December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas

Christmas for my family has always been just a quiet time to ourselves. Back in Jersey, for the Christmases that I can remember, it was really just spent between the four of us - mom, dad, chris and me. Tradition had us waking up somewhere between dawn and 7am to go downstairs to the tree to open gifts. We'd usually do Mass later on during the day. In the afternoon or the next day we'd drive to the relatives' houses for visiting - usually the trek was to North Jersey (Elizabeth & Monroe Township) from South Jersey, along the Turnpike, or more recenlty, from Maryland to North Jersey.

The last couple years have been different...I've been working and haven't made it up to North Jersey in a long time. I've been working over the holidays, and getting time off just wasn't possible.

So it's been a really happy time here now, with a few additions to the family for Christmas. My grandmother came down yesterday with my father from Monroe Township. We had dinner tonight with my uncle and my cousin, whom I haven't seen in close to six years. I think the dinner tonight really made the holiday something's just really good to see family again.

I won't be able to make it up to Jersey with the family though; I'm working again. So far, so was incredibly weird going back, and having to relearn my job again since the takeover earlier this year. It's for the better - there appear to be a lot of improvements, but its still old (and not so great) habits are dying hard there...

My sister just got a puppy as well. The darn thing's been running around the house chewing on everything including my socks and the legs of my pants. The dog is the hardest part of taking this Christmas. I'm just so ingrained to not having it around that its presence is just annoying. I thought my family was complete with just the four of us...this little four legged runt is now being forced in. I haven't seen my sister this happy in a long time though; and the stupid thing is really, really cute. I haven't completely made up my mind yet.

That's what's happening here...I'm off to bed now, Have a Merry Christmas all!

Posted by Matthew at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2003

Back on Dean's List!

COM 400 02 Day Communication Ethics - A
COM 403 51 Day Film Seminar - A
ENG 307 A Evening Playwriting - A
ENG 355 A Evening Contemporary Drama - B+
HON 352 41 Day The 60's:A Perspective - A-
HON 385 41 Day Creative Process: Art - A

I finished the semester with a 3.83, which raises the cumulative to a 3.40. My most surprising grade was the Contemporary Drama, which I was sure was a C or a B-...I love Harty, what can I say?

I'm ecstatic. It's been a great day.

I spent the day with Brendan, Derek, and some friends of theirs from Washington College. Brendan had been planning this "Dorkfest" for months - we were going to get to his place at 9:30AM, watch the Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition DVD, then the Two Towers Extended Edition DVD, and then go watch the Return of the King at White Marsh. We made it through 90% of Fellowship, and maybe half of the Two Towers, and went to see ROTK.

ROTK is fantastically done. Despite some omissions, it remains very true to the book, which is an incredible thing. The battle sequences were all that they could be - fantastically generated and beautiful to watch. This is a completely satisfying ending to the trilogy, and worth watching for anyone who has invested time in seeing the other two. See it on a big screen too - the cinematography, as in the last two, requires the huge screen.

Other than that, I lost $2 in poker at Brendan's after the movie (eh...)

The GRE's were tough yesterday, but I did better than I expected to. The test was the most draining and grueling test that I've ever taken - they offered a 10 minute break after the writing section, and I was ready to collapse. The test gave me a lot more to think about - the score I got actually makes me realize that I could and should do grad school while I can...that I'm not an idiot, and that I can do the high level work that would be required.

Other than that...I start work Thursday night again...I need cash for Christmas, next semester, name it. freaking happy right now!

Posted by Matthew at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2003

An end; another beginning

And so, the semester ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Everything on my part was finished by last Sunday evening. I spent the week with nothing to do but sit around, play Halo, and worry. I mainly chose to sit around and worry...worried about everything it seems. Grad school, people who are leaving this semester, lack of social life, lack of plan and direction in life, short sighted opportunities that didn't turn out as I had hoped and planned...

