February 25, 2008


Lunch was covered today by Chambers, I had hot dogs and fries. After work, I went to Target to stock up on some more vittles for my dwindling stock . . . I tried to only get the essentials, which happened to be

1 Bleu Corn Chips
1 lb. Honey Turkey
1 Frozen Pizza
8 yogurts
1 bottle Ocean Spray
1block of cheese
1 loaf of bread
1 quart of strawberry ice cream
1 gallon milk
1 huge bag of malto meal shredded wheat

for a total of $33.27.

This felt pretty cheap for how much stuff I got, and now I have enough materials to make sandwiches for another week or two. The shredded wheat bag was something I used to buy a lot last year, and I decided to go with it again beause there weren't any cereals that caught my eye, and it is cheap and filling.

Dinner will be leftover pizza from Green Mill . . .

February 24, 2008

Stuff Costs Money?

Been a while since I posted here, I guess I haven't been consuming too much monetarily recently, still recovering from the sticker shock of tuition. I realized something I haven't been blogging about is a huge source of consumption in my life -- gas. I can't fill up my 15 gallon tank without spending more than 40 dollars, and this usually happens around every 1 to 2 weeks. This is a lot of money just for one guy to spend on gas (the tank usually takes me just over 300 miles). Look around the streets and look at every single other car, every bus pumping huge billows of smoke into the air, and every building pumping even bigger plumes, and the staggering amount of money being sent to gas and oil companies begins to come into focus. I would like to see exactly how much more money they get from US car owners when the gas price at SA is raised even a few cents. It has to be literally zillion and zillions of dollars beings given to these companies by car owners. I hear the whiny environmentalist, "quit your bitching, ride the bus!" I can't ride the bus everywhere I need to go, and I would spend hours of valuable time waiting for buses and waiting on buses throughout my day. Time is worth more than money to me, and me polluting with my little Honda is relatively minor considering the globally rampant state of pollution we are now experiencing.

Also today, I went to Rockler (a small woodworking shop in Burnsville) to select the wood I will be using to build my portfolio case. Rockler has a good selection of beautiful exotic woods. Some place like Youngblood lumber would have cheaper prices on domestics, but if you are buying something foreign you are always going to spend an arm and a leg. My dad and I perused the many kinds of wood, and settled on Wenge. Wenge wood is dark, sort of black brownish, and has some beautiful layering of black and brown stripes. The guy said it is from Africa, and I looked it up to find it is found is West Africa, primarily Zaire. It is neat knowing that the two boards we purchased were cut off of a tree in Africa. The wood didn't come without a price -- around 175 dollars for two 3/4 inch boards. We were both a little shocked by the price, but I feel better spending hundreds of dollars on exotic wood than throwing 40 dollars into a gas tank every few weeks for eternity. The price of the wood hurt, but it just added incentive to take the time with them to make something really beautiful and precise. With wood that expensive, you only get one shot at things. We should start cutting them down sometime next week and will let my approximately zero faithful readers know how things go. With my luck, we will put it through a band saw and watch it disintegrate into sawdust before our eyes.

February 19, 2008

Paying the Piper Part 2 (I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore)

Decided to post this special edition of my blog since I just payed my tuition for the semester. $5093 dollars down the tube for one last time. I am fortunate that my parents are supportive of the college process, and have provided 3000 dollars of their own money for tuition purposes. I fudge that a little, so $2000 even came out of my bank account today. I try and think about this massive chunk of money, along with 50,000 other massive chunks of money flooding into the U's coffers in terms of consumption. It is diffiicult -- what exactly am I consuming here that is worth $5,000 paid every four months?

I am paying the University much in the same way I pay the government. My tax money and tickets and fines are somehow going through "the man's" complex network of tunnels and funnels, leading me to believe that these moneys are actually funding things the government does to improve my life. The only thing that comes to mind is roadwork, and police and fireman, I suppose, but cops have caused me much more trouble these last few years than they have helped.

