Some people know them as panthers, mountain lions, pumas, catamounts, or painters. Where I’m from we call them cougars. Here in Washington alone it is estimated there are over 2,500 cougars in the wild. They are majestic, yet intimidating creatures. Even though most Washingtonians are surrounded by the woods, most people have never seen a cougar in person or given them much concern. My neighborhood is a dirt road so when word gets out one was spoken everyone on the street makes sure all their guns are out.
I have seen a cougar up close. One day me and my dad were driving to town and we saw one. We had just reached the paved part of the main road when a cougar leaped from one side of the road to the other. All I saw was a tail and a flash of tan fur. For a moment I thought I saw a giant monkey, as nonsensical as that sounds.
One of the few hobbies of mine I don’t recall ever mentioning on here is my stamp collection. When I was eight my dad took me to a stamp collecting event while my mom was having my brother’s baby shower. I was familiar with the concept of stamp collecting but had never given it much thought. Part of the event included being able to collect a page worth of stamps for free.
I decided this was something I wanted to get into so my dad got me a subscription to the Mystic Stamp catalog. Part of the subscription included being sent several packets of stamps every month, you could buy the ones you wanted and send the others back. While many people collect stamps for their value or significance, I didn’t care about any of that. What intrigued me about stamps was the fact they are like visual art in miniature form. I also enjoyed the fact that I could own mini paintings from all over the world. I acquired stamps from Hungary, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, the Marshall Islands, you name it. Even better, some were from places that no longer exist like the USSR or Upper Volta.
Honestly I don’t remember how long I collected stamps, but after a few years I called it quits. Paying for the subscription and stamps was too costly, mounting them in albums was time consuming. Of the hundreds of stamps I own, maybe ten percent are mounted in a quarter full album. The mounts were even more expensive. I still have that album and the rest of the stamps are in a shoebox, both kept at the bottom of a dresser which I have lots of random crap in.
I’d post some samples from my collection, but they’re back in Washington six hours away. Maybe some day I’ll get back into it. Here is a good stamp collecting blog: https://stampaday.wordpress.com
During undergrad I lived in the dorms. Doing so provided the perfect mixture of both community and convenience. Now that I’m in grad school at the University of Oregon I live in an apartment off campus, UO does have graduate dorms but they fill up quickly with preferential treatment given to those with spouses and/or kids. My apartment complex is exclusively for college students. However it doesn’t remotely feel like a dorm. You don’t really know your neighbors, there are no RAs, educational bulletin boards, or halls decorated in a theme that changes every term. Lacking RAs is a real problem, because there are obnoxious assholes who scream and holler for no apparent reason between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM without any consequence. Had there been RAs those loudasses would probably get fined and written up.
Unfortunately the complex is located right next door to a Holiday Inn and they are building an additional wing. My room is located right next to the construction. Fortunately the construction stops around sunset, so I only have to hear the aforementioned hollering imbeciles. However if I wake up early I will hear the construction load and clear. Having just ended dead week and currently entering finals week, I just get out of bed and begin working on assignments.
One thing I love about living in Eugene are all of the characters that I see on a regular basis. Almost all UO students dress totally normally, but lots of the other denizens in Eugene are rather unusual. Hippies are the most obvious subculture visible, but there are also a lot of others like punks and the occasional lite Goth. Some notable individuals include a barefoot, dreadlocked, mandolin growing pot farmer, a guy in a fox skin hat who plays the didgeridoo, and a leprechaun.
Yes, you read that correctly. A leprechaun. He wears a green bowler, a vest, shorts with striped knee socks, has a pointy goatee and smokes a pipe. His backpack has a bong sticking out of it and a cauldron attached. I’m honestly uncertain whether he intentionally dresses like a leprechaun or if it’s all a crazy coincidence.
I’ve been tempted to ask him about his pot of gold.
That’s what I drink every morning before my first class. I’ve been doing so for my whole time in college, it’s what gives me the energy and attention skills to power through my classes.
This week is finals week. Today I got a supreme (the lawyer friendly Venti), because the pesky International Relations take home essay on the IMF and World Bank won’t write itself.
I’ve never been a musical type, nobody in my family is. When I was little I had a variety of toy instruments like miniature bongo, a harmonica, that sort of thing, but none of those were designed well enough to produce ear pleasing music. There was a catalog that my mom subscribed to that sold toys and children’s books that were much higher quality than most found in stores. One day I was leafing through it and one of the items they sold was a didgeridoo. It sounded like the coolest thing ever, it even came with an instructional CD! My mom ordered it for me (most likely paying for it with my birthday/Christmas money), and a few days later we went to the post office to pick it up.
Before seeing it in the catalog I’d never heard of a didgeridoo, let alone heard what they sound like. I blew and blew on it but it produced no sound, so I popped in the CD. Hearing the unique sound was mesmerizing, even more thrilling when I could produce it myself. So many years have passed that I don’t know how long I actually practiced playing it, but I got bored with it. The last track on the CD was about circular breathing, which I could never get the hang of. I learned all of the cool sound tricks you can do with the diaphragm and tongue, but that doesn’t do much good when you can only play for under a minute. Eventually I got bored with it and haven’t played since. At least it was only like $40.
Said catalog is still around, and there items are as good as I remember them. Here is there website: http://www.hearthsong.com/
The first half of this semester was depressing for me, the depression was tolerable. Around midterms too many unexpected changes happened and that made me stress out and panic. Shit got too weird and I ended up missing the whole week after midterm, and things have felt like one game of catch up after another. I’ve never been so excited to get done with a semester. Only a week and a half left!
There are a wide variety of pies I enjoy eating. While pumpkin pie is unpredictable, one of the best ones I’ve have was the one I tried this Thanksgiving. It was from Costco. There is often a stigma attached to store bought pies, but I actually prefer them. My grandma was planning on baking the pie this year, but she couldn’t find the recipe she had in mind. She humbly admitted that, and the whole family could eat the pie without hurting anyone’s feelings.
On Thanksgiving it tasted kind of bland to me but I liked the texture. But on Black Friday it had an excellent flavor.
I’d love to meet Hank Hill, of the cult animated series King of the Hill. Hank is a simple, hard working man who is dedicated to his family, friends, work and neighborhood. He doesn’t put up with bullshit and sometimes can be a bit narrow minded and stubborn, but he is humble enough to change his mind when he realizes he is wrong. For a living he sells propane and propane accessories, so don’t you dare mention charcoal in front of him. For fun he enjoys watching the Dallas Cowboys and having an Alamo beer in the alley with his best friends. I’d love to join Hank and his buds for a beer, I tell you what.
I few months I ago my Senior History and Poli Sci Research Methods class visited the University of Washing in order to find resources at their library. I was in awe of the stone buildings on the campus.