Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bak to Skuul: A Gide Four Freschmyn

It’s hard to believe, but this year is actually my senior year of college, and as usual it started without me. But regardless of whether I’m ready for it, this is my last year here, which is awesome and depressing at the same time.

For one thing, it means I’m getting old. I was walking around campus the other day and I’m not sure if it was freshman orientation or a middle school field trip. It’s like being at a Justin Bieber concert. I was talking to one of them the other day and when they told me they lived in Buckingham Hall, they followed that up by asking, “Was Buckingham built when you were a freshman?” Now considering Buckingham is one of the oldest buildings on a campus that is 135 years old, you can understand why I was a bit offended by that question. But in general I don’t carry the same hostility towards freshman that many of my fellow seniors do. I mean out of the ten freshmen who have asked me for directions in the past two days, I have only given false directions to eight of them. I’ll leave it to your imagination what the lucky two had in common.

But anyway, I actually try to be a mentor of sorts to these young impressionable minds, which might sound scary. I may be graduating on time, but I am doing so having stayed true to the non-existent work ethic and study habits that I perfected in high school. When people ask me if I am at risk of getting senioritis, I explain to them that I was practically born with that disease, and now that I am actually a senior it is pretty much incurable.

For instance, I have a Shakespeare class with Baddie and Midget where the teacher asked us to write on a card what we wanted to get out of the class. The girls each wrote short novels on their card that said something about learning about plays or something. My card simply said “An A.” Also, half of my schedule this year consists of magical little things known as pass/fail classes. Basically, if I get a D or above, it shows up on my transcript as a pass. So the only thing I have to do is make sure I don’t die in the middle of the class and I pass (although I almost failed to do on my first day).

But I figure that is what makes me perfect as a mentor. Besides, freshmen don’t want advice from the guy who is smart and organized and on top of everything, because their advice will only work if you are smart and organized and on top of everything, which frankly sounds boring. No, you want advice from the guy who sleeps in class, doesn’t study or read, and in general has just been stumbling aimlessly around campus for the better part of three years and is still passing. Because let’s be honest, that takes way more skill.

Now every newspaper and college brochure has a guide to college, but those are full of whimsically optimistic fluff that worried parents want to see (sort of like Barney). So I have taken the time (four minutes to be exact) to put together a practical guide to college for all of you incoming freshman. But upper classman who would also like to graduate on time while putting in little to no effort are also welcome to impart this guide’s wisdom.

Office Hours: Office hours are a great time to establish a healthy rapport with your professors while also reviewing material and asking important questions. I have never once been to office hours.

Partying: Parties are disruptive, unhealthy, and often lead to trouble with the cops if you are underage. You should go to as many of these as you can, especially on weekdays.

Professors: Some people say that you should get to know your professors, but they are not there to teach, they are there to write boring papers and books. Your professor does not care about you, so you should not care about them. Tenured professors are the worst because they cannot be fired, so never take a class with one. Just because something has been around for a long time does not necessarily mean it is good. Take Bruce Springsteen for instance.

Textbooks: They are very expensive and I rarely read them anyway cause they are boring. Save your money and spend it on something that will actually help you in school, like prescription drugs.

Homework and readings: Nah.

Classes: I guess if they take attendance you should show up. But you should spend the class sleeping, so you have more time at night for important things (see Partying, above).

Notes: You should bring a friend to take some while you sleep.

Study sessions: These are very useful, because it enables you to learn everything that you missed while you were sleeping without doing any actually research. Simply write down everything that everybody else says while occasionally nodding and making comments like “interesting point,” to pretend like you are actually contributing.

Syllabus: I have no idea what this is, but I needed another category and this sounds like a really college-sounding word.

Computers in class: You know you’re on Facebook, your teacher knows you’re on Facebook, your neighbor knows you’re on Facebook, and Jesus knows you’re on Facebook. So just leave the damn thing at home. If you get bored, play F**k, Marry, Kill with the person next to you.

Clubs: Join as many as you can, since many of them offer free food at their meetings. Just never get stuck in a leadership position. Also, check what the club is before you show up looking for food. Let’s just say that eating at a meeting for an all-women’s acapella group when you are a guy is frowned upon.

