Hi all,

I figured out what courses Iím taking next semester and filled out my DIG forms so I can graduate in the Spring!  The DIG form (Declaration of Intention to Graduate, or something like that) is a form that makes you review every course youíve taken at UML and whether you have fulfilled all of the requirements.  As a double major Iíve had to be really careful all three and a half years that Iíve been here that I take all of the requirements for both History and English.  I pulled it off though and this is what my schedule looks like next semester:

American Literature II

Arthurian Literature

Shakespeare II

Civil War in Memory

Stalinist Russia

Life Science I

 

It is a bizarre mixture of upper level courses and simple general education courses that I ignored semesters ago.  I purposefully designed it this way though so I would have an easier second semester senior year than the one I am grinding through right now.

I can technically sign up for these classes tomorrow, but there is a hold on my ISIS account for missing fees.  Uh ohÖ  Looks like that Radioshack paycheck is going to wiped out almost right awayÖ

In other news the semester is going pretty well for me.  My grades havenít been what they used to be but I think Iím finally starting to get the dreaded senioritis.  Iím counting the days down to winter break and could really use a vacation.  We got yesterday off because of Veterans Day so that was a nice time to catch up on some reading that Iíve been falling behind on. 

How is everyone elseís semester going?  Anyone as tired as I am?

See you around campus,

Jimmy

Laundry on Campus

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Greetings Readers,

Iíll start off with a sighÖI havenít had the greatest week.  Thereís been a lot of personal stuff going on thatís just too bizarre and lengthy to mention here Ė suffice to say Iíve been in a crummy mood since the weekend.  (Read: Grumpy)  Well, you should have seen the look on my face when I tried to do my laundry tonight.  I got out of work at 9 and immediately trekked over to the Campus Center to the ATM where I was given a nice shiny new 10 dollar bill (the smallest increment given by the machine.)  I then strolled on back to the laundry service machine to cash the 10 dollar bill into credit on my laundry card so that the pants  that were slowly becoming self aware would once again become clean.  The machine had a problem with my 10 dollar bill though and spit it out.  Quite perplexed I valiantly tried again, smoothing out any possible wrinkle on this pristine U.S. tender.  Once again I was greeted with the whine of the machine as it spit the bill back at me, almost mockingly.  HmmÖ I thought.  Aha!  If I had taken the time to read the little note below the machine I would have seen that it was unable to accept ďnewĒ 10 dollar bills.  You know, the 10 dollar bills that have been about for about five years.  No big deal I think Ė Iíll just run to the commuter cafť to get two fives for a ten. 

I journey across South Campus again to the cafť only to discover that they are unable to make change because the drawer wonít open unless a transaction is made.  I contemplated just buying a candy bar and using the change that I would receive in the machine but that would be admitting defeat to the laundry machine.  So I, now getting a little frustrated, make a final journey to the Hess gas station down the road to get my troublesome bill turned in.  Of all nights the Hess station was out of five dollar bills and the cashier was unwilling to give me 10 ones because he was running low. 

This is when the eye twitching started.  I finally caved in and bought a snickers bar and received my 8 single dollar bills to get some darn laundry done Ė much to the chagrin of the cashier.

Why should I have to pay one dollar to wash and one dollar to dry each load of my laundry when the machine that is supposed to credit my laundry card wonít even take legal money?

Not to mention, one of the machines, of course the one I chose, decides that it wonít accept the full one dollar credit and only adds 75 cents to the machine.  No big deal I think Ė there will be an additional 25 cents on the card at least, right?  Please?  NopeÖthe machine ate a quarter!  I donít mean to complain so much about a mere 25 cents, but it is the principle of the matter.

I know this entry sounds whiney (it is) but this is an example of such a small and trivial thing that once youíve had a bad day just makes everything seem so much worse.

I beg you UML, for all of the socks on South Campus, and the dirty jeans, and the stained shirts, please, please make the laundry services here more accommodating.  It shouldnít be an epic journey to three different locales pretty far apart just to make my clothes clean again.

Thatís all for tonight, Iíll try and post again this week when Iím in a better mood.

Jimmy

 

Hi everyone!

My Xbox 360 broke last night and the repair would cost almost as much as a new one!  I went to go watch a movie and it wouldnít read the disc.  L  Boo!

Halloween is coming up and Iím very excited because it is one of my favorite times of the year.  Iím going to a party at a friends house and it should be a good time.  Iím going with the Continental Officer costume that you can check out here.

