Category: Observations on Life


“The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad.”

Mark Twain

Before I left for my international adventure, I knew I would have to blog about it, and I had no idea how I was going to do it.  Three weeks and 5 countries later, and I still have no idea where or how to start with this blog post.  As I continue writing I realize that after starting with a phrase like “international adventure,” I owe my readers an explanation, lest I sound like that worldly Facebook friend you secretly hate.  *ahem*

A  few short weeks ago, I boarded a plane to England, where I was to take a two week honors course entitled “Traveling and Telling: Mobility and the Art of Narrative,” taught at Magdalene College at Cambridge University by Oklahoma State professors.  As evidenced by the title of the course, we spent the middle weekend of the two weeks traveling to a different country, in my case Barcelona, Spain, and then returning to write about it in narrative form.  As if that weren’t pretentious enough, after the course my girlfriend and I spent ten days on our own visiting Paris, Dublin, and London. To keep the amount of content manageable (and to build the dramatic tension), I have decided to break the trip down into parts, and write separately about each part of my trip– sorry, adventure.

I’ll start off with England, where I spent both the beginning and the end of my journey.  I spent more time in England than anywhere else, and it served as sort of a cultural vestibule to Europe, its culture being similar enough to the United States’ that it was easily accessible, but different enough that it was still clearly a part Europe. The first part of my English experience consisted of the two weeks I spent in Cambridge, and the last part of my trip was a day and a half in London before our flight out.  Our stay in London was during the Olympics, and was a truly unique and multicultural experience.  Actually, it was mostly a chance to pay too much for Olympic souvenirs and walk too far for Olympic atmosphere, but it was an experience nonetheless.

Anywho,

-My first impression of England wasn’t a good one.  After getting past the surly customs guy at Heathrow Airport and a 50 minute subway ride through a rainy, thoroughly graffiti’d and dingy-looking London, we made it to King’s Cross Station to board our train out to Cambridge.  After a 9 hour flight and a 50 minute subway ride through a rainy, thoroughly graffiti’d and dingy-looking London, my bladder was on its last legs, but I couldn’t find a bathroom anywhere save for the one that cost 30 pence to use.

There’s not much warmth to be had in a country where it costs 30p for a wee.

-On the train from London I was struck by how quintessentially English England was.  This may seem like an odd thing to say, but rarely does something look exactly how one pictures it.  The landscape was made up of hedgerows, rolling hills and rows of identical, slightly warped-looking townhouses, straight out of Harry Potter.  It was like I was on a movie set, designed to look exactly like England.

-Cambridge, a college town so steeped in history and tradition that using the phrase “steeped in history and tradition” seems almost mandatory when describing it.

-As I walked around in Cambridge and London, I found myself very conscious of my foreignness, and my perceived global perception of Americans.  I felt like I had the stars and stripes glued to the back of my head, and that everywhere I went I had to apologize for my American. When ordering in restaurants, or talking to cashiers I felt like I had to preface everything with “Ah yes, sorry for my American but can I get an English breakfast tea?”

-My concerns weren’t entirely unfounded either, I don’t know if they hated Americans, were just having a bad day, or didn’t care enough to falsify their friendliness, but a lot of the waitstaff and service employees seemed excessively surly and in many cases what I and my vague sense of Southern Hospitality would call downright rude.

-Going to England without a rain jacket is like going to the moon without a spacesuit, except instead of your eyeballs getting sucked out you’re just wet and uncomfortable the entire time.  It never quite rained rained, it just violently drizzled every day we were there.

-Driving on the left freaks me out.

-A lot of things in England were incredibly logical and efficient, like their shower design and public transportation, but others were apparently so comically rooted in antiquity or tradition that they defied even the most basic sense of the word logic.

Faucets.  Why in the world would you need one faucet that spouts scalding hot water, and one that dispenses ice cold water in the same sink?  Neither is comfortable for hand washing, and they’re too far apart to mix them to a nice medium warm.

WHY.

Also, British outlets are way too large to be practical, it takes a four foot power strip to power a basic computer setup, why does that make sense?