Dorms: Avoid them like the plague, because you will get busted for everything you do. If you live in one, make sure you are on good terms with the RA or have something to blackmail them with. Photoshop is highly encouraged in this situation.

Papers: Procrastination is the key here. You don’t really need to start writing a paper until midnight of the night before it’s due. And half of the professors don’t read the paper anyway, so if you need an extra page, just write the entire lyrics to “Hotel California.” Another tip is to use longer words. For instance, instead of “tired as a dog,” use “tired as a Canis lupis familiaris.”

Tests: Most of your grade will probably depend on one or two of these, so make sure you wake up for them. For essay tests, just reword the prompt question as many times as needed to fill up the page. For multiple choice tests, you have a 25 percent chance of getting it right by simply guessing, which I think isn’t bad considering that if you’ve been following the rest of this guide you have no clue about the material (and true and false is even better). If the class has a curve, sit next to the smartest person and copy, and then before they can turn in their test, loudly accuse them of cheating off of you to eliminate their score from the curve. Harsh? Maybe, but do you think they feel bad when they score really well and doom the rest of us to C’s?

Relationships: Many people are able to have healthy, committed relationships while in college. You should probably go ask them how they do it, cause I haven’t figured it out yet.

Parents: Tell them as little as possible. The more blanks you give them, the more they will fill it in with what they want to think their precious little child is doing. Call them when you need money and food. If you made the mistake of going to school someplace where they can see you often, well “HAHAHAH” is all I have to say.

**DISCLAIMER: If you fail out of school while following these guidelines, I will not accept any of the blame. These work for me because I work hard at not working hard. Also I have a pretty face.**

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TV Adventure

I just recently moved apartments, so I found myself the other day shopping for a TV, since neither my roommate nor I wanted the TV that we used to have. It’s not that there was anything wrong with it; it’s just that the thing was huge, and not like flat screen invite your friends over to watch the Super Bowl big. I mean like those old box shaped TVs that weigh about a ton. I’m pretty sure that after we went to sleep, our TV went out and pillaged towns and ate small children alive. So Chris just basically dropped it a few times and then dumped it besides a dumpster.

So anyway, I was standing in a Best Buy, looking at a wall of beautiful TVs, and I could think only one thing as I stared at the amazing clarity and bright colors: There is no way I can afford any of these. These things were going into the four digit price range. That’s twice what I spent on my first car. Plus, I’m not a huge TV guy. I spent my entire sophomore year without a TV and did just fine except that now I have a tendency to name inanimate objects and have conversations with them.

Anyway, my lack of knowledge about TVs really showed when I started talking to one of the sales guys. You know how they say you should always do research before you go to make a big purchase? Well I never do. This is the conversation that I had with the guy.

Sales Associate: “So what kind of TV are you looking for today?”

Me: “A cheap one.”

Sales Associate: “Is an LCD what you’re looking for?”

Me: “No thanks, I don’t do drugs.”

Sales Associate: “This one has HDMI as well as AV capabilities.”

Me: “I think the doctor already gave me shots for those.”

Now, another thing you should know about me: I’m a pushover when it comes to buying things. Some people like to bargain and are mean and spit at their dealers. I on the other hand am about as assertive as an 11-year-old. I will trust anything the dealer says to me and buy whatever he points at. Combine this with my aforementioned tendency to not know anything about what I’m buying plus the fact that I’m too lazy to shop around and you can understand why you should never leave me in charge of making important purchases. For instance, I failed to notice that my car does not have one of its back headrests. Although in my defense, I never test drove the car from the back seat.

So he finally sold me on a $300 32-inch TV made by some generic company that I have never heard of that I’m pretty sure is headquartered somewhere in Nicaragua. Now the first sign that something was wrong was when this guy brings out the box. It looked like it was opened and then re-taped by either a very retarded three-year old with Parkinson’s or an animal without opposable thumbs, like a beaver. When I asked him about this, he mumbled something about “inspecting the product,” so I ignored it and took the TV home.

