Busing System = Very Inconvenient

I really do not understand our school’s busing system. I don’t know if all busing systems are like this or if it is just ours, but it is incredibly inconvenient. Yesterday, I wanted to go into town to pick a couple of things up at Walmart, and so, I figured in my head that it costs ¢75 to get there and then ¢75 to get back, so I needed $1.50. Before getting on the bus, I had ¢50, so I asked a friend to let me borrow a dollar, which she generously did. Anyway, I wasn’t thinking correctly, because I completely forgot that the buses’ machine does not give you any money back, so after I put my ¢50 in, I ran into an issue. I needed ¢75, and since the only change/cash I had on me was the dollar bill that my friend had let me borrow, there was nothing I could do, because if I had put the dollar in, it wouldn’t have given me ¢75 back, and I wouldn’t have had a way back to campus.

I quite honestly think that this is ridiculous. I think that the machines should be programmed, just like a vending machine, to know how much it costs and to only accept that amount of money. If more than that designated amount of money is given, it should return to the customer however much money is owed. Like I said, I don’t know if all busing systems work this way or if it’s just ours, but either way, it’s ridiculous. Yesterday, I was lucky, because the driver was kind enough to let me on the bus and told me to put a dollar in on my way back. However, I may not have been so lucky, and I could have wasted¢50 and therefore not have been able to go to Walmart at all. I have considered the fact that this could very well be a somewhat more functional report to give in the Oswegonian, but then, to be a responsible journalist, my duty would really be to interview people and to take reports, and I quite honestly just don’t have the time, especially since it is so close to the end of the semester. Anyway, I suppose that I am done ranting about this now, but I’m sure that I am not the only one who has ever complained about this.

So I am putzing along.

BTW putzing isn’t a real word, I think it’s a Rochester or a Lithuanian thing….I am both!

Thanksgiving with the family is fun as always. They are super quirky, so we all get along great :) My Aunt holly is the best, she isn’t a farmer but just loves chickens. She is has a chicken coop that is comparable to mine in Farmville.
Aunt Holly!

I have made a list of the all the things that I have to do before the end of the semsester, its includes 9 things, I have done 2 of them….and I am currently procrastinating on them right now.

Happy news though, I am selling my old motorcycle to upgrade to a new one! I don’t know which one yet but I am so excited. I must say farewell to my dear 1989 Suzuki Gn 250. Did it have a lot of horse power? NO! Did it have a fancy paint job? NO! But she sure was mine…I loved her. Her name is Rosie. If you have a home for her, check out craigslist :) rsz_rosie_2

I also had a fabulous time with one of my favorite alum Judy. She came up for the alumni board of directors meeting and took me to Wades. It is a fabulous greasy spoon across from Garofolos. If you don’t know what either of these are, I recommend you get a better Oz education! Ask a professor :)

Judy and Me!

Be Ozzy!

Relaxation is amazing!

So it’s the day after Thanksgiving and, once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  Yesterday was great; I had a lot of fun with some friends and their family.  I spent a few days with my friend Sam, her boyfriend Jon, and Sam’s family near Poughkeepsie in the Taconic Mountains.  It was a very relaxing and revitalizing week.  I was in Syracuse for a few days before that and am in Syracuse again for this weekend.  It’s nice to get away sometimes and just push all work and school out of the way.  It got me energized for what’s to come.  If you can believe it, there are only 2 weeks of classes left!  This semester went so fast and I can’t believe it’s almost over.  This past semester was a test of my ability to balance three jobs, four classes, and to still have some type of social life.  I think I succeeded!  I’m ready for what is to come.  I have been thinking a lot about graduate school again and planning my classes for the next three semesters.  It’s going to be very interesting to see what falls into my lap.

I’ve started to relax about a lot of stuff.  I’m usually very tense and worrisome, but now I’m taking it one day at a time and it’s a much better choice.  Life is short, and I am going to enjoy every moment of it!  I suggest you all do the same.  I know my posts are usually very serious and deep, but this is also an outlet for me to let out some things while giving you some insight on the life of a student at SUNY Oswego.  I hope that you all read this and can relate in some way.  I’m just a regular student, nothing special here.  I’ll leave you with this…”live your life, today, like there’s no tomorrow, but dream as if you’ll live forever.”  I think that’s a combination of two quotations I know from authors I’m not sure of what they are named.

