Final Thoughts…For Now

I’m going to be honest. I was not looking forward to writing three blogs a week for 15 weeks. There was a point about halfway in where I went a little stir crazy. I recovered and continued my blogging.

Some blogs were better than others. Some stimulated thinking and some were just about my thoughts. Either way, they all took time and effort. I realized that I like being a blogger but I don’t always like blogging. It takes me forever to come up with something I find interesting enough to write about and then when I do, writer’s block sets in. Eventually though, everything always works out in the end.

I had a blog before this class started but I never found time to write. I found it much easier to write that blog though because I knew that nobody was reading it. It was kind of like my own personal cyberspace journal.

This blog is different. I know people read it, even if it’s just a few. And it’s meant a lot to have those few people comment and give me their ideas and thoughts. I’ve really enjoyed reading my classmate’s blogs and seeing what is on their minds. It’s crazy that such a small class can have such a diverse array of interests. I’ve learned a lot from this class, and (sorry Dr. Hanson) most of what I learned was from my peers.

This is why I love this UNK and the communications department. The classes are small enough that you actually get to know almost everyone in the department. At some point, it becomes more than just a class that you’re in. It becomes a community.

I look forward to continue my blogging, even if it’s just a bunch of rambling nonsense. It’s nice to know that my thoughts are getting out there for everyone to read. It’s a satisfying feeling. Thanks for reading!

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The “Real” World

My friends are MTV junkies. Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, Skins–they watch them all. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of MTV or its shows, but the one that really takes the cake is The Real World. I honestly can’t watch this show because I get so angry.

If you’re not familiar with The Real World it’s about a group of young strangers that are put into a house together and of course, all kinds of idiotic events ensue. The most recent season takes place in Las Vegas. Tonight I saw part of the first episode that I’ve seen from this season and I wish I hadn’t.

This episode featured a guy who had a big secret about his past gay porn experience (and what a coincidence, that one of the residents just happened to have a past in porn). Conveniently, this guy’s girlfriend’s mother emails (yes, EMAILS) her daughter that his gay porn videos can be found online. Another roommate finds out about this on the same day. My first thought was: How did they both figure this out when apparently he had done this stuff under a different name? And they figured it out on the same day no less.

Everybody knows–or everybody should know–reality shows are not exactly real. There are writers and producers that make up a lot of what happens on these shows. What makes me mad is when these shows are so obviously set up that it could never possibly be authentic. Situations are intentionally created by producers to make “good television.” This is The Real World. 

I get into arguments with my friends about how fake these shows are but they insist that a lot of it is real. I just don’t buy it. These shows may be guilty pleasures for some but I just can’t bring myself to watch them.


Video Commentary

(Turn your volume on low.)


Buy, buy, buy

GiftI wrote a couple of days ago about my roommate’s birthday. What I didn’t mention were the gifts that she received. I spent about $35 on her birthday presents, which is pretty typical of what I spend on people I like. Unfortunately, a bunch of people that I like are going to be needing presents soon for various reasons. Besides my roommate’s birthday presents, I bought a former roommate a Bridal Shower gift and still need to get her and her fiancée a wedding gift. Another roommate is graduating so I’ll need to get her something, and then there’s Mother’s Day.

My mom doesn’t, as she would say, “read the internet” so I have no qualms about posting my ideas for possible Mother’s Day gifts, in hopes that I can get some shopping advice. She desperately needs a new vacuum. Seeing as I do the vacuuming when I’m home, this gift may have ulterior motives, but that’s okay because she does need one. Her current one is bagged and is not upright so you have to lug it along behind you as you vacuum. Very annoying. So I was thinking about this lightweight Hoover. She needs something light and simple so this looks like perfect. Any thoughts on Hoover vacuums? I was also thinking about these candles, called Diamond Candles,  that include a diamond ring inside each candle that is valued from $10-$5,000.

My mom is easy to shop for. Less easy is my graduating roommate. I’ve bought plenty of high school graduation presents, but those are simple–laundry baskets are usually my go-to gift. What do you get for a college graduate who is moving back home? She doesn’t need home furnishings. What is proper etiquette for college graduation gifts?