Of course when I get home, the first thing I noticed was that the directions were for a completely different TV, and the stand they gave me did not go with the TV and the screws did not go with the stand. I would have had better luck putting a TV together with gum and twist ties. So I went in to the store and inspected the TV’s there and discovered that they gave me a stand for a different brand of TV. Luckily I actually knew one of the night shift guys so he gave me a spare stand.

But when I put it together the next morning and turned the TV on, in one corner there was something that resembled the Milky Way Galaxy. Now mind you, I know I did not crack it, since the TV had never left the box since I couldn’t put it on the stand since they gave me the wrong stand. I was beginning to think this was bad TV karma for leaving our monster TV out in front of a dumpster. After playing phone tag with the manufacturer and telling them my problem, they told me to take the TV back to Best Buy, where they would send it back. When I get to Best Buy, they of course tell me that the manufacturers don’t cover screen damage, which means there is some lady at the manufacturer’s office having a good laugh. They directed me to customer service to see what they could do. Now at this point, I was ready to take the next person I saw and hold them hostage in the music section and make them listen to Justin Bieber until they hauled me off to jail (at least the TV’s there are already set up).

But then I temporarily forgot about that because the girl who helped me was really pretty. Plus, instead of immediately ignoring me, she actually listened to me explain my story, which is more than I can say about most women. She then went to her manager and pleaded my case and voila! They exchanged my TV at no charge, which makes me think that they know that they originally gave me a Big Box O’ Random TV Parts. The nice girl opened the box in front of me, tested out the TV to make sure this one worked, repacked it nicely, and sent me out the door. So wherever that girl is, thank you for saving me from going to prison. And unless he likes Justin Bieber, one of your employees should thank you too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

Seeing as it is insanely hot in Boulder right now and I have nothing better to do with my time, I have started swimming laps again at a local outdoor pool. The main reason is that I miss the beach, and swimming in an outdoor pool is about as close as I’m going to get to the ocean this summer, unless you count Baddie and Midget sending me pictures of Florida sunsets while laughing hysterically.

I have always like swimming, mainly because it is the only athletic activity that I showed some proficiency in (unless you count eating as an athletic activity). Growing up in Hawaii, you pretty much learn to swim before you learn to walk (although many people who know me argue that we never really learn how to walk). Not being able to swim while living on an island can be inconvenient at times.

Now, while it’s great exercise, there are some drawbacks to going to public pools to workout. Mainly the “public” part, because you end up swimming with a lot of random people, and many of these people do not fully understand what a lap pool is supposed to be used for. Yesterday I found myself constantly having to pass some guy who had a wetsuit and a snorkel on and was drifting more than he was swimming. I’ve seen tourists snorkeling at reefs swim with more urgency than this guy. I kept looking for the fishes that he was apparently watching.

The worst was the other week, when two pregnant women hopped into my lane and decided that they were going to walk the entire length of the pool. Walk. In a pool. Now, I’m not saying these women should not be allowed to do this, but there is a time and a place where you are free to do whatever you want in the pool. They call it “free swim.” But during “lap swim” time, you should probably be swimming laps, or at least swimming. And don’t even get me started on locker rooms. Yes Mr. seventy-something guy, we know you are confident with your body, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to be.

Of course, I’m a bit spoiled, since back home I have a free pool at my high school that is not very busy. It’s pretty much like having my own private pool. I remember during one year when I was on the high school swim team, the pool was actually closed to the public and only the swim team could use it. This could have something to do with the fact that there was no lifeguard and the chemicals in the pool were strong enough to strip paint off a car. We would often get out after practice and our hair would fall out and we couldn’t’ see and we had rashes on the extra arm that had sprouted out of our foreheads.

Now, just to get this out of the way, I swam competitively, but I was not very competitive. Actually, my only real achievement was almost getting kicked out of a meet for swearing in front of a race official. I just needed an excuse to wear really tight swimsuits in public. I’m just joking. I think. Although sometimes you got the feeling our entire team had no idea what was going on. At my first meet, two of my teammates swam 150 yards of breaststroke, which is fine except it was only a 100-yard event.

