Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Your transfer work has posted and all we are waiting on now is your In Absentia paperwork to clear (it will take a few weeks). Your graduation application will be approved once that happens. As of right now, there is nothing left for you to do.
Congratulations on the completion of your degree!
Don't go queuing the Hallelujah chorus just yet but I think a little woohoo is in order so...WOOHOO!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
He had actually already submitted an application but because of some issues which I wont go into because honestly, it's just plain mind numbing to explain, it wasn't valid. Sooooo... the lady on the phone told him that he needed to get in his transcript from Texas State (where he took his final Spanish classes which by the way was the only thing keeping him from being a graduate) in by Wed. at 3pm. Kyle took his final test on the previous Friday and often times he didn't receive a grade for at least a week, but he called and pleaded, and low and behold, his professor graded his test within a few hours of his beseeching, and we were in the car, on our way to Texas State to pick up his transcript to take to UT in the morning as we had to meet with the adviser at 8:45 am the next morning. And if you know ANYTHING about Austin traffic, you are aware of it's lifeless movement in the morning, afternoon, also sometimes at midnight and on occasion at 4 am and well really basically at all times of day depending on the shadow of the moon on the Earth. So..., we solicited friends at the last possible moment so that we could save a tank of gas and a massive migraine whilst dealing with what might be considered equivalent to Chinese torture, Austin traffic in the morning.
Success! Texas State Transcript received!
Non success: San Antonio College Transcript not received, leaving Kyle without the adequate number of hours.
Success! he was allowed to apply for graduation.
Non success: We do not currently have a piece of paper which will pass as a prerequisite to a diploma until SAC's transcript is received.
Success! The lady on the phone told Kyle, it was basically impossible for him to get it all done before the deadline, and when he called to tell her that we were on our way, she was dumbfounded to which Kyle responded, "I know, I have been a RockSTAR!"
In short- the trip was very successful, but not as successful as we hoped. But we are far from despairing. We are hopeful, that by Monday, all should be solved! We are so very very close, I can taste it! YAY for Kyle being a ROCKSTAR!!!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
And you have two teams fighting against eachother; The Freedom Fighters:
And the Marines/Russians:
Now again, airsoft is a little different from paintball in that the goal is not to just eliminate everyone but to complete objectives. For example, the first "evolution", (that's GI Joe lingo for game by the way) had both teams trying to unlock as many padlocks as they could find. The padlocks were in certain buildings but no one knew which ones so it was kinda like a treasure hunt...while being shot at...and shooting at others. GREAT FUN!
So at first, Julian and I were hoping that we could play with the Freedom Fighters as all of the dedicated San Antonio Airsofters were playing on the FF side. But because I registered a bit late and because the teams were ridiculously imbalanced this year, I had to go Russian so Julian switched sides. AND, one of Julian's customers/buds decided he wanted to come to! So Billy Coleman age 35ish, professional cool cat joined us to help fight for the Motherland. We had an absolute blast!
So here's a quick rundown of how it went, followed by pics from last years Bulldog just to give you an idea of what it's like. Recent pics are comin, we just don't have any yet!
Fri. 4:30pm-Van drives me out to SAAirsoft to drop me off. Julian and fam are SWAMPED with random customers. Good for business, not good for schedule.
6:30pm-Billy's drivin, J's freshly shaven and showered and rockin the shotgun seat. We hit the road, just 2 hrs. behind schedule...right on time!
10:28pm We pull in to the Ft. Hood Visitor's Center that closes at 10:30pm to get directions as none of us know where to go. We spend a good 10 minutes talking with the very nice but not so helpful MP that didn't even know there was an Airsoft event on base this weekend. A decision is made about the most likely location of our campsite and we roll out.
11:30pm We've made a full circle around Ft. Hood (no small feat mind you, nearly 60miles of driving) and we find our campsite!!!
Sat.12:45am Tents up, air mattress inflated without pump, we all pass out.
7:00am Roll out and start gearing up
8:00am Get yelled at for not being registered properly nor having guns checked properly
8:15am Get yelled at for not being in formation on time by Russian Commander Igor Doberov aka Scary Russian (really, he is Russian...but not really scary...except when he's angry) See for yourself; He's the one with the blue Barret on and the huge smile on his face. Don't let the smile fool you though, he's one tough Motherlander!
8:45am Evolution 1 begins!
12:00pm Evolution 1 ends!
1:00pm Evolution 2 begins!
2:00pm Evolution 2 ends!
4:00pm Evolution 3 begins!
5:00pm Evolution 3 ends!
7:00pm Evolution 4 begins! This one's a night game...but we didn't go to that one. Not sorry we missed it in the least. We were all dead tired and not too psyched about runnin through dark buildings without flashlights.
Sun. 9:00am THE LAST EVOLUTION BEGINS!
12:00pm Game over! YAY!
2:00pm Camp is packed, we hit the road.
3:00pm Bike racers are using our exit road so all 250 of us have to turn our caravan around, go back the way we came, then out the other exit. LAME...but funny!
Mon. 11:00am Wake up and can't move legs. Literally have to lift them with my arms to get in and out of the car for the next 4 days. I'm still feelin the pain! BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!
So here's J last year as an FF.