So what is the University using my money for, as far as I am concerned? They certainly aren't hiring an abundance of quality professors or design professionals to guide me through this strenuous program. My three years here (having spent two at Madison as an art major) have been accented by a select few actual professors, people I can look to and trust as knowledgeable in the design profession. Far outnumbering these would be the TA, or my favorite, the "I know diddly squat but somehow I am teaching this class" guy. These are the ultimate pranks universities love to play on the students who fund its machinery. By having a TA teach an upper level design class, (I had TAs for Computer Apps One and Two, GD2, and GD3) the University kills two birds with one stone -- they can have a free employee by helping with their tuition instead of actually paying them, and they can save money by not paying someone who actually knows what they are talking about to teach the class. Granted I have had some (one) great TA(s) here. He was smart and professional and knew a lot, I learned a lot and recall his class fondly. But most of the time, these people who are going through the graduate program in DHA care more about their own well being then running a successful and functional class.

This leads me to believe that the money I pay to the U each semester goes more to build stadiums, add pretty new landscape architecture, and renovate creaky old buildings that make this campus great. I sure hope that your athletics and architecture can make it great, because it sure isn't the actual teaching. Scratch one, our athletics suck. Tubby Smith is being paid millions to "turn around" the fortunes of a basketball team that has almost zero talent. TCF stadium comes with a 240 MILLION DOLLAR PRICE TAG. This is supposedly paid 40% by the state (us, taxpayers) with the remaining 60% being furnished by the University of Minnesota. And who pays the University's bills? We do. The school isn't paying a damn penny of this stadium, and they can sit around counting our money and spending it however they want.

In conclusion, I would like to say that college life ain't all bad -- what I am really paying for is the structure designed to motivate me through this process. There are some good things about the University, I just can't think of what because my head is still spinning from my bank account being sliced in half.

P.S. One last thing-- it's my last semester here, portfolio time, and our portfolio class is once a week, pass-fail. Hands down the most important part, the culmination of our work as a student designer, and it is pass-fail, once a week.


February 17, 2008

V for Valentine

I did a fair amount of consuming this weekend, starting with Valentines Day shopping and ending with the completion of my "splurchase" trip to Target, the second trip to target I took in 18 hours.


I decided on buying some jewelry for Amy for Valentines Day, and I headed to the Rosedale Mall after going to the gym to shop for it. I started in Macys, where I found a necklace. It was a good deal, or at least heavily discounted. After finding the necklace I decided to walk around the mall to the many jewelry stores and see if I could find anything cheaper, nicer, or preferably both. It was funny to see all of the men walking around Rosedale like zombies, desperately trying to find something for their girl at the last minute. The jewelry stores were plastered with banners for the Valentines Day sales, and it seemed every piece was tagged with XX percent off the price. I know most of this jewelry is just marked up like 300 percent, and the sales are just bringing it back down to a somewhat reasonable price. I went to three jewelers but the stuff there didn't seem as nice as what I had found at Macys. I stopped in the food court, and a quick free sample from the Japanese place led me to order a Teriyaki chicken plate with rice and veggies for $5.85. The sample was really good, cooked on a grill by a somewhat authentic looking Asian man in a chef outfit (how authentic can it be if hes working in a food court??). noticed the sign that said double the meat for 99 cents, and I did this because I was really hungry. The meal was good, and left me full and satisfied. I went back to Macy's equipped with my little business card with the quote for the necklace the lady had given me on it. I presented the card to the new attendant (my lady was on break) and bought the jewelry -- pink sapphire, diamonds, and white gold for $xxx.xx (I know you might read this ;-) It was my biggest gift for a girl ever, but I felt good about it and thought it was a good deal, and she deserved it. I picked her up around 9, and we went to dinner at Chianti Grill. The dinner for two was like $35.00, and wasn't any better than what you'ld get at Olive Garden. We went back to my place and exchanged gifts, I received some really nice ones as well, and it was my best V-Day ever. Say what you will about consumerism and this fake greeting-card-company-induced holiday, but it is always nice to exchange gifts with someone you care about and have a memorable night together.

Friday I just did homework all day, making a small lunch and eating the left over italian for dinner. To get out of the house later that night, I went to the gas station and got a bag of Chex MIx and a little bad of Gummi Bears for about $3.00. My friends called me, they were at the bar, but I decided just to stay in because I had to work at 7 in the morning and I have given up on bars (a story for a whole 'nother blog....). A relatively cheap day.

