the distractions of commercials and breaks.

On one hand, it could be said that being constantly plugged into my iPod disconnects myself from those around me, but this is not the case. I use my iPod to catch up on the latest news, talk to friends online, listen to music, and many other functions. I could do this with my phone, and do, but for me, my iPod is my choice for information and music because of its functionality. My iPod may not help my face-to-face communication; however it does help me to stay in touch with the world around while I am out living in it. I still feel connected to the world, and my iPod has allowed for such a thing to happen within my daily life and routine.

On the other hand, I can always change my routine and how I function. There are many times throughout my week and time without my iPod where I normally wouldn’t use it and/or need it. It was during these times where this medium wasn’t a part of my routine, therefore I didn’t feel lost without it and I was alright. It was moments like these that made me think maybe I could live without my iPod.

Can I honestly say I would not properly function if I had to give up my iPod forever? My first reaction is of course not. I need my iPod to live. However, there was a time I didn’t have my iPod, about 22 years beforehand, and I seemed alright. As much as media controls us, we do have the option to break away. As I have learned, that detachment can be hard, but as we have gotten use to having this particular medium, we can also get used to not having it. Media of any form is more of a want rather than necessity. It is not a part of the bottom portion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs like food, water, and shelter. One needs those things in order to survive.

Media is something we want in our lives for entertainment and to make life easier which it does, but it is something one can live without. It merely comes down to our habits, and how we choose to handle them. For me, my habits revolve around media as a way for entertainment, getting information, and getting through my day. It is media in all forms that I like having around me, and when one is taken from me, something doesn’t feel right. However, not using my iPod wasn’t on my mind all day, but rather periods of time when I am use to it. Like when I first incorporated my iPod into my routine, with practice, it can be taken away.

I maybe alright with this.

One week, no iPod: Saturday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One FirstThen Day Two. Then Day ThreePlus Day FourAdd Day Five. Don’t forget Day Six and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

8:33am: Like Sunday mornings, I usually spend a little time in bed on my iPod surfing the web. I like to check my Facebook, News, etc. without moving too much and without being rushed or having to go anywhere. For even that short time, it is how a weekend should be. No work, just peacefulness of the glowing screen.

8:47am: This whole laying here is rather boring without doing something. I could get up and start doing work. Or maybe watch TV. I will do work while watching TV. As a side note: I need to come up with another word for doing work because the negative tone of the word does not sound relaxing or something you should do on the weekend.

1:53pm: Doing the last of my homework while Cristalle finishes getting ready for the football game. Like me, she is always listening to music whether she is working out or getting ready. I wonder if she could give up her iPod for a week. I wonder where she hid mine.

2:20pm: Cristalle tells me her brilliant hiding spot was on her desk. Good thing I didn’t have time to snoop around. Well actually I probably did have time, but the reason I didn’t could have been two things. One wanted to complete the assignment. Two if I don’t see it,I won’t be as tempted to go after it. I didn’t know my iPod had been so close to me the whole time. Had I known earlier in the week where my iPod was, I probably would not have been able to do this assignment.

2:21pm: Need to steal Cristalle’s Music…and maybe iPod. Is it Sunday yet?

4:03pm: Without a set schedule like during the week, I do not use my iPod to keep track of time and things. I don’t need it for work or walking down the halls. Yes today I did miss it, but I didn’t have places to be where I felt I needed it. It could have added to the soundtrack of my life, but I did not need it. I did want and miss it, don’t get me wrong. However, it will not keep me alive and going. Although probably a little saner.

2:33am: Half asleep. Remember Cristalle told me where my iPod is. It has technically been a week. Run downstairs. Run back upstairs. Get a little lightheaded. Go to turn on my iPod with excitement in my heart. iPod is dead. FAIL!!! I think this is the media Gods little joke. I should have charged it. I guess I will have to wait a little longer.

One week, no iPod: Friday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One FirstThen Day Two. Then Day ThreePlus Day Four. Add Day Five and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

9:15am: After what happen yesterday, I thought maybe I wouldn’t worry too much about my iPod. Clearly that lasted oh a day. On the walk to class, I still miss it. Thank God tomorrow is the last day. Have I really improved since day one? I would like to think so because although I do miss it, I do not go to grab my phone to avoid people or plugged in.  But the silence of the walk still bothers me especially because less and less people are on campus.

9:30am: Still dependent on other media. Apologizing to a classmate for not telling her about the reading because all I had was her Facebook, and she gave that up this week. It is strange with all this technology and media that for some, you may only have one outlet to communicate with some friends. I maybe should get her email.

