Time Flies When…

You’re working your tokhes off. It’s week 8 already, I can’t believe it! The weeks seem to be going by so much faster since I started my internship. It hasn’t been too hard to budget my time to finish the school work that has to get done, but I haven’t been able to do as much as I like–my readings have suffered in order to get assignments turned in on time. I hope that I will still be able to get all of my final projects taken care of without having to pull the crazy schedule I did last quarter. Crossing my fingers! Over the next few weeks I have to pull together 3 in-class presentations, a 15-20pg research paper, book review (5 pages), research design, and prepare for one final exam. Unfortunately, I back loaded my quarter again but I should be able to pull through.

Last week we signed up for spring classes and I’ve got some good ones lined up! This is what I love about the quarter system–I know that by finals I am going to be burnt out on my classes and it’s easier to get motivated again in the spring with a new set of classes to get excited about. I’m signed up for International Weapons Proliferation (WMDs), US National Security Policy, and Strategic Intelligence Data Collection/Analysis. I was going to take another China specific course but I decided to put if off until next year to take the WMD course. Also, General Casey is teaching a 1-unit course on civil military relations that I didn’t manage to get into, but I’m going to try to crash just to listen to a few of the lectures.

One plus is that it looks like my schedule meshes fairly well with the masters swimming practice schedule – so I’m going to try to work that in next quarter as well. I do swim on my own every once in a while, but I can never seem to motivate myself to swim more than 2,000 to 2,500 yards and I’ve lost ALL my speed. I would love to start competing again if I can make the time to train for it! My races are the 100 fly, 200IM, and the 100 and 200 breast–all of which require quite a bit more training than what I’m doing without a coach. Back when I was competing, I dropped my 100 fly time to a 1:03 flat and I’d like to hit that again. I’m not sure if I will be able to train breaststroke at all because of knee problems… caused by breaststroke. And my shoulders, like pretty much all swimmers, have some nasty bursitis and tendonitis but that’s something I know how to deal with after months of physical therapy. Ok, I will stop rambling about swimming – I just miss it and get so pumped thinking about joining masters next quarter!

Please indulge me for a moment here, as I would like to complain about my car battery dying again. Two months in a row for christ’s sake! So I finally bought some jumper cables to keep in my trunk until I have a chance to take my car in to see what’s up. As a woman, I hate taking my car in to the shop because I immediately feel like I’m going to get screwed – and sadly, they are right to assume I don’t know much about cars, because I don’t. Car troubles never seem to present themselves at opportune times.

Back to more relevant information: I would like to say that Korbel puts on some great speaker event series and there are so many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. I say this because I am particularly excited to go to a lecture this Friday titled, “An Exploration Inside the Criminal Mind.” It’s being given by a homeland security intelligence agent and focuses on sociopaths and their behavioral indicators. I am VERY interested in this subject – for a little while I had my sights set on getting a degree in psychology and becoming a criminal profiler. On a side note, if you have similar interests, I would have to recommend reading the unabomber manifesto (I read it for a class in undergrad and it was so interesting).

Ok, I believe that’s a pretty good update for now. I’ve got to get up for work bright and early! (Thank god students ride for free on light rail or I would be bleeding cash getting to and from the Capitol…for my unpaid internship). I will leave you with a nick-name I learned at work for a CO law: the defense of habitation law (deadly force is justifiable against an intruder in your home) is called the “Make My Day Law” in reference to Clint Eastwood’s line, “go ahead, make my day.” I love it! This little tidbit of information has been making me giggle all week.


Show and Tell

So, on Thursday I said that the awesomeness of archery was TBD. Well, here’s your answer: archery was f*cking FANtastic! Actually, my entire Friday was 24ish hours of awesome fun times. (Now is the time you should start to tally how often I describe things as ‘awesome,’ I’m from California so give me a break, dude.)

9:10 am: Russia and China class was cancelled. I am not entirely excited about this seeing as Adelman’s lectures are like a one man show of glorious learning. Also, it was rough waking up and getting my shit together to make it to class, so I felt that walking in the door only to take my leave 5 minutes later killed my feelings of accomplishment. (Class was cancelled because Adelman hurt his foot = sad… also the second professor injury of the week resulting in class cancellation).

