What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

31 August 2010

In the Desert on a Bus with No Name

After a long day of joyous singing and brilliant speakers, TCC had one more treat in store for us: An Acappella concert.

You can almost see me in this version of the picture. And I would post my own pics, rather than stolen ones, but guess where my camera was? If you guessed: "The same place it is every other time I want it", then you are correct.

Acappella. Chad & I were sitting next to a girl who I first met when I was an 18-year-old aim student in Denver City, and she was a really sweet middle schooler. And the two of us were giggling and singing along as though no time had passed at all since then. Except time has passed, and I suppose we were giggling more at the happy nostalgia and the fun we were having than we would have done back in the day.

We were both amazed when one of the singers asked who had never been to an Acappella concert: A lot of hands went up. I guess Acappella isn't the thing for this generation, or something? I don't know why that is, but I do still like them as much now as I did when I was in high school. And they sang two of the three songs that I was really really really hoping they would sing, so it was all good for me.

Then there was some arranging for who would be staying in which house, and Chad & I got a ride back to the church building (it was "too far" to walk-- seriously?? Nowhere in DC is too far to walk!) to get the key to the house we were staying in, because it's a rental with no current occupants. And, as we found out a few hours later, no water. Oops.

Then, we went with our gracious host/landlord to the after-party, where a little bit of everything was in full swing-- ping-pong, skateboarding, swimming, basketball, trampoline jumping, eating, cheer practise, talking, and I think there was some TV watching in there somewhere, although I don't know how, because it was LOUD. When one family opens up their home to over 100 people, there is bound to be some noise. I freaked out one of the aim assistants (which I seem to have a real gift for), met a few teens and a couple of adults from all over the place, and harassed a nice young man who used to be a serious pest back when he was about 10. We knew he'd grow out of it eventually. ;)

And Acappella turned up, having finished their tear down. :) But at about that time, our host was about to fall asleep on his feet, so he collected us and a few girls who were either going to his house or just needed a ride home and dropped us all off at our respective locations. This was when Chad & I made the no-water discovery, but we were down the street from a member of the church who had plenty of running water, so we decided we could get a shower at their house the next morning before collapsing into bed. And I hadn't moved when I woke up about seven hours later and wondered what happened to the noise and the streetlights. (There's a lot to be said for small towns.)

Okay, I guess the trip to Denver City gets to be a trilogy.

30 August 2010

On Top of a Pump Jack the View is Amazing

Otherwise entitled, "Hey, Cool, I Went to Denver City this Weekend."

Forty-eight years ago, some bright spark at the church of Christ in Denver City thought, "We should have a youth rally in Denver City every year." And so, the DC (you all get what I mean by DC, right? I don't have to type the whole thing out every time?) Teenage Christian Conference was born. (I totally stole all TCC-related pics from TCC's Facebook page.)

Forty-eight years later, it's still going strong. And not only is the teenage version (which is just as much fun for adults as teens, btw) still crazy-successful, but DC also hosts a Keenage Christian Conference (for the over-40 crowd) and a Bilingual Christian Conference (Spanish & English) at other times of the year. This church is small, but my goodness, do they ever keep themselves busy.

Anyway... I was perusing Facebook a couple of weeks ago when TCC came up in my suggested events, and I was sad for about 10 seconds that I couldn't go, then remembered that one of the speakers lives in Round Rock! Just north of where I live! And he's a friend from my aim days!

So, I promptly sent a message to his wife to see if we could tag along. (Yeah, I'm really friends with her more than him. What?) So we got it all arranged, and I set off on a two-week stretch of happy anticipation, which all culminated in Chad & I getting on a church bus in the wee (4 AM!) hours Saturday morning. And then I promptly fell asleep, to be woken a couple of hours later in a McDonald's parking lot.

Blah blah long drive with teenscakes, and we arrived! In Denver City! Yay! Our group opted for Dairy Queen (and when I say "our group", I of course mean the adults in charge). Chad & I are not fans of DQ, so we walked all the way across DC (a whole half-mile) to get ourselves some Sonic drinks and then walked back to the church, except we didn't, because we were apprehended by one of the ladies in the church who knows us from many years of Bible bowl, and who drove us the remaining half-dozen or so blocks. :) By way of aside, Chad & I were marvelling once again at how quickly the body adapts; a half-mile of walking in dry 85-degree heat across level ground is pretty darn easy after two months of walking up and down hills in humid 95+ heat.

Yeah. So we got to the church, signed ourselves in, wondered what was taking our group so long at the DQ, and went round greeting all and sundry that we know, and even a few we don't. That hour or so before everything begins is a lot of fun, and I almost said it's my favourite time of the day at TCC, but that's not true, because there is no part of the day at TCC that I don't love. Well, except that part at the end when I have to get in a car and leave. :(

Our group finally finished their lunch, I retrieved my Bible and non-sun glasses that I had left on the bus, we found a seat (you can see Chad about halfway down on the left-hand side in a grey shirt in this pic), and TCC started with some singing. It's hard to go wrong when singing with 800 people; it's bound to be 1) Loud, 2) Fun, and 3) Absolutely amazing. Plus, Skip is a crazy-good songleader.

So, loved the singing. Loved the speakers-- they were fabulous. Loved, loved, loved the fellowship; that's pretty much the reason I go, after all.

Tomorrow: Acappella concert and the after-party.

29 August 2010

Being Counted

I was an adult before I found out that churches have attendance cards for people to fill out every week.

You see, the church I grew up attending in Greenfield doesn't have attendance cards. They have a Mabel. It was a bit of a shock to me to find out that every church doesn't come with a Mabel: Someone who sits near the back and checks off the list of who is present. She also meets all the visitors, partly out of necessity to keep her list updated. And if the visitors are people who have returned after a long absence, Mabel already knows who they are (and was probably standing by the door to greet them when they came in). You know all those people (most of the U.S. by now, I should think) who "aren't good with names"? Mabel could teach a class on how to be good with names.

This is not Mabel; it's my grandmother. But the two of them are good friends, and Mabel is as close as anyone can be to being my grandmother without actually sharing any of her DNA with me. And I don't have any digital pics of Mabel, so I decided this picture was close enough.

Anyway, we are now at a church that expects that we will fill out an attendance card and turn it in every week. Weird-- but we're doing it anyway, because we like to get along with people from time to time.

And I guess it's nice to be counted.

28 August 2010

Funny how habits change.

