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Fears Come True Nov. 3rd, 2006 @ 03:25 pm
With feeling high most of the time, getting the urge to eat nearly twice as often as usual, feeling dehydrated, have a hard time getting a complete night's sleep, eyes somewhat red, my throat has felt a little irritated, I'm sure that I've lost a few pounds, and today I just started coughing some, I felt like some sort of drug addict.

"Hey, its Brady. By the sound of it, now you know how I've been feeling the past few days. I...*cough* *COUGH* *COUGH*...oh crap, I swear it wasn't this bad earlier. Anyways...*tries clearing throat*...uh, just give me a call later sometime. Talk to you later - Bye..."

If that along with everything else doesn’t make me seem like a drug addict, I don't know what would.

Thankfully, at no point in time have I experienced all of these symptoms of over-the-counter medicine in moderation and potential cold symptoms at the same time. Otherwise, I would have definately used a sick day at work, which I haven't, until today. I made a precautionary appointment yesterday to see a doctor at 11:15 today. I say precautionary because at the beginning of my work day my voice sounded better than before and I wasn’t blowing my nose as much. By the end of it, I had devloped a cough. Now, my voice is shot and coughing has gotten worse. I visited a doctor at 11:15 today, was diagnosed with sinusitis, and got some antibiotics as well as prescription cough medicine. Given my recent self-reflection, I couldn’t help but laugh when I looked at the name of the latter - Prometh.


One of my worst fears came true - Just in time for Halloween.

Time for me to try to get some rest in peace.
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: sicksick
Music: Norah Jones - Come Away With Me [CD]

I Don't Know How I Do It Sometimes Oct. 12th, 2006 @ 12:37 pm
As I walked home towards my car last night, I look back at the grades I've maintained and the amount of things I am getting done at work.


My four day work weeks show no mercy. Sometimes even Monday ends up being just as busy, despite it being a day off of work. It is times like this where I can't imagine doing anything more, whether its just working a few more hours a week or taking one more class a semester. The funny thing is that I also cannot imagine doing anything less, whether its working less hours & getting paid less or taking one less class & doubling the distance between me and a degree.


I never thought I would prefer an accounting class over programming but that is how I actually feel right now courtesy of frequent bi-weekly assignemnts. They often force me to stay on campus between the end of class before Noon and my shift at work at 1:30, in hopes of submitting assignments much earlier than their Midnight deadline. Thankfully, now is not one of those times because I just found out today that a deadline was deferred to next week. With as busy as I've been, I feel as if its the grace of God granting such an extension. Some of my submissions have been turned in right under the wire and yet none of them have been below 90% of what they could have achieved. In an accounting class where I learn about controls for businesses, there are very few things we have done in class that monitor our performance in it. Even if there was something that did, no red flags would come up next to my name.


The weekends are my refuge with friends, family, and church greatly assisting my ability to stay well grounded and sane. Together, they connect with me on practically every level - Interacting, supporting, embracing, laughing, praying, and even crying together. I only wish I had more time to spend with each and every one of them because I thank God for them daily.


As I looked back on my occupation and academics, I realized in the grand scheme of things that it doesn't matter what I have or have not done previously, or even so much what I am doing now. Rather, all that matters is where I am going.

Sometimes I know how I do it and it is incredibly rewarding.
Current Location: An ASU computer lab
Current Mood: happyhappy
Music: Evanescence - The Open Door [CD]

Pre-Pennsylvania Paranoia Jul. 17th, 2006 @ 01:03 pm
I never get to do everything I want to before I go on a vacation: I didn't get more than a few hours of sleep, I didn't get to say personal goodbyes to everyone that I wanted to, and I didn't get to watch the TV shows recorded Sunday night. I did manage to get completely packed ahead of time though, which was very nice for a change. I wish I could say the same about the pre-flight paranoia: Did I turn off all the lights and fans at home? Did I keep everything potentially valuable out of sight in my car? Did I accidentally turn the combo lock on my Samsonite bag? Did I bring enough hair gel?
The bottle I brought was near empty, and I can't believe they didn't sell any at the airport, despite having every other conceivable personal care product. Maybe nudie mags and condoms took up too much shelf room. Makes me surprised that there isn't a Castle Boutique in the Vegas airport, from the little I saw of the concourse that I landed in.


