Current Events

Dog Days Are Over

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Today is officially my last day of classes for the Spring 2011 semester and it hasn’t quite sunk in  yet.

After this, I have a full summer working not-quite full-time and taking two online classes. It’s pretty exciting, but it starts to get scary when I realize that in the fall I have only one class and then I graduate. I have always heard people talking about how time passes so quickly and before you know it things are over. Well, that’s not really the case with me.

I have been a senior at UofL for three years now and I have to say, graduation is taking it’s time getting here. One thing I have learned though is that time is relative. I could have finished my original degree in Biology and graduated in 2010, but I don’t think I would have had any clue what to do with it. 

I started out believing that I wanted to end up in medical school. While my motives were the right ones, wanting to help people make the best of their lives, my method did not hold true. Science is a subject I enjoy when I can leisurely explore different topics at my own pace. The pressure of learning it quickly and being tested over such vast amounts wasn’t for me. It may have taken me four years to pinpoint this, but once I did it changed everything.

After a few trips to the University Career Development Center, I found out a lot about myself and decided to switch the focus of my undergraduate career. I was minoring in communication and loved it, so I made that my major.

At that point I decided it no longer mattered that I graduate in the standard four years (which I have since heard is more like six). I have decided that I have years to work ahead of me, so I should take my time figuring out a career field that I will actually enjoy.

It seems like so long ago that all this started. I can’t help but thinking back to how not-ready I was to graduate a few years ago and how much more prepared I am now, even if I am a little nervous about facing the big-wide world after college.

Relay for Life 2011

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It’s 4:30AM on a beautiful night. Music is blasting, frisbees are flying. This is Relay for Life at the University of Louisville. 38 teams comprised of over 500 people gather to celebrate life and to raise money to fight cancer.
We walk all night to represent the fight cancer patients go through as they fight for their lives. At this point in the night we are all exhausted and count down the hours until this is all over. Knowing that we get to go home and relax in just a few hours if a relief. As I walk I think that if only cancer patients had it so ready. They don’t get to tag team someone else to fight for them. That don’t get to decide they’ve had enough and go home or fall asleep in a tent for a few hours break.
My walking had left me with a blister that may take a day or two to heal. That’s two days of hobbling around in pain, but then it’s over and done -a short-lived reminder of my own fight against cancer- if only cancer followed the same schedule.

Road Rage Uncensored

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It’s 5:20 PM on a Tuesday and I find myself standing in the middle of a busy road and praying that no one hits me. If I had a list of top ten places I never want to be again this would make it somewhere around 7.

But, how’d you end up there? Why would you do something so crazy as to stand in the middle of the road in rush hour traffic you ask? Let me go back a bit.

I've given up parking in the garage. It's always full and I don't have time to circle.

Parking at UofL stinks around 11 AM. I have long since given up parking in the Floyd garage, although that was the whole reason I coughed up the $126 to buy a green parking pass. Instead, I park in a lot that is a bit of a walk away from my first class, but close enough to my last class of the day. 

Normally, this would be ideal. I don’t mind a bit of a walk. But recently, construction in the area has made what should be a five minute stroll into a hellish 15 minute nightmare.

To get to the lot students must walk – let’s estimate about a block – in the wrong direction (as in away from the lot) then cross the street. So now students are walking an extra two blocks and are on the wrong side of the street. Great start.

Most times, there is a crossing guard to help students cross the busy roads, but not during rush hour!

Now, once we get past all the yellow tape and orange cones that warn unassuming pedestrians of the catastrophe that was once a sidewalk, we must cross the street. No problem. Sometimes there is even a handy-dandy crossing guard.

But  not during rush hour.

So, my question is this: why on earth would the crossing guard, who sits in the car during the slowest parts of the day to stop traffic for students leave when needed most??

I am not a brave person. I will walk out of my way to find a cross walk and wait for the traffic light, even if the street is empty. So, imagine my peril when not only is there no cross walk to speak of, but traffic is constant and the crossing guard I was counting on is not there.

I wanted to cry. Instead, I waited until one side of the street was empty – thank goodness for traffic lights even if they are a block away. I walked purposefully into the middle of the road and stopped.

Holy cow!

I kept looking over my shoulder waiting for some inattentive driver to slam right into me. Traffic in the final two lanes I had to cross just kept going on as if I wasn’t there. Wonderful. So much for pedestrian right of way. I half expected the TARC driver to let me cross, since surely he or she must be used to students having to cross the street at this location. Nope. Thankfully, the car behind the TARC stopped and waved me across, and just in time.

The lane I had been standing in was suddenly in full swing again. I still shudder when I think of it. I would like nothing more than to avoid that parking lot for the rest of the time it takes the workers to get the sidewalks straightened out, but unfortunately for me, this isn’t going to happen.

