Posts Tagged ‘maryland’

It Never Gets Easier…

November 10, 2008

After a wonderful weekend, I’ve dropped the bf off at the airport…and I’m left with a new feeling of sadness. It just doesn’t get easier, I don’t quite understand why I would ever think that it would. It’s been rough. I get to the point that I know that I’m working, and I know that I’m busy, but it’s just not the same.

I know he’s gone. I know for whatever reason, whatever god you decide to worship has decided to throw him into the midwest, and leave me here. It makes me think of that new song “Come on Get Higher” it just makes me sad, I get sad, and then I cry, and then I cry some more, than I wake up like it’s all over. I act like for some reason it’s okay. It’s not.

This isn’t any easier than it was when he moved in August. I mean, it’s November. It’s been 3 months out of 24. At the least. That somehow it’s something that I’m supposed to be okay about.


Part II: Living in the Mid-Atlantic

November 8, 2008

You know it’s funny, as of recent, I’ve noticed that the Mid-Atlantic region and the South have somehow gotten themselves a bad rap. Now, the South has had years of oppression that it has needed to fight off, and hopefully with our first African American president-elect that will happen. Meanwhile, those of us that live directly under the Mason Dixon are often left without realizing or knowing our own identity. Here in Maryland, we’re not Southern, but we’re not Yankees, so what are we anyway? We have a crappy baseball team (both of them), we’re actually making a play to have two decent football teams, and then suddenly, something good happens and the country embraces us again.

I’ve got to hand it to Virginia. Make yourself a battle ground state, and the world takes notice. I know people that were waiting up for HOURS on election day for Virginia’s results. “Are they racist?” I heard someone say, “Or are for once they going to act non-Southern?” That kind of threw me for a loop. See, my mother is from the south, I guess to a certain extent my dad is too, although he traveled so much when he was a kid due to Grandpa’s status in the Navy it’s hard to say. He has often talked about feeling like this region (MD/DC/VA/DE) he feels most at home. He has fond memories of going to Washington Senators games, just the other day we were talking about Brooks Robinson. I never saw the man play, but not unlike Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, we’re going to have words if you don’t firmly believe he was the best 3rd baseman to ever play the game.

Mom on the other hand has fond memories of Alabama and northern Florida. She knows Southern cooking, and is proud of it. When I was first having issues with how my bf’s parents were she said, “They’re Yankees Mel, they don’t understand.” It’s interesting as an adult child how you still take everything that your parents take on full face value, regardless. I haven’t carried my parents prejudices towards African Americans into living in a predominantly African American city, nor do I feel like I’m prejudical towards the predominantly Latin, probably illegal population that frequents Fells Point. I think it’s good that you’re exposed to different things, and I think that’s predominantly because I consider myself “different”. Something that is a victim of prejudice, and thoughts that aren’t necessarily what you would consider nice.

I’ve been thinking about that Better than Ezra song, “A Southern Thing”. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not about preaching violence, or anything like that, but I’ve heard that so often. “It’s a Southern thing”. To me, it’s about southern hospitality. More like that song Chicken Fried. It’s hard to say. I just feel like sometimes this area really has a personality complex. Here in Maryland we try so hard to be Yankee, and it’s just not. You can tell even before the first snow fall that we don’t have an ounce of Yankee blood in us. The “redneck” arm of Maryland is very visible in certain areas from the shores down in St. Mary’s County (pronounced saint maa-ry’s) to the hills of Hagerstown.

Then, the anomaly. DC. Man, the nation’s capital has such an identity complex. It’s interesting though. No where else in this world I would think could you find a city where the ENTIRE dynamic changes every 4 years. Regardless. The feel, the emotion, you can see it when you sit at Ben’s Chili Bowl or at any bar from Georgetown to downtown. The attitude, the vibe, the feel…it’s different. The sullen attitude of the recession…people are hoping will soon be changed to the excitement of a new dawn of a new leader. I’m excited that I’m planning on hitting up the inauguration parade this year. I’m bound and determined. Unless it snows.

So, as the dawn of a new weekend emerges, I’m looking forward to see what you guys think, and what the attitudes and cultures of your neck of the woods are…because I think mine are hugely unique. What about you?

Yes, Yes: Two Post Day

November 7, 2008

A bad foot day sprung upon me yesterday, and due to that, you will receive a grand total of two posts today due to my ever changing need to appeal to my slim or not reading audience. The UMBC Doctoral Recognition Ceremony was last night and I acted as paparazzi for the group. Let me tell you, it’s so interesting when you look at other cultures, as to why this stuff is only important to us americante’s.  This ceremony was predominantly a pat on the back to those in the department that had made the step from being the pre-doctoral to doctoral candidate.  It’s a test that needs to be taken. I’ll admit that I’ve taken it, and need to complete a few re-writes so that my conditional pass will become a full pass.