So I spent no money working from 7 to 3, and ate a free breakfast and lunch at Chambers (Raisin Bran for breakfast, cheeseburgers for lunch). I made a decent amount of tips working, and it felt good to fill the wallet back up after my Thursday purchases. After work, I relaxed at home and then went with Amy to Target where I bought

2 frozen dinners for $4.00
1 Starbucks travel mug for $21.99
1 Axe shower gel for $3.50
and 1 loofa for $.99

for a total of $30.49

The travel mug was seemed insanely expensive, and I could have bought a smaller one for half the price, but I figured if you are going to be traveling with a beverage, it better be pretty damn big because who knows how long your trip is. Or something. Feeling stupid about buying the mug, we then went to Buffalo Wild Wings with another friend and ordered

50 wings for $30 some dollars. I paid my and Amy's portion, which was around $20.

The wings were good, and the NBA All Star Slam Dunk Contest was on the TVs at BWWs. I love the slam dunk contest, and it is probably the only part of the NBA season that I actually enjoy. It seems that these overpaid spoiled young athletes find a great pleasure in concocting creative and explosive dunks, and I enjoyed watching it very much. Maybe instead of a 48 minute basketball game, it should just be one long dunk contest. I think this would be great.

Today I started spending early when Idid a load of laundry at my place for nice quarters ($2.25) After this, my parents called and I headed home to Lakeville to hang out with them for a while and do the rest of my laundry. Before getting to my house, I stopped at the Lakeville Super Target to complete my splurge activity. After reading the articles, especially the supermarket one, it was interesting to go in that place with a slightly different perspective. I spent $2.65 on my splurchase, and headed home. That will be all of my purchasing for the day. After this, I am heading back up to St. Paul where I am meeting my parents again, who are picking up my cousin from the airport, at Cafe Latte for dinner. I think this one will be on them, so I am out of the red for the time being.

The grand four day total was $99.24 plus $xxx.xx, which will remain unnumbered so avoid disclosing this top secret information. =)

February 12, 2008

'za Round Two

I decided to use my empty Monday to run some errands and relax a little bit....after dropping off some paperwork at the Minneapolis campus (my AP grades, which I was supposed to turn in three years ago . . . ha) I went to the Har Mar mall where I could accomplish my tasks. It started at Barnes and Noble where I ordered a Grande Americano for $2.65. I looked through some web design books, and then sat down to read this months Rolling Stone magazine. Britney it on the cover (hot Britney, not crazy Britney) and there was a huge cover story on her, her life and her problems. Talk about an excessive, gross amount of consumption -- reading about her life as displayed for America as authored by paparazzi, her rise and epic downfall, gives a pretty sick picture of the American celebrity. Granted this is one extreme end, but it just shows what happens when people in our country and the media value these sick things, and people will go to any effort to profit from it. Her own mother selling pictures of her pregnant 16 year old daughter for millions and millions of dollars . . . truly something you could only find in America. Anyways, the article just got a little too wierd and i had to put it down...

I moved over to Cub Foods to finish my shopping. I needed deodorant, toothpaste, and toilet paper. I also bought another pizza crust to finish off all of the leftover toppings I had in my fridge. I bought another bag of shredded cheese for pie number two, as well as two Nut Goodies I saw on the way out (10 for five bucks, couldn't resist).

The total was 16- something, I'm not sure exactly how much. I was all hyper and sweaty from the Americano and had completed my tasks, so I headed home to cook and work on some computer stuff.