Once upon a time, I was a fervent reader. I'm not sure what happened.

I have not, of course, stopped reading. I've just stopped reading anything new; Chad is bemused, as were a string of roommates before him, at my current reading habits: I reread. A lot.

I turned my attention toward my reading habits this week because I'm still reading Steven King's book On Writing, in which he encourages would-be writers to spend lots of time reading, going so far as to dismiss TV as something writers should avoid. (I presume he would not give the same advice to would-be scriptwriters.)

So I wondered what happened to my reading, and finally realised that I got out of the habit of reading-- and in particular, coming home from the library with a stack of books once a week-- when I was an aim student. There were too many other things for me to do, and in Scotland I didn't even have a library card. Then when I was an aim assistant, going to the library wasn't convenient.

These days, my world has a lot of other interesting things in it (Blogger, Facebook) and I have been distracted from what was once my greatest hobby. Plus, I always feel like I'm neglecting my husband when I spend lots of time reading. Which is funny, because I read anyway, but instead of finding new things to read, I keep going back to the same old friends that I've owned for years.

But, Mr. King is correct; good writers must be readers. There is no way around it. So, I think it's time to pick up an old habit again.

Another gem I've run across in this book: Apparently, it's totally normal to imitate the style of others while finding one's own style. Thank goodness; all this time I thought I was just a bad writer. (I may still be. But not because of that.)

27 August 2010

And So It Starts.

Wednesday. Day 1 of my first long UT semester.

Unlike my first day of summer school, I got up on time, made some tea (insurance for a good day, I always say), got out to the bus on time, made my transfer (the campus shuttle that was empty all summer long is less so now that everyone is back to class), and got to campus with 20 minutes to spare.

So far, so good.

So I went to my first class, took a seat, reflected that this teacher's Spanish was remarkably easy to understand, and had just thought, "Hey, I don't think the course number on the syllabus matches what I signed up for," when the sign-in sheet arrived at my desk. Which also coincided with the instructor asking if we all got the email she sent the previous day.

So I raised my hand and said, "I'm in the wrong room. Sorry." Then I gathered my stuff and left.

I did a little re-check of my planner, realised that I was on the wrong floor, and went upstairs to make an inglorious entrance in my correct class, where my proper instructor had just finished calling roll. On the upside, my first class has another non-traditional student who was sitting right next to me, so we did our group work together today.

I have this little rule in my academic life, apparently, which states that I must make some sort of impression on my first day of any class. If I don't, then there is no telling what might happen in the next class meeting; I'm likely to trip or get a nosebleed or both.

Yeah. So with that in mind, let's skip on over to class #2: Linguistics. I like this instructor already; she seems to teach in pretty much the way I would teach, if I were to ever be so mad as to try teaching. And she asked if any of us studied any other languages, so I raised my hand and said, "Scots Gaelic." What? It was more interesting that what anyone else said, except maybe for the guy who studies Swahili. And the instructor said, "Wow, right on! Good for you!" Heck yeah, it's right on.

And now back to Spanish, where I did not manage to draw attention to myself in any way. Uh-oh; this can't be good. My instructor for this class is Japanese, and can I just tell you how exciting it is to be taught Spanish by a Japanese woman? Possibly one of the coolest things ever. And what's really great here is that if she were teaching an English class, I probably wouldn't be able to understand her, due to my serious problem with accents.

Easy classes over; time for History of Rhetoric. Specifically, Deliberating War. I signed up for this class because I heard good things about the instructor, but her syllabus and long book list (nine books, including the ginormous course packet that I had to pick up at the copy shop) have me fighting the familiar what-have-I-gotten-myself-into panic. I'm writing two versions each of three papers, all over a topic that I'm not actually excited about. I'm going to call this one real-world practise for grad school. And while I did nothing goofy during this class, I did visit the prof's office hours to ask a question about the reading for Friday. Consider me introduced.

And finally, Spanish literature. The instructor came in speaking Spanish, and he didn't say a word of English for the hour of our class. I really hope that I understood everything he said. And one final impression before I go: This is one of those teachers who politely refers to the students as Mr. or Miss, except that it's a Spanish class, so it's Señor or Senorita. So I did my normal thing and told him I'm a Señora. Turns out that conversation is a lot more straightforward in Spanish, and a lot less awkward than "No, no, it's 'Mrs.'"

Also today, I managed to see Annoying Guy, but not in any of my classes, gracias a Dios para favores pequeños; I don't know that I'm ready for someone who can be annoying in two languages. Someone besides myself, that is.

And what's really nice about my semester: This space between the fountain and the tower has a long grassy stretch surrounded by six buildings (known as the six-pack), and my five classes all take place in three of those buildings. Nice.

26 August 2010

A year ago today...

I was on the University of Texas website, looking at the academic calendar.

You see, this day last year was the first day of classes. And I was wishing that I was in Austin, starting my fall semester. I wished that I had been able to tell the future, six months before a year ago today, to know just how much I would want to be out of Lubbock. I was wishing that I had foreseen the frustration and anger at my job and the universe in general.

Instead, I was sitting in my living room, looking at the UT website, and promising myself, "Next year, that will be me."

You see, I had my essays written. I had my personal data assembled. I was 100% ready to apply to UT for Summer 2010, and my only regret was that we were locked into a lease (and Chad had a school-year job) that would make a January admission impossible. All I needed was for September 1st to arrive, so I could fill in my application and send it.

One year later: I finished Summer 2010 with great joy and reasonable success. It's day 2 of Fall 2010. And my life is good... and seems much brighter than it did one year ago today.

25 August 2010

A Fair and a Bible

It's three-for-one day here at Cheekyness, ladies and gentlemen, because I live such a wild an exciting life that it can't possibly be contained in one blog post! Or even two!

So, yesterday. The day before school started. There have been Welcome Week activities of all sorts happening around campus since last Friday, but I've stayed away from them all because 1) I don't live on (or near) campus so activities are a challenge to get to, and 2) It's been too dang hot to want to go to any of them.

But, yesterday was different. Yesterday there were a few things that I did want to do, so we left the apartment early in the afternoon with the intention of spending the rest of the day at UT. (In fact, I've spent more time on campus than at home in the last 24 hours, which is crazy for unhurried, un-busied, homebody me.)

The excitement began before we even got to campus; Capital Metro decided at the last minute this past weekend that the bus route that goes by our house was one of the ones that would be changed for the fall scheduling. I just barely learned that route, Cap Metro! Sheesh. So now I get to learn it over again.

