I got a job.
I’m not getting paid, but it’s still a job. It’s sort of in between volunteering and an internship, or so it seems to me.
Today was my first day working at the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity, AKA NAU’s bug lab. My task today was to sort through a plethora of insects from a multitude of pitfall traps (from one of their projects), separating the beetles and the spiders from the rest of the critters. Gotta say, it’s dirtier than I expected. My hands smelled like ethanol and dead stuff for a good hour and a half. Not to mention the dead mouse that wandered into the trap… thankfully I’m sick with some sort of nose and throat virus, so I wasn’t able to smell much.
It’s definitely neat though, even the elementary ‘gruntwork’ I did today. My schedule is MonWedFri, 10AM-12PM, and I even had the lab to myself for a good hour – which was awesome.
So, here’s to science, and a possible specialization in entomology for me.
Read this if you haven’t already:
Even though this blog is as good as dead, we will be *really* dead, blacking out, for today, January 18th, 2012.
This is a reflective essay I had to write for my English 105 class. Last 105 class was today, and I must admit, I’m kind of sad about it. Really loved that class, and Rachel, my instructor, was fantastic. Favorite teacher this semester. Really am going to miss her a lot.
Anyway, I whipped this up in about 30 minutes. It’s amazing what emotions do to your writing skills. I’m posting this hoping maybe it will help people who are on the fence about college, as I once was. Please let me know what you think.
Not So Scary
I’m nervous. It’s officially my first day of college, and I am nervous. I had just been let out of my first lecture – Psychology 101, which had 400+ students – and it’s getting close to be time for my next class, English 105. Much to my confusion this English class was in an elementary school. Did I get put into developmental English? Is there something wrong with my SAT or AIMS scores? I thought I got exceptional scores… why is this class at an elementary school? Is this class going to be like Psychology, with hundreds of students? How on Earth does one instructor teach English to a hundred students? No use worrying about it; I had to go.
Even on the first day, parking at NAU has been a pain. Never enough parking meters, and when there are meters, they never allow more than one and a half hours – not nearly enough for some classes. All the parking passes for my side of campus are sold out. I live off campus to boot, so I can’t just walk to class without leaving an hour early. Screw it. I’ll park in teacher parking. That I did. I parked right up front, right next to the school, and right next to the big sign saying “AE Permits Only”. Fortunately, I did not receive a ticket this time, but the relationship between me and parking tickets is a whole different story. I walked into the elementary school, still unsure of why my college-level English class is in an elementary school. Room 106. That was my destination. I find it, walk in, and notice that it’s just a computer lab. It’s a very standard, academic-looking computer lab, each desk with a couple Dell Optiplex desktop PCs sitting on it, with cables neatly bound by zipties behind them. This is room 106… but am I really in the right place? There are not very many people here, at least not compared to my Psychology lecture. I sit down at an empty computer surrounded by other empty computers – I did not want to draw attention, especially if I am, in fact, in the wrong place. The room starts to fill up, and I notice there are two instructors. What kind of class has two instructors?! A male and a female instructor, both young, both with a very ‘English Instructor’ look about them, an intelligent look, and they both appear to be… approachable; friendly. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. Truthfully, I was expecting an old, grey-haired lady with thick-lensed glasses and smelled of a strange ointment. After all, that’s the stereotypical English professor, right? Maybe this won’t be so bad.
Class seems to be starting, and the male instructor, whose name I don’t know at this point, starts handing out sheets of paper. Sheets of questions to ask fellow classmates, ie ‘Can you find anybody who has a tattoo?’ I realize that they’re actually encouraging us to get to know each other, to socialize with our classmates. Not something I expected from a college course. The whole classroom was up and about, asking everyone these silly questions, and you know what? It worked. It broke the ice between us students, and it really calmed my nerves. Yeah, maybe I CAN handle this college thing. Now the only ice left to break is between the instructors and me.
Weeks later, and we are assigned to read a snippet of Stephen King’s book On Writing. Naturally, being the procrastinator I am, I print it out and read it an hour before I left for class. It’s an enjoyable piece of work, no doubt, just perhaps a little too long for my tastes. Oh well, I have to do what I have to do. I head to class, this time parking at a parking meter, and walk once again into the computer lab and sit down. At this point I’ve grown really fond of this class. I enjoy its small size, there are not much more than 20 students in my section, and I just find it to be one of my more enjoyable classes. By this time, I’ve learned what the deal is with the two instructors: Mark is the instructor of one section, with whom we share the computer lab with on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Rachel is the instructor of my section, section 39, and we get an empty classroom on Mondays and Wednesdays. Confusing as hell? A little bit. Scuttlebutt is that the English building is being renovated, and this is the best they can do. No worries. I got this down.
