Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Of Pell Grants and Library Fines

I've decided to retake Chemistry 1220 this spring. With the hubbub that surrounded my gall bladder surgery and such, I think it's just going to be the best option. So I went online and tried to register only to find a hold on my record. No surprise. I hadn't been in school the last couple of semesters so I needed to do my Perkins exit interview. I didn't think it would be an issue with me returning this spring, but what do I know?

Its turns out I forgot another thing, as well. I forgot to pay the fine on a book I had checked out from the school library. I've returned the book, it's just every time I try and pay the fine I keep finding the offices closed, or I get redirected. I go to a local campus cashier and get told, "Oh, I don't think you can pay for that here. Try this other office."

Once I get to that office it's "Oh, I don't think you can pay for that here, go directly to the library."

So I call the library, "Oh, you don't have to pay that here, just go to any of the campus cashiers."

That's where I was in the first place.

Oh well. I guess that's what you get with bureaucracies that rely on student employees.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Too Much Money

I'm really getting tired of paying out the nose for way too many connection points. I've got an outrageous bill for my home phone, my cell phone, my wife's cell phone, and my internet access. It costs me too much, frankly. Off the top of my head, I'd say I'm paying out $170.00 a month for all this crap.

And I'm still using dial-up.

I can't believe I just admitted that. That's like admitting that you still have a working 8-track tape player (I don't) and a bunch of 8-track tapes (I do).

Man, I'm pathetic.

Anyway, it's time for me to move fully into the 21st century. I'm just so cheap that I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it. I've been looking into dropping the land line and going with high-speed access and VOIP, but I'm way out of my league. I just don't know where to go or what to do. I've been burned by extra charges from the telecoms that they don't tell you about until you get your first bill. "What? Didn't we mention the charge for the automatic nose-picking device we need for our customer service reps so they can remain truly 'hands free?'"

Does anyone have any recommendations for me? I need help and I just don't have time to research this like I should.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Aggressive Sleeping

Okay. This is getting ridiculous. It seems like my blog is turning into a "I'm a sick whiner" and I don't like it.

Today it's true, though. I'm sick, and I'm going to whine about it. Want to whine about me whining? Get your own blog.

I've got a head cold. I thought it would be over in a day or two, but no such luck. I finally broke down and bought some cold medicine this morning. My plan for the next few days is to lie in bed and aggressively sleep.

I know that many of you will have questions about what "aggressive sleeping" is. As a master of aggressive sleeping I can tell you that while I was born with this talent, it can be learned.

Aggressive sleeping is not a good way to get rest, but it can be a precursor to real sleep. Anyone who lives alone will probably not have a need for aggressive sleeping. Those of us with active spouses and children have probably found themselves participating in aggressive sleeping competitions, without having to go through the bother of actually registering for the event.

To practice true aggressive sleeping, you must first get yourself as comfortable as you can. Usually this involves a nice mattress and a designated sleeping chamber.

For some people, this also involves pajamas. For others it involves getting naked, but I don't recommend this tactic. As you will see, getting naked may interfere with certain aggressive sleeping tactics.

I guess it could enhance a few, as well, but I don't want to go there.

For many aggressive sleep competitors, it's somewhere in between; a place I like to call "underwear land."

Addition aides can be useful. Some may go for blankets and sheets, blankets only, sheets only, or just letting it all hang out. My son questions the need for anything other than a bare mattress. It's all good, though. The number and density of pillows is up for grabs. Whatever makes you most comfortable.

I personally like the blankets and sheets model. I'll explain why in a minute.

The environment in the sleeping chamber is important, too. You can't aggressively sleep if there's too much light. The darker it is in the room, the better. Unless you're afraid of the dark in which case a small night light is allowed. As an adult I'm into the "dark is good" thing, but I still have fond memories of the warm glowing electric puppy dog of my youth. He was so cute and comforting. Sometimes I miss that mutant radioactive dog.

Alarm clocks are strictly forbidden in aggressive sleeping competitions. Anyone caught planting alarm clocks around the room will be shot and removed from the competition. Such artificial sleep hazards are not desired, thank you.

All of this may seem like normal sleeping so far but, here's where the aggressive part comes in. Anyone entering the room is to be considered a natural sleep hazard and should be driven away. Most of these sleep hazards will come in the form of your own children and spouse. Do not be fooled. They are actually demons in human form and should be dealt with on a sliding scale of aggression.

