August 2002 archives

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Wednesday, August 28, 2002

UA Football Facts 2002

This year's first installment of UA Football Facts is now up for your enjoyment.

truth in advertising

I thought the ESPN UT commercial was pretty funny, if you ask me.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

so it all comes down to this

Ever since May 19, 2001, my life had been in somewhat of a suspended state. There have been times that I've had the opportunity to move in a certain direction, but for some reason or another, things didn't move that way.

I interviewed with several companies. Sometimes I got dinged. Sometimes I got called back and offered a position, only to find it already filled later. I even had an offer for what would have been a relatively interesting job that would pay me, someone with no work experience, reasonably well in a tough economy. But I knew that it wasn't right for me, no matter what the pay.

God started guiding me back to graduate school around late November of last year. He took my eventual goal of becoming a professor and thrust it into center stage, opening doors along the way for the dream to come true. He provided the means for me come to my first choice of graduate schools.

And now the time is almost here. Tomorrow, I have my first day of school in over 15 months. Granted, it's just one class. But I'll be officially back. And I know that the upcoming four years (at least) will be memorable for many reasons. I'm looking forward to it. Given the friendships that I've already made, I won't be walking the path alone.

Monday, August 19, 2002

front page tweaks

It's update day here at pressing on!

Just a couple of small changes on the front to report. First, the titles of the entries now serve as the links to the individual entries. Also, I've given the archives their own section in the left-hand menu, where I've included a link to the main archive index as well as the categories. Finally, I made a small modification to the "comment..." link for each entry.

Among other things, this now makes the front page WAI-AAA compliant.

apartment pictures

By popular demand (hi, mom), here's some pictures of my apartment I took yesterday afternoon.

upper body workout - day 4

Today's big effort was to get through the chest portion of the workout. I had difficulties with the last two sets last time, and I was looking forward to getting it this time. Day 4 showed areas of improvement (chest, back), areas that need to be worked on (my right bicep, particularly), and areas that I'm not pushing enough (triceps). I'll adapt Friday's workout and hopefully the progress will continue.

I'm really happy with the improvement so far. And I feel a lot better after a workout now than I did the first day.

it's official

I'm now officially a student here. I registered this morning.

In orientation, the graduate secretary said to get there early, because it would be the best way to ensure getting the classes that you wanted. I figured, "hey, it starts at 8. 7:15 should be plenty of time to be in front."

Not even close. There were 25 people in front of me when I got there. As a result, one of the classes that I wanted was filled before I could get into it. So now, I'll be taking two of the harder core courses in addition to two optional courses instead of the originally planned one and three, respectively. I hope that this fall term doesn't follow Alabama's precedent of always being much harder than the spring tems, but it's already shaping up that way.

After that, I went to get books. If there's one thing that I did not miss about college, it was shelling out hundreds of dollars for textbooks and knowing I'd never get that money back. Oh well. I guess I'll look at it as "building my personal library" or something optimistic like that. I looked at Amazon to see if they happened to have them for less, but no such luck.

I had to get up really early to get to campus, so I'm not going on a lot of sleep. I'm going to take a nap, and when I wake up, I'll do my workout.

Friday, August 16, 2002

he is a bus driver

After going to today's departmental orientation session, I am walking back to the corner of University and 13th so that I can pick up the northbound 8 towards my apartment. I look down at my watch and realize that the southbound 8 should be heading this way pretty soon as well. I look up at the sky. It is becoming overcast, and it appears that one of Florida's famous mini-storms is brewing.

As I make the turn around the bend onto what becomes NW 13th Street, I see the southbound 8, true to my prediction. Another look at the sky confirms that this would likely be the better choice to sitting and waiting for the northbound 8, the arrival time of which I just realize I don't know.

I'm not at the bus stop, but luckily the University/13th traffic light is red, giving me just enough time to break into a jog and flag the driver down. He lets me on the bus, and I show him my ID card.

10 seconds after I take my seat, rain starts to fall. I thank God for timely buses.

We are heading south, but I know that it'll be going back north eventually. I have nothing more on the agenda for today, so I sit in my seat and relax.

Bus stops, people exit. Bus starts again. Bus stops. People get on, people get off. Repeat until we get to Shands Medical, the southernmost point on the line.

"End of the line," the driver calls out. People get up and exit. I am not one of them. A young female student does not leave either.

"This is the last stop on the line," the driver addresses me. "Were you trying to get somewhere else?"

"I was going back up to 23rd," I reply, wondering if I'm going to have to get off of the bus and find my way back somehow on a bus service whose routes I'm still learning.

"You have to pay again, or...you a student?"

Ah...show the card again. "Yes, sir," I say, the relief evident in my voice. The Gator1 ID card makes another appearance, and I'm free to ride back to my intented location.

The bus driver explains. "Yeah, the system's based on a one-way, one-fare rule. You have to show your card again if you're a student. At least, you're supposed to have to. I don't know if all the drivers check it or not."

"I understand. You're just looking out for yourself."

He swells up a little bit, proud of his attention to detail. "Well, yeah...it's part of your job."