Then there is my roommate that’s getting married next month. They’re registered at a couple of stores but my two other roommates were going to go more personal. Is it bad to get somebody something that’s not on their wedding gift registry?

I love buying stuff for people, I just wish I had more money to do it. There are so many possibilities, but so little cash.


Is the Royal Wedding Over Yet?

Every single time I watch the news, there is a segment about Prince William’s upcoming marriage. I know it’s a big deal but I just don’t understand why I, as an American, am supposed to care.

Yes, I know that it’s an extravagant affair with a bunch of dignified royal people attending, but again, why should I care? This wedding is being covered extensively in every media medium and I saw enough already. I don’t care where Kate grew up or what type of shoes the guests will be wearing. I’m sure they are all nice people but it really doesn’t concern me.

The sad thing is I probably will wake up early on April 29 to check out the festivities. Coverage generally begins at 3 a.m. central time, but I don’t think I’ll be up that early. I might set my alarm a tad bit earlier than my usual 6:30 a.m. wake up call just to see what all of the fuss is about.

And now I realize that I’ve answered my own question. Why do Americans care about a royal wedding? Because whether it’s a tragedy or a joyous union, many of us just can’t help but watch. Just stop all of the unnecessary features about where Kate shops and who her friend’s were as a child. It’s just getting ridiculous.


And Many More

My Princess Party

My roommate’s birthday is tomorrow. She doesn’t know it but we’re covering our apartment in streamers and balloons in celebration. We’re also getting her a peanut butter pie (her favorite) from Perkin’s and going to Thunderhead for pizza and drinks. She is turning 21 so she’s pretty excited. However, today she told me she’s not as excited as previous years and I have an idea as to why.

Birthdays are a big deal in my opinion. When I turned 20, we had a “Princess Party” complete with bracelet making, pin the tail on the donkey, finger nail painting, and pink finger foods. It was pretty sweet. Last year, I turned 21 and the day was just as exciting but not because I was excited to go bar hopping. I don’t drink so that reason for turning 21 had no appeal to me. I was just excited that it was MY birthday. A day that’s all about me.

I’ve heard people say that once you turn 21 there’s no reason to look forward to birthdays anymore. This brings me back to my roommate. I believe that she isn’t as excited to her birthday this year because she’s so focused on turning 21 that she’s forgotten about the fact that it’s the one day out of the year when people have to be nice to her and give her stuff. That’s how I view my birthdays and every is as excited as the year before. I’m not upset that a particular year has passed. It just doesn’t matter.

My family has told me that once I get a bit older I will change my mind about birthdays, which may be true. I don’t think so though. It’s just something that I look forward to every year. I even go as far as saying that we should all get a birthday month, meaning that during the month your birthday is in, every day leading up to your birthday, people have to be nice to you. My birthday is on the 29th of September so this really works well for me, until my friends start telling me to shut up about my “freakin’ birthday month.”


What’s so weird about Santiago? (Updated)

He wanted an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. He really wants the game “Cooking Mama” for his Nintendo DS. He wanted a cardboard refridgerator box for his birthday so he could make a boat. But he’s not weird–he’s unique.

Santiago Armand Inigo Cato sounds like a name reserved for the most Hispanic of Americans, but Santé, as he is known amongst family, couldn’t be any more Caucasian. His name comes from my sister’s favorite fictional characters. Santiago and Armand come from Interview with a Vampire and Inigo is from The Princess Bride. 

Santé is 10-years-old and has been my one and only favorite nephew for each of those ten years. And his name doesn’t even come close to being his most out of the ordinary quality.

There’s a lot that can be said about Santiago but his first grade Christmas program pretty much sums him up.

You can’t really blame him. I think he had a wedgie. Plus it didn’t help that his mom (my sister) was sitting in the front row trying to suppress her laughter.

At 6, Santé was a funny kid. At church potlucks he would go around to each table and ask, “How’s it going here? Do you need anything?” While he couldn’t really say his full name, he could get you more mashed potatoes.

