Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween and Ramblings...

Hello all! I just wanted to start out this post by saying "Happy Halloween!" As you've probably realized by now, I've started putting a "ticker" at the top of my blog, plus at the bottom. I thought that this would add a little more color to the blog, plus give everyone something to look forward to! I guess now that it's Halloween I ought to change it, so look for a brand new one tomorrow.

Well, I've had a few more disappointments lately, mostly from tests and test grades. I earned a low grade on my Chemistry test, like I had predicted, so it wasn't as big of a disappointment since I assumed the worst. But, on the good side, we still have several tests before the end of the year, so I'll have time to bring up my grade. Also, my average for all the tests this semester is in the "B" range, which is still good for a college Chemistry course.

The other test that brought my mood down was my Biology Lab test. I had anticipated a high grade, at least a high "B." It seems like when I try to predict a certain number or letter, I fail to meet that expectation. Maybe from now on I won't try to predict and just wait on the actual grade. Anyway, I got a "C" on this test, which is still okay in my opinion. Again, there are still several tests left in the semester, so I'll have time to bring that grade up some. I had a "B" average in that class for mid-term, so I should be able to keep that if I keep working. I'll talk about that more when something happens.

But, one good thing did happen today. Despite the fact that I got a bad grade on the test, we did do a great experiment in Biology Lab today. We got to start on out fetal pig dissection, and I must say I was very excited! Dissections are some of my favorite parts of Biology, and this is going to be a fun experiment over the next week or so. I'll let everyone know any interesting parts of this, unless there is someone out there that is opposed to such dissections. Just let me know if you are, and I won't mention it.

Well that's really all for now! I'm kind of tired right now, so I'll probably either go to bed or lay down and watch TV. Sorry that this entry didn't contain very much information or detail, but I wrote it in a hurry. I'll write more either tomorrow or Wednesday, whenever I have time. Until then, enjoy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Job Hunt Continues...

Today was the beginning of another job search, but I was excited about that prospect. I decided that I'd also check out our local mall (local being about ten minutes away), since I checked their website and found many job openings. I found the mall fairly easily, but trying to get in was a challenge. I thought Knoxville's West Town Mall was difficult! Parking was horrible, and people were fighting for spaces. Luckily, being the patient person I am, I found someone backing out and got her space. But now was the other tricky part: the stores aren't all connected to the main mall. They have three department stores (Dillard's, Macy's, and Parisian), and I entered the Dillard's entrance. I found out that this particular floor didn't go to the main building (I later found out I had to go one floor up, but I didn't know that initially) so I went back out the way I came and found a main entrance. It is a fairly large mall and has two floors in the main building. There are a lot of high-end stores from New York and Hollywood, etc. and there is a food court with many different types of food in it. I was taken aback by how many people were there shopping, but I guess people start shopping for Christmas earlier and earlier with each year that passes. (By the way, if you must know anything about me, my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Also, anyone that tries to hurry into Christmas in November is crazy in my opinion! At least wait until the day after Thanksgiving; if you really want to get on my good side, wait as late as the first of December!)

Anyway, to the subject at hand: jobs. I did look around to see if any of the stores were hiring, and there were a couple of signs. A couple were from fast food stores and coffee shops, but I want to avoid that kind of business for now. Since I have no experience with food, I just want to find a job in retail right now. Unfortunately, most of the retail stores that are hiring are either high end stores (meaning I'd have to dress up for work...and I don't have many nice clothes here) or are geared towards women (like beauty supply stores and the Hallmark store). So, working at the mall was pretty much out of the question for now, unless there are other positions that open up in the future.

After going to the mall, I went a little bit closer to campus and checked out Wal-Mart, which coincidentally is just a few miles down the road from Target. It is not one of the Supercenters like I'm used to back home, but it seems to be very large size-wise. I went over to the little "Career Center" where there is a computer to fill out an application. And let me tell you, I'm definitely not comfortable with filling out a job application on computer. I'd much rather do a paper one, when I can be sure the manager or hiring person will actually see it. But, I filled out the electronic one and answered all the preliminary interview questions. They did say they would hold the application for 60 days, but I'm hoping that since it's getting busier, they will be calling me pretty soon. (Let's hope they are more flexible with me going home on breaks...) After that, I did a little shopping and set out again.

Finally I went to check out the Sam's Club which is right next door to Target, ironically. They have the same little computer application thing, so I went over there again. Apparently the computer system saves your application to every store, so it was already filled out when I got there. The only thing that was different was there were a few additional questions and a totally different questionnaire than the other one. But, I was a little bit more optimistic since I was introduced to the hiring person while filling out the application. He apparently saw me over there and introduced himself, and then asked me about why I was applying. I really had no idea who he was, so I probably came off a little bit cold to him... He then told me he was the one that would be interviewing me, and that they would definitely need some cashiers, so I was glad about that. I'm hoping I'll be getting a call or two sometime soon, and of course I'll let everyone know.