Anyway, our first order of business at the Forty Acres (that's the UT campus; if you're going to read this blog for the next couple of years, you'll have to learn the UT lingo) was the Student Organization Fair. I had already found two (including Texas Runners) that I planned to join, so this was mostly a trip to see if there was a fantastic organization on campus that I haven't heard of yet. And, of course, there were two more: Texas Triathlon (brilliant!) and Oxfam. I volunteered for one of Oxfam's charity shops when I lived in Glasgow, but I had no idea they had gone international, so I was pretty excited to see that there is a campus chapter.

After 20 minutes in the 104+ heat got us nicely soaked through with sweat, Chad & I headed indoors. Specifically, we went to the Harry Ransom Center, which houses (among other things) The Gutenberg Bible and the world's first photograph. Unfortunately, I can't regale you with every detail of that visit, because the museum is closed for renovation until mid-September, but their two most famous exhibits were on display in the lobby. So, we spent some time admiring the Gutenberg Bible, and a little less time admiring the photograph.

Next, I was anxious to get a beginning-of-UT photo taken at the favourite spot on campus for such shots. The plan is that Chad & I will have someone take another picture of us there when I graduate. Yesterday, however, we didn't take a photographer with us. Not wanting to stop one of the thousands of swarming freshmen around the place just to get both of us in, I just had Chad take a pic of me and that was the end of it. He had fun pretending to be a professional photographer, anyway (hence the well-mannered pose, instead of my usual slouching).

From there we headed on down the hill (it didn't get any cooler while we were inside, btw), and stopped at the stadium because there was a flag-lowering ceremony in progress. Kinda. I didn't see what branch of the military was operating the flagpole, but there was a lot of standing-around-at-attention while we were watching, so we finally gave it up & headed up the next hill. (The UT stadium is essentially in a big hole in the ground. So if you go near it, there will be some hill climbing in your future, no matter what direction you want to go next.)

A Gyro, a Handball & some Shaved Ice walk into a Su

I forgot to mention in my previous post that sometime during the afternoon Chad & I were wandering Guadalupe (don't pronounce the "e" on the end; I don't know why, except that Austin is weird) Street looking for some food and we ran across a Jordanian restaurant, of all things. While we stared at the menu in "uncertain" mode, the owner recommended his #1-selling item: It was a Gyro with lamb and beef in it, and some various seasonings. I forget what he called it, but it was fabulous. So if anyone comes to visit us, we will probably take you there for lunch at least once.

At the end of the last post, Chad & I were halfway up one of UT's 243 hills. We were on our way to meet up with another group who I plan to join on campus: Koinonia. Not to be confused with the LCU social club of the same name (and I don't join "social clubs," anyway), this is one of the Christian organizations on campus, and from what I have seen, it's the only Christian group that was geared up and ready to go in terms of welcoming new students; they've had activities going on all week.

Tuesday's activity was "Shaved Ice and Sports", and while the "sports" part normally sounds scary to me, it was pretty much the only thing we had to occupy our time between the organization fair and Gone to Texas. So, we went along, met a few friendly people, and were assigned to the blue team. (Yay!) Our first contest was to come up with at team cheer, and the blue team won! Unfortunately, that was the last thing we won.

The intrepid Blue Team, during a break.

The first game was called "Handball", and it was essentially Ultimate Frisbee with soft foamy balls instead of flying discs of doom. And it was much, much more fun than I anticipated. It started raining while we were playing, but it hardly mattered, because we were all already dripping with sweat anyway. After a few games of handball, we stopped playing for a while because the shaved ice arrived.

Well, you can't actually see a ball in this picture. But that's what the game looked like. :)

Then, we played a game called "Braveheart", which apparently Koinonia plays at all of their game-playing gatherings. It was essentially dodgeball, but with yoga balls instead of the rubber things you used to use in primary school. Also more fun than I anticipated.

And while we were having a great time with Koinonia, we had to head off for Gone to Texas.

Gone to Texas

After getting all sweaty, rained on, and filled up (ha!) on shaved ice, we trekked across campus once again for Gone to Liberal Arts. We had intended to arrive early so we could have a chance at some door prizes, but got carried away with all that handball and other fun we were having, so not only did we get no door prizes (and no free t-shirt!), but we also had to wait at the end of a very long line to get our barbecue.

On the way to Liberal Arts, we passed the College of Natural Science's picnic, and they had Papa John's. Chad asked, "What are we having?" and when I told him, he then asked, "Why aren't you in Natural Sciences?" Hmmm... because I'd like to pass my classes, that's why.

And here we have "Gone to Liberal Arts". Dinner, basically, is what went on here, although there were a few information tables for those who weren't paying attention at orientation. We sat with a very sweet freshman from Houston called Ashley, who was nervous about her first day but was also happy to talk about her experience on campus thus far. I hope she had a good day today; with her being a first-year student who is not in my major, our chances of ever meeting again are slim.

And here's my complaint o' the day: All the other colleges had nice, tasteful t-shirts in navy, or grey, or brown, with small but pretty logos on them. We in Liberal Arts have obnoxious green (bet even my green-loving sister couldn't love this thing) with a cheesy "Price is Right"-themed logo. Ay yi yi.

Then, it was over to the front side of the Tower for "Gone to Texas", which is the new student welcome night and has been happening every August for the past 13ish years. It's meant to be one bookend to our time at UT, with the other bookend being Commencement. More on that to come... in two years.

This is not our most charming picture ever.

There was not a good way to get a shot of these flags without going up to the stage area, which was not being encouraged. But these are the flags of the various colleges. You can see the backside of the blue Liberal Arts flag in the picture above from the picnic.

It wasn't windy. Not at this exact moment, anyway. We were sitting pretty much directly under the flag.

I believe this is when the carillon was playing "The Eyes of Texas" (for some inexplicable reason, they are upon me). The lighting of the Tower changed with the program throughout the evening.

Today (Wednesday) the carillon played "Let it Snow." I'm guessing that the carillon player is tired of the heat. I feel the opposite, however, so I was less pleased at his choice of noontime entertainment.

Apparently, I was pretty well enraptured with whatever was going on.

It's hard to get a picture of moving things in the dark. But this was the band marching in at the end.