Happy Holidays!

Lady Gaga – The Fame Mons†er

As a good majority of you probably already know, I am a very big Lady Gaga fan. I think that she is incredibly creative, artistic, daring and independent. She has undoubtedly changed the music industry, setting new grounds for artists that were most definitely not there before. I recently read one critic who argued that Gaga is not original at all, since she dresses like Björk, acts like Madonna and sings like Gwen Stefani, but I would argue against most of these claims. She has the “out there” look that Björk always has, a sense of fashion that dares to defy norms. However, Gaga designs most of her own clothing, and a good majority of the clothing that she designs (although most definitely drawing influences from artists such as David Bowie and, yes, Björk) is very creative and original (where have you seen the bubble dress before?). I would not argue that her demeanor is anything like Madonna, except that I would argue that she has a similar need of daring to venture. As far as her vocals being compared to Gwen Stefani, there are undoubtedly tracks in which you would think it is Gwen if you didn’t know any better. However, these tracks are limited to a select few, such as “Paparazzi,” “Paper Gangsta,” “Summerboy” and “Filthy Pop.” Gaga definitely has her own style of singing, which is definitely brought to light in songs such as “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance.”

Anyway, the highly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s record, The Fame, was released yesterday, Monday, November 23rd, and even though the album is somewhat short (consisting of only eight tracks), it does not disappoint by any means. My anticipation for this album has been building up for quite some time now, and I don’t, in any way, feel cheated (except for maybe the fact that I do wish the album was a little bit longer). After Fame’s release, Gaga began to explore fringes of her personality that she hadn’t been immediately experiencing during the early days of her major success. She began to realize that as much as she loved fame, fame was not an all-seeing power of goodness but instead sometimes heavily comprised of monsters, or fears, with which, as a superstar, Gaga had to deal. She was consistently traveling since she was touring, and during her days on the road, she began to explore this dark side of fame musically, a project that came to be known as The Fame Mons†er, an eight-track sophomore effort that would bring Gaga’s music to new levels.

The record opens with the hit single, “Bad Romance.” I have heard a great deal of people say that “Bad Romance” is more or less a reinvented “Poker Face,” but I drastically fail to understand the connection, not one that calls for that kind of comparison anyway. Her vocals are a bit similar, since in the verses, Gaga explores very low registers of her voice while in the refrain, she explores higher registers. However, I fail to understand how the melodies are similar. Anyway, “Bad Romance” has already gone its way to becoming Gaga’s fifth smash hit in the U.S. (the other four obviously being “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Lovegame” and “Paparazzi”), and the music video (which features Gaga as a sex slave, sold to the Russian mafia after a round of bidding) is by far her most genially creative one yet. Even if you’re not a Gaga fan, I think that it would be rather difficult to get this track out of your head.

The second track that Mons†er has to offer is “Alejandro,” which had previously been titled “Don’t Call My Name” when a short portion of the song had been leaked online. “Alejandro” has been described as a rehashing of the “What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico” adage. Gaga has traveled to Mexico, fallen in love with a boy who is either named Alejandro, Fernando or Roberto (she can’t seem to recall), but she fears commitment and therefore insists on running away. The song is very powerful both melodically and vocally. Unfortunately, since both “Alejandro” and “Dance in the Dark” have both been officially released as promotional singles to help promote The Fame Mons†er, we can probably rule this one out as a future single. The second and the third singles from the album have already been selected, which I will discuss momentarily.

