29 February 2008

"The Lumberjack" Screws Students Over Again

This time, though, it wasn't the College Republicans. Yesterday, the Lumberjack released a "specialty publication" entitled the "Best of NAU" with a bunch of little blurbs about a variety of people, places, and things that students could read and then go online and complete a survey to vote for the best ______ in Flagstaff. Sample categories: 1. Hottest professor (male and female) 2. Best place to have sex on campus 3. Best place to take someone on a first date 4. Best activity for underage people on a Friday night 5. Best fraternity/sorority Well, unfortunately, their writers at the paper (who shall remain nameless, as I know who they are and don't want a witch-hunt) decided to write the following things about several of the Greek chapters at NAU: 1. Alpha Omicron Pi: "On Nov. 23, 1963, NAU was blessed with Alpha Omicron Pi sorority (YAY, us)." 2. Alpha Delta Pi: "... And if you're still not convinced, we heard a rumor that they like to get busy with some pretty wild pillow fights." 3. Kappa Alpha: "... So when you see KA on those sweaters and shirts all over campus, be sure to let them know we're not worthy of their excellence." 4. Phi Delta Theta: "So maybe you're actually into the whole brotherly love thing, but we know most of you are only into it for the trips to Lake Havasu and the easy access to sorority girls." 5. Pi Kappa Alpha: "Plus, we hear they can play a mean game of beer pong." 6. Theta Chi (these are my residents): "Who the hell wants to be an ox for life? ... Located in Mountain View, the fraternity is on campus and ready to do whatever fraternities do. I guess being a big dumb animal for life doesn't sound so bad after all." So, basically, Greeks were insinuated as being: blessed, full of themselves, wild, party animals, womanizers, alcoholics, and big dumb animals who don't really do anything. Um, yeah, not cool. Many, many of these people are my good friends, and aside from the obvious that they're pretty pissed about this stuff, the writers did not take into account all the good things that these chapters do, including donating tens of thousands of dollars collectively to charity annually, posting thousands of hours of community service annually, having some of the highest collective grade point averages of any group on campus, and being leaders on our campus (student body president, homecoming king, ASNAU senators, etc). Because the writers are not themselves Greeks, and because they did not seek the input of anyone within the Greek system regarding these comments, and because, well, a lot of this stuff is just false altogether or unfounded, their comments are also libelous. Yesterday, when my staff and I found out about this article, I came up with the idea to organize a petition drive to get my residents in Mountain View to sign to formally request that the Lumberjack both retract their statements and issue an apology to all the chapters, which I implemented and obtained 356 signatures for in about 8 hours (which percentage-wise equalled 67% of my building). I delivered the petition to the Lumberjack head honcho today with Greek Life coordinator Wendy Davison during a meeting she was having to try to come to an amicable conclusion about the issue. During the meeting between Wendy and I and the two Lumberjack advisors, they refused to retract any of their statements, citing creative license (despite the fact that each chapter paid around $120.00 for the advertising space), and were exceptionally indignant about the whole matter, refusing to apologize for any of their insults on the grounds that "it is entertainment" and "it was supposed to be funny" and "it accomplished its mission of being a fundraiser." Well, needless to say, my whole building is pretty much up in arms. After living here in this community for a year, I really understand that the stereotypes portrayed by "Animal House" or "American Pie: Beta House" are very much unfounded and defamatory, and all the work that my residents have done on NAU's campus to dispel that negative image was washed out by less than 100 words in yesterday's paper. You might think "but does anyone actually read the paper?" Well, I can tell you that 5,000 EXTRA copies were printed just yesterday so that they can be placed on the Dome seats during sporting events, and the results copy of the paper yet to be released is set to be given to everyone attending graduation in May of this year. So yeah, it's going to get read. And not just by students, but by their parents, friends, relatives, little siblings, everything. So, I'll post again later on some of the results of the next couple weeks as this issue moves forward, but I have heard tell that two chapters, Phi Delta Theta and Theta Chi, are preparing lawsuits alleging defamation of character over the issue. I will be helping as much as I can, so I hope anyone who is reading this will also show their support for what I feel is a more than worthy cause.

