Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 69: Escape from prison

I watched MythBusters tonight and learned that you can use either braided up hair, toilet paper, or bedsheets, to make a rope to climb out of a window with.

Good to know!

The hair one was sort of nasty to watch, I don't think I'd want to use that. And the toilet paper took lots and lots of toilet paper tied up tightly. So your best bet is the bedsheets. Just remember to tie your knots tightly.

And although they didn't mention it in the MythBusters episode... I'm guessing that Rapunzel would work too? Interesting. Another interesting thing is my train of thought... which has gone from MythBusters to Rapunzel and now to Sarah Bareilles's song "Fairytale" which is one of my favorites on the album and my favorite verse in the song is the one about Rapunzel where she says,

"The tall blonde lets out a cry of despair, Says I would have cut it myself if I knew men could climb hair, I'll have to find another tower somewhere and keep away from the windows."

It is just such a different way to imagine what Rapunzel must have been thinking while that dude, or I guess I should say, Prince, used her braid as a ladder!

So today, I learned something about possible things I could make my own rope out of, if that situation ever should arise, and YOU ALL learned something about how thoughts in my mind jump from one thing to the other :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 68: Car insurance

So one of the things that I vowed at the beginning of this was I wanted to take the things that I do daily or the things that come up in my life that I would generally ask someone for help with and do it myself. Since I broken my promise of blogging daily, I should probably keep up with this vow.

One of the things that to be frank, has been a GIANT pain in the butt, has been getting my license, registration, insurance, in order since I've moved to New York and become a resident instead of just a student. I've basically avoided this at all costs because really, what New Englander/Rhode Island girl wants to give up our pretty plates with a wave on it for stupid NEW YORK license plates? And those licenses? Give me a break they are a piece of junk.

But yah, I've figured it has been about time that I finally take care of that so for the past few weeks I've been hitting up the DMV trying to get that taken care of. The final step in registering my car has been to switch over my insurance to NY insurance. This task completely overwhelmed me.

I tried to go and get a quote from one of those online places you always see commercials about and I was TOTALLY confused. It asked me a ton of questions that I didn't know the answer to about my car and when it comes to talking insurance policies and what the coverage actually means? That is another language to me also.

I've been trying to recruit people like my dad and friends at work to help me out with this but I figured... hey... I need to do this. And don't get me wrong, I have no problem asking for help when it is needed. What I don't want to allow myself to do is bail out too easily and jump to get someone else's help too soon.

One of the rules that I always tell myself at work is: "Don't ask for something that you can figure out yourself." I forget who told me that in the first place, but it has always served me well. Sometimes I catch myself because I want to ask someone a simple question that I could easily figure out on my own if I just took a few minutes to look it up.

That was sort of how I felt about this car insurance business. So today, I got myself my own car insurance plan. I'm not sure if its the best one and I'm not sure if I will stick with it or change it once I have more time to look into it. BUT, I did it on my own, and I'm sort of proud of myself. And you know what, it really wasn't that scary or hard? Susan at Amica? Yeah, she is so helpful.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 67: Put in the time.

It has been a little while since I've posted which is due to a crazy work schedule during the week and lots of traveling on the weekends. This past week at work was the cumulation of a lot of planning that had been going on in my part since August. We had a 3-day event that meant 12 hours or plus a day at work for the past 2 weeks. Then this past Friday, I left right from work and drove to New Hampshire for the weekend to spend time with my sister.

I feel really lucky because lately things in my life that I've been putting time into working on, have been doing really well. I've been putting time into my job and working hard and I'm getting really positive feedback and that event? it went amazing. I've been putting time into the relationships that I have here in Albany and I'm definitely seeing the benefits of that. I've been putting time into staying in touch with my friends that are living farther away and I feel so happy to still have those solid relationships (I have another trip planned to visit NYC in a couple weeks and my friends are actually planning a party at a bar for me during the trip!). I've been putting time into making sure that I see my family and am able to be with them as much as possible and I've never felt closer with my siblings. I've been putting time into eating healthy and exercising and I'm feeling the difference.

Even though it is a lesson that I've learned at other points in my life and there are definitely exceptions along the way... right now, I'm learning that when you put in the time and work for something, things will work out for you.

And my apologies because one thing where I have NOT been putting in a ton of time is this blog, and it really isn't that huge of a time commitment, so I'm sorry :(

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 66: Baby Bro

This weekend I went home and then spent a few hours up at my baby brother's college learning about where he spends his time and what he has been doing with his life.
The campus is beautiful, the food in the cafeteria was delicious, and the video games were totally fun.