Well that's really all I have to report as far as jobs go. In other news, I met with my academic advisor for the first time to discuss classes for next semester. That meeting went very well, and she said I was progressing very well, as far as grades go. Because of my major, most of my classes are pretty much already chosen for me, but I did have a choice for one of them. Instead of taking another Theology course I will be taking either Philosophy 100 or English 115, which will make next semester very different. This time, there will be a lot of reading and writing involved, but I think I'll be able to handle that. We don't actually register for classes until November 8, so I'll let y'all know how that turns out.

Besides that, nothing interesting has happened since my last post. So, I guess that's all I have to write about tonight. Now, I will go and watch the UT/South Carolina game which is already in progress. Until next time, have a restful weekend and GO VOLS!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

More Disappointment

Today I received even more disappointment, in a series of disappointing events that have come up lately. The first one for today came from my Biology class. I mentioned the other day that I felt pretty confident about the Biology test I took last Friday. Too bad I was wrong about this one. Instead of doing well like I had initially believed, I missed way too many questions and got a disappointing grade. I had been expecting at least a "B" and was hoping for an "A," but I guess I didn't deserve it. I made a "C+," which still isn't horrible, but not good enough by my standards. I am trying to study a little bit harder for the next tests, which there should be one coming up next week. I'm not too discouraged about this grade since we still have five more tests, but it is still disheartening, and that made my day start out with a bit of sadness.

And for the second and largest disappointment for today, this one has to do with Target. Like I said, I had left messages with the HR department, and I made another call this morning. Apparently the person who told me that other woman would be in was mistaken, and I decided not to leave another message. Maybe this woman would be in later, I thought. Well, I was right about that, and since I got out of my Chemistry Lab class early at around 4:30 PM, I decided to call again. Success! She was in the office, but was apparently buried in employment paperwork. She said she was reviewing my file, and would call me back later. So, I took a little nap and woke up around 7:00 PM. It just so happened that she called right then, and I was nervous, but very excited. She asked me a couple of questions, and got to the main issue at hand. Since I am living away from home in a different state, she figured (correctly obviously) that I would be going home for the holidays. I told her that yes, I would, and I pretty much knew what she was going to say next. So, she told me that she was reviewing other applications to fill three positions, and that these people could work during the holidays. She said that until those positions are filled, she couldn't hire me because of the whole holiday thing. I went silent and kind of sat there for a few seconds. She did say if those positions were filled and if they were still hiring she would let me know, but I've pretty much had it with Target right now. I had been really excited at first, but it's been almost a month since I turned in an application, and I have put up with way too much from them.

I've pretty much decided to try somewhere else, but, if by some chance I don't have a job and they call me back from Target, I will definitely consider it. If, however, I do have a job at that time, I will think about it, but not seriously, unless they plan to offer me more money. We'll see in time, but for now, I am feeling very depressed and extremely angry. Not anger towards this woman; I can't just be mad at one person. I'm extremely angry at the store and the whole system, which is greater than any one person. I'm trying to get over this anger and mini-depression, but it will just take some time.

Well, I guess that's really all I have to say (or should it be "vent") for now. I'm still pretty angry and depressed and worn out, so I'll just watch some TV and go to bed. I've already done all my homework for the night (I only had a few exercises for Spanish class), so I'm done with all the necessities for the night. I'll let everyone know if anything new happens, as always, right on this blog. Until then, would everyone please pray for me? I need some guidance and assurance from God that everything will go all right for me, both in school and as far as a job is concerned. Thank you all very much.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Tests, Disappointments, and Other News

For all of those die-hard blog readers out there that were expecting pictures by now, I am very sorry. Due to the rain and the cold weather, I haven't been outside for longer than a few minutes, just between classes and on the way to meals. I think those pictures will just have to wait for a while, possibly until the weekend, if that's okay. I'll let y'all know later.

As for updates since my last post, I've had the two tests I was talking about, actually both of them today. The Chemistry test was the first one, and boy was it a doozy! I thought I knew most of the material, but alas, I did not. I went blank on a couple of the sections, but I tried as best I could just to get partial credit. Funny thing time, though; it seems to go by really quickly when you need it to go slowly! I ended up leaving a question or two blank with no idea how to answer them, but that's my own fault. I can only hope for a "C" on this one, and even that might be too judicious for this test. (This happens to be the "disappointment" I alluded to in the title.) Since I have an "A" in there before this test, one bad grade won't condemn me for good, just as long as I do better on the next tests. We'll just have to wait and see.