Room 106 is dark this day, all the lights are out, however the computers are all on so it can’t be a power issue. The room is illuminated with a faint blue glow of all the computer screens, most of which are on the NAU login screen, which is, of course, blue. The room is very blue. I feel as if I should be depressed or something considering how blue the room is. I sit down, and wait for class to start, still confused as to why the lights are off. Rachel, my instructor, walks into the classroom, a few minutes late as always, and it’s revealed that we are going to watch, or rather, listen to a video of Stephen King reading his Pie Eating Contest story. The video starts, and the classroom falls silent. Stephen King is reading his delightfully lighthearted and gross story, which involves a boy and his rival in a pie-eating contest, and how the boy manages to ‘win’ against him: by chugging ungodly amounts of castor oil before eating ungodly amounts of pie, and vomiting all over the rival, which starts a chain reaction of human emesis until the entire scene is just covered in vomit. It was at this point, when we were listening to Stephen King telling his funny yet disgusting story, that I noticed both Mark and Rachel laughing along with us. It doesn’t seem like much, but it made me realize something. They weren’t these mean, nasty teachers like we’re always led to expect. They didn’t hate us and just want us gone. No, they were human beings just like the rest of us, and they may very well actually give a shit about us, unlike most college professors lecturing classes of 100+ students multiple times a day; they don’t have the capacity to give a shit about that many people. Of course they care about us. Otherwise I would be stuck in a classroom with 100 other people, like the rest of my classes.
It wouldn’t be a class size of barely over 20 students if they didn’t care about us. We wouldn’t have so much interaction with the instructor if they didn’t care. Our grades wouldn’t take so long to be posted if they didn’t care – as that means they’re actually reading your paper in its entirety, and not just skimming over it like any other teacher would. Hell, even my elementary school English teachers barely read my papers. I wouldn’t have learned so much from this class if the instructors didn’t interact so much with us, and had us so engaged in the coursework. I can’t speak much for Mark, as we share him only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it seems to me that Rachel actually cares about us, her students. And if she doesn’t, she does a hell of a good job at pretending. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
That’s all it took for me. I just needed a college instructor to act like they cared about me, about their class as a whole, to make me realize something: You know, maybe college isn’t so scary after all.
So, I’ve finally got up off my lazy ass and started college. Just finished my second week, and other than sleeping through 3 (THREE) alarms yesterday, so far so good. Good marks, good professors (especially English and Bio Lab), good times. I’m doing an extended Biology major, and so far I’m enjoying it. Pretty easy so far. (I should be doing an English paper now. Oops.)
If you’ve forgotten, I’m attending Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff. My apartment is 90% furnished and completely livable at this point. I get my own Internet access on Wednesday (right now I’m using the neighbors’… love you neighbors!) thru NPG cable. Hopefully they aren’t crappy. If the neighbors are using NPG, it’s decent enough for speedy downloads and HD netflix, so I’m satisfied with that.
Flagstaff is cool. I’ve always loved Flagstaff. Sure, it gets cold as balls here, but I can deal with that. The forest makes me happy, what can I say? I think I’m gonna like it here. I better… after all, my lease is for a year.
On a much more saddening note, Jake deploys very soon. I won’t say much more than that, but if any of you kind souls would like to send him something while he’s gone, please please contact me. For safety/security reasons I’ll have you send things to ME, and I’ll forward them. (Only pay for the extra shipping if you are able to – I can cover it if you can’t.) I plan on sending him as MUCH SHIT AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, so any contribution will be hugely appreciated.
Also, please no comments about how he’s a maniacal demented baby-eating puppy-kicking shit-throwing godless soul-sucking murderer from the deepest depths of hell. He is only one of those things, so hate the war, not the soldier!
(No, I am not pro-war. Not in the fucking least. So don’t even start.)
Back to my English paper now!
So, I lied about making other posts in the last post. My bad. If you still want my handful of pics from my last trip to AK, here you are. More important matters are at hand.
Such as the fact that I have finally taken the big ol’ step of going to college. I start in January at NAU, doing a B.S. in Biology, extended major. I’ve even got myself an apartment in Flagstaff, and am in the process of moving in currently.
Wednesday at around midnight (so, almost Thursday) I picked up Jake from the airport, so he’s here for Christmas time. Which is super nice. I can certainly use his manliness to help me move.
So, once I get the apartment in a livable condition (as right now, as far as furniture goes, it’s just a TV on the floor, a coffee table which desperately needs cleaning, and a lamp) I’ll post some pics or something. It’s nice, less than a mile from campus, virtually EVERYTHING is included in the rent (including cable and snow removal!) and I think I’m going to be quite content living there. Neighbors seem nice, a lot appear to be students as well. I’ve already got on the good side of the management as well, they seem to like me quite a lot. So, all this being said, send me an email or something if you want the address. (Those who are eligible to know have my email addy already. ) More to come, though I’m not making any promises, when I get all settled in up north.
