wZandria - Keep Up With Me
Age 23 * Richmond, VA * full-time college student * part-time call center * love to read and write * skeptic * quiet * thinker * independent * VISIT MY PHOTO WEBSITE


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wFriday, March 28, 2003


RANDOM OBSERVATIONS

Seen on a coworker’s desk this afternoon: sandwich, full-calorie soda, Big Grab bag of Cheesy Doritoes….and a can of Slim-Fast. This very same coworker had made a comment to me that very morning (after seeing me heating up my oatmeal for breakfast in the break room), "I wish I ate as healthy as you do." Slim-Fast is intended as a meal substitute. It is not meant to be consumed IN ADDITION to your normal lunch – let’s start with that.

This afternoon, I talked to Neil Bush, who lives in Florida. No, not THAT Neil Bush (successful businessman, younger brother to George W., President, and Jeb, Governor of Florida), though of course the thought did cross my mind. I think it would suck to have the same name as a famous person. Can you imagine how annoying that would be? All the stupid jokes that you’d have to hear over and over. "Hey Neil, your niece staying out of rehab?" or "Yo – Neil – how’s your brother enjoying Camp David this weekend?"

Driving home after work, I passed a guy mowing his front lawn. Riding lawnmower? Nope. Push mower? Well yes…but not the one that automatically comes to mind. This guy was mowing his front lawn with a MANUAL push lawnmower. No motor for him, no sir. He was using his elbow grease to push the blades through the grass. I think Dad owned one of those at some point when I was younger, but I don’t remember him actually ever using it on our big yard. Crazy thing to see, especially in town, right in front of a house bordering a busy road.

I have an appointment Monday morning to take my car in and have the front bumper fixed (painted and the license-plate holder replaced), from when that delinquent pulled out in front of me a few weeks ago. It’s taken so long because this delinquent failed to give me his policy number, and (I believe intentionally) the wrong number for his insurance agent, so MY insurance company had to run a tag-check on the license plate number that I’d written down off of his car the day that it happened. (Thank God I got that at least, I’ll definitely be more thorough if this ever happens to me in the future.) My insurance company hunted him down, contacted HIS company, and after I told them my story and they called my witness (a nice lady driving behind me at the time who saw the whole thing), they finally have to pay up. So I get my car fixed, plus a rental for a few days while they’re repairing my baby. Serves his deceitful, no-good, skanky-ass right…

You know how you feel trapped in staying with one cell phone company – maybe you know you can get a better deal elsewhere – but you don’t want to switch because you don’t want to have to change your phone number? Well, in the near future that will all change. Federal regulations will soon require cell phone companies to allow a telephone number to be permanently attached to one person if they so desire, allowing us to choose whichever service provider that we want. This article tells some details, along with the fact that maybe our rates will get better too…companies will have to work harder to keep our business because they’ll know that we’re no longer tied down to staying with them just because we want to keep our phone number.



posted by Zandria at 10:10 PM


wWednesday, March 26, 2003


TWINKIES AND CHINA

I had a 7-9:40 class tonight and the teacher kept us right up until the end. It’s not that he’s a dick about using every last minute; he’s pretty interesting and it’s only a once-a-week class so I know he feels like he has to fit everything in that he needs to say. He just has a tendency to go off the subject a lot, which wouldn’t be so bad if we weren’t sitting there for over 2.5 hours. I had to fight off yawns and force myself to keep my eyes open – I definitely prefer my daytime classes.

So in lieu of anything else to write about right now, here are two WEB PICKS:

The first is a funny, inconsequential read, I don’t even remember where I found it. It’s called "In Defense of Twinkies;" it talks a little bit about the Hostess factory, their 73-year staying power and how they initially came about back in 1930. I don’t even eat Twinkies or other Hostess snacks but it was kind of interesting.

