Archive for the ‘college’ Category

Well there are several big things coming up over the next couple of weeks.

First, I am taking the Men’s Health fitness challenge.  I encourage you guys to try it out too.  The test has five simple components: one mile run, vertical jump, chin-up, and push-up, and one-legged squat.  How many of each can you do?  Click here for more details.

I will post my results tomorrow after I take the test sometime in the afternoon.  Check back for my results.

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There used to be a day when you could fill out your tax forms and residency forms, hand them in, and things worked out perfectly fine.  However, now thanks to the Department of Homeland Security you MUST complete your I-9 form in front of a human resources representative.  I guess because human resources employees can somehow spot a terrorist?!

So thanks to homeland security, I now have to drive an hour and fifteen minutes round trip (almost a quarter tank of gas- $8 worth) for 2 minutes worth of paperwork.  Isn’t government bureaucracy grand?  NO!  And no, I can’t fill it out on my first day teaching because my class starts on Tuesday and the forms MUST be filled out on the first day of classes- Monday.  If you don’t do that the college can’t hire you.  It’s that convoluted…I mean…simple.

Oh, and by the way, we were told by a representative of the HR department that they ARE NOT allowed to tell us what documents we need to bring with us.  You heard that right. Stupid, isn’t it?  I guess this is like some kind of citizenship documents pop quiz.   I am going on the assumption they need my license and social security card- but I am not ruling out that they may want my birth certificate, blood sample, urine sample, and my D.N.A.

So if you wonder why I am only posting this non-weight loss related blog post today, now you know.  But hey, at least my employer will know I am not some crazy terrorist.

Take a chance. Who would have thought 15 years ago that J.K. Rowling would be so fabulously famous and rich? Not even J.K. Rowling I bet.

I got to thinking about this when I went through some old boxes last month. In one box I found one complete opera and one half way finished opera I wrote when I was 17 (maybe 18). I no longer have the compilation disk of classical music I used- since I can’t compose music worth a darn. But the characters and their words came back to life in my mind the moment I opened the somewhat yellowed pages of the old notebook where I recorded these little experiments in lyrics.

In another box I found a series 17 sonnets I wrote when I was in my freshman year of college. Sadly, the middle sonnets [7, 8, and 9] were missing. But reading through them I was amazed at how optimistic, idealistic, and verbose I was back then.

In yet another box I found my handwritten notes about operas I wanted to put together, with story lines and characters. I found my notes on books I wanted to write back when I was 19. One book was about a major revolution in the U.S. led by a Cuban-American Senator and a young idealist- whose death at the gallows inspired an apathetic populace. Another was a Swiftian satire about a young scholar who travels through different nations recording their history and his experiences with the local government. I remember writing one about his experiences in a socialist state, but sadly, I can’t find it anywhere.

The last was a book based on an old Spanish folk tale about a beautiful young woman who lived in a large glass enclosure inside an old bar. Two rich young men come to court her, and pay the barkeep large sums of money in order to visit with her. Can you guess what happens next? Well go ahead and guess before you click on the page break.

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I wanted to avoid any further comments on this but the facts surrounding the man behind the tragedy seem to get crazier by the moment.

1) He had an actual order for psych evaluation placed against him. This is huge news. It means several people took his insanity seriously enough to go to the magistrate and try to have something done. Moreover, the magistrate complied and issued the order.

2) Like any good nut it now appears that Cho sent a package to NBC outlining why he went psycho. He also had the words “Ismael Ax” written on his arm. What does it mean. Who knows at this point, but maybe the package will provide an explanation. Making this more detestable, the package was sent between the shootings. Think how many people probably saw this guy on his way to the mailbox.

3) He actually had stalked two separate girls. Unfortunately, both declined to press charges. Who knows if it would have made a difference though. I just hope those two girls don’t beat themselves up over their decision not to press charges.

4) Lastly, he wrote plays disturbing enough that his teachers were scared. Now that is crazy! The text of his plays, available on-line here, is quite disturbing.

How odd this whole story has become. Still, I am not sure, anything could have been done to stop this guy. He seems to have been determined to kill and to kill as many as possible. I am just glad he spared everyone the pain of a trial by killing himself.

The most important thing I take from all this new information is this- he was insane. Knowing that, we now are freed from trying to use our rational brains (brains which function normally) to try and figure out why he did what he did. Only his irrational brain knew why he committed these acts- and he has provided that information to NBC news. When that information is disclosed we will get a peak into a psychotic mind. A mind we can barely hope to understand.

I was tagged several days ago by Lose-weight-with-me regarding what goals I had- regarding both this fitness program and life in general. So without further adieu, here is my list of goals, broken into four categories: short term (those which can be accomplished in less than 6 months), mid-range (those which can be achieved within 1 to 3 years), long term (those that will take 5 or more years to achieve), and underlying (those which should motivate me everyday).

Short Term Goals

1) Lose another 24 lbs (reach 160lbs). This is quite doable in six months. The math says that I only need to lose 1 pound per week.

2) Decrease waist size to 30 inches. This is achievable. When accomplished I will have half a dozen pants that fit me again- finally.

3) Run a 5k. Why not? I figure it will be a good motivation technique. While I dislike running, I love winning things. I want to place first- but we shall see. At this point I would be happy to complete the course.

4) Publication. Publish at least one of the articles I am currently working on.

5) Corporate Paperwork. I want to begin the necessary paperwork to incorporate the corp. my wife and I will use to purchase and run our future farm (more details later).

Mid-Range Goals

1) Publication. At least four articles published. I would love to see at least one each in the North Carolina Historical Review and the Journal of Southern History.

2) Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle. I want to stay within a range between 160 and 165 pounds; continue eating healthy and in moderately sized portions; drinking lots of water; and regularly exercising.

3) Save Money. I need to save up for the farm/charity my wife and I are planning. It will take a good amount of investment on our part- and deprivation from now until then- but it will be worth it.

Ideally the farm will act in several charitable capacities. A “kitchen” for the local poor (as we will give food items grown to local families in need [i.e. milk, eggs, fruit, etc.]). A no-kill animal shelter (dog, horse, sheep, etc.) that will also function as a program for at-risk kids- said children will work with the dogs to train them for new homes while hopefully gaining an appreciation for love and grace in their own lives.

4) Completion of my Ph.D. program.

Long Range Goals

1) Obtaining a U.S. History teaching position somewhere in North Carolina- Asheville and Wilmington preferred. University of North Carolina- at Asheville is my number one choice as far as I am concerned.

2) Organize and build the aforementioned farm (and an eco-friendly formworks home) wherever God sends me to teach- I am really hoping God chooses Asheville, NC.

3) Publish my first book. I am thinking something on slave patrols- but with an interesting twist that I will disclose later.

Underlying Goals

1) Witness to three people each week, invest time in them, invite them to three events (dinner, church, etc.), and pray for them three times a day.

2) Shun worldly desires and grow in Christ daily.

3) One hour bible study each day.

The news broke not long ago of a shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus. the news reports quickly evolved from one dead to twenty-one dead (and twenty-two injured)- many of them young students.

Each one leaves behind a family (some of them may even leave behind young children) who must now deal with this grief. I can imagine little pain deeper than losing a child of only eighteen or so years old. A child whose parents no doubt struggled with their son or daughter’s departure for college in the first place.

May God bring comfort to these families in this, their hour of need. If anyone who reads this blog knows of any charities set up over the next few days to help the families please leave a comment with all relevant information.

I also ask all the devoted prayer warriors who read this blog to take a moment to pray for these young men and women who died, those who were injured, and the families and loved ones left behind.

UPDATE: The new reported death toll is 32+ people.