British money doesn’t make any sense either, I’m sure it has some historical significance, but the size of coins seems to be arbitrary.  Two pence pieces are massive, pound coins are small, ten pence pieces are larger than a pound, and nothing seems to make sense except for the composition of the coins themselves.  American and Euro coins at least roughly correlate size with value, with the larger coins being worth more than smaller ones. Normally this nonsensical sizing wouldn’t be a big deal, but because there are no bills there smaller than a five, transactions are extremely coin-centric.

-Time in Cambridge is measured in centuries rather than decades, and prices are measured in weight, rather than money.

-British Pubs are awesome, enough said.

But,

-British food was extraordinarily bland.  I appreciate subtle flavors, but the Brits can’t handle spiciness.  I guess their stiff upper lips are too sensitive?  Not even the Indian food was spicy enough.  To survive, I had to buy some Tabasco from the grocery store and carry it around with me like a flask.

-The more time I spent in England though, the more I grew to like it, its quirks, its history, and its stiff upper lips. Despite the effect it had on my bank account, England is a place I could see myself one day, sipping some English breakfast tea, writing and minding my own business in a coffee shop on an undoubtedly rainy day.

Long-windedly yours,

-Andrew

P.S. It took me way too long to post this.  Pictures are coming soon, but if you can’t wait you can check (most of) them out on my Facebook page.

I’m sick of the f-word.

Finals. Finals Finals Finals.  Stop it.  Your complaints aren’t funny or original, and everybody is tired of hearing about it.

I’m so mad I wrote a haiku. Or a… “hate-ku.”

Finals: a haiku.

everyone has them

it’s why you are in college

so quit your bitching.

That being said, everything > studying.  Hence blog post. *hypocritical sad trombone*

There should be some sort of transition here, but there isn’t.

This probably makes me an Okie, but when there’s a bunch of doomsday talk about a tornado outbreak, and all you get is a thunderstorm, it’s kind of like biting into a cookie that you thought was chocolate chip, only to find out it’s raisin.  It’s still a cookie, and it’s probably better for you, but you can’t hide the fact that you’re disappointed.

I wonder if the people who make announcements over the loudspeakers in the airport realize that no one can hear them…

Dear Caribou Coffee,

Stop dying your whipped cream.

Sincerely,

-Andrew’s Khaki Pants

Facebook cover photos are not second profile pictures.  I am about as narcissistic as they come, but I understand that you don’t need to see a giant picture of my face on top of a smaller picture of my face when you visit my profile.  You look like some kind of self-obsessed, human Russian nesting doll.

If anyone is under the impression that I’m put together, I’m not.  I’m just good at faking it.

With all the construction on campus recently, I’m starting to think I’m actually just a guinea pig at a construction working training academy.  Like I’m being tested for how much construction equipment they can put between me and anywhere on campus I happen to be going before I snap and try to kick over a bulldozer.

My scholastic accomplishment for the year was turning a bulleted, incoherent list that took up 3/4th’s of a page into a ten page research paper in one night.  I would say something cliché about procrastination, but by using the words cliché and procrastination in a sentence together I already did.  YOU’RE SO CLEVER, average Facebook user.

You've probably seen this before, but still. Fiery dismemberment not included.

Super excited for the Avengers this Friday,

-Andrew

P.S. Also excited for Summer.  And sentence fragments.

*Note: no Belize puns were abused in the making of this blog post.

After spending the majority of Winter Break playing Skyrim and ruminating about my lack of substantial collegiate success and international experience, I spontaneously signed up for a Spring Break service-learning course in Belize: International Perspectives in Health.  The aim of the course was teaching health education and disease prevention at St. Mary’s Primary School in Belize City, it would last 8 days, and it took place over spring break.  With no experience teaching health education or primary school children, no previous international experience, and no idea what to expect, I wrote a check for most of my savings, Googled Belize, and boarded a plane to Central America.

Pardon the rust, it’s been awhile.

Damn, I forgot my DS and I’m already in the airport! :O Good thing there’s this handy dandy electronics vending machine! You know, I’m in the mood for a digital camera too, what the hell.  Thanks, Best Buy Express! :D

Apparently there’s a shortage of air marshals on commercial flights? My theory is that instead of training more air marshals, the TSA has taken to training babies to cry continuously, and placing them on every commercial flight instead.  That way a potential terrorist is more likely to shoot himself 30 minutes into the flight instead of attempting a hijacking.

