Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love at midnight

So I am 19 today.  This is turning out to be a very entertaining birthday.  It started with yesterday being a near perfect day.   PT in the morning went quite well.  I am training for the half marathon for the Drake Relays, and the training is really helping my run times for PT.  Arabic class was all countries, which I do a really good job on.  Then Math our exam was voted as a take home exam, WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO.

            I have been giving tours to prospective families.  I have given two so far, and both have gone well.  On Monday I gave one to three families.  We make the loop around campus and I tell them things and show them academic buildings.  One of my favorite stories however is not in the touring manual.  Here it is:

Outside of Old Main is a rock with some engraining on it.  We pass this on the tour which is where I start telling the story.  More than 120 years ago George Carpenter and several others came to the spot on the edge of Des Moines.  Among the trees stood a gorgeous and mighty elm tree.  Carpenter climbed up to the top of it to survey the land.  He claimed “here we shall build our University.”  The tree is known as the Chancellors Elm.  It is longer there, however the rock indicates it’s spot.  It is said that if one meets there sweet heart there and exchanges a kiss at midnight to the tune of the Old Main bell, they will fall in love.  I do not know if there has been a study done on such a thing, however, I can attest that there are 6 Drake Grads in my town.  They married other Drake grads (3 Bulldog couples), and to this day live in harmony. Aside from rigorous academic life, awesome athletics, Drake offers fairly tales.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Parties of Politics

            I managed to get an interesting look into the Republican Party the other night.  A couple of my friends on the floor are fairly active in the McCain Palin campaign.  Governor Palin came to town on Saturday.  My friends mentioned that the rally would need some help with introducing Palin to the city.  I figured that would be a pretty cool way to spend a Saturday, so I crossed party lines and went to the prep session Friday night.

            Apparently we were not going to be doing any introducing, but acting as ushers for the masses that were apparently going to be attending the rally.  The interesting part came when they mentioned protesters.  They said we as volunteers were to be stationed throughout the crowd once everything got under way.  If we heard protestors we were not allowed to touch them-apparently there was an incident in Detroit.  Then we were supposed to start the USA chant, which would hopefully drown out the protestors.  This was also the buzzword for the police to come in and “remove the threat”.  All very interesting.

            I came down with a nasty case of the flue on the day of the rally, so did not attend.

            Earlier in the week, the writers and minor voices of Family Guy came to campus, and did stand up.  It was Hilarious.  I have not laughed so hard in my life. 

            Last night I saw Body of Lies.  It was a good movie, though it supposedly took place in Amman.  None of it was shot there.  They claimed a structure was the US Embassy, which is blatantly wasn’t.  There was also talk of massive Al-Qaeda influence in the country.  Not in Jordan, the secret police so damn good that even though Jordan is right in the middle of the hotbed of terrorist activity, there has been one bombing since 9/11.  Half the country is in the government, and keeps it’s eyes open all the time.  However in terms of the story, it was pretty good.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Away and back

This weekend was legendary.  Thursday went very well.  I found out I got an A on my first mid term of college.  Go figure I get better grades in college than at Waunakee.  On Friday all of my classes were cancelled for fall break.  A fair amount of students left Thursday because the business and journalism schools do not have classes on Friday.  (Students are supposed to pursue internships on those days) 

            I managed to get a fair amount of work done on Friday, as I was not leaving till 5:30.  Rebecca and I gave a tour to three families in the afternoon.  That was a blast.  I was sort of nervous, as I had never given one.  They seemed to enjoy it, and mentioned of the colleges they looked at, I had done the best one.  Rebecca also mentioned she even learned a thing or two about her own campus. 

            Friday evening I made it up to see my friends at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.  This was an extreme difference to Drake.  I am very secure in my decision of picking a smaller school.  However, it was nice to be among the masses for a change-though, as at Drake, I saw people I knew.  I saw a few Drake students who live across the commons from me as I was walking into my friends Dorm.  I met up with a lot of my close friends from Waunakee.  We went bowling, to the Mall of America, walked around campus, and hung out.  I also went and saw W. with new friends made.  All in all it was a great weekend, but I am glad to be back at my Bulldog Home

Thursday, October 16, 2008

first grade

Iowa has early voting (via absentee) and today I exercised my American duty.  This is the first general election in which I am eligible to participate.  I got to vote in the primary in Wisconsin, but due to Iowa being more of a swing state, I changed my registration.  College kids need to vote, if only so they cannot complain. 

