December 13, 2006

final entry

The semester is almost over. I survived all the papers and the midterms. All that stands in my way is a couple of finals. I’m not very concerned, either. I know the material. Most of it. I will do well or exceptionally well on my finals, and that’s all there is to it. Over break, I will watch Star Trek and listen to music. I’ll finish my Stephen King novel, and use the Rec Center a little more. Most of all, I will relax and be lazy.

I’ll get to spend a lot more time with my fiancée. Stephanie has been kind enough to post comments on my blog entries. Thanks a lot hunny, I appreciate it. I’ll be spending the holidays at her relatives’ houses. I’m lucky to be with her, we’re such a good match for each other. The holidays, for me at least, are a drag. I still get to spend time with her, who cares if it’s at a holiday party or not?

I suppose I’ll leave this web log up until the semester is officially over. Even though I haven’t posted any offensive or political entries, this is still a public forum. I keep reading in the paper about people who have received negative attention because of their blog sites. Might as well delete it, save me from any potential trouble down the road.

I’ve tried to keep a chronicle of my life, but I lack the discipline to write often enough. The blog entries, as a graded assignment, have been much easier to write. I like the idea of video journal entries, as I described in a previous blog. I might try that. Whatever method I use, I think it’s important to keep some sort of record of the life I live. I’m a person that enjoys reflection. What DID I do all those years?

December 12, 2006

bitch about the holidays

The end of the year is approaching, which means celebration of the Judeo-Christian holidays is near. I’ve mentioned earlier that I’m not a Christmas-y fellow. Just not built that way, and I don’t have the faith to stand behind a holiday like that. And I don’t buy into the financial scam that is Christmas, either.

Back in my grocery store days, holidays meant work, and lots of it. Time and a half overtime was nice, but it had to be earned. When I baked for Christmas and New Years, I would work and sleep, work and sleep, most of the days of that week. Yes, it was a bummer. I’m glad I had my ghetto blaster to drown out the constant barrage of holiday music piped through the supermarket PA non-stop

I don’t have a job anymore. I don’t feel the pressure of increased holiday time production. I feel the crunch of the typical school week, and that’s it. But I still don’t embrace the warm glow of the holiday spirit. I’ve speculated that my feelings may have resulted from my family’s eviction from our house in 1989, a few days after Christmas. Nope, tempting to heap all of life’s troubles on one or two significant events, but I can say I wasn’t traumatized by losing my home. I was excited to live with Grandpa in Florida. Maybe all I lack is just faith, a holiday centered around a religious belief that I can’t follow.

The last thing I want to be is “the one guy you’re not supposed to say merry Christmas too because it offends him.? So I smile and return the salutation, “Merry Christmas to you too.? I hate that PC wanker crap. So I pretend on the outside, but maintain on the inside that it’s all just a crock.

December 11, 2006

UP Series

The class has viewed the first 3 chapters of the UP Series, a documentary examining the lives of 14 British children at seven year intervals of their lives. The UP Series was a treat to watch, and I learned a good deal about the people in the documentary. I would have to say Tony is my favorite character. As a seven year old rambunctious youth, he captured my heart and made me laugh so many times. I felt myself cheering him as he trained to be a jockey. In 21 UP, Tony admits that he wasn’t good enough in the jockey circuit, but remains a happy go lucky person. He loves his family and his mum very much and makes a living at the dog track running and placing bets. Tony, you’re AOK in my book
With advances in technology, video archiving is available too many, and data storage devices are getting cheaper. I was wondering when will video diaries catch on? Families have been taking home movies for decades, but it is not a daily routine. The UP series is like that, but goes more in depth, but only at the 7 year intervals. My fiancée informed me that video diaries do exist, and they are called vlogs. Video logs are like blogs, posted on the world wide web, but in a video format like mpeg. I of course, wouldn’t post anything on the web. Internet Privacy, a contradiction in terms, is a concern for me. Naturally, I temper my blog entries. But, I would be interested in keeping a video diary, just a few minutes everyday. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures...which are worth a million words then?? (1000 x1000 = 1,000,000) Video diaries would allow people to explain their lives and show the viewer ( whether it be themselves in the future, or someone else entirely) what could be difficult to explain on paper. Interesting huh?