The last 12 hours of my time before getting to the airport were very enjoyable, marked by my time with other church members or dreaming with my mind and/or eyes open about my second summer trip. A slightly younger man was new to the church, as well as our young adult group, adding one to the number of Davids among us. As I had been previously challenged to do, I reached out to someone new and got to know him. He graduated from ASU a few years ago with a degree in Psychology and currently is a banker at Wells Fargo downtown. He was purely a visitor, fascinated by our group's joy and dedication to our beliefs, and he didn't ask for prayer but I prayed for him anyways. Sometimes I wonder if such visitors have going through their mind "I am a bit weirded out by you people, and I'm not sure that I'll be back," but I have nobody to judge but myself.


With an hour early pass to Hershepark, my anticipation for getting on the newest rides was building since the night before when I checked in to their campgrounds. After walking in the park a few minutes, I was greeted by an older man in a brown hat who told me that the path was not "open" yet. So I went along another path where I came across a long ribbon which did not have any writing about it, but instead told me how much of a gimmick the SweetPass was. Less than one fifth of the park was open, with only two older roller coasters running. Despite the lackluster gimmick and summer heat with humidity, going to the park was very much worth it. Their collection of coasters was well rounded - Ranging from an electromagnetic launched-start thrill ride to an older & brutally rough wooden coaster. I had never ridden the former before, which I couldn't anticipate the feeling of. The timing of the launch however was fairly predictable, prompted by a deep and eerie pre-recorded voice saying "here we go", but that didn't stop anyone followed by screams and yells of people on the ride, myself included. Its one of the extremely few things on this earth that will cause me to do that on occasion. If only I could find more people to come along for the ride.
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: over stimulated
Music: Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway [CD]
Tags: ,

DVD Deals and Steals Jun. 30th, 2006 @ 08:21 pm
I had heard mixed reviews of The Ring 2 when it hit theaters a long time ago. After visiting Astoria, Washington, the location in which the film is based and partially filmed, I couldn't help but rent it yesterday on DVD. My timing couldn't have been any better, as Blockbuster just started a deal to rent 3 movies for $10. For someone who hasn't rented since 2005, that seemed decent. The other two movies I will have for one week are Murderball and The Ringer.

Like the first movie, it starts out with a bit of a cliche, poking fun at a genre stereotype. After an introduction of the mother (Naomi Watts) and son (some super creepy kid) who have moved to a new location after previously dealing with the tape from the first movie, the mother discovers that the tape has made it to their town. That is when a bunch of crazy things start happening that aren't exactly explained by what we already know. The kid is at the center of most of this, and knows & has experienced more than the mother, yet he says hardly anything about it and even lies. This seems ridiculous and frustrating for a while, but when a series of clues are revealed to the mom, it all starts to come together. The Ring 2 is similar to the first movie in some ways, but not so many that it appears to be a lame copycat of the first. As for how scary it was, it made me jump in my seat once or maybe even twice more than the first one. For me it was definitely worth watching on DVD, and I would say the same thing about seeing it in theaters. The problem with the latter, is that it lacks the nicely done "Rings" short film, which gives back story to the spread of the tape, how it took society by storm, and the characters in the beginning of Ring 2. It also helps that the movie was directed by the same guy who made the original & first movie overseas, Ringu.

