Saturday, May 31, 2008

Starting Over

Don't worry, the rest of my tales of my trip to London are on their way as are some photos. I just got the photos put onto disc last weekend, and going through them is going to take some time... I took over 900 photos.
Plus I have a bit of a dilema in that I essentially am without a photoshop program at the moment. On my laptop I had installed photoshop last year, and since the hard drive was just about full, I moved it over to my external hard drive (whom I lovingly call "Max" since its a "Maxtor") and deleted it off the laptop. It still worked just fine when I ran it from Max.
Since it worked when I ran it off of Max with my laptop, I figured it would work the same if I just plugged it in to my Grandmas iMac desktop set up.
Whenever I try to run it now, it tells me that it can't find my user name or serial number. I figure that I'm going to have to install it on the iMac, but first I'll have to find what I did with the original photoshop discs and hope that the serial numbers with them. Yes - I am incredibly disorganized.
So, I've been making do with the limited tools available on iPhoto. Basically, all that I can do is crop, turn to B&W, and tweak brightness and contrast a little bit. Thats it.

In other news, I took today off from work. I would love to say that I took the day off to kick back and relax, maybe do something fun with friends, but no. I went back to school. I went and met with a counselor to get a feel of where I should start. Let me just say that meeting with a counselor was the most pointless thing I did all day today. Essentially what I did was wait for about an hour to have her tell me that I should take the same classes that I thought I should start out with when I was looking at the requirements for the nursing program online this past week. PLUS, the craziest thing is that I told her I work full-time, yet she still suggested that I start out by taking three classes in the summer semester where everything is accelerated AND I haven't been to school in nearly a decade.
So far, I'm only enrolled in one class - General Principles of Psychology - but am considering adding another. I would ideally like to get into a Nutrition class since its a requirement for the program as well, but all of the classes at American River are full. I think that I may have to see if its available at Sac City College. If I can't get into the Nutrition class at either location this semester, I may have to put it off until the fall and see about taking English (Composition) this summer.
Where I'm going to have some potential problems is with math, it was never my strong suit to begin with and today the counselor confirmed that when I took the assessment tests 10 years ago I tested into Intermediate Algebra but she advised that I take the online assessment and print off the results if I enroll in a class so I can show the instructor. I took the online assessment for ELEMENTARY Algebra and got 50%. I totally suck. I don't want to start over in Pre-Algebra and have to work my way back up to Intermediate, but also don't want to go into Intermediate at such a tremendous disadvantage - and I am going to need to improve my math skills for the Chemistry classes that I'll be having to take. Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

London Calling, Part 1

I left Sacramento on a Monday morning and my mom drove me down to San Francisco to catch my flight. The flight from SFO to Toronto was pretty uneventful. Once there, I had a little bit of a layover before my flight to London. The flight to London was an absolute nightmare. I started out by making the mistake of not packing any type of sleep aids. Customarily, I at the very least include a small bottle of Tylenol PM in my carry on, not packing it will be a mistake I never make again.
I was surrounded by 3 babies and toddlers that screamed and cried the entire time. It was as though they all got together and had a little meeting before boarding the plane and agreed upon which kid would take what shift.
Then, there were two girls sitting behind me, I think they were probably on some sort of graduation trip. They spent the first two hours talking, loudly and obnoxiously, about how great of tans they were going to get on their trip throughout Europe, how cool it was that they wore the same size because then they could share clothes and it would seem like their wardrobes were twice as big. I was relieved when it became apparent that they were going to go to sleep... until the one sitting directly behind me decided that my armrest was her foot stool and the back fat of my arm was the cushion.
With all of this surrounding me, and the lack of a sleep aid, I only managed to get about 45 minutes of sleep on the plane.
In flight, after the flight attendants had passed out the custom papers and I was filling it out, I realized that I had left the paper with the address of where we were staying, at home. I wasn't panicked at the time because I had friends coming in on another flight after me and I knew that they'd have the address. However, I still didn't have the address to fill out the customs paperwork. I contemplated opening up my trusty Rick Steves guidebook and just pick a random hotel or hostel address, but I didn't want to be dishonest on customs paperwork So, I left that section blank. I figured it would be better to be honest and explain my situation to the customs agent and go on my way.
I wait in line to clear customs, walk up to the agent and its a girl who looks like shes about 22-23 years old. She starts with the usual questions:
"What is the purpose of your visit to the UK?"
"How long will you be in the UK?"
"A week"
"And you'll be staying at....."
she's obviously gotten to the part I left blank
"Where will you be staying while you're in the UK?"
"I'm sorry, I left the address at home when I left the states, but I'm meeting with some friends who are coming in on a British Airways flight in Terminal 5 in about 2 hours and they have the address"
"So, you're saying that you don't have a place to stay during your visit to the UK?"
"I do have a place to stay, I just forgot the papers that have the address at home"
"You are a grown adult with a legal responsiblity to have a legal address when you enter the UK"
At this point I wanted to launch into some smart assed diatribe about what do people who are aimlessly backpacking through Europe do, but I am smart enough to know that if there is any one person I should not get mouthy with it is the customs agent who can deny my entry or send me off to some back room for some sort of interrogation.
"I understand, I'm very sorry. I'll be meeting up with my friends in a couple of hours and they have it"
"Do you have ANY idea as to where it is that you're staying?"
"We rented an apartment on Elgin-something-or-other near the Notting Hill area"
"Ma'am, you are a grown adult with a legal responsibility to have an address when you enter the UK"
"Yes, I understand, I am very sorry"
And with that she stamped my passport and let me through.