February 10, 2008

That's a Pricy Meatball

I didn't do a ton of consuming over this cold cold weekend ... I worked until 2 AM Friday, relying on the greasy employee food at Chambers for most of my eating for the day. Yesterday, I bought a bag of beef jerky and a bag of Combos from SA for a total of $3.98. Yesterday was my and my girlfriend's 5 months anniversary . . we were too busy to plan anything great, but I got off of work early last night so we could make some dinner together and hang out for once. Hopefully I can make up for it on Valentines Day. The relaxing night was a good strategy considering how bitterly cold and windy it was last night. So I picked her up around 7:30, still clad in my warm valet garb and we headed to Target to pick up the ingredients for dinner. We decided on a homemade pizza, and the ingredient rundown went something like this:

One bag of grated mozzo and parmesan cheeses
One package of diced chicken breast
One can of Dole pineapple
2 cans of black olives
One jar Green Mill pizza sauce
One green bell pepper
One jalapeno pepper
One Boboli whole wheat pizza crust

For a total of $16.94

Thats a pretty expensive pizza, but it was delicious and fun to make and well worth the price. I'm sure I could order a greasy pepperoni from Domino's for 10 bucks, or head to Little Caesar's for a 5.99 Hot & Ready, but this was fresh, delicious, and fun to make together on such a cold winter night. Not much fireworks for a anniversary date I suppose, but it was nice and fun and worth the extra money and effort for our own custom pizza. Plus, I have enough left over ingredients to make another little pizza if I wanted to go buy another crust.

We shared a Ben & Jerry's Sobert for dessert, which cost $3.49 and was also delicious.

Today, I haven't spent any money, and dinner will be on Chambers. I finished off the bottle of soda and pizza for lunch, and had a yogurt for a snack. Now its off to work for 8 hours to stand like a statue while no one comes to eat dinner on this cold Sunday night. All for a dollar!

February 8, 2008

Vexing Vending

Even with a gut full of store bought food (a yogurt, a bowl of cereal, and a turkey sandwich),I can't stay away from the McNeal vending machines! There is just something so enticing about the idea of feeding money into a machine and watching the little mechanisms go to work.

Today I vended
1 Vitamin Water for $1.50

1 bag of Cheez-Its for $1.00

and 1 ice cream cone for $1.25

For a total of $3.75 sucked into the void.

I think the vending machine for the ice cream in McNeal is hillarious -- like some kind of over elaborate, Space Odyssey style retro robot. When you stick a buck in, the freezer behind the class swings open (insert angel chorus and shining light here) Upon selecting your frozen treat, a vacuum arm connected to a flexible hose reaches into the open freezer, grabbing your treat (complete with classic whooshing vacuum sound), picks it up and drops it onto the padded tray. An elaborate an unnecessary way to deliver ice cream, but great nonetheless.

Later in the night, I went to the new restaurant Raising Kane's with Simon Ben and Kelsey. We have been talking about it for six months, and it just opened a week ago. It sells only chicken strips, also in a basket with fries, texas toast, and cole slaw. These are some damn good strips -- hand made batter and dipping sauce, with juicy white meat made this trip well worth the $6.99 I paid for the 4 strip combo. This will definitely be the spot to be on Valentines Day. Ha.

On my trip home, I stopped at Caribou for a medium coffee and to read the paper and unwind. Another $3.65 down the tubes for an unnecessary beverage.

The total for the day was $14.39, all for food as per usual.

February 3, 2008

Paying the Piper

Today I payed the bills, always a somewhat sobering experience. I try to do all of them in one shot so I can clear my conscience of any debt for at least another month. Today was an especially brutal payday.

Comcast Cable and Internet: $222.74 (twice as much because I paid for two months)

Credit Card Payment: $150 (on a 650 dollar debt)

Rent: $427.50 (which will probably come out of my account in a week)

Xcel Energy Bill: $37.68

Cell Phone Bill: $103.57 (unusually high because I went over on my minutes)

Gap Credit Card: $47.50

for a Grand One Day Total of $988.99.

There are some asterisks here, such as the double-sized cable and phone bills, and the Comcast and Xcel bills which are split between my roommate and me, so the "real" grand total is somewhat less. Nevertheless, this is the amount that will come out of my bank account by the end of the week. Its a pretty big chunk of money, but it is also a month long chunk of consumption. Looking at this payment in that context, it really isn't much at all. A month of living in my secure apartment, talking to my friends and family on my cell phone, using heat, lights, the internet, my computer, my 360, my TV, and everything else I plug in, and also making a payment for the many things I buy and slowly pay for on credit. Luckily I have a card with introductory 0% interest, meaning my sizable debt can sit there without growing bigger until August 2008.

