Saturday, September 30, 2006

Football again

I just had a revelation. I turned on the TV to catch a little bit of the game and realized that ABC is broadcasting a major sports event from my new hometown. This might seem obvious. But it's a major network, and it's State College...a town with a permanent population of approximately 40,000. Somehow, this just woke me up to the realization that if I really want to become a citizen of this town, if I really want to be involved, I'm going to have to become a football fan--or at least start caring if we win or lose. I should probably start by figuring out which team we are (why do all the teams wear blue and white?) and maybe learning some players' names.

Sounds easy, but considering right now I'd rather turn off the TV and clean my apartment than keep watching, I think it's going to take some effort.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Cut it out!

If you're in a certain age range, you might accompany the title of this post with a combination of hand movements: a scissors, a point of the finger and a jerk of the thumb, made famous by none other than Dave Coulier, TV's Uncle Joey from "Full House" (and rumored bastard ex-boyfriend behind Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know"). It's on my mind today because Mr. Coulier himself is performing (stand-up comedy) tomorrow night here on campus. In the past three weeks, Sean Paul, Bob Dylan, Jungle Jack Hanna and Uncle Joey have performed here. If that doesn't offer something for everyone, I don't know what does. Considering the oldest undergrads were about 11 when "Full House" went off the air, I wondered if he'd get much of an audience from the student body, but then one of the students I work with told me that he and his friends have contests about who knows the most "Full House" trivia. He even knows what the Tanner family's phone number was! I guess I underestimated the power of syndication.

Me, I don't want to go see him unless he brings Diz.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

You want me to pay who for the what now?

In the past week I've been surprised a number of times by how much I have or didn't have to pay for certain things around here. First of all, I called my apartment rental company to tell them I was planning on getting a cat. I knew there was an addendum to my lease to be signed, and the people at the animal shelter had told me that if I had signed this addendum before coming to pick out a cat, it would make the adoption process go a lot more smoothly. But when I called to get that addendum sent to me, the woman told me I'd have to write two checks: one a $100 additional security deposit, and the other for the $25 increase in rent for pet owners! Whaaa? The wind went out of my sails immediately. I'm already paying more than I want to pay for my apartment, and I love cats, but am I willing to spend $300 per year for one? Plus, I just object to this fee on principal. If they have an extra $100 in security deposit, what the hell do they need another $25 per month for? What additional monthly costs will they incur by me having a small domesticated animal in my apartment? I have never heard of this before in my life, and it really irritates me. Argh. Yes, I'm aware that not getting a cat to protest the unfair fees is definitely akin to cutting off my proverbial nose, but that's the way it is going to be for now.

But then there are things that are cheap. When I got over my initial shock at the fact that I'm not allowed to use the University athletic facilities for free (neither are students), I was pleased to note that an annual pass to all of the pools is somewhere around $170 per year, and the gym fee I believe is about the same. Plus, membership in the University Ballroom Dancing club, which I have to join to take my weekly tango lesson (first one was on Friday but it'll take me months not to feel like I am the least graceful person on the planet) is $25 per year. With that I could also take foxtrot, cha-cha, salsa or traditional ballroom lessons if I wanted to.

Then the best part: I went to the movies last night...the adult fare is $7.50, but when the guy at the register saw my PSU I.D. he gave me the student rate of $5.25. I don't think I've paid that little for a movie since I was in elementary school. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the busyness business

In recent weeks, I have commented to several people via e-mail about how pleased I am with the strict 40-hour work week I enjoy at my new job. As it turns out, I spoke way too soon and am now getting my comeuppance. It's Wednesday and already this week I've worked about 36 hours. September is a really busy time for my department and I personally have two major projects (the two single biggest responsibilities of my job) that I am wading knee-deep in right now. It's been pretty stressful--I'm new enough at the job to not fully understand the work to be done, but I've been here long enough to mostly be left alone to do it. And did I mention the 85 or so pages of reading for my class due tomorrow?

But at least for tonight things are looking up. I just finished the second training for my student volunteers, which was really successful and fun, and a real weight off my mind now that it's finished. Then to come home and enjoy a big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream with hot fudge sauce while watching Project Runway and the Daily Show...relief, however temporary, is a joy to be savored.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And we're off...

The school year here has officially begun! The students have arrived, their parents have gone home, and classes began today. The first football game has come and gone, played under the cold rains brought by the end of Hurricane Ernesto. I didn't catch much of the game because my dad and his wife Mary were visiting, but I did learn that from my apartment you can hear the roar of the crowd in the stadium, which is about two miles away as the crow flies. That's not surprising, because it is a huge stadium--the second largest in the United States! On Thursday evening, as I was driving home from work, I saw about three RVs parked in the field near the stadium. I thought there were a few diehard fans who would drive a distance to watch a game. I was a little surprised, because Penn State was playing Akron this time, not a major competitor. By Friday morning there were about 10 campers, and the field was beginning to fill up by that night. But the scene was absolutely amazing on Saturday when we drove by during the game. Two fields were filled with RVs (not to mention several other fields which had been converted to parking lots) and some ticketless fans were out with their barbecues and coolers, the rain only a minor setback for serious tailgaters. We even saw a small tailgate party in the parking garage, squeezed between two cars. I can't imagine what will happen to the town during the big games!