Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"I resolve to..."


Come New Years, most of us resolve to accomplish/do/commit to something in the next year.

And in my experience, a lot of people have similar resolutions. Here's a list of the top ten most popular resolutions.


But if you know me at all, you know I'm anything but popular. So naturally, my resolutions rarely mimic that of the general public.

They also tend to be more on the difficult side.

Last year, in my never-ending quest to stay in college, my New Years resolution was to 'Get Younger'.

Whether or not I succeeded is still up to debate. Yes, I'm a year closer to graduation but I don't think anyone would argue that I have the maturity of a 12-year old. I'll leave the verdict on my success up to you...


This year, I had no idea what my resolution was going to be until two days ago when I had an eye-opening experience.

I should probably start by letting you know that I'm a jack of some trades and a master of none.

I've got a few semi-talents (keyboard shortcuts, Facebook pokes, getting in the 'friend zone') but I lack in some critical areas.

For example, I don't know anything about cars.

I mean nothing.

So when my car started going into neutral whenever I took slow turns a month ago, I figured I'd just take it in for a checkup over break and everything would be fine.

Two days ago, I took it to the mechanic. Yesterday, I got a phone call. It went a little something like this...

Mechanic: "I've got some sort-of bad news..."
Pomer: (crap) "...are you sure?"
Mechanic: "Uh, yeah I'm sure. We're going to have to rebuild your transmission."
Pomer: "Okay..."
Mechanic: "Have you been refilling your transmission fluid...?"

(10 seconds pass)

Pomer: "You mean the motor oil?"
Mechanic: "No, the transmission fluid. You didn't know there was transmission fluid?"

(Audible Laughter)

Pomer: "How much?"
Mechanic: "$1,600"
Pomer: "I definitely shouldn't have bought those Snuggies."
Mechanic: "What?"
Pomer: "Nothing, just fix it."

Click


You're probably thinking, You didn't know to change your transmission fluid? You're an idiot!

Well guess what, I can't believe that you don't know Pikachu evolves into Raichu with a Thunderstone. But you don't see me rubbing it in your face...

But that's not the point. The point is that it's a new year and we all have our shortcomings.

And you probably think that I have way shortercomings than you...

But that's exactly why I need to have lofty New Years resolutions.


This year, I resolve to become a jack of all trades and a master of two, maybe three.

And just how are you going to accomplish that, Alex?

I thought you'd never ask.

I'm never going to sleep past 9:30am.

I have a bad habit of sleeping until almost noon. But no more.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to get up and do/learn something, anything, everyday. With an extra 2.5 hours per day, I'll be able to accomplish far more than I could this past year.

Watch (read), you'll see.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

'Tis the season


Oh yes 'tis.

So I thought it would only be fitting to share a story about one of my Christmas shopping experiences.

Before I begin, let me hit you with a little background:

A friend of mine (Garrett) and I have a tradition of exchanging gifts on Christmas/Chanukah and our birthdays.

You're probably thinking, Yeah, you and every other friend in the world.

Well you're wrong.

Most of the guys you know don't give gifts to their friends on holidays. (They/We)'re too lazy.

But Garrett and I decided three or four years ago that we would exchange gifts. Sometimes, your friends know you (and what you really want) better than your family does.

And that makes for good gifts.

End background.


A few weeks ago while we were watching TV, an infomercial for Snuggies came on. Garrett idly mentioned that he wanted one of the ridiculous blanket-robes.



Being the good friend that I am, I made a mental note of Garrett's desire and chuckled at how horrible he would look wearing a robe-lanket.

A few days ago, I saw the infomercial on TV and remembered my mental note (is that redundant?).

I picked up the phone, and dialed the 1-800 number. I've never ordered something off an infomercial so I had no idea what to expect.

The Snuggie is listed on the commercial as "Buy one, get one free for $19.95."

Well guess what, it's not that simple.

I have to say, the automated operator was very polite and sounded sweet...

...but she's a sneaky b*&ch.

Let's call her Kelli.

And I should've known because I never trust girls that substitute an 'i' for a 'y' in their name. But like I said, she sounded sweet.

The first thing she did was ask how many Snuggies I wanted. So I sat there, staring at my phone thinking...

Well I want two. But the second one is supposed to be free. So do I order one Snuggie or two...?

Realizing that I may be in for more than I bargained, I cautiously pressed 'one'.

Kelli informed me that I'd ordered one Snuggie and that my second one would be included free.

Nice, I thought. (Pomer - 1, Kelli - 0).

Then, Kelli went on to offer me a bunch of "limited time special offers."

I sidestepped most of them but couldn't resist upgrading to the Deluxe Snuggie which is 50% thicker and has pockets for only $5.

What's a Snuggie without pockets? I thought.

Finally, after giving them my credit card number, name and billing address, Kelli informed me:

"Thank you your order will arrive in 2-6 weeks."

Click

No total cost. No conformation email. Nothing.

And by the way, it's not getting here by Christmas...

I thought that was a little fishy so I got online and did some research to find some other people's experiences. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

- "You call the customer service number on their site and it rings once and then they hang up on you."

- "I placed an order of two blankets... Guess what, the total is $132.55. They charged $47.70 for shipping."

- "They ask if you would like to upgrade to a more plush Snuggie (the Deluxe one). When you say yes you end up buying 2 getting 2 free."


I quickly realized that something was not right. In fact, it might even be wrong.

I did some mental calculations (on my calculator) and figured out that I'd actually ordered:

- 1 Basic Snuggie: $27.90 ($19.95 + $7.95 S/H)
- 1 'Free' Basic Snuggie: $7.95 S/H
- 1 Deluxe Snuggie: $32.90 ($19.95 + $5.00 pockets + $7.95 S/H)
- 1 'Free' Deluxe Snuggie: $12.95 ($5.00 pockets + $7.95 S/H)

For those of you keeping track, I think that brings the score to something like...

Pomer - 1, Kelli - 81.70

Gulp

I'll be giving Garrett his gift as planned and I decided to keep the second deluxe one...

But I don't really have the kind of money to spend $80 on a blanket with sleeves so if any of you do and are interested in the pocket-less variety, let me know.

It would make a great Valentine's or Easter gift. I'm not sure exactly when it's going to arrive but I'll be sure to let you all know when it does.


I think there's a lesson in here somewhere and since it's Christmas, I'll try to break it down...

Anne Frank once said, "No one has ever become poor by giving."

She was wrong.


UPDATE: A friend, Eric, just sent me this relevant article by Time on Snuggies.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Define: 'Waste'


For college kids, Christmas/Chanukah/Winter break is a time for relaxation.

Sure, you may work a couple hours a week at your old job for some present-buying cash flow but there are no papers, no projects, and no exams.

And if you're anything like me, CCW break is a period where you have a lot of free time but feel like you deserve to not spend it doing something you have to.

Break is you time.

Do something you want to do. Read a book that has nothing to do with anything.

Did you never get around to the last Harry Potter book? Is there a new Star Wars book out? Is Gossip Girls your guilty pleasure?

Read it. Who cares?

You know I don't.


Besides, I've read every HP book thrice, I know more Star Wars history then American history, and I knocked out all the Gossip Girls novels (yes, "novels") three summers ago.

So instead of reading, last Saturday, four friends and I decided over dinner to devote our time to something arguably more worthless...

Starting a new weekly TV drama.

After much deliberation, we narrowed the field down to Lost and Heroes.