There is something that amazes and satisfies me immensely about sending these huge chunks of money to corporate bank accounts all over the country. Being able to shell out 600 dollars in about 10 minutes with only a few keystrokes and a click of the mouse is something all of us as Americans should respect. When I get a bill in the mail, I can throw it in the trash because i know that I can take care of everything online. It is also great for the conscience - never having to actually give people money or write out checks makes it seem like you aren't even spending any money at all!!!

January 31, 2008



Finally, relief from the meager food supply of the St. Paul Student Center and the McNeal Hall vending machines. I tend to go a little overboard when I grocery shop, as is evident in the photo here. I go up and down every single aisle, basically throwing anything that catches my eye or is remotely on sale into the cart. I go after some staples -- things like like yogurt (can't see 'em in the picture, but I bought twelve), breakfast cereal, milk, cheese, Amy's bowls, and lunch meat and bread to keep me away from the checkout lines at school. This might seems like too much for just one guy, and it is, but in tandem with the food at my internship and the food at Chambers this will last me months. Another huge staple for me is Haribo Happy Colas, little gummy Coke bottles that taste amazing. This is the first thing into my shopping cart, guaranteed.

Another weird trend I am noticing more and more at the grocery store is the abundance of "organic" or "all natural" goods for sale. It used to be that these varieties were hard to find, dispersed throughout the more typical brands. But now, even major brands like Kraft, Hormel, etc must be feeling this organic pinch and their packaging and recipes reflect this desire to compete with healthier stuff. Its getting to the point where its almost hard to find something that isn't labeled as all natural or healthy, and it gets to be redundant, especially in a supermarket setting. I do appreciate the trend because I notice the taste difference (I love Annie's organic mac and cheese, and Amy's bowls f*cking rock), but for every brand that honestly uses organic ingredients I'm sure there are three that don't.

Here's the bill:


The total for my month plus supply of groceries came to $67.02.

January 30, 2008

Proud to be an American (Gladiator)

Watching this brief clip of the "new" American Gladiators, it is hard to find the distinction between this, professional wrestling, and a daytime soap opera. They are all just twisted, divisive visions of what many American men value - red white and blue, violent competition, and last but not least, fake breasts.

From the ideological sense, the premise is as American as it gets - the little guy must overcome his brutal, evil, and powerful competition for the ultimate prize - a huge sum of cash and the chance at 15 minutes of fame. Much like pro wrestling and the soaps, the new "Gladiators" use quick cuts, flashing strobes and spastic cameras to make it nearly impossible for a viewer to understand where the action stops or ends, and whether or not it is purposeful (hint: it's not). Using these bombastic techniques, the program can seamlessly fire right into a commercial break, with your average redneck too stunned by this awesome whirlwind of color and action to look away. Flash cutting and exaggerated presentation is the ultimate vehicle for a sly transition from signifier (quick, mindless, competitions) to a sign (a quest for the American dream) without allowing viewers the time to ponder this extremely questionable connection.

In the span of about one minute, we are introduced to Hulk Hogan, Layla Ali, a group of muscle bound actors with monikers like "Wolf" and "Militia", and a smaller group of hand picked "average" competitors. The "get to know me" personal profile segments accompanying each competitor are a laughable attempt at real emotion, and proudly enforce more great American stereotypes. The women competitors' interviews are sob stories about divorce, hungry children, and a lifetime of hardship accompanied by a touching piano soundtrack. All this told as if a stint on American Gladiators is the only cure for a lifelong of problems. On the other end, the men's profiles are snapshots of two powerful, fierce competitors (a NYC firefighter, a pro skateboarder) who are pissed off and ready to rock and roll. No piano here -- only guitars and thumping drums. The men are here to compete and win and prove their dominance, and the women are merely around because they have something to prove, or to save themselves from their own depressing lives. This is an interesting device used to target Gladiators' heavily male skewed audience, and isn't really perceptible unless you really think about it -- something a fan of this program isn't doing much of in the first place.