School has been stressful but manageable.  Iíve been working too many hours at Radioshack again though and I finally reached my breaking point and told my manager that if my hours werenít cut next week Iíd have to leave because it was starting to affect my school work.  He didnít want to lose me though so he cut me down to 15 hours next week Ė thank goodness!

There is a soccer game tonight on North Campus between Umass Lowell and Southern New Hampshire University Ė I think I am going to brave the cold and check it out.  I went to so many games last year but Iíve missed most of them this semester unfortunately. 

Thatís all for now!   Have fun on campus everyone and have a safe Halloween.

 

 

Vinyl Goldmine

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Well my paycheck from Radioshack was higher than expected because of some extra commission I forgot about so I went on a vinyl record shopping spree and picked up these four vinyl records:

 

Grandaddy - Under the Western Freeway Ė 1995 - Indie

The Airborne Toxic Event Ė Self Titled Debut Record - 2007 -Alternative

The Weirdos Ė Destroy All Music Ė 1977 Ė Punk Rock

Kate Bush Ė The Kick Inside Ė 1978 Ė New Wave

Thanks to Allmusic.com for being such a reliable source for this stuff!

As you can see I always try to get a decent breadth of genres when I go record shopping.  It looks like in tonightís haul I have everything from punk to mainstream new wave from the 1980ís.  I just finished listened to all of them all the way through (another rule when I buy my records)  and Iím pretty pleased with my purchases.

So far my favorite album that I purchased was Grandaddyís Under the Western Freeway.  It has one song on it called A.M. 180.  Here is a Youtube video with the song in it.  I believe it was featured in the movie 28 Days Later.

My least favorite album is definitely The Airborne Toxic Event record.  It was a gamble because I had only heard one song Ė Sometime Around Midnight Ė and the album had received mix reviews online.  Turns out the critics were right and thatís the only really good song.  Here is the music video of the song I like on that album.

Kate Bush and the Weirdos are classic and I just wanted to add them to my collection.

What do you guys think of my haul?

Talk to you later!

Jimmy

History Club - Uh oh...

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Greetings readers,

Iím here to vent.  As you know Iím the president of the History Club and this is my first semester leading the club.  Iím doing a terrible job!  Our budget was entered late because I kept messing up the paper work, club attendance has been outstanding but the meetings have been disorganized, and I still have to do the reimbursement for our trip to King Richardís Faire a couple of weeks ago. 

They changed the way that I have to register the club and it involves manually entering everyoneís name into the club roster with their student ID number and year of graduation.  In short, itís taken forever! 

I canít do the reimbursement until I get the budget allotment from the Student Government Association and they havenít gotten back to me yet.   Once again, in short, Iím really stressed out because people are depending on me to have a good time with the club and itís been really hard this semester.  The club has had some pretty big growing pains since we are more than double the size that we were last year.  We also missed Family Day because out of the seven volunteers I was the only one who could make it to do our event.  Iím really nervous about this because technically I think it means SGA doesnít have to give us any money since we missed a mandatory event.   Yikes.

Iím going to sit down and try and figure all of this out.  Does anyone with administrative experience have any tips for me on how to stay on top of an organization that is quickly slipping from my control?

Wish me luck,

Jimmy

Howdy once again folks,

First and foremost - A Disclaimer...

This entry is targeted at the 21+ crowd at Lowell and I do not endorse heavy or irresponsable drinking. 

Now that the legal mumbo jumbo is out of the way I just had to give a quick review of the Lowell Beer Works on Canal Street.  I'm not much of a drinker but once in a while it is really fun to go here and have a few brews with my suitemates.

The great thing about the Lowell Beer Works is that they specialize in microbrews that are created in the New England area.  They don't have any "big company" brands like Coors or Budweiser but they do have a selection of about a dozen microbrews that are often times much more delicious than the larger corporationís offerings. 

 

Last time I was there I had the Hub Light which is a light pilsner much in the same style as Bud Light.  I found it too watery and it didn't really have much of a flavor.  Of course, it is a light beer and that's often what they are known for!  My favorite brew right now is a seasonal one and (if you are of age!) you should check it out.  It's called Mom and Popís Wet Hot Crop Ale.  It is a German style beer that has a full, rich flavor. 

I also like the Beer Works because the prices are pretty good for college students and the atmosphere is top notch.  It's not one of those seedy dimly lit bars with plastic cups but is instead a very modern and comfortable bar setup that I enjoyed very much.  The bartenders are really nice and there are always plenty of other college students to connect with. 