Before I refer to the other test, I just wanted to report the result of my Spanish mid-term that I took on Friday. You could only imagine the look on my face when I saw at the top of the paper: 100%! What an accomplishment! A perfect score on a major test is not something one usually sees, but I am grateful nonetheless. Of course, my teacher made a point to tell me, jokingly, that this was very rare and not to get used to it; we'll see about that! ha ha ha

Ok, now back to the tests from today. My second one was in Biology Lab, and I don't have the best track record when it comes to these tests. I have gotten "Bs" on the last two, which are still good for that class, but I'd like to get an "A" on at least one of these tests. I actually think this one went pretty well, since I seemed to go through the material with some ease. A lot of the questions were regarding genetics, which just so happens to be one of my favorite parts of Biology so far. I could do Punnett squares all day, and find genotypes and phenotypes just as well! So, I'm pretty sure I did well on those parts. As for the rest, the test involved DNA technology, like using gel electrophoresis to do DNA mapping, which I think they use for solving crimes and paternity suits. Overall, I think I went through it extremely well, and I'm hoping and praying for an "A"; Good Lord Willing...

In other news, I still haven't heard back from Target regarding my second interview. I was supposed to receive a call from someone on Monday to let me know one way or another, but that never happened. So, yesterday I proceeded to call the same Karen to whom I was initially referred, since it was the conversation with her the first time that got me that interview. Apparently she either didn't work that day or had already gone home, so I left her a voicemail. Now, in the past I think I have left that voice machine too many messages that haven't been answered, so I wasn't content in just leaving a message and waiting. I waited until today to get a return call, and when that didn't happen, I called her again. Again, she wasn't in the office, but it was late so this was to be expected. So, instead of leaving another message, I just asked the phone operator when she would be in, and she told me "tomorrow from 8-4." Great! Finally some progress on the issue. If I can actually talk to a real person, that will actually accomplish something. I'll let y'all know after I talk to her tomorrow.

In other news, as some of you may know, my room was recently turned into a fiery furnace. For as long as I've been here, the heating and air system in this room has boggled the mind. It doesn't work merely by turning a dial or flipping a switch; it is much more complex. You have to maneuver ever so slightly just to get it to work. Actually, that's the reverse of what happens. When it was summer time, the air blasted to no end, and now it was blasting heat! We had no idea what to do, and I was having to open a window and leave the door open. Finally, someone from down the hall fixed it for us. Apparently you have to place the switch in between the low and medium settings in order to get the system to shut off completely. Now the room is nice and comfortable, just as it should be.

And finally, to wrap up the "Other News," I wanted to tell everyone about the new addition in my life: a Discover credit card! Now I know what y'all are thinking, but this card will really be an asset to me. What really drew me in was the 0% interest until April 2006, which will be really great around the holidays. I actually won't be using it that often, but with 0% interest, that would be a great way to build up credit once I have a job and a cash flow. So, we'll just have to wait until I get my job and then I'll try to use it.

Well, that's all from me for now! I'll let everyone know what's going on later in the week, if anything happens. Until then, enjoy the second half of the week!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Weekend and Interview Update

Another week has come and gone, and I guess I'll write about it a little. As I said in my last post, I had several tests and quizzes coming up, and I have taken a couple of them already.

Thursday was the first day of testing for me last week, and this was a first for this particular class. It was a Chemistry Lab test, and since we only meet once a week, we only have like two tests for the entire semester. Well, this was the first one, and I think it went pretty well. I didn't really know what to expect since it was the very first assessment of any kind for this class, but I got through it just fine. It mostly had questions about safety rules and procedures in the lab, and then some questions about the labs that we've already done. That test only took about half an hour to 45 minutes, so we still had plenty of time to do the next lab.

Oh, and by the way, during this lab I was crowned the "Duke of Titration!" A titration, for those of you who don't know, is a Chemistry experiment that involves adding one liquid or solution to another one by dripping it slowly over time. The components in the two solutions interact with each other (possibly forming a new compound) and when the reaction is finished, there is a noticeable color change. One has to be very careful not to let the liquid drip too quickly, or one will miss the color change when it first appears. The reaction is complete when just one more drop of solution changes the color, and then you stop adding that solution. When this happens, one must read how much solution was added and do some calculations. By the end of all the calculations, we have to compare our experimental results with the given theoretical results. After doing these calculations, we determine the amount of iron in the compound, which is determined by how much we titrate into the unknown solution. For this experiment, my average results (I did the titration twice to get an accurate reading) were about 14.26% iron, where as the given/theoretical results were 14.24% iron. So this gave me a percent error of only 0.14%, which was the lowest in my class! This was really exciting for me, so I know I'll get a good grade on this lab!