I tell him that I didn't know; I'm new in town. He directs me to a magazine rack anchored to the back of his seat; in it are the new routes for the upcoming year. "Just came out this week," he says.

I grab one and thank him. I'm leafing through it as we wait for the bus to start its northbound route. The driver can't leave before a specific time.

After about 5 minutes, the driver makes his way around Shands and back to 13th Street. Just before the turn, we are stopped at a traffic light behind a white Stratus. The light turns green, and the Dodge doesn't go off the line as quickly as the driver would like. He motions toward his horn. "Letting off a little steam," I think to myself.

BEEP BEEP! BEEEEEEP!

Apparently, he needed to let off a little externally. The Dodge complies.

We travel back up 13th and reach the stop right before the road my apartment is on. It's the closest one to my complex, but it's still about a half-mile walk to my apartment. It'll have to do. I press the strip by my seat to signal the driver. He comes to a stop, and the doors open.

"Thanks for your help, sir."

"Have a good evening, now."

Thursday, August 15, 2002

the ultimate brush-off

You know, I haven't ever exactly had a whole lot of luck in the love department, but at least I've never been on the receiving end of one of these phone numbers.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

upper body workout - day 3

Today was another step in the right direction. I pushed myself pretty hard again today by stepping up the bench press weight again, and it showed. I wasn't able to complete the final two sets, but that's okay. It gives me something to work towards on Monday. On the positive front, I completed the biceps sets with my right arm as well as my left! This is a big accomplishment. Now I can finally move upward a little bit there on Monday!

Day 3's results show a steady improvement overall. I'm very pleased with my progress thus far. I'm pushing myself well. I wasn't this far along last time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

the spice of life

I am a man of simple tastes when it comes to food, for the most part. I'm willing to try most things at least once, but I know when I like something and I know when I don't. At least most of the time. Chinese food is the most glaring exception (what was I thinking?)

That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I tried a Boca Burger for the first time. For those who don't know, a Boca Burger is a vegetarian burger. Now, before you gag, I'll come right out and say that it tastes more like real meat than I would have expected. Much more, in fact. I usually give my burgers the A.1. treatment anyway, which takes out any remaining non-meat taste. I especially like the fact that on the whole, they've got about 20 less grams of fat per burger and just about as much protein. Brandon likee. Now, this doesn't mean that I won't enjoy a real-meat burger every now and then too. :) But it's nice to have alternatives.

Also, I have actually cooked with a spice now (well, other than making cinnamon toast). Specifically, garlic & herb seasoning. I really like baked chicken, but I was tired of doing it plain, so I decided to try adding spices to it. I bought two kinds - the aforementioned garlic & herb, and rotisserie seasoning. Man, those things are expensive! Five bucks for two bottles! At least they'll last me for forever, practically.

Friday, August 9, 2002

back in shape - day 2

Just after I stopped feeling sore from the first time, here it is Friday. Actually, I was pretty pumped about giving it another go. If there's one thing that I've learned about workout programs, it's that the first time's always the toughest. After that, you get into the spirit of it, and it becomes a challenge, not something to dread.

Looking back on the first workout, I realized that I hadn't really pushed myself very hard in the chest exercises, so I downgraded my effort in day 1 and added weight to the lifts today. I also went up a little in weight on most of the shoulder exercises and the "high point" set of dumbbell pullovers for the back.

Day 2's results were pretty promising, I think. I managed the extra chest weight pretty handily, and the shoulder weight added to the intensity there. I almost got that last dumbbell pullover! I'll get it next time for sure. Of special note is that I completed the workout in 46 minutes, right on time, for the first time ever! I was never able to do it the first time. I feel a lot better after this workout than the first one, and that's to be expected, I would think. Now it's time to go eat...

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

feeling the burn - 2 days later

I believe that Daffy Duck said it best..."agony, aggg-oooo-nyyyyy!"

I'd forgotten just how rough the first workout can make you feel. Right now, my biceps and triceps are still screaming at me, "What did you do to us?" from my Monday workout. Making a right angle with either arm sends a jolt of pain from both, pleading with me never, ever to do that to them again.

But that's okay. Experience tells me that it gets easier from here, as long as I keep up with it. And that's what I intend to do. I've outlined my goals for this plan. I'm no fitness expert or dietician, so my numbers my not be reasonable. Then again, I'm measuring my weight and body-fat percentage with instruments that only provide reasonable figures, at best. My overall goal is to look and feel better about myself, and that's something that I can easily track progress of without resorting to numbers.

Monday, August 5, 2002

how to win friends and influence people

I hope that I don't owe Dale Carnegie royalties or anything now.

So, now that I've discussed my day fitness-wise, we move on to the next portion of the day - meeting people.

I went to a church on Sunday morning, and while the people were nice there, I didn't really get to know them that well. I'm definitely going to go back next week, because it's not fair to them or myself to only give it one shot. But they didn't have a Sunday evening service, which surprised me somewhat and lessened the overall appeal of the church to me. But maybe that's just a summer thing. Anyway...

I'd been trying for a while now to find out if there was a Baptist Campus Ministries or something similar to it on the Florida campus. Of course, you all know that I loved my time at the UA BCM and that most of my best college friends are from there. So I hoped that there was one down here as well.