 

I almost didn't post this short little review because I was worried about it's appropriateness to the school - but heck the nightlife of Lowell is an important factor for of age students and I want to squash the myths that Lowell can't be fun.  The Beer Works is within walking distance of East Campus and the shuttle service makes it possible for nearly anyone to go and be responsible. 

 

If you 21 or older and are hankering for a trip to a fun, affordable, and friendly bar in the area I would definitely recommend the Lowell Beer Works.  Tell them Jimmy the blogger sent you!

For more information check out their official website here or give them a call at (978) 937-1200

Has anyone else ever been here?  What are your experiences?

 

To those reading this that are under 21 - be careful with drinking.  It really isn't worth it to drink underage, get caught and get kicked out of housing - or worse yet the university.  Umass Lowell is very serious about protecting its younger students and their zero tolerance policy is fair and well enforced.  Just wait!  You'll be glad you did.

 

Alrighty, I think I'm going to head out and try the Irish Stout.

See you around campus!

 

Jimmy

Hey everyone!

Once again I have to time travel to get this entry to you Ė school has been so busy.  

Iíve been working a lot still to try and get my bills paid on time and what not Ė finances are a constant worry for any college student but Iíve especially felt the pinch this semester.  I switched cell phone plans, the interest rate on my credit card went up, I had to pay for the MTELS (200 dollars!) just a week ago Ė itís rough!  
On the school front I am doing pretty well academically.  So far Iíve gotten all Aís on everything thrown at me Ė weíll see if that trend continues.  Once again I am doing well but in terms of feeling comfortable and in control Iíve got a ways to go.  I keep having to pull late nighters to finish the papers that I have had a lot of time to work on.  I guess my failure to consistenly update this blog on time is also an example of me not staying on top of due dates.  Like this blog, I eventually get it done but itís been really hard and I still need to continue to work on time management.

I am meeting with my two advisors soon to figure out the whole graduation thing and there are just so many emotions surrounding graduation right now that to try and capture all of them with words is futile.  I'm really going to miss the professors that I've had for all of these years and there are friends that I know I will lose contact with.  At least with Facebook and all of this new generation stuff it's easier to get in touch with people - but I know that life gets even busier after college and connections will be lost.  So for now, I am just trying to enjoy every minute of it and spend as much time going out with everyone as possible - while still doing well in school of course!

Alrighty, that's it for tonight.  Apologies for the tardiness of this entry - it's fashionably late as usual ;).

If you are graduating this year and are reading this - what are you thinking about?  

See you around campus,

Jimmy

A disclaimer to the reader: Although this is posted on Friday it was "retroactively" posted since I wrote it on Monday morning.  Time travel is pretty freaky isn't it?  Sorry if this confuses anyone I just did it to keep on track with my goal of two entries a week.

The History Club has a long established tradition of starting the fall semester off with a trip to King Richard's Faire.  This year was no different and like every other time it was really fun!  I must say though that I am kind of disappointed that it is turning into more of a science fiction convention than a historically themed event.  Now I'm not looking for everyone to come with an ornate Renaissance armor set, but I was kind of disappointed to see people dressed up as Stormtroopers and as characters from the Stargate Atlantis show.  I was half expecting George Lucas and Spock to be the main event at the joust.  The other issue this year was cost.  Eleven people went at 25 dollars a head and the food and drink were really expensive!  They are lucky those turkey legs are delicious because at 10 dollars a leg you quickly run out of money.  The History Club still hasn't received its budget from the school so I am kind of sweating that one out right now.

Another thing I did on campus this week was go to the Sigma Tau Delta book discussion of Kurt Vonnegut's classic novel Slaughterhouse Five.  It was a really interesting and engaging discussion and there were free cookies!  The officers of the organization know best that to lure English majors out of their musky libraries they need only provide free soda and cookies. 

I signed up for the MTEL's in November so hopefully I'll have my pre-teaching license then and will be ready to go out into the real world.  Believe me, I'm in no big rush to get out there - it seems like a scary place! 

Alrighty, I've got to get ready for class and fix up my ďfaux beard.Ē  I'm working on a goatee which will eventually lead to a moustache.  It was a dare by my suitemates that I wouldn't try and grow a moustache.  Right now it looks positively terrible but maybe I'll put up some pictures once it is more respectable.

Has anyone else gone to King Richardís Faire this year and see the ridiculous costumes?  Any advice on how to make my beard not look so crummy until the moustache grows out?  Sound off on the comment section Ė I can only hear crickets right now!

See you around campus!