On to Friday, which would be one of the hardest days of testing coming up. I had a Spanish mid-term and a Biology test, one right after the other. The Spanish test was all review for me, mostly vocabulary and conjugating verbs into different tenses. Most of it was pretty simple, but there were parts that required a little bit of higher thinking, like deciding which form of the verb is needed in a paragraph and which tense it should have. But, I think I did pretty well on that, and I was actually the first to get finished! My teacher let me leave early, so I had about fifteen minutes to prepare for my next test.

This Biology test would cover several large chapters that dated back about two or three weeks, so I had to go over some of it in greater detail. It mostly covered genetics, Punnett squares, chromosomes, DNA replication, RNA transcription, and finally protein synthesis (translation). I've had most of this before (stressing most), but I haven't had Biology since freshman year of high school. This required that I decompress this knowledge from the back of my mind and bring it forward to use now; not an easy task! But, I looked over the material as much as I could without over-doing it, and got through the test just fine. Everything on the test covered what was discussed in class, so that was much to my advantage. Sometimes it's a lot of the material from the book on the test, which we don't discuss directly in class. I do better with material discussed in class, since I've found I learn a lot from what the teacher says instead of what is written. But, I'll have to wait until later this week to find out the grades to all these assessments.

Now to the other major development this past week. Like I said in the last post, I had a first interview at Target with their Human Resource people. I got there a few minutes early since I really didn't know what to expect, and they led me to the back of the building. I waited for about fifteen minutes, and a woman took me into an office. She asked me a bunch of general questions about work experience, etc., but then I was surprised when she asked a bunch of hypothetical questions and stuff like that! But, I went with the flow and answered everything to the best of my ability. At the end of that, she seemed to be very impressed by me, and told me that she wanted to go ahead and do the second interview right then! I was excited about that, because I knew they were interested in hiring me! But, unfortunately, the hiring person for the Front End (over cashiers and stuff like that) doesn't work weekends. So, now I'll have to wait for a call from him on Monday, hopefully, and I'll schedule a second interview. Not exactly what I was hoping for, since I thought I'd be working by now, but I'll take this. At least I know they're interested.

Well, that's really all I have to write about for now. Sorry that I haven't been posting pictures like I had promised, but it's been raining lately. I don't think rainy pictures would show up very well online, so I'll just have to wait until there is better weather. So, just wait patiently and I'll try to get those out as soon as possible. Oh, and just check back here in the next couple of days, and I'll post any new updates about school (namely testing) and jobs. Until then, enjoy your Sunday, and have a very pleasant week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Finally, an Interview!

Well, it finally happened; I have an interview at Target!

I went by the store yesterday around 8:00 PM and asked the service desk about the job process. Apparently the hiring person doesn't work that late, so they told me to call anytime today, and she should be there. Well, I just got off the phone with her, and I have an interview on Friday at 4:30 PM! I'm really excited about this, since I really need to have a part-time job. I only have a limited amount of money saved up from the summer, and I definitely don't want to go to my parents for a bunch of money. So, in the long run, though it will be tough to balance work and school, it will be worth it.

As for any other updates, I really don't have much to say, other than school is going fine right now. I have a Spanish quiz today, a Spanish mid-term on Friday, a Chemistry Lab quiz on Thursday, a Biology test on Friday, and apparently a Chemistry test and a Biology Lab test coming up soon. AAAAHHHH!!! It does sound like a lot, but I know that everything will be all right. Most of those quizzes I mentioned have familiar material on them, and I will have plenty of time to study for those tests coming up soon. Since the Chemistry and Biology Lab tests aren't until next week, I'll be able to focus on the others during this week and worry about the rest over the weekend and into next week.

Well, that's really all I have to report for today! If I can think of anything else, I will be sure to post it as always. Until then, have a great "rest of the week!" (It's half-way over!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

SJS Fall Festival

Well, as promised, I'm back from Knoxville and can give everyone interested some information about my trip. It started out on Friday when I left Cincinnati around 2:30 PM. This time, thanks be to God, I didn't have to wait in downtown Cincy for more than an hour! I just went right through and thankfully had no traffic on my way down. This was especially important since I wanted to be at St. Joseph's before dark in order to set up for the booth. (For those who didn't know, I went to St. Joe's from K-8 and they hold an annual Fall Festival in October. For the last few years I have been co-running the Alumni Booth with my friend Emily, and this is the "setting up" to which I am referring.) So, I got in town around 6:30 PM, which was great timing for me; I don't think I've gotten in town in four hours flat in previous trips. My friend Aaron, who didn't go to SJS but wanted to help, came and picked me up, and we headed over to the school.

