Sunday, March 22, 2009

Forgot to Mention . . .

I got myself a real job. No longer am I just a work/study copy boy. Now I'm a work/study copy boy who also works at a coffee shop in Evanston. (I also go to school and write for the student newspaper and write a column; so I'm pretty damn busy now.) It's called the Brothers K, and it seems like a pretty cool place. I started yesterday and I felt pretty over my head. Haven't felt like that in a long time. I'm going to need to brush up on my coffee knowledge.

Come by sometime and I'll take your order and give it to someone who can make good coffee. (hopefully soon I'll be able to actually make the drink)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm Getting a Little Tired

Something about this semester has created a huge gulf between writing styles for me. I get an assignment from The Torch and I can't wait to jump into it. But any class assignment makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

Mondays and Tuesdays I'm in my own personal hell; I can't get myself to write a thing. Every sentence is a fight against gravity and I get grumpy and melodramatic. But every Wednesday and Thursday I am elated. Those are my Torch days. (Except for yesterday and today, because there is no Torch over Spring Break. Stupid Spring Break.) I get to run around and ask questions and write about real things. Last week I finished up a bunch of articles for the issue after the Break. I had to call up someone at Chicago Department of Transportation and talk to some teachers about plagiarism and attend some mind numbing meeting for Roosevelt's Student Organizations. And then I had to rush out an article about what I found. And I loved it.

And that's not even the problem, because I have to write articles for some of my classes. And I still struggle getting them out. Maybe it's the lack of publication. Or the grades give me a weird stigma. Or maybe my 6 year school plan was dumb and no one should go that long through school.

Or maybe I just need a break and this week will do me some good. Now if I could only get my homework done for tomorrow. But that wont happen until I start and that hasn't happened yet.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

View from the Second City (Spring)

Over the past few months, I have been experiencing Chicago through my eyes to gather subjects for this column. But sight is not the only sense available in the Second City. This morning, making my way to the bus stop, I heard a sound that was almost foreign to my winter addled ears. The sound seemed to come from no where in particular--just all around. It was the sounds of birds.

These were not the coos of pidgins, or the caws of seagulls that stay in the city over the cold months. Instead they were the tweets of the little brown birds I had all but forgotten about. It was nature calling out that Spring is coming. The world is tilting closer to the sun and the weather will soon turn.

I enjoy the cold and I like the snow, but it has been a long winter and I am excited for the change over. The problem with snow is, in the warm weather, it melts. At the farm, the ground soaks up the melting snow and turns spongy and muddy. There is very little exposed soil in the city to soak up the water. All the snow that gave people so much trouble a few weeks ago, is now melting and bothering the sewer system.

I am not one to harp on the seasons. We only have four of them (some years it feels like just two) and they all have good aspects. But I am not one who abides wetness well. Puddles and standing water get my feet wet and make me uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Spring is beautiful and full of love and rebirth, but it tends to make me feel itchy. On the farm I could usually avoid the puddles, but the city is all paved over making it impossible to avoid. It turns into one big puddle.

Back home the birds appear every year, when there is a thin layer of snow on the ground and the air is warm enough to go out with no coat. It is the same in the city, but they don't come in such numbers. The trees at the farm can be full of hundreds of birds--their combined calls deafeningly loud. Here they congregate in empty lots or the odd park in smaller groups. Spring is indeed coming back, birds are migrating home, the trees will soon bud.

Thousands of years ago, humans feared the coming of the darkness. The end of the Summer and beginning of the Fall felt cold and dark and scary. The unknown made people pray for the return of spring and the rebirth of the world. Now, we kind of forgot that feeling. Technology made the long nights less scary, but our DNA still has that fear ingrained by thousands of generations. We still feel relief when spring starts and the birds sing.

Two Things

My blog tracker informs me that over the past week, my blog has had over 100 visitors on three different days. And one day over 90. That makes me feel pretty good. keep it up, visitors.


A few words I have heard a lot in the last few weeks, and I am tired of hearing: Earmarks and Pork. These words have no meaning. They are buzz words and do not belong in journalism. They are very biased words for excessive spending. One person might think it's ridiculous to spend a million dolors on broccoli research and call it pork. While someone else might think it's important for farmers to understand broccoli and the million dolors will be made back ten fold with a better understanding of broccoli.

Just stop saying those words.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Craigslist is Killing Me

(Today I have the attention span of a cat and my nose is running and I'm all sniffy. I hope I'm not getting sick. I have a lot of work that I should get done today, so this is more or less me getting rid of the fuzz that's in my head today.) is really hurting my soul. I've been looking for a job for quite a while now. When I find one, sure, I'll feel good about having a job. But I'll be most excited about not having to look at Craigslist everyday. It really makes me itchy. People are looking for things that I just don't understand. I know that I'm not really supposed to know about it because I'm not in any of these cultures, but I'm still bothered by them.

I guess I should be happy that there is a place for people to go and not feel like they are alone. And I think I am, it's just kind of foreign to me. Maybe it's just my own assumptions that are getting in the way of my understanding. When I see something that says, more or less, Looking for cute feet, I only see some innocent trusting little girl answering the ad to feel better about herself. And sometimes that might be true (and that story is pretty upsetting to hear) but most of the time she might get just as much enjoyment out of it.

I think this is the argument most people have against Liberal people. (Which I would call myself, I guess. I think I'm still working out how I feel about politics.) And maybe this can be said about every side. But it is a basic assumption that you are right and everyone else is wrong. When in fact different things work for different people. And it is impossible to give your opinion of life to someone else.

As I write this I can see contradictions in my own logic. I am a huge component (is that the right word, I don't think so) for Scientific fact over anything else. I am skeptical about things like yoga and crystals and any other sudo-scientific things, or what I like to call "Crap." But by my own logic who am I to say that other people are wrong just because science works for me.

But I think I'm ok with that. Contradiction or no, I'm (and when I say "I'm" I probably should say science is) right and crystals don't do anything. This might be my problem with philosophy. There is no room for inconsistencies or contradictions in an argument. Real life is full of inconsistencies. Nature always contradicts itself and is full of superfluous parts. (Biggest argument against intelligent design is that the human body is terrible designed. We have so much crap in our body that hasn't had a purpose for millions of years.)

(I think I've lost myself. If you can make sense of this that's pretty amazing. But my head is much clearer so my goal was accomplished. I'm feeling better. I'll go now and try to put a dent in my to do list. First, maybe a story about fantasies. Then a paper on twitter. Then an article on a hole in the street. The life of a possible General Assignment Reporter, pretty sweet isn't it.)