state of the blog

My word, it’s been quite a while. Well, I can’t possibly cover all that happened in the past year and a half, so let me summarize:

- school (switched major from physics to math)
- ballroom dancing (learned a lot)

That’s it, that’s pretty much my life from then til now.

Most recent additions to my music library

Careless Whisper, Faith, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go- George Michael, George Michael, and Wham!, respectively

The Chain, Dreams, Gold Dust Woman, Rhiannon- Fleetwood Mac (I happened to pick this up before the GotG 2 soundtrack was announced. So obviously I was into it before it was cool.)

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart- Elton John & Kiki Dee

Bulletproof- La Roux

Message in a Bottle, Roxanne- The Police


It’s nice to have something other than video game soundtracks to listen to.

Danger Zone

I grew up in a house in a cul-de-sac, with a fairly long road leading up to the loop. In elementary school I took the bus home, and one day I was walking down my neighborhood’s main road, and I was about to turn onto the road leading to my house when I heard deep crackling. I was confused for a second, then I turned to my right just in time to witness some sixty feet of tree falling across the road twenty feet away from me. I thought to myself, “oh, that was kinda cool.” Then I walked around the tree and went home.

In retrospect, I see that I didn’t really develop a sense of self-preservation until middle school. The self-preservation kicked in when I ran down a trail in a Florida swamp that I thought was empty except for my friends who were weirdly huddled together at the far end. When I jogged up to them, I realized they were staring behind me, so I turned around, saw an alligator on the side of the trail, realized that the path was so narrow I had nearly stepped right on it, and I promptly freaked out.

What I’ve been listening to

Footloose and Danger Zone- Kenny Loggins

White Wedding- Billy Idol

Cake By The Ocean- DNCE

Let’s See How Far We’ve Come- Matchbox Twenty

Takin’ Care of Business- Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Come on Eileen- Dexys Midnight Runners

Nocturne- Secret Garden

Mambo No. 5- Lou Bega

Tainted Love- Soft Cell

Rasputin- Boney M.

Study sounds

When studying, I like to pop in my earbuds and listen to a bunch of nerdy stuff. Mostly I listen to music without lyrics, because otherwise I feel the need to sing along, and that’s discouraged in the library. Lyric-less music means soundtracks.

I listen to cooler stuff in my spare time, I promise.


I spent my first two years at college in the dorms on campus. They were… okay. Community bathrooms at the end of the hall were a mild inconvenience, but no real problem. I may have locked myself out more than once because the doors automatically lock when shut, but that’s what the lockout keys are for. The random roommates were decent. Freshman year my roommate tended to spend most of his time next door drinking, so I usually had to room to myself. Sophomore year was a little more difficult because my new roomie hardly ever left the room except for class and occasionally overnight study sessions at the library, and he had an irregular sleeping cycle that sometimes left him awake all night which I was trying to sleep, but that wasn’t that bad. I’m used to sleeping with earbuds in anyway (shh, don’t tell my mother– she’s always worried I’ll strangle myself in my sleep, but I’m still alive after a few years of this, so I’m not too worried.)

This year I’m living in an apartment within walking distance of campus, against my parent’s advice. We spent a while hashing it out, but in the end I signed the lease. I get my own bedroom (squeal!), share a bathroom with one other guy, and I have a kitchen. It’s a fairly nice place. Unfortunately, I made one critical mistake when looking at my finances to make sure I could afford the new living quarters– the apartment required a deposit of three months’ rent before I could move in, and I foolishly interpreted that to mean three months’ rent up front, as in three months down, nine to go. My finances are well under control now, but that was a lesson I won’t soon forget.

I make fun of my business major friends sometimes, but I have to admit, none of them would have made that mistake. They all know what a deposit is.


One year ago, my grandfather died.

The last time I talked with him, he and my grandmother had taken me out to eat at iHop. I hadn’t seen either of them in a while, so naturally we discussed what I was doing at school. The two of them bickered about what he should order; he was on a fairly strict diet, and he always liked to pretend that everything was fine, he’d live to be 90 and see his grandchildren’s children. I made a comment about how if he wanted to see me graduate college, he should stick to his diet.

My memory is so hazy of that day. We had grown apart, or at least it felt that way to me. I’d always loved him dearly, and for a long time I thoroughly idolized him. But eventually I started to see him as human, a person with flaws and mistakes like myself. I lived with him from when I was an infant until I was in preschool. Even after we moved out, we still lived in the same town, so my siblings and I would go to our grandparents’ house almost every Saturday, and they’d drop us off back home after church. Over school breaks, they’d bring one or more of us over to their house. Sometimes we played games and watched movies, sometimes we were put to work. Theirs was the first lawn I ever mowed. I helped my grandfather with wiring, painting, installing light fixtures, plumbing, tiling, crawling in the attic and dropping wires, and performing most of the above at the neighborhood pool. I don’t recall him ever calling a professional to help with the house. Maybe it was pride, maybe it was the cost. I suspect it was both. He taught me how to play chess, backgammon, and several card games. I learned how to do yardwork and what was involved in home ownership. He taught me binary, how to set up a wireless network, and how to check a car’s oil and tire pressure. He did not teach me how to make a healthy meal. He liked to microwave hot dogs until the ends burst open, then he’d garnish them with ketchup, mustard, and pickles, and we’d have potato chips as a side. When I decided I wanted to learn to play the piano, I pulled out his old electric keyboard and sat on the floor for an hour or so every weekend learning how to read the keys and some basic songs. For Christmas that year, he bought me piano lessons. I continued taking them for two and a half years, and became fairly proficient. He liked to let me climb up on the roof and remove branches or clean out the leaf-clogged gutters. Sometimes he’d take photos to show to my mother later. She was never very happy with him letting me on the roof. He taught me how to drive in the parking lot of the local expo center. He parked on a slope, put me in the driver’s seat, and we didn’t leave the parking lot until I could get up the hill without stalling the engine. I still drive that car today, and occasionally I can hear him in the passenger seat, bantering. I became much more aware of his mortality after he was hospitalized for a heart attack. It wasn’t his first, but I was too young to understand then. Now, I was old enough to drive myself to the hospital and wonder if he’d be alive when I arrived. I started to hug him and my grandmother every time we parted ways. I didn’t want to regret not showing him affection while he was still around.

After lunch at iHop, he and my grandmother dropped me off at my house. They chatted for a while with my parents before leaving. I don’t remember if I hugged him goodbye.

questioning the status quo

I often think about the gender roles in ballroom dancing, and what I can do to upend all that. I’m bothered by a number of issues, but my primary issue is how male-dominated the activity is, despite the fact there are generally many more female ballroom dancers than male. The team had an issue this semester with a coach not respecting boundaries and teaching professionally. He isn’t teaching us any more, but that affair’s been weighing heavily on my mind. Ugh, sexism is so ugly. I wish it was all laid out neatly so I could at least know if I’m partaking of it.

Grading and Kidney Stones

My professor’s email: “The scores for Exam #1 are now posted online. The graded exams and a set of answers will be passed out in class tomorrow. The scores were quite good. The high was 103 and the average was 72.”

At reading that, high school me would’ve immediately passed two kidney stones. As is, I’m still a little shocked. I’m not used to the grading scale in this class- eighty through one hundred is an A, seventy through eighty is a B, and so on. You pass with just fifty percent. It’s bizarre. That hardly demonstrates any sort of passing mastery of the material.