My anticipation for a movie coming to DVD made me accidentally purchase a pirated movie from Malaysia, which arrived with flowered stamps and a "Par Avion" label. Maybe if I hadn't seen a vague TV ad for its release, it wouldn't have happened, but no - They had to push the advertising envelope many months before the "Inside Man" DVD was actually going to be produced (August). With no clear disclosures on the web site that I bought it from, I did a Google search for Report Movie Piracy. There were links to UK & Australian web sites to report such activity and even sponsored links for reporting software piracy, but I was surprised to not find a link to a movie business consortium (like MPAA) form where such a matter could be reported or even a mention of it on a web site. A search for the entire phrase Report Movie Piracy turned up one single page of results. After clicking a link to an MSN India (msn.co.in), I was finally able to get an MPAA email address if I wanted to report such activity. It is safe to assume that the MPAA has their hands full tracking pirates down more than fielding complaints, but I find it odd that none of their anti-piracy web sites came up in Google search results.


This entry seems relatively lame but not more so than my work day, and I can assure you that the two things below are anything but that. The weekend can't come soon enough.

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This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
7.9
Mind:
8.3
Body:
8.2
Spirit:
7.9
Friends/Family:
3.8
Love:
5.4
Finance:
9
Take the Rate My Life Quiz


I suppose being an only child with divorced parents brings down the friends/family rating. I feel loved, so I'm not sure exactly why the love quotient is down.


[EDIT]: I have got to share these awesome flash videos that I found yesterday...
Incredible demonstration of the best webcam available.
An animator versus their animation
Story about crazy college life
Hillariously dumb dinosaur
An amusing extravaganza with every flash animation cliche in the book
Current Location: Work
Current Mood: mellowmellow

Leaving on a High Note Jun. 28th, 2006 @ 10:15 pm
I never imagined that sitting on a runway in Seattle fore an extended period of time without air conditioning would feel nearly as bad as walking to work from my parking structure on a day close to the start of summer. Only some of the rich people in Washington choose to have something that Phoenicians see as a necessity more than a luxury. Looking back on it, I would not categorize my trip as either, but instead as "very useful".


The first destination of the nearly 800 mile road trip was the western Washington town where my mom once taught & lived for a few years. We were greeted by lit up faces and open arms at an 8th grade graduation, which conveyed the impression that my mom left on the residents of her former home. I didn't half to talk to any of them in order to appreciate their grace, but I made conversation with some of them anyways. On our second day, we were treated to food at a end of the year picnic for the same school. There, I got to see the joy of younger kids, running around with food, sports items, and water soaking toys - Not all at once of course. It was a zoo, figuratively and even literally, given the several barnyard animals that were in pens on one end of the park along with a big red barn. The mid-west like scenery was surreal, knowing that the coastal bay with very prevalent mountainous views was no further than a half an hour drive.

Surreal is such a relative term though, especially when you find a huge, beautiful lake to camp right on the shore of for less than $20. The wind from the lake was constant, but all it took was a thick jacket to deter the cold. From there, we said goodbye to my mom's former home, and went all the way down to the most Northwestern part of Oregon at the city of Astoria. Unlike my years before college, there was so much history to learn about there, most notably of the Lewis & Clark expedition, which was just as fascinating as the coastal and Columbia river views.


In talking with an older man sitting next to me on the flight back home, I discovered something else of historical significance on my own. At the time of this trip, neither my mom or I had pressing job or relationship issues to deal with or get away from. Relationship issues in this case is inclusive of those with friends, family members (mom or others), or (ex)girlfriends. Being free of those things on my first summer vacation allowed me to read up on some enlightening books I have had, but not read in quite some time. The tranquil environment was a means to help reassure myself that the path I am taking is of great benefit to the many aspects of my life that I question every few months. The only thing I had wished that the opportunity had presented itself for me to share my vacation of a place I consider semi-sacred with someone special: A girlfriend, another family member, really close friend, etc. That was perhaps the only thing that could have added to how wonderful the trip was.