1:06pm: “Watching” TV for the last hour while working on school work.  Throughout the shows, I hear a couple new and old songs that I am needing to download. I make a mental note to download them later. At this point, I would have just downloaded them onto my iPod and be done with it, but it is the same ole song and dance.

1:10pm: Giving up! I am going on iTunes to download those songs.

1:12pm: Stupid iTunes is being a pain. Giving up that.

3:34pm: Karli has her new iPod touch! It is just like mine, but cooler. A ting of jealousy runs through my body. Does it count if I play with hers because it is not mine? Peanut gallery? Ok you win this time.

6:08pm: It is times like these that I truly miss my iPod. While I have tried to catch up with my favorite podcasts this week, I haven’t. It is a pain to me to turn on my computer, go to the podcast’s website, and download it when I can do it straight from my iPod. I rather just listen to the radio while I get ready. I know I do not get to listen to my music without commericals, but it is quick and easy. I only have a short time before I have to go. I do not need to spend it messing with my computer.

2:21am: My apartment is quiet…too quiet to fall asleep. I am a person who finds comfort in noise and being connected. It may sound weird, but I feel less alone. Shoot! What were those songs again?

One week, no iPod: Tuesday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is day three as transcribed via my notebook. Read Day One First. Then Day Two and you will be caught up. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

6:15am: Heading to the gym. I usually workout with my iPod permanently attach to my ear, but today we are going to try something different. I am actually going to do some homework, well readings as I work out. I am not sure how this is going to go, but here it is.

7:44am: I am covered with highlighter. Yea I am one of those people who highlight the shit out of my readings, homework, and books. Most of the times it is to capture the key factors of the reading, but there is a percent that does it to make the work look pretty. The percent went up today while working out. For some reason I couldn’t concentrate on what I was reading. This is possibly due to my heart racing up and down and sweating, but who really knows. Whatever the case maybe, I was not paying attention to what I was reading, and found my mind drifting even to the silent televisions. Is it me or is Skip Bayless look like he is about to eat someone when he talks and no sound comes out of his mouth?

8:15am: This is usually the time I listen to some podcast as I get ready for school. Today, I turned on the TV to listen to the news. I find myself watching the news more than getting ready.

8:45am: I have to turn this thing off. I have done absolutely nothing to get ready, and I have to leave in 20 minutes. Bad Hair Day here I come!

10:03am: I really don’t want to walk the halls in silence today. I am going to call Katie back, and talk to her for a moment.  Plus I really don’t want to be bothered by the people out in front of the building. I am starting to run out ways to say no and please leave me alone.

10:37am: Ended up talking to Katie way too long. I even stop to sit on a bench because the day is too nice, and I am too engulfed by the conversation. The only reason I knew it was time for class was when I saw my classmates walking by. Usually when I have my iPod, I have a clock right in front of me, and the songs usually last 4 minutes. All I need to do is count the songs. It is sort of like my internal clock  in a machine.

9:33pm:I haven’t noticed or thought about my iPod. It isn’t until I think about what I need to pack for tommorow, that I realize haven’t posted anything on my blog. As I transcribe my first two days, two things come to mind. One, I thought this would be an easy medium to give up. Two, I didn’t realize how attach to this I really am. Is everyone like this?

10:02pm: Complaining to Mike about my assignment and missing my iPod. To make up for this, his Solution? Sing to me. Missing my iPod even more. Shortly thereafter, I fall asleep, with the phone attached my ear.

One week, no iPod: Sunday

For those who don’t know, I gave up my beloved iPod for one week and kept a journal. The reason why is for a horrible school assignment that is meant as a form of torture. Here is my first day as transcribed via my notebook. The contents of the notebook have not been edited, therefore my stream of consciousness may or may not make sense. However sometimes my edited writing doesn’t either. And yes my mind does think this way. Here we go.

Sunday 8/29/10

9:45am: Laying in Bed. Went to pick up my iPod to check out PostSecert like I do every Sunday, and realized “bananas” it’s Sunday! Time for hell week. Instead of getting out of my warm bed, I decided to check the website on my phone. God this is taking forever on my phone. I could have read 10 secrets by now in the time it took to load. This already blows like the wind.

10:19am: Mandy is texting about Fantasy Football. Reminds me to post a joke on Banta’s wall about forgetting Charles getting drafted eight times. I wasn’t even the one drinking and I couldn’t remember that. Halfway through writing on his wall, I realized I am using my iPod to do this….Fail! I didn’t even go  7 minutes(ok I did, but still fail)! Can we restart this? I need to give this rectangle thing to Cristalle

10:27am: Finally get out of bed to hand my iPod to Cristalle. F This! This is going to be a long week.

