Twitter, blogs, Facebook, hell, why not just follow me around?

Posted in Scattershot with tags , on 24 March, 09 by MastrN8

I have been blogging (poorly) for just over a year now. I really do enjoy it even though I hardly ever write anymore. For me it’s a way to clear out and reorganize the junk bin ‘tween my ears. I have found that when I do jot something down, even just a line or two, I feel clear-headed and better able to focus. It’s like working out in two ways; first, you always feel better once it’s done and you are motivated to do it more frequently immediately afterwards. Secondly, the best times to blog, or workout, are when you wish to perform said activities the least. Over the past year, this has been my main form of mental release.

Just a few months ago I caught back up with the rest of the world by signing up with Facebook. I was able to reconnect with those that I had lost and those that were just acquaintances at first I am finding that I have a lot in common with. All in all, I am shocked, amazed and frankly bummed that I didn’t join Facebook sooner. It’s all good though. I’m still learning the rules of engagement and the different colloquialisms that go along with the site. I love it and am truly addicted to it. My favorite part? Reading the status updates that people post, by far! It’s like talking or texting to someone all of the time!

Whether he knew this fact or not, my brother-in-law told me that I should join Twitter. At first I was skeptical simply because I had no idea what it was. I thought that it was just another blogging site.  As you can tell I already belong to one of those. After he explained to me that it was just like facebook’s status updates without all the other junk, I was very interested! Needless to say, I am very much now a Twitter-er. I am proud to say that I have even linked my phone so that I can update my status via text. Call me what you will but I think this is awesome.  My only complaint is that I don’t have the amount of friends on Twitter as I do on Facebook. My hope is that my friends read this and become converts.

Hello 21st century!

Pickin’ it up.

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , on 18 March, 09 by MastrN8

This week is the last week before spring break. I have been hit pretty hard with tests these past couple weeks. Some have been crappy, others have been good. Last week I had a general biology test that didn’t go so well. I walked in over-confident and fell flat on my face with a 73%. Pretty shitty N8. My one saving grace in that class is the fact that the prof drops the lowest test grade of the semester. I needed this low grade however. I needed something to light a fire under my ass since I’ve felt unmotivated all semester. Why must I constantly fight to fix things, instead of maintaining things that aren’t broken?

Another thing happened this week to motivate me. I was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa. This is not a fraternity but more of an honor society instead. It is only offered to full-time students that carry a 3.5 GPA and above. I wasn’t sure after last week if they would want me to join. I have no doubt though that I can overcome the aforementioned setback and maintain my current 3.6. I am still riding the fence on the decision to join though. I don’t want to join a club who’s idea of extracurricular volunteer work encompasses  sitting at a table  peddling baked goods. What am I, a girl scout? I would like the distinction on my transcripts however, and I am seriously debating on joining.

Finally, the most recent news. Today I found out that I scored a 95% on my Microbiology lab practical. I nearly wet myself out of elation! I had stressed over that test for weeks, as I have for the second part of the microbio midterm: the lecture exam! I take that tomorrow. I am confident but I learned a valuable lesson from my gen bio test: Don’t Walk in Cocky! Anything can happen so I intend to really crackdown and knock this one out of the park!

Wish me luck.
to be continued…

Going through the motions

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , on 8 March, 09 by MastrN8

I sit here staring at the screen knowing that I want to write and need to write but I cannot. My original plan was to write about the events that transpired in Mexico and lead it into my everyday life, but alas, those stories tower above me and intimidate me. There is a lot to tell and frankly, I wish not to type it all out. I know that I’ll regret this decision but screw it. It was fun and great and the wedding was awesome. Chichen Itza was amazing! Let’s move on.

So I recently joined facebook at the behest of my mom. I have to admit, it is pretty cool. I have reconnected with some long lost acquaintances and find myself logging in on a daily basis just to see what a buddy of mine wrote as his current status. There are some extremely creative people out there.

School is starting to wear on me which is a drag since it is very early in my long school career. I have been finding it hard to focus and concentrate. Whenever I reach my preordained study times that I allot myself, something else always comes up. I have a Bio exam tomorrow afternoon. I didn’t study all weekend. I have a Micro Bio lab practical on thursday. I didn’t study all weekend. I have a math test and a Micro Bio exam next week on consecutive days. I didn’t study all weekend. See a pattern? I don’t know what is wrong with me. A few months ago nothing occupied my time more than cracking the books. Now, I feel bored, listless, and completely unmotivated.