12:00 pm: Lunch at C&G. $7 for a glorious burrito and soda. mmmm

1:45 pm: ARCHERY! “Sir, please provide me with your finest Elvish bow.” No, we didn’t actually ask the front desk for an Elvish bow, this place was run by some down home dudes and I think they may have kicked us out if we asked when was the last time they shot with Legolas. All in all, archery was buckets of fun! I do have to admit to being the least accurate shooter of the group and I was not pleased about my seeming lack of skill. I should mention that I am very competitive and get angry when I am not immediately awesome at something. However, I recovered and had a fantastic time–hit the bullseye a few times too! (We went to Tanglewood Archery – a bit hard to find after exiting off the freeway but worth the struggle!)

6:30 pm: Checked out Sol Tribe tattoo and piercing shop in the Washington Park area. It was a great place if not a bit pretentious. I needed the captive balls replaced in my cartilage piercings and the woman helping me out did not hesitate to mention that my earrings were lower quality and had a dull finish compared to their jewelry. (I am used to divey/slightly frightening tattoo/piercing shops so this threw me off a bit). I ended up getting a new tragus piercing as well, which went smoothly. The main piercer on staff had her 2yr old daughter “assisting” and it was pretty cute. Overall, this place was different from any other shop I’ve been to but it was great and not overly pricey (some of the jewelry was up there but the piercing service charge was not bad at all).

8:30 pm: Dinner at Zydeco’s downtown. This place was amazing. It’s a new Cajun style restaurant–they’ve only been in business about three months now and I hope they make it! We went all out for dinner and ordered a bottle of wine (white from the CA Central Coast!) an appetizer of frog legs and some delish entrees. I have to say that before last night, I had never tried frog legs and I was wary to say the least. They were SO good! Most of my food issues come from strange textures so I was worried about them being slimy or too chewy, etc., but the texture was just like chicken. For dinner, I had a perfect 8oz steak with fingerling potatoes and brussels sprouts (another first time – they were alright, I can’t decide how I feel about brussels sprouts yet). For dessert, we ordered beignets and they were to die for! Of course, I’m not sure one can screw up a beignet, but these were heaven in my mouth.

10:00 pm: El Chapultepec jazz bar. SO great! The band did a jazzed up cover of the White Stripe’s Seven Nation Army – as a Jack White fanatic I feel that my approval of this cover carries some weight. This place was pretty small and a bit crowded but it had a fun atmosphere and the band was really good.

??:?? pm/am: ??? another bar in the same area near Market St. I have four things to say about this bar: 1) air hockey; 2) free popcorn; 3) Coors tall boys; 4) music – they played Rancid’s Roots Radicals. If you asked me for additional information, I don’t think I could provide any.

All in all, Friday was a great day! There is a bit of a lull in my workload this week so I feel justified in taking a day off to have some good times with friends. I do have to say that having free access to Denver light rail is super convenient and it’s really easy to get from campus to the downtown area. Denver really is a fun city to explore and I hope that we continue to go on such awesome adventures!

I will leave you with a picture of sunset from my apartment window:

DU sunset with mountains far in the background

Welcome to Round 2

I know, I know, it’s been so long you thought I abandoned you! I thought I was going to do productive things over the break like blog and apply to internships, but, I think a lot of things that don’t end up happening.

So, here we are in week three of winter quarter classes, yay! (There’s a little overstated excitement for you). But really, I do enjoy all of my classes so far. I am taking Sec/Def II, Classics in Security and Strategy, and Russia and China After the Fall… of the big C. Things are going well so far – I am actually attempting to get ahead on my workload rather than start out with my normal route of procrastination. Theoretically I will continue with this new trend for the next 7 weeks or so but as the all-powerful and omniscient Magic 8-ball will tell you, “outlook not so good.” My schedule is such that I have two classes in one day again and now I have Friday morning class. I am not thrilled about this but at least it provides some deterrence against starting my weekends on Thursday night. Soon enough I will have no weekend seeing as I just submitted my paper topic proposal for Classics (which is required to be more conceptual than practical) and I went with “can the nature of war be altered or is it immutable?” in the context of future developments in AI and cyber war. Should be interesting – at the moment, I could really be persuaded either way about the answer but I know it will end up being a war of definitions over nature v. character. Oh well, I do love the BIG questions.