The airport in Belize was way more chill than airports in the US.  In Belize, you just waltz up to your plane on the tarmac.  If you feel like boarding in the back, sure.  In the front? That works too! In the US it’s like boarding a freaking spaceship, if spaceships were filled with old ladies carrying a hundred pounds of bricks in their carry-ons.

There are two types of people on the road in Belize: people on bikes, and people trying to run you over.

America, Y U NO HAVE WATERMELON JUICE??? So grood (great and good).

Fitting for the year in which we traveled, we visited the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. It’s never good when out of the entire group, the guide learns your name.  Because I tended to loiter and take pictures behind the rest of the group, we were addressed as a group as “Nice People… and Andrew.”

Also, never trust a local who offers you an unnamed pepper, straight off of a plant.  She just wants to see you cry.  Or maybe she just wants to see Andrew cry.

Belize was amazing.  Out of the one foreign countries I’ve been to, it is far and away my favorite.

No really, it’s difficult to write about because it was so awesome.  My usual style of humor is just stylized complaining, and there isn’t much to complain about Belize.  The food was great, the hotel was nice, the country was beautiful,  the culture was awesome, and the people were friendly.

By the end I had turned into a mosquito-buffet, cooked well-done by the Caribbean sun, but that was the fault of a lack of bug spray and my pasty Scandinavian heritage.

Because I am so incredibly busy with school at the moment (32 pages worth of essays to write and counting), I’m going to be lazy with this blog and insert a gallery with some of the pictures I took while on the trip.  Enjoy.

Captions coming later…. maybe.

International man of mediocrity,

-Andrew

I was going to write an Ash Wednesday themed post, about humorous things to give up for Lent, but then I missed Ash Wednesday and wrote this instead.  Wah Wah.

I hate it when I accomplish something not on my to-do list, because then I don’t get the satisfaction of crossing it off my to-do list, which is like 70 percent of my motivation for getting things done.

On a related note, I never remember to actually put things on my to-do list, so I live with this constant feeling that I’m forgetting something.

I miss the days when my biggest worry was forgetting my show and tell object or getting caught picking my nose on the playground.

The socially awkward college student’s guide to seeing an acquaintance you don’t want to talk to in a public place

1.) Did you make eye contact?

If no, proceed to A, if yes, to B

A.) Look away, pretend to compose text message, avoid eye contact.

B.) Look away, pretend to compose text message, avoid eye contact.

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday I think, but I’m not sure, since I gave up Catholic holidays for Lent.

You know how teachers always say there’s no such thing as a stupid question? Yeah that’s not true, your question is stupid, and I’m getting frustrated.

I know it’s election season, but that doesn’t give you free reign to spam my Facebook news feed with your, ahem, OPINION.  Stating your political views on your profile are all I need.  Just because you attach a sarcastic and witty tagline to your pseudo-scientific “news” doesn’t make it true, and it certainly doesn’t make me believe it.  Contrary to what you undoubtedly believe, you are not the arbiter of right and wrong, fact and fiction.  Unless you (and Ron Paul apparently) are the only people in the world who can think objectively, stop spamming my news feed with your thinly veiled propaganda you Obama-hating, Glen Beck-believing, unambiguously racist, blathering tool(s).

I don’t pretend to be unbiased, nobody really is, but I don’t shove it down the throats of those unfortunate enough to friend me on Facebook.

IN CONCLUSION, I don’t want to hide your posts, I really don’t, but Facebook is for cat videos, memes, humorous insights into life, and relationship drama, not endless one-way mini rants presented as fact.  Get over yourselves or face my timid, indirect wrath.

Whew, passive aggression is exhausting.

ANGRY BLOG,

-Andrew

P.S. I didn’t add any pictures to this post because I’m sick of the meme-frenzy that has overtaken Facebook.  I’m not saying I’m a meme hipster, and I get many a chuckle from them, but memes were better before they were half of Facebook.