The second is funny, but not in a ha-ha way. Kind of in a sad way. Beijing, China was picked to be the site of the 2008 Olympic Games and they’re already preparing. By cleaning up the city, enforcing fines for things they want people to stop doing (like spitting out their gum on public streets, throwing out dirty water), and making other things better…but at a public expense (for instance nicer – but more expensive – taxicabs). Most of these things are yes, probably better and more sanity (like the regulation that all new restaurants must now have bathroom facilities). But the question for me is, aren’t these the things that make Beijing…Beijing? The appeal of foreign countries/people/customs is that they are different from us. Oh that’s right, we just have to "Americanize" everything.



posted by Zandria at 11:39 PM


wMonday, March 24, 2003


WHO AM I?

I'm a quiet person. Unassertive. Unassertive when it comes to most things at least. If I believe in something strongly enough I can get my point across, but I think most people tend to be like that. Most of the time I don't worry about this particular character trait, except for those instances where I feel like my inability to be assertive is holding me back. This would include things such as moving up at work (scared of interviews), relationships (is it worth the trouble?), and making decisions about my future (should I or shouldn't I?).

I guess I consider myself a minimalist. I don't like a lot of clutter. My cube at work isn't a junk pile that would take four boxes to transport if it needed to be moved (yes, my department at work is in the process of relocating our cubes right now and yes, some people have numerous boxes to transport). I try not to keep too many unnecessary things (an exception to this would be some clothes in my closet, I still have a hard time giving away things I know are nice, even if I haven't worn them in over a year). I don't hold on to knick-knacks unless they're from my childhood, and I've never collected anything.

It's been my perception over the years that quiet people are either seen as "stuck up" or "too nice." If you're quiet, generally polite, tend to do what's asked of you, and don't make any waves or challenge authority then you're "too nice." I can see why people would think that, and I guess I'd rather be seen as nice than the opposite. But being "nice" isn't always the entire picture. If a nice person suddenly became more assertive then would they not be considered "nice" anymore? How many times do you have to challege the status quo, or how high a person of rank do you have to offend to offially lose the standing of "nice"?

I am not nice to everybody. And I don't feel guilty about saying that, because most people aren't but they don't come right out and say it. I write what I feel, it's easier for me to speak my mind and think of exactly what I want to say when I don't have to do it orally. Everybody who knows me well knows that this is true. Today I was trying to think of a term to describe the reason that I don't take more chances. I came up with disinterested. I am not disinterested with life, but if I look at a situation and I don't think I have enough interest in it to be assertive, then I won't. I guess technically by being that way I make more decisions than I previously thought. I choose my battles and I choose the instances in which I want to make a stand. I choose when to speak up. I don't feel the need to speak up over things that I don't believe are important. If, in being that way, some people who don't know me and who I only say "hi" to in passing a few times a week, feel more comfortable in labeling me as "too nice", then that's their perogative. Maybe one day I'll finally find that something that really matters and my years of cumulative disinterest will knock their socks off.



posted by Zandria at 8:47 PM


wWednesday, March 19, 2003


LET’S GET IT ON

It has begun. I came home from class tonight and turned on the tv, then immediately connected to the internet. I don’t normally follow "breaking news" stories very closely, but this is an exception – as I’m sure it is to many, many other people as well.

I found this link on MSNBC’s "Weblog Central" (with the date of March 19, 2003), about a guy in Baghdad who is keeping up a weblog. I’ve only had the chance to read a few of the recent entries, but it looks interesting. It talks of businesses closing and boarding-up, the currency turning to shit, prices rising. What a unique perspective for us to have, not just the detached views of seasoned journalists, but someone who is on the frontline of the war zone: "Will I be bombed in my sleep tonight?"



posted by Zandria at 11:23 PM


wTuesday, March 18, 2003


COUNTDOWN

I was going to say that the worse thing right now is the waiting. The waiting to know what will happen when we go to war, when it will be, wondering what kind of events we’ll either have to hear about happening in distant places or live through ourselves.

