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Life in the Fast Lane
Everything, all the time
swngnblues
By now, unless you're living under a rock, you've heard the atrocity that's befallen my & hwimsey's alma matter... As everyone else who has attended VT will tell you - this is an unbelievable thing to happen. Even one murder, let alone the 32 that this psycho commited, is nearly unheard of under our blue skies. Virginia Tech, to so many, is simply a slice of heaven. In the fall, we have proof that "God is Hokie", when the leaves turn Orange & Maroon (our school colors).

I was a member of the Corps of Cadets, the surviving element of the founding of the school. I lived on campus perhaps 150 yards from Norris. I had a few classes in Norris; learned that you could go from McBryde to Holden to Norris to Burruss to GBJ to Pamplin spending a total of maybe 75 paces out of doors. (Which is useful in January/February, with temps in single digits and 40mph winds). I stayed in West AJ for my Freshman Orientation. I hung out with friends in Harper Hall (the gunman's dormitory).

As I write this, the convocation in Cassell Coliseum is about to get underway. News reports I read say that Cassell has been filled since 1pm, and that the overflow in Burruss Auditorium is filling up, and they are re-routing the rest of the overflow to Lane Stadium, to broadcast this sad memory in a place that usually has been filled with good memories.

I do not know any of the victims personally. (At least those who have been named.) I have read of the stories of a cadet who helped classmates get to an office and lock themselves in. I have also read of a cadet who was brutally murdered in Norris Hall. As a tight community, the Corps of Cadets feels its own losses. For the classmates I have lost in combat, those before me, and those to follow, I am saddened by the losses. I am just unbelievably shocked and outraged that 32 of the country's future scientists, engineers, and leaders were brutally murdered by a maniac.

It is now widely believed, nearly confirmed that this was pre-meditated. That this idiot planned on going into Norris Hall (or at least another area of campus) and inflicting this violence upon others. It is also suspected that he's behind the bomb threats in recent weeks on campus. I can tell you right now, that this individual is not the normal type of student VT admits. The community of Virginia Tech, and the surround New River Valley, is full of caring, friendly people.

I am outraged that this sensless act is being politicized and spun by disinterested media outlets more interested in their ratings than the act. The VT administration is being blamed for inaction, for inappropriate repsonse. They are being questioned to "why you didn't shut down the campus after the first murder." I understand that people are grieving, and will look to any place to vent their grief, to understand "why", but blaming the administration is not the answer. Think of it this way - if there were a murder in your neighborhood, would everyone in a 2 mile radius be locked in their homes and offices? No. Life would go on, except for those in the immediate vicinity (say 1-2 blocks).

Virginia Tech is a community that shouldn't have to respond to this type of violence, and has had no real need to in the past. The VT Police number less than 50, I imagine, and the worst they respond to is traffic accidents, burglary, and basic assault (usually under the influence of alcohol). To expect perhaps 10-20 on-duty officers plus the 20-30 in Blacksburg to immediately contain the area of East and West AJ (as the buildings are connected) is more than task enough. The reasoning that the muderer would leave the scene of the crime and campus is a logical enough assumption. And please realize this - it was a Monday morning, where many departments begin with a staff meeting.

Please, be angry at this moron. Do not be angry with the administration and police. We have hours and days to analyze the response. We have the luxury of hindsight. The administration did not. They had maybe an hour. They don't deal with it on a daily basis. This is not a normal occurrence. It could barely have been prevented. 9/11 could have been prevented, or at least minimalized. This couldn't have. Despite the levels of pre-meditation, this is still a random act, committed by one person. One who did not really communicate his intention.

Please keep the members of our extended Hokie family in your thoughts and prayers.

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': depressed depressed

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swngnblues
10 days... 

In exactly 10 days, (more like 9 days and 22 hours), I will have finished closing on my first house.

And this morning, I had a bit of a panic attack.  Maybe an anxiety attack.  But it was something.  And it was brought on by the realization that at "high noon" on April 20th, I will be a homeowner.  *sigh*   (Here are some pics, if anyone's interested.)