The voting was fierce:

We debated the pros and cons of each show, my friend Chris attempted a filibuster by eating only one fry every 5 minutes, and I had to give up shotgun in his car for a month to get him to reconsider.

When we finally voted, Heroes won and Lost well... you get the idea.

(Heroes - 3, Lost - 2)

So after dinner, we all went to Blockbuster and picked up the first season and Saturday at 11pm, we began the first episode.

Note:
I have a very addictive personality. I don't believe in doing something half-way. I don't even believe in doing something the whole way.

If you start something, you should do it to the extreme.


And at 6:30pm last night, three of us finished the first season.

I did some calculations and figured out that during those 43 hours, I'd spent...

22 hours watching Heroes, 14 hours sleeping, and 7 hours doing everything else.

I broke it down further below:



I told that story to a few people last night and each said, "Wow, what a waste."

So I began to question my decision:
- Did I really need to watch a show until 7am two nights in a row? - No.

- Did I enjoy every second of the show? - No, I was horribly scared most of the time.

- Does my back hurt from sitting down for so many straight hours? - Yes.

- Do I see scenes from the TV show every time that I close my eyes? - Yes.

- Do I need to shower? - God Yes.

- What does waste really mean? - To consume or spend without adequate return.

- Oh, well did I get a decent story out of it? - Umm sure, why not.


Well then it's not a waste.

A waste would be doing something that I wouldn't remember a month from now or that I could easily do again in a year or two.

Now that I think about it, I can't imagine anything more worthwhile...

...except maybe this.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Getting Something Out of Nothing



A friend of mine wrote a blog post today about the frustrations of haircuts and it got me thinking (about haircuts).

After 2-3 hours of thought, I realized that while haircuts can be frustrating, they can also provide an opportunity for a little fun.

I know, I know. What do you know about haircuts? You don’t have any hair.

Well guess what… It wasn’t always that way. I used to have hair and I’m trying desperately to grow it back. So stop hating.

Besides, I have plenty of friends who’ve gotten haircuts before.

And in my experience, girls and guys have very different views of/responses to haircuts.


Lets start with responses why don't we...

What?

You want views first? Really? Are you sure?

I’m telling you, responses would make a better intro…

Fine. If you insist...


Views of a haircut:
When a girl gets a haircut, it’s not just a haircut. It’s an event. It’s an experience.

She plans it months (maybe even years) in advance and when the day arrives, she wakes up early, gets dressed up and puts on makeup.

She even does her hair.

Which makes no sense.

I asked a friend of mine last week why she was fixing up her hair to go to the barbershop (or is it salon?).

She began explaining something about how “it’s like cleaning your house for the cleaning lady but with hair.”

I don’t get that either so I just nodded slowly and let it slide.


For guys, a haircut is a haircut.

Here's how it goes:

One day, a guy looks himself in the mirror and says, “Man, I need a haircut.”

Then, he walks over to the closest barber, sits down and gets his hair cut.

End of story.



You ready for responses now? You ready?

Good.


Responses to a haircut:
A girl never gets a good haircut. The hairdresser/stylist/designer always cuts it too short.

Does this sound familiar?

“I told her to take off two inches! Two! And she went on a cutting frenzy! I didn’t even have a choice. She just put the scissors to my hair and then chopped it all off!”

I thought it might.


When she gets back though, everyone who sees her had better recognize that she got a haircut the right way or they’re in trouble.


Allow me to illustrate three settings where I did NOT recognize a girl’s haircut the right way:

Setting 1:
Girl friend 1 (note the space) got two inches of her hair trimmed off but I didn’t realize because her hair was 14 inches long before and a two-inch difference wasn’t enough to recognize.

I spent the next two hours trying to figure out why she was treating me like I killed her cat.

Finally, when she went to the bathroom, her friend asked me,

"Why haven't you said anything about her haircut...?"

And it all made sense.

I mumbled something about how “I thought she looked especially good today but couldn’t figure out what it was” and though I don’t think she believed me, at least I had some kind of excuse.


Setting 2:
I immediately realized that G F 2 had gotten a haircut because, as she would later complain, the hairdresser cut off way too much.

I was so caught off guard by her hair’s lack of length that I panicked and asked, “Did you get your haircut?” She bitterly responded, “Does it look like I got my haircut?”

We then sat in silence while I tried to think of an excuse to leave.

After five minutes, I blurted out something about needing to change my tire and ran out the door crying.


Setting 3:

Me: “Did you get your haircut today?”
G F 3: “No”
Me: “Oh”


End Settings.



Guys don’t ever get good haircuts either. But they also don’t get bad ones.

That’s because for guys, a haircut is just not that big of a deal.

And as a result, most guys don’t care if someone does or doesn’t notice a recent haircut.

But that’s most guys.

I care a lot.

In fact, my goal when I get a haircut is for nobody to know that I got a haircut.


Let me rewind real quick:

Until this year, in college I’ve been buzzing my head. It’s cheaper, easier and makes it harder for people to tell that I have a rapidly receding hairline.

This year however, I decided it was time to grow my hair out again and as a result, I’ve had to go back to the barbershop.


Play.


When I go to the barber, I intentionally do NOT tell anyone.

In fact, I usually make it a point to tell a bunch of people that I’m doing something other than getting a haircut.

Why? You ask...

Because I play a little game whenever I get my haircut.

It’s called, Wow, I really thought he got his hair cut. I guess I was wrong. It usually works something like this:

The Scene:

I get my haircut without telling anyone. I get almost nothing cut off, just enough to clean things up a bit. I see a friend of mine and we begin talking…

Action:

Friend: “Hey man.”
Me: “Hey.”

(Idle conversation goes on for a few minutes…)

Friend: “Did you get your hair cut?”
Me: “No… Why?”
Friend: “I don’t know, something just looks different…”
Me: “Really? Yeah, no haircut for me.”
Friend: “…are you sure?”
Me: “Uh...yeah. I think I’d know if I got my hair cut...”
Friend: “I guess so... Oh well.”

(The conversation goes on for a while. We go our separate ways. Later on, Friend runs into Another Friend.)

Friend: “Hey man.”
Another Friend: “Hey…”

(More conversation, blah blah blah…)

Friend: “Did Pomer get his haircut?”
Another Friend: “I think he went to refill the ink cartridges in his printer but I don’t know anything about a haircut.”
Friend: “Wow, I really thought he got his hair cut. I guess I was wrong.”


(Pomer – 1, Friend – 0)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The last night...


This is it. Tomorrow, I'll be done.
If I can just make it to tomorrow, everything will be okay.

Those are the thoughts that have been going through my head all day. Tomorrow is my last exam of the semester. After that, I'm home free for a month. A month with nothing to do except whatever I feel like doing.

Home-cooked meals, afternoon naps, a house that cleans itself, and a lot of golf.


But that's tomorrow. Tonight, I desperately need to study.

Well guess what...

I'm not very good at studying.

I know what you're thinking, you're not very good at a lot of things.

And you're right. But I'm really not very good at studying. In fact, it's probably my best anti-skill.


I've been trying to study for the last two weeks and I'm just burnt out. Red Bull's not working anymore, words won't even think about sinking in, and all I can do to stay awake is eat.

So I've spent the last two hours sitting here munching on pretzels...

...and thinking about studying.

Not studying. Just thinking about it.


And for some reason, I don't count that as procrastination. I count it as working.