Up series.JPG

December 4, 2006

gay marriage

Today’s class discussion ended with the topic of homosexuality and gay marriage. I decided not to put my two cents in on the subject. I suppose it’s a good subject for a blog entry. I don’t have strong feelings about homosexuality. Why aren’t there laws allowing gay marriage? I think that depends on how one defines marriage. I’m guessing that when a person hears the word marriage, they see an image of a man and a woman in a church. This is just an admission of a stereotypical image.
Lawmakers decide what is and what is not marriage. If gay marriage is to be recognized, voters have to make their voices heard. One of two things can be happening here: Congressmen are acting on behalf of constituents, who are not in favor of gay marriage; or congressmen are disregarding the majority of the public, and acting by their own personal views. I can’t say I’m too concerned with the issue.
I’m engaged. I love the person I’m with, and I’m going to marry her. If I couldn’t legally marry her, I don’t think it would make much difference at all. I’d love her just the same, and raise a family just the same. Non married couples have separate taxes and insurance, and I suppose that married couples do have an advantage. Yet, I still know of married couples that are still getting reemed on taxes and insurance, or entire families that have no healthcare at all. Lucky for them, there are free clinics available for the kids.
I still have to address those legal, yet sham marriages, those who marry to obtain green cards and visas. These marriages only happen to trick the system, although I hear now that the INS is cracking down on that.
For the sake of equality and human rights, there should be some type of provision so gay couples can have the same rights as non gay couples. Write your congressman if you’re unhappy with the laws. Just don’t waste your time with demonstrations or protesting. That’s just damn annoying.


December 3, 2006

personal philosophy

I think my personal philosophy has been challenged a lot. My first semester at 4 year University was a difficult one. I do enjoy going to college, but it can be awfully difficult. When I started college again this spring, I thought I was chasing after my goals and setting the standards just high enough. I can be a good person, and help others, and give people an insight, what goes right, and what goes wrong. I like volunteering, but I found I just didn’t have to time to continue with it. I hope I can next semester. I know that getting A’s in college is a lot of work, but since I achieved it my first semester, I guess I thought I had it made. My philosophy is to serve my country and serve mankind as a healer. I think some days that I’m not such a good soldier. I think often that I’m not really cut out for college. So far I haven’t caved in. Part of my philosophy is to persevere. I’ll see what I’m made of, now that I don’t have a job to hide behind.

November 29, 2006

pistachio chocolate chip cookies

I’m participating in a christmas cookie exchange this year. People who know me know that I’m not a christmas-y kind of guy. Ah, but I will bake some cookies. My almost mother in law is hosting the cookie exchange, and I decided that I’d like to participate. My mother makes these chocolate chip cookies with pistachio pudding, and she was kind enough to give me the recipe this spring. These are mighty tasty cookies! Yep, and they’re cute and small little green cookies, kind of gumball shaped. Definitely my favorite, these cookies are. So here is my mother’s recipe...

½ cup butter
1 pkg pistachio pudding
1 egg
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350* Soften butter and mix with pudding. Add the egg, then blend in flour and baking soda. Add chocolate chips. Use teaspoon to measure dough, roll into balls, and drop onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until bottom edge of cookies start to turn brown. Top of cookies will be soft. Cool on rack. After cookies cool, they become firm. Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies.

November 28, 2006

population growth

The latest assignment for biology lab was to read some essays and articles regarding world population trends. I have some pretty strong opinions on the subject, but I won’t get into that. The current world population is over 6.5 billion, with US population now surpassing 300 million. I found many aspects of the readings interesting, but one fact in particular: the greatest rate of population growth was 2.1%/year during the years 1965-1970. The hippies finally got something right! Ha-ha! Just kidding. But not really.(White Goodman)
In 45 years, the world population will be around 9 billion, and could be as high as 11 million. Increased longevity among the people of the Earth is the biggest reason for the population growth. Seems like an oxymoron, since old people don’t grow, huh? Well, the death rate offsets the birth rate, which = population growth. If death rate is decreased, then population growth increases. Ok, I’m confusing myself now. It’s late; I’m going to sleep now.