Due to this little delay, by the time I found the baggage carousel, our luggage is already down so I find a spot where I can easily reach the baggage when mine comes around. And I stand there, and stand there, and stand there.
Pretty soon I realize that its the same 3 bags going around over and over and over again. F*ck.
I go to the baggage claim desk and hand over my tag that I was given in SFO. The agent looks up my claim number. Apparently, my bag liked Toronto so much it decided to stay there. This is at about noon, the guy tells me that there is another flight coming in from Toronto that will be there at about 9pm, and they can have a courier deliver it to my hotel some time between 11 and 12 that night, approximately. Whats the address for where I'm staying?
Great. This question again.
I explain to him the whole leaving the address at home, but am meeting with friends who will have it. He's very nice and says that if I can remember the name of the hotel he can look the address up for me. I tell him that its an apartment, not a hotel. He gives me some contact information for me to call with the address of where I'm staying once I have it, but that if its a hotel the courier service will deliver any time of night, but if its a residence that they do not deliver past 9pm. The flight is not scheduled to arrive until 9pm. So, even though I am feeling all grungy and covered in airplane, I will not have my luggage until the next morning... and no, I did not pack a change of clothing or any toiletries in my carry on. Perfect.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Have You Missed Me???

Last time I updated, I'd been sick for what seemed like forever.
I FINALLY got better, but then my laptop died out on me. Yup, its dead.
It will occasionally still start up, but it always insists that the date is March 31, 1979. As soon as I correct the date, the screen goes completely black. If I don't correct the date, nothing works right. Even then, it will only stay on for a short period of time, then goes black as well.
Best case scenario, I think I'm going to have to replace the motherboard. Or, at least thats what a guy at my work says - he previously worked tech support for Apple. Worst case scenario, I'm going to have to buy a new laptop. Granted, a new MacBook wouldn't be the worst thing to have happen to me, but right now, the price tag isn't exactly feasible either. I would blog from work, but they've blocked all personal blogs and social networking sights. So, I've had to resort to commandeering my grandmothers desktop.
I will have to be commandeering it a lot soon.
I have another photo show coming up at the end of June and I still have to go through a lot of photos and edit some before then. Then, I'm photographing a wedding in July that I will again have to go through and edit photos and burn them on to disc and whatnot.

So, back to the photo show. Its at the end of June, I'll announce the exact date, time and location later, but it will feature photos taken on my recent trip to London.
London was fantastic, I got to see some amazing sites, but we just did not have time to see everything that I wanted to see. I guess that only means one thing, I'm going to have to go back someday. I did love London, and a lot of the stereotypes were defied - the food was not atrocious, there were dentists offices, not everyone
had horrible teeth. Stay tuned for tales of London, and for photos of my nieces first birthday.

My other big news - I'm going to go back to school. I'm not quite 100% certain of what my ultimate goal will be, but I am heavily heavily heavily leaning towards nursing. I would have a lot of prerequisites to work through before I could apply for the nursing program, but there are a lot of opportunities in nursing, a very high demand for it, and awesome pay scale.
I just need a career that has a future in it. I don't feel that I have that where I'm at now. Yes, I'm going through career angst. Again. I'm not actively hating my job like I was a few years ago, but I'm just... dissatisfied. I don't trust that my office won't be relocated out of state in the next 5 years or so, and theres not really anywhere for me to go, not anywhere that I'd be even mildly interested in going anyways. I just don't see a career for myself where I'm at now, and I need to actively do something to improve my future options.
I know that going back to school would involve some radical lifestyle changes. I'd definitely have to cut back on my social activities and exercise A LOT of self discipline in order to focus on studying and give it the attention it needs. Namely, I'd have to cut back on going out to the pub and going out with my friends. I'd have to learn to draw boundaries with my family as to when I'm accessible to them and when I'm not.
So, I'm thinking that I'm going to start as soon as the summer semester. Its awfully short notice - only about 3 weeks, so I'm going to go in and meet with a counselor to see where I should start. I've been out of school for about 10 years, and am very out of practice. I don't know what math and writing levels I'm at, which classes I should enroll in. I'm thinking I may go for a Spanish class to start - I can enroll in beginning Spanish without having to take any sort of assessment tests, and I do seem to have an ability to pick up languages, at least thats been my experience with my travels. Bonus would be that learning Spanish would be very useful in any career setting, and that it would be beneficial to my traveling as well.
Thats another thing I'll have change with going back to school - my traveling. I think this one just might hurt the most. I'll still find ways to travel - they just may have to be on a smaller scale and will have to be timed better so that they don't interfere with class schedules and exams and what not. So, if I was going to travel on a smaller scale, I may do some trips to Mexico or Costa Rica or someplace like that where I could put that Spanish I'm learning to use.
Plus, I may have to rethink my career while in school. I'm confident that I can handle working my current job full time while taking care of all of the prerequisites and general ed requirements, but if I do end up getting into a nursing program I don't know if I could work my current job while in the program. I think the schedules would conflict. So, I'd have to find some sort of part time night job or something along those lines.
But, thats still a bit of a ways off, so I don't think I need to worry on it too much just yet.

I have decided one thing. Boys are stupid.
So, I meet a guy at the pub. We stand off to the side away from everyone else talking for about 2, maybe 2-1/2 hours. When he leaves he makes a point to shake everyones hand, but doesn't remember any of their names - except mine, and he hugs me but no one else.
I've seen him there a time or two since then, and he always hugs only me when he leaves.
So, I'm thinking thats a sign that he may have some interest, but he still hasn't asked for my number or email or anything.
Boys are stupid.