I'm really happy that I got to spend some time with my bro and see where he hangs out, where he works, where he lives, where he eats, etc. It is crazy to me that my brother is in college AND that I am NOT in college. It was a little weird to be back on a college campus and be an official non-college person. It definitely made me feel old and I felt like I should be trying to make plans and become friends with some of the people that my little brother hangs out with!

However, its his time now and he seems like he is making the most of it. My little bro-man is growing up and apparently so am I.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 65: Obama's Economic Platform

Forget the debate... I learned more about Obama's economic platform and made me want to vote for him more due to this clip.

At a rally, Obama is approached by "Joe the Plumber" (who was discussed in tonight's debate) and asked about his tax plan for small businesses and for taxing those who make over $250,000. Obama takes the time to stop and talk to this man and explain to him intelligently and calmly what his tax plan entails. I think this exact video is brilliant and I love Obama and want him to be my president because of it.

John McCain would not have this conversation with "Joe the Plumber" on the street. He just wouldn't.

Please watch all the way through.

I'm convinced.

If you aren't, tell me why. Because I am so dead confident that we need this man as our next President.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 64: Finding Nemo

So today I learned some interesting things at lunch about Clown Fish. First of all, jellyfish stings don't hurt Clown Fish! Which is why in Finding Nemo, the daddy fish can swim through the Jellies to rescue Dore! Who know the movie men at Pixar were so smart?

Another thing about clown fish I learned is that they have the ability to change sexes for reproduction purposes. Hm. Now why wasn't THAT part included in Finding Nemo? Can you imagine if Nemo was finally reunited with his dad come to find out-- his dad is now his mom???

Think about it people. Think about it.

Day 63 Part 2: Spelunking

Some caving pictures for your enjoyment...

This is the whole group before we went into the cave:

The group after we scaled over the water:

Notice that I am straddling a rock and there is water below me. The rock is slippery and if I fall I'm in 15 feet of water:

My girl the Chemist:

The crew in the cave:

A cave shot:

The Chemist being carried over the water by Ed the tour guy:

Me climbing:

Me going down basically a mud waterslide. My face is priceless:

Up to my neck in water:

Me and the Chemist:


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 63: Spelunking.

So this weekend in general I learned a very important lesson and it has to do with this blog. This blog isn't going to be what I initially planned it to be. As many of you noticed and have commented to me, I haven't blogged in a long time. One of the reasons is that my life has really picked up here in Albany and I've been making more plans than I even have time to handle. Now, in some ways that is good and in some ways that is bad (another post for another day). But what it boils down to is that I have less time to blog and I initially vowed for this to be a daily thing.

I kept wanting to post about things that happened in my days or things that I learned and I've actually been writing them all down but I just haven't had the time to catch up. Even when I've had the time and the desire to write about something that happened THAT DAY I avoided it because I felt like I needed to catch up because of that promise I made.

Well screw that promise. The point of this blog is not to keep that promise of posting every day but to learn new things and experience life. The fact that I am busier and doing more shouldn't be something I feel guilty about it should be something that I stress and worry about when/what to post. I should be EXCITED that I'm too busy to post. Yeah, that ain't so fun for you all, but whatever, I'd doing cool and fun stuff and meeting cool and fun new people. So phooey for you.

Anyways, I think that giving myself permission to not blog EVERY day will actually allow myself to blog more in these busier days. I hope that you all see it that way too?

TODAY for example, I went caving! Caving was an incredible adventure that began terrifyingly by shimmying through a tiny hole/shoot into the ground. I was not expecting that when we walked up. I was expecting something along the lines of the Polar Bear Caves in NH but no way... this was crawling and scooting and belly crawling through tiny crevices and cracks, sliding down rock shoots, scaling across rock walls over a 15 foot pool of water, and getting up to my neck in water to get through a small crevice and get out of the rock cave. It was at points extremely uncomfortable and way outside of my comfort zone and at other points, calming and serene, and at other points it was exciting, thrilling, and totally made me feel like an adventurer/explorer searching out unseen parts of the world.

I also learned the difference between the words "spelunking" and "caving". The trip was advertised as a "caving" trip but I have been calling it "spelunking" all week, because come on, spelunking is a badass word! Today I learned by our guides that spelunking is what you call what people do who just go into caves with no experience no guide no flashlight and just do a crummy job or get hurt or something like that. "Caving" is what our guides say that they do... where they really explore and go with equipment and learn about the caves and learn about the rock formations and are really SERIOUS about the sport.