If I just sit here and consider studying for long enough, slowly, all the knowledge will enter my head and stick there long enough for me to spit it out in a couple hours.

I don't know if it's gonna work but it's better than playing Free Cell or watching YouTube clips.


At least this way, I'm always almost about to study.


Wish me luck, I'll let you how it goes...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not all smiles...


I don't know about you but I feel like I'm always running out of toothpaste.

Not in the beginning I guess. When you buy a fresh tube of toothpaste, you get that invincible feeling. It's like a full tank of gas, an empty laundry bin, or a box of q-tips from Costco. You're on top of the world and it's never going to end.

Well it does end.

And with toothpaste, it starts ending earlier than you think.

About a week into a toothpaste tube, it has transgressed from a beautiful, flawless cylinder and begins taking that flat, deflated look.

After another week, you begin considering getting a fresh tube even though you know if you really work at it, you can make the one you have last one, maybe two more months.

So for the next two months, every morning, you wake up and in addition to preparing to face the day, you also have to do battle with your toothpaste.

The tube's last week is the worst. The battles are fierce, bordering on epic. And each day's victory is more uncertain than the one before it.

And eventually the day comes where you lose. You simply can't muscle out a single drop of mouth-cleansing glory.

For me, that day was today.


I woke up, like most mornings, dazed and inexplicably angry.

Gathering my Old Spice Body Wash, Sexed-Up Shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, I headed to the shower.

When I got there, I mentally prepared for the upcoming tube duel and then after 20 seconds or so, made the first strike.

Earlier in the week, I'd begun using the slide-against-the-edge-of-the-counter method to great success so I began with that tried-and-true method.

No dice.

I stepped back, caught my breath and, vowing to get a new tube today, went to my ace in the hole.

I cracked my fingers, stretched my forearms and then pressed my thumbs against the backside of the opening, pushing with all my might.

Within 15 seconds, my thumbs began cramping. In 30 seconds, I was covered in sweat. When a minute passed, I'd almost fainted.

As the minute and-a-half mark was rapidly approaching, I gave up.

Toothpaste - 1, Pomer - 0.

Defeated, I turned to a friend of mine who was also in the bathroom and asked to borrow some of his toothpaste.

He said "Sure" and handed me this...






What the hell?


Now don't get me wrong, I'm no neat freak. Far from it.

And I'm not saying you need keep your toothpaste rolled up with a chip clip like my grandmother does...


But what the hell?


What happened?


Did my friend not ever put the top back on the toothpaste when he was done?

Did he not use a toothbrush at all and just rub the toothpaste on his teeth, directly from the tube?

I have no idea.

But I didn't ask. I had to use the toothpaste. And at that point, I just didn't want to know.

Taking a deep breath, I held my nose, squeezed out a crusty-minty blend and did the deed.

When I finished, I considered throwing up but decided not to when I realized I'd have to brush my teeth again.


All in all, it was a horrible experience and one I hope I never have to endure again. As soon as I finish this blog post, I'm going to CVS and spending at least $20 on toothpaste tubes.

And if you're in the last week of your war against toothpaste, I suggest you do the same...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not in the Cards


My last post was about doing things you've never done before and how it may change your life for the better.

Well sometimes it doesn't.

Tonight was shaping up to be a great night. I'd already been to the driving range, gone on a run, had a great dinner (Japanese), and my friends and I had decided to rent the new Batman Movie before shifting back into exam-week gear.

Two friends and I drove to the nearest Blockbuster to pick it up only to realize after 15 minutes of searching that it doesn't come out on DVD until December 9th.

After spending 20 more minutes arguing over what to get instead (I even called a third party to offer some insight), we gave up and decided to just see what was On Demand.


Half an hour ago, my friends decided to see The Strangers, the scary movie of this past summer.

They asked if I wanted to join them and as much as I love spending time/watching movies with my friends, I was forced to decline...

...and here's why:


This summer, knowing that I'm easily scared, a girl invited me to see The Strangers in the theater. I think it was some poorly planned, twisted form of flirting.

I initially declined but when she offered to pay (making it officially a date), I obliged.

Now, I don't see scary movies. I freak out enough as it is during the darker parts of movies like Signs, The Bourne Identity, James and Giant Peach, Fantasia and Step Up 2.

So I made a conscious decision when I was 12 never to see a movie that's advertised as 'scary'.

Until The Strangers.


I didn't go into the movie blind though. No, no. I was smarter than that.

I read all the spoilers and knew all the plot turns. I knew every time something popped out or someone died. I knew it all.

I knew it so well that I went into the theater with something resembling confidence.

I even had grandiose visions of her being more frightened and surprised than me. She'd have to curl up next to me and I could be the strong, confident man to protect her from anything that might actually come out of the screen and endanger her.


Then the movie started and all my something-resembling-confidence dissolved into the opening song.

I immediately started shaking and when I tried to cover my eyes or ears (or both), the girl found it inexplicably hilarious and forced me to stop.

She kept this up until around halfway through the movie when she realized that I had begun crying...

At that point she pretty much stopped acknowledging me and just focused on the movie.


After the movie, we avoided talking about what happened at all (especially the crying) and conversation, as you might guess, was forced.

I drove her home and after I dropped her off, texted some sort of awkward apology.

Needless to say, she did not text back.



So right now, while all my friends are pretending to enjoy The Strangers, I'm here with you, my real friends.

Thank you for understanding.


UPDATE: They just started Happy Feet. I think I can handle that one. See y'all later.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"I've always wanted to do that..."


I say it all the time and rarely do I find myself actually doing it.

Skydiving. Surfing. Horse-back riding. Sex (just kidding Mom).

But maybe the thing I've most wanted to do but never done is go to the laundry mat/bar in Carrboro.

What a cool concept I thought, I hate waiting for my laundry to finish. But I love watching sports and having a drink.

At Super Suds, you can do both. (No, they did not paid me to say that.)

And every time I went to the Food Lion next to Super Suds, I'd say to the person (male) I was with, "Man, I've always wanted to do that..."

Until today...

...when I did that.


Before I launch into a long and drawn out tale though, let me give you a bit of background.

Bit of background:

I hate doing laundry (if you don't agree, please let me know and maybe we can strike a bargain). It's the same thing every time and it takes forever. You dread it all day and when you finally decide to suck it up and do the damn thing, you're best friend asks you if you want to go to see that new Bond movie.

You of course cannot and instead go back to loading everything into the washer. Then, after sitting around for 30 minutes, you go back to change everything into the dryer only to realize that you forgot to load that one dirty sock, craftily hidden beneath the dryer sheets.

Now you may be thinking, So What? It's one sock? You have plenty. Just wash it next time.

Well it's not one sock. It's bigger than one sock.

I know, you're thinking again:

It's two socks because you can't wear its matching sock, right?

Wrong. I solved that problem a long time ago. But more on that later...


The only good thing about doing laundry is finishing doing laundry.

I can't begin to describe the feeling of accomplishment I get when I gaze into a perfectly empty laundry bin...

So clean. So pure. So natural. And I don't have to do laundry again for two/two-and-a half weeks...

But that one sock. That one effing sock. It ruins everything. And the accomplishment is replaced with frustration, regret and maybe even doom, leaving nothing but a deeper dread of doing laundry the next time, and the next, and the next...


End B.O. Background. (Pun semi-intended)


So when I finally decided to do it and make the trip to Super Suds, because I can't do anything by myself, I sent an email to my Fraternity listserv begging someone to come with me.