Well, I couldn't find any information except for an e-mail address at first. I searched UF's web site for all incarnations of "Baptist", "BCM", "BSU", etc. No luck. Then I got wise and searched the online yellow pages. Bingo. I had a physical address. Luckily, it was on my side of the campus, so a bike ride to it wouldn't prove any more difficult than one to campus itself. So I determined today to go and make myself known.

Now, those who know me well realize that I'm an introvert by nature, so it took a little while for me to pump myself up and do it. But I knew that life here will be a lot more fun if I actually knew some people, so buck up and smile, smile, smile, Brandon!

To make a long story short, it's been a really good day for meeting people. Even though this is apparently finals week for the summer term here at UF, there were some people hanging around, and I got to know several of them. Of course, most of it was cursory "who are you, where are you from, what are you studying" information, but just being around people was something that I'd been missing, even though I've only been down here a week. I went to two different places for lunch with two sets of people, and got to know a couple pretty well. We ended up talking for an hour or so, mostly about football (imagine that, UA BCMers: football is a big topic here too!) Of course, I got kidded for my impeccable taste in teams; I've tried to console them by saying that at least Florida is my second-favorite team. I think that they want to convert me. Pray that I keep the faith. :)

Overall, everyone that I talked to seemed very friendly, and it wasn't long before I started making mental connections between them and friends from UA. Tonight, I'm going to go to one of their apartments to watch a preseason NFL game.

So overall, things have gone really well today, and hopefully I've laid a foundation that will allow me to be immediately outgoing around the people at the UF BCM. If there's one thing that I regretted about my time at the UA BCM, it was that I wasn't very outgoing at the start. Hopefully, I'm taking this second chance and running with it.

back in shape - day 1

All through the past year, I had vowed that when I got back into my own place, I'd start working out again, because I'd have my weights again. And I decided that I was going to have to follow through on that. I also decided that I'd include my progress in pressing on... because it would help me to have a physical record and it'd keep me accountable. Today, I took the first step.

I had decided a while back that I was going to follow some of the aspects of the Body-for-life program that I had followed a couple of years ago. It's a very good program, but there were parts of it that I didn't feel that I would need or that would be feasible for me to try to do, like eating six small meals a day.

However, the upper-body workout was something that I was intent upon keeping. It's a good workout; it only takes 45-50 minutes, and you only do it three times every two weeks. I figured that was something that I could keep up with. I knew that I was going to start riding my bike around town and the campus, so that'd take care of the aerobic and lower-body workouts. My legs don't need to be any bigger than they are. :)

So this morning I had my first workout. It took some effort to roll out of bed and do it. The last time that I had started a workout, I had no idea of what I could do, and ended up overestimating my strength by a long shot. I figured that this time I'd have a closer idea of where I needed to start.

I was pretty close. I pushed myself to the limit on a bunch of the exercises. My workout was a challenging one, but not impossible. Look at Day 1's results. It's not very pretty, but it's there for right now, and that's fine. I'll spruce it up later.

At the end, I was spent. I felt like I'd gone through a two-a-day, with my body reacting like you'd expect it to. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Look at this recent ESPN article, skipping down to the paragraph beginning "The first thing you need to know about NFL training camp..." and you'll get my drift.) So I cooled off for a while until I felt more like myself. It was tough to take a shower, mainly because it was difficult to get my hands over my head to wash my hair. :)

After that, I got the bike out and decided to see what a ride to campus was like. I was pleasantly surprised. The entire trip is a little over a mile and a half, and encompasses about 25 blocks. Since I got my bike tuned up, it's a lot easier to ride now. I did it pretty easily, and I think that I should be able to get in some good workouts with my bike just by riding to and around campus.

So, overall my day fitness-wise was good. My next upper-body workout will be on Friday, and the one after that on next Wednesday. After that, I'll repeat the Monday-Friday-Wednesday pattern. Body-for-life gave me pretty good results in roughly ten weeks; here's hoping that I'll stick to it and be looking good come November. :)

Coming soon: my overall fitness goals.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

first trip to campus

Today has been another busy day already, and it's only 2 p.m. my time. After all the previous days' efforts I let myself sleep in. I got up at 10 and after breakfast made my way to campus.

There is a reason that they hype the bus lines here in Gainesville. And that reason is that there is absolutely no parking at UF. You think it's bad in Tuscaloosa? Oh, no sir. Not even close. Fall down on your knees and be grateful that you do not have to try to drive a car to the University of Florida.

Of course, now that I went and got my Gator 1 ID card, I won't have to either. :)

Also today: a trip to the CISE department, where I got some information about fall schedules and e-mail accounts, the "Infirmary" (I'm not kidding; that's what the building says. Am I at Fort Florida?), where I checked that my immunization records were ready to go (they are), and the "HUB", where I went to the bookstore and got a Florida decal for my car. When in Rome...

All in all, there was a good bit of walking done, even having driven to campus. I've come to the determination that losing weight will not be difficult here. The walking combined with the sweltering heat and humidity will see to that. Good for me, I guess.