The third number we’re given is the track “Monster,” which I personally feel would have been a much better opener for the album. The song has previously been described as demonstrating a “fear of death,” and although I don’t immediately interpret the lyrics of the song to be related to death, I am going to continue to listen and see where perhaps they could in fact be interpreted that way. The track opens with the spoken lines: “Don’t call me Gaga/I’ve never seen one like that before/Don’t look at me like that/You amaze me.” At first glance, the lyrics potentially seem to be about rape or some form of sexual interaction that was not consensual, which is why she refers to the boy as “a monster.” This track definitely has the potential of being a future single, and even though it has not been announced what the fourth single will be yet, I think that this might actually be it, because I can definitely see this one doing well on the radio. There is a censored line in the song that upset me at first, because I thought that it was censored on the CD since I had bought it at Walmart, but further research has since indicated to me that the track is censored on all editions of the album, which I find to be a bit odd. Why write words on a piece of paper that aren’t going to be used?

The album moves into its first and only ballad, which is the epic “Speechless,” a song that has already been confirmed as the album’s third single. According to Gagapedia, Gaga’s father had been very sick, and she recorded this song for him as a way to plead for him to receive heart surgery that he needed. “I think is the best song I’ve ever written,” Gaga, herself, says about the song. “It’s about my dad. It’s a really beautiful ballad. It’s piano-driven, and there’s no beat on it. It’s all live instruments. I produced it with Ron Fair, so we did a full live orchestra, recorded everything with live drums, live guitar and bass with me playing piano. We got that really organic, delicious feeling.” “Speechless” is probably my second favorite song on the record and really does stand out as incredibly powerful and emotional. To those of you who watched the American Music Awards the night before last, this was the second song that she performed, the one in which she played at a piano and broke Vodka bottles over it.

The fifth track is the incredibly powerful “Dance in the Dark.” While “Speechless” is probably my second favorite track on the record, this is probably my first favorite. Gaga revealed a few months ago that during the writing process of The Fame Mons†er, she had been exploring some gothic influence, mainly in beats, and I think that this song is a very good example of what she was talking about. Melodically, it is probably the darkest song on the record, reminding me very much of bands such as the Birthday Massacre and Depeche Mode. Although I cannot seem to locate any information behind the meaning of the song, it seems to me to be a kind of feminist anthem, shouting out to women have ever felt unprotected or unsafe in the world (literally shouting out to women such as Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana). Like “Alejandro,” this song has been officially released a promotional single, so I seriously doubt that it will be released as an official single, especially since one song (“Bad Romance”) has already been determined, and two more have been announced.

The first few times that I heard “Telephone,” I was not very impressed. It just isn’t as powerful as some of the other material that The Fame Mons†er has to offer, and even though it is still not one of my favorites on the album, it has grown on me, and I like it a lot better than I did when I first heard it. The track features vocals by pop superstar Beyoncé (who was originally supposed to be Britney Spears, but Britney’s vehement desire to include the track on her new Greatest Hits collection caused some complications), and the lyrical content seems to be relatively simple. It seems to be about a girl who is out partying with her friends who is consistently being annoyed by her boyfriend texting her cell phone. Its simplicity could be one reason why it is not one of my favorites on the album, but one fact that needs to be kept in mind is that out of the eight songs on the record, this is the only one that was not actually written during the Monster era. “Telephone” was written during the Fame era and was initially supposed to be a song written for by sung by Britney Spears for her Circus album. This has been selected as the second single from the album and is expected to be released in early 2010.

Although I have not mentioned it until now, there are two songs on the album that remind me a bit of “Just Dance,” and those two songs are “Monster” and “So Happy I Could Die.” “Monster” shares very similar electronic accompaniment, and the next song on the record, “So Happy I Could Die,” is somewhat similar melodically. “So Happy I Could Die” is another song that I haven’t been able to fully decode just yet, but the title does seem to be fairly self-explanatory. This one has a bit of growing to do on me yet, since I am not absolutely crazy over it just yet like I am “Speechless” and “Dance in the Dark.” The album closes with the song “Teeth,” which is a very blunt, R&B-like track that, to be quite honest, closes the album while you are left wanting more. Like I said, The Fame Mons†er is incredible, but if I can find any fault in it whatsoever, it’s that I would have liked for it to have been a bit longer. It is more outrageous than The Fame while at the same time is more down to earth, and I love how in the track “Monster,” she shouts out to the very first hit with the line, “I want to just dance, but he took me home instead.” Her voice is also a lot more natural on this record, with not as much production applied as songs such as “Poker Face.” You have once again not failed to please, Gaga.