I was a wreck...broke down in the Union actually on Thursday, I think. My breaking point was when I saw this - an obituary and notice of services for an old friend that had died in Iraq. Tom was a friend of mine from when I lived in Millville. He was a couple of years older. He and I spent the better part of a couple of summers building this incredible fort on an open lot - we dug out a pit, threw in wood and piping, and it was a paradise. We fought the kids of the neighborhood for control of the fort and usually won with the dirt bombs. We built this really cool "roller coaster" that was really just a series of wooden pallets that one would drive over with a bike. We built it up with hills and all the random wood that we could scavenge making it as bumpy and random as possible. Tom was also my most memorable babysitter, despite lasting only one visit. On that one night my sister, Tom, and I had a watergun fight inside the house, getting water all over a lot of walls. That night was the premiere of a music video on MTV that he was dead set on watching. The video, which I'll always remember, was "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses. I had never heard of them before, but watched with him, and grew to love that song, and the incredible movie-like quality of that video.

I hadn't talked to Tom in a couple of years and I had heard about his death over Thanksgiving. Still, I was sitting in Backstage reading the Inquirer, and his picture in the obituaries section finally hit me and I was broken up for a couple of days. The memories kept coming back and repeating.

So the week ended with me being distraught. Right now I think that I'm doing a lot better. I'm home, which is always good. I've talked to a couple of people, which has helped immensely. I'm keeping busy with both the GRE's on Tuesday and work starting on Thursday. Wednesday, I'm joining Brendan and a bunch of people to do a LOTR marathon - watching Fellowship and Two Towers (extended editions on DVD) and then ROTK at White Marsh that night. Its going to be a really good release from the test the day before.

Other than that, I'm trying to meet up with people while I'm here.

I guess the week did end on a positive note though...a bunch of Masque types went to dinner on Friday Night at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Philly. I had a great time with everyone, the food was excellent, and the conversation steered to usual topics - ranking pirates vs. Ninjas. vs. zombies...

I feel really random right now, but I guess thats where I am right now. I'm focused on the GRE's right now, which is tiring, but good to be focused. I've had a lot of downs in the last week and a half, and a lot of ups. I think that might be the best anyone can say, really, I do we really know who we are or where we're at? I'm just trying to get by.

Like everybody else.

'Cause nothin' lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain

[Listening to: The Ascent Of Stan - Ben Folds - (4:14)]
Posted by Matthew at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2003

Perhaps procrastination

  • 4 days
  • 1 Night of Duty
  • 1 tech interview
  • 1 set of hsm's
  • 1 background check

I'm convinced more and more that procrastination exists so as to keep us from being bored. I'm incredibly bored - I spent the bulk of today doing odds and ends and errands, delivering papers, settling Masque business, and whatever. I'm incredibly bored right now...there's nobody to hang around with because everyone is still in the midst of exams. Eh.

Theres really nothing else to say...stuff is going well, I guess. It just feels like its all at a standstill

Posted by Matthew at 01:30 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2003

quite ironically...

myLaSalle offers the opportunity to add personal content. I added a pane with quotations each day.

This was today's:

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students. - John Ciardi

Eh; I found it ironic anyway...more on this later, maybe.

Posted by Matthew at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Another day bites the dust

  • 5 days
  • 2 Nights of Duty
  • 1 tech interview
  • 1 set of hsm's
  • 1 background check
I finished the last work I had of the semester tonight. The ethics paper is finished - supposed to be 4 pages, but I take nearly 7. It's good work, I feel, some of my best and strongest. Coming up with a personal moral code has really helped me, I think. Examining my life has really put some answers into perspective, and has really solidified some of the ideas that I've wondered about since high school. The code is really just an offshoot of what Magrogan taught us in AP English - the part that stuck anyhow, I can't really talk about Virginia Wolf's "To the Lighthouse" anymore...

My philosophy has always been based on choice and personal responsibility. I make choices in my day to day life about what I wish to add and subtract from my life. In that way, I control my happiness, my sadness, my destiny, and every part of who I am. It seems simple, and sometimes a little bit childish, but for me it has worked pretty well. We would go to Magrogan in high school and tell him our pronlems, and his answer would always be "Why are you choosing to put this in your life?" Realizing that individual choices have consequences (both good and bad) is a liberating experience because you realize that you are living for yourself: your destiny is in your hands.

Other than that, stuff has been wonderful. We had the EBoard meeting with Tom today about "The Laramie Project." It's going to be a fantastic production, both artistically, and textually. My own involvement isn't decided yet - I'm going for dramaturg and stage manager, both positions that I feel would help me in future theater endeavors (cough, grad school, cough...) They're also two positions that I feel very strongly about for the show, as they tie together a lot of what I've learned as an RA, and what I've experienced in my own life with people needing to respect diversity.