Moving on to more interesting things… It seems that no one is interested in being very productive on Friday afternoons and they are now our designated play-dates. Our goal this quarter is to leave the 4-block radius surrounding DU and explore the wider world. So far, we have reached the wilds of the Falling Rock Tap House (highly recommended) and 1Up–an old school arcade/bar next door to Falling Rock, also highly recommended (two words: giant Jenga). Tomorrow, we will be testing our archery skills at Tanglewood Archery, awesomeness TBD.

ALSO, I have an internship this quarter! I feel like perhaps I have squeezed a toe into the door between student-life and the real world… only a pinky toe though. I am working as a legislative intern at the state capitol. My tasks so far seem to be very simple (stapling, hole punching, entering events on a google calendar, RSVP-ing to said events…) but I’m hoping that things will get more interesting as I spend more time there. If not, I can always look forward to listening to more messages from constituents left at 4am about how smoking regulations are bullshit and there is no such thing as secondhand smoke. Hmmm… I want to include more, but the good girl in me is reluctant to gossip about my current workplace on the web. Suffice to say, listening to the 5 messages she left between 3:50am and 5:00am was perhaps the most entertaining part of my day. Hopefully I will be given more substantive responsibilities after I’ve been there for a few more weeks.

Anyway, I’m off to Jordan’s for a night-cap with some friends! Hence my use of the word some when speaking of the deterrent effect of Friday morning class on Thursday night activities…


Sanity, where did you go?

I am under the impression that school is supposed to make one smarter. At the moment, due to stress, I feel that my mental capacity has regressed to that of a cave-woman. Normally, I would have looked up what genus and species of our human ancestors I just referenced to make my point, but such is the state of my decline.

Here’s a list of new behaviors I’ve developed over the past few days:

  • mumbling incoherently to myself
  • shouting curse words at nothing in particular
  • staring at my computer screen blankly, as if I’m unfamiliar with such newfangled technology
  • beating my forehead against solid objects
  • sighing at frequent intervals
  • giggling deliriously after contemplating the many tasks I must complete in the next week

My current level of stress has deprived me of my sanity for the time being. Some of you might be thinking, “If you had any time management skills, you would still have your sanity.” And to that I say, touch√©.

In the spirit of all the research papers I’ve been slaving over, here’s a hypothesis for you: Avoiding procrastination and developing good time management skills will prevent students from losing their sanity to stress at the end of the quarter. I can say truthfully, I’ve never tested this hypothesis. Maybe next quarter…

To sum up, I’ll leave you with a few lyrics from the Pixies:¬†Your head will collapse/ But there’s nothing in it/ And you’ll ask yourself/ Where is my mind? (x3)/ Way out in the water see it swimmin’

The mad dash to the finish line

Here we are in week 9. I’m not entirely sure how we got here so fast. I feel like orientation week was not so long ago and all of us here at Korbel were just getting acquainted. Now we have our typical hangouts, study groups, inside jokes – it’s a good feeling. I’m looking forward to settling in even more next quarter and I’m even a little sad to be leaving Denver for the whole of winter break. But it will be good to head home and take a breather after week 10/finals.

I’m trying not to run through the list of things I have to complete over the next 15 days because my head just might explode. And brains on the wall probably mean I won’t get my security deposit back on my apartment… Somehow it always works out though. I remember writing two 20 page papers in 2 1/2 days as an undergrad – don’t ask me how I did it, all I know is that I maybe slept for 3 hours total while I was working. It’s looking like I may have to pull those types of shenanigans again but I’m going to do my best to leave more time to work than 24 hours per paper. I can feel the procrastinator inside protesting, reminding me there are episodes of Dexter and The Walking Dead to catch up on… but I will prevail!

Before I return to my crazy list of things, I will share one random habit I’ve developed lately. I’ve turned into an accidental vegetarian… it’s strange because I’m most definitely a carnivore (think T-rex style) but I’m too lazy to actually get it together to thaw whatever is in my freezer. So I’ve been living on salads and artichokes and sweet potatoes… I’ve never been quite so lazy about cooking but grad school has made me into a leaf eater!

Best salad ever = spinach, 1 bosc pear, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and bleu cheese crumbles with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

It’s Snowing in October?