But the worst thing is not the waiting. Yes, to wait is frustrating. It causes stress. It makes us feel helpless. We may wonder if there is anything else we should be doing, rather than going about our normal routines. The reason the worst thing is not the waiting is because it’s not comprehendible to compare a waiting period to what we may be looking forward to in the near future. While things are at a standstill, nothing bad is happening.

It’s easy to think of war as something far-off, as long as it stays that way – far off. In a corner of the world removed from our own, not just in distance but in tradition, culture, political views.

In the midst of this, everyone is so concerned about everything going on as "normal." The Oscars? The show must go on. We can’t let something as important as a war and death and dying keep us from our entertainment. We must gawk at the celebrities and see what they’ve decided to wear – not that they had to pay for those designer clothes themselves of course. The nominees and presenters get Oscar gift baskets worth in excess of $20,000. Apiece. I read a report today that said the Oscars would go on regardless of the situation in the world; if need be they would interrupt the program with periodic news updates. What is it the President said after 9-11, in reference to the drop-off in consumer spending and travel? If we stop doing what is normal, then the terrorists have won? "IF WE CANCEL THE OSCARS THEN SADDAM HAS WON!!!" But who are the ones putting up this campaign of "the Oscars must go on"? Could it possibly be the movie industries, whose already popular and well-known award-winning movies are set to earn millions and millions more once their star (or the film itself) is recognized with a golden statue?

Where are our priorities? I don’t think that Americans should be miserable, stop having fun, stop reading the gossip columns, take their leave from shopping and dancing and laughing. God forbid. But seeing things literally PUSHED on us, that’s another story.

Tonight when I was watching the news I couldn’t help but think about the American history class I’m taking right now in school, where we talked about WWI and now we’re learning about WWII. What would the people that lived back then think of our "smart bombs" that have "pinpoint accuracy?" What would they think of our "experts" on TV, with their "possible war strategies" and the questions they pose like "What will it take for the U.S. to capture the capital city of Baghdad?" The news today is ALL about the war, it’s all over everything. But it’s not just updates and facts, it’s interviews with those "experts" and journalists in dangerous foreign locales and catchy slogans. I’m writing this right now in my bedroom, with MSNBC (my current news source of choice) on the television in the background. Does it go too far when that news channel’s "Countdown: Iraq" includes a digital clock in the right corner of the screen, counting down the remainder of the 48-hour deadline mandated by the President in his speech last night?



posted by Zandria at 10:04 PM


wSunday, March 16, 2003


DRIVING SCHOOL

Yesterday, on the one day a week that I have off from both work and classes, I had to go to driving school. Fun, fun day. Can you think of ANYTHING more exciting than spending 8 hours in a room with 30 people who want to be there about as much as you do? The class in itself wasn’t difficult, as long as we didn’t 1) fall asleep, 2) come back late from our breaks, or 3) cause a disturbance. There was a 15-question T/F quiz at the end of the day, where you had to get at least 12 correct in order to pass the class, but we were allowed to use our notes – I don’t think anybody even missed one. Throughout the day, while we were watching the multiple videos, the instructor would pause it at some point and say, “Okay, you guys need to know this. Write this down.” So dutifully we would pick up our pens and write down what he said: “Always look in the rearview mirror before braking.” “A green light is not a guaranteed safe rite of passage through an intersection, it is only permission to proceed.” “Reduce speed by 30% when driving in adverse weather conditions – rain, snow, and fog.” You get the idea. Of the 15 questions, only one of them was False, the other 14 were True, so when he came by and picked up our completed quizzes it was only a quick glance that was needed to see if we had successfully “passed” his examination.

So the class material was a bore, pretty straightforward, but there were some interesting things that happened as well. For starters, in the first five minutes of my arrival the instructor asked this old man (an I mean OLD as in 70+) for his driver’s license number – he was the only one who hadn’t yet provided it, and it was something required to give. How else are they supposed to let the DMV/court know that you’ve successfully completed the course? So the old man was refusing to give the information – you know how old people are about giving out their social security numbers? I’m thinking that may have had something to do with it. The old man finally gave it to him, after being told that he wouldn’t get credit for the course otherwise, but there was an interesting exchange with raised voices before he decided to hand it over.

