I did it ebay! Part 2

It's time for another exciting edition of...This Isn't Your Life!

Busy, busy busy. English really needs to come up with another word to describe this. I'm tired of using the same one over and over again.

As you may have deduced from the post title, I did in fact do it eBay, and I must say it was a raging success. I have made a whopping $163.80 to date, with one auction still running. Considering that all I did to earn this money was rid myself of some of the ever-accumulating mass of stuff in my life, it is by far the easiest $160 I've ever made. (But that last $3.80 was pure work!)

The semester has started, the cycle begins again, and I am throwing myself into it with my usual vigor. Even though every semester is different, and as I advance through graduate school I venture ever further into completely uncharted territory, there is a pattern and a sameness to it that I find comforting. Not to wax poetic here, but it is a cycle, and while I may not know exactly what I'm doing, I do know the general form of the beast. It is finite. I have seen it before.

I feel that as I move through life, I earn the ability to "zoom out" further and further. It's like, at first, I am standing in front of something that is huge and looming - it's so tall and massive that I can't see the top of it, or even the sides. Then, as I grow a little and "zoom out", I recognize the thing as a tree. I zoom out a bit more and see that the tree is in a forest. Further still, I see that the forest is on an island, and the island is on an ocean, the ocean is on a planet, and so forth. Then, I can go back to standing in front of the huge tree with knowlege of it in context. I think this is called wisdom.

Swimming back from the deep end, I'm moving this weekend. Technically, I'm taking all the stuff out of my apartment, putting it in a garage, and then moving it all back a few days later. It's really kind of ridiculous. What can I say? I like my apartment, and we did the math - it just doesn't make any sense to actually move. If we stay where we are, we start saving money in one month, including "moving" costs. If we actually relocate, it would take about 13 months at fully half of what we're paying in rent right now for us to see any savings, after you figure in moving costs, deposits, fees, etc. That's not a good equation. So instead, I'll be taking all my furniture down a flight of stairs, waiting a couple of days, and taking it all back up the same flight of stairs. It will be placed neatly back in its original location on new carpet, next to freshly painted walls, recaulked bathrooms, and sparkling, cleaned appliances.

I am particularly excited about the fridge. Our current roommate has a problem with having empty space in a refrigerator. It is bizarre. Our fridge will be overflowing and crowded with stuff. Who knows what it is? It's like Tetris to get that last cup of yogurt on the back of the shelf. When you open the freezer, an avalanche of frozen packages ensues. So we clean it out. We remove long-forgotten leftovers and freezer-burned chicken breasts. We throw out old, all-but-empty bottles of ketchup and salad dressing. The tupperware is reclaimed, and the fridge is once again navigable. Then, mysteriously, new, strange things appear in the fridge, usually within 24 hours. I am sure I have not gone to the store in this time. It is as if they are spontaneously created in the absence of excess. The overcrowding happens again, and the amount of food in there belonging to my roomate doubles or sometimes triples. It's as if he opens the door, notices space, and then is compelled to buy, buy, buy! until the space is gone. He fills it up with random things: package upon package of dubious-looking homemade ground meat, packages of sausage, hot dogs, pickled okra, econo-size frozen somethings, bottles of Miracle Whip and barbecue sauce. He doesn't need these items. He already has them. He buys them because there is space in the fridge. I hate it. Soon, he and all the white paper-wrapped packages stamped with "DEER" and "SAUSAGE" will be gone. They will not be missed.

In other news, Tandy Osro Lofland IV has secured a date with the woman he's been pining for for months. Her name is Breanna, and he hasn't stopped talking about her since he met her quite a while back. Apparently, his admiration from afar has shifted to expressed interest, and it's about time. He called me frantic because he had asked her out to dinner and a movie, planning the date for tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow won't work for her, so she suggested this evening. In girlspeak, that's great news for Tandy! Being a guy, Tandy missed this entirely and panicked. Instead of just shifting the dinner and movie plans back one day, he scrambled to come up with something else to do. He remembered that today is Wednesday, the day Lost comes on TV. So, he invited her over to his house to watch tv for their first date! What was he thinking?!? Clearly, he wasn't. Then he called me, and I straightened him out. By now, he has no doubt called her back and rearranged for a proper date. Best of luck, Tandy!


Hindsight is 20/20

I lost my glasses. They were in my purse.
(These aren't them, by the way.)


6 of one, half a dozen of the other...

So, today has been a mixed day. Fortunately, the good far outweighs the bad (at the moment) because I'M FINALLY GETTING OVER BEING SICK!!!

Granted I'm not well, but I'm ambulatory and almost audible. This is a huge improvement. And this remarkable change was brought about by the use of only four different prescription medications! Joy of joys!

Sarcasm aside, I'm pretty excited about not being sick in the near future. Also, I found out today that I did indeed manage to get straight A's all last semester! Despite the bizzarro class, I pulled it off, somehow. My perfect GPA remains intact, and I am stoked. Go me!