Have a merry Christmas, everyone.
As the title implies, I returned to Alaska before it got too cold for my thin Arizona blood. I got home yesterday at stupid o’clock (about 10 AM) after almost 24 hours of no sleep and umpteen hours of traveling, so needless to say I’ve been getting my much-needed sleep since then.
Delta’s genius trip planner decided to stick me on a completely illogical route of PHX-MSP-ANC – that’s Phoenix to Minneapolis, then back over to Anchorage. My flight to Fairbanks was through Alaska Air (props to them – more on this later), so not really relevant for this little bit of bitching here.
Why am I bitching? For starters, I hate Minneapolis. Hate it. Not the city, so no offense to any of you denizens of the place, but the airport. God DAMN it I hate that fucking place. Getting there was fine, I had a couple of lovely seatmates with me. Rosa and Manuel (if you manage to find this – hi!), daughter (not a kid, 20-something mind you) and father, it was her first time flying so I had the pleasure of reassuring her that we weren’t gonna die when the turbulence kicked up. Good seat/flightmates always make the trip a little easier. Always good to have someone to talk to.
So we get to MSP, part ways, and I find a flight monitor thing. Flight’s been delayed by a little more than an hour – great. Not all bad, less of a layover in Anchorage will be nice, I think. So I go and kill some time, dick around the airport for an hour or so. Mom calls me and lets me know of the delay (Delta had called her), which I had obviously already knew about but it’s nice to know Delta’s doing at least something right by informing her. Another hour of dicking around, charging devices, reading and eating, and I head to the gate as the plane *should* be leaving soon. NOPE. Delayed by another hour and a half or so. This makes the flight ~3 hours late. This is bad.
This means that I may be stranded in Anchorage for six hours until the next flight to Fairbanks, should I miss the one I am supposed to be on. Great. GREAT. Just what I needed. The scuttlebutt was that someone got sick on the plane halfway through the flight, so they had to go BACK to San Fransisco or something. Had they not heard of a sick bag? Whatever.
So there I am, freaking the fuck out and waiting for the damn plane to get there, really wishing I were 21 (or had a good fake ID. Don’t judge me!) so I could at least artificially calm the fuck down. I called Mom, she called the airlines (both Delta and Alaska) and told them the situation, trying to find out what can be done. They told her on the phone that if I miss my flight because of the delay, I am entitled to a place to stay, transportation, and a seat on the next flight to Fairbanks all at Delta’s expense. At this point I almost wanted that to happen, for revenge of sorts. An hour passes, some Delta crew show up at the gate. I go to talk to them, to see if they tell me what Mom was told on the phone. “You’ll have to rebook when you get to Anchorage.” How nice of them. They did, however, give me a seat that was closest to the exit door as possible in economy class. Better than the back of the plane where I was supposed to be.
The plane finally gets there, more crew arrives (including a very handsome pilot. DON’T JUDGE ME!), and we get on. My phone has little charge, and my laptop doesn’t get the greatest battery life, so I can’t even take advantage of the in-flight wifi (which is AMAZING, I’ll have you know). I spend the ~6 hour flight reading and listening to my iPod. They decide we’re not worth feeding here in economy class, so I live off many many packets of airline pretzels, still wishing I were of age to get a Jack and Coke or something.
We get to Anchorage, and I run like hell to the baggage claim. At this point I didn’t know I could have just had it booked all the way to Fairbanks despite it being a separate airline, but it likely wouldn’t have got there anyway. Ten minutes pass, the baggage carousel hasn’t even started running, and I hear the last call for boarding my flight. To make matters worse, the carousel is for multiple flights. I decide fuck this, and go to the Alaska Air check-in, and I think I may have cut someone off in line doing so – sorry about that. I tell them my situation. They tell me to forget the bag, they’ll try and deal with it, and RUN. So I do. Thankfully Alaskan airport security is never, ever busy. I get to my gate, and I ask them “I’m too late, aren’t I?” (There was more than this, a lot of panicked rambling nonsense, and me giving them my luggage reference tag, but that’s not good for storytelling.)
“Yeah… wait, no. You’re not. You’re not even supposed to be on this flight, but you can get on. We’ll try and deal with the bag. I’ll have [guy whose name I forgot] deal with the bag, and [another forgotten name] will unlock the door for you. Just get on!”
So I do. I get to Fairbanks, and naturally my luggage is not there. I really didn’t expect it to be. Jake’s outside waiting for me, I load what little I have into his vehicle, and spend about 45 minutes working things out with the lost luggage people. Poor Jake – he couldn’t leave the vehicle as he was in the temporary parking. Sorry about that. So they tell me they’ve sent a message to Anchorage, and I should get my shit the next morning.