I return from my first summer vacation with not just anticipation for the concert I am going to on Saturday, the homeless ministry after church on Sunday, and the Refinery meeting Sunday evening, but anticipation for the future that God has in store for me.
Current Location: Work
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Music: Goo Goo Dolls - Give A Little Bit
Tags: ,

A big baller and his shock collars Jun. 16th, 2006 @ 08:46 pm
Date: 2006-06-04. Score: 1057.
After nearly two weeks of anticipation, I got all the correct parts together that I needed to upgrade my home computer. Losing a bit of sleep Tuesday night putting it all together and rebuilding Windows to support it resulted in me being 15 minutes late to work the next day, but it was well worth it.

Date: 2006-06-14. Score: 2087.
I was very happy to see the PCMark benchmark test of my computer showing what I expected the upgrade to do - Just about double its speed. That is what I've been able to do with each previous major upgrade, so I figure that it is a reasonable expectation to have in the future.

Date: 2006-06-14. Score: 74.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for how much faster I can expect high end games to run. The 3DMark test, which uses totally different scores than PCMark, gave practically the same results before and after the upgrade, despite it performing some CPU test about two thirds faster. This defies most logic except the belief that you should always have the latest and greatest video card. I'm not into PC gaming like I used to, so this doesn't concern me, but I am just content with the fact that my system will meet the minimum requirements for today's games and most likely Windows Vista, whenever I get either.


I haven't played Burnout in days, and yet I had a dream last night that was in the spirit of this turbo boosting, rubber burning, car smash fest of a PS2 game. I was driving my car on a freeway which could have been local with someone resembling my dad in the passenger seat. I was passing most cars, but not at a breakneck pace, yet all the sounds that my car's engine and tires made were over exaggerated. This was most notable in highway curves that would make the tires screech really loud, like the Loop 202 near 52nd St, which in real life I could easily do at 85 MPH without screeching tires. Either the dream came from a new episode of Fear Factor featuring a demolition derby as the first stunt or it is a sign that I am suffering a withdrawal from Burnout.


"Man, you're a big baller - Pulling out exact change."

One of Jeanne's cousins gave me some incense sticks from India last week at Jeanne's BBQ, but I had nothing to place them on or stick them in. So I stopped by a hippie (read: smoke) shop on Mill to get one for $3.18, and got an unlikely comment from a store attendant given my meager one item purchase. Maybe it wasn't the change that he noticed, but rather the cash back I got at the Post Office from my debt card purchase.


With hours until my work here is done, my weekend has almost begun. With a busier than normal week at the help desk, my shifts at work have been a pain that comes and goes. Ouch.
Current Location: Work
Current Mood: tiredtired
Music: All American Rejects - Move Along (CD)

Promotional Consideration Jun. 9th, 2006 @ 09:40 pm
Its funny how you can look forward for two years to getting to a certain point in your career, but when it is actually coming, it is not as grand as you expected it to be. Come the start of the 2006 academic year, I will become receive a promotion along with most of my other co-workers. The gap between my experience and job requirements has been shortened in the year that I have worked for the Help Desk. After 8+% raises, the reclassification will only equate to 2-4% more, unless we are getting paid above the minimum at our pay scale. It makes me focus on the pride to be had in my title & position, as well as the fact that I very nearly make as much as graduate students do. With a degree, the doors of career opportunities will be very wide open.


"A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where the influence stops." -Henry Adams

God has also blessed my mom in the employment department as well. She is getting hired as a teacher at a private Jewish school in Scottsdale, making nearly what she did at the first private school she taught at in-town full time. It is as if my mom and I are polar examples of how money doesn't really change who we are, whether with five figures in debt or in the bank.


With summer and relatively abundant pay raises here, I am giving some thought to moving somewhere roomier and with a bit nicer of an interior. It will be tough to beat the location, being 3 miles directly east of campus and close (but not too close) to the 202 & 101, but if I am willing to pay $150 more a month, that should help in the areas where my place is lacking. The problem lies in determining whether I should continue to be content with the space I have and whether I could actually use more space. The thought of moving again hasn't appealed to me in many ways, but the more places elsewhere I find that are engaging, then the more I am willing.