What should be a happy and exhilarating time for me has me worried about other things.  Paramount of which is the continuing curiosity I have about my own job situation.  

By and large, I'm pretty much guaranteed a job, as I've proven to be a pretty invaluable resource to my boss, allowing him to work no more than 25 hours in the last three weeks (one full week of vacation, another of "kids on Spring Break, don't want to get a babysitter").  And therein lies the heart of the matter.  

I'm beginning to feel like I spent 4 1/2 years in college to be a glorified administrative assistant (no offense to those who are).  Everything passes to me, which either gets taken care of, or passed on to the real admin. assistant.  My day consists of a lot of verifying forms are completed correctly, basic data entry/consolidation.  Despite my involvement in our financial planning/analysis, it's not really fulfilling anymore.  I'm to the point where I have a list of plans that I'm putting off working on, for the simple fact that they get turned into a bigger to-do than they need to be.  Nit-picking a couple of dollars here and there.  Arguing with me just because it proves that he's the boss.  Mountains out of mole hills, for sure.  

So, I sat down this morning, and did the only thing I could think of to calm me down.... 

That's it for now.  Off to finish some homework for tonight's Accounting class... "fixing accounting errors"... wonder who the chapter focuses on? :P

~rj

Coordinates: The Office
Feelin': pensive pensive
Tuneage: Silence

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swngnblues
For those of you who have followed the saga for the past few months..... I now have a house!  Well, I've entered into the contract period for it... It won't officially be mine until May 11 (when I've scheduled the closing).  I accepted the counteroffer on a nice house in a still being built neighborhood, and I think I've got a good deal, as I accepted about $6k below tax value, and the seller is paying closing costs.

The amount of paperwork I had to fill out just to get the ball rolling was unbelievable.  The mortgage application was 24 pages, the buyers agreement was 6, the "counteroffer" agreement was 6, and the "addendum" was 10 pages (since this is a foreclosure, an addendum was required).  I've been told it only gets worse from here on out.  I'll take their word for it.  I'll also have to get more insurance (yuck!)

The stress of this has been wearing on me the last few weeks.  Combined with a general lacksadaisical attitude towards work lately, I don't feel as though I've been performing up to snuff.  I will now have to rectify that after these next few days.  I'm behind on a few projects, and my boss won't be terribly happy with me when he gets back on Monday.  Hopefully, I can keep him distracted with a few other things until I get semi-caught up.  

About the house - it needs work.  But it's all minor, cosmetic type things.  Carpets are filthy, the walls are dirty (you can tell they had kids), the cabinets are mucky, the bathrooms need a can of lysol apiece.  But it's got potential.  This neighborhood is a decent "move up" type of neighborhood, where you'd move after owning a smaller place for a few years.  So I should have good prospects for resale, although the trend the last few years has been to build rather than buy.  We'll see what happens.  It's convenient to a major road, and it takes me on average, 10 minutes to get to the office, under a "regular" traffic load (less than my current commute!).  The place is enourmous, at nearly 1900 square feet, so if anyone needs a room to rent... just drop me a line. :P

The previous owners bought new, and were forced out after 10 months.  Sad story, and they're one of those "sob stories" you hear about in the lending industry.  I feel slightly bad for them.  But at the same time, I don't.  The bought the "base model" of this floorplan, and the house is "as-is".  They never painted (as well as likely never cleaned).  So I have my work cut out for me.  A lot of the newer houses in this development are coming standard with hardwoods or laminate type flooring, so I'll definitely be looking to do that on the main level.  I also wouldn't mind swapping out the formica countertops with solid surface, but that may be a "further down the line" thing.  OH! And the kitchen is big enough for all my cookie baking in the winter! :P

At this point - I'm trying to compile a list of things I'll need in moving from an apartment to a house.  My parents have started out with the basics.  I could use any suggestions you might have.  We've already got "lawnmower and other yard tools", as well as some more "regular tools" (drill, circular saw, plumbing supplies).  Please - any suggestions.  Mom is an estate sale and auction nut... so she could probably find it.

