Tag Archives: Life

Things are looking up

When I initially withdrew from grad school I felt relieved. A dead albatross was no longer hanging around my neck, I was so happy I took it off on my own terms. Naturally I started job hunting and at first it seemed like there was a world of opportunities. However there wasn’t. For every promising lead posted on any job finding site there are at least twenty postings for jobs outside of my skillset and completely irrelevant to the search terms. Staying at home all day every day with little to anticipate is soul crushing.

Last month I started volunteering for two local museums. One is a historical home and the other is a more general town museum. Volunteering there three times a week has done wonders for me. Now I finally have something to do and look forward to and am beginning to hone skills relevant to my history degree for when I apply for a promising job in the future, along with extending my network.

Another thing I have been doing is taking DSLR classes. I got a Canon for my birthday, so I’ve been doing a weekly class at a local nearby community college. Right now I’m doing the second part, the first part three weeks ago. Pretty soon I’ll be creating an online portfolio, I’ll post a link here once I do.


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New Year, New Circumstances, Old Me

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, last quarter I was on academic probation and was at risk of being dismissed from my grad program in I failed to get my GPA up to the minimum. Well this time my quarterly GPA was better and did go somewhat up, but it was well below the minimum. In fact, I got the first D of my academic career. My ADA coordinator told me the best case scenario would be that I be allowed to stay another quarter and be allowed to complete the degree if I adequately raised my GPA. It’s a year long program. If I did, I would get permission to take two classes a quarter instead of three and retake the classes I didn’t do so hot in, which would mean graduating the year after.

That option seemed unsavory. Having just scraped by a quarter with the risk of dismissal over my head, I didn’t want to go through another such quarter. Even worse, this time there would be the risk of of spending all that extra time and money for me to be dismissed from the program after completing 75% of it. Another concern was that being able to stay and complete the program would be a Pyrrhic Victory, where the battle is one at the expense of winning the war.

For that reason I decided it would probably be wisest t0 withdraw from the program. Initially I was waiting for word back from the department, if they dismissed me it would eliminate the choice for me and if not I wanted to know what they offered. However after returning home I decided to go ahead and withdraw before they did. I wanted to leave the program with some dignity.

On December 20th I was no longer a Duck. It only went uphill from there.

Now I am looking for full time employment. Hopefully I will find a job before the end of May, when the cohort ends. Obviously the sooner I get something the better, but I do want to enter the real world earlier than I would have if I stayed in the program and graduated on time.

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A Big Cat

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.


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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


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Down to the Wire

Nothing sucks more than being confused about an assignment deadline. While I was able to get a lot done over Thanksgiving break, I didn’t realize that I had a major assignment due tonight. I thought it wasn’t due until next week. I’m pretty much done in all my other classes, so I can finally zero in on completing this draft. This has been a stressful semester, especially with the additional burden of being on academic probation. I just remind myself of what Dory would do. Just keep swimming.

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Want some culture?

I guess it’s a good opportunity to post some pictures of my trip to France back in May. Here are some pics from the Musee d’Orsee, Musee Cluny and Notre Dame.


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This year I’m spending my Thanksgiving all alone. I was going to go back home and had a round trip Amtrak booked to go to Washington and back, but my mom told me she thought it would be wise if I cancelled the ticket and stated in Oregon. She’s right. I’ve been busy and stressed out, with barely enough hours in a day and days in a week to stay on top of my homework. That train departed on Tuesday and I had a revision draft of an article due yesterday. Tuesday was also the day I gave a student presentation that forms 35% of my grade in that class, I hadn’t been scheduled when the ticket was bought.

I always found Thanksgiving break to be ill timed, since the semester/quarter is usually only for like two more weeks or so not counting finals week. During undergrad the break generally helped me charge my batteries to soldier through the last leg of the semester. Now that I’m in grad school I simply can’t afford to take almost a weekend off, let alone an extended one. Especially when home is a six hour train trip away, compared to a half hour car ride.

As for my Selfsgiving dinner I’m having turkey breast, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, marshmallow yams, and stuffing.

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I’ve seen a leprechaun

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.



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Tall Iced Mocha

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.



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My Didgeridoo

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.

File:Didgeridoo (Imagicity 1070).jpg

Said catalog is still around, and there items are as good as I remember them. Here is there website: http://www.hearthsong.com/



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