And here's a few action shots, just so you get an idea of what it was like. OH, and one thing you don't really get a taste of with the pics is how LOUD it was. Some Okies were nice enough to give us some simulation grenades and simulation artillery rounds. You know how loud professional fireworks are when you're right up next to them? Same stuff, just going off in the street 20 feet away from us. LOOOOUUUUD!
And here's my personal fave from last year. You just never know where those sneaky little turds might be hiding! Pun intended...
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tomorrow, Kyle takes (cross your fingers) his last Spanish Test EVER!! Pray that all of the information he has been desperately cramming into his head will not leak out until after the test! It tries to escape daily but with enough cajoling, and threats of violence with an airsoft gun, I think we can get it to stay until he takes that test.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Have you ever spent THREE hours making phone calls, getting transfered over and over again, researching on unnavigable websites, collecting data only to delete it all on accident permanently? Yeah, I did that yesterday. I have been working on a project for that non-profit I mentioned the other day called music in the schools (which is a super great cause by the by) and I thought I could work excel. I mean, all I had to do was input a little data right? I just made an itsy bitsy mistake and wanted to erase ONE ROW. What, pray tell did I erase however? The entire SHEET. Yes, an entire page- non recoverable. My head nearly exploded at that moment. I literally grabbed a blanket and hid with my new snow leopard stuffed animal named LEA (short for Leopard, but with an "A" for a girl which I got at the mac store because the mac representative took pity on me, being too poor to purchase a new laptop and all). We huddled under the blanket away from the mean computer for probably thirty minutes, yet the nightmare was still there when we re-emerged, ERASED PERMANENTLY. Luckily, in my desperation, I found a website, a golden website, which held the answers to all life's problems. Ok, not really all life's problems, just the one I was dealing with at that moment! YAY!!! It was the light at the end of a tunnel. I only wish that all of life's little curve balls had such simple solutions, but what would be the fun of that? Thank goodness for Lea- she made the day. Man, I miss my stuffed animal days. I sometimes find myself petting this FAKE cat, as if were real and enjoyed being petted! What does that say about me? Hmmm.... I am not sure I want you to answer that...
Thursday, October 01, 2009
We have a lot of time on our hands lately so I find myself thinking about future posts more than I ever have in the past, partially out of boredom, but also because I have the time for creativity. I have the time and the energy to let my imagination and thoughts run wild. A hidden blessing in our time of frustration, one might say. Through my internet searching today, I came across a commencement speech by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, given to the graduating class at Harvard. And by her speech I was inspired. So much so, that even after an inordinately long post that most of you probably haven't had the chance to read yet, I have decided to post another. (p.s. please read Kyle's entry before you read this one as it is really worth the read, and I not just saying that because I am the biased wife, it really is so well written and entertaining. It is not one to be missed!) I am not going to post the whole speech, but take excerpts that particularly spoke to me. However if you would like to read the entire speech, click here.
Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.... So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
So obviously Kyle and I have had hit road blocks in our life, but we haven't even brushed the edge of the decline that leads to rock bottom. In no way, am I comparing what we are going through to the rock bottom that she speaks of, but I think what she has to say about failure is so intriguing and true for some, but not all. I love the quote from the movie Catch Me If You Can, "Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn't quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out." For some, failure is just that, failure, and there is nothing more to say or do. Rock bottom is just another place to live or die. But for others, for the fighters, for the ones who want more and are willing to struggle failure can be the lottery ticket to success, an opportunity. I am always so inspired by stories of failures that lead to success because I want to be one of those people who takes risks and isn't afraid of failure. The line where Rowling says, "I was set free" made so much sense to me. If what you fear is failure, and you have failed, than there is no where else to go but towards success.
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared. ...I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International's headquarters in London. here in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. ... Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government.
... I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.
Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard and read.
And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before.
Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.This passage gave me a greater understanding of her books. While reading the Harry Potter series, I often got a sense that what she was warning against was not evil in the world, but instead, not standing up against what you know is wrong, even if you have to do it alone and at the risk of everything. Voldemort controlled with fear, paralyzing those who knew that he was wrong into doing nothing. Voldemort may have been a fictional villan, but what he stood for is unfortunatly far from fiction. Voldemort is much like the totalitarrian governments that strike fear in the hearts of many citizens of our world. Rowlings work with Amnesty International gave her a first hand look at what happens when we allow fear or totalitarrian governments to rule. Her books are beautiful stories, with imaginative creatures in a mysterious and enchanting world, but more than that, I think she wanted to send a message to all the children and adults in the world. Face your fear, don't let it control you, your dreams or what you know to be right.
And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.
I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.
What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridorwas this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
With so much time on my hands, I have been doing a lot of soul searching. "Who am I? Who do I want to become? How can I improve myself and improve the world?" After working at Alamo Segway, although I enjoyed myself greatly while exploring the city via segway and meeting interesting people, I have decided that in order for my heart and conscious to be whole, I need to know that I am useful, that I am helpful. I want to live life to the fullist and for me that means that I need to do something extraoridary. That doesn't mean that I have to live in poverty in an orphanage in China. Extraoridariness, if thats a real word, can be found anywhere, even in our own backyard. I don't exactly know where that leads me, but it gives me a general direction to where I am headed. (An example of working in one's own back yard, Kyle and I had a job interview yesterday with the community center here in Redmond and may have part time jobs helping middle schoolers. More on that later when we know more.) I leave you with this quote that has become my recent mantra, "Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. "
~ Cadet Maxim