I said already that the stress has been phenomenal (not a "snap at everyone", high anxiety type of stress, but just a tiring stress).  I sit here drinking a few beers and just feeling "relieved".  I have two weddings to cater tommorrow, so I should get a few good nights of sleep here. : )

Till next time!
~rj

Coordinates: The apartment
Feelin': ecstatic ecstatic
Tuneage: Silence : )

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swngnblues

I've been asked many times in the past: "How did you come up with your screenname?" I can't even tell you how many times I've been asked. So, here's a primer on how I came about iwth the name "swngnblues".

See you on the flip side!

~rj

Coordinates: School
Feelin': pensive pensive
Tuneage: Teacher lecturing

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swngnblues
Contrary to popular opinion,  I'm very much alive.  Well, present, at the very least.  I've been AWOL from a true LJ update in quite some time.  Long enough that I feel just a tad guilty that I haven't updated.  The sad thing is that I haven't really tried to update.  I think it's been one of those things that it's been a case of "no news is good news".  There just hasn't really been anything of major note to report so far.  At least in my opinion.  It's not that I've disappeared from LJ altogether, mind you, just not had a compelling story to tell, or news to update.  

 

I believe that covers the high points.  I'll try not to be a stranger with the goings on around here.  When I sit down and think about it, there HAS been a lot going on, and plenty to tell for whoever's interested.  Just wondering if I wanted to bore you to tears with it... :P

Till next time!
~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': contemplative contemplative
Tuneage: Silence

3 comments or Comment
swngnblues
Woohoo!! Just heard on the news on the way in to work that the release date for Deathly Hallows is now set - July 21, 2007 (7/21/07).  Not quite the "magical number" of 7/7/07, but hey... still going to be a very busy month of July.  

~rj

Feelin': ecstatic ecstatic

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swngnblues

Oh my word, this is insane.  We are scheduled to get some nasty winter weather tommorrow (nasty by North Carolina standards).  As I write this, it is 35 and still very sunny (few clouds).  

As such, a nieghboring county already cancelled school for tommorrow.  (Click here for story)  Without any indication of whether or not this was really going to interfere with the day.  I'll still be at my desk by 9am, and continue the rest of my daily routine.  But sheesh... jumping the gun, aren't we?  I'm tempted to hit a grocery store this evening to see if the shelves have been cleared of bread, milk, and eggs.  The sad part is... Friday is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-40's.  *shakes head*

~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': amused amused
Tuneage: 181.fm - The Buzz

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swngnblues
Last night, I was supposed to work for the caterer. As such, I rearranged my workout schedule to accomodate the interruption. Then... we get a dusting of snow in the morning, and the party cancels. Literally, they called to cancel less than two minutes after the flower service dropped off the flowers at the caterer for them to make the centerpieces and such. D'oh!  All for a dusting of snow. 

So... I was at the office, without my workout clothes, and I'm not in the mood to run all the way back home and come back downtown to hit the campus gym. So instead, I went over to the gym at my complex to run on the treadmill. Under normal circumstances, I just hop on the treadmill and run. But someone before me had left the TV turned on. Rather than bother with shutting it off, I kept it on. Big mistake.

It was tuned to MTV (how you can call it "Music Television" anymore is a joke), and some fairly new teeny-bopper program called "Maui Fever" was on. OMG... that show has to be the largest amount of trash I have ever had the misfortune of seeing in a long time. The basic premise, near as I can tell, is a group of just out of high school kids living in Maui, and doing nothing but partying. No parents around. No jobs (I think). All they do is sleep around with each other, then someone catches the other that's in a semi-serious relationship. Lordy. And the girls are sitting there on the beach discussing who they'd like to sleep with on a non-serious basis. *shakes head*


Ah well.. I've ranted enough... Everyone, it's Friday... let's all have a drink tonight! We need it!