Leap Day!

So, this is an excerpt from an email that a friend of mine sent me: "The Julian Calendar, adopted by Julius Caesar...ages ago, was found in about 730AD to be about 11 minutes off, resulting in about 1 missed day in 128. Well, as most bureaucracies go, this tidbit was ignored till 1582. By this time they figured that the error was about 10 days. To correct this Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the following day (Oct 4) would instead be Oct 15. [Wouldn't it be cool to have that power!] "Anyways, our current calendar has the same issues. A year is measured by how long it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun and get back to the exact same spot. As it turns out the "year" dictated by our calendar undershoots this by about a 1/4 day. So every 4 years we throw an extra day in for good measure. Yet this still isn't exact, so to further complicate things we onlyhave leap years on years that end with 00 IF it is divisible by 400. So 1600 and 2000 had leap years, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 didn't." Kinda crazy. If I'm alive in 2100, apparently we don't get an extra day even though it would technically be a leap year.

26 February 2008

From Stress Comes.... Good Grades?

After getting back from class a bit ago, I was reflecting on the last few weeks here as my final semester of undergraduate college comes winding down, and I really noticed a pattern of me just seeing stress, deadlines, and rushing to complete my work. I've really not gotten to bed before 3am anytime in the last four weeks, and missed class a few times to take naps to supplant my lack of sleep. I was eating unhealthy, and rushing through some of the stuff I actually enjoy doing just to get papers done for my capstone, writing course, art course, and psychology courses. Well, within the last 24 hours, I found out just how much all that hard work paid off. I had four assignments due this weekend: a four page essay exam for my capstone, an 8-page paper justifying the use of the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945, a 3-page art critique, and a 5-page film review for my PSY277 course. Overall, 20 pages. I ended up with the following grades: 198/200, 96/100, 100/100, and 92/100 respectively. Like the parable from the Bible of the woman who has ten silver coins, loses one, and searches all over her house for hours trying to find it, then when she finally does, tells all her friends and neighbors about her joy at having recovered the coin, so too am I sharing my triumphs with my friends about having lost roughly 3 hours of sleep per night only to have gained straight A's on all my work this last week.

23 February 2008

Weekend On-Call

Like the title reads, I am on call this weekend in my hall. For those of you who are not RAs, this entails remaining in the building from 7pm Friday night to 7pm Sunday night and conducting rounds Friday and Saturday nights to take care of any problems that might arise in the building during that time. During this time, I get to have about an hour or two off per day to go get food at the Union, but then I have to be back. When I'm not on rounds, it's usually pretty quiet, save for the occasional "I'm locked out of my room, can you let me in?" call. Today, I really didn't have a lot to do class-wise, though I expect tomorrow will be used for getting some reading done for Monday, so all day I've been watching Jack Bauer avert a nuclear explosion in downtown Los Angeles, and watching Chef Bobby Flay conclude a throwdown with a master chocolatier on "24" and "Throwdown" respectively. Tonight should also be interesting for another reason - it's the bid party night for Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. This is the night where the members of Pike (as we abbreviate their name) party after handing out invitations to new members to join their fraternity during the spring semester. This means that the building will be quiet until they come back from wherever their party is going to be, and then Taylor and I will have to make sure they're not being too loud, rowdy, or whatever when they come back. It should be fun; they're good guys and their leaders help us out a lot with making sure people are doing what they should be doing. I would also like to note that Spring Training for the Diamondbacks begins in about 4 days, and I am really excited for the regular season to start on March 31st. I need to find out a way to print 324 score sheets cheaply - two for each game of the season for both the home and away teams, because I enjoy scoring the games when I am able to. Last season I was able to score 55 of the 162 games, and this season I'd like to be able to get at least 100. Well, it's 1am in "24" world, and Jack's just safely exploded the nuclear device in the Mojave Desert where zero casualties are expected initially. Time to see what the two o'clock hour brings!