The Roll-Over

Many sleep hazards can be brushed off by a simple rolling technique, such as rolling away from the light now pouring through the door your sleep hazard just opened. This startling realization that you are in the room is generally enough to push the weaker sleep hazards back out the door.

The Non-Committal Grunt

Higher on the scale of aggressive sleeping tactics is the non-committal grunt. A soft and senseless vocalization can raise the level awareness and help drive off would be sleep hazards. This can be combined with the Roll-Over maneuver to maximize the effect.

Light Verbal Confrontation

The next level of aggression comes in the form of a simple question such as, "What are you looking for?" or a comment such as "Hello." This can be combined with the roll-over and grunt maneuvers for additional impetus. In many cases the sleep hazard will respond with its own grunts that sound suspiciously like words, "Sorry" and "Let me just get this and I'll go." Do not be fooled. They are simply trying to lull you into a false sense of security. Remember that the goal is to get them to leave.

Heavy Verbal Confrontation

If light confrontation hasn't been sufficient, it is alright to escalate into the more heavy forms of verbal confrontation. This may involve raising the voice somewhat and using statements such as, "What do you want?" and "I'm sleeping, here!" If the sleeping hazard is particularly persistent, the aggressive sleeper may feel the need to interject various oaths and curses at this point as well. This is okay, as long as you realize that the fallout from such radioactive behavior will linger and may haunt you later.


If the sleep hazards haven't been scared away from the sleeping chamber by now, you may decide to resort to heavier tactics. This is the atomic bomb of aggressive sleeping weapons. If the sleep hazards continue to plague you, it's time to resort to more explosive behaviors. Verbal explosions will generally involve cursing, along with shouting phrases such as, "What the (insert favorite curse word) are you doing in here!?" Physical explosions, such as quickly rising out of the bed, can be great additions to the verbal explosion. (This is why I like the "blanket and sheet" model. The act is much more intimidating with the blanket and sheets flying about the room.)

Hopefully before this point, though, the sleep hazards will have gotten the idea to leave you alone, and actual sleeping can be done.

Fallout Warning

Fallout is not an aggressive sleep tactic and does not involve falling out of bed. You just need to be aware that aggressive sleeping tactics have consequences. I mentioned the radioactive fallout of cursing. This can take the form of hurt feelings and sobbing on the part of your younger sleep hazards. Such behavior will defeat all but the most callus aggressive sleeper. At other times, it will result in a counterstrike from the most powerful sleep hazard in your life (your spouse). Such counter-attacks may take the form of lengthy reminders of all of your faults and a cessation of intimacy. Most people - men anyway - try to avoid these kinds of repercussions. Most women welcome them because it means they'll actually get some real sleep.

The dangers of losing and aggressive sleep competition do not end there, though. For men, it may also involve a forced relocation from the sleeping chamber to the couch. If this occurs, take heart. You may have lost the aggressive sleep competition, but now you are qualified to enter the "I'm sorry, please have sex with me again" competition.

Good luck with that. You're on your own.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Where’s my health?

It occurred to me the other day that I’m a hypocrite. Really. I’m big into preventive medicine, and so on, but I don’t practice it. I can’t even remember the last time I seriously exercised. It really stinks. I’m even getting winded walked down to the convenience store to get a soda.

The fact that I drink way too much soda doesn’t help either.

I took a free test over at Real Age and it scared me. Here I am, forty years old, but based on my habits and lifestyle I’m really 55.

Trust me. That sucks.

I can’t say it isn’t true, either. I feel 55 some days. The trouble is I don’t know that it scared me enough to overcome the “inertia of slacking” that I’ve gathered around myself.

So I started wondering, where did my health and vitality go? In my twenties I used to work out up to two hours a day doing marital arts. I ate good foods and took longs walks. I enjoyed my life and the feelings of youth and good health.

Now I’m doing good to walk 100 yards and not get winded. I eat too much and I sit in front of a computer or TV screen for 8+ hours a day. I’m so busy at work on some days that I barely have time for the bathroom. Maybe I should install a porta-potty in my cubicle.

Where did it all go?

Wait. I think I just found the answer. It didn’t go anywhere. I gave it away.