November 27, 2006

it's the bomb

I read in the MN Daily today about a bomb scare at MSP airport on Sunday. Apparently it wasn’t a functional bomb, but had most of the components present, and was hidden inside the trunk of a parked rental car. The FBI has the name of the person who rented the car, but it’s probably a phony name. Makes a person wonder if MSP isn’t a target after all. Last week, a group of Muslim clerics were detained at MSP for several hours after they were deemed “suspicious?. This event was the subject of a brief classroom discussion. The Muslim clerics were questioned several hours, and were released, but weren’t allowed to purchase tickets again, and had to go through another airline. From what I’ve read on the incident, it seems like these gentlemen were engaging in one of their daily prayers, and other passengers and flight crew members thought they were acting suspicious. In my opinion, I’m glad action was taken. If a potential problem is identified, it should be examined. I think the men weren’t treated with much respect, which really is a shame. I can see how the airline could be boycotted. I didn’t read anywhere about an official apology, or accommodations for the men. If I was the PR guy for the airline, after finding the men were no trouble at all and everything was a misunderstanding, I would’ve given them free tickets. Still, I think the fact that people spoke up about something they felt was just not right, in the matter of safety, is a good thing. The airline chose to handle the situation poorly after that.

November 26, 2006

sunday night

Sunday night is almost over. I had a relaxing weekend, plus the few days of Thanksgiving break. Tomorrow is back to business as usual, and hopefully a week dedicated to increased physical exercise. APFT is in 2 weeks, and I want to do well. I have some heavy Chemistry studying and busy work this week, but other than that, I think everything will be good. Only 3 more weeks of class, how wonderful! I successfully registered for my spring 2007 classes. Biol 1002 is a lot more work than the first semester. What a crock. I’m considering changing my major a little bit. Instead of BS Biology, I think I might go for the CLA’s BA of Biology, Society, and Environment. I only need one semester of calculus, and that’s fine for me.

November 23, 2006

t-g day

Thanksgiving Day was a good break. I had a dinner at my fiancée’s father’s house. I had a pretty good time; good dinner, good conversation. It was great to sleep in today, no class, or army PT to go to. We started watching the 3rd Rock From the Sun season 6 disk that I bought last week. It’s the only TV I watch. Well, sometimes when my girl watches desperate housewives on iTunes, I’ll watch it too, but that’s it.
I went to the military surplus store in the warehouse district yesterday. I needed to get a pin to put my dean’s list ribbon on my class A uniform. I was digging through a huge barrel of patches and found an airborne school patch and an armor training center patch. Since I went to Ft. Knox, the home of armor, I saw those patches all the time, and thought I’d like to have it. So I bought the patches for a couple of bucks.
That’s about all I can think to write about. I have a good amount of homework and some Chemistry studying this weekend, but I won’t worry about that until Saturday. I think we might go shopping tomorrow. Kind of dumb idea, since malls are crazy places the day after thanksgiving, but...

November 20, 2006

return to the pharmacy biz?

I’ve made the decision to join the work force again. Seriously, I had it made as a pharmacy tech. I went back to college because a person can only go so far as a technician. A professional degree is the key to bigger and better things. So I’m striving to become a physician, or perhaps a pharmacist. I quit my Health Partners job when I left for basic training. College is so difficult; I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to work. I realize I really have to make time. It would behoove me to keep a job in the medical field while I’m in college; my professional school applications would look better. So after letting my certification lapse, I have to pay $115 to have it reinstated. I needed 2 continuing education credits in pharmacy law; I took care of that about 10 minutes ago with free online C.E. from PowerPak. College courses count for 15 credits of CE, thank you Chem1021 you’re good to me. Now I can send in my reinstatement app tomorrow. My state board of pharmacy registration is still current, and valid until then end of December. I register for spring classes tomorrow, and I think I’ll have enough time to work one shift a week. I just have to polish up my resume, and then I’ll be good to go. Yeah, technically I used to have initials after my name: David Poplawski, CPhT. Seriously though, it’s not a real big deal.