10:49am: Little bro Nathan asking who I got in the draft last night. It is hard to remember exactly who and text it to him. Went over to grab my iPod, but remember I gave it to Cristalle. I ask for it back for a second, and she refused. She said she hit it. What roommate listens and does exactly what their roommate tells them? Time to power up!

10:52am: Bill Simmons has a new podcast! I usually listen to it on my iPod, but because this sucks, I will have to listen to it online. Where is it usually?

10:54am: This is taking too long to download. The Internet is being slow! Why didn’t I just give up TV?

2:30pm: Complaining to Mike about my lack of iPod. He questions if I will be able to make it the day, nevermind a week

4:45pm: Just used my  laptop to listen to my music/podcast most of the day. I need to get ready for my cousin’s birthday party. Moments after turning off my computer, I press the button on my iPod deck that would usually turn on my iPod out of habit. Nothing. No sound. I don’t even realize I pressed the button until nothing came on. I need something;some sound. Radio?

9:30pm:What am I going to listen to fall asleep to. The sounds of silence echos until my phone goes off.

11:03pm: After a longer than should have conversation on my phone, I am drifting in and out of sleep of silence.

Doing it for the troops…

This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my best friend’s graduation from OCS(Officer Candidate School…for the Marine Corps).

Let me start by saying I am not a fan of guns, loud nosies, or being yelled at making me the worst possible candidate for the military. This may sound like an elementary like opinion, but my military exposure can be defined as whatever the media, hot actors, and movies have shown me. Not to say I am an idiot by any means, but with little exposure, the military itself was never on my mind. With this as my foundation, it was a complete shock when my roommate came up to me and said I want to join the Marines.  To say I was 100 percent in favor would be a lie. I support my friend, but did not agree or understand why.

But whether I liked it or not, she was off to Virginia for 10 weeks. I never believed she wouldn’t pass. If you ever met Cristalle, her determination, strong will, and her stubbornness would not let her quit without a fight. However, as the summer weeks went by, it started to sink in the magnitude of what she had been doing.The hit from the frying pan came when my mom and I flew out to Quantico Virginia.

Side Note: Of all the 50 states, Virginia may have the worse, or most moody, weather ever. Raining, humidity, clouds, cold, and sun? I was only there three days people. The only thing missing was snow. I will take my dry heat and four seasons of hot and hotter all day everyday before the roller coaster of Virginia.

Back to the lecture at hand, my mom, Cristalle’s step-dad, and I sat in a lecture hall with hundreds of families waiting to see their candidates(marines). As a booming voice silenced the crowd, Col. Richard C. Jackson II, to whom the voice belong to, approached the stage. For the next hour, he spoke not only about the last 10 weeks, but the values of the corp. He kept repeating them.

Honor. Courage. Commitment.

“Follow these values,and you get the keys to the castle.”

As photographs and videos splashed through out the presentation, he kept repeating:

Honor. Courage. Commitment.

“Follow these values,and you get the keys to the castle.”

The castle, I was coming to learn, was not only graduation, but to those in the audience. The colonel incorporated how the family and friends helped instill these values long before OCS. If the candidates didn’t encompass this, they would not have made it to graduation day. It was those in the room who taught them what they needed to know, they just put muscles on it.

Okay maybe the corp did teach them as well, but he made it seem so simple, yet difficult for many to achieve. Few ever truly do, and few industries ever promote this. Imagine a company that did, and said the only way to success is follow these values and work. Would things like Enron or people/characters like Gordon Gekko exist? I would like to believe not, but maybe I have been drinking the kool-aid.

However, it was this message that continued throughout the lecture and weekend. We saw it in the graduation, other candidates, and most of all Cristalle. Although her personality hasn’t changed much, the way she spoke about her experience and the Marines kept pushing the message home. Her excitement and lessons got me excited. The whole weekend turned my thinking 180. Although I will never understand how it is to serve our country, the fight hits home. The pride for them is there.

The ceremony itself left me in awe. While no cap and gowns were involved, the soldiers and their guns showcased the hard work. The music, the cadences, and even the calculated movements helped bring flavor to the graduation. Cannons also added to the celebration, booming from black hole of the stilt like trees. It was a sight to see.

The weekend helped change my mind, and made me want to learn, from an outsider’s perceptive, more about our armed forces. Although I do not agree with every aspect the military brings, seeing first hand how hard these men and women work has changed my thought process. Not enough to join, mainly because my big hair will not allow it, but I can at least admire these soldiers and be proud of them. And most of all my best friend.

I understand you may not agree with the war, but those are about ideals, not the people on our side. Below is the end of their graduation. It is rather long, kind of cool, but worth at least a glance.