I better go over some Bio stuff for the next hour or two before bed. We’ll see how it goes.

Gotta ease back in

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , on 26 February, 09 by MastrN8

A lot has happened since I last told the world of my exploits, sorry about that. A wedding in Mexico (not mine), a visit to some ancient ruins, and a brand new school semester began. There were other things that have happened of course; a few bumps and bruises along the way, all of which were superficial, I realized that describing all of these things cannot happen all at once because none of them did. I am instead going to give my imaginary audience somewhat bite-sized recaps of what has happened in the past month and a half. Consider it the serialized MastrN8. Now that I have sufficiently built up my immensely drab and unexciting existence, enjoy.

I’d like to start with a slice of Chicken Pizza. That’s right, yours truly went to see one of the seven wonders of the world: the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza! My  wife and I along with my in-laws went to a somewhat overcast Cancun last month for her cousin’s wedding (details on that to follow). We were there for only four days. Not enough time, let me tell you. It was beautiful though! Mexico in winter is a lot better than some places in the summer! By the way forgive my horrible grammar and syntax, I know the flow isn’t there either but bear with me, it has been awhile. Anyhow, I got the chance to visit the temple with my father-in-law and brother-in-law. Chichen Itza is a lot farther inland than I assumed, they tell you Yucatan peninsula in school but it is no where near the sea. After a two hour bus ride, and a half hour history lesson given to us by the guide, we arrived at what looked like the entrance to an outdoor museum of concert hall. There was a big lobby filled with vendors, a gift shop, restrooms, everything you’d expect to see when entering a place like Six Flags or Disneyland, just on a more conservative scale. As we waited for the guide to buy our entrance to the ruins, my father-in-law filled out a form that would personalize a Mayan calendar and translate the date of his choosing into the corresponding Mayan date. We then entered the park.

Entering the ruins was odd. It felt as if we had walked into a “habitrail”, you know those mock up environments that zoos build? Anyway the beginning of the tour our guide was telling us to buy from the various merchants, and there were a lot of them, around the forested area. He said to make sure and haggle, not only is it expected but rude not to. Then there it was. Towering over me a like a great big Mayan temple. Chichen Itza, the great big Mayan temple. Awesome doesn’t cut it. This thing is older than Europe’s conquest of the new world. I was in awe. Unfortunately I couldn’t climb it though. Apparently some lady took a tumble off of it ruining it for everyone, no pun intended. 

The tour itself lasted about an hour, and I learned loads about the Mayans. I wish I could have learnt more. We were then set loose to wander, not to climb, the grounds. They were huge, and they are still finding more! The city was like New York or L.A. back in its day. People from all over the continent, even the Anasazi form Colorado, went there for commerce back in the day. It was truly amazing.

There is more to tell but must wait another day. When I resume, I will continue telling of this trip and perhaps the wedding.


Add Pottery Barn to the list of Greedy Corporations

Posted in Scattershot with tags , on 3 January, 09 by MastrN8

This is a letter I recently wrote to Pottery Barn. In it, I explain the situation in detail so I’ll just let you read it. Note: In this post I replaced my real name with my blogger name. Pottery Barn knows me not as MastrN8.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is MastrN8. I would like to begin by telling whomever reads this that my wife and I adore your company and the merchandise it sells. Although we are just starting out and cannot afford everything we want right now, we do make a habit of buying what we can from Pottery Barn. We also feel that every time we are in the store that the staff is very courteous, genial and prompt. Even throughout the holidays the store in the Promenade Shops at Briargate in Colorado Springs, CO (#731) was well kept and made for a pleasant shopping experience. That was until today.

Today I went into Pottery Barn #731 in the hopes of exacting an even exchange; however, the situation, which I expected to be quick and easy, turned out to be difficult and frankly, painful. I expected to exchange the frame I had for a comparable one, not only in size, but style; since my wife likes them so much I also expected to buy a few more. For Christmas, my wife asked for Pottery Barn’s red grosgrain frames in various sizes; she received a total of six of them. One of the frames, the 5×7, was engraved with “Christmas 2008”. The person that gave her said frame did not see the small line on the box indicating that this phrase was engraved on the frame. When I went to exchange this frame for an un-engraved frame, I walked into a nightmare.