I masked the selfish, pathetic invitation with something like, "We spend too much time having the same shallow conversations over and over again. How are we ever going to get to actually know each other if we can't talk about important issues, who we are and what we believe in? Well here's an opportunity for me and one of you to spend some quality time together. Call me if you have a couple free hours this afternoon and want to just hang out and chat..."

Luckily for me, someone fell for it, a guy named Daniel.


So I picked up Daniel, laundry in hand, and we headed to Super Suds.

When we got there, we were overwhelmed.

In the foreground were hundreds, maybe thousands of washers and dryers spinning complacently, rumbling softly, like the purr of a kitten. In the background was a full bar complete with TVs, vintage Pacman arcades and pool tables.

I quickly exchanged a $20 bill for quarters, threw my laundry into four washers and headed to the background...

There, Daniel and I caught the second half of the Duke-Michigan game, had a drink and discussed life. All three were great.

When the basketball game ended, I went to check on my laundry only to see it waiting to be switched to the dryer.

As I began scooping the first batch from the washer and loading into the dryer, I glanced over at my laundry bin and saw that (bleep)ing sock almost-hidden beneath it.

I muttered a few words that I will have to repent for next Yom Kippur and grudgingly went back to scooping and loading.

When I was done, I angrily walked back to the background and tried to explain the sock situation to Daniel.

He didn't understand but offered to buy the first round of pool and I felt a little better.

After four games, I went back to the foreground to check on my laundry and again, found it dry and waiting to be folded.

And that's when it hit me.

Super Suds is the answer. When I'm at Super Suds, I don't wait on laundry. Laundry waits on me.

I was thrilled. I tried to explain my discovery to Daniel and again he didn't get it.

But that doesn't matter. What matters is that I no longer have to fear doing laundry.

I unloaded the clothes onto a table and began folding with an energy that I haven't felt since my Mom did my laundry for me.

Everything went perfectly. None of the shirts were inside out, the pants folded at the seams on the first try and the socks well, let me tell you about the socks...

When I came to college, I made what I believe is the best decision of my life. I threw away all my socks...

...and bought 50 of the same sock.

Everyone hates matching socks. It takes forever and when you finish, there's always 5-10 unmatchable socks and you wonder, Where the hell are all the other socks? Then, if you've got some spare time, you start fishing in your pants pockets hoping to find a single, matchable sock to no avail. Then you look at that one dirty sock you forgot to wash and think about how it's going to be another two weeks at best until you can wear that pair.

All in all, very stressful.

But that's you.

I never have more than one leftover sock because all my socks are the same. I know. Genius.

Anyway, once I'd folded the shirts, pants and unmentionables (do guys call/not mention them that?), Daniel walked and I trotted to the car.

We got in, realized it was near dinner time, unanimously voted to go to Wendy's and drove off into the sunset...


As my time in college is coming to an end, I think it's important to actually do the things I've always wanted to do. Who knows if you'll be able to next year and it may even change your life.

I know it did mine today...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Giving credit where credit is due...


The blog is spreading (no, I can't explain it either) and I wanted to say a quick thanks to some people who are helping out/supporting me along the way.


1. New Media Campaigns (Clay in particular):

I started working there about a month ago and (t)he(y) wrote a blog post about their newest intern (me) and mentioned this blog.

I have two brief thoughts on that (though I'll be using letters and not numbers to denote the separate thoughts because we're already number-bulleting the Thank You's):


a) While I do appreciate the kind words, Clay may have exaggerated a bit as to the entertainment value of this blog.

I believe he put it a little something like this:

"The posts promise to be the most humorous and beautiful prose that you've ever read."


I've tried to set the bar low for those of you who have been reading since the beginning so that you are merely underwhelmed.

For those of you reading with the expectations that Clay set, I think it's only fair to warn you of certainly being underwhelmed and possibly (probably) going into a long, deep depression. For that, I apologize.


b) If you read the post on NMC, you probably also noticed that the first comment (and only as of today) was from my Mom. You're probably thinking (and are correct) that I should be embarrassed about that. Somehow though, my first emotion was one of pride.

(Yes, that last bullet was a selfish attempt to get an allowance raise for next month. I'm a little low on cash right now.)


End thoughts. Back to thanks...


2. A guy named William:

I woke up this morning and (like most mornings) immediately checked Facebook.

To my surprise, I had a message in my inbox.

To my (even bigger?) surprise, it wasn't a mass message from some girl thanking everyone for joining her Facebook group about her lost phone and needing people's numbers (which happened yesterday morning).

No, the message was from William who picked up this blog from the NMC post.

To my amazement, not only was he not angry that he'd wasted his time reading even a single post, he told me that he actually experienced something resembling amusement.

So, because (as far as I know) he's the first reader who I haven't personally forced the blog onto, I wanted to say a special public thanks for taking a chance and reading/subscribing. I really do appreciate it.


3. A guy named Chase:

This one's not really a thanks. I came across a blog post by Chase. He's a friend of one of my co-workers and his post had me laughing out loud (no, not LOL... the written out kind).

If you've enjoyed any of my posts, I think you'll find his post less-than disappointing. It's about a girl identified as "League-girl" who I assume he likes/has a crush on.

Enjoy...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Technology


It's great. You can now watch TV without commercials on your computer, find the answer to any question with a few clicks of a button, or identify a song's title and artist by holding your phone to the speaker.

But sometimes, it's not so great.

Sometimes, it's miserable.

I woke up this morning ready to take on the world. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the squirrels were scrambling around desperately trying to store enough food so they don't starve this winter.

Life was good...

...and then I sent a text message...

...to a girl.

And everything went dark.

There's just something binding about a text message. When you call someone on the phone, when she doesn't answer, you can always not leave a voicemail to keep her guessing. With texting though, you might as well preface each text with, "I want to talk to you now and here's why..."

That's why it's so stressful when she doesn't reply immediately. And if you're anything like me, she rarely does.

And here's the thing, it's not like I'm in love with the girl I texted today. She changed her major to advertising, wanted to talk to me about it, I told her I'd let her know when I was free, end of story.

Yet, I still checked my phone every four minutes for the next three hours and every time I saw no missed calls and no new texts, I got that sinking feeling deep in my stomach, you know, just below the rib cage.

Each time I looked at my phone, for some reason, I thought you know what, this is it. This time she'll have responded. And each time I looked at my phone, that feeling sank just a little bit deeper.

As more and more time passed since my initial text, I began the doubting stage: Did I phrase the question wrong? Should I have called instead? Was it too long? Was it too short? Did I type "hand" instead of "game"? What was I wearing the last time she saw me? Oh no, it was the new shirt my mom got me that I promised I'd wear. I knew I shouldn't have worn that damn shirt. Why did you wear the shirt? Why?

And then just as I'd resigned myself to the fact that I simply wasn't going to be able to fall asleep tonight...

She responded.

And like an idiot, I immediately replied back...

...and it started all over.

That's how my life is everyday I send a text.

Well you know what, tomorrow I'm sticking to email. So if you're reading this and are considering texting me (unlikely), don't consider it.

Because if you do, you're gonna have that sinking feeling...

...not me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Opportunity Cost


Elizabeth Arden once said, "Nothing that costs only a dollar is not worth having."

And I agree with her. That's why I love the dollar menu at Wendy's.