These days he’s just as unintentionally funny. When he turned 10 this year I told him, “You’re getting so old.” “I don’t want to be old,” he responded. “Mama keeps telling me that I’m getting so handsome but I don’t want to be handsome. I want to be cute.” A Peter Pan in the making.

The only difficult thing about having such an eccentric nephew is hearing about the way other kids have treated him. He’s obviously misunderstood by his peers at school because he has always had to endure bouts of classmate teasing and bullying. Understandably, his mom is his best friend.

With every kid that has been bullied, there is a story as to why. Santé’s story happens to be mainly because of medical diagnoses. He has Attention Deficit Disorder and most likely, Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Doctors haven’t yet fully diagnosed him with Asperger’s but that has been their prominent suggestion.

Santé could care less about who the doctors say he is or what he has. He is bound and determined to be his own person. He has developed passionate interests in Egypt, the Titanic and penguins. He cares deeply about American History and the presidents. Like many other 10-year-olds, he also has a close bond with his Nintendo DS video games.

So you tell me. What’s so weird about Santiago? Is it that he’s not a great athlete like other boys? Or is it because he gets extremely upset when he has to eat food he doesn’t like? Neither. What’s weird about Santiago is he’s more normal than most adults I know. He cares about the simple things, like fragile flowers growing in sidewalk cracks. If we all took the time to save a flower from destruction, life wouldn’t seem so harsh at times.

It’s unfair to characterize a person because of one disease or disorder and Santé certainly doesn’t let that define him. He may not be the most popular kid at school but he’s there and he makes it known that he matters. I have no doubt that he’ll show them all some day. They might have to seek his assistance if there’s ever a flood in the desert of Roswell, New Mexico because he will be the one floating down the street in his boat/refrigerator box that he wanted for his 10th birthday.


Technical Difficulties

Technology is supposed to make your life easier but there are times when I feel like it is working against me. Tonight was a prime example.

I am the sole provider of TV and movie watching equipment in my apartment. However, most of that equipment has been acquired through garage sales or sales at discount stores. Needless to say, it’s not the most up-to-date.Recent complications have made me realize just how old they are.

For the past two years we have had my average size television in the living room along with my Wii and my combo VCR/DVD player. The latter was given to me by my mother about 3 years ago as a birthday present. She purchased at a local department store for about $30 because it was “on sale.” And now I know it was discounted for good reason. It’s a terrible piece of machinery.

I still haven’t transitioned into the Tivo/DVR world so I use a VCR to record must watch television programs. Yesterday, my roommate asked if I would record the last half hour of Oprah for her. (Okay, so maybe I wanted to watch the rest too.) I said I would and proceeded to press record. I then tried to turn the VCR off but it wouldn’t do anything. I got frustrated and shrugged the incident off, thinking I would figure it out later. Unfortunately, time did not heal this problem. A few hours ago my friend and I went to go watch the just released Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 which I had pre-ordered just for the occasion, and I realized the VCR/DVD player would not turn on. It also would not eject the VCR tape or DVD. It just did nothing. I went into troubleshooting mode: Is it plugged in? Are the cords connected correctly? Did a setting get changed? Everything was exactly as it had been the past two years that we’ve used it, but it just didn’t turn on.

Do you ever wish you had a hammer to smash something to pieces with? I did. I also had thoughts on destruction by window tossing. I did neither. Instead I went to the internet for help. Unfortunately, my model had been out of circulation for quite some time, hence the aforementioned sale price. I found no help online. By this time I just came to terms with the fact that my cheap VCR/DVD player was dead.

As my roommate dismantled the VCR/DVD player to retrieve a DVD left inside, I started moving my DVD player from my room to the living room only to realize that the two were not cable compatible. Now the frustration really set in. After a few calming breaths I came to the conclusion that we would just have to watch movies on my tiny bedroom television and my Wii would have to go back to my mom’s house. It was a sad realization but one I had to accept.

Anybody who has had technology problems can probably relate to my difficulties and frustration. It seems like technology should just work no matter what. Now the question is: Do I replace the antiquated VCR? It’s all I’ve known, but quickly becoming extinct. Whatever I decide, one thing is for sure: My mom will not be buying me  anymore electronic devices.