The next best thing would be for a crossing guard to stick around and make sure no students get hit by the cars racing through the area. Let’s put it this way – I’m not holding my breath, but I will be writing to public safety.

I’m not keen on breaking any bones in the foreseeable future. Any suggestions?

My Day in Frankfort

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Capitol building in Frankfort KY

I traveled to Frankfort recently to meet with the legislators who represent Kentucky. For those of us who’s lives are not steeped in politics and the logistics thereof, let me remind you that the “short session” is ongoing as I write.

What this means is that legislators meet at the capital in Frankfort, KY for a shortened amount of time and try to jam-pack just as much legislative action in as during a normal session.

Before going to Frankfort I had only a vague idea of what this means. On February 16, the picture cleared like the sky after a rainstorm.  I have never seen so much going on in one place, and despite myself, I am impressed.

Lobbying, I have come to believe, is a fierce sport. Organizations from all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky have what are known as “lobby days.” During these days groups will travel to the capital to meet with legislators and explain issues related to bills they want passed.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth in Frankfort for Immigrant Rights Lobby Day

On Tuesday the Boy Scouts of America, The Kentucky Humane Society and the American Lung Association all attended to lobby their legislators. From what I have heard, it was utter chaos, but still a successful day.

My own experience the next day did nothing to revise my opinion. While in Frankfort I saw groups from an alternative academy, a band, a choir, the League of Women Voters, the talented and gifted program from a school in Kentucky… the list goes on. This, keep in mind, is all on one day and in addition to the lobbyists who are at the capitol fighting for their causes every single day.

The cafeteria was packed and the legislators barely had time to meet between committee  meetings and appointments with constituents. We did manage to meet with several legislators. I admit to being intimidated by the prospect of speaking to the legislators about anything more than how to spell my name, but they were all very laid back, very kind and I could tell they knew and cared a lot about the issues facing our Commonwealth.

It amazed me that no matter what, no one ever stopped working. In the hallways, in the cafeteria and even walking from the annex to the capitol across the street – legislators and lobbyists alike are always on the go and always on their game.

The stairs leading to the gallery in the Kentucky Capitol building. A popular place to take pictures.

It was an interesting day and I learned quite a bit. It was a lot to take in on my very first day at the capital, but the next time I go I’ll be prepared and ready with my game face.

What’s your sign?

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Let me start out by saying I don’t normally pay much attention to astrology. Sure, once in a blue moon I’ll read a horoscope and chuckle over it, but I never really took it seriously. So, it surprised me when there was a huge outcry over the news that the astrological signs may be changing. It intrigued me, and I decided to look into it and see what it was all about. Even though I may not plan my life around my zodiac sign, I’m glad I did.

The name Ophiuchus is one I first heard soon after I started digging. “So, this is what the fuss is all about,” I thought. Well, maybe. Some articles explain that the earth has “wobbled” on its orbit, which shifts things around – including how we view the constellations from earth. But, that’s not new either, right? Surely the earth didn’t just decide to move out of its comfy orbit only in the last few years. So why is this news now?

Turns out that this “news” isn’t really new. Several sources say astrologers have known about the shifting signs for thousands of years. Despite this, every so often it becomes bright and shiny-new again and creates a stir. I can imagine why. Depending on where you look, the information you get can say just about anything.

According to an interview by Stephen Hunt with Calgary Herald astrology columnist Georgia Nicols, there are two ways of looking at astrology. In both Vedic and Sidereal astrology the constellations are used to determine the signs. Another way of looking at it is called tropical astrology. This way uses mathematics to determine the signs, which, according to Nicols, tend to stay the same for thousands of years. This is how most astrologers view the zodiac.

Some articles claim that the signs will change and that those with zodiac tattoos of the wrong sign are seriously SOL. According to The Stir, astrology is insignificant so even if they do change, it really doesn’t matter. Seems a bit cynical to me, but OK. Although I freely admit that I don’t plan my life around my horoscope, there are people out there who do. From what I understand the sign change would mean a personality makeover – at least for them. One astrologer compared zodiac signs to clothes. Just because you change your outfit, doesn’t mean you change who you are. I thought that was an interesting point.

My favorite interview was a video from a Tampa news station. Astrologer Janet Scialis agrees with the side that says the signs are not changing. She mentions being born under a sign, and although she doesn’t elaborate, it caught my attention. When I look at a horoscope, I look for the day I was born – so doesn’t it make sense that your sign would be whichever sign you were born under anyway?

Like I said, I’m glad I did some digging. Even if I don’t understand all the ins and outs of astrology, I at least understand what the big deal is. This is an issue that while not life-threatening can still be pretty confusing. Sure, we may have better things to worry about, but let’s face it, this is much more fun. The thought of going from an Aries to a Pisces is much more entertaining than thinking about how I’m going to organize that basket of old class notes sitting by my desk. But now that I’ve solved one mystery, it’s onto another. Until next time…