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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Herd

As an English major I tend to write a lot of different essays. This one I'd like to share is my favorite so far from this semester. It is a metaphorical essay that describes the college students who eat at the residential dining area a.k.a "Res".
The Herd

    The sounds of hooves shuffle along the floor; its lunch time and the cattle are out to graze. The fences have opened and in come the noisy herd eager to enjoy the fruits of carefully tended labor: hamburgers, beef stir fry and tacos. With much pacing the cows decide what to eat and where to settle; they lay down in no particular order on their rumps and chew for hours. Welcome to Res.
    The students at UMass Dartmouth eat at the Resident Dining Hall “Res”. There, as anyone grazing at the peak hours can tell you, hungry students are naïve cattle. “What to eat?” they moan; “Where to settle?” they snuff; “Something’s in my way, it should move.” They stomp. As cattle do, they move in herds sluggishly, eat their weight and leave a mess of spittle and cud.
    Trying to maneuver your way through the cattle is like a maze with squeezing walls: you need to get by but they don’t let you! You must be nimble to squeeze by the hoard of bulls near the water hole and support beams. Be careful, or else you’ll lose your plate by someone’s stray horns or a whip of their tail as they turn without looking. Yes, being a skinny cow is preferable in this grazing field; being too bulky will knock around displays and naïve cows who stand idly. In their defense, the fencing was not properly designed to accommodate such a population. The several posts get in the way of a clear path to and from the feeding areas and watering holes. Poor design on the farmer’s part.
    After taking their time enjoying their meals the cows clumsily get up and make their way to leave. However, in every herd there are a few calves that have not learned proper etiquette and leave their mess for others to scowl at and clean. The strange thing is that these calves are in the same herd as the adults indicating they know better, but choose not to clear the area of their spittle and cud. Perhaps they are busy mooing to their friends and butting heads in order to show off their prowess.
    At the end of the day the farmers shoo away the cattle and begin the mucking process. A grueling task for the caring farmers, but if the cattle were more considerate then the environment would be a more pleasant place for everyone. So to all the cattle out there: Tread kindly.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Comics and Woes

          I thought I'd share one of my favorite webcomics. I have an enormous amount of respect for Zach Weiner, the creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. He has updated every day without fail with a hilarious, quality comic since I started reading it. I also love Scott Ramsoomair's popular VG Cats & Super Effective that focus on video game culture and Pokemon, respectively. The comics are again high quality and funny, but Scott fails to update...well...ever. Once or twice every two months if anything.
                On an unrelated note, I've been looking for another job lately because my current one isn't cutting all. I'm literally getting ZERO hours a week and the manager say's they have me "on call". (aka, hours are cut like crazy and you're never around so we don't need you) In my defense, I have every right not to be available: I'm in COLLEGE so I can get a better job once I'm done. I truly think one of the most difficult demographics of people to land jobs are college students, especially those who live on campus. This is because we have often strange availability hours that change every semester, live hours away from our hometown, and have several vacations throughout the year. Each one of those is an obstacle and severely hinders flexibility. Face it, employers don't want to work around a crazy schedule like that! In my case, because I live on campus, I live 40 minutes from home and an hour from work. It's difficult keeping work at home because I'm only available on weekends. Traveling and homework with my class hours can't coincide. On the other hand if I get a job around campus I won't be around on vacations or summer break. It's very tough and I applaud anyone who gets it to work for them. Hopefully I can land a second job soon.

What do you find is the most difficult thing to balance lately?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why not?

        I have a lot on my mind. I'm human! So I created this blog with the interest of you, the reader, in mind rather than simply spurting out mundane day-to-day happenings. That means that each post will try to engage you in some way or at least entertain you. I have an idea where this blog is going and I truly hope I keep up on it. I'm thinking a couple times a week. Only time will tell!

       I guess my first thought I will share with you will be about my African geography exam tomorrow. It's amazing that, as a college student, I'm still clueless as to where most things are on a map! Think about it, do you really think of Egypt as being part of Africa? Yes, I knew that, but you don't really think about it. You associate Egypt with pyramids, Egyptians, the Nile River and mummies; different from what you envision when you think of Africa: tribes, savanah, lions, Africans, and desert land just to name a few.
       My family often likes to remind me of how naive I am/was when it comes to our own country. It was when hurricane Katrina hit...I didn't know Mississippi was near the ocean. I thought it was more in the middle of the country where Missouri was. As embarrassing as it was, was it really my fault? I mean, I was never required to study the location of the states after all. Speaking of, the only thing I remember from my 7th grade geography class was the "5 Themes of Geography". Location, Place, Interaction, Movement & Region. Will I ever need that information? Maybe if I'm playing Trivial Pursuit of find my way into the Cash Cab. Who knows. And the only reason I even remember the 5 themes in the first place is because I set them to a tune in a video game. (Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages)
        That brings me to my final thought: mnemonic devices. They are AMAZING little buggers. It's how I'm basically "studying" for this Africa map test. My African Civilizations professor taught my class the "Rivers Song" to remember the main rivers of Africa. It goes to a tune: "Nile, Niger, Congo, Senegal, Orange, Limpopo, Zambezi". She claimed schoolchildren in Africa learn it and had our class sing it. Hearing my class of 20 somethings say "Limpopo" is the closest I'll be to entertained in that class. But anyway, I swear, mnemonic devices get you through life! Who hasn't heard "Roy G. Biv"? (I didn't until 8th grade...) "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" in math class? (7th grade) or when simply trying to remember many things at once, make a memorable image in your head to recall later. Of course, the more bizarre and risque the better.

What mnemonic devices have helped you in life?