But if I had to pick a highlight of my swim career, it would probably be the district qualifying meet in my junior year at HPA high school. I had already swam all of my events, so I had already changed to street clothes and was eating Cheetos in the bleachers when my coach informs me that I had tied some kid for the last spot in the finals in the 100-free, so we had to have a swim off. The other kid was from HPA so he had home field advantage, but HPA is like the Yankees of the Big Island. Nobody likes them because they are rich and they win everything. Plus I was fat and I had Cheeto dust on my fingers, so I was the clear underdog. So most of the crowd was pulling for me. I ended up beating the guy in what is still my best time in that event.

Of course, I had to take my ACTs on the day of the actual finals, so I got there late, lost my goggles the second I dove into the water, and got disqualified. So in the end I think I would have been better off just giving up and finishing my bag of Cheetos. Have you ever swum after eating an entire bag of Cheetos? You should try it. Just make sure it’s free swim time at the pool.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shark Attack

So it’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, which is apparently a much bigger deal than I realized. Every other status update on Facebook this week has expressed some sort of excitement over shark week. To be honest, I probably will be one of the few people who won’t be watching, since I’m busy packing for my moving day (and by “packing” I mean “eating all of the food in my refrigerator”).

Although there are other reasons I’ve never really watched shark week. For one thing, I have a strict policy against watching educational television channels, so for the most part the Discovery Channel is off limits. Plus, as a person who grew up on an island in the middle of an ocean infested with them, I am not fascinated by sharks. I am scared s**tless by them. Oh sure, for people who live in a landlocked state it’s fun to watch a shark rip apart fish, since the odds of any Coloradoan encountering a shark in their lifetime is about as low as the odds of Mel Gibson ever getting invited to a Bar Mitzvah.

But when I watch these shows, all I can think is “hey, that beach looks awfully familiar…” When I see open ocean, I want to think of dolphins and whales and other animals that don’t have many teeth. I don’t want go kayaking on the bay and constantly have to picture this. If you have ever seen a shark in person, you stop thinking “wow what magnificent and amazing creatures.” You start thinking “somebody shoot that thing with a goddam bazooka before it gets any closer.”

I remember a year or two ago we were fishing on a boat when we hooked up a fish. After fighting it for a few seconds, I all of a sudden noticed that the line got a lot lighter. Finally, I reeled up the fish and realized why: I had only half a fish on my line. That’s when we all peered into the water and saw a shark just cruising around our boat. Now this was only a six-foot long reef shark, but still we all immediately ran to the center of the boat and began debating who we would throw off the boat first to distract the shark while the rest of us motored away.

So the last thing I need is to watch a show telling me how deadly sharks are. I definitely don’t need a show telling me sharks can do this. Like I have always said, people always bring up that whole “bees kill more people than sharks,” but that is only because sharks can’t fly, but apparently they are learning. There are few animals in the world that would be scarier if they suddenly gained the ability to fly (ticks would be one). Then of course the show tells you interesting little facts, like apparently great white sharks are attracted by the color yellow, which, as an Asian, worries me just a bit.

Of course I do sort of feel sorry for the sharks on the show. I mean, they stick a diver in the water who proceeds to poke the shark in the stomach with a prod for five minutes and then sound surprised when the sharks attack. But at least they get free dead fish out of it. I bet sharks actually look forward to Shark Week almost as much as we do. It’s like a free all you can eat buffet plus you get to be on TV and try and bite biologists with funny English accents. I’m just concerned where these TV shows are being hosted, because I don’t want sharks getting used to free food off the coast of Kona.

Although when you think about it, it’s sort of ironic that I am afraid of sharks, since I have eaten way more sharks than sharks have eaten of me. In California I had a shark dish (a bit dry but pretty good) and in Japan I have eaten shark fin soup several times (it’s tasty, but a little disappointing when you find out you can’t see the actual fin in the soup). The Japanese like killing things in the ocean, so of course they fish for sharks. But when they catch a shark, they simply cut off the fins and dump the shark back alive to sink to the bottom of the ocean. PETA might think this is sad, but hey, eels somehow swim without fins and you don’t see them complaining. These things are supposedly the best killing machines in the world, so they need to get in shape. I think all of this TV exposure is going to their heads.