Up until about two months ago, every time I went to Wendy's though, I had the following mental debate/experience:

Alright, I obviously need fries and a drink, now the question is How many Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers (Chee's) do I want? Two or three... two or three... two or... Oh what the hell, it's only a dollar.

Then I'd sit down and start plowing away at my food, proud that I'd ordered more than any of my friends. After scarfing down the fries and Chee #1, I'd confidently stroll over to the cashier and ask for a refill of my Coke Zero (keeping it healthy).

Note: Before college, I ordered regular Coke. Those were the Diet Coke days, the ones before Coke Zero. But there's something about Coke Zero that's just barely masculine enough to justify ordering. (After doing some research, it turns out that Coke Zero is marketed to adult males by using "Calorie Free" instead of "Diet" since guys associate diet drink with girls. Coke - 1, Pomer - 0)

After getting my refill, I'd head back to the table and begin Chee #2. About half-way through, I'd realize that I'd ordered way too much food and start sweating profusely. As my bites got smaller and smaller, I'd begin glancing up to check my friends' progress on their dinner. After recognizing that each was almost finished with his food, I'd look down despairingly at my still-wrapped Chee #3 and see my meal-finishing dreams slipping through my greasy fingers.

In the next 10 minutes, I'd painstakingly finish Chee #2, unwrap Chee #3, take one barely noticeable nibble, and throw the rest down in frustration. After announcing my resignation to my friends, they'd look down at my near-full Chee, smirk, and we'd make our way to the trash can and then out the door.


But that was two months ago; I've evolved since then.


In September, I stumbled onto an amazing opportunity for almost no cost.

I went to Wendy's and while trying to determine how many dollar-menu items to get, decided against ordering three Jr. Bacon Chee's...

Instead, I ordered four.

Now I know what you're thinking: You're an idiot. You just spent 5 four-sentence-or-less paragraphs explaining how you can't handle 3 JBCs. How can you even imagine finishing four?

And you're right. But that's the point.

By ordering far more than I can possibly fathom finishing, I eliminate any false hope of success and as a result, I don't feel bad taking my food home.

In fact, I look forward to it.

Do you know how comforting is it knowing that you always have a Chee waiting for you in your refrigerator? I doubt it, but you (sh/c)ould, for just $1.

If you're sold on my suggestion, you can stop reading. But if you're the hard-to-persuade type and need some real-world examples of how valuable an extra Chee is, read on.

Real World Examples (True Stories):

1. Setting: The Undergraduate Library at 1am.

Me: "Hey man, do you happen to have any extra notecards? I need to make flashcards for my Sports Marketing exam tomorrow."
Random Male Student: (dismissively) "I've got a few, but I sort of need them."
Me: (reaching into my backpack) "I'll trade you for a Jr. Bacon Chee..."
Random Male Student: "Are you serious?"
Me: "Oh yeah."
Random Male Student: (excitedly handing over a pack of notecards) "Okay!"

Note: One pack of 3x5 notecards costs $1.19. For you non-math people, that’s 19% more than a $1 JBC.


2. Setting: My Marketing Class

Cute Girl Next To Me: (To herself) "Gosh, I'm hungry, I haven't eaten all day."
Me: "Do you want a Jr. Bacon Chee?"
Cute Girl Next To Me: "Oh no, I couldn't take that from you."
Me: "Oh no, it's fine, I always order an extra."
Cute Girl Next To Me: (confused) "Are you serious?"
Me: (confidently) "Yeah, you never know when you're gonna need one..."
Cute Girl Next To Me: (hesitantly) "Well I'm sort of on a diet..."
Me: "That's okay, you can have some of my Coke Zero; It's healthy." (wink)
Cute Girl Next To Me: "Haha, okay, thanks, that's really sweet of you."
Me: "No problem."

Note: Coke - 1, Pomer - 1.


3. Setting: A Job Interview with New Media Campaigns

One Of The Interviewers: "What do you think you can do for us... (blah, blah, blah)"
Me: "Well I think I can... (blah, blah, blog)"
Other Interviewer: (uninterested) "I'm starving, I think I'm going to grab some food."
Me: "Do you want a Jr. Bacon Chee?"
Other Interviewer: (interested) "Really?"
Me: "Yeah, I always get an extra one..."
Other Interviewer: (mouth full) "Wow, that's pretty cool..."

Note: I got the job.


End Real World Examples.




Give it a try. It's $1. I promise you, it's worth (more than) it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unexpected Change


I just bought $25 worth of pudding and apple sauce at CVS.

Shall I explain?



Just kidding, dumb question.


It all started Saturday. I woke up and felt a little under the weather. Not really unusual for me. I'm not really a morning person.

Actually I'm not a morning person at all. In fact, the second I wake up is the worst second of my day.

Everyday.

So waking up and feeling crappy isn't really out of the ordinary. I started to get suspicious however, when a shower with Sexed-Up didn't rouse me out of my funk. I started to get really suspicious when I didn't feel better after a quesadilla and some chips and guac at a restaurant/bar in Athens while watching the Georgia-Auburn game.

As the day went on, the feeling got worse. Saturday night, I definitely had a fever. Chills, sweating, light-headed, sore throat. Not good.

By Sunday, the fever had gone down and by Monday, I felt like a new man...

...except my throat was still killing me.

Every time I swallowed food, it hurt. And each swallow was worse than the one before it.


Naturally, I did nothing and figured I'd be fine when I woke up Tuesday.

Naturally, I was wrong.

Tuesday morning I woke up and had a sip of water. As the water crawled down my throat, I eeked out a painful scream (a high-pitched, girly scream, not a masculine, shot in the arm in a bar fight scream).

I choked down 3 generic brand Tylenol and decided that a nice warm cup of coffee was the antidote to my ailment.

So on the way to class, I stopped by Alpine (a bagel joint on Chapel Hill's campus) and picked up a large coffee. Unfortunately I couldn't drink any of it on the way to class because it was too hot (I'm very sensitive). When I got to my class however, I took a gulp and had to punch myself in the (you know, down there) in order to distract myself from the pain. I then vowed that I would call my step-dad/doctor as soon as class let out and figure out what the hell was going on.

After class, I recounted the above story to my step-dad and he asked a couple questions before telling me what to do. The conversation is kind of fuzzy because most of it was doctor-talk (which I don't speak/understand but he pretends I do) but a few quotes stand out in my sitting memory:

"You ate Wendy's, Arby's and Qdoba with a sore throat? What were you thinking?"

"Wait, you ate Wendy's twice?"

"You thought to drink coffee? That's like pouring battery acid on your throat."

I think two things are clear here.
1. I don't know what to do when I'm sick.
2. Regardless of whether or not I'm sick, I need so change my diet. Soon.

The conversation ended with instructions to get some Prilosec OTC (which I later found out is 'frequent heartburn' medicine) and to only eat 'soft' food.

I then convinced a friend to go with me to CVS in exchange for accompanying him to Wendy's.

We went to Wendy's first and I decided to try my luck with a large Frosty and a large Dr. Pepper ($4). I immediately regretted the purchase after my first sip of Frosty hung on my throat like a girl on whatever guy is standing next to me on any given night.

At CVS, frustrated and starving (I'd eaten a burrito and four chicken nuggets in the last 36 hours), I picked up some Prilosec OTC ($10) and $25 worth of apple sauce and pudding ($25).

A lot of people wake up each morning with a full day planned. Sometimes though, unexpected things happen and you have to change accordingly; you have to make do with what you've got.