I shadowed a tour yesterday, and will be giving m first one tomorrow.  I am very excited but sort of nervous.  If you read my blog, and are on one of tours let me know what you think. 

            My first midterm grade came back today, which was very exciting.  I did much better than I thought.  I think I am getting better grades in college than in high school.  It is very nice to be able to choose classes that interest you, compared to having set classes one needs to take.  This is one of the things I enjoy the most about Drake.  I am not bogged down with gen ed credits.  We do have a version of them, but there are tons of classes one can take to fulfill a certain area of inquiry.  My math class, which as most people know-I absolutely despise math, is geared towards social sciences.  It is meant to help with research such as the kinds we will do in order to get a Fulbright.  Currently I am taking 4 classes that have direct impact on my major, and one AOI (gen ed.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

International Weekend

This weekend was a very culture intensive weekend.  I was trying very hard to keep my mind off of the homecoming festivities taking place in my hometown.  I am pleased that I managed to stick it through and will be able to return at thanksgiving to see my family.  To make up for the homesickness, during fall break I shall be heading up to Minnesota to meet with some friends.

On Friday night half of my floor, along with the Drake Muslim Student association, attended the International Folk Fair.  There were many different food stands.  I was a big fan of the Bosnian food.  I was talking to one of the cooks, and he said Iowa has the largest contingency of Bosnians in America.  Who knew the heartland had so much international culture? 

On Saturday night we went up to Ames to Iowa State University to a hookah bar.  Hookah for those who do not know is a mixture of tobacco and molasses and flavoring.  There is no longer the illegal substance stigma among the current generation.  In the Middle East, every coffee shop has hookah.  There were three different hookah places within 50 feet of my hotel this summer.  It is very relaxing, and above all else, a very social activity.  On the wall were pictures of the Middle East.  The captions were in English and Arabic.  One picture was taken in Lebanon, and the English said it was a grotto.  In Arabic it translated to bathroom, which I found interesting.  

Justice and Ambassador

I had an awesome weekend.  On Thursday, Chief Justice Roberts spoke at the Knapp center.  I was not terribly impressed with his content, but the fact that the most powerful judge in the world was in our presence was definitely something to behold.  I ended up getting to see an Iowa State football game on Saturday, after touring some of the small towns in Iowa.  Wherever you end up, get to know the area and the state as much as possible.  On Sunday I got to put my game face on.  Ambassador Pickering, who is the most decorated Foreign Service Officer to have served our country, was visiting campus.  On Sunday he also gave a talk in the Knapp center for a few hundred people.  The next day we gave a smaller talk to a group in the library.  Following that, myself two other students, a few alums, and my professor, had a personal lunch with the Ambassador.  This is one of the reasons I picked Drake-it brings in big names in all fields and gives students face time.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

censor from inside

There is a website that does a fair amount of advertising on facebook called Juicy Campus.  The general gist of it is a discussion board in which people post anonymously.  It ends up in libel, which is illegal.  I saw the site once, as a friend was showing it to me, and it appears there was mostly greek vs greek bashing.  With all the libel, it was brought to the attention of the Student Senate to try to block the website from being accessed via campus servers.  That means that sitting in my dorm room, I could not log onto that particular site.  The bigger issue comes up in terms of free speech.  Due to the fact that we are a private university, not public, we can play around those rules a little bit more.  However distasteful the topic was, Drake University’s President Maxwell, who paid attention to the revolutions of previous times, urged the students, not just the university, to take action against the website.  As of 30 seconds ago, one could still log onto the website, and read all of the unsigned harassment.  Therefore Drake has not acted.  However the president mentioned spamming the walls to lock up the server, etc.  He was definitely proposing out-of-the-box responses to a nasty website.  If Drake had just shut it down, there would till be students who find another way to do bash each other without owning up to the comments.  However, Maxwell had a point in saying it would be far more effective as a student run endeavor.  Here is the link to the article:

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