Other than that, there's not much going on right now. Nothing left to do with my week but play Halo...

Currently listening to: Mexican Wine, by Fountains of Wayne.

Posted by Matthew at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2003

The countdown goes down.

  • 6 days
  • 2 Nights of Duty
  • 1 tech interview
  • 4 pages for Ethics
  • 1 set of hsm's
  • 1 background check

Today was spent in chasing the end of the countdown. I've been done with class (surprisingly) since Wednesday, and have procrastinated from then until today. Instead of watching movies with friends (what I really truly wanted to do,) I sat in my room and got my Drama final and my Film finals out of the way. The only thing left is the four page personal code of ethics due Tuesday by 9am. I have my sources, and I'm really not worried: my goal for today was to free up Sunday and Monday to work solely on the paper. I have a wonderful sense of accomplishment going into this thing...hopefully it lasts.

The background check in the "to do" matrix above I learned of today. To get my job back at the theater (which I want, because I need money,) I need to have a background check done on me, because I am reentering the Regal system as management. Flattering, in a small, small way that they would worry about little ol' me...but whatever gets me the money, gets me the money.

So tomorrow will be spent researching and writing for Ethics. I'd love to have a first draft done by tomorrow night, and I think that's an obtainable goal.

I also had a vision this morning while I was sleeping of the next play that I want to write. What was so distinct about the vision was that it all appeared to me - beginning, middle, and end. My dream was a treatment. Sometimes I wish that that would happen more often. More on this as it develops, but sufficeive to say, I really like where its going to go, and it feels like more than a single act, single scene play. Its set in a hospital, and will probably be depressing in the end, but whatever. It's an idea, and something to go forward with.

I'll try to do my semesterly feature of "Professor Quotes" in the next entry. I have a couple from my professors this semester that made the cut.

In the end, today was a great day. The snow is fantastically beautiful...there's something about that first snow every season that makes me feel like a kid again, wanting to frolic and throw people into the snow and build igloos and other snow fortresses and throw snowballs at people.

Miguel is truly a winter wonderland currently.

[Listening to: REM - I Am Superman (02:52)]
Posted by Matthew at 03:29 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2003

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving

Was home for the break, so didn't have a chance to update. Highlights/Events-

  • Barnes and Noble on Black Saturday, wandering through and getting books on a gift card I had forgotten about.

  • Having my aunt and grandmother, completely by surprise, come down for Thanksgiving.

  • CHC lost the Turkey Bowl, 14-7. Bah...stupid endzone fumble. Cheers, however, to the game being televised.

  • No traffic coming back to school on Sunday

  • "a.m. Sunday" was interesting...a little vague in the ending, but still pretty good acting wise and everything. I got the meat of the review done at home on Saturday night after 2am.

  • Seeing Brendan and Tiffany and hanging out on Saturday night. They got this really nice apartment off of Greenside Ave in Cockeysville. I'm still participating in his Lord of the Rings marathon in December - showing up at like 10am, watching Fellowship... and Two Towers extended versions on DVD, and then hitting the theater to see Return of the King that evening.

  • Cheers to getting my old job back...I think. I'm happy now, but whether or not I'm going to enjoy it remains to be seen. You can't go home again, and you can't recapture the joy you once had for a job that you've worked at for like 3 years.

  • I'm going to Ireland for spring break, and I'm incredibly excited. The trip completely fixes my second semester schedule by getting me out of the writing SEMINAR that I was going to take as an ELECTIVE. Yeah, I have weird preferences for classes, I know. But now I escape with 12 credits, and will graduate with minimal effort next semester
  • Right now I have a paper I should be writing for Drama's only 4 paragraphs, but I hate having to conform to that. I'm not sure exactly where its going - I wound up doing a page of prewriting and staring at a blank Microsoft Word document on Wednesday night.

    I end with my semester countdown:

    • 13 days
    • 3 Nights of Duty
    • 1 tech interview
    • 1 set of hsm's
    • 1 supervisor evaluation
    • 1 final art project
    • 10 pages for film
    • 4 pages for Ethics
    • 4 paragraphs for Drama
    • 4 pages for 60's
  • 1 drama exam
  • 1 film exam
  • Kind of interesting really, being able to distill the entire semester into 12 items. Surreal...and a strong reminder of how close I am to being done...both semesterly and

    Posted by Matthew at 02:12 AM | Comments (2)