~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': pensive pensive
Tuneage: 181.fm

2 comments or Comment
swngnblues
For as long as I can remember, I've always seemed to have more female friends than male friends.  I've never truly been able to explain it, just to offer certain possibilities for why the status quo was.  It's not that I don't have any guy friends, it's just that it seems that over my history, the females have out numbered the males.  Some of my friends (men and women alike) have offered that it must mean I'm gay (which I find extremely difficult to believe, for more reasons than one), but I think just recently, I've come to realize that it is by far, the largest quality that I "inherit" from my astrological sign.  (The other being broodiness and an insane need for "me time").  No, I'm not reading horoscopes and living my life according to Miss Cleo (or whatever other raving lunatic is on the infomercials these days).  I find "alternate universal beliefs" somewhat interesting.

 


And my update would not be complete without mentioning Saturday's great afternoon of basketball!  My boss's team (Clemson) lost it's "undefeated" status, and and my Hokies beat UNC-CH.  If not for that frantic flurry of points in the last 3:20 of play from the Heels, the box score would have reflected the fact that they were absolutely dominated for 32 minutes of the game.  So, that makes two of the most storied ACC programs losing to the "bring nothing to the basketball slate Virginia Tech."  To all the ACC anti-expansionists, I have this - nyah, nyah, nyah. :P  Weaken the quality of basketball my ass.  The last two games have featured some damn good, heart-pounding action.  What's even better, is the fact that the Hokies have done it playing a style of ball that won UNC their last national title - sprinting the floor, points in transition, and takeaways.  : )

Stay tuned for a word from our local sponsors.  Until then, good night, and good luck. : )

~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': confused confused
Tuneage: Britney Spears - And Then We Kissed

2 comments or Comment
swngnblues
Anyone else having issues with PhoenixSong.net emails? I haven't received anything since notification that Cursed had been updated on Friday. I know hwimsey replied to comments on Saturday, and I got no notification about those, as well as the update to Coven last night. Did I manage to make someone's list over there? :P

~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': curious curious

2 comments or Comment
swngnblues

In America, I believe as a basic tenet of citizenship, you have to pay taxes, you have to vote, you have to serve in the military if necessary, and you have to serve on a jury once in a blue moon. Today, was my first experience as a juror (or potential one). It wasn't necessarily good, it wasn't necessarily bad. It was rather interesting, to say the least.

Read on about the rest of my day... if you're interested....Collapse )

hwimsey... did you see that our Hokies won at Duke on Saturday? It was an awesome game, and I managed to get in from my 30 mile ride early enough to catch the last 10 minutes of the 2nd half and the OT. What a game!!!! And there were a couple of awesome plays. One of which I've linked here. If you're a fan of basketball, you must see the picture! Especially if you dislike Duke. :P

I got to thinking the other night about how I got involved on LJ, and really in the fandom in general. It's kind of funny, as I can completely remember how I came across everything (except how in the world I got flisted by ofmythandlegend without ever leaving a comment... :P).

How I came to be involved in the fandom....Collapse )


Have a good night everyone!
~rj

Coordinates: The Apartment
Feelin': touched touched
Tuneage: hitmusicstation.net

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swngnblues
I've long believed that women have a higher tolerance for pain than men. While that does not necessarily equate to the "stronger of the species," it certainly is a statement to the massive amounts of pain that women in general must endure. Child birth and cramps are the two things that come to mind. While men have the notoriety of playing games on surgically repaired ankles, with broken wrists, torn muscles, these things could best be attributed to male arrogance. Women endure those pains because, quite simply, that is the way that nature made them. Following an experience last night, I've come to the conclusion that women truly are the stronger of the species.

Quite simply - I tried to wax my legs. Now, before you start giving me grief, understand that I'm a cyclist, and I shave my legs primarily because it looks better than hairy legs outside of my cycling kit (nevermind that longer hairs actually stick through my polypro tights). There are also the additional benefits of shaving my legs, but I'll leave those for another time. Mostly, it's vanity. (I can admit it, unlike some other cyclists I know.) I had previously shaved my legs in early November, and let the hair grow simply because I was taking some time off the bike. I hadn't intended to wax my legs, but once the hair is long enough, it's either a several step process to shave, or try waxing.