Chad & I had to leave a few minutes before the end so that we could catch our bus, but we were nearly trampled by sprinting band students who had apparently been promised pizza after they were finished playing. I personally cannot eat pizza at 10 PM, but maybe I could have done when I was 20.

And the Tower, glowing orange for the finale. The lighted windows spell "14", for the Class of 2014, but because of the trees we could only get the "1". So I'm just pretending that it says "12". :)

So, my friends, I have indeed Gone to Texas. Now for the hard part: Graduating from Texas.

24 August 2010

Eager Freshgirl and the Campus Tour of Oddity

There was a girl on the campus tour who kept making me giggle. And not in a kind way, I'm afraid.

Despite my recent complaints, I really am all about people being engaged and interested. I don't mind asking questions about things I don't understand. (I really, really love people who like to say "There are no dumb questions," because I call that a fun challenge.) I'm a non-traditional student, for goodness' sakes, and we are renowned for our ability to annoy others with our comments and questions.

Questions like, "How old is this building?" or "Where can I find (insert search term here)?" or "What do you mean when you say 'FAC'?" are all legitimate campus-tour questions. You know what isn't a legitimate question? "Why is our mascot a Longhorn, anyway? That's kind of strange." It seems to me if you have already gone through the entire application and acceptance process and are preparing to move in the next day to start class the following week, you could probably have already found the answer to this question. And as our tour guides very tolerantly pointed out, this is Texas; longhorns are actually not an unusual sight.

Sigh. Poor Eager Freshgirl. The sight of her sprinting (in 100-degree heat, mind you) to the front of the group every time we moved from one place to another so she could be right next to the tour guides when we stopped had already caught my attention. I had already asked Chad, "What do you think; drama kid or home school?" (Sorry, drama kids and home schoolers, but those are the ones who tend to draw attention to themselves their first week at university.)

I did not find out Eager Freshgirl's origins, because experience has also shown me that saying, "Hey, are you home schooled?" is not considered a polite opening sentence in most circles. And being that she is a Freshgirl, it's not likely that I'll see her again. Ach, well.

Tonight, I'm Going To Texas. It's going to be fun. :)

23 August 2010


We raced out the door on Wednesday morning to catch the 6:52 bus (!) so that we could get to campus by 8:00. I'm going to have to find a better way to get to my 8:00 classes, that's certain.

There was a really long general information meeting. Then there was a short college meeting, in which three tips were shared for a successful college life. 1.) Get involved, 2.) Go to class, 3.) I don't remember #3, because I spent most of the presentation trying to figure out why on earth #1 & 2 weren't swapped round. All the getting involved in the world won't help you if you are failing because you skipped class once a week.

And from there we were herded (more or less; these students working in the New Student Services department are a competent, and eager, bunch) to a meeting in our department: Well, it was supposed to be a department meeting, but apparently Rhetoric & Writing is a "small department", so I was bunched together with all the other Liberal Arts majors who aren't in the "Big Five". Yay, us.

And then Chad & I skipped off of campus and had some lunch. And did some tourist-y stuff.

Day 2: We went to a really small transitions workshop, where I signed up for something. I'm sure all will become clear when I check my inbox later. From there, we trekked across campus to a "Get involved" meeting, which actually wasn't that useful to me. Bummer.

Then we stopped by Taco Bell for a quick lunch, and I discovered that on campus at least, Taco Bell uses Austin water to make their Frutista Freezes. Dang! I drank some of it, then dug out the strawberries & threw the rest away. Chad says it tasted like chlorine, but whatever it was, I didn't want any more. Ick.

And after lunch, we departed on the much-awaited campus tour. Yay! I finally got to be one of those people in a very big crowd who have been blocking the sidewalk all summer long. Remember how I said I don't know what this building is? Well, I do now. It's the Littlefield House, and has a nice story attached about a woman who wanted her own children but didn't have any, so her husband built this house and Littlefield Dormitory, just behind it, so that Mrs. Littlefield could be "Mother" to dozens of college girls.

Then one more information meeting (at the student rec center), and we were done. We consider ourselves to be fully-oriented.

And since then, we've been on the lookout for all the "Welcome Week" activities to get our hands on free food. Yep, the life of a college student is indeed entertaining.

22 August 2010

The Non-Race Recap

I know how much you all look forward to my monthly race recaps, so it is with a heavy heart that I must bring you this news: There won't be any more of those.

Not monthly, anyway; the Austin running club doesn't have a $5 race every month for us to enter. Which is a real bummer, because I've looked forward to those every month for the past three years. And while I've missed a few, I've always done a race somewhere else on what was a normal WTRC race day (twice in Austin, once in Indianapolis).

But this month, on the second Saturday, the WTRC got together without us to have their race. I was pretty sad on my solo run that morning, because we really did enjoy the running club and managed to make a lot of friends on our monthly Saturday-morning sweat sessions.

This photo is from the March race this year, when I volunteered rather than ran. Both of these ladies are considerably faster than I (like most of the planet). Good thing we're all friends on Facebook.

21 August 2010

Toolbox, Part 2

Continuing my thoughts on Stephen King's On Writing...

After his memoir and his take on the rewrite, Mr. King moves on to the writer's toolbox. Oh, this is a biggie. I'll probably reread this section and take notes. Grammar and usage are a big part of the toolbox, of course, but I think I have that side of it all stitched up. What I needed to hear was his section on adverbs.

I love adverbs. I love adverbs almost as much as I love semicolons. If it weren't for the strange looks the poor kid would get from the rest of humanity, I'd name my first child "Semicolon Adverb." But Stephen King says, "Adverbs are not your friend."


His case for avoiding adverbs is a good one; active verbs really can do the job without adverbial help. Sigh. As if I don't have enough issues with trying to cut down on my semicolon use. Reading (and heeding!) the advice of writers can only improve my writing. And I need to decide what works for me and especially grab hold of that stuff. But perhaps I'll just title my first book Semicolon Adverb in recognition of what I had to edit out.

The news does get better after that, when he says that language need not always be dressed up. ("Wear a tie", I think he says.) Now, I am a grammar nut. When it comes to a newspaper, or a flyer, or a sign in a store, or anything else that is published for my information, I expect to see that the writer either ran it through a grammar check or at least asked someone else to check it over and be sure that it was correct. Sadly, I am often disappointed. (My husband's alma mater is a repeat offender in this category.)

