So, I've been super busy lately what with school (which is going well), work, and trying to get my taxes together (I got a 6 month extension back in April. What did I do for the past 5 months? Not taxes.) But, I had to make an announcement that today, I moved for the first time under rank number 10,000 as an Amazon.com Reviewer. Number 9889, baby.
What does this mean? Do I get mad discounts? A trophy? A certificate of appreciation? The respect of my peers? Maybe a nice avatar? No, no, no, no and no. In fact, it means absolutely nothing. Except this. If you ever needed to buy a budget digital metronome and thought "What model is best?" well, I was there. If you ever wondered about the slowly diminishing quality of Ben Folds Sheet Music books, I was there. If you bought a dustbuster based on my recommendation, well, you and I both know you got a quality product. If you needed to know what the best deal on a beginners crossword puzzle book was, well, I was there too.
Saving people from possibly purchasing a substandard item, one review at a time. 24 reviews. 882 people helped. Only 9,888 tiers (each tier holds some number of people who have helped at the same level the others in that tier, so there are a lot more than 9,888 people who have reviewed better/more prolifically than I) below me.
On something of a whim, I've decided to go back to school and as of Tuesday next week will be taking ... Biology 1 at RCC. That's right, Biology. I haven't taken a science class in 10 years, not since Chemistry with Ms Jones my sophomore year in high school. Perhaps I've just forgotten how much pain it was.
But, my great hope is that in these past 10 years (or more accurately, the last two years of college) my study habits have improved and I will find Biology engaging, challenging, and fun. Who knows, this could awaken some heretofore hidden calling and come next year, you'll find me studying to be a doctor (like Mom always wanted). Or, alternatively, this could be a huge fiasco and for the rest of my life, every time someone mentions the subject, I'll cry a little. Most likely, it'll be somewhere in between. Either way, it's new and exciting, and still probably a terrible idea.
But, if I drop the class quick, I don't have to pay for it. Cutting and running, like the liberal I am. Oh, except for the book, I'll have to pay for that. Speaking of which, if anybody has the book pictured above, and wants to sell it cheap, let me know, as I'll be needing it come Tuesday.
Sunday night, Reina and I ended up back home around 11 pm, and then spent the next 2 hours finishing up our Kiis FM Wedding Contest application. I spent a couple hours rolling around before finally getting to sleep at three, then got up at six to drive my tired ass to Burbank and drop off the tape for the contest before the deadline. Worked the day on 3 hours, went out for dinner, and promptly passed out at 9 pm.
It is now 5:30 am and I feel great.
I have always, throughout high school, throughout college, strove for my 8 hours. Sure, there're have been times when I've had to pull an all-nighter or two, but as soon as my responsibilities were met, BAM, it was back to the full-dose of recommended down-time. Reina she gets about 6 hours, often staying up later and getting up earlier. But me, I shoot for higher.
It's gotten to the point where I haven't regularly used an alarm clock since the beginning of high school (with the exception of about a year when I was working at the coffee shop and had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 4 am on occasion). There is something about the buzzing and beeping of an alarm clock that I resent. It's so smug and demanding. But when I wake up, I wake up on my own terms.
And when I wake up, I don't feel like someone or something pushed me out into the world. I feel relaxed and at peace. The day may end up being terrible, but at least it started out right. Yesterday, I felt like crap. But I got the full complement last night and today, right now, I feel fine. Ah the glory.
Where have I been, with the blogging, you ask? How has my quest to do productive things and not read as much news gone?
This is what I've been doing: 999 pieces of puzzle glory (Damn you, missing piece!). There is something calming in putting together a puzzle. Something about doing a menial task. Set up your rules / strategy (1. Border 2. Group pieces by color group 3. Sub-group those pieces by shape) and then sift and repeat like a broken record.
This is true of most things. My job, for example. Go to a house, measure, take pictures, note anything unusual, run comps, follow a mathematical formula and common sense to arrive at a value, type it into a report, lather, rinse, repeat. And I think that most jobs are probably something similar, setting up a habit, then repeating any steps you have made over and over again. And I actually prefer it when things don't deviate too much from the norm, I actually get irritable if things aren't the same as usual.
Little kids always like to eat the same things. People like to watch "their" shows every week. Church on Sunday. It's comforting that way, really. Easier. I like easy.
Hello. *cough cough* Uh, I guess you all know why I'm here. My name is Doug. And I'm a news addict. I'm not sure exactly when it started. Years ago. As a kid, I read the newspaper over breakfast, then finished it after I got home from school. At first it was just a healthy desire to see what was going on in the world. Find out what was going on outside my little sphere. Always does, doesn't it?
But even then, I guess there were signs. I'd read the paper instead of doing homework. But the newspaper is only so thick, and well, after awhile it runs out.