On the downside, I lost my purse. I was accompanying my sister on her house-hunting mission, and I think I put my purse on top of the car to get my niece out of the back seat. Then, my niece abruptly tried to run into the street, so I chased after her, completely forgetting about my purse, and went with my sister (and the midget) into the house. While we were touring the place, I speculate that an oppourtunistic individual of questionable morality happened upon the purse and made off with it. Unfortunately for them, the only thing of monetary value I had in the purse was a $50 American Express gift card. Even my check card and such are worthless, as those accounts have been closed. Unfortunately for me, I lost my keys, my super-cool keychain with mementos from England on it, my driver's license, my Social Security card, a Marilyn Monroe wallet I was rather fond of, and a cool purse. It pains me to know that all of these items which I miss most from my purse will undoubtedly end up in a dumpster someplace. Meh. This is inconvenient, but not a disaster. I should have been paying more attention, but then, I'm also on a lot of medication, so I can't really blame myself.

The other disturbing thing I found today is that mysteriously, all of my classes for next semester have been dropped. This is most puzzling. I'm sure it's just a glitch with financial aid, but I talked to them last week and they assured me nothing was amiss. However, I can't find out anything about it until tomorrow, anyway, so there's no point in getting worked up. I can't imagine that UNT will refuse to take my money, so I'm pretty sure my semester is not in real jeopardy.

And at last...I did it! I listed that damnable Educational Psychology book on eBay, and soon it will become someone else's curse! If you are interested in the book that draws my ire, feel free to check out my listing. Buy it, even! (Bid high - I need the money!)


The Downward Spiral

Okay, this would be the beginning of a major freak-out. Yes, I know that doesn't immediately make sense; I'll explain in a minute.

I am soooo sick. If I were any sicker, I'd be dead. Or maybe Michael Jackson....it's hard to tell which is worse. I have been sick for SIX DAYS. And I'm not talking about being a bit under the weather. I'm talking about being pretty much completely bedridden for six days straight. About once a day, I muster my forces and drag myself to my computer to check my email and take care of all the beginning of the semester business. Then I retreat back to bed and lie in abject misery until night, when I pour myself a stiff shot of NyQuil and slip into unconciousness for a few fitfull hours. Rinse, repeat.

I went to the doctor yesterday, and she gave me some medicine that doesn't seem to be making me feel any better, just a different kind of bad. They say variety is the spice of life, but give me a break! I am no longer interested in treating my symptoms. I want to get better, or I want to die. When you get right down to it, those are the options. At this point, either one sounds like an improvement.

And now we arrive at the next point. The Spring semester starts on Tuesday, January 17th. This semester, I will be taking 15 graduate hours and 3 undergrad hours, for a grand total of 18 . I am insane and a masochist for taking 18 hours EVER, especially in graduate school. For those of you who are not aware, 9 hours is generally considered full-time for graduate students, 12 if you're really ambitious. The trouble is, every one of these classes I'm taking are ONLY offered in the Spring. So if I don't take them this semester, I can't take them until next year. I can't afford to drag out my education indefinately. I will boldly go where no Martin has gone before. I will get this Master's degree, and I will move on with my life. (Incidentally, "moving on with my life" will almost certainly involve MORE school, but that's neither here nor there...)

I have grit. I have determination. I'm working my way towards a stress-induced ulcer.

Ah, now back to my explaination. As I mentioned, I have been sick for six days. There is no sign of it letting up anytime soon. I have a rather busy and challenging semester in front of me:
Learning and Cognition, Research in Counseling, Cognition (without the learning), Master's Thesis, Grant Proposal Writing, and Intermediate Japanese. This semester starts in four days. Right now, I am barely able to walk across my apartment. Somewhere in the back of my brain, there is a flashing red light and a loud voice saying, "Houston, we have a problem."

Unfortunately, I just don't have the energy to respond.

I have to be in top form this semester or I'm never going to make it. I will fall behind at some point; there's no getting around that. But if I get behind right in the beginning, I'll never be able to catch up. Period. I must get well in four days. But last time I checked, my immune system doesn't respond to deadlines.

So anyway, this would be the beginning of a major freak-out if just typing this post didn't knock the wind out of me. If slouching in a chair typing didn't tap out my resources, I might be able to muster a proper level of concern/panic. For all the good it would do me. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe it's better this way. I mean, I still feel the rising sense of panic and dread, but since I can't respond to it, that's a good thing, right? Right???


I did it ebay!

Oh, I am so sick right now. I've been in bed all day, and I'm sick of it. So I finally managed to claw my way upright, and now all I want to do is go back to bed! This sucks.

