Three weeks post grad school, or, finally, to what HAVE I been up... [aka growing eyebrows]

[Contact Me] | [FAQ]

[Some "Dougisms" Defined]

[About Dickens of a Blog]

[Jump to Site Links]

Summary: It has been forever since I have updated a more personal post. Finally, I chronicle what I've been doing. Or well, not doing...

BLOT: (26 Aug 2011 - 02:52:30 PM)

Three weeks post grad school, or, finally, to what HAVE I been up... [aka growing eyebrows]

On August 5th, which was exactly three weeks ago today, I was supposed to walk across a stage in Tuscaloosa and graduate. I did not. I did graduate, I mean, but I did not walk. The car has been a royal ass lately, coupled with the time-sink aspects of the trip down and a lack of money and my chances of actually getting to go were already dimmed. Then, as a bit of the straw the camelled the broke's back, a few family members that we approached treated it as either not a big deal or an ok deal but, "Hey, screw the crowds, man". In fact, about the only family that had any real outpouring of excitement was my brother Danny, who was thrilled. He was my little pep-talker. Seriously, if you graduate, talk to Danny about it. He will make you feel awesome. Sarah became frustrated when my in-laws, her 'rents, were particularly, "Oh, cool, I guess..." about the whole thing. We, meaning her and I, come from a pair of families where they are aware of the importance of education—sometimes they are even demanding about it when someone else is doing it*—but are rarely enthused by the subject.

Since then, I have mostly been playing games, reading books, watching movies, and working. My hours at the desk are not a super-whole lot, I am definitely part-time, but for the past two weeks I have been in that category of part-time where I am here more days of a week than I am not and, with weeks like this one, significantly more. I doubt this particular position—which showed up when I was a student and needed a position that gave me both experience and a degree of flexibility—will every morph into full time, but that is ok because even though I may only work three or four days a week I end up handling quite a bit of data and tools (the joy of working with digital resources is that I can do it from home, and often do, as well as from the desk).

As an aside, I think we at the reference desk might need to do something, kick something up a notch, because though the checkmarks [we keep track of transactions through checks] are fairly numerous, I still guarantee you that we are only getting about the half the number of questions that people have for us. UAHuntsville has an issue in that there are tons of smart people here, sure, but even smart people run into issues and our various geniuses sometimes have trouble admitting it. Maybe not particularly, our geniuses I mean, maybe this is true of a lot of engineering style schools. Just when a question comes across my desk it will as often as not have the flavor of history attached, or the flavor of literature, and only rarely do I get to help someone with a proper tech or engineering [and even less, science]. When I do, the transaction tends to be fuller and the scope broader, but it is a rarer beast have no doubt. Of course, when an assignment in class or elsewise required to seek help from another library's reference desk, I was just as stuttery and apologetic as students here. Which, well, I don't know what that means, but as I have said, when about a third of the people we get start off a transaction with, "I am sorry for disturbing you, but..." then something friendly, fun, or whatever might be added into the mix.

Part of me can't help but wonder if what is making people nervous could be my eyebrows...

I don't know what they are doing. The effect might not show up well in that photo, but basically one of them has already started some sort of "Dr. Sinister" style curl and the other has effectively completed it. This is new. Like, I got this last week or so. I developed evil old man eyebrows in a week. Is that a gift? A superpower?

To run down a few of my other activities, let's see. I started playing Final Fantasy XII while in the middle of my final semester. I needed something I could waste time with. Which meant I leveled up. A lot. Early on in the game. Before things are worth a whole lot of experience points but, in FF12, they are worth "License Points" which opens up the chance to do skills (levels though, raise the stats to make them actually worthwhile). The upshot of this being that my characters were not particularly powerful, but they were full of potential. In a game where hitting things with a sword works two thirds of the time and hitting them with Flare works the rest it was not an extremely useful combination, but it was fun. Last minute leveling bumped me up a few notches and my overall party strength was balanced to a point that I beat the next-to-last subboss so quickly that I did not realize that he was a next-to-last subboss. It even lead me to suspect that the boss was not the actual boss, which is always a good assumption in Final Fantasy. In this case, no spoilers, but sort of. In a way that is perfectly fitting a FF title. and any fans of the series will probably see coming before they even get near the end. I promise you wings are involved. Voluminous wings. Great big hunking crazy ass wings. Naturally.