Jimmy "is that a stormtrooper with a turkey leg?" Martin.

Greetings and welcome to the new and improved Jimmy!

I have been sleeping from this blog for far too long now and at last I have been hit with the inspiration to start writing again.  This has been by far the hardest semester for me on account of a variety of reasons (read: excuses) but I think itís finally time to get back out here and start blogging.  Between being really sick for most of the month of September, going through a difficult breakup, working too much at RadioShack, and having a bunch of 400 level senior English classes, I have essentially squeezed this blog out of my life.  Well I have decided this week that things will be different.  I need to adjust everything in order to, most importantly, be happy again, but also to be productive and get done what I have to get done.  I have setup a schedule and routine for myself that will allow me to catch up in my classes, get more sleep, hopefully get some exercise, and write this blog at least twice a week.  It is unfair to anyone who is actively reading this if I do not stay up with it because it must be annoying to check a blog every few days and not see one entry.  This will no longer be the case.  I am on schedule to post an entry every Wednesday at least in the form of a kind of ďstate of the jimmy unionĒ and then another entry on Fridays that will usually either relate to something political going on or something more school related.  Essentially my new schedule is as follows:

 

Wednesdays: check back Wednesday nights for more personal entries about things going on my life. 

Fridays: check back Friday nights for school themed entries such as History Club events or experiences about advising.

By using this new system I hope to establish a good base of entries for people to both get to know me and to see what is offered on campus. 

I apologize to anyone who was ever invested in reading this blog on a regular basis and was let down by the fact that I disappeared for a couple of weeks yet again.  I promise you that I will fulfill my responsibility and offer some pretty interesting ďstuffĒ about myself and about the school.  I started writing a journal by hand of more personal things so I will probably pull samples from that to give you a more private looking into what makes me tick.  I think this is important because, from the start of this project, this isnít some sort of Big Brother propaganda machine where I blindly praise the school or just give you surface information.  Thatís boring!  I want you to get to know me on a personal level so that you understand what type of student can feel comfortable at UML. 

What do you think of my new scheduling system where I will consistently write entries on Wednesday and Friday with different themes?  Is this going to work or just confuse you? 

Check back Friday night for an entry most likely about the History Club meeting I am going to later today and how the budget planning worked out this semester for the club.

 

Thanks everyone and come back soon!

See you around campus,

Jimmy

An Ode to Commuters

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Hi Everyone and welcome back to campus!

The first week has flown by and I am writing this entry retroactively now that the whirlwind has settled a bit.First and foremost, I dedicate this entry to all of the commuters out there who drive to school every single day because of their other obligations.

Although I technically live on campus Ė it certainly didnít feel like it this week!The Radioshack I work at has had a really hard time finding new employees so in an attempt to help my manager out I bit the retail bullet and worked 38 hours the first week of school.The good thing is he recently hired a new full time employee so next week Iím down to the much more manageable 20 hours a week.

What this meant was a whole lot of driving from school to work which is a good 30 minutes away (something I didnít realize when I took the job Ė but oh well I will make it work!)Going to class from 11 to 4 then work 5 to 9 makes the whole day a lot more stressful Ė thatís for sure!

So here is to you commuters of UML Ė I really respect your commitment to school and responsibilities unrelated to the University.After doing all of this driving I implore any students who are on the fence about living on campus vs. commuting to seriously consider living on campus.It is so much more of a challenge to be connected to the school when you are so busy driving and working.

With that said, the money is good and I need the paycheck soon in order to pay for the rest of my books and the parking pass before I get the infamous orange ticket.(A ticket indicating youíve been busted for not having the south campus parking pass).

On a completely unrelated note UML gets an A+ this semester for everything theyíve done so far.The move in process was the best Iíve seen and we get free cable TV in the dorms this year!The move in process was run by the RAís this year and it worked on a ticket system where you had 15 minutes to unload your stuff onto the sidewalk then move your car.This doesnít sound like a lot of time but they helped you move everything out of your car so I donít think anyone had a problem with that time limit and it helped keep a great traffic flow in front of the dorm.Once everything was on the sidewalk they had these gigantic bins that fit all of my stuff in one trip.An RA would bring the bin in and help you unload your stuff into the common room.All in all I was moved in and settled in just about 3 hours which is definitely a record.Itís a good thing too because I moved in from 11-3 and then worked from 4-9 (ouch!)

Alrighty, expect another entry really soon with a breakdown of the classes Iím taking and what I think about them.

Thanks for reading and see you around campus,

Jimmy

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