The competition itself is mind-numbingly boring and stupid. Grab ball. Charge hole. Avoid beasts. Repeat ad nauseum. The sadder of the two female competitors goes down hurt early on, a symbol of what happens in America to the weak and ill prepared. The men's competition is faster, harder, and more violent. It appears that the women's version was just a warm up for this "main event". Even though the rules of the game are the same, this sex separation is used to show how men can preform these physical tasks faster and more adeptly.

American Gladiators seems to me like a pathetic and obvious attempt to reach out to the adolescent boy still dwelling in many American males. Although I look back on the original "American Gladiators" of my childhood fondly, I also liked Legos, cartoons, and Kraft singles. This unfortunate redux gives the brand a sour taste in my mouth, erasing any blurry memories I used to cherish. I would hope that American people would find no joy in this spastic, manic attempt at postured heroics, something as fake and pointless as any episode of WWF Smackdown or All My Children. Unfortunately, this is the country whose most popular sport entails cars caked with ads speeding around a circle hundreds and hundreds of times, crashing into some walls along the way. Much in the same fashion as these NASCARs, American Gladiators is just an exaggerated, in-your-face way to deliver some commercials while kicking some ass along the way.

0 out of 10 stars.

Vending Machines

Today my money was spent in small doses. I didn't have a lunch proper because I spent my hour break at the gym, so I was forced as I often am to hit up Super America and the McNeal Hall vending machines for a selection of quick bites to eat throughout the day. I gravitate to the vending machines in McNeal. I could probably name every food in there as well as in the little rotating machine with overpriced, shitty sandwiches and muffins. Along with Subway, the machines in this room constitute the entirety of the "Designers Diet". I have been convinced to give it up; head to the grocery store and stock up on food to pack for my days away. It really adds up, and today it went something like this:

11 AM: Super America
1 Snapple Red Tea
1Cranberry Walnut muffin


3 PM: McNeal Vending Area
Cheez Its


6 PM: McNeal Vending Area
Turkey Sandwich in a plastic triangular container

$2.00 NOT worth it

I would have bought more but I used up all my ones . . .

8:30 PM: Super America
Arizona Green Tea

$1.00 what a deal

Along with the can of tea, my dinner consisted of an Amy's Mexican Casserole bowl, followed by finishing off a box of cereal and a jug of milk, followed by chips and salsa, followed by eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon, followed by a can of Mountain Dew. An awesome end to an awesome day of consuming in itty-bitty, not-so-filling parts. What ever happened to three square meals a day? Don't ask me...

A Weekend Away

This weekend I consumed nature, although it didn't come without a price. I spent Saturday skiing at Spirit Mountain in Duluth. The impressive view of Lake Superior and the city, frozen and expansive like a settlement on the surface of the moon, was well worth the sixty five dollars for a lift ticket and rental skis. That sixty five dollars got me a truly memorable and exciting experience, much more so than sixty five dollars spent on books, music, or groceries, even though it expired much quicker.

January 25, 2008

A Long Day

I am making this entry the morning of the 25th (Friday) because my internet was on the fritz last night when I got home from work around 12:45 AM.

The day started off pretty normal, with me scurrying to finish my left over homework and then packing a days worth of clothing (school, gym, work) and heading off to McNeal.

I was a little hungry before class, so I purchased one bag on animal crackers for a total of $.80.

These cute little crackers did little to satisfy my hunger, but it helped to tide things over until my next break. After class, I went onto half.com and purchased all of my books for the semester. I bought four books for a grand total of $54.17. Amazingly enough, I found a copy of the Post-Modernism paperback on the site for 90 cents! What a deal. Maybe his dog got a hold of it or something, this I will discover upon delivery. It was a deal I just could not pass up, regardless of the risk.

After purchasing my books, it was time to do some printing for my presentation so I headed over to the trusty St. Paul Student Center printers and printed off two color tabloids for a total of $1.97. It would be an interesting blog in itself to document how much money I have spent in this little print shop over the past three years. Luckily, Caroline and Mike are the two friendliest, most responsive, and hardworking printers I have ever met. Compared to Kinko's, these guys are Gutenberg. I also bought one three dollar sheet of foam core from the bookstore to mount these prints on.