Anyway, my sister's been making big bucks on eBay selling old textbooks and stuff, so I thought, "Hey, I've got a ton of old textbooks, and I could sure use the money!" I've never sold anything on eBay before, so Sarah promised to be my guide in such matters. The trouble is, I'm looking around at all my stuff, and I'm not sure there's all that much I can really get rid of. Sure, there's at least one text that I'll never, ever look at again (Educational Psychology, I'm talking about YOU!), but a lot of these books are texts I feel I should keep. I've pretty much reached the point in my academic career that I don't have a lot of stuff laying around that isn't directly related to what I want to do when I grow up. It's not that I really want the MMPI-2: An Interpretive Manual, but at some point, I might actually need it. Like, for real-life reference, not some BS class.

On the other hand, the only textbook I own that I've actually used for reference after the class was over is my Biological Psychology text. That book is so cool, sometimes I just read it for fun. It's certainly not a gripping novel or anything, but it covers so many interesting things - the mechanics of vision, hearing, how our brains work, etc. I can't be bothered to remember every tiny detail of those things, and this book patiently explains and re-explains them over and over again, each time I forget. Alas, I digress.

I've also got some foreign language books, which I'm never keen to part with, and various collections of English literature. I also don't like to sell those because I occassionally like to read them. More often, though, I'll find myself wondering "What's the name of that story about the _____?" Or "What exactly was wrong with that chic in The Yellow Wallpaper?" If life really is in the details, I must be missing a lot of it!

The question of course is: Is the knowlege that I have these books, should I ever need them, worth more to me than the dollar value they represent? I don't know. What's the difference between The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and The Unabridged William Shakespeare? (Neither of those were textbooks, by the way. I just love Shakespeare.) Do I really need them both? Probably not.


Jason and the Argonauts

Hmm... I haven't posted in quite some time, so I think I should. Unfortunately, there is little to report. Acutally, that's an inaccurate statement. There is nothing to report. That's right. There is absolutely nothing cool, crappy or stressful going on in my life right now. Nada. And to tell you the truth, I'm kind of enjoying it.
Christmas was fun. Of note, besides my pink cube of power, I recieved a sewing machine. This thing has so many features, I have serious doubts about my ability to ever use them all. Most of the features the manual talks about are things that I have no idea what they even are, let alone how or when or why to use them. (That last sentence was a grammar nightmare, and I'm sorry.) Fortunately, the sewing machine has a 25-year warranty on it, so I've got some time to figure it all out.
For New Year, I flew up to El Paso to stay with Max's family. As usual, I had a great time. For someone like me, who was born in a swamp at or perhaps even below sea level, the mountainous desert of El Paso is a challenging environment. Nosebleeds and feeling like I'm being freeze-dried are constant problems. Yet I always manage to have a fun visit, despite these complaints. I guess that means I really like his family!
Back at home, the most exciting event does not directly involve me. No, I am merely a spectator in "The Quest for the Perfect Game/DVD Holder". I should stress to you that this quest is epic. In the past week, I have personally been to Ikea twice in the pursuit of this elusive goal. In fact, at this point, it may be accurate to refer to the game/dvd holder as "the golden fleece". It is that kind of epic.
In my estimation, there are two types of people in this world, consumers and engineers. Say you have all of your games and dvds stacked in neatish-but-still-rather-disorganized piles. A consumer identifies the need for some type of containment system. Usually, that's about as far ahead as they get before hopping in the car to visit "the buying places". Perhaps, if they're especially clever, the consumer may take some measurements of the space where they hope their new possession will reside. But most consumers take a more fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants approach; "I need _______. I can spend about $____. Let's see what they've got." Everything else is negotiable. This flexibility offers the consumer a wide variety of options, but may lead to difficulties in making a final decision. Since so many items would "work", no single piece jumps up and screams "Buy me!" At this point, the consumer usually buys whatever seems to appeal to them most at the time, takes it home, and is generally satisfied with the purchase, even if it requires the reorganization of furniture or is in some other way slightly inconvenient.
The engineer, on the other hand, envisions not only the function, but also the form of the new item. While a consumer identifies the need for "some type of containment system", an engineer decides approximately (or perhaps even exactly!) how many games and dvds the new item must have the capacity to hold, the structural integrity required of the item, the exact future placement of the item, precise specifications of the item's width, height, depth, number of shelves, color, materials, etc. In short, before even thinking about getting in the car, an engineer has a rather concrete, exacting vision of the item they wish to purchase. The trouble here is that the engineer's vision may be so refined, so narrow, so novel even, that the desired product is not commercially available. Nothing is quite right, and nothing short of quite right will do. At this point, the engineer will either go home in disgust without purchasing anything, or will embark on a campaign of design - purchasing items, modifying them to suit their evil needs, bending reality to their will, and creating for themselves that which they desire.
I, for the most part, am a consumer, and I find this engineering process facsinating to observe. I just hope that at the end of it all, the engineers of the world experience about 100 times more contentment with their solutions than we consumers generally find with ours. It seems like they put in at least that much more effort!