And right now, all my friends are downstairs eating chicken and broccoli on rice with breadsticks and drinking sweet tea...

But hey, I've got tons of apple sauce to eat...

...and a melted Frosty to drink.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Comfort Zones


This weekend, a friend of mine and I decided to take a road trip to Athens, GA to see a girl named Kelsey who I've known since kindergarten and have been promising to visit for three years now. She lives in a nice house with three other girls about ten minutes from campus.

When you live with 40 guys all year, you forget how girls live...

...especially how they get ready to go out.



I love road trips and I'm going to miss the impulsive five-hour drives next year even though about 30 minutes into the trip, I realized that I'd remembered to pack a book for pleasure reading (which I haven't opened), but I'd forgotten other essentials like socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a towel, shampoo, and my Propecia.

When we arrived at Kelsey's (after driving through bumper to bumper traffic most of the way as a result of four separate accidents), as is the norm, I desperately needed to shower.

After explaining to Kelsey my 'essentials-less' problem (though possibly forgetting to mention the last item, which had nothing to do with the fact that several of her more-than-cute roommates were well within earshot), she reassured me that she had plenty of soap that I could use.


Allow me to clarify something, when I'm at home, I use Old Spice's Hair and Body Wash (it should also be known that I identify most with the first gentleman in their commercial). It's quick, easy and gets the whole showering job done with one simple cleanser.


So when I got in Kelsey's shower, I was a little overwhelmed when I found no less than eleven different bottles/jars/tubs of soap-like products, none of which resembled a bar of soap.

My first impulse was one of panic. I thought, don't touch any of it, just rinse off and get the hell out of there. But after calming down and fumbling through five products I didn't know what to do with (What is Curl Sculpting Cream Gel?), I finally found the body wash (cleverly disguised as Olay Body).

Once I'd finished Olaying my body, I decided to gamble and experiment a little.

Foregoing a hotel-style shampoo bottle, I decided to try out Catwalk's Sexed-Up Body Building Shampoo. And let me tell you, any reservations I had about leaving my comfort zone and testing some new products were washed away with the filth that was on my body before my showering adventure.

I'd figured 'sexed-up' and 'body building' was just advertising puffery but I promise, that stuff is legit. I was immediately immersed in the scent of a prom queen and my biceps grew at least two inches (a 150% increase).

After my eye-opening shampoo experience, I ventured toward Garnier Fructis' Sleek and Shine, which is a conditioner for "Frizzy, Dry and Unmanageable Hair."

While I don't have much hair to work with and what little I do have is neither frizzy nor unmanageable, it is dry. Or should I say was dry...

...until Sleek and Shine.


Once I'd finished conditioning my hair, I was too overwhelmed with my newfangled cleanliness to do anymore experimenting and I decided to dry off. I left the shower, threw on some khakis and a collared shirt and walked into the common room with my head held high.

Kelsey asked how the shower was and I replied with an understating, "revolutionary."

We went to bars later that night and as I navigated through crowds of UGA students, I swear I heard girls whispering to each other, "Wow, that guy smells really confident" and "I'll bet the volume of his hair speaks to the volume of his character."

And maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but sometimes being exposed to something new can lead to a change that leaves you feeling better about yourself and more prepared for the challenges that the future holds.

I know one thing, when I get back to Chapel Hill, the first thing I'm going to do is pick up some sexed-up, bodybuilding shampoo...

...and maybe you should too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Missing the message


It's important when arguing for or against something that you get your points across. Not half the point, the whole point.


Let me start this post with some clarifications.

Clarification #1:
My vision of a fraternity or sorority cocktail is as follows:
A group of dates dress up, go to a nice restaurant for a classy meal and then head to a central location where they meet up with the other members of said (fratern/soror)ity and dates for an evening of socializing.

As a fraternity member, when hosting a cocktail, I do my best to ensure that my vision comes to fruition. And barring a few exceptions, it usually does.

Clarification #2:
I am a supporter of gender equality.

I believe in equal pay for men and women, I'm a supporter of women being the major breadwinner of her family (even openly suggesting a future profession of 'house-husband' for myself), and I believe that women should hold the door for men just as men should for women.

Clarification #3:
Because of Clarifications 1 and 2, I often argue that when attending a fraternity cocktail, the man should pay for the nice dinner and when attending a sorority cocktail, the woman should do the same.

UPDATE: Particularly in this economy.

Clarification #4:
I've been to 20-25 sorority cocktails in my college career and at all but one of them, the dinner prior to the evening of socializing has been ordering in pizza and drinking cheap beer.

Clarification #5:
A nice dinner and drinks for two usually costs around $60. Pizza and beer costs around $15.

I'm fine with pizza and beer every once in a while, but it'd be nice if occasionally, the woman decided to treat the man to the same quality meal that she'd expect at a fraternity cocktail.


End clarifications.


And now for two quick tales...

Last Friday was a big night for sorority cocktails. At least 20 of my friends attended one but for the sake of this blog post, I'm only going to talk about two of their experiences (and my own of course).


Let's start with me first (since I'm incredibly selfish and this is my blog after all).

Early last week, I got a phone call from a girl who I was to be eating with before the cocktail (not my date).

It went a little something like this...

Non-date Girl: "Hey, you're going to dinner with us on Friday."
Me: "Cool, where are we going?"
Non-date Girl: "I thought we'd just pick up some pizza and eat at X's house. It'll be nice and relaxing."
Me: (You've got to be kidding me) "Sounds great, I'll see you there."


Now my two friends...

(Note: I've lectured both of their girlfriends on the discrepancy in arguing for both equal pay for women and also insisting on pizza and beer.)

Because of the Note above, I was thrilled (and a bit jealous) when I heard that the girlfriends had decided to join three other couples and go to a nice restaurant before the cocktail.

When my two friends (who share my pizza/beer sentiment) got to the restaurant, they decided to treat their girlfriends to a nice drink as an unspoken thanks for the upcoming meal.

After their meal however, when the check arrived, both of my friends' girlfriends had conveniently forgotten their wallets.


End tales.


I was astounded when I heard the stories from my friends the next morning. I didn't know what to do. Obviously, my (what I thought was flawless) argument against pizza and beer wasn't getting the point across.

And when something isn't working, I believe in changing your approach...

A great man once said, actions speak louder than words.


So for our cocktail tomorrow night, for the sake of women's equality, I'll be hosting the first ever Pizza and Beer Pre-Fraternity Cocktail Dinner.

Anyone in the fraternity is invited and encouraged to come. The more people in attendance, the more we can maximize cost efficiency.

Email me (pomer@email.unc.edu) if you're interested. When I get a tally of how many people are planning to come, I'll order the pizza and you can all chip in (you'll be on your own for beer though since I don't want to worry about underage drinking, which I do not condone).


Payback will be oh so sweet and oh so cheap...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Against the grain...


I posted a few days ago about going against the crowd instead of following it and how that can be useful. I'd like to touch on that a bit more.


At one point or another, we all have to use the public restroom...

...and most of us don't look forward to it.

You're out of your comfort zone. Instead of reading your favorite magazine, you find yourself staring at etchings of Jon was here and below that, maybe an ignorant Jon is gay.

At home, you know (or have an idea of) who was there before you. In a public restroom, it's a crapshoot (pun intended).


There's only one good thing about public restrooms...

The handicapped stall.