These days, when I get up, I first check the mainstream news line. News.Yahoo.Com, primarily. First the Top Stories, then Most Popular, then the World, then the Los Angeles section. Then it's over to !404, a bulletin board for my San Diego friends, to see if they've stumbled on anything interesting and what they have to say about it. Then ESPN.com to check on my teams and the big sports news. After that, there's BoingBoing and Digg to see some of the highlights of fun/interesting stories and the tech news. Then TheSuperficial for the celebrity gossip. Then to the 6 blogs of friends whom I check up on everyday. Then to MySpace to check on the social-sphere. Then Fark.Com to check on the stories of dumbasses doing dumb things and other lower-brow type stories.
Then I start retreading. Back to Digg, !404, Boing, Fark to check up on the newest stories. All the while, listening to NPR and ESPNRadio.
I probably spend 5 or 6 hours a day doing this.
At night, I watch the GameShowNetwork, History Channel and Discovery Channel for this same sort of feed.
And you're probably thinking "Well, it's over the top, but it's enrichment right?" But I rarely ever read books. And I could be spending the time learning to record music better or engaging in some sort of skill-based learning. Instead, I seek out the kind of short magazine-article-length/depth stimuli that fires off those "Oh wow that's interesting" neurons without getting too close to those dangerous critical-thinking neurons.
But as soon as there's some sort of resistance. As soon as I don't quite get it all the first time through, I stop. Something, laziness perhaps, prevents me from say, trying to rap my head around computer-programming, IT management, or physics, all things I wish I knew something about.
Knowledge without work. Only articles I'll understand on the first pass-through.
And I'm not trying to memorize any of it. It's just the letting-it-phase-through I'm looking for. Whatever my brain picks up, it picks up, but I don't try to learn anything. It just absorbs what it does. Nothing is forced.
And more importantly, nothing is contributed. Nothing (or very little) is put back out there.
And the worst part about it is this: I know it. And I still haven't done anything about it.
There's another level, it's right there. I know it.
Usually when I have an experience with a bad waiter, it's because, you know, they're either lazy, or an ass, or sometimes both. How many times have you glanced around a restaurant looking for your waitress while your water-glass sits empty.
But I guess there's always room for something new. Last night, Reina and I went to Toro Sushi in Chino. So we're walking to the table, and before we've even managed to sit down, this girl who must've been all of 16, says "Did you guys want anything to drink?"
"Um, well, water for now." "Oh, okay. Are you sure?"
... "Are you sure?" No, ma'am, I'm not sure, because I haven't sat down and looked at a beverage menu, or hell, even sat down! We didn't say so, of course. We said, "Yes, water's fine for now."
So we order, and maybe 30 seconds after leaving the table, she comes by again and says "Hi guys! How're you doing?! Can I get you anything?" Literally, order taken, walks away, turns around, walks back, asks how we're doing.
"No, we're fine, thank you." "Oh, well, okay."
Here's the next time she comes by:
"Hi there! How're you doing?!" "Just fine, thank you." "That's good. That's the pepper-salmon roll, right? Man, it looks so good. Sometimes when I'm bringing the food to the table, I look at the rolls, and they look really really good, and I just want to eat it all up." *pause* "Oh?" "Yeah. It gets real busy here sometimes, so I don't really have a chance to. But they look so pretty. Do you like it?" "Um. Yes, it's good, thanks." "Awesome! I'm glad. The chefs are very good here." "Oh, well ... I'm glad too." "Okay, well. Bye!"
And this happens a few more times! She comes out, talks about how pretty the rolls are for a few minutes, then leaves.
At one point, we look to order our second round of Sushi, but we're not sure about which roll to pick. "Do you like the Aloha Hawaiian Roll more or the Green Bay?" "I don't know. I haven't really tried either one. They both look really pretty, though. Especially the Aloha, that one is the prettiest. Sometimes when I'm bringing it out to people, I look at it, and I think 'Wow, that's so pretty, I just want to eat it up!' but I don't. I don't know, though." *awkward pause* "Which do other customers like more?" "Oh! A lot of people get the Aloha. That's, like, our most popular one, I bring that one out to a lot of people. And it's really pretty!" "So the Alo-" "A lot of people get the Green Bay too. That's probably the other most popular one. It's not as pretty, but it still looks really good. I bring that one to a lot of people too. People like that one a lot. I -"
And at this point Reina chimes in and says "Both. We'll get both." just so we don't have to hear about its prettiness anymore.
We wait. And we wait. Another waitress comes by asks if we need anything else, and we tell her that we already ordered another round from our waitress. And we wait.
Our waitress comes back out. "Did Angie come by?" "What?" "Oh, Angie, you know. I told her you guys wanted something." "But. We asked you for. We told her that we had already asked you for the Aloha and the Greenbay." "OH. I had to go get some drinks for another table, so I told her that you guys needed something so she could come by and write it down. Dang! And I said to her, too, I said 'Angie, Can you take care of these people, they want something and they're really nice.' Wait, so what did you want again?" "The Aloha and the Green Bay." "Oh, okay. I'll go put that in right now! Those are really pretty."