As for me? I'd like to say that I started the day a spelunker and ended the day a caver :)

An autumn foliage pic I took today is at the top and some caving pictures are below... I'll post pics of actually being in the cave once I get them from the cave leader.

** This last one is the whole that we crawled into!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 62: Wednesday

On Wednesday 10/1/08 I learned something new at work. I constantly am feeling like I am the stupidest person in the room but I am picking up little things all the time.

I never realized until today that there was a strict difference between an engine and a motor. I know it doesn't sound very complicated but while writing a press release I interchanged these a few times and they were all pointed out to me and the different was explained.

A motor is electric and runs off of electricity. An engine runs off of gasoline.

Good to know.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 61: I suck.

So on Tuesday, 9/30, I learned something about myself that was actually really disappointed.

Now get this, back on Day 21 I wrote that I learned to triple-check and make sure I remember everything I need when I go to the gym in the morning... and most importantly... shoes!

Well, I am disappointed and embarassed to have to admit that today I learned that I DIDN'T actually learn to triple check my gym bag to make sure I have work shoes because today I forgot my shoes again :(

And really, today my biggest disappointment was that I didn't learn what I thought I learned because if thats true... what am I doing this project for?

As you have all been able to tell if you've been reading regularly, its gotten harder for me to stay on track and we're only about 2 months in. 10 more to go? And I'm not even learning what I claim to be learning? I disappointed myself.

So today, I learned that I didn't learn what I said I did on Day 21 :(

Day 60: Stove repair.

Today when I got home from work and wanted to saute some onions and peppers, I found a disturbing site. An empty apartment and a dismantled stove.

My roommates had decided to clean the stove and took apart the wire coiled thingy and the silver catch plate thing below it. There was just an empty hole where I was supposed to cook my onions and peppers. Don't get me wrong, I was happy that my roommates decided to take the initiative and clean... but I didn't know how to put that back together! What is a girl to do?

I called my Dad and had him explain to me that it really is pretty simple to put those parts of the stove back together. I was a little scared that I might blow myself up poking metal parts around in the stove but I actually did it and was really excited for myself :)

Day 59: AIDS in New York

On Sunday, September 28th, I volunteered at the Albany AIDS Walk. I learned about this event only a week before and as soon as I did, I knew that I had to get involved. I called the organizers and asked if they needed volunteers and signed myself up to work the day.

I got there early in the morning and we were very lucky to have a dry and somewhat sunny day after forecasts had predicted heavy rains. Setting up for the walk was really easy since there were a large amount of volunteers (mostly fraternity and sorority members from local SUNY Albany and St. Rose colleges). I met a lot of great people and as is the case sometimes with these types of events, we actually spent more of our time sitting around than actually doing any work.

The day was overall really great though. Once the walk started and people arrived the atmosphere was truly incredible. I've participated in a few of these different walks before and I've never been at one with a more diverse group of people or with more energy. There was intoxicating live music and everybody was literally dancing in the street.

One of the most exciting parts of the event for me where the amount of young children that were there with their parents and families. AIDS is so often a taboo topic and not openly due to the fact that it is spread through sexual contact and drug use. I am part of the group of people that feel that AIDS is best combat through early education and open dialogue from the beginning of what exactly HIV/AIDS is, how it is spread, and how to protect ones self. I was really touched and given hope by the amount of children that were present at the AIDS walk.

I even saw a group of kids that all had on red T-shirts that had been made saying, "Chris's 10th Birthday Party Team" on the front and "AIDS Walk 2008" on the back. I thought that was such a great idea for a kid's birthday event and the kids all looked like they were having a great time running around, dancing to the music, and grabbing some of the free give aways from the different sponsor booths set up.

There was a presentation by the Damien House, an HIV/AIDS support group in Albany right before the event started that brought tears to my eyes. I felt like a pretty big dork standing alone in a crowd of people crying but I was really moved by the man that spoke. The past few years I've spent a lot of time doing volunteer/support/fundraising/awareness work for AIDS primarily in Africa. Although I found it impossible to discuss AIDS in Africa without also bringing up what it is doing in our own communities, I wasn't primarily focused on the crisis at hand within our own country.

However, after learning about all of the great organizations in the capital NY region, I am excited to start volunteering again for local awareness groups. One statistic that I learned today that I had never heard before:

In New York State, every HOUR a new person is infected with HIV.

HIV/AIDS isn't gone people. The problem is still live and still devastating. Look for groups in your own community and volunteer/donate. Please!