Thankfully, Emily was already there and had spoken to the Fall Festival coordinator. Our booth would be in the same spot it has always been, and she had already scraped together some prizes. These prizes turned out to be some gym memberships, a gift certificate to a hair salon, a free hotel room in several destinations, and many other odds and ends as we usually have. Some of these prizes had even been used for years, and still hadn't been won! So, we would just have to deal with that. Unfortunately though, Emily had to leave to rehearse for a wedding she is in, so Aaron and I would be by ourselves. Since we really didn't know what to do at that point, we just went out to dinner at Sonic and came back to the school. By this time, it was about 9:30 PM, and almost everyone had gone home. The school had been locked, and all of our stuff was in a classroom. So, we just decided to come back early Saturday morning and finish everything else.

Saturday started somewhat early, though I slept past my original wake-up time of 7:00 AM. I stopped by Chick-fil-A for some chicken biscuits (yummm), and headed over to the school. By this time, it was a little bit after 9:00 AM, just an hour shy of the starting time. We had to rush as fast as we could to get everything set up and have signs made. Fortunately, the other Sean, who is two years behind Emily and myself, had already figured out numbers for prizes and all that jazz. (The game was "Pick a Pumpkin," which involved picking a small one out of a large pumpkin container and matching the number on the bottom with a prize.) Emily and I made a sign to get SJS alumni to sign up for a prize, and this involved about 30 minutes in the workroom. I finally figured out how to run the laminating machine, and got the sign in there. Now we headed out there a little bit late, around 10:30 AM, and set up for "business." But, before we did that, we ran into our principal from KCHS, who was now the principal of SJS. She was really excited to see us, and it was great to see her. I had someone take a picture of the two of us together at graduation and had a copy printed out, so I gave her that copy in a little wooden frame. Now we can go visit her and my picture will be somewhere in her office!

For the most part, our booth hasn't been the most popular in the past, what with the weird prizes and lack of interest by the public. So, it was not unusual that we didn't have very many takers. Emily and I ran the booth solo until our friend Connie from middle school (the one I mentioned in a previous blog), whom we haven't seen in four years, showed up and helped us out. I don't know if she intended to do so, but she helped anyway. Plus Emily's mom Trish, who I found out isn't alumni, came and helped out as usual. She even brought a sign we had made several years ago and hung it up, which worked out great. Here are a couple of pictures of us at our booth.

:Here's a picture of Emily and me, in the middle of setting up our booth. In the background you can see the colorful sign, and in the foreground you can see some of the prizes. Also to the side is Emily's sister Abby, who decided to help us out, too.

:This is about an hour or two into our time at the booth. Right after Connie came, we decided to have Trish take a picture of the three of us, who haven't been together in more than four years. We're actually in the middle of running the booth, but we had enough time for a quick snapshot.

So, until about 4:00-5:00 PM, Emily, Connie, and I ran the booth and took care of everything. We had a couple of people who had volunteered through someone, but we had no idea of this. So, we just let them help out for a little while and then they went on their way. But between 4:00-5:00 PM, the other Sean finally got there and he and his friends took over the booth. This allowed us a much needed break from working the booth, and a chance to walk around a little bit. We hadn't eaten any real food (except for a funnel cake and a couple of sodas), so we decided to get some of the SJS signature barbecue and "pig out." After that, which was delicious, we just walked around the festival looking at the other booths, and walked around the school. This entailed a lot of reminiscing from the good old middle school days, since the school has changed a bit since then. While we were out and about, we went to the playground that had been built during the summer before our 8th grade year. Throughout that year, though the structure was built primarily for youngsters, we would "hang out" in a couple of spots and just talk or walk around. One of those spots in particular was a wheel kind of thing that one would stand on and run, trying to keep on top without falling. We would just sit there and sometimes even attempt to run it, but not with very much luck. Here's a picture that Sandy took for me. (She is a good family friend, and also my Confirmation sponsor. She had been in charge of several things at the festival, and just happened to be there at that very moment)

:Here's another picture of the three of us, this time out on the playground. It is starting to get dark, so I think it was around 6:30-7:00 PM. This is a place we used to hang out a lot during Middle School, so it was great to be there again.

So, after this picture was taken, it was about time to close down the booth. When we got back, we had found out how much money we had made (less than last year, but more than the year before), and started taking down the booth. We decided that since some of that stuff had been there for years and nobody wanted it, we would just throw it away and be rid of it. Some of the other stuff that we thought would be taken maybe next year we gave to Emily and she would store it until next year. I got to keep the large pumpkin as usual and it will now sit in a closet until next year! But, right before we were done packing everything up, we saw our former music teacher and very good friend Ms. Petree! She doesn't teach at SJS any more, but she is alumni and still tries to come every year. Emily and I had both received cards from her for graduation, but we hadn't seen her since last year's Fall Festival, so it was great to see her. We decided to have our picture made with her, but they turned out to be kind of blurry (thank you to the woman at the Hispanic Booth...) Here's the clearest one I could find.