Gauntlet

Working so much!

Lets begin the end of the semester! Papers and test galore!

Stress Relief: Try it, it works. If you put your mind to it, it only takes 15 minutes to get your focus on and get that paper written :)

Be Ozzy

http://ezinearticles.com/?Stress-Relief-101&id=2952526

Thanksgiving ’09

So, this weekend has been pretty productive, and that is one reason why I love weekends that precede breaks. Since I know that it is my last weekend before the break, I try my hardest to get everything done that I possibly can so that I don’t have to do work over break, and my weekend is therefore very productive. I really enjoy getting work done, especially when you have a list in front of you, and the more you work, the smaller that list gets. It’s simply an amazing feeling. Obviously, coming up this week is the very reason why we don’t have class, which is Thanksgiving, and so, I figured that, more than anything, it would be appropriate to write a blog pertaining to that for which I am thankful.

Firstly, I am thankful for my relationship. I am sure that I have mentioned it in previous blog entries, but my relationship is soon to be eight months long, and I have never in my lifetime been happier. For once, it feels like I have found the person that I am supposed to be with, the one person who I am going to spend my entire life with and who I ultimately was always meant and destined to be with, and that is an amazing feeling, that knowledge. So, I am definitely thankful for that.

Secondly, I am thankful for my friends. Without them, I don’t know how I would get by. They don’t even need to know that I am experiencing a difficult situation. Just being with them and spending time with them helps me through, and I have some friends now that I never could have even dreamed of having, friends who understand me and friends who I can say anything to, and they’re not going to judge me, because they are my friends and because they are just good people.

I think that the final part of my life that I want to talk about, something that I am thankful for, is the very fact that I am sitting in a dorm room right now writing this blog entry. Not everyone who wants to go to college has the opportunity to, and that is something that I am well aware of, something that I don’t ever take for granted or forget. I am here not only because I took the initiative and the effort to be here and because I worked hard to be here but also because I was lucky enough to have received such a generous financial aid award. Without there, I would not be here right now pursuing my dreams, so that is also something for which I am most definitely thankful.

As far as the holiday itself, I will most likely be doing what I always do every year. We don’t cook but instead go to the Beeches Inn which isn’t that far away from my house. We go there every year, usually between noon and 1 p.m. with an afore-made reservation, and it’s usually a good experience. I know that some of you may be thinking that I have been deprived of enjoying a home-cooked meal, since that is something that you most likely have the privilege of enjoying, but every family’s tradition is different. Besides, I don’t feel deprived of anything. If anything, I feel privileged myself, because home-cooked meals at my house call for days upon days of leftovers, and we do have a home-cooked meal on Christmas.

I am really looking forward to going home, seeing my boyfriend and spending time with friends. Trust me, as I think a lot of us do, I really need this break. I know some students, such as my roommate, who haven’t been home at all so far this semester, and I don’t know how anyone could do that. I would most definitely go crazy. Anyway, I am so happy that there are only two days of classes this week. I will be leaving Wednesday morning and will try to write a blog before then. If something interesting happens in my life prior to Wednesday morning, then I will try to write about that. Otherwise, maybe I will write a review or something. I recall Julie-Jo suggesting last year that we try to mix up or blog entries to incorporate different subjects, and I often do the best that I can to follow that advice.

21st birthday in Africa!

Most people eagerly await the day when the clock strikes 12 a.m., and they turn 21. Then a night full of drinking, dancing on bars, getting tanked, passing out, and being dragged home by friends. All because you can legally drink.

My 21st birthday is going to be a little different. Although the thought of passing out in a bar is enticing, I think I’m going to enjoy my birthday a little more conservatively. I’m going to get tanked in Africa!~ Just kidding. I am going to be in Ghana for my birthday volunteering in an orphanage I think, so I don’t think I’ll be able to get drunk just then. I’m definitely going to hit up a bar after work to participate in the American rite of passage. I’m past the idea that drinking is cool and fun. I’m way to busy for that. Freshmen year and sophomore year are more the time for partying and then the work doubles junior/senior year, so even though you’re of age, you really don’t have time to give up to drinking.