Bummer I know.

I had this whole idea last night, and in true mel fashion what did I do? You guessed it, fell asleep after eating a salad dinner. At least I’m losing weight due to my lack of finances, I guess that’s better than the gym. (I’m kidding, honest.)  I haven’t actually cooked a meal at my house this week, and I have a feeling that the trend will continue as my boyfriend will be in town this weekend.  The more and more I spend time without him, the more and more I realize that we might actually be able to pull this off. We had it out the other night because he didn’t remember that I was going to be in the paper (see my 30 Daze entry) because he had more “important” things on his mind.

I gotta say men amuse the living crap out of me sometimes. I’ve always been amused, my poor bf, his explanation is:

“Well I don’t keep track of your schedule.”

I had only talked about the situation since the reporter got a hold of me.  I said to him, “Look, I am not interested in theoretical physics, and I ask constantly about it. I hate ultimate frisbee, and I hang with those guys and go watch you play, I hate board gaming, ask about it all the time. I don’t ask you to be interested in chemistry, to be interested in law, forensics, I don’t really care if you don’t like any of that. I had been talking about being in the paper for a WEEK. It’s coming out on election day, I asked you to pay attention to ONE thing.”

He held firm till the next day. I said, “Well, at least you realized for ONCE you were wrong.”

It’s amazing that there are times that I think that we’re not going to make it through this long distance thing. That I’m ready to kill him because I just can’t take his laissez-faire attitude about my life and his existence in it. To him, he’s not involved with me during the week. Yet he calls EVERY day, and we talk a lot.  He doesn’t understand why I don’t feel the same way.  I don’t get it.

Meanwhile, on the family front:

Ma’s feeling better, thankfully she’s starting to emerge back into her old self. We talked briefly about it and she said that she just didn’t want me to see her in such pain. I was like “Ma, it would have been like the Terms of Endearment moment” she started laughing. I sware, I think that there are times that my family (yes K, sorry you’re included in this) truly underestimate what I can do domestically. I am so willing to step in because I want to make sure that they realize that I’m a firm part of this family and I will be there. Regardless.  I am doing my best to watch over my sis while still taking as good a care of myself as I can.

I need to send the word out that I need christmas lists early this year. *sigh* I think that’s the only way I’m going to get it all done.

Work continues to be…work.

I’ll be scribbling later my post that I meant to write last night.

Post Election Day Bliss

November 6, 2008

Yes folks, FINALLY…the election is over. I, your apathetic observer, has got to admit that it’s just about time. I’m tired of the bs back and forth, tired of the talking points, and I know it’s hard to believe, tired of Sarah Palin. Trig, John, and Bristol too. And all their other children.  I’m typically a fairly conservative type, just largely based on the fact that I’ve been broke so long that I’m not used to charity.  So, cool…first African American president. That’s also awesome.

I guess it’s the excitement that I felt with Clinton. I just couldn’t get into it this time. Not for the life of me. Because if you think about it, I have my bf on one side. The die hard democrat. Then, my parents, my boss, and my sister on the other end, the die hard conservatives.  It makes you wonder why and how people got so excited. Me?

I’m just trying to get by. I’m trying just to get up in the morning and make sure that I get to work, my house looks okay, I look okay.

How people have the excitement, I don’t get it. I’m happy the election is over. I’m amazed at the ludicris and the idiocracy that this state of Maryland for voting for slots. I hate it. What a dumb vote. No one realized what it was really about.  No one quite understood the fact that it went into the constitution of the state. It was dumb. I’m disappointed Maryland! Disappointed!

30 Daze

November 4, 2008

Special thanks to Andy Ratner for his help on this, and special thanks to him for allowing me to re-print it on my blog.

For you, today’s Election Day.

For Gavin St. Ours, a Web designer and video producer who lives in the city’s Mount Vernon, and tens of thousands like him across the country, it’s also Day 4 of NaNoWriMo.

And possibly NaPoPoMo.

And NaBloPoMo.

And NaKniSweMo.

And probably some other ‘Mo we’re unaware of.

It sounds like gibberish, but they’re abbreviations for National Novel Writing Month. And National Podcast Posting Month. And National Blog Posting Month. And National Knit a Sweater Month.

They all pose the same challenge to anyone who’s interested: Do the activity every day in November: Complete a novel. Make a daily podcast. Blog every day. Or knit a sweater.