:Here's the picture with the three of us and Ms. Petree. Emily somehow turned out to be the only blurry one, probably since she wore white. But, it's still a pretty good picture and it was great to see Ms. Petree again.

After the booth had been taken down, we packed up our vehicles with the festival stuff and walked around again. Aaron was going to show up sometime that night, but he had to work from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM. We decided to just wait for him, since he told us for sure he would be there in the evening. We called his house and he was still not home, but his mother told us she would have him call. So, we just sat outside for a while and talked about life and such, until it got to be boring and cold outside. So, we decided to go get some ice cream with a couple of coupons we had given away at the booth, and we would just have Aaron meet us there. But when we all got there, we decided that we'd rather have real food and decided to meet at Ruby Tuesday's over by the school. We went back to SJS to drop off Emily's car, and we all rode with Aaron. We got there and each of us ordered something small, mostly appetizers or just something to get rid of the hunger. Aaron and I also got dessert, which I found out to be a bad thing, since I didn't finish mine. Also during that time, we had a lot of funny stories to share and got to catch up. Aaron and Connie had never before met, so they got to know each other better and everything went really well. After eating, Emily had to get home, so we drove back to SJS and parted once again. Aaron, Emily, and I were going to a dedication ceremony at KCHS on Sunday, so we would see each other again, but we had to say goodbye to Connie this time. We're hoping that it won't be another four years before we see each other again, so we will make sure to have plans for Thanksgiving or Christmas when we can meet up again.

On Sunday I got to spend some time with my family. We went to Mass at 11:30 AM and then did a little necessary shopping. We got home and ate some lunch, since we had bought some barbecue the Church was selling from the Fall Festival. I actually think they tasted better the second time around! So, we got to talk and catch up a little during that time, which was great since I've only been able to do that through the phone or online. But, I was going to the dedication ceremony at KCHS, where they were dedicating a new drama room for the girl from my class who was killed in a car accident in January. She had been accepted to Loyola University on a Drama Scholarship, so it was very fitting that they would dedicate a building to her. Emily was not feeling well that day, so it would just be Aaron and myself that attended. When we got there, we noticed that there weren't as many people as we expected, but we did see quite a few members of our class there. The Bishop was there along with the new principal and many of the teachers, and the building looked very nice. The drama class did a short scene on the new stage, which was very funny and lightened the mood a little. Megan's mother also got up to speak for a while, and as one can imagine this was very hard for her. Although for the most part she has been doing okay, we could tell that reality was finally starting to sink in for her. She had spoken to the whole school body just days after the funeral, and seemed to be handling things very well under those circumstances. However, at this gathering, she broke down several times, and this caused a similar reaction among the audience. But we all showed our support for her, her husband, and the rest of the family, and it was comforting to her that this building would stand in her memory long after all of us were gone. After the whole ceremony, there was a small reception with refreshments, and we got to catch up with a few members of my class.

After the reception, I had to be on my way back home and get ready to come back to Cincinnati. Aaron and I said goodbye at KCHS and went on our separate ways once again. I got home and finished packing up my stuff again and getting the car all ready. Once everything was packed, which was around 7:00 PM, it was finally time to go. The short weekend had once again gone by much too quickly, and I was not ready to go back yet. I said goodbye to my family and the dogs, and was on my way back to school. My mom had packed me one of the pork sandwiches, so I stopped about an hour later at the Kentucky welcome center, got a drink, and had my dinner. After that I was back on the road and made very good time, even though there were a few construction zones with traffic. I made it back here around 11:30 PM, which again was about a four hour drive. I unloaded my stuff and got back to my room, and then called home to let them know I was back. I then finished up a small homework assignment, and went to bed as soon as I was done. I went out right away, since I was so exhausted from the weekend, and slept up until it was time to get ready for class on Monday. My fun weekend had come and gone, and now it was time to get back to business as usual.

Well, I'm sorry if this post was much too long for your taste, but I had a lot of information to cover! I will try to post smaller amounts of information on the day they occur, instead of writing a whole book a few days later. I really don't have anything exciting planned for this week, but I will have to let everyone know if anything changes. By the way, I'll do the picture thing on the next entry, since I already had pictures in this one. Until then, enjoy the week ahead, and let me know how everything's going.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fall Break and Reconnections

Well, I don't really have anything new to report, but as most of you know already, Xavier had it's Fall Break Thursday and Friday. That meant a four-day weekend, and I figured mostly everyone would stay on campus for this one. Boy was I wrong! It turns out that about two-thirds of the resident students went home for the weekend, so that meant for once I was the minority on campus. There were actually only about 5 other people on my floor that stayed behind, so that meant: quiet! I actually got some decent sleep this weekend, and didn't have to be interrupted by loud music or screaming at TVs. That was very good for me, needless to say.