But when it comes to fiction, it is liberating to not have to stick to the rules like Crazy Glue. And I should know-- for the past 10 years of my life, everyone in my world has been gracious about my brain continually battling between two sets of rules-- British and American. On any given day, there is no telling which set will win. So I appreciate that my words are allowed to go out in flip-flops and a tank top, instead of a skirt and heels.

20 August 2010

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

You want to see a bunch of bad writing? Assign an essay on this topic and read until your eyes bleed.

I'm pretty sure it's not a secret that I love to write. What is a secret (kinda) is how long it took me to love writing. And part of my hatred comes from topics like this one. I don't know what the rationale is for assigning such a mindless essay; perhaps it's just a good way to get students back into the swing of things after their writing muscles have gotten rusty. Maybe (since the essays are usually read aloud afterwards) the idea is to spot which students are terrified of standing in front of the class.

To be fair, I never wrote one of these. Not once. Not that my primary-school teachers didn't have their own topics that made me cringe and never want to see a pencil again, but "Summer Vacation" essays were not common at Weston Elementary School.

I'm not a teacher, so I don't have a solution here, just a gripe. Helpful, I know.

I wish there were a better way to teach children to write than to assign a topic and force them to put ideas on paper. But so far, there isn't, which means my love of writing was almost bludgeoned to death by well-meaning teachers who had 20 other children who didn't love to write who they had to consider. I would have written for no one but myself (and did, actually; I had bunches of stuff that I'd never shown anyone to get rid of when I graduated), but instead, I had to write for an adult who was going to red-pencil my creation to death. Sharing my soul in that way was scary, and making my way back to writing took a long time.

But, here I am. And I'm so glad.

19 August 2010

Because I can.

I ran track in middle school. Sorta. I was not a fast runner, even then. But we did have a local fast runner, in the same grade as me, who was already amazingly good even at age 12... and I'm going to call her "Alex"*, because I didn't get her permission to use her real name.

Alex really was a fantastic runner. She would lead the warm-ups at the beginning of meets, and wouldn't you know it, her warm-up pace was faster than my race pace; I couldn't keep up. And I remember her occasionally talking about going here or there to run some unbelievable distance-- like a 5K-- and it was a world I thought I'd never understand. (Ha! How things change!) But unlike some highly-talented, extremely-focused athletes, she was never unapproachable. We weren't besties or anything-- I think "acquaintances" is probably the most accurate word-- but she was very encouraging, even to the slowest member of the team (me).

Fast-forward a decade (okay, two decades), and Alex & I are friends on Facebook. I think we talk now more than we did when we saw one another on a daily basis. Good job, internet! Way to bring people together. A few months ago, upon returning from a particularly good run, I innocently went to Alex's page to ask her if she still runs. No, she said, her knees gave out on her years ago. Dang.

It seems unfair to me that Alex, of all people, should be unable to run. Alex, who worked hard at it when I was goofing off. Sidelined from running before she even got to her 30s, when many long-distance runners peak. Meanwhile, slow & waddling me, for whom a 10-minute pace is blindingly fast, who might get up to 9:30 on a downhill with the wind behind me-- I'm still plodding along.

I run because I can, however slowly. I often think about how I would like to run for something besides myself-- that's why we do charity runs, after all-- so I hope there is a part of me who runs because there are those who cannot.

Thanks for the inspiration, Alex. I'm a better runner because of you.

*And also because the front-page story of the newspaper next to me is about a girl named "Alex," and I'm currently short on creativity.

18 August 2010

Su 2010

Can I tell you how much I love that the abbreviation for the summer semester at UT is "Su?" It's like the whole place knew I was coming.

I also like how the sun looks like it is plotting something. Much like myself.

Anyway. I lived through Astronomy with a good enough grade. I'm hoping the lab portion of the class (which I'm taking this fall) is just as easy.

But I am heartbroken that Principles of Rhetoric is finished. I loved, loved, loved that class. I think I've mentioned how great the instructor was-- I am so keeping an eye out to see if I can get into any more of her classes-- but unflattering nicknames notwithstanding, I liked my classmates, too.

I feel a little bit of guilt that I didn't learn most of my classmates' names; apart from the ones who sat immediately around me and the ones in my group project, I'm pretty well unsure about everybody else. This does fit into the "self-absorbed jerk" image that I work so hard to maintain, but also undercuts the social aspect of university for me. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be making friends. So, I guess I should put that into my "things to work on" list for the fall semester.

So, I took my final on Friday and went home feeling a bit deflated--there is a sense of loss at coming to the end of most things, and certainly so when it's such a fun group of people. I really can only hope for more of the same with subsequent classes.

My inaugural session at UT was a complete success, leaving me eager to start the fall semester. Just a week to go!

17 August 2010

Another Tool in the Box

I'm reading Stephen King's On Writing, and wow, am I ever enjoying it.

This is a re-read, actually; it's been a few years since I read it last. And I can't for the life of me remember why I waited this long to read it again, because it's absolutely fantastic. And a great thing for a budding writer to read.

I'm only about halfway through it. The first part of the book is a memoir indeed; it's the story of how he came to be a writer. I quite enjoyed this bit. When someone can write about the past well, it's a pleasure to read, the more so when it is in memoir fashion. And it has set me thinking, of course... you all may get to read bits of my early writing influences, too, if I ever remember them long enough to write about it.

A big big huge ginormous especially helpful thank-you-for-putting-it-in-print bit of advice came to Mr. King from the local newspaper editor, and I think it was worth buying the whole book just for the paragraph containing this sentence: "Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open."

My rhetoric teacher has already taken great pains this summer to tell us (and me personally, many times) that good writing is all revision. I appreciate that Mr. King puts the same truth in a different way and elaborates, because I think the link I was missing is in here: Writing the first time is for yourself, but then it has to be rewritten for the readers. And all the stuff that went in for me has to come out if it isn't part of the story.

On this blog, of course, I don't really do that. You get it all, straight from my brain to the electronic page. You're welcome! But I can't do that for any of the potential careers I have in mind.

To be continued...

16 August 2010

Don't call me that.

I had a bit of a run-in with a rude guy in a coffee shop.

Unfortunately, the rude guy was an employee, the Bald King of Java, as it were. I hope he gets some lessons in customer service soon. You see, I had visited this coffee shop on campus a couple of times, and noticed that there were bikes parked indoors. Cool, I thought; I can bring my bike in here.