I walked into the store at 2:25 p.m.; I made a note of the time because I had an appointment to keep at three. The first thing I noticed upon entering the store was the lack of employees. No one was minding the register and I waited a full five minutes before a young woman helped me out. I forget her name but she was very courteous and friendly. She had long brown hair and a green shirt on. She said she would be happy to help and after calling around trying to find a SKU # for the “Christmas” frame, she had the unfortunate responsibility of telling me that since I did not have the receipt, I would have to pay an extra $10.97 to make up the difference in price. This was upsetting to me knowing that I would have to pay for a gift. I decided to pay but to also make my disappointment known to the manager. Keep in mind that I entered the store at 2:25.

At 2:41, the manager, Denise, finally showed up to talk to me. Denise was very polite and apologetic but I believe she failed to grasp the point I was trying to make. She explained to me numerous times that even at the height of the season the “plain” frames were still more expensive that the “Christmas” frames. I understand that perfectly. I was trying to explain to her that I found it disappointing that there was such a long wait to be helped. That it was disappointing that I needed to pay for a gift that was given. That it was disappointing that cookie-cutter, big-box, chain retailers cannot be flexible with customers that wish to spend money in their store.

The point I am trying to make in this long-winded letter is this: I am disappointed in Pottery Barn’s handling of this situation. It seems to me that P.B. would rather keep $10.97 than keep a returning customer. The store is tainted to me now. Where I once saw beauty and elegance in a store’s merchandise, I now merely see greed and a yearning to meet the bottom-line at all costs. I don’t blame you; I have read the reports. Williams-Sonoma’s Q3 earnings were dismal at best. To quote your own CEO Howard Lester, “To put this in perspective, company-wide comparable store sales declined from negative 14.0% in August to negative 20.1% in September to negative 27.6% in October.” The Williams-Sonoma family of companies seems to be bleeding money profusely! No wonder Denise didn’t want to lose the ten dollars and ninety-seven cents

If this were my company though, I would be more worried about returning customers that wish to spend money above and beyond a simple exchange, rather than the difference of said exchange. In other words, wouldn’t you rather bend the rules for a loyal customer that wishes to spend more money on the same visit, than just get the difference of the exchange and never see that customer again?

I hope this letter finds the appropriate eyes. I hope that this letter doesn’t get received only to be pushed aside and be replaced by a stock email that details your return and exchange policy. If you think I am disappointed now, wait until you see my response to an automatically generated email. You won’t get rid of me by just handing me a meaningless email chock full of information that I already know. The point here is this: if you wish to achieve record sales and keep the customers you have, treat them as people. Look up from your number reports and bottom-line, and focus on the patrons in your stores. If making a customer happy means a 5 Million dollar bonus to the CEO rather than a 10 million dollar bonus then so be it! I am confident that the rest of my middle to upper middle class brothers and sisters will tell you the same.

I know there are some circumstances in which you simply cannot budge on policy, however, I implore you to take these situations case by case! You have lost a customer that once wished to furnish his house in your wares. While the staff was kind and genial, they were inattentive to their customer’s needs and steadfast in keeping every cent that they could get, rather than keeping the customer. In the current economic environment I wish you the best of luck and hope that you survive these conditions treating your patrons the way you do.


Now, in this letter I may sound like a bitter consumer, but dammit, we deserve better! Do you honestly think that corps. like Williams-Sonoma actully give a crap about stuff like this? Hell no! Consumers are the ones that should be naming football stadiums! Consumers are the ones that one Nacsars and pay the driver’s salaries! consumers are the ones that put millions and millions of dollars in the pockets of CEOs! To these corporations it is us, the consumer, that keep them in business, not the other way around! CEOs are always stingy with raises, bonuses, and employee deserved perks, yet they are the first to boast that their company has reached some new height as far as profitability. Where does all that excess money go? Into the bank accounts of those CEOs, my friends. But who am I to complain? That is the American way, Go Capitalism!

So much to say; where, o where to begin.

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , , on 29 December, 08 by MastrN8

Good day to all of my illusory readers out there. I am, and have been a t a loss for words for many months now. For this, I apologize. If anyone actually reads this drivel and sits on tenterhooks for my next bit of rhetoric, then I doubly apologize to you and offer you my condolences. On top of this, I make a vow to you my imaginary constant reader: I promise to commit to writing more often. Note: I did not commit to writing better.
As the title suggests, there is a lot on my mind. I will be splitting this post up into many. I am unsure as of yet how many but as I always do with this blog, I am just going to wing it.

As Chris Penn penned in Reservoir Dogs, “First things fucking last”.

Well I guess he didn’t really pen it, Tarantino did, but he said it and that’s where I choose to begin. We could wax semantically on this all day but let us instead roll with it and move on, shall we? Thank you!

