Saturday, November 12, 2011

WE ARE Penn State

I have a confession to make.  I went to Penn State.  Until last week, this was a positive thing.  I have been very surprised by the benefits I receive due to my Penn State degree.  I got my first job from a former Penn Stater and I now talk to many employers who say they specifically seek Penn State grads in my field.  (I can't speak for other fields, but the engineering program at Penn State is pretty well respected.)  As such, many potential clients and competitors are former Penn Staters, and the most common reactions I get when asked about my alma mater are "Oh, I went there too!", and "Oh, my cousin's nephew's best friend went there, do you know him?"  (By the way, I do not.)

This week, the reactions have been more along the lines of, "Oh, I'm sorry."  As if I had something to do with the terrible news headlines of late.  I even considered not replacing my Penn State magnets on the back of my car after I finished washing it today.  So then I thought, how can I turn this around?  I have no say in whether Penn State decides to donate their ticket sales this week to a charity (though I like the idea).  I have no say in whether the head coach deserves the blame for not doing more.  Do the citizens of Germany during the 1940's deserve blame for the horrors of the concentration camps?  I think there could be debate for either side, but generally, I say they do not deserve the blame, but they should take responsibility for the solution.

This is why I decided to look up a local charity that helps abused children, their parents, and even the abusers.  I made a donation "from a Penn State Alum".  It is not much, but maybe if everyone does just one positive thing, we can rise above the actions of one jackass and become the erudite members of society we think WE ARE.

And for good measure, I finally decided to post my version of the "Where I'm From Poem" which I revised to reflect my experience at Penn State.  (Post your own or add to the comments.  The template can be found here.)


WE ARE from extra long twin sheets, from Chicken Cosmos and Milwakee’s “Beast” Ice. 

WE ARE from the East Halls parking lot (icy, barren, it seemed it would take a lifetime to cross it on a cold winter morning). 

WE ARE from Mount Nittany, the unhiked state park trails and cornfields surrounding campus.

WE ARE from teapot renditions and dishroom towels, from Louass and Bagg and Boob. 

WE ARE from the work study programs and Caps Tournaments. 

From “when we grow up we’ll go to Penn State” and “that’s where dad wrote his initials in front of Patee Library.” 

WE ARE from “We know god is a Penn State fan because the sky is Blue and White” and using the church next to Beekman’s bagels to point us in the direction of campus.

WE ARE Pittsburgh or Philly, from strip sandwiches, whoopie pies, “Death by Chocolate” and “Peachy Paterno”.

From the stolen block of cheese, and did we mention it was five pounds?, and the racing of the keg across town to Suzanne’s place. 

WE ARE from Brodie’s old photo albums, so young, so thin, not knowing we’d remember the days till we’re 40.


No matter how hard I scrubbed, I just couldn't get the spots from those magnets to blend in, so I'm putting them back on.  A testament to the rarity of a car wash?  Shut up, Constant Reader, I'm trying to make a point.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Paranormal Nuerosis

A few weeks ago, we flicked through the choices of movies on the Netflix stream and came across "Paranormal Activity".  Adam had seen it and said it was good, and I astutely noted that "Paranormal Activity 3" is out, so it must have been decent.  (Any sane person, of course, is thinking of "Halloween 14" or whatever they are up to now and realizing the flaw in my logic.  The "Sequel Theory" most definitely does not apply to horror films.)

However, I was in the mood for a mystery, and so we watched the movie.  It is one of those "Blair Witch" or "Cloverfield" types that are filmed as if they are everyday folks with their home videos, and the actors use their real names.  It was pretty good.  Believable, but extraordinary.

It's about a girl who has been haunted by a demon, off and on, for most of her life.  The demon had not shown itself since she was a pre-teen, but had recently returned now that she was an adult, and she was not going to take it anymore.  So she and her fiancee start trying to document the issue.  Let's just say, it does not end well.

I didn't think much of it at the time, but, well, the movie has apparently freaked me out.  You see, it starts as just some bumps and thuds in the night and a door that creaks as it moves by itself.  It only gets worse progressively. 

The other night, the furnace kicked on and made a racket as the baseboards tinked and clinked, and then the cat wedged herself through the slightly open creaky basement door and I nearly had a heart attack.  I tried to laugh at myself as I got up and very quickly shut the door on the dark and noisy furnacey basement with the potential demon lurking in the shadows.

And it has been happening ever since.  I inadvertently brought back a fear of the basement, which I thought I licked in high school.  Different basement, same scary darkness.

Next time, we're watching "Tangled".

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quick Question

Is there a way to tactfully tell a co-worker that his weekly project meeting interferes with your morning poop?  Just wondering...