I forgot my bike lock one day last week, and didn't want to leave my bike sitting outside while getting my tea. So, I went to this shop and took the bike in with me. The Bald King of Java shouted at me that indoor bicycle parking was for employees only, Miss! Then another employee (I think the Bald King is a manager, unfortunately) assured me it was okay & got my tea for me.

For reasons passing understanding, I did purchase tea from this shop. I think it's because I was so taken aback by the Bald King's rudeness that I didn't really think it through. But I was furious, so much so that I was shaking. I went back outside with my so-disruptive bicycle and tried to calm down, then decided to channel all that fury into a productive outlet: writing.

Oh, yes, I wrote the King of Java a little note, apologising for messing up his day with my bicycle that I didn't realise was unwelcome inside his shop and assuring him that the mistake would not be repeated. And there may have been a suggestion that he should brush up on his customer service skills.

And I finished it off with this little tip: "It is traditional in the south to address a woman one does not know as 'Ma'am,' not 'Miss.' The more so in this case, because I am actually a 'Mrs.'"

Then I returned to the store, without bringing my bicycle, and found the Bald King of Java was busy with customers. So, I handed the happy little note to another employee and requested that she pass it along to "that gentleman." She laughed-- no need to tell her the contents-- and said, "Sure." I'm guessing the other employees don't like Baldy much, either. Nor should they, if that's the way he acts.

I hate it when people call me "Miss." It it totally understandable on the first day of class when a lecturer is going through the roll, and gets to the end and calls, "Miss Wilcox." After all, how should he know? At least he's being polite to the students. And once upon a time, I didn't bother to correct the instructor, but meekly let it go. However, that timid and newly-married girl is gone, and in her place is a woman who can confidently say, "It's Mrs. Wilcox, actually, and I'm here."

But for a member of the service industry to say address an adult woman as "Miss", especially in this part of the country, sounds so dismissive. (To be fair, this guy could have addressed me as "Your Majesty" and it would have sounded dismissive.) Seriously, it's "Ma'am." You really can't go wrong around here calling any woman "Ma'am," even if she has only just emerged from a womb. And if you've lived here more than 10 minutes, you don't have much of an excuse for your foot-in-mouth disease.

So, there are other coffee shops on campus. And I'll take my couple of bucks a week to them.

15 August 2010


I think that's a movie title. But the movie is not what this post is about.

In my discussion of Tuesday's group project train wreck, I left out our Q&A session at the end. While there were several good questions asked, all of which gave us the chance to further explain our analysis, there were two dumb questions. Both were well outside the stated purview of our research, and the second one gave away that the questioner wasn't really listening, as it came approximately two seconds after I had finished explaining the answer.

Both questions came from the same person.

My group-mate Goofy was determined to ask Bad Questioner a complicated and/or off-the-wall question at the end of his presentation Wednesday. However, in the course his group's report, a question occurred to me; one that was related to what they were talking about (it was about one of their sources) but not immediately in the vein of their research. In other words, I did the same thing to him that he had done to us, but hit a bit closer to the center of the target.

I wasn't actually asking to be vindictive. I did hope that Goofy would be satisfied and not make an idiot of himself (turns out that plan worked pretty well), but I was truly curious about this source. However, my curiosity was not satisfied, since none of the nice young men presenting knew the answer to my question. However, Bad Questioner asked the next group another bad question, so apparently he was unabashed.

Mwah hahahaha.

14 August 2010


I got through four weeks of summer school without caffeine.

Judging by the number of coffee cups I've seen walk in with my classmates, not to mention the assessment of Smart Guy, who sits next to me, I'd say I'm way behind everyone else in the caffeine department.

The anxiety of turning in my second paper, then being nervous about our group project, then wishing our group project had gone better, ruined three nights of sleep in a row. So, in lieu of sleep I turned to my tea kettle and PG Tips to get me through the day, and a new gum-chewing strategy to keep me awake in class. Both worked, but caffeine takes an unpleasant toll on my body, including (but not limited to) keeping me awake again the following night.

By Wednesday night I was tired of this unamusing cycle, so I went to bed on time and set my alarm for 5:30 AM. On Thursday morning I had to promise myself the whole world with sugar on top to get out of bed, but I made it up by 5:40 and went out to run two miles.

It's amazing how many benefits come from running in the morning, not the least of which is the wave of energy that comes over me by class time. No caffeine required. I imagine that had I gotten up on time on Tuesday and gone running before our group project, my day would have been much better: It's impossible to maintain butterflies in the stomach while running. And I would have turned up in a much better frame of mind for my day.

Lesson learned, I suppose: I will certainly keep up the AM running throughout the fall semester.

13 August 2010

Still Does Not Work & Play Well With Others.

First me, now Chad: The scowling never ends in our house.

(Actually, this is my husband's head shot when he tried out for Wolverine in X-Men.)

Picking up where we left off: In addition to me feeling that our presentation was short on analysis, which is really what had me leaving class ready to cry, the great world of technology also failed us. Apparently, the IT department at UT stripped Adobe Flash player from the building's computers overnight, so our smooth-sailing rehearsal on Monday did not at all have us prepared for the it-doesn't-work nightmare that awaited us on Tuesday.

We did get praise from the instructor for remaining calm and smoothing things over as best as possible (seriously, this instructor was sent to me by God; the whole planet should be more like her) while Goofy quickly found a replacement for the first part of the video, played it, and did a quick talk about it. I was not so lucky; I had to explain my part the video and analyze it; either from pity or because I do a fabulous Stephen Colbert impression, the class laughed at all the right bits anyway.

It was my fault that the video didn't work; I was responsible for checking that when I got to campus that morning, and I arrived 45 minutes early to get it done, only to find the other group practising their presentation. No problem... except they used the following 40 minutes to do it, and in my last-five-minute rush to get our powerpoint cued up and ready to go, I forgot to check the video. I don't blame the other group for my own scatterbrainedness, but I was really quite frustrated at their lack of courtesy to shut the entire class out of the room until 5 minutes before class time--including those of us who were scheduled to present ahead of them.

We also had an accompanying paper, which we worked on after class the same day. In this area, at least, my classmates have more confidence that I know what I'm talking about, so it was much easier to finish with no headache, and we still have a chance to salvage our grade for that part of the project, anyway.

Regardless of my despair, it's done. And that was our intention in choosing to go first.

12 August 2010

Does Not Work and Play Well With Others. Part 1.

Some people should come with a warning label, and one of those people is me.

Note: Scowling Su.