Okay, first of all the last time we spoke, I was in school. I guess I still am but the semester is finally over. Thank the lord! So here’s how the final month and half went down. I had just pulled off the most challenging week of my academic career. Menstrual Cycle! (period, for the unhip) I cannot tell you how good that felt to turn in a mid-term and journal critique that both garnered A’s; an annotated biblio that, although came up short a few sources (surprise, surprise), combined with a memorable and moving debate given by yours truly, also garnered me an A; the bio thing was a waste of my time; and I ended up relatively unscathed as far as chem went. Whew! Now for the rest of the story.

I made a promise to you in my last post, my friend, that I would stop this procrastination nonsense. I thought that maybe if I could do things as they came up, it would cause me less stress, and therefore allow me to live longer. Let’s face it though, I am a procrastinator. I would do you and the world an injustice if I were to not tell you that I put off ending my procrastinationism, until next semester! When my time comes I will also do the most reasonable thing, put death off as well, how hard could it be?

So, I survived the midterm. Onward into November! November came with a wave of papers to write. I decided that since I had two more journal critiques for Psych to write, I would just knock those out at once. Good thing to because I had a presentation in Bio to plan for on December 4th. Three more chem tests, including a comprehensive final that encompassed Chem I and Chem II. I had a stimulating speech to give on my favorite subject: Film!

Okay, so I’m getting sleepy. Here is the quick and dirty version. I wrote my speech the night before it was due. It was supposed to ten minutes, yet I practiced a thirty minute speech. Yikes! I ended up winging most of it by listing the top three films that I deemed to be the most under-appreciated.
They are: #3 Cube, a beautifully crafted sci-fi thriller focusing on bringing out the fears and insecurities of strangers thrust into, not only confinement but a stressful “being hunted” environment.
#2 Very Bad Things, this is the quintessential modern black comedy. Once you hop on this roller-coaster, regardless of how many times you puke, the mullet-sporting, pock-marked carny (small hands), refuses to stop the ride. At one point in the movie I had to pause to catch my breath. I never thought things could get worse, but sure enough, they went ten steps further.
#1 Harold and Maude from Bud Cort’s sardonic view of life to Ruth Gordon’s vivacious lust for it. This screwball comedy is moving almost to tears. A must see for the hopeless romantic that is a little off, or for the film buff that delights in original screenplays. 
So that outline hammered home the final coffin nail in ensuring my A in speech. If you disagree with the aforementioned list of under-appreciated movies, suck it, it got me an A, end of story.

I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t mean to jump down your throat like that. It’s getting late and I’m cranky. Let’s move on, I promise to be nice.

Psych, that was easy. We were given a take-home final, just like the mid-term. I calculated that even if I were to not turn it in, there was a mathematical impossibility of me not getting an A. Next class…

Bio. I told you  that I had a presentation to give. Here is the crux of it. Two weeks from semester end, I calculated that I was carrying an 89%. At the beginning of the semester, the Prof tells us that he refuses to round up and that those that receive 90% or higher going into the final will be exempt. Needless to say that I had a lot riding on the presentation and the final test. The presentation was on a lab we did on genetics. I had two partners who needed to take the final regardless of the presentation grade so that forced me to do the majority of the work. No matter, I prefer it that way since no one can do it better than I. Just kidding,kinda, my team performed magnificently and we received a 97% on the project. Combined with my 92% test grade, I had earned myself a one way ticket to A’s-ville.

holy shit that was lame. I have no excuse for that faux-pas only that it is just past one in the morning. Sorry, no more ‘villes. Ever! That’s a promise.