And at the end of the month, you may have something impressive to show for your efforts. You’ll probably enhance your skills in whatever venture you choose. You might find a peaceful distraction after a month of unnerving economic and political headlines. And you might learn something about yourself in the process, about your ability to conquer a goal you didn’t think possible.

The novel-writing contest – maybe more a conquest, with no prize involved – began in 1999. A small group of San Franciscans were looking to blow off some steam just as the Internet companies where some of them hoped to get rich in Silicon Valley began to implode. By the second year, they added a Web site and the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel began to swell. Spread the next year by something new on the scene – word-of-blog – it mushroomed even more. The crush of budding novelists overloaded the computer server for on the eve of the event Friday.

Last year, more than 100,000 people around the world signed up, including students at more than 360 elementary and secondary schools. More than 15,300 completed their novels. Several went on to be published, including Flying Changes by Sarah Gruen, which became a New York Times best-seller.

But quantity, not quality, is the stated goal; merely attempting to write six pages a day is a haul. The Web site counts your words in the end, although no one has to read what you’ve written. The organizers say novel-writing is typically a “one day” event, as in “One day, I’d like to write a novel.” The contest aims to kick-start the dream for many.

St. Ours, 28, has attempted the novel-writing challenge six times and achieved the goal twice. This month, he plans to try both the novel-writing and the podcasting. He figures he’ll have to carve out about two hours a day to write 1,600 words and produce a five-minute podcast to reach the summit of his creative Everest.

Some years, he plans out what he wants to write. In others, the characters just sort of take over, “sleeping with each other, killing each other” and other things he hadn’t imagined, possibly due to “sleep depravation or being over-caffeinated.”

“One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone doing National Novel Writing Month is a Starbucks gift card,” he said. With the help of networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, the effort has grown into a social phenomenon, with groups meeting for novel-crafting sessions at coffee shops and cafes.

“I was trying to explain it to a friend who is a writer and who didn’t understand why a sane person would do this,” he said. But through groups online, he’s found kindred souls. Some of the local Twitter users met at a “tweet up” at Holy Frijoles in Hampden a few weeks ago, and he just returned from “podcamp,” a podcasters’ workshop in Montreal.

“You’re in a room full of people who just get what this thing is,” said St. Ours, who studied broadcast journalism and English at Salisbury University. “All the technology sort of brings people out of their homes, these people who have these common interests who otherwise might be sequestered at home.

“Really busy people actually seem to have a lot of luck in the novel-writing month, they’re better at scheduling their time. I know people who haven’t had jobs who haven’t been able to finish. Being too busy isn’t any excuse. People start going back and forth online, ‘You think you’re busy, I’m raising three kids and have a job …'”

Apparently not lacking for energy himself, St. Ours already produces Charm City Podcast ( It’s entertaining, free form and a bit goofy, reminiscent of the “Wayne’s World” skit Dana Carvey and Mike Myers made so popular.

For NaPoPoMo – National Podcast Post Month – he plans to do two others: One,, will be done with a New York friend, Rob Blatt, and will document a month’s worth of manic creative output (“Bite-sized stupid,” he calls it); the other is, in which he’ll describe his novel-writing experience – a case of podcast imitating life imitating art.

The novel-writing, blogging and podcasting quests are somewhat the digital-era equivalent of seeing how many high-schoolers could stuff themselves into a phone booth 50 years ago. But the month-long exercises point up something often overlooked about computing and telecommunications: For all the hand-wringing over the gobs of time that young people spend on the Web, cell phones and the like, young people have never before spent so much creative effort communicating through words and pictures.

Melinda Wilson, 32, plans to blog every day this month. Last year, she completed NaBloPoMo as well as organizing a group of more than a dozen other Maryland bloggers who took part.

Like millions of other Web journals, her blog – – is very personal, a work primarily of introspection not intended for a huge audience. It attracts maybe a dozen or two dozen viewers a day, although that number tripled after NaBloPoMo last year. Because she was blogging more often, she was touching on a wider range of topics and getting linked to other blogs more often.

“You give up TV and walk away from a little bit of laziness to do something you inevitably enjoy,” Wilson, a forensic toxicology graduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, said about this month’s blog contest.

“You end up writing about the everyday … about my nephews, what happened at work today. You get a real look into people’s lives, and that to people is very intriguing.”

St. Ours said he does not plan to take part in the blogging, though.

“There’s crazy,” he said, “and then there’s craa-zy.”

A sigh, a cry, and a sadness

November 4, 2008

No folks, it’s not that my work isn’t going right…it’s not that anyone is any sicker than they were yesterday.

Yes folks, today I’m going to take just a second to whine.

