November 26, 2011 - 10:55 PM
As any educated 21st century consumer knows, the easiest and laziest way to take advantage of holiday deals is to stay at home. For one, stores, with their seductive marketing techniques will make you buy much more than you need or want, and the best holiday deal of all is not wasting your money. Making a short list of what you want (i.e. socks for Mom, motorcycle boots for Dad) and checking web stores throughout the Thanksgiving weekend will guarantee you a find that better than one found shopping in a mall. Oftentimes, on websites like Amazon, wrapping options are extremely reasonable, and you have to walk to your front door or mailbox to retrieve a completed present.
As a student on a tight budget, it is important to pinch pennies where I can. Whenever I get the perfect present in my head, I never wish to compromise. If I plan far enough in the future, eBay is also a great choice. As a cyclist, I've saved thousands of dollars over the years buying used gear online. If something that I'd really like for my Father is unreasonably expensive even on sale, I'll wait patiently for the correct item at the right price to pop up at auction and save a bundle.
November 26, 2011 - 10:34 AM
I am happily at home for the Thanksgiving break, and although the holiday itself was two days ago, my stomach is still recovering from the few thousand calories that I ingested in the few hours of celebration. This year I had planned to get up early and cook everything, but unfortunately I slept in 'til 10:00 A.M. This has been a particularly stressful term, so I forgive myself for that. I was, however, able to make the cornbread and the mashed potatoes with my girlfriend (who is a much better cook than I). My mother has an ancient cast iron mold with small corn shapes, so that the corn bread actually looks like corn bread. Mashed potatoes are my specialty, I normally spend twenty minutes making them perfectly creamy, much to the happiness of my family.
All in all, the holiday was a success. I am fortunate to be close enough to home (Portland) for the trip to be relatively painless. I left at around 10:30 A.M. and got in at around 2:00, since a traffic jam only allowed me to go through Salem at a top speed of five miles per hour. I have it better than one co-worker, though, who told me he had to leave at 3:00 A.M. for his 6:00 A.M. flight from PDX to California- talk about a red eye!
November 17, 2011 - 12:00 PM
This weekend threatens the first snow of the year. Last years snow was very short-lived, but provided for an incredibly good time while it lasted. In Portland, where I grew up, I experienced more snow than most due to the 500 foot elevation of my house, relative to the flatness of much of the city. I remember at least a few days of being stuck inside each year, with my free time spent sledding.
I'd love to be able to do the same this year, and put in a few miles on my bike. Riding around with thicker tires in the winter weather is an absolute joy, and I cherish being the first to be the first to plow through the snow early in the morning. I honestly wouldn't mind riding through each every day. Needless to say, I have been following the forecast with rapt attention, hoping that this weekend will be the weekend. However you enjoy it, let us hope for some snow!
November 17, 2011 - 1:00 AM
This week marks the first time in 3 ½ years of Eugene living that I've had a car. I've normally lived between 1-2 miles from campus, and always close to food and entertainment, so a car has been entirely unnecessary for me. I've been able to cycle everywhere, 24/7, 365 days of the year without any issues, and to my great pleasure.
I am a decent mechanic, but unfortunately there a few operations that are outside of my range of abilities. Such a repair has come up, and my bike has been living at Arriving by Bike, a nearby shop, for a day now. I am in an awkward situation since my second bike is out of commission as I do some upgrades on it. I've borrowed a car from my parents for the week to get around on while I wait, as I'm a bit too far up in the hills to efficiently walk to my destinations.
One thing that I've discovered is that the University does not make the UO a convenient car destination, much to it's success, since I find that it encourages a thriving pedestrian and cycling atmosphere. There are several different rings of parking possibility around campus. In order to park immediately next to campus, one must pay for an extremely expensive permit. In the second ring of parking, one may pay at a meter. In the third, there are 2 hour time limits but free parking. I would warn against staying over one's invitation, since the parking enforcement is exceedingly successful. Most of these spots are a 5 or 10 minute walk from school, with the close ones being very limited. Still further out, the fourth ring of parking is regular residential parking, with no time limits, but a good 15 minutes or more from school. Bear in mind that none of these take into account the length of the drive.
By comparison, my bike commute takes me the distance door to door from my home to my classroom in 10 minutes, covering 2 flat miles. I feel a bit flustered without my most useful tool, and have used these bike-less days as an excuse to stay at home, rest up, and work. Next time I'll find a spare.
November 13, 2011 - 10:42 AM
Weekends are a celebrated ritual for most- a guaranteed two days to not be disturbed by the rigors of working or schooling. In college, the rigid boundary between week and weekend are much fuzzier. It is normal to have to homework to do that may take up an entire Sunday. Although we are not bound by a nine to five shift at work, this makes it much more likely that we will be assigned work to do on the days normally reserved for rest.
For me, this lack of weekends is dramatized by my work schedule. I choose to work between 1 pm and 9 pm on Sundays, with a one hour break in the middle. In order to get my work done for Monday, while still being able to have a nice Saturday off, I end up doing much of my homework for the next week on Thursday evenings and Fridays. Planning ahead is a virtue, but sometimes a paper deadline can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Midterms week is always a rush, since sometimes a Monday exam can keep me up all night on Sunday. Next term, I'm planning on spreading my shifts out more during the week and being even more on top of my work, attempting to finish projects weeks in advance instead of days. For the most part, this is all talk since a college student is by nature a procrastinator!