What’s so weird about Santiago?

He wanted an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. He really wants the game “Cooking Mama” for his Nintendo DS. He wanted a cardboard refridgerator box for his birthday so he could make a boat. But he’s not weird–he’s unique.

Santiago Armand Inigo Cato sounds like a name reserved for the most Hispanic of Americans, but Santé, as he is known amongst family, couldn’t be any more Caucasian. His blond hair and blue eyes don’t seem to fit his name but once you meet this young man, you’ll definitely remember him. He’s 10-years-old and has been my one and only favorite nephew for each of those ten years. And his name doesn’t even come close to being his most out of the ordinary quality.

There’s a lot that can be said about Santiago but his first grade Christmas program pretty much sums him up.

You can’t really blame him. I think he had a wedgie. Plus it didn’t help that his mom (my sister) was sitting in the front row trying to suppress her laughter.

At 6, Santé was a funny kid. At church potlucks he would go around to each table and ask them, “How’s it going here? Do you need anything?” While he couldn’t really say his full name, he could get you more mashed potatoes.

These days he’s just as unintentionally funny. When he turned 10 this year I told him, “You’re getting so old.”
“I don’t want to be old,” he responded. “Mama keeps telling me that I’m getting so handsome but I don’t want to be handsome. I want to be cute.” A Peter Pan in the making.

The only difficult thing about having such an eccentric nephew is hearing about the way other kids treat him. He’s obviously misunderstood by his peers at school because he has always had to endure bouts of classmate teasing and bullying. Understandably, his mom is his best friend. 

With every kid that has been bullied, there is a story as to why. Santé’s story happens to be mainly because of medical diagnoses. He has Attention Deficit Disorder and most likely, Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Doctors haven’t yet fully diagnosed him with Asperger’s but that has been the prominent suggestion.

Santé could care less about who the doctors say he is or what he has. He is bound and determined to be his own person. He has developed passionate interests in Egypt, the Titanic and penguins. He cares deeply about American History and the presidents. Like many other 10-year-olds, he also has a close bond with his Nintendo DS video games.

So you tell me. What’s so weird about Santiago? Is it that he can’t play sports like other boys? Or is it because he gets extremely upset when he has to eat food he doesn’t like? Neither. What’s weird about Santiago is he’s more normal than most adults I know. He cares about the simple things, like fragile flowers growing in sidewalk cracks. If we all took the time to save a flower from destruction, life wouldn’t seem so harsh at times.

It’s unfair to characterize a person because of one disease or disorder and Santé certainly doesn’t let that define him. He may not be the most popular kid at school but he’s there and he makes it known that he matters. I have no doubt that he’ll show them all some day. They might have to seek his assistance if there’s ever a flood in the desert of Roswell, New Mexico because he will be the one floating down the street in his boat/refrigerator box that he got for his 10th birthday.


Fresh Air

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and we’re stuck in classrooms.

There are only a limited number of nice days every semester and many students want to take advantage of them, as is evident by the shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. However, class takes up a major part of many students’ days, so they longingly gaze out the open window of their classroom, wishing to be on the other side of it. Maybe it’s just me, but when the weather is nice, I’d much rather be outside than in.

Fortunately, there is a built-in convenience that the UNK campus offers that is not being used enough. The outdoor classroom/amphitheater between the Fine Arts Building and the Library/Mitchell Center offers an outdoor environment with great acoustics and plentiful seating. It’s a short walk from any of the East campus buildings, which is convenient for teachers who feel up for an hour in the sun.

Obviously there are some classes that require a classroom setting for technological purposes but this isn’t always the case. I’ve had loads of class periods where it would have been a perfect opportunity to go outside but it very rarely happens. Of the six semesters I have been a student at UNK, I have gone to the amphitheater once for an entire class (a political science class) and once for a short performance (Shakespeare literature). I feel like it’s not being taken advantage of. I’ve seen campus tour guides telling people about it and I just feel like telling the people they’re talking to they probably won’t have class there very often.