Sunday, March 13, 2011


The alarm clock on my phone buzzes. It's 7:45 AM. I don't want to get out of bed. I'd rather lie there and listen to the rest of the world diligently toil in their vain endeavors on this mortal coil as I drift off into a dream about a two-headed wildebeest that speaks Latin out of one head and Greek out of the other.

You ever noticed that? You ever noticed how you have weird dreams after you go back to sleep in the morning? I like those dreams. They're actually quite inspirational.

I'm a senior in college, as you may or may not know. With that being said, I'm looking for a job after I graduate on Saturday, May 7th, 2011. It's led me to make some unfortunate decisions, like deciding to get this mop I call hair under control:


There's a main reason why I keep my hair so long: because I used to have cancer and I didn't have a choice when it came to my hair length. In other words, I was more bald than Michael Chiklis after using Nair for shampoo and I didn't really have any hair options. So, in defiance of my cancer trials, I grew my hair long to show how far away from death's door I had run after pushing the doorbell.

Well, that's kind of hard to explain to folks when you're making a first impression. They say it takes 6 to 90 seconds to make a first impression. So, if in that time a potential boss sees me and thinks I look like a scuzzy reject from 1989, then it's going to be hard for me to find employment, unless I build a time machine and go back to 1989. I mean, nobody EVER will ask you why you look scuzzy or why you have a fish hook through your lip. It doesn't matter that it's sentimental to you because you can lock your fish hook with your boyfriend's fish hook on his lip and then say you both have the perfect catch.

Look. I'm not hear to expostulate about piercings; I'm empathizing with you that I have some odd decoration that I had to amend in order to impress potential employers. It's what we young folk have to do to impress the ol' fogies who have the jobs right now. Maybe when the rest of us long-haired, green-haired, pierced, and painted kids become the ol' fogies, we can set the standards. Right now, we have to adhere to them, or end up living with our parents for the next twenty-five years 'til we get the house.

Now, I look like this:


See, I don't really like this look. I'll be honest with you. It's representative of a time before I had cancer and I was more pure in heart and unsuspecting of my fellow man or unaware of just how chilly this world actually is. But, hey, it's my best look, so I'll take it.

I've got a big week coming up. It's like the third game of NFL pre-season this week. I've got to look like I'm ready to step up and make somebody's team. And make no mistake: I will make somebody's team when I get out of college in May. This opportunity that The Washington Center has afforded me has been valuable and instrumental in helping me achieve some of my career goals. I feel like I've actually skipped a few steps thanks to this accelerated professional environment The Washington Center provides.

Tomorrow is when the grind begins again. With daylight savings time upon us, I am reminded of the opening lines to Damone's song "Out Here All Night":


Summer's coming too fast; winter's been here too long.

We keep wasting our days. Pretty soon they'll be gone.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Once More Unto the Breach

I don't live in the TWC residential housing complex that's on the website. I live in some luxury apartments in Alexandria, Virginia, just right across the river. This is actually how it used to be, I'm told. In the old days -- I feel like I should look more wizened and have a shabby, white beard when I tell you this. Anyway, in the olden days, the students here at The Washington Center used to live in apartments spread across the Beltway as far as north as Bethesda and as far austral as Alexandria. Now that they have the new-fangled residential complex in Washington DC proper, they are working towards giving new students a true taste of what it's like to live in our nation's capital.

What I'm told is that it doesn't matter if you live at the RAF (the place in Washington DC) or here in Alexandria as far as roommates are concerned. You get three other roommates no matter where you live, unless you apply for the special offer of living in a single apartment WITH NO ROOMMATES.

I eschewed that offer because I had been living on my own in my first three years of college and wanted to actually KNOW what it was like to have roommates.

But, having had that offer again...

If I would have that to do all over again, I might have taken the offer. But I didn't because I wanted to know what it was like to live with other people.

A couple of roommates of mine are having strife with each other over the other's living habits. I almost feel like I'm living with my parents again. It's like the domestic dialogue never changes no matter where I go. Roommate 1 gets onto Roommate 2 for not cleaning up his mess in the kitchen and around the couch area. Really, it's like living with my parents again. My dad was more like Roommate 2, which is why he doesn't bother me. I'm used to living around a mess like that, even though I did specify I didn't want to live with someone like that. Oh, well.

Remember: I'm giving it to you STRAIGHT about what's it's like to be in The Washington Center programs. I'll tell you the highs, which I did all this week, but I'll also tell you all about the lows too because it's part of the experience. You want to come into this with pre-conceived notions, or do you want to hear what it might actually be like? Take your pick.

Let me ask you this: YOU DON'T THINK that the other 450 kids in the program they didn't give a blog to have similar situations? It's the way it is. You're in college. You're telling me you never heard of two roommates not getting along or someone having to live with that?