21 February 2008

Snow in Flagstaff

So, yesterday Flagstaff got hit again. No, not by a meteor loaded with Kryptonite, not from a tornado with deadly destructive winds, and certainly not by the spacecraft that the military just shot down the other day. We got about two or three inches of snow! That glorious creation of crystallized water falling to Earth! I was inspired this morning at how beautiful it was outside, so I snapped a picture with my cell phone's camera, and decided to post it to show those of you who have moved away from Flag just what you're all missing right now! I hear we're supposed to get more tonight, but I'm not sure if we will or not....

20 February 2008

Somnus Est Bonus

"Sleep is good." Too bad I haven't gotten much of any since Friday. My weekend after I posted on Sunday really caught up with me, what with five papers-slash-articles to write, my online capstone exam, and RA stuff to do. But here it is on Wednesday, and it's snowing again here in Flagstaff - just lightly, not really enough to stick around. It's been going on and off all day since this morning, and once again the ground here is covered in a pale white as light from the buildings and streetlights relects off the clouds. Speaking of clouds, the cover this evening made me miss one of the Universe's more spectacular shows: a total eclipse of the moon, for which the western US was supposed to have a front-row seat. The next time it happens will be about 13 years from now, or so I heard. Oh well, I'm sure NASA got some good pics I can look at tomorrow. Otherwise, not much else is new.... I have my first job interview tentatively scheduled for spring break time, and I'm just trying to get a lot of homework done in the meantime. Although, punctuating the plethora of papers I have had due, I've finally started on the second season of "24" which I'm really enjoying!

17 February 2008

Ita Infit

"And so it begins..." Many moons ago, I started a blog for the purposes of recording my time at college. Well, as most can probably tell, that didn't really go anywhere. But in the spirit of making certain I can remember all the crazy stuff that goes on in my life as a Resident Assistant for Mountain View Hall at NAU and in looking for a job after I graduate this May, I am going to try again. So, for those of you that don't already know what I do, I am the Resident Assistant for Mountain View Hall, which houses the fraternities and sororities on campus. Whereas most places have a "fraternity row" or several on- or off-campus houses, our Greek Life is contained in one of the biggest buildings on campus which looks out over the spectacular vista of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona. Each RA in the building gets to work with a chapter or two on one of the View's floors: I am the RA for Theta Chi and Sigma Nu, with a few Kappa Alpha members as well. I've been in this position since the beginning of this year, and it's become one of the best things I could have ever done for myself. To start with the basics that everyone knows about the position, I am compensated for my room and board and food here on campus. I have my own room in the hall without a roommate, and in return, I work on-call shifts in the building once or twice a week, and work at the building's front desk checking in and out items, and helping out wherever needed. On a deeper level, I get to connect with almost 600 people in this building who are absolutely amazing. Before I came here, I had some of the same stereotypes about Greeks that many other people do, but I have come to really appreciate all the positive things about my residents and their organizations, which are not unlike my previous posts with the College Republicans: each chapter does community service on a regular basis to raise money for their "philanthropy" (some type of organization in the country), they study hard and typically have very high grade point averages as chapters, and promote a sense of community I never really found elsewhere in college. The reason I am talking so much about them is that they are a very big part of who I am this year, because I work so closely with them. Not a lot of people who are unaffiliated with Greek Life know about this stuff; I know I certainly didn't before becoming an RA here. On the opposite side of work, I am striving to finish school this year by May so that I can graduate with my bachelor's degree in American Political Studies with a focus in Public Administration. Just a few more weeks to go! Right now, it's also crunch time for me to be finding a job. I have a couple prospects right now with a variety of campaigns for Republican candidates, but nothing noteworthy -- yet! Believe me, the job hunt will certainly be a big focus of my later postings! This weekend, I made the most of my time off, since I wasn't on call and didn't have to work the desk before today at 2pm. I decided my best course of action was to sleep until about 3pm on Saturday after going out with some of my friends the previous night. After that, I really just chilled out to the max for the rest of the day, watched some tube, played MLB2k6 on my XBox360, and then went back to bed after eating some Chinese food. Today, I got up early to try to accomplish some homework due tomorrow, and I'll be working on that all night here during my 11pm-2am desk shift. So you know what that means...! Feel free to email/IM me until all the wee hours of my shift 'cuz I'm gonna be bored!