I knew when I first saw the syllabus for my rhetoric class that we had a group project at the end of the term. And the brain cells that control happy thoughts trampled one another in their race for the exits when they received this dismal news.

I hate group projects. I hate it when I'm clueless and I feel like I'm letting the group down (pretty frequent in elementary & middle school), and I hate it even more when I know what I'm talking about but can't convince the rest of the group to listen to me (college). The only group project that I have ever enjoyed was my speech class at South Plains College, when the instructor divided us into groups according our course grade and appointed the "A" student in each group as the project manager. You know, kind of like what really happens in the workforce. My group was spectacular; they had lots of ideas and worked hard, and consequently we all had lots of fun with it.

Unfortunately, there are those who have not gotten the memo that fun is the result of a job well done, and a job does not magically get to be well done by goofing off as much as possible along the way. Our group had one of those in it. Ugh. And for his supporting role in the hit movie, Making Su's Life Frustrating, he gets a nickname: Acts Really Goofy. (It's only "acts" because I have glimpsed a more-serious side of him, but he tends to keep it hidden.)

Rhetorical analysis is hard. And even at our basic level, it's especially hard on the first try. But it's impossible to get if you don't try it at all. We were analyzing the humourous media's coverage of the oil spill, and Goofy thought that meant we should crack jokes during our presentation. Including, but not limited to, adding a random photo of Richard Simmons to our powerpoint to get a laugh.

The class did not laugh.

I left class on Monday ready to cry and desperately wanting a large cup of caffeine. Preferably with some chocolate on the side. Come back tomorrow to hear the rest.

11 August 2010

Mr. Obama Comes from Washington

So, the president stopped by UT on his trip to Texas.

Let me say at the beginning: No matter what their policies, I am in favour of officeholders-- and office seekers-- visiting universities. It's a great way to get younger people interested in the political process, and might just turn the non-voting demographic into a voting demographic. Fabulous.

Plus, the closest I've ever been to getting a glimpse of any president in person was a class trip to D.C. in '92 when the presidential motorcade came by. I (and several of my fellow students) took a picture, then we were harangued for several minutes by one of the parent sponsors about how you're not allowed to point anything at the president, including a camera. Yeah, I guess that's why hordes of Secret Service agents completely failed to arrest us all. Dummy.

Anyway, I did not get a ticket to hear his speech because 1) The line formed at 10 PM on Friday to get a ticket at 8 AM Saturday, and I am so not cool with that sort of plan, and 2) It was during my class time, anyway. I did plan to join in the crowd standing outdoors, in case he came out and waved or something.

Now, the president visiting campus is cool, but also a bloody nuisance; I still don't know my way around, so I use the same route every day. Except Monday, when my route was extremely blocked off. And then I had to go between classes... Let me just say, I don't know why I brought my bike on Monday, 'cause I didn't use it much.

So, when the motorcade arrived on campus, I was among those standing near Gregory Gym, where speechifying took place. And we stood and waited, and watched the Secret Service drive cars around in a circle for a few minutes, before I gave it up and went to work on a group project.

I've since read a transcript of the speech. But before that, as I was leaving, I saw a group of students who had obviously just come from the event. One of them said, "That's a great idea, but how are we going to pay for it?"

Smart girl.

10 August 2010


This past Saturday, a new AIM class started their adventure.

It doesn't feel that long ago that it was me, until I start doing the math (fourteen years ago today); then I just feel old. I remember finding out that day that one does not generally wear shorts inside Sunset. (I say "one," because that was a custom I never really picked up on-- the building has never fallen down from me walking inside it wearing shorts.)

We got to Sunset, followed the very handy signs telling us which way to go, and got our first look at the AIM classroom. I got as far as about three steps into the room and stopped, because I already had sensory overload from all the stuff that was happening. And I might still be standing there frozen, if not for the amazing Angie, who pried me away from the door and escorted me to the correct check-in spot.

The rest of the day is a blur; I know there was an orientation about the housing, and I know there were tons of people who helped us move in. I also know my father didn't trust my ability to get directions, because I remember telling him, "We turn at the 7-11." He said, "So if I get to the 7-11, have I gone too far?" And I was totally confused, because we were supposed to turn there; wherever the dang street next to 7-11 was, that's where we turned. Who cared what side the 7-11 was on?? Of course, now I understand; he was stressed and was grieving.

And here's my prize story from the day: I've told this a few times, and I think I may have given a couple of different versions, but here goes. At the dinner that evening, there was a Q&A time for parents. Someone asked if Lubbock has a curbside recycling programme. I think that someone may have been my father, and if it was not my father, he certainly looked around to find the questioner, probably while muttering, "That's a good question."

Yeah. No one else thought it was a good question, including the then-aim director, who seemed nonplussed when he answered that he didn't think so. (And by golly, he was correct; Lubbock could stand some improvement in that area.)

My roommate stayed up that night to unpack. I went to bed late (for me)-- like around 10:30 or 11. But the excitement of the day, my roommate unpacking, and the people below us hanging up something in their ceiling kept me awake far longer. I think that was the beginning of me having a reputation for getting more sleep than anyone else, but hey, I am here to say it can be done.

So I hope the new class enjoys their adventure. They will never be the same.

Many thanks to my classmate Alex for letting me use her picture!

09 August 2010

What should I call it?

I called my feelings during our move "culture shock" because I don't know any other words for them. Four weeks later, and I am in some doubt as to whether or not it is truly culture shock, or just the normal unpleasantness of moving.

But then I have moments when I know I'm in a different place, with different people, and there is no part of me that knows what the heck I'm supposed to be doing. Which all fit into the realm of culture shock (although my good friend Wikipedia, having gotten over its huffiness at me, tells me that culture shock is one form of the broader "transition shock", which may be a better term for how I'm feeling).

The most persistent symptom, apart from not knowing where anything hides in the grocery store, is my tea-drinking habit. When everything in my life is well and good, I have 2-3 cups of decaf tea per day; two in the morning, and possibly a third in the evening. Or I might leave out my second morning cup and just have one in the morning and one in the evening.

These past couple of weeks I've been going through cups of tea at a remarkable speed, having at least one in the morning, another one or two in the afternoon, and two or three in the evening. And I'm craving tea all day when I'm in class. One day last week, I finally gave it up and went to the coffee shop attached to the campus library. When the guy behind the counter asked what size I wanted, I told him, "The biggest one you have."