Personally, I don't get involved and I don't pay attention to it because the fact is I'm here for a relatively short amount of time to let that stuff aggravate me. If I were living indefinitely with three other people, I probably would assert my preferences, but I'm only here for another two months. I've got three online classes I'm taking back home -- one of which is CAPSTONE. I'm taking a course here at The Washington Center that's challenging and fascinating. I work 9-5, Monday through Friday for a venerable media institution. I'm not going to be involved in firefights when I already at war against Fate, Competition, and Time to gain victorious my own ambitions and goals.

Tomorrow is going to be another one of those seminars that The Washington Center puts on for our own career development. I mean, I like going to them. It gets me out of my internship early and I get to make small talk with people. You know, it never goes beyond that, but hey, it's still enjoyable nonetheless.

I was going to have more pictures. I bought a new camera too, but I forgot to change the settings on it to where I could take lower resolution pictures. Right now, at the default resolution, the pictures are 1.3 megabytes and the blogging software only allows for a 1 megabyte MAXIMUM. Can you imagine? Well, I have my ways of working around it, but I didn't feel like it tonight.

This weekend has been pretty milquetoast and dejected for some reason. You ever have weekends like that? Maybe it was the rain. There was just no inspiration to do anything. I couldn't get a good grip on my homework. I didn't feel like going out and doing anything. I felt like lying around and playing So there you go. Maybe that's why I was downcast. Hahahaha. I was too lazy to have a real life.

All right, let's close up shop and introduce another one of my dad's phrases:

"bleed like a stuck hog"

Definition: to profusely bleed

Example: At work this week, for some reason, my nose randomly bled like a stuck hog.

Favor the Bold

As I told you, I will be writing three blogs these week because I neglected to update my blog on Sunday night. It's sort of my penance. I'm sure you like it when I sin like this because you get more content.

Don't worry: I'm not going to be a crank in this one. In fact, I'll do what most people do when they get a blog and turn it into the cyberspace equivalent of when your Uncle Morty used to show the slides of his vacation to Barbados at Christmas Eve dinner. You know, "And here's a plate of the flying fish I ate," as the picture features the grilled fish and your uncle's hairy forearm reaching for the salt.

This has been a very busy week. I haven't even found time to do homework out of the three classes that I'm taking back home. I know I'm ahead of the game in my capstone class because I conducted a mock phone interview with the head of career services at Rogers State University and the director said I was the first one to do it. So there you go. At least I'm winning at something. I know I'm probably another week ahead in my online history class too. My goal has been to keep all of my RSU classes ahead of schedule so I can concentrate on my immediate tasks in Washington DC.

Last night, I went to the National Press Foundation's 28th Annual Awards banquet. All of the news outlets had tables there, and it was pretty much what you would expect from a trade show. Everyone made esoteric jokes about each other and you had to laugh or clap to act like you knew what they were talking about or that you wished you knew what they were talking about. Personally, I didn't laugh or clap unless I thought it was worthy of a laugh or a clap. You know, someone made a joke about the Metro, so that was worthy of a laugh. Someone else made a joke about their daughter saying something cute about Andrea Mitchell. I didn't laugh because I don't personally know the daughter or Andrea Mitchell. Andrea Mitchell, when accepting her award that night, paid homage to the late Tim Russert. I clapped. Someone else made a tribute to Jack Steinenbaum. I didn't clap because I didn't know who he was. Are you following me or not?

Here's what the banquet looked like. Again, I had to use technological trickery to shrink the size of the picture so I could share it with you. Look at these pictures while I plug my laptop into the charger:

In case you're wondering, yes, I did get my picture with Andrea Mitchell:

 Mmh. It's as close as I could get. Here's who I went with. On the left is Humberto, Carina, Sarah, and myself. We're all Media and Communications program students:

Oh, wait. Maybe I did get a good picture with Andrea Mitchell:

Thanks, Humberto. You're the boss. I couldn't have had that moment without you. It's now my crowning achievement, as evidenced by my Facebook profile picture.

If I would have had a chance to talk with Mrs. Mitchell a little while longer, which was impossible -- I mean, look at all the people surrounding us. Even though I was first to greet her from down below the rostrum, as soon as she stepped down, a gaggle of girls surrounded her and hugged her and told her how much she inspired them. So, I mean, there was no way I could tell her this, but if I could, I would have told Mrs. Mitchell that one of my prime professors in the communications program at Rogers State University KNOWS AND WORKED WITH Brian Williams. Believe it, because it's real.