Well, despite the fact that I used my break to sleep and relax, this weekend was somewhat productive for me. I didn't really do any school work over the long weekend, considering there really wasn't much to do except for maybe one homework assignment. However, I did take the opportunity to reconnect with a friend from high school that I hadn't talked to in a while. I had been wondering what happened to some of my friends, since I hadn't heard from them since graduation in May of this year. One of my friends in particular that I was thinking about was Melissa. I had first been introduced to her my sophomore year by my very best friend Emily, and I started to hang around her a little bit. Over the next two years, we would talk at lunch or at break, and she always had a knack of making me laugh! She always had such interesting stories to tell, and they always cheered me up a little. Plus, it always seemed like she was in a good mood, unlike many people in high school that were going through the junior-year dramas.

Anyway, I thought of her specifically because she had been one of the last members of my class that I had seen after graduation (at our Project Graduation get-together), and I remembered that she had gone all the way to Michigan for college. I remembered the college distinctly, since it had such an interesting name: Kalamazoo College. So, I went to their website to see if I could find her on there. Unfortunately, the student directory was only available for current students, so I had no luck there. But, I found a place where I could e-mail an administrator, which could be a way to reach her. I figured, he could get me back in touch with her if I asked nicely and told him about her, so that they could match my information against their information. So, I e-mailed him and waited for a reply. Sure enough, the next day I got a reply from him. Here was another dead end. Their policy is to not share that information with non-students, but he said if their was a student that matched my information, he would forward my message to them, so I'd just have to wait and see if I got a response.

Well, this time when I checked my inbox, I found an e-mail from her! She had gotten my forward and immediately contacted me back. It turns out that she is doing well up there in Michigan, and so far she likes the school and the area. Apparently it is cold up there, but that is to be expected in Michigan. Now, we are back to talking again, and it's really great to be able to do that. I just love technology!

I also took time out of my Fall Break to reconnect with an old friend of mine from middle school! Her name is Alex, and we went to the same school (St. Joseph's) from second through eighth grades. After middle school, I went on to Knoxville Catholic High School, and she went to Webb, a private school that was the archrival of KCHS. We actually didn't hear from one another until the St. Joseph's Fall Festival one year, and we began to e-mail each other a little bit. Then I found out how much she didn't like Webb, which really made me happy!

Anyway, I hadn't heard from her in quite a while, and I had started to wonder. I really had no idea if and where she had gone to college, so I had nothing to go on. I had actually forgotten about her and some of my other friends and didn't really want to pursue tracking them down. But, there was some Divine Intervention last night! I was talking to another of my good friends from middle school, Connie, on the AOL Instant Messenger last night. (This is actually very funny, since I just reconnected with her a few weeks ago! She tracked what she thought was me at the University of Tennessee, but actually contacted another Sean M. in the area! But, she also e-mailed my friend Emily at UT, so she got my real e-mail address and e-mailed the real me! Now we have been able to catch up and talk for the past few weeks, which is really great!) Anyway, she just so happened to be on a website and was looking up old friends. Somehow she got to Alex's and found her AIM screen name. I asked her about it, since I was very curious about what Alex was up to, so she told me her screen name and I IM'ed her right away. Boy was this exciting!

Well, it turns out that Alex is in New York City at NYU! She really likes the city, but isn't sure if she likes the school. I asked her why she chose to go all the way out there, and it turns out she just randomly applied there and was accepted! So, she decided to go there, since she hadn't really applied anywhere else except for UT. But, now she's considering coming back to Knoxville for Spring Semester and attending UT. Anyway, then we caught up about everything that was going on in our lives, and I found out so much about her! This isn't really the place to go into that kind of detail, but let me just say that it was so great to finally hear from her again! Now I had a whole bunch of friends across the country with whom I could communicate!

Wow... I can't believe how many reconnections I have had over the past month or so! It's amazing how the Internet can really reunite people that haven't talked in a while! Despite the fact that there are so many bad sites out there, the Internet does have a lot of good qualities, and I'm glad one of those qualities is reuniting old friends. As for the rest of my weekend, I really didn't do much except for watch the UT-Georgia football game (extremely disappointing-UT lost big time), and have an hour-long conversation with my mom. Other than that, I just relaxed in my room and caught up on some current events. So, I guess now I'll be ready to get back to classes on Monday!