So, drum roll please. Chemistry. The bane of my existence! Oh how I despise thee. My last post referred to my third test  take in that class. I scored a 77.8% with an overall sitting at 84r%. I had three more tests yet to take. My fourth test was going to be hard but I felt that after the nonsense surrounding mid-term, I would be better equipped to take it on. I was wrong. It got harder yet, but I had gleaned from the previous tests, what kind of test writer the prof was. This proved to be an invaluable insight… until the final. 
My fourth test was probably the hardest since the first, which I failed, however, I had learned a few key study strategies when pouring over previous tests. For instance, The prof made sure to ask at least two problems verbatim from the books set of practice problems; each equation was needed at least once every test; and Occam’s razor is a valuable tool indeed. If a problem looked overly complex, it probably wasn’t. Using these assumptions, I was able to pull out dual 85% grades on tests four and five. The final, however, was a comprehensive monster that was standardized. Crap.
The class before Thanksgiving break found me taking a practice final that covered only material from Chem I. half of this content would and could be found in the real final. I scored a 45 of 70. A 64% and the highest grade in the class. Don’t congratulate me though, I was the only one stupid enough to stay and finish the thing. I didn’t however do some rough calculating. Based on what the prof told us I roughly calculated my curved average to be 77%. If I could just repeat this performance for the real final I may be able to hold on to my fore-casted grade of 87%! With this strategy in mind, I set out to study that way. Minutes before the test, the teacher said that he would not only grant us grades based on the national curve but also curve them further to reflect the overall class performance! Whew! What a load off! That meant that to maintain my B, I had more leeway than I thought! I am pleased to relay to you my dear reader, that I MastrN8, accomplished my goal and did indeed repeat my performance given in the practice final. My final was scored at a 45 of 70, or 80%! I got my B.

I intend to take my three A’s and a B and run with them…and never look back!

Next time: The election and the bailouts, or “How I learned to accept living in a socialist society”.

‘Til next time kiddos, thanks for reading!

Wholly Crap!

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , , , on 23 October, 08 by MastrN8

What a week kiddies! This week has truly been wholly crap! This week will forever go down in my mind as one of the toughest weeks so far in my school career. Worse even than that one time in kindergarten when I  wet myself from laughing too hard. That was rough, but this was infinitely more stressful. Although, I have to say that there was definitely less ridicule. Anyway, let me take you on a tour through this shit-storm, shall I?

First of all, and this is extremely important to keep in mind as it will explain so much in the end, I am an awful, awful, procrastinator. Or am I a good procrastinator because I put things off so well? In any case, I put too many things off until the last minute. Furthermore, this gets compounded due to the fact that I never get that nervous, “Oh my God, I only have x amount of time to get this done” feeling until it is too late to do anything even halfway decent. So, keep this in mind as I take you through the week. One more thing, here is a list of what I have due, and how much I have yet to complete. Mind that this list was made late Sunday night 10/19.

Bio: Pre-lab due on Wednesday 10/22, no worries, it’s only Monday.
Psych: A journal critique due on 10/21, have yet to start, but known about it for three weeks.
Psych: Take-home mid-term due on 10/21, halfway complete, I have had it for 6 weeks.
Psych: study guide homework due on 10/21, not yet started, I have known about it for two weeks.
Speech: Debate on 10/23, not yet started. Need an outline and an annotated biblio. citing 20 sources. I have had 3 weeks to work on this but something else was always more important.
Chem: I have an exam on 10/21 to study for and a lab report (not started) due after the test.

That just about covers it. With the thought in my mind that I should complete the thing that is due first, I set out to finish my psych homework first. I thought that it would go a lot quicker than it did but I did mange to complete the midterm and B.S.’d my way through the critique. total time spent on Psych: about six hours total. Crap. I still have a test to cram for.

After my  impressive display on the last test, scoring one of only two A’s in the class, I felt confident that this test would be similar. Wrong! Monday night and all day Tuesday I devoted to chem, my test was at 5 p.m. I went into the test over-confident and gave a poor performance. Final score? 77.8%…curved! crap. my forecasted final grade is an 84%. I really need to pick it up!

I whipped through the bio pre-lab only to find out that he did not want to collect it, and he did not give us a quiz, as he usually does, on the previous lab. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

That leaves me with speech. Oh speech. I have set you on the back burner too many times, my friend. I have had a LOT of time to do this and as of 3 p.m. on the day before it is due, I begrudgingly start to look up sources. crap. The bibliography, and I don’t say this because I put it off so long, was nonsense. 20 sources for a 10 minute debate? Are you kidding me? I was an expert on the subject after reading through source five. I think the biblio. was excessive and unnecessary and although I got it done just before beginning this blog entry, I think I did a hell of a good job on it. Not “good job considering how late I began”, I mean good job, period. The outline practically wrote itself thankfully and I feel that considering that this has been my worst academic week ever, I might actually pull this week off relatively unscathed.

So there you have it, I am 2 hours away from performing my rushed debate and 8 hours from the end of my week. I do not blame anybody for this reprehensible and irresponsible behavior except for myself. I have had plenty of time to avoid this ridiculousness but something else always took precedence. Well no more! As of now, I am swearing to you loyal, yet wholly imaginary reader that I will never again have a week that is wholly crap!