Frankly my one and only care, and I am serious, was that Vaan (dumb blonde main character) and Penelo (not quite as dumb, just wants to dance and cast the magicks, blonde friend to main character who despite a couple of red herrings so obviously has the total hots for him and his dumb blondeness) would go off and have so blonde it looks all bleached and stuff children and not have Vaan get whisked off into adventure while she stays behind and smiles like so many other series/games/stories end. I just wanted that one concession. Just that one. The world could have been Final Fantasy VI style extra-apocalyptic, just give me dumb blonde kids, etc.

I spent two-thirds of the game leveling them two up, together, because it made me laugh to not only picture the short, androgynous kids they would have, but the fact that they were so much more powerful than even many monsters of legend (Yiazmat not included) that this 16-year-old girl that spends half the game mooning over the 16-year-old guy with the inability to tie his shoes without a clan tutorial*** could walk up and punch a dragon over, fully heal herself for no reason, and then do it again for kicks. And while I will not spoil if I screamed in frustration or hooted with delight at the end, I will spoil the fact that Penelo apparently got bitching tattoos after the end of the game...and bitching tattoos are, well, bitching (note: searching for "Penelo tattoos" in Google Image Search at work brings up non-work-safe images, even with strict safe searching turned on...neat).

Outside of that, my other hobbies have been more piecemeal. I've read a couple of books this week: Magicians by Lev Grossman being the "big" one, but also started Paul Auster's Leviathan (half way done) and Austin William's Crimson Orgy (ditto). The latter is more literary and less horror/sexy than the title would make you believe, and the former is annoying in that way that self-aware literary fiction can be, when it faces the idiocy of humanity head-on and with a bit of delight, but hey there are clever word plays and occasional observations and ironies that make some sections sublime. By former, you can apply that to either The Magicians or Leviathan, one just has spells to add to its semi-functional man-children hosing up relationshps and their jobs.

Movies? Hmm. What have I done? I really don't know. I've been craving a few of the old semi-horror, semi-action movies of the mid-90s: Congo, Mimic, Island of Dr. Moreau, etc etc. Mimic was not bad, Congo still makes me smile a bit, and I really enjoy Relic, but Dr. Moreau (the one with Brando and Kilmer) made so irate I turned it off. The last movie I turned off half way through and refused to watch any more was Deuce Bigolo: European Gigolo. Also Children of the Corn V. I kind of intend to finish that one, because I am stupid and have this thing about wanting to watch all of those. You know what, I might just skip that it, though if I do that, then I might as well bail on any- and everything, right? Not finish nothing. Not a damned thing. Once you cut-and-run from one drug-to-the-death franchise, then why care about living? Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Well, I think that wraps it up. I've been rambling for half an hour. I'm sure other things will come to me about the time I let them and they can make my next, not-quite-so-procrastinated, post. Oh, and for some reason Livejournal, to which I still [re-]post, has recently changed some of its formatting rules. At one point, I could design a post on Dickens of a Blog, and then copy and past it into Livejournal. Now if I do that, it tries to strip the formatting in some places and add in other things, especially linebreaks and spaces beween lines. I spent a brief part of the morning designing a script that converts the formatting I use on my main blog to the formatting that Livejournal would like, and have started testing it. It seems to be working. It was a fun enough exercise, but I am slightly annoyed by it because some of the formatting features that LJ once supported have been removed from their rich-text entry so actually useful formatting styles and features require people to go through and fight with the back end. I'm sure most people never use them but I kind of liked them. Maybe this is some sort of opening salvo towards a greater CSS interaction.

* There was once a birthday party for Alicia, aka The Sister-in-Law, where Sarah made some joke about, "Well, if I have a kid..." to which a pair of grandparents and a mother rounded on her and told her that she would be getting her grad degree right after her bachelors degree and other things that the sort of people who never achieved a BS/BA might demand because, to them, schooling is just sitting around until people hand you a piece of paper and a bigger salary. When you point out there is more to it than that, you get responses like, "I know, Baby," which is to say they do not but that's ok. I have no idea what raising me was like, and I probably assume it was easier than it was, too.**

** I totally don't.

*** I'm being comically harsh, but they do establish he is not the sharpest pair of scissors but much more in the "How would have ever learned anything", which is explained by the fact that he (and Penelo) have grown up as ghetto rats cut off from much of the world, and this is their first time outside of a small, and poor, circle. It actually works for me because his "watch and learn" aspects help to thrust the player into the action in a not-terribly-artificial way and overall I actually liked him. I know he was hated elsewhere, but eh. Plus, Penelo comes across as naive and some scenes play up her being a little ignorant, but considering she grew up on Lowtown's streets, I'd say she did alright for herself.

Me in 2011


Written by Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."