The next day, which is today, I got up and had a radio interview with Congressman Dan Boren, Democrat, 2nd Congressional District in Oklahoma. Here's photo documentation of our encounter:

And you know what sucks about this? My parents are going to gripe at me over the way my hair looks, even though Congressman Boren and his staffer and me got along great and really chatted up a storm about Green Country. Yeah, never mind that I made a good impression with them. Instead, tell me they think I'm an infidel because my hair looked crazy. That's it. 

Oh, and here's audio confirmation we did a radio interview for my radio show:

The good news is that things should be simmered down by Friday. Actually, they won't be. Since I've neglected some of my RSU studies, I'll be mapping out a way to reclaim the weekend and spend the majority of it doing homework. Oh, well -- better then when I have energy than in the evenings when I don't.

Finally, let's leave you with one of my dad's sayings. Here's the new one:

"knock 'em to their knees with their elbows draggin'"

Definition: to exhaust oneself or another in a manner in which their knees are on the ground whilst their elbows continue to prop them up on a table or other similar fixture"

Example: "All of these interviews and introductions have knocked me to my knees with my elbows draggin'."

When It Rains...

What does that mean over there? "Tweet"? Is that where you can be a nit-twit or whatever? Well, if you are, follow me on Twitter at

I'll be on the level with you. I've had a pretty rough five days personally and I was afraid it was going to seep into my blog here that I write for The Washington Center. So, I contacted my 32-year-old sister on Saturday night and asked her if she could "guest write" my blog this week. You know, I thought she had a good story. Her son (married, my sister is) received his postcard that I sent him last week. Since he was five years old, and a novice at receiving mail, he thought it was the greatest thing in the world. You know, he treated it like an invitation to a state dinner and he had to go search for his cumberbund.

Well, I thought that would be a great story to read over the weekend as I sat in the dark and tried to pull it together for the upcoming, horrendous week. Well, I mean, it's not AT ALL horrendous. I've got the interview with Congressman Dan Boren, 2nd Congressional District in Oklahoma, that's going to be another ace in my portfolio. I've got this big dinner with the National Press Foundation on Tuesday night. I've got class, which I always love. So, I mean, it's not the events themselves that are going to be horrendous so much as my spirits. Actually, no, even if I were Richard Simmons, having to stay ahead in three online courses that I'm taking back home after I'm exhausted from my internship is pretty horrendous.

"Hear me, baby. Hold together."

That's a Star Wars reference -- ah, whatever.

So I call my sister late Sunday night and ask her where the blog post is.

"Oh, I totally forgot."

Well, there you go.

So it's Sunday night and I'm ready for bed, so I decide to couch it until Monday night.

I'll make it up to you readers, too. I'll post three blogs this week and then we'll get back to our regularly scheduled blog.

Here's the topic I really want to talk about because I really do think it's related to one's experience at The Washington Center. I noticed last weekend -- President's Day weekend -- that a lot of the kids either A) flew home to see their parents or B) had someone fly in to see them, whether it was a relative or friend.

What do you do that for, really? To me, the prospect of being out here a thousand miles away from my parents and my college was a trepidatious and eager one. They don't know this, but it's actually a test to see how well you can strike it out on your own in a big city.

God bless my relatives, but I wouldn't WANT them to come visit me in Washington DC. This is something I've got to do on my own. What are they going to do -- God forbid -- if I get a job in Tacoma, Washington right out of school spinning LP's and managing the radio station's website? Someone is going to come fly out and make me another dinosaur blanket?

It irks me because it's a valuable opportunity to prove you can perform the high-wire act of adulthood without a net. I mean, it's especially vexatious if these kids are juniors or sophomores. YOU'RE GOING BACK HOME AFTER YOUR 4.5 MONTHS OUT HERE! Swallow the pill and use this as a chance to build tremendous confidence when you do have to go out into the real world and your relatives can't rescue you.

I regret sounding like a curmudgeon, but I felt that was significant opinion that needed to be shared.

So what do I have going on tomorrow? No smoothies -- that's for sure. Did I tell you about that? Maybe I shouldn't. Nah, I will because it's a good story.

There's a little store nearby to my living arrangements and I go there frequently. They have small items like Coke and chips and milk and cereal, but they also serve fruit smoothies and Oreo shakes.

I ordered one Saturday night and noticed something that looked like a garlic stick stuck to the inside of the cup -- only after drinking the shake halfway of course. So, I poke my finger in there and PULL OUT A SHORT BLACK HAIR!

Major cognitive dissonance was employed on my part to go ahead and down the rest of the shake. When I got to the bottom of the shake, I noticed another black hair. I threw the shake away. I'm never going back to that place again.

All right, let's conclude with one of my dad's famous expressions and then we'll get out of here.

"cut a fat hog"

definition: to acquire a good deal at a cheap price

Example: "With Voice of America paying for my Metro passes, I'm cuttin' a fat hog in transportation prices."