So I haven’t posted in a while.  In fact, I missed the holiday season entirely, and not even by a little bit.  I could blame the lack of a holiday post on Skyrim and mopery, and college life for my lack of inspiration afterwards, but when you really boil it down it comes to laziness.  Long time readers however, might remember that today is not only my 80th post, but the one year anniversary of my first post (woot!), but then again they might not.  I feel guilty that it takes a year anniversary to get me to actually post, but I am a terrible blogger.

-ANYWHO-

I’ve decided I need to set aside my humdrummery and lack of initiative and post some mediocre holiday and January-themed material before SOPAPOCALYPSE ruins the internet, so lucky you. (Yeah… I started writing this before all that went down, oops.)

What's scarier than being home alone? THE FUTURE.

*ahem*

If there’s one thing I love about this time of year, it’s the Parody Holiday music. In fact, it might just be my favorite part of the holiday season!  Just like sweaty balls and getting sunscreen in my eyes are my favorite parts of the summer season..

I know Batman smells, but next year try to resist the urge.  Also anything by the chipmunks, just…. don’t.  Please.

Actually now that I think about it, I’m not really a fan of any holiday music.  That might be a part of it.

BAH HUMBUG.

Giving someone cash for Christmas screams, “I forgot to get you a gift,” but it’s also like a gift card to the world, so it’s okay.

Do you remember the Captain Crunch Oops, All Berries cereal? Well I’ve still got my fingers crossed for Lucky Charms Oops, All Marshmallows cereal. Save me the work of sorting out all the marshmallows myself, geez.

I hate answering my phone when I don’t recognize the number. Most of the time I don’t, because I hate unfamiliarity, and there’s that tiny little nagging doubt in the back of my head that it was Publisher’s Clearing house informing me I had won a million dollars, or future Andrew telling me what stocks to buy and who wins the Super Bowl.  If that ever happens, LEAVE A MESSAGE, FUTURE ANDREW.

I'll probably be haunted eternally by His Excellency's ghost for this, but I couldn't resist. Thank you kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com

Have you ever noticed that in movies, whenever they show something on the news at the beginning of the movie that seems out of context, IT ALWAYS COMES BACK LATER? You would think that Bruce Willis would just stop watching the news at some point.

There’s something cathartic about shredding paper all afternoon at work.  There’s also something tedious and mind-numbingly boring about it.  Definitely more of the latter.

On a more somber note, as I edge closer to my scholarly goals of success and future employment, I may need to tone down the vulgarity on my blog..  Although it’s usually fairly minor, not everyone appreciates such *colorful* descriptions as I so frequently posit.

I hope it doesn’t lead to the extinction of ARomDoms.Com, but it is the year of the apocalypse, so if for some tragic reason my academic aspirations bring about the end of my bloggish ones, you have bigger concerns anyway.

All that said, it’s been an interesting year writing this blog.  So much has changed since I first posted in my gloomy dorm in Parker Hall, and most of it for the better.  Thank you to everybody who has stopped by over the last year, your indulgence of my verbal spillage, and the subsequent wasting of your valuable free time, has contributed greatly to my mental health (and ego).  I am eternally grateful.

Humbled and slightly less bored,

-Andrew

1.) I can smell you before I see you

Bad: I can smell your Axe around the corner. I can also smell excessive hair gel and loneliness.

Worse: It smells like something crawled into your shorts and died. Like the part of my soul you killed walking into the room.  Seriously take like five showers.

2.) Inappropriate Facial Hair

Bad: You don’t look sophisticated or ironic, you look like a pedophile.

Worse: Is that a forehead moustache or a caterpillar? It looks like your eyebrows are mating…

You heard me. Pedo. Stache.

3.) Your ass hangs out of the bottom of your shorts

Bad: You’ve caught my attention, but you look like a skank.

Worse: Oh dear God, where’s the eye bleach??

4.) Your artificial tan is painfully obvious

Bad: You look hispanic, you used to look like Wonder Bread (I should know).

Worse: You look like Tito from Rocket Power. Or a carrot. A disgusting, cancerous carrot.

I used to watch a lot of Nickelodeon.

5.) Prolonged eye contact with strangers

Bad: Elevator staring contest.

Worse: Few things are more uncomfortable than amorous eye contact from a stranger in a public restroom.

6.) Your stomach hangs out underneath your shirt (get a larger shirt)

Bad:  Are you… pregnant?