It’s snowing outside, right now! I can’t decide if I’m excited or kinda freaked out. I’m not used to this living where it snows business. I have spent one winter in Virginia but Virginia waits until at least December to start snowing (and it’s not that much or that often). And it’s not even winter yet, it’s still fall. Soooo. In San Luis Obispo (where I did my undergrad), fall means pretty much the same thing as summer except a few degrees cooler and some INTENSE wind. When I say intense, I mean you would fail the “walk in a straight line” DUI test while stone cold sober. And in winter it rains–I remember it hailed once. That is the extent of my winter experience.

In short, I went on an intense shopping spree for winter clothes last week after panicking over my inability to cope with Denver weather. Looks like I have latent psychic abilities because I am officially PRE-PARED for snow this week! Eddie Bauer was having a sale on down coats so I hit the jackpot with an awesome black parka. Unfortunately I forgot that in addition to being cold, snow is also wet, particularly when it melts, so I may have to go back for something water resistant. You forgot that snow is wet!?! you ask incredulously. Yes, yes I did. Did I mention I am blonde?

Last time I posted it was week 5 and now we are in week 7. I have to say that last week was crazy but it went well! I had two presentations and a research paper outline to turn in and I knocked ’em all out of the park. I do have to admit that I was so fried afterward I haven’t really done any real work since last Thursday. I even slept in until 11am three days in a row. I’m probably going to start regretting this little break very soon but I am recharged and ready to power through the rest of the quarter. I’ve definitely got A LOT of work ahead of me but I’ve also got an awesome winter break to look forward to.

I’m hoping that some of it involves hitting the slopes here in CO. I’m stoked to check out the mountains here because it’s one of the few places that can really compete with (and probably beat) Tahoe on downhill runs. Just to be clear, I like to pretend that I’m an awesome skier. Truthfully, I’m not, I’ve just perfected going fast without running into other people or eating shit too often. Thus, I think I’m a badass. Can you really be a badass on skis? Probably not, but I really do try. Hopefully none of my future post titles involve words like, crutches, concussion, stitches, hospital, etc. What can I say, I just want to go fast!

Signing off with a life lesson: don’t ever underestimate tiny gym class instructors because of their bedazzled arm bands. They start out asking you to move your ball of chi, but then attack you with planks and squats that leave you sore for days!

Halfway through my first quarter

It’s week 5! Actually, it’s almost the end of week 5… For all you math nerds out there, this is what’s going on right now: stress(time) = stress(initial level) multiplied by e^(kt), where k is an increase of 100% per week. In short, my stress levels are growing exponentially!! Sorry to everyone who checks out mentally as soon as math or formulas come up… I like math, it’s a strange phenomenon.

Anyway, moving on. My workload is getting intense. And by intense, I mean I’ve been studying since 11:15 this morning and it’s now 8:30pm. “So what!” you say, “you’re in grad school now, grow a pair!” But, I say, this is going to be my life until the quarter ends!! Scary. I get sad and stressed out when I can no longer justify intense procrastination. Do I do it anyway? Yes, but I just feel extra guilty about it since no sane person can rationalize it with what’s currently on my plate. Just to give you an idea: I’m working on preliminary research for two papers, writing an outline for another research paper, preparing for a USFP debate, researching an outlining my portion of a group presentation, and applying for internships… all mostly due within the next 7 days… YAY! If the double rainbow guy from YouTube is the measure of extreme happiness and joy, I am on the opposite end of that scale… OK, exaggeration, but I really just wanted an excuse to bring up double rainbow guy.

On a happier note… thinking of Halloween costume ideas. I’ve never been a fan of the slutty (insert occupation here) costume… boring! So, in the past, I’ve ended up either being the only girl to dress up as something gruesome and unattractive for Halloween and/or nobody recognizes my costume. This happened when I was Alice from Resident Evil and then last year, when I went out as a Dexter victim (dressed like I was a body wrapped in black garbage bags with the tell tale slice on my cheek). I’m going to try to find some sort of hybrid this year where I can still look somewhat cute but also feel like a badass instead of a whore AND people will recognize my costume… this may be a bit ambitious. Also, I’m excited to report that we are making plans to visit one or more of Denver’s haunted houses. STOKED!

OK, that’s the end of my study break. In the spirit of my blog-ending, may I recommend The Onion’s clip on the dangers of getting stoked…look it up, I’m too lazy to link it right now.