Now, if it's a choice between comfort eating and comfort drinking, I choose comfort drinking. Much less dangerous. But I didn't realise what a gauge of my mental state that tea could be.

And I'd like to get back to normal as soon as possible.

08 August 2010

I could be having THIS conversation...

So, all that to say... I'm going to orientation even though it isn't required. Yipee!

And, unlike my 18-year-old peers, I'm not bringing the whole family with me.

I can picture it now; we'd be walking along, I'd be trying to navigate the construction sites on campus to tell them what they were looking at, they'd have questions of all sorts... It would be fabulous.


I: And there's the clock tower. It chimes every 15 minutes.
Kids: Can we go up in it?
I: No, it's closed for repairs right now.
Chad: Do you want to find your classes?
I: Yeah. Denise was figuring out where they are.
Denise: We need to go this way (points & starts walking in the correct direction).
Dad: I want to go up in the tower.
Kids: Can I see the map now?
I: (Handing over a map) You can't; it's closed right now because they are fixing the A/C.
Mum: Do you need to go take care of your financial aid?
Chad: No, let me see the map! (Takes it from the kids.)
I: No, Chad & I already did that.
Dad: Like hell it is! I'm paying for you to go to school here! I'm going to go see it.
I: No, you aren't.
Dad: What?
Chad: We're paying for her to go to school here.
Dad: Oh, yeah.
Mum: Well, do your dad & I need to go talk to them?
I: To whom?
Mum: The financial aid people.
I: No, it's taken care of.
Mum: Do you need to give them our information?
I: No, I'm too old to need that.
Billy: Where's the beer?
I: There isn't any on campus. Moving right along... over here is the--
Billy: What?
Jennie: Half the students are underage! They can't sell beer.
Mum: Are you sure? I brought our financial information along in case you would need it.
I: I'm over 24, and they only need parental information for people under 24. So it's okay.
Grandma: Susan, let your mom help you!
Dad: Isn't that the tower where that guy shot all those people in the '60s?
I: Yes, Dad, well remembered. Grandma, it's not me, it's the federal government.
Grandma: I don't want you to go to school here if people get shot all the time!
I: No, Grandma, it was just that one time. They have better security now.
Mum: So you don't need us to do anything.
I: You can buy lunch.
Dad: I'm going in to tell them I'm going up to see the tower. (Marches off.)
Mum: Should we wait around to see if he gets arrested?
I: Nope.
Jennie: Where's Denise?
(Denise is already at the building she started walking toward five minutes ago.)
I: There she is.

Should you think I am exaggerating, please remember that it took this family four hours to decide to have a Memorial Day picnic. Yeah, that's what it would be like.

Maybe the whole tour can finish up here & we can pose for a picture, after we have a good argument about who will hold the camera.

07 August 2010

It only took four weeks!

The day finally came... one of my classmates asked me the all-important question: "So... how old are you?"

Dun dun DUN.

No, I can't avoid the question forever. (I don't try to avoid it at all, actually, but I don't wear a button that says "I'm older than you!" either.) Yes, I wear a wedding ring. And write things on my peer reviews like, "No calls after 9:30, please." I have visible fine lines and grey hairs. (Although a nice byproduct of our self-absorbed culture is that most people don't notice those.) So it's always only a matter of time before someone asks.

I chuckled a bit and said, "Thirty-two."

Silence. (I wasn't looking at their faces when I told them this, but this was a serious silence. So there's no telling what the expressions on their faces were like.)

Then, "Wow, really? I was thinking, maybe 27."

Awww, how sweet. I like these guys better already. (Although not as much as I would like them if they thought I was 21.)

06 August 2010

But, at least I'm not a First-Year Student

Yesterday I mentioned those fresh-faced baby geniuses that I'm about to share my campus with.

(How do I know they are geniuses? Well, I don't, but since this fresh-faced baby (no, not me; the other one) is one of their contemporaries, they they had better be pretty dang smart.)

And as I've seen the new first-year students around campus these past couple of weeks, I've heard bits of their conversations. With each other, with their orientation leaders, and with their parents. Ah, conversations with the parents. I remember those days.

But being older now, I don't just hear the frustration in the student's voices. I don't just see in their body language that they are eager to lose these old people and get their life started. I do see the flashes of terror that occasionally cross their faces at the thought of this major life change. I see them being overawed at the size of this campus.

Mostly though, at this point in my life, I see the parents. I haven't been on that side of the college experience (and won't be for a very long time), but I've seen my own parents do it three times. I've seen aim parents do it. I've especially seen dear friends these past few years have to step back as their firstborn flies from the nest and into a huge world. I ache for them, even as I want them to get out of my way because I'd like to get into the library. This is an even bigger change for them than it is for their kiddos.

Signs have changed: In more ways than one.

(I don't think that anyone who failed to notice the signs changing will be suddenly convinced by the appearance of a new sign.)

05 August 2010

Orient Me, Please

I signed up for fall orientation the other day. It will happen in that blessedly-free week between summer school and fall semester. (I say "blessedly free", but reality is that I'll be bored out of my mind & start reading ahead in my textbooks.)

I am under no obligation to attend orientation; I've already begun classes and am enrolled for fall. I'm going because I want to learn the local lingo, meet more people in my college (and, I hope, in my department), and get the tour of the campus.

Ah, yes, the campus tour. I've seen many a first-year student (and frequently, their parents. And sometimes the entire extended family. And I think a few of them brought their whole small town with them) taking the tour during the past couple of weeks. And I've realised that these fresh-faced baby geniuses will come to campus in three weeks' time knowing more about it than I, even though I will have five weeks of school behind me already.

So, I intend to learn about these places I so innocently took pictures of a couple of years ago:

Actually, I don't need any help with this one. I have location and use of these babies all under control. I just wish the university would assign me one for my personal use to keep those sneaky freshmen away from it.

I do know where this is; the Rhetoric & Writing department is practically in its shadow. I'll probably zone out for this part of the tour.

No, Chad is not still up there. I don't know where on campus these sculptures are, but I'm pretty sure their location has very little bearing on my life. However, I may get to see them on the tour; who knows?

I really hope this turns out to be somewhere people go to relax. But I bet it's just an engineering student thing.

I have seen this sometime in the last three weeks! I just don't remember where.

I know this building is on campus. Beyond that-- where? Why? Will I ever seen the inside of it?-- I don't know. And that's why I need a tour.