Worse: Like a can of biscuits.

7.) You Look Like a Serial Killer

Bad: Why do you carry a switchblade in your pocket? There is literally no reason you would ever need that in a dorm.  And no, nobody thinks it’s badass or cool in any way.

Worse: Do you really need that leather trench coat? Also wash your hair and try to look less zombie-like.

Please don’t kill me.

You do not look like this.

You Pressure Me to Blog

Bad: I actually don’t mind, I need the motivation.

Worse: I’ll be honest here, this is just a cop out because I couldn’t think of ten things.

It’s been way too long,

-Andrew

Public restrooms are awkward and gross enough as it is, you don’t need to make it worse.  Here is a list of things to avoid whilst conducting your, eh hem, business.  Oh and this is mostly rules for men’s restrooms, seeing as how I haven’t spent nearly as much time in women’s restrooms…

-Before you think too hard about that-

(in no particular order)

Rule 1: Prolonged Eye Contact

Few things are more uncomfortable than prolonged and subtly amorous eye contact with a stranger in a public restroom.

Rule 2: S*** Talking

If you’re in a stall, and I’m not, there’s no need for you to talk to me.  No matter how bored you are in there.

Rule 3: Eyes Front

This one should hopefully speak for itself, but as curious as you are, attempting to sneakily look at my penis- WEIRD.  It’s not a self-conscious thing, it’s a “watching other guys pee isn’t okay” thing.

Rule 4: WASH YOUR HANDS

Rinsing doesn’t count, don’t think I didn’t notice that lack of soap. You disgust me.

Rule 5: If It’s Anything, Flush it Down

This is a public restroom, not Mexico. Also, I think you might have a kidney problem…

Rule 6: No Phoney Business

Does the person you’re talking on the phone with realize you’re going to the bathroom? Isn’t that weird for them? It’s weird for me.

Rule 7: What Are You– Oh Dear God…

…………………………………..Don’t do that.

Rule 8: Don’t Get Handsy

No, not like THAT, you freak. But don’t do that either.  What I’m getting at are post-bathroom handshakes, try to avoid them.  Are your hands wet because you washed them? Or is that something else…

Rule 9: Keep Your Pants On

This ones for the urinal users, obviously.  They make zippers and stuff in pants for a reason, don’t pull your flipping pants all the way down to use a urinal.  Who thinks that’s normal after age 4??

Rule 10: The Golden (no pun intended) Rule

If there are more than two urinals in the bathroom, and I’m the only one in there, DON’T use the one directly next to me.  Any guy will attest to the weirdness of this, especially in bathrooms with no partitions in between the urinals.  I know you’re lonely, but I don’t want to be in the splash zone here.  BLEHHHH.

Hopefully you now share my phobia of public restrooms,

-Andrew

  • Girl wearing tiny, skin-colored shorts + peripheral vision = double-take.

 Try not to wear shorts that exactly match your skin color, or else images of pantslessness are conjured in my brain.

Also, get some bigger shorts. Come on now.

This is actually kind of depressing... Irony?

  • I don’t know how I manage to so frequently be the only one who shows up to a cancelled class, but walking into an empty classroom when you’re afraid of being late is always disorienting.

“Gottahurrygottahurrygottahurr– s***, am I in the right roo– what time is–where’s my class sched–Ohhhhhhh……”

  • 80% of the use I get out of my phone is pretending to text in order to avoid eye contact or awkward situations.  The remainder of its use is 10% obsessively checking the time, 8% actually texting, and the last 2% is making a call when I’m too lazy to text.
  • Note to self: Girlfriend > Minecraft….
  • I can hear you mouth breathing from across the computer lab, that must be some intense anime you’re watching there. And the most undesirable person in the computer lab award goes to…

Okay, that’s not fair, you’re not making a ton of noise, so props for that.  You’re just insanely creepy.

  • Just because you’re tall enough to see over the partitions in the shower stalls doesn’t mean you should.
  • Sunburned fat guy with a farmer’s tan and a sleeveless shirt riding a longboard, LOL @ your appearance.
  • So if someone is walking behind me and I push the handicapped button for them, is that the same as holding the door open? I think so. Work smarter, not harder.

