Saturday, October 24, 2009

Never say "I'm bored" out loud. It tempts the gods.

1) One of the secretaries in the anthropology department at Big State U has come down with a case of swine flu - a woman who interacts with just about everyone who works in and around that office, I might add. There's the prerequisite panic over whether or not she was contagious and the fact that Big State U has been dragging its heels over getting the H1N1 vaccine (and there was a hell of a run on the normal flu vaccine this year too, I might add.)

2) Someone smashed a pumpkin outside of the smaller grocery store positioned between Big State U and State Christian U. No rhyme or reason, it was just there, right next to some broken bottles and what looked like someone's broken cell phone.

2a) It seems the radiator in my apartment is hot enough to dry pumpkin seeds thoroughly for storage before planting. Let's see if they actually grow next spring.

3) People need to have certain ideas hammered into their heads over and over before they get it, such as a mutual friend of my roommates' and mine thinking I'd automatically get the word about a birthday party via Facebook, or drop everything and come over when my roommate asked me whether I was coming to the party in question.

I've repeatedly told this mutual friend (Jake, just to give him a name) that I'm not on any social networking sites. (Shhh. This blog is meant to be anonymous. It's more fun that way - I can do the internet equivalent of standing on the roof screaming with nobody knowing who I am.) He knows that I refuse to join them for reasons he keeps trying to shoot down. He has my school email address, he knows which apartment I live in and where, and he knows who my roommates are. You'd think that would be enough.

4) I can't tell if my upstairs neighbors are installing a bowling alley or if they're taking turns dropping each other on their heads. Really. Every now and then I hear a very heavy, solid *THUD* that sounds like someone dropped a medicine ball or equally large weight. There are also occasional screams and loud trampling sounds, and then sudden silence. All I can hope is that they're going insane and will soon be forced to move out and finally let the rest of us have some quiet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Paper Metamorphoses

Considering how little effort I've really invested, I'm irrationally proud of myself at this moment.

Three weekends ago, I invested six dollars into buying two paper grocery sacks at my nearest public library, and then snatched up any book, CD, audiobook, and the like that looked even the slightest bit interesting or useful and packed it away into these sacks as neatly as possible. The various used book stores and pawn/secondhand media shops around here are so variable in what they want that this approach will usually yield more in returns.

This weekend, after sorting through all of the media I had sitting in the bags (and around - one bag ripped open and sent a pile of paperbacks sliding across the floor), I finally started feeding the books I was not 110% sure I wanted to keep or give as they were to family and friends into the different secondhand stores around the two cities Big State U occupies.

This is always an interesting time of year for me, and certainly the time when I get the most exercise hauling around several cubic feet of printed matter in grocery sacks as I attempt to spread out that volume of books, CDs, audio tapes, and the like to maximize the returns. I never know exactly what's going to come out of hauling around all of the printed material, although I'm pretty sure of these possibilities:

1) More books - fewer than I started with, but definitely of better quality, since they aren't just what initially looked good when I scooped them up during a bag sale.

1A) Store credit at the places I bring the books to - this is always a gamble, since the used book stores aren't always stocked with what you're looking for, but it usually pays off.

2) Money - never as much as I expect, but more than enough to recoup the initial investment. Hey, even if it's just some quarters, money is money.

2A) This was an unexpected side effect, since one of my roommates wanted several books of a particular type but couldn't go to the sale. She asked me to pick up one or two of the books and promised to reimburse me. I've had books turn into dollar bills after I feed them through this whole process, but I've never before had them turn into ears of corn to pay the remaining debt.

3) There are just some things that nobody will take, for whatever reason - it's too old, nobody wants it (often the case with video game cheat books), or it's just too commonly available or otherwise undesirable (which is why I avoid picking up romance novels during the initial scoop the way you'd avoid touching someone who had the plague). Those remainders usually get dumped at the nearest library with a donations box or a secondhand store (which means some of the books I've been sorting might have already been through the process two or three times).

Yeah, it takes some work. But I've already made about twice my initial investment in credit at just one store, and gotten back half the money I spent in both cash and food just from doing my roommate a favor. And I've gotten plenty of exercise walking or riding my bike with the first load of books to each of the local stores, which is a heck of a lot better than paying to go to a gym.

Who says you can't see this sort of transformation of books into food, money, a healthier body, or new books right before your eyes? Now, if I could just do the same with loud neighbors (but what would you sell them for? Alarm systems? Pest scaring devices?), I'd make a mint and get two more hours of sleep a night.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't trip now!

Eight more weeks to the end of this semester, then twenty-two weeks to the end of the next, and I'll officially have my degree in hand. This knowledge is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. I've made it to the end of the racetrack, but what's waiting for me after the finish line?

Please don't let it be more neighbors who think it's fine to party every night from Thirsty Thursday to Tequila Tuesday. Or the prospect of living with my parents if the internship places are swamped. I get along fine with them, but I'm not happy about the whole idea in general.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Up late (not of my own volition this time.)

Either my upstairs neighbors are putting in a bowling alley, or their latest game is "see who can jump off the furniture and land with the hardest stomp without putting holes in the floor."

If anyone has a truly disgusting soundtrack from any film, the kind that would make even farm animals wince in disgust, and a very loud DVD or tape player, I have a voice recorder with fresh batteries, infinite loop, and the ability to be hooked up to the speakers of choice. We can make this work.