Jake and I get to our hotel, and are greeted (not literally) by three cops doing what I assume was kicking some black dude out of his room, which REEKED of weed. Guy’s lucky that it’s decriminalized/legal in some cases in Alaska: if it were Camp Verde he would have been on the ground, tased multiple times and possibly beaten.
Fast forward to the next day, and I have a voicemail on my phone. Alaska Air had wrangled up my luggage – yay! I was getting pretty tired of wearing the same stinky clothes for a day and a half. They had even given me a $20 flight certificate for my lost bag, which wasn’t even their fault. Props.
In conclusion of this little airline rant, I can see why Alaska Air has been awarded by whomever to be the best airline. I’ve never had an ounce of trouble with them, and their “bags in 20 minutes or less” guarantee is no joke. Delta’s fine and dandy, but I’ve (obviously) had my fair share of shit with them. But I’ve put my life in their hands many times, and I’m still alive, and that’s what matters, right?
This post has become incredibly long, so I’ll stop it here. I have some photos, not anywhere near as much as the last time (as I would have been photographing the same things, only with snow on it), but enough for your viewing pleasure. I will say that I have returned to Arizona with the pleasure of saying I have shot an AK-47.
Have you seemingly bricked your nook? Is it (mostly) unresponsive and seemingly useless and dead? Don’t throw out your beloved e-reader just yet.
No, *I* haven’t had any nook-bricking experience (yet), but my dear boyfriend Jake has, and he kindly asked me to share his experience (as well as the solution) with you good people. Jake writes:
So, I recently found out that rooting a nook no longer required you to brutally rip it open and physically void the warranty, possibly destroying your nook in the process. And, thanks to the people at www.nookdevs.com I successfully “soft rooted” my nook with a hacked version of B&N’s 1.4 version software. A few days of troubleshooting and a couple youtube vids later [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UF5w1dKe2U ] , I was able to connect through ADB using windows CLI and install the apps that are currently available from their site. The rooted version had, what I feel to be, a cleaner looking GUI, and alternatives to the majority of B&N’s OEM apps, as well as customizability I doubt B&N will ever adopt. The alternative apps had improvements, and served me well for several weeks. Well, one of the apps available is a version of the Market to easily download other apps available and update the ones you have so you don’t have to go through ADB, and I recently updated one of the critical components of the OS which, for whatever reason, BRICKED it.It would start like normal, but as soon as it got to the home screen, I was faced with a black unusable screen on both the eInk and touchscreen portion, (although the bar at the top was still active and the touch screen was responsive, so it wasn’t totally locked up). Also, it would refuse to connect to my PC properly. My PC would recognize that it was plugged in, but the two microSD cards inside where unavailable.In my attempts to troubleshoot, I downloaded B&N’s original v1.4 firmware, loaded the update to MY “external” microSD card (it is normally supposed to be in the nook’s internal microSD card, but that was unavailable to me). I attempted to update using methods I read on nookdevs site, But, as it turned out, due to the nature of the problem, updating in the conventional manor would NOT be possible.Several days later I succumbed to calling B&N’s nook tech support center. Much sooner than I expected, I was put on the phone with a technician who, also to my surprise, spoke ENGLISH, clearly! So after telling him my email address associated with my B&N account, I explained the problem and he explained the solution. Just like that. It was one of the most pleasant calls to a tech support ive experienced so kudos on them.The solution was a button pressing combo to wipe the internal microSD card, and install a fresh, albeit outdated, nook OS. I had assumed there was something like this possible, but despite all my googling I hadn’t found this technique, so that is why I am sharing it with you good people.To perform this:1. Turn your nook all the way off, both screens should be totally blank2. Press and HOLD the power button until the screen flashes twice, then CONTINUE to hold it down for 15 seconds3. Release the power button4. Repeat this 5 more times5. Power on like normal (single press)The nook should power on and the LCD screen should go black, and read off that it is “preparing partitions” and eventually instal a completely new kernel.It will restart on its own, and hopefully will start again with a fresh, factory install nook in front of you. It will install its updates automatically, but it can take some time so if you don’t want to wait, go to B&N’s site [ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/support/ ] and download the newest version update, throw it onto the internal “nook” drive, disconnect, and it should update automatically.
Well, I’ve been back home from Alaska for about a week now. Arizona is hot. Definitely missing Alaska weather.
As always, here are my photos.
Never thought I’d say, on the subject of Alaska, that I had a fantastic, amazing time. I do hope I get to go back up there again soon, *before* it hits -40 degrees.
So despite Sarah Palin and her existence there, I recommend it. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and that combined with seeing tons of moose, all in all I say it’s worth it just to go at least once.
Here are some more photos of my time in Alaska. Keep checking this album for more photos, I’ll be uploading them periodically as I take more. (Click here for a direct link to the album.)
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