After completing my "homework" for the day, I headed up to the dreaded Subway for a bite to eat. Anyone who has eaten at this Subway knows that it harbors one of the angriest, quickest, and sloppiest workers around. As sandwich artists go, her creative ability is truly unmatched. But as with all great artistic talent, her attitude surpasses her ability. I invite any St. Paul Campusite to defy her authority behind the slanty glass window. Today, the student in front of me had the nerve to cross her, attempting to slow down her F5 tornado of sandwich concoction. She curtly asked what toppings he wanted and the boy whined, "Well, I usually get everything, but since he butchered my bun..." This snide remark was the result of a slight tear in the boy's foot long bun, and besides being an incredibly stupid and pointless thing to say, this insubordination does not stand in the midst of the most fearsome sandwich artist ever to stalk this cafeteria. She glared at the boy and began piling huge fistfulls of toppings onto the sandwich, choosing to stare him down instead of looking at her work until the boy had to ask her to stop.Then came the requested Chipotle mayonaise, again splashed all over the sandwich in disgusting amounts until the boy begged for mercy. I remained as calm as possible, attempted to blend into my surroundings to avoid a similar fate for my 6 inch italian, which costed me $3.61. I also purchased an orange Vitamin Water for a grand total of $5.05.

After one more trip to the vending machine around five for an ice cream cone and package of Lifesavers costing me $1.30, it was straight to work where spending money becomes more difficult. I work as a valet at Chambers (a Ralph Burnet owned hotel, bar, and restaurant with a modern, minimalist theme) and luckily they furnish free food for their employees seven days a week. This food is usually less than desirable, but free food is free food and any man who calls himself a man would never turn it down. So, I gobbled two slices of stale cold pizza out of a steel bin and commenced running up and down the block jockeying cars through the frigid night air until there were none left. This happened around 12:30 AM, and by this time I was pretty hungry.

Probably (sadly) the highlight of my day is my late night trip to Taco Bell (fourthmeal anyone?) after a long night of running cars. This is admittedly a disgusting habit, but I love Taco Bell, and it is open until 3AM so it is the only place I like to go for hot late night eats. Tonight I buy a burrito supreme and a chicken quesadilla for a grand total of $5.75. This food is like a meth addiction - the hangover is nasty and never leaves you feeling good, but I always come crawling back for more.

A lot of money spent today -- a total of around $72. But the beauty of valet at Chambers is that I can make almost double this in unclaimed cash tips simply parking peoples cars, so the money tends to flow in and out of my pockets with relative ease.


January 23, 2008

Back to School, Old Habits Die Hard

It is always odd to return to the St. Paul campus after a long break. This is also the last time I will ever experience this jarring change. I made my frigid hike up the hill to the union (a bitterly cold, windy walk that I will never say I missed), where I did my requisite "school shopping" for the semester.

I purchased

One package of Bic mechanical pencils
Two Uniball black ball point pens
and one notebook.

For a grand total of $10.61.

These are the items that will hopefully last me throughout the semester, with the writing instruments slowly dwindling to zero by May.

After my first class I am faced with the dreaded 1.5 hour break. Due to the brilliant scheduling techniques of the CDes, classes rarely have more than one available section, and these sections are rarely staggered back to back, leaving some awkward spaces of time scattered around the day.

During today's break I purchased

One six inch "tender" roast beef sub on wheat from Subway'
and one medium Carmel Macchiato

For a grand total of $7.15.

If it wasn't for these boring, hunger inducing breaks, I could sweep through all my classes and then go eat at home, saving money and time along the way. But, I have to kill some time here so I eat at Subway. It's hard to say why I choose Subway for lunch when I'm hungry at the St. Paul campus. There is really a shocking amount of options at the Student Union, a truly dizzying array of food available for purchase here on in our neglected little corner of the University. There is just some magnetic draw, some primal urge for low quality lunch meat and stale tasting bread that keeps me coming back to Subway day after day. I don't know what it is.

Maybe I will start packing lunches...