November 19, 2006

grocery store work

When I was reading Nickel and Dimed this weekend, I kept thinking about the jobs I held during and after high school. I guess I finally made it when I was employed at Health Partners. I left a secure, modest paying job with excellent benefits and 401k and no growth potential so I could go back to school and earn a degree. I started work at 14, bagging groceries and retrieving shopping carts for a modest $4.65 an hour. I went back and forth from the construction labor and grocery store environment. Around age 17, I rose to the ranks of stock clerk. Armed with a price gun and box cutter, I stocked dairy products, frozen foods, and worked the receiving docks. My motivation was the few dollars more an hour I made as a stock clerk. At 18, I transferred to night crew, where I earned another dollar an hour as a third shift premium. I found a nice independent grocery store chain, Hiller’s Market, that paid a better wage, and worked the night crew there. A few years after that, I became a third shift baker. My new position came with another raise, and lots of overtime potential. The company I worked for frequently drew their managers from the hard working and dedicated baker staff. I might have made manager one day, if I had not left. From bag boy to baker, I had tripled my wage. I think a lot about grocery store work. It’s simple and easy, and I did it well. I haven’t worked in a grocery store in 3 years. Grocery stores do not pay the best wages. Experience helps, but not always. Seniority is the most determining factor. The longer you work for the store, the more your hourly wage is. Grocery stores are always looking for people to hire. It’s a job you can always fall back on. It’s not a comfortable living, but decent.

November 17, 2006

extracurricular activities

I’ve been thinking that I should get out of the house more. After dropping calculus, I find I have enough time to pursue some extracurricular activities. I used to volunteer at the VA Medical Center, in the oncology treatment section. I wanted to resume my volunteering there, but I found I was overwhelmed in college. Now I have the time. I also want to start going to the Ranger Team PT and meetings. The ranger team is a group of highly motivated army cadets that participate in a yearly competition. The PT sessions are longer and more intense, and I used to go to ranger PT last semester. I also want to attend some meetings with the Pre-Med organization, AED. I’m seriously considering picking up some hours at a local pharmacy, too. I miss my job as a pharmacy tech, and I feel I’m out of the loop now. I let my certification lapse, so I’ll have to be reinstated and register with the board again, but I think it really might be worth it. Last but not least on the list is study abroad. I’m interested in the global seminar, which is a 3 week version of study abroad. I love the spanish language, and I’m really bummed that I had to scrap my spanish classes to graduate in 4 years. I’m looking into a different major that would allow me to keep spanish classes. I hope that everything will work out to my advantage. I’m feeling really good about college now, and I’m ready to take on some additional challenges.

November 16, 2006

fast food

I think fast food gets a bad rap. I believe that moderation is key in just about every part of our lives, especially our diet. Eat too much cheese, you get constipated. Eat too many vegetables, you get the runs. Eat too many sugars, you develop diabetes. Eat too much food in general, you get fat. Eat too little, you become emaciated. Eat too many foods high in fat and cholesterol, you develop heart and blood pressure problems. A balance of everything keeps the human body working properly. Fast food hamburgers and french fries are cheap and quick meals that taste good. If everyone had the time, the patience, and the money to cook healthy nutritious meals, perhaps people would do so. If someone thinks that they are not eating healthy foods with adequate nutrients, a person can start taking a multivitamin and fiber supplements. If a person is gaining weight from the excess calories they are consuming, they can reduce their food intake or expend more calories. Switch from McD’s to Subway. Advertisements can get people in the door to buy fast food, but it’s not the reason people keep coming back. It’s convenience, cost, and taste. If fast food is eaten all the time, sure it will make an impact on a persons health. So will eating nothing but lettuce sandwiches. Unlike calories, cholesterol cannot be burned off at the gym, so intake of this substance should be watched. Moderation is the important idea here.

November 14, 2006

thoughts on yoda

I’ve been a huge Star Trek fan since I was a little kid. I still enjoy watching the shows. I never got in to Star Wars, though, until a few years ago. Last week my fiancée and I completed our Star Wars DVD collection with the purchase of episode 3. I was thinking I should do a little commentary about this story, or some aspect about it. Well, I’m sure it’s obvious where I’m going with this. Yoda is such a nifty creature. He’s wise and compassionate, yet a fierce and able warrior in battle. He hobbles around with his cane, since he’s old and like, 800 years old. Ah, but he’s a sneaky little bastard...Engage him in combat, and his wrath, you will see. He jumps off walls and flips in the air like an acrobat, while wielding his light saber. Yoda kicks ass and takes names. I like his manner of speaking, too. When he talks, his sentences are in a rearranged manner. If a person were to say, “ I think Star Wars is the best sci-fi story?, Yoda would say, “The best sci-fi story, Star Wars is, hmm?? Click on the link to learn how to talk like Yoda.