Gentlemen, I will tell you now. Waxing is pain beyond pain. Women voluntarily endure this, in the hopes and dreams that it will make them more attractive to us (which usually works). And that was just leg hair, right above my ankle! I can't imagine the type of pain that a bikini wax would be. But, I will never try waxing again. At least not unless I'm paying someone to do it. I'll stick to the razor for now! : )

A nice segue into the next topic....Collapse )
I believe that's it for now. Not all of the cookies were eaten while I was home, so I have plenty still in the fridge. I'm working on giving them away as best I can. If anyone wants some, let me know! : )

Until next time,
~rj

PS... iviolinist, I had to pick on someone I know for the lateness of the chapter post. As I understand it, the beta is the last to handle the file before it's validated... *shrugs* It's all in good fun dear. : ) I know you have very little to do with the time I get my notifications. *hugs* Forgiven? :P

Coordinates: The Apartment
Feelin': mellow mellow
Tuneage: tbigradio.com

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swngnblues
It's roughly an hour away from the day, officially, and so I just want to wish everyone a Merry, as I'll be confined to a small condo with my family for the duration tommorrow.

A "tradition" I'm working on developing for Christmas Eve dinner is a special dessert, like what you would see in a restaurant or on a fancy TV cooking show.  Mostly, it's about presentation, as any good chef will tell you.  There are only so many desserts out there - it's how it's presented.  The food should already provide a treat for the mouth and the nose, but should also accomplish the same with the eyes.  Anyways, I present this year's dessert...

Simply a baked New York style cheesecake, with a gingersnap crust.  The plate has been lined with chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla syrups.  Small dollop of whipped cream on the left, and two maraschino cherries on the right.  The cheesecake was again drizzled with a light covering of raspberry and chocolate syrup.  The plate then sprinkled with a healty dose of shaved Ghiradelli milk chocolate.  Don't ask me how many calories, carbs, or fat is in this.  It was GOOD. : )

So there's my Christmas gift to you all - a feast for the eyes. : )  Enjoy the day, and if I don't catch up with you before I leave for NC, drive/fly/travel safely. : )

~rj

Coordinates: 'rents house
Feelin': artistic artistic
Tuneage: Enigma - Mea Culpa

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swngnblues

Wow, what a month it’s been!  I can’t believe that it’s now December 21st, and Christmas is just the other side of the weekend!  It seems like just yesterday I was having Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s been that kind of whirlwind month.  Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights in the last 3 weeks:

 

 

 

 

I’m supposed to be headed home tomorrow.  Weather looks decent enough for the drive, which is a godsend, considering what I went through last time to get to Granny’s.  I’m making sure to check the roads in VA before I leave, there’s a back-way or two I can take to get into WV.  Don’t even get me started on the idiocy I encountered at Thanksgiving.  My only hope and prayer is that I can either avoid most of it, or just bypass it.  I really want to get as much time out and about as possible.  I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in days!

 

Oh!  And we have a title for Book 7 – JKR has graced us with an awesome Christmas present!  Not quite sure about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. ("The Deathly Souls")  Wonder what else was in the works.  This one’s going to take some getting used to, as at least the rest of them referenced a specific main thing in the book.  This is just plural.  Weirdness.  As this is my first (and only) book release buzz… what’s everyone think?  Was it like this for OotP and HBP?

 

 
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': surprised surprised
Tuneage: hitmusicstation.net

2 comments or Comment
swngnblues
After months (almost years), my quilt is finally finished!  It is in the dryer as I type this, going through it's initial "shrinking".  Here are a couple of pics for your enjoyment.  : )  

  



Now, I'm ready for my next quilting project... :P  Have a good night everyone!  Mine will be snuggled up under my new quilt. : )

~rj

Coordinates: The Apartment
Feelin': ecstatic ecstatic
Tuneage: hitmusicstation.net

2 comments or Comment