Oh, and I wanted to bring up an idea that one of my friends had. He had wanted me to take some pictures of the campus up here and share them. So, I've decided that starting with my next post, I'll put up a picture of a place on campus with a little caption about it. That way everyone can see the kind of environment I'm in right now. And I'll continue to put a new picture up with every new post, until I've run out of places to photograph. So, enjoy!

Well, that's really all I have to write for now! I'll be getting ready to go home at the end of this week, so I'll be sure to let everyone know about my week before I leave. Plus, look forward to a post and some pictures about that weekend! Until then, have a great week, and enjoy this great Fall weather!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Cincinnati Chili! and Other Ramblings

Hello again! I'm sorry that there's such a large gap in between my last post and this one, but I have had a very busy week. School has gone well this week, but I had several tests that had just drained my body of any energy. This led to a lot of naps and a lot of "doing nothing" during break times. Not that naps are bad or anything, but I don't normally take one every single day! This next week shouldn't be so hard, but we'll just have to wait and see.

As you can see in the title of this post, I mentioned Cincinnati Chili! As per the recommendation of several friends and family members, I went out to search for a Cincinnati Chili restaurant and try their signature dish yesterday. I found out that there is a Skyline Chili restaurant about two miles from here, so I went ahead and tried that. It took me some time to find this restaurant, because it was neatly tucked behind a few other businesses. Plus it was in a strip mall, not a free-standing building like I'd seen on the TV commercials. Anyways, I walked in and sat down, and looked over the menu for a minute or so. I already knew what I wanted to try: a classic 3-way chili. Not that I didn't want to try anything else; I just wanted to start out with something "classic" before I widened my horizons. For those who don't know what a 3-way chili is, it has spaghetti on the bottom, the chili in the middle, and a mound of cheddar cheese on top. I was actually very surprised by the taste, since it was different than any chili I had ever tasted. I could taste a distinct amount of sweetness, but also a little bit of a kick. It was pretty good! Next time though, I think I'll try a 4-way or a 5-way, which is just the 3-way with an addition of red beans, onions, or both. I think I can really get into this chili thing!

As for the rest of my week, there wasn't too much to mention that was extremely interesting. On Tuesday, I went out on a search for a job, since I'd like to have a little bit of money around if I need it. I didn't want anything that was full-time or too involved, so I checked out the local Target store, which is a little more than five minutes away. I had a friend that worked there for a while back home, so I pretty much knew what would be in store if I got hired. So, I went over there and filled out their application. It was different than any application I had ever seen before, simply because it was on a computer. Not to mention the fact that it asked personality questions and asked for responses to hypothetical store situations. That whole process took about half an hour or more, but I think in the long run that will pay off. Hopefully they will see that I can be an asset to the store, but we'll just have to wait and see. They told me they'd let me know by Monday about the job, so I'll let you all know what happens as soon as I find out.

Finally this week, or at least as far as interesting things go, I had an interesting experience on my way to a Biology test. My Spanish class had met in a computer lab to do some listening exercises, and when the class was finished, I had to go upstairs to the test. During that trek, I passed by a hallway that I don't normally take, and walked by some of the administration offices. I walked by one of them and stopped for just a second. The man in that office always posts people's names on a bulletin board, which means those people win a prize. I had just so happened to walk by his office at that exact time, and saw my name on his board! It was an exciting feeling to be a winner! But, I had to hurry to my test and couldn't claim my prize right away. I decided just to come back later after the test and get that. The test actually only took me like 25 minutes (I was very surprised!), so I went over to the office right after. I took my name off the board and took it to the secretary. He went back into the office, and brought me back a Xavier hat! I was very excited to finally win something! Since I haven't put up any pictures lately (which by the way I love to do!), and I'm kind of bored at the moment, I'll put up a picture of my new hat! (corny I know, but just humor me)

:Here's the picture of my new free Xavier University hat! Simple, yet elegant: blue hat with "Xavier" on the front.

Oh, and some of you have asked me about posting comments on my blog. At the end of the post for any given day, there is a link that says "comments." If you want to leave a comment, click on that link, and a "Leave Comment" screen will show up. On the left you will see any comments already on that post, and on the right there will be a box to leave a new comment. Type out your comment in the text box, and at the end, put a name or screen name that you want to be viewed. If you have a blogger account, there's a box to check, and also one for non-members or people that want to remain anonymous. After that, leave the name you want and fill in the nonsense letters underneath to confirm the comment. This is in place to prevent spam and misuse of the comment feature. After that, just click on publish comment, and it will appear in the comments section of my blog. Go ahead and try it if you want.

Well, that's really all I have to say for now! This next week has a lot in store, so I will let you know when anything exciting or interesting happens. Until then, enjoy this last day of the weekend, and I hope you have a very productive week.