During the first break, I went to the bathroom in the lobby (of the hotel where the class was being held). Flushed the toilet. Toilet didn’t just stop-up, it started overflowing. All over the floor. (And this wasn’t some ghetto hotel either, it was held at a Courtyard Marriot.) Luckily there was a woman with a housekeeping cart in the hallway outside the bathroom – I must admit, it made me very glad at that moment that I didn’t have her job.

One girl sitting at a table beside mine in the meeting room had apparently decided to forego the vending machine choices, and bring her own buffet instead. Stacked in front of her was an entire package of Chips Ahoy cookies, a tube of Ritz crackers, and a can of peanuts. Not once during the course of the class did I see her open anything and eat it, nor did she share with anyone else. Very strange.

One of the guys in the class was there with his wife, and he was taking the class as part of a procedure to reinstate his driver’s license. He hadn’t had a license in quite a while – he had racked up a deficit of 32 POINTS on his driving record, and it had been taken away for TEN YEARS as a result. He was the one who volunteered the information, during the discussion that we had about driving points after our lunch break. Can you imagine not driving for ten years (or at least not driving LEGALLY)?



posted by Zandria at 4:56 PM


wWednesday, March 12, 2003


POPPIES

This is what I’m missing out on. I was on latimes.com today when I spotted the headline about Lancaster, which is where I was living while out in California last year. Lancaster is the home of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve; people come from all over to see them. The reserve and also some local businesses had suffered the past few years because of a severe drought…no water, no flowers of course. Well, no more. They are blooming and gorgeous.



posted by Zandria at 9:38 PM


w


REFLECTORS

When I was about 16 and hanging out with my girl friends, for lack of anything more interesting to do, one of the girls came up with the notion to steal reflectors off the sides of the road. You know, those reflectors that come in colors of red or blue, round disks mounted on a metal stick and stuck in the ground. These are used by a lot of people in the country to mark the top of their driveways…since country roads don’t have street lights, reflectors are helpful so that you (or your visitors) won’t drive past one of those hidden driveways in the dark.

Why did we do this? Good question. Why do we do ANY of those stupid things when we’re teenagers? From what I remember, a group of us were driving back from Lynchburg one night and one of the girls had the brilliant idea to stop the car in the middle of the road and pull the reflectors out of the ground. Tee-hee, ha-ha-ha, and of course we all thought it was a great plan. The scenario would go like this: Usually two girls in the front seat of the car, two in the back. Reflectors spotted. Nobody else coming down the road in either direction. Stop car. Two of the four girls would jump out, giggling with the exhilaration of STEALING REFLECTORS (how much did those things cost anyway? .99 cents? $1.99?).

Was this just a one-night thing? No, we did it a few different times, until we’d amassed a collection of probably about 30-40 (there were a LOT). So what did we do with them? Well, two of the girls were sisters and their family owned some acreage, a portion of which was wooded. There was an old house back in the woods that had been lived in a looooooong time before, an old falling-apart structure with a few rooms downstairs and a few rooms upstairs, made completely out of boards, no windows, rotted floors, etc. We’d drive out there occasionally and hang out (nothing better to do…keep in mind this was Buckingham), and one weekend near graduation we slept out there. So anyway, you couldn’t drive all the way up to this house since it was back in the woods, but there was somewhat of a path to follow through the trees…the path was sometimes hard to make out in the dark…so we’d carry flashlights with us…and the flashlight beams would shine off the REFLECTORS that we’d stationed all along the path. It was actually kind of cool to see. I wonder if they're still there.