I had to go to the BJ’s tonight, just to get a few things, nothing special. I started thinking about how I was going to do things. See, if you’re on crutches like I am, you have to think about how you’re going to do things, make sure you don’t fall, how are you going to carry something, etc.  So, I go in fully prepared with my Harris Teeter bag (let it be said, I’ve never been in, but my mom speaks volumes!) and although one butcher helped me, I can’t tell you how awkward and weird it was.

I felt awkward. I felt helpless. There’s nothing worse to me than feeling truly helpless. I hate it.  So, I got my band aids, and my oj and headed to a self check out, and normally at grocery stores, etc…I have people that typically will come and help. I tried to get that OJ into my bag about 10 times until someone else came to help. I got it, but the staff? Was sitting there watching.

I hate that. I’m not your side show. I’m not saying that I can’t do it, although sometimes I can’t…I can, it just takes me a little time, but good god….just ask some time would ya? Please? I know sometimes there are people out there that get offended, but some of us, that are on the verge of tears…

…actually appreciate it.

Tales of a Wannabe Graduate School Dropout ~ Money’s tight…

November 3, 2008

I can’t tell you how many times I have been sitting in front of a computer going, “I need a bit more fun in my life.”  Yet, I sit down and do…nothing.  I think to a certain extent I sit and do nothing because I spend my days doing so much, that now I’m just letting my laziness take over. I did a bit of a puzzle today, and of course I wonder at times why the bf doesn’t care when I’m not there than I finally got it.

I’m not there.  It’s not a huge deal to him, because he subconsciously cares and loves me whether I’m there or not.  He doesn’t understand what his sheer presence does to me.  Then again, I sit sometimes and think…why doesn’t he tell me what he’s thinking? He says that he’s very self inspective, and I almost laughed at him. I figure out of anyone, he would talk to me first right? That anyone that he would be willing to let in, it’d be me?

I worry that he hasn’t.  He has been cooking more, been going out more, and I know already I can’t afford to go out there in December. He doesn’t want to have that conversation. When we have the conversation that he has to admit that he cares enough to make this relationship work.  That he makes the money to keep this relationship financially stable.  It hurts that he doesn’t see that.  He worries that I’m taking advantage, etc. It’s aggravating. I have friends that have dealt with the long distance thing, and everytime they never work. I want to be that 1%. I’m almost desperate to be that 1%.  Perhaps I’m totally wrong. I need to center in on myself, etc.  Perhaps this is more of an experiment for myself than for anyone else.

Perhaps this, graduate work, getting done alone, being there by myself is what will complete this entire experience and have it so that I will go back into the relationship full. It’s hard to say.

An Interesting 1st Day

November 2, 2008

So, as NaBloPoMo started today, I didn’t feel like I had much to write about initially.

Till Ma got sick.  I find myself in an interesting predicament with her being sick. My mother has been there since day one of my birth defect and how it has degenerated and how it has affected my life. Even now, I’m 32 years old, she talks on a daily basis about what she can do for me.

She contemplated not even calling me.  Said I would worry.

Well no kidding!!!!!!! But, we’re her kids, we’re supposed to worry right? It made me confused. Then I figured it out.

She doesn’t want us to worry, because she’s so independent.

She doesn’t want to bother anyone, because she’s sick, and can’t bring herself to ask for help.

Doesn’t necessarily want help.

Needs to be alone to heal.

Just showed me one thing:

Maybe the saying is true.

I’m becoming my mother.

Getting the Debate out in the Open: The Amethyst Initiative

September 15, 2008

In July 2008, 100 college and university presidents and system chancellors decided to sign a petition to say that although the drinking age is 21, irresponsible drinking continues, and is prevalent on college campuses. That despite having the drinking age of 21, there is developing a dangerous culture of binge drinking on college campuses from Olympia to Miami. These higher education leaders are pushing the initiative to have political leaders look at the current alcohol policies, and weigh the consequences. They are interested in bringing the drinking age down to 18.

I’m not a parent, I’ll admit that. I have seen the effects of binge drinking. Been part of the autopsies of drunk driving victims. I’m an alcohol researcher right now, looking at metabolite levels after consumption. I’m interested in what you think. What would come of us lowering the drinking age to 18? Would it be better or worse? Why? What purpose would it serve?

Would it really combat the binge drinking? Or make it worse? Federal tax dollars are pulled from states that have a lower drinking age, it’s a transportation issue, predominantly. Current studies show that 1 out of 4 current undergraduates at major universities will binge drink at least once in their collegiate career. The smaller universities it could be worse, the study didn’t say.

The Amethyst Initiative

For My Sis

July 28, 2008

Saw this and thought of you. Stay strong, we’ll write a book about this one day. The feed is HORRID! But, you get the point…