I mean, what is bad about the handicapped stall? It's exclusive, roomier, there always seems to be a fresh roll of toilet paper and sometimes, the seat is even higher, which makes you feel like a king.

Everyone loves it...


And that's why I never use it.

I hate the handicapped stall. It's everything bad about public restrooms multiplied.

Think about it. When you go to the bathroom, do you want to use the stall that everyone else and their mom has used or do you want to use the one that has been left vacant all day as if it's been saved just for you?

Yeah, I thought so.

I want a cleaner and less ignorant public restroom experience...

...and you simply aren't going to get that in the handicapped stall.


Yogi Berra once said about a restaurant, "Nobody eats there anymore because it's too crowded."

Well for me (and I hope you), the handicapped stall has gotten too crowded.

Efficient at Being Inefficient


I often spend countless hours writing emails about nothing or blog posts about less than nothing when I should be doing homework (inefficient).

I also refuse to use the mouse while doing work and instead, only use the keyboard (efficient).

Doing so requires an extensive knowledge of keyboard shortcuts.

A friend of mine, upon watching me seemlessly navigate around my computer, noted, "You're the most efficient person I've ever met at being inefficient."


So, in honour of a friend of mine starting a blog of his own, here's a way for you to be much more efficient.

I've heard from a lot of you that you check the blog everyday and that I often haven't written a new post. First off, I'm working on increasing post frequency.

But for when I can't post as often as you'd like and you're tired of trying to manage all the blogs you're reading, I HIGHLY suggest Google Reader.

It's a web-based reader for RSS feeds.

What that means for you is that once you quickly add the blogs you read (mine, Garrett's and Oltz's), you can simply check Google Reader and it will tell you which blogs have been updated and you can read them all on one site.

And if you're not in love with your homepage, I suggest iGoogle. Google Reader is even more convenient there.

If you're still hesitant or confused, here's a Newbie's Guide to Google Reader.


Trust me on this one. With all the time I waste writing this blog, I figure I might as well save you some...

Living in a fantasy world...


Sometimes I think of college as a fantasy world.

You're with your best friends, have relatively little work and minimal responsibility. That's why the entering the Real World next year and leaving the Fantasy one behind seems scary at times.

But sometimes the Fantasy world isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Take my Fantasy Football league for example...

I have 3 quarterbacks to choose from each week: Tony Romo, Jake Delhomme and Marc Bulger.

I thought I'd made the right decision after Marc Bulger put up a whopping -2 points Thursday night and was sitting on my bench.

Jake, standing in my starting lineup however, matched Bulger's subpar output this afternoon. That means the choice I should have made was starting Tony Romo...

...who's injured and is on a bye week.


Maybe the Real World won't be so bad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"I don't understand. Why do you sleep in a bush?"


Are you in the mood for a rant? I know I am...


How many of you go to the bar in hopes that every girl (guy) you meet forgets your interaction by the next day?

Is your hand raised?

I didn't think so.


I'm tired of going to the bar and having the same conversation over and over again.

At the beginning of the year, it's "what classes are you in?" or "how was your summer?" Last week it was "what are you going to be for Halloween?" and last night it was "who did you vote for?"

If nothing big is going on then you can always count on "(insert dialogue about alcohol here)."


Stop.

Please.


We're all unique in our own way. So instead of talking about how much you drank, talk about what makes you who you are. Or better yet, talk about what makes her who she is.

If you can't think of anything interesting, then do something worth talking about.

I slept in a bush in front of my home for eight weeks. Yeah, it sucked when it was too hot or too cold, but it made one hell of a conversation.

And I'm not saying you need to go live in a bush...

...but maybe you do.

Advertisers call this concept 'clutter'. When there's too much of the same crap marketing everywhere, it all gets tuned out.

And when you're at a bar and you meet someone, aren't you really just trying to sell yourself.

So stop adding to the clutter.


I don't know about you, but I'll always take different or surprising over forgettable.

Even when different means a little weird.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Indecision 2008


I can't tell you how many times I've had the following conversation:

Me: "You want to grab some dinner on 'X'day?
Girl: "Sure."
Me: "Where do you want to go?"
Girl: "I don't care."

Well I obviously don't care either. I'm just thrilled to be going to dinner with a girl...



So here's the problem: I don't want to have to think of a good, atypical, decently-romantic restaurant every time this happens.

Yesterday, I spent 6-8 hours in isolation trying to figure out a solution to this problem and here's what I got...

(Stick with me here)

Imagine an upscale restaurant that serves one three course meal each night. Every customer that eats there gets the same meal but the meal changes every night.

No decisions necessary.

It's like coming home from work and your wife has just put dinner on the table except you haven't married your wife yet and instead, are desperately trying to win her over by wining and dining her to the tune of a 5-star chef.

But the most important part is that you don't have to make any decisions. The restaurant does all that for you.

Yes, you're gambling on your (and more importantly your date's) meal, but that's part of the appeal.


There are some obvious flaws like people who have tricky allergies, vegetarians, etc., but no restaurant can appeal to everyone. I think this restaurant, if the food is good enough, could really generate a strong core group of customers as well as providing a unique, one-time experience.


Do you think it could work? Or am I trying hopelessly to solve something unavoidable?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I admit it, I play games...


I had one class today...

...and I was 15 minutes late to it.


Nope...

I didn't wake up too late,
I didn't run into someone on the way and talk for too long,
I didn't watch Final Jeopardy when I should have left after the second round,
and I didn't get lost.


Allow me to digress...

When I'm not talking to someone, I'm bored. When I'm bored, I like to create worthless games to entertain myself.

Last year, I began playing a game where I try not to touch any doors while on campus.

Some days I don't take the game that seriously.

Today was a serious day.

End digression.


I left for class with ten minutes to spare (plenty of time). I walked casually to the building and then up to the door...

...and waited.


Usually within the first 30 seconds, someone opens the door, leaves the building and I slyly slide behind them and the closing door.

Today was not a usual day.


You know when you call a girl (or guy) and she doesn't pick up and you're (desperately) waiting for her to call you back? You keep looking at your phone expecting her to call at any second...

...and she never calls.


Well that's how I felt today waiting outside my class. After 5 minutes, I called my mom. After 12, I considered returning home. When the kid in a red sweatshirt exited the building at fourteen minutes past, I almost hugged him (but I would have missed the closing door).


I jogged up the stairs, rounded the corner and when I saw the wide open door to the classroom, said a silent prayer of thanks.

I entered the class (feigning being out of breath) and quietly took my seat.


Would that fly in the real world?

Maybe.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Economics


You know that age-old joke about how all college kids have no money?

You know that age-old joke about how no one has any money when the stock market crashes?

You know where I'm going with this?


I, along with everyone else, am broke. So I went out and got a pencil-pushing job for some extra bills to get me through the semester. I work for the national office of my Fraternity in a small office in Carrboro. Aside from helping them improve their website, I don't get to do anything really cool. Mostly a bunch of paper filing, folding and stamping.

I'm fine with that; I need the spare change. But in a time of economic stress, most companies are trying to be as efficient as possible.

Occasionally, I spent time working on packets, handouts, etc. that my Fraternity will be receiving in the next semester. For the last three days, I've been organizing, stapling and binding a packet that is to be sent out to each chapter (alpha) of our Fraternity.

I know that when I receive this packet in two weeks, I'm going to immediately throw it away.

Talk about frustrating...


When you've only been there for a week though, it's tough to tell your boss, who's spent a bunch of money on some pamphlet, that "this just isn't going to work."