What a random thing to remember.



posted by Zandria at 9:31 PM


wMonday, March 10, 2003


BAD MONDAY, EVEN WORSE

I was only about two miles from home this evening, driving back from work, when a guy cut across my lane of traffic trying to get into a gas station. I hit the brakes...screeeeeeeech! What a lovely sound. Or…not. Anyway, my car is okay. I only hit him hard enough to dent up my front license-plate holder and there’s some of his paint and some scratches on my bumper – no dents. I got his insurance information, and there was a woman driving behind me who saw him pull out in front of me when I obviously had the right-of-way, so she gave me her name and number in case I need a witness. It’s just inconvenient, something else to have to deal with. I guess with so many other things that happen to other people/vehicles that I should be lucky this is the only thing that’s happened to me when I’ve had my car for over three years.



posted by Zandria at 8:31 PM


wThursday, March 06, 2003


WAR

I just finished watching the Presidential news conference. I haven’t said anything yet about the possible upcoming war, even though we hear about it everywhere – internet, tv, radio – actually that’s probably WHY I haven’t said anything. I think it’s easier for those of us who don’t have a direct connection to journalism or politics to just try and put it out of our minds until that time where we’re forced to pay attention. I’ll admit that I don’t strictly follow all the intricacies of the day-to-day happenings, but I have a broad idea of our reasons for going into war against Iraq. I think that President Bush did a good idea of rallying support for his cause, he had a lot of good points. There are also good points on the side of those who prefer to have the support of other countries instead of the U.S. entering it alone.

It just worries me, as I’m sure it does others, what the consequences of our involvement in a war would be. Then again, like Bush said, the consequences for not doing anything could be even bigger. I guess you just have to accept that you’ll never know for sure what the best course of action is, and make the best decision that you can at that particular moment in history. I read an article written by Mark Morford yesterday, and it was the first anti-war article I’ve read so far where I actually took the time to feel scared when I was finished (if you read all the way to the end you’ll know what I’m talking about, the last paragraph sums everything up). It’s so easy to read things, or hear things, and just put them out of our minds. Which I will do, don’t get me wrong. I don’t like to dwell on things that I know I don’t have any control over and that will happen regardless of what a vast majority of people may think to the contrary. It’s just the things that I’ve heard…a cost of up to $1 trillion to the U.S. economy? Possibly reinstating the draft? Not to mention the people who are already enlisted in the Marines, or even the Reserves who have now been called back into service.

I guess all we can do is watch and wait. And then if something happens, get through it day by day, the best we know how. It’s just making me think tonight…where will we all be, what situation will we be in as individuals, or our country, this time next year?



posted by Zandria at 9:23 PM


wTuesday, March 04, 2003


FEEL LIKE A SMOKE?

I heard about a funny incident that happened yesterday afternoon. The two female characters (who wish to remain anonymous), both in their 20’s, were at a mall here in Richmond. They were actually in the car, preparing to leave, when they caught a glimpse of these two hot guys. Eyes lock. Could there be sparks? Girl #1 tosses her hair, lights up a cigarette. Girl #2 hisses, “Are you crazy? Don’t light up a cigarette! Those guys are looking at us.” Girl #1 takes a nonchalant puff, replies with “Who cares?”

So the guys approach in their own car. I’m fuzzy on the sequence of events here, I’m guessing the one in the passenger seat got out of the car, because Girl #1 relays to me that she saw him coming, locked her car doors (smart!) and rolled down her window. Hot Guy flashes a brilliant sexy smile, hands her a card without speaking a word, and retreats back to his car.

Is it a business card from an up-and-coming lawyer? Or maybe the young, successful owner of his own business? A computer whiz perhaps? Sadly, no. The card reads (okay, and I’m paraphrasing because unfortunately I didn’t see the card in question with my own two eyes): YOU’D BE SO MUCH CUTER IF YOU DIDN’T SMOKE. Given out by: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. With heart stickers on the back.

In hindsight, Girl #1 and Girl #1 admit that there were warning signs. The two hot guys were well-dressed. As in suits and ties. And they were driving an older-model Oldsmobile Cutlass. Hot guys in a Cutlass…by choice? Probably not.



posted by Zandria at 4:48 PM