Living in Funnelle I see tons of freshmen going out a couple of times a week, coming back at like 2 a.m., trashed, and loud as anything. That’s just annoying. When I have to get up at 6:30/7 every morning, I hate being awoken by drunk guys yelling outside or drunken girls being taken out of the building on stretchers. How dumb can you be? Honestly, though, what is so enticing of getting alcohol poisoning and missing your classes and getting a bad reputation as that drunk girl who threw up last weekend.

If you’re going to drink (which the general majority is doing anyway), do it moderately. Get drunk, but don’t get trashed. I personally get annoyed at the frats and sororities that emphasize partying, and I think they’re breeding grounds for alcohol poisoning and passed out girls. That’s why Oswego gets a bad reputation about being a party school because you have drunk people roaming the streets continuously. The residents only ever see Oswego students as being rowdy and drunk. If you’re going to drink, do it in a friend’s room or nearby and just be aware that the rest of the world isn’t revolving around your party life and we don’t really want to hear you throwing up in the hall or screaming outside.

Anyway, stepping down from my soapbox… I’m really excited to be in Ghana. I got an e-mail with a power point on it that showed where I’ll be staying and some of the places nearby which I will be able to explore. When you think of Africa, you don’t really think about electricity or Internet, but they have both in Ghana. They have Internet cafes and long distance phone lines. I think too often Africa is portrayed as a continent full of war, poverty, and rural/agricultural communities, but globalization has reached its arms into the countries of Africa and has created satellite cell phone services, sewage systems, Internet, and electricity. It’s not just a bunch of grass huts, which are still pretty numerous all over the continent, there’s a lot technology making its way into the countries. I’m very excited to be there and to see how a whole other nation exists! A non-Caucasian culture.

Oh ya, and I’m going to be there for Christmas too, which they celebrate! And I can’t wait to make Christmas cards and maybe learn some Ghana Christmas traditions!

Wish me luck, and consume alcohol consciously :)

Wii and Mii!!!

You know after a long week sometimes I just want to get away and do something that is satisfying.  This past weekend I did just that. I took a break away from my house, school work, and even friends. I just needed to relax and clear my mind, its nothing better than relaxing and clearing my mind especially after such a long week. This weekend came with more than just relaxing, I received a special surprise from a special person. I received a Wii!!! My goodness it was such a special gift because I wanted one for so long and I finally have one to call my own. The Wii is the greatest getaway and the greatest work out plan, it is so satisfying. I have a new friend one that guarantees me a great time! I am so happy… I cant wait for Christmas!

Dear France, I think you forgot a holiday!

So if you were in Paris right now, you would think it is already December and christmas was right around the corner because EVERY SINGLE STORE is already Christmased out!  Decorations and light toys and candy and its like christmas already here.  I know Thanksgiving is a North American holiday and it is a celebration of starting a new life in the “new world” and giving thanks for the things we have.  But really, shouldn’t everyone in the world celebrate their family and give thanks for everything they have?  I think so.  Plus it is WAYYY to early to be like 100% into Christmas.  It is still over a month away and this Christmas stuff here has been happening since after Halloween.  I find it so strange!  Luckily for me I am having Thanksgiving dinner with the family I babysit for because the Father is American.  It is not going to be the same, just a dinner after their long days at work and school, but it is better than nothing.  I am going to miss Turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and all the other wonderful things that are Thanksgiving in the US.  But I am definitely going to miss the smells of Thanksgiving and of course the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  

Anyway, it has been a little while since I posted.  I have been getting into a routine here and the days are just moving by like clockwork.  There hasn’t been anything really exciting talk about in the past week or so.  The excitement is wearing off.  I sometimes think oh I am living in Europe, but then after that I think hmm, well it doesn’t feel like anything special or out of the ordinary anymore.  I am not just an American visiting here for a little while, I am really into the full-blown real life of Paris.  Although I only have 50 days left here until I come home!  I have already been here for almost 80 days!  That is so strange to imagine. 