Something closer to happening aside from moving is the upgrade of my computer, which should nearly double its speed when it is all said and done. I am just waiting for the processor to arrive in the mail by Tuesday. With my computer in pieces, I wasn't online last weekend and won't be this weekend either.
Current Location: Work
Current Mood: fullfull
Music: All American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret (on the radio)
Tags: , ,
Other entries
» The Novelty Factor
I no longer associate a novelty factor with three day weekends such as Memorial Day. That is what having only four-day work weeks will do to you. I actually have more plans the week after Memorial Day than I do the weekend itself, taking off Wednesday and Friday for get togethers with various friends.


Aside from a few randomly busy times at work, things have been pretty easy going this summer thus far. Seasons for shows like Prison Break, 24, and CSI have come to phenominal closes while others such as Will & Grace and Malcomb in the Middle have made a permanent leave of absense. All this is to make room for summer shows such as Rockstar: Supernova, Big Brother: All Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance.


Upcoming changes to my computer are starting to resemble the shifting TV season. Having a heck of a time trying to get a new USB & Firewire card to work in my computer spurred me to look in to getting faster hardware. For less than $200, I found a 3GHz processor nearly twice as fast as my 1.7GHz and an older motherboard to go with it which supports my older memory (RAM). So a sizeable part of my recent pay raise has made its way to eBay.


I will be spending just as much on sending some kids to a week long church camp though. The church I went to in grade school didn't have much of a youth group which wasn't very active, so it was put on my heart last Sunday to help give more than that to other kids that age. I will basically be tithing my pay raise. I quite frankly see more of a need for financial assistance there than for the multi-million dollar project of rebuilding the church. Maybe there are some aspects of the project that I don't know about, but it is somewhat hard for me to look past a church facility that is rarely overcrowded.
» When the Dust Settled (Part 2)
There was one particular week in between Sundays and final projects in which I felt somewhat discouraged and lonely. I prayed about those feelings and the next Sunday, my prayers were answered and I was freed from such burdening emotions. Some deep fellowship, praying, being welcomed at church by many people, going out for coffee, playing video games or board games while hanging out, watching DVDs, just talking about whatever was on my mind, and lots of hugs, were just some of the things courtesy of friends that lifted me up as well.
Today, I learned that my GPA got a boost in the form of getting A's for both of my classes this semester. My lifetime streak of excellent grades in English classes continues. I can only hope that my upper division classes are a fraction as easy as the classes I had this Spring.

My last English essay about my mom has given me an idea for part of what I am getting her for Mother's Day. It will be quite possibly the most creative gift I have ever given. I hope I can get it all put together professionally by Sunday.

I would like to think that I am starting my summer off on the right foot.
» When the Dust Settled (Part 1)
I have dedicated the past two weeks to getting my summer off on the right foot.


I haven't been online much at all since I have been focusing on my final projects for my English and web design classes. I labored long on my Web Design project two weekends ago in the event I had to present last Monday, which I didn't have to. I gave myself a huge pat on the back for getting it done earlier than I really needed to.

This past week, I had been working tirelessly on my final english paper. It is one thing to write about yourself or something of interest to you, but it is an entirely different one to write creatively about someone else. To do so effectively is not just to know who they are or what they have done in life, but also their feelings throughout. A balance had to be made between explaining events, creative description, and who the person is. How well I balanced them will affect my final greade more than any other English paper. Analyzing my writing methods from the entire semester was not easy either because our instructor did not want us to merely state what we did in class.


A major re-organization at my work place has settled for the most part, leaving only pay raises and more staff on the horizon. A cost of living salary increase in addition to a merit (performance based) raise equates to about 8% more pay for me. I'll see this materialize on May 15th, as I open my pay stub like a holiday wrapped gift. The three staff that will be joining us will do so in a matter of weeks, not months, so that they can be trained over the summer. I am not concerned with getting the staff trained as much as I am with getting new student workers trained. That way, there can be more adequate coverage on the night and weekend shifts so staff like me aren't spread thin.
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