If I have to explain this, just forget you saw it.

  • It’s kind of poetic that the day before my huge terrifying Honors Macroeconomics exam in Abnormal Psychology we’re studying suicide and depression.  Hopefully we go over treatment methods, because I am going to need them.
  • That was in poor taste. But STILL, wish me luck. :)
-Andrew

P.S. If you have any suggestions or things you’d like me to write about PLEASE let me know, and if they don’t suck I’ll write about them.  Maybe.

Dear Person Who Sits/Sat in Front of Me in that Class This Semester/That One Semester,

I don’t mean to sound rude, but as a bit of friendly advice, if you have more bacne than back, you might consider wearing fewer open-backed shirts.

I’m sure you’re thirsty, but mining for that last little bit of Diet Coke with your straw in the ice at the bottom of your styrofoam cup isn’t going to help.  Also, I’m about to punch you in the face. I’m in class, and that’s unbelievably distracting.

Quit oozing through the seat-back into my leg space, you squishy person you.  As much as I enjoy unintentionally kneading your muffin top with my knees, I need personal space.

Try Head and Shoulders, I feel like in a blizzard.

Pigtails work too, were you never in 2nd grade?

Your long, flowing hair is beautiful, sure, but when I’m trying to take notes and my desk is covered in long, flowing hair I don’t appreciate it so much.  Ponytail that shiz, or I’m bringing scissors to class.

I’m happy you’ve got such good posture, boo scoliosis and all, but you’re like freaking 8 feet tall, I can’t see anything.

You’ve got Happy Feet, sure; I know there’s an unstoppable rhythm inside your heart, fine; but stop with the foot tapping, or I’m going to have a nervous breakdown and stab you in the neck with my pencil.

Surely surely SURELY you can go 50 minutes without that bag of Gardettos.

Wear deodorant, thanks much. :)

With love,

-Andrew, (that guy who sits behind you in that one class)

And by “love” I mean creepy, unreasonable rage.

P.S. I hope I didn’t offend anyone today, but if I did, no offense.

P.P.S. It’s been far too long, dear reader, and for that I offer the sincerest of apologies.

I suppose these aren’t really volumes per se, rather a short collection of semi-coherent thoughts on a similar subject,

but I digress.

(The following was written yesterday, but the “publish” button was mysteriously unclicked…. oops. The parenthesis’d words were added today) An unprecedented two posts in two days! Wow, yay me, right? Anyone remember the last time I posted twice in two days? Yeah neither do I, I think it was February-ish.  Back when blogging filled me with a childlike sense of wonderment and imagination.

So anyway, today is part two of (the day before) yesterday’s post. Actually it’s mostly the stuff I was going to write (the day before) yesterday, but either A. It got washed off my hand where I had scribbled it to remember it, or B. It didn’t make it onto my hand in the first place. My writing process is pretty state of the art.

Moving on…

-You know when you’re following someone up a fairly tall and steep flight of stairs, and your climbing pace is just such that their ass is directly in front of your face for the entire climb? Yeah I hate that.

-I was driving on an errand at work today, and this larger woman on a bicycle was bicycling along in front of me towards the side of the road.  Normally that would have been fine.  That was her right as a bicyclist, and obesity is frequently beyond the control of the obese. It’s like a disease, I get that. Okay. BUT, it wasn’t fine.

For one, because of the ill-fitting nature of her sweatpants, half of her ass was out, and the physics of being on a bike seat did not help the image burned forever onto my retinas.  Secondly, because she was so large, I couldn’t really get around her, for fear of hitting the oncoming traffic.  Finally, she was pedaling in a comically low gear, so that no matter how fast her substantial legs pedaled, she might as well have been on a stationary bike.

I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t work for me.

-I never thought I’d say it, but skateboards are now just hipster longboards.  The fixed-gear bike of the boarding world if you will.

-Have you ever seen someone who looks really good from one angle, but really freaky from every other?

Just don’t turn your head, I’ll use my imagination.

-Dear Guy in Adjacent Shower Stall Who Shot Several Snot Rockets Whilst Showering,

YOU ARE A DISGUSTING, UNLOVABLE MONSTER.

Sincerely,

-Andrew

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