Although there has not been a lot of excitement recently, the next two weeks are CRAZY busy!  Twilight comes out in Theatres tomorrow and I am going to that!  I am very excited…2 days earlier than the US! Also, one of my best friends, who was an exchange student at my high school from Germany is coming to visit tomorrow for 4 days!  I am looking forward to seeing her!  It will be really great to have a familiar face visit!  When she leaves I have normal classes next week then on Thursday is Thanksgiving and after class I am babysitting then having my Paris-version of Thanksgiving dinner!  On Friday I am taking a train to visit another one of my good friends who was an exchange student at my high school in the Netherlands!  I will be there for 4 days and I am so excited.  When I get back it will be December already.  So for the next few weeks I am really busy and then my semester starts coming to a close and then I will be off to Germany for Christmas! 

Sorry there isn’t anything really exciting to talk about that has happened lately but enjoy for now!

What is wrong with us?

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I’m at work in the recycling room because countless times students come in and throw out their trash. What’s wrong with that you ask? The issue I have with students throwing out their “trash” is that a majority of what they’re throwing out isn’t trash. I spend a lot of time going through the trash (you may say that’s gross but my concern for the environment is higher than my concern for my hand hygiene), and I pick out pieces of “trash” that can actually be recycled.

I don’t know how many times I’ve pulled water bottles, soda cans, full notebooks/binders, cardboard boxes, etc. out of the trash bags, reducing the volume of those full bags by half. I get so frustrated because I make a lot of signs (from the discarded paper) explicitly explaining where students should place their items. How hard is it to separate your trash? I know in Funnelle hall each room gets three trash cans, two for trash and one for mixed recyclables. I mean, come on! How hard is it to just walk that one step over to your recycling bin to throw something out?

My roommate and I are so taken with this third can that it fills up sooner than our trash cans do. A majority of the trash that we naturally have is recyclable now, thanks to Oswego County’s acceptance of 1-7 plastics, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, etc. They list everything that can be recycled right on the web site – Oswego County Recycling Program. So if you weren’t sure what to recycle, there it is for you!oswegocountyrecy

I just don’t understand how so many people don’t recognize recycling programs that are going on all over campus. I am curious about why students don’t recycle! Is it because you just don’t think about it? Do you think it’s dumb? Do you just write it off because you think that it gets separated anyways? Or do you just don’t know what to recycle?

What can be done to change people’s attitudes? I’m really curious. I get so cynical sometimes because I think that nothing is working; people don’t care about anything anymore. Just themselves. It’s the narcissistic Facebook generation that’s growing up now, and they just care about parties on the weekends and updating their statuses via their iPhones.

I know, I know. This is not an accurate representation of my generation, but I feel like this is the case a lot of the time. I do so many social awareness programs, like holding discussions, speaking at events, presenting fliers, showcasing posters, spreading awareness via word-of-word, etc. And I feel like these pleas are falling on deaf ears. Maybe it’s because our generation is facing overload right now. We’re inundated with so much information, thanks to the Internet, that we just shut down. We become super specific, focusing on things that directly affect us, and nothing else.

But we can’t do this! At least in my opinion I think that we can’t do this. Because of the Internet, we should become more and more global and aware. We don’t have to do something for everyone in the world, but if we are open to societal changes and norm changes, then maybe we can help the world that we live in. I guess my biggest issue is living sustainably, which a majority of us don’t do. But, we’re making progress, so for now, I’ll lay my cynicism aside in exchange for optimism.

The U.S. itself has a long way to go in terms of reducing our environmental impact, but we’ve made progress. The biggest area that we have room to grow is in the waste section, in my opinion. According to the EPA’s Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), in the year 2007 alone, “Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted 85 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 33.4 percent recycling rate” Compared to 1985’s percent of 10.1, we’re doing pretty good.
msw
But, we could do so much for the environment if we just changed our behaviors a little bit. If we just recycled more water bottles or just paid attention to where we were throwing our trash, we could instate better, sustainable habits. We need to take our eyes off our phones and computers long enough to look at the environment around us and enjoy it before it disappears, which will happen if we don’t change our behaviors.

Please recycle! It’s a start! That’s all I’m asking for right now. Please pay attention to what you’re throwing away and question if it’s really trash or if it could be reused.