Next year, if all goes according to plan, I'll be working in an ad agency somewhere. Advertising is going through a big transition phase right now and a lot of the old stuff just doesn't work anymore.

After today, I don't think I can stomach working for a place that's still handing out pamphlets, doing mass mailings, etc.


Even if it's worth the money for me, it's not worth money in general.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Halloween


It's coming.

Fast.

Halloween in Chapel Hill is one of the greatest nights of the year. In my experience though, it's only as good as your costume and group costumes are always better than something you threw together by yourself.


A brief history:
Freshmen Year: Purple Cobras from Dodgeball
Sophomore Year: Coors Light Cold Train
Junior Year: Care Bears

This year, my friend Garrett and I decided to be Timon and Pumbaa. Subsequently, a bunch of people joined in and now we have the entire Lion King cast.

I don't want to be running around at the last minute making this costume but I don't really know how to become Timon.

Any ideas?

Monday, October 13, 2008

I couldn't handle it...


There comes a point in everyone's life where they realize that they just can't handle something.

For some it's a relationship. Others, a job.

For me, it's online courses.

I tried. I tried setting aside specific hours each week where I had to work on that class. I tried moving that class to the top of my work priorities. Instead of improving, my other classes suffered.

So I made the executive decision this morning to drop the course.

I've never dropped a class before. I didn't know how. And you know what...

It's not easy.

And maybe it shouldn't be that easy. Maybe UNC doesn't want people to get a bad grade on a test, drink a little too much, go online and in a moment of angry spontaneity, drop a course. Fair enough.

But maybe it shouldn't be that hard either...

I went to the Journalism advising office today, signed in and waited 15 minutes to ask an assistant what to do if I want to drop a class. She informed me that "all class-dropping is handled in the Steele building."

So I strolled over to Steele and asked the receptionist where to go to drop a class. After I told her my major (Journalism), she instructed me down some stairs to the basement.


Have you ever walked in on a couple that just broke up? Everyone's crying, angry and absolutely does not want to see you.


That's sort of how I felt in the basement of Steele. Today was the last day you could drop a class. Students were packed in a tiny, hot, smelly room with one sweaty, balding guy walking around with a clipboard trying desperately to keep things organized.

So I signed in, scanned the room for the cutest girl that I could find, walked near (but not too near) her and made idle conversation.


Have you ever walked in on a couple that just broke up? Don't try to talk to the girl. She's not ready.


After 5 minutes of chitchat and 15 minutes of (really not too near) solitaire, Sweaty Bald Guy called my (badly mispronounced) name.

He confirmed my major and year and informed me that "the Journalism school handles all registration issues with seniors."


I looked at him like he was an idiot. He looked at me like I was an idiot. And I went on my way.


On my stroll back to the J-School, I tried to figure out where I'd gone wrong. I couldn't. And decided to let it go.

Back at the J-School, I signed in (15 spots below where I'd signed in an hour ago) and sat down in the only open seat. The girl next to me took an interest in my class schedule and in 10 minutes convinced me to take an Audio-Video Information Gathering class with her to replace the online class I was trying to drop. She seemed nice enough. Could be fun.

Finally, the advisor called my name, I told her my situation and she handed me a form. I filled it out, signed it, she signed it and handed it back to me.

I handed it back to her.

She handed it back to me.

With a confused look on my face I asked, "What do I do with this?" She informed me that I needed to give it to the receptionist at the Student and Academic Services Building (SASB) by 5:00pm.

She looked at me like I was an idiot. I looked at me like I was an idiot. And I went on my way.

SASB is a 20 minute walk from the J-School and it was 4:45pm.

I strolled (briskly) to SASB, walked in and asked the receptionist where to go if I wanted to drop a class. She pointed up and I ascended a staircase to find the woman I'd been dreaming about all day.

I asked her, "Is this where I drop this off?" She said, "Of course" as if implying, where else would you take it. I walked out thinking...

There has got to be an easier way to do that.

I don't know much about next year. But at least I won't have to drop a class.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

After-weekend funk


I spent the morning laying around with my friends watching football. At around 5:30pm, three friends and I decided to go outside and play a little basketball. While shooting, we all realized that we were inexplicably depressed.

We'd all had a great weekend. Thursday night we had a great party, Friday we'd gone to a great cocktail, and Saturday our football team annihilated a ranked UCONN and moved into the AP top 25 for the first time since 2001.

What we couldn't figure out was why we were all feeling so down. One friend voiced it well by saying,

"I just feel like sitting in a corner and staring at a wall."


After discussing our condition for a while, we diagnosed it as an after-weekend funk.


Even with little work due this week, because there was nothing to look forward to until Tuesday night, we'd caught it. Then, in a moment of clarity, the med-school applicant of the bunch thought of the cure...

...thank god for Karaoke night at He's Not.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The first of many last chances...


Alpha Chi (a sorority in Chapel Hill) has a cocktail every year called Hayride. It's supposed to be one of the better sorority cocktails. As a senior, I've never been and my last chance is tonight.

Earlier in the week, I was joking with a friend of mine named Jordan (girl) about how I was never going to get to experience Hayride. She told me she'd try her best to get me a date.

Yesterday, she send the following email to the Alpha Chi listserv:

"Hey ladies. Still need a date? I know just the man. I don't want to say Alex Pomer is desperate to go, but no other word comes to mind right now. He is a senior Chi Psi and tons of fun. I know plenty of Alpha Chi's who have taken him to functions, but none who've regretted it. He is the self proclaimed best dancer in Chapel Hill and impossible not to get along with. When I say he's one of a kind I'm not kidding. Seriously, if you don't have a date yet and you're looking for a good time (and I mean that in the most innocent sense) Alex would be an incredible date. I've already got mine, but I'd love to see Alex there with any Alpha Chi having a great time. Bonus, I bet he'd be so excited to go he would carry your cooler (if you know what I mean). But in all honesty he's wonderful and it's his last year to try and go. Did I mention he's desperate and a ball of fun? Let me know if you want the hook up."


Today at 4:00pm (the cocktail starts at 6), a sophomore girl called me and needed a date because her date couldn't go. I don't know anything about the girl but who cares?

It's Hayride. And I'm a senior.

Graduating...


...is going to be a lot harder than I thought.


I register for classes for the last time tomorrow. I need 12 hours to graduate. No problem, right?

Wrong.

Last Friday, realizing I wasn't sure which classes/perspectives I still needed to fulfill, I tried to get an advising appointment. There were none left. No senior advisors, no journalism advisors, nothing.

So I thought to myself, I'm a smart guy, I can figure this out.

Wrong.

I'm sitting at my computer, trying to figure out which classes to take and the online Analysis of Academic Progress reads:

"An Automated Degree Audit (Analysis of Academic Progress) for the Pre Fall 2006 Curriculum is no longer available in Student Central. Students enrolled in the Pre Fall 2006 Curriculum should consult their advisor regarding requirements that satisfy his/her degree program."

So freshmen, sophomores and juniors can figure out what they need to graduate but for all you seniors, you're on your own. That makes no sense. What the hell University?


Oh well, I'll just go to the journalism UNC page and figure out what exactly is required for me to graduate.

Wrong.

The website is down. Good timing Journalism School. The day before seniors register for their last classes, let's do some scheduled maintenance.


The bad news: I have no idea how to graduate.
The good news: maybe the Real World is more than a semester away.