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Pride and Prejudice
For those of you not familiar with airport names, here's a translation: Cleveland, New Orleans, via Houston.

Okay. Originally, my plain was set to leave Cleveland at 8:40 am or there roundabouts. The problem was, I didn't have a seat assignment and the gate agent told me that they had oversold the plane -- by one seat. So guess what! I was the first and only person they bumped. I did get a travel voucher and I was just pissed enough that they increased its monetary value.

Trouble was, the gate agent was kind of dumb and she said that she said there was only one plane leaving at 12:40 and was also oversold and had a connection through Houston. There were no more direct flights, evidently. I just found all that hard to accept, so I went to the customer service and they put me on a plane leaving immediately. Still had to go through Houston, though. No helping that.

I was supposed to arrive at 11:00. The gate agent had put me on a plane leaving Houston at 3:40 and not arriving in NOLA until 5:00. I also found that unacceptable so I went to the customer service desk in Houston and got a plane leaving at 1:15, boarding immediately. I don't know if any of you have been through Houston, but that airport is fricking gigantic. I ran through Concourse C, got on a tram to Concourse E and hightailed it to my gate. I made it in time, though, and sat by a very nice older couple.

So yeah. I made it to New Orleans. It was a bit trying because I've never been bumped from a flight, much less by myself. I think I handled it all very well -- it turned into an adventure. I've also come to notice that all airports look alike and, if you keep that in mind, it's not hard to find your way around. Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Chattanooga, Frankfurt -- there's not much difference except in size.

Once I met up with my dad everything was fine. He took me to Raising Cane's, a very good chicken-fingers-only fastfood restaurant. Pictures will be up forthwith. Oh, and before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving!

Writer's Block: Black Friday Steals & Deals

Pride and Prejudice
Black Friday is known for its deals and steals. What items are you hoping to find in the stores this Friday?

I definitely plan on not shopping on Black Friday. While shopping itself is not bad, I can't stand the craziness inherent in this retail holiday. I'd rather get my Christmas shopping done at my own pace -- I don't spend very much money anyway and you can usually find good deals even if you don't go on the big day.

'Tis the Season?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This has been bothering me since Halloween. First it was just the commercials, but then stores got in on it and I even saw my neighbor partaking in this unsettling phenomenon. Then today, driving around, I saw that towns and businesses are joining in.

What am I talking about? The holiday season, of course. Every year it starts earlier and now everyone starts getting ready for Christmas right after they celebrate Halloween. Countless companies have their holiday-themed commercials on TV and billboards on the highway, ABC Family has the countdown to 25 Days of Christmas, which itself is a countdown to Christmas, stores are stocked with holiday cheer before they even decorated for Thanksgiving, my neighbor has already decorated her yard and house, and the Christmas trees are going up in the Strongsville town square.

Now, let me just say: I don't hate Christmas. Actually, I'm quite fond of it. It's the one time of year when my family makes sure that we all spend time together, we eat good food, and let's not forget about the presents. But all this hullabaloo is not about Christmas. It's not even about spreading the joy of the season.

This is commercialism, pure and simple. Companies do not care that the birth of the savior of man is being celebrated. They surely don't care about any of the other holidays taking place around this time. They only thing they are celebrating is their bottom line. It's called Black Friday for a reason, folks. Being "in the black" means that stores make money instead of losing it. The market has extended the holiday season because they want people thinking about buying gifts earlier, and really, who can blame them? As everyone knows, the economy has been especially crappy of late and many are just trying to recoup their losses.

What I take issue with is that this is a religious holiday. I am Christian, I believe in the Trinity, and I think it's disrespectful to take such a mercenary approach to one of the most important holidays. I know that this is nothing new, that there has been rampant commercialism for ages now, but it still rubs me the wrong way.

Now, I'm not saying that everything needs to change. I understand the fact that companies need to make money, and one of the things that helps them do so is advertising. I also don't mind gift giving. I think it is a good way of showing the people you love that you care. I just wish that the holiday itself wasn't looked over. I know that there are fewer Christians now than ever before and that many of the faith have given others a bad name, but none of that should matter. The spirit of the season is what is important, and anyone can share that. You don't need to be Catholic or Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or anything else. You just need to believe in the fellowship of man. That's what I wish would get more airtime.

Health Care Reform

Pride and Prejudice
I've been wanting to post something about this for a while, but I could never really find the time or the chutzpah to do so. This issue is near and dear to my heart, so I feel determined to write about it.

First and foremost, I will tell you where I stand on this issue. None of the rest of this entry will make sense unless I do. I have always been a Democrat, and pretty left-leaning one at that. Health care has always been an important issue to my family because I have asthma, my dad has diabetes, my paternal grandmother died because of cancer and my maternal grandfather lived with cancer for almost twenty years. I've always been aware of how important it was for our family to do whatever it took to keep our health insurance because we literally couldn't afford to be without it. For all these reasons and more, I support health care reform.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first person to introduce health care reform. Since then, countless other people, including congressman and presidents, Democrats and Republicans, have tried to reform the system but to no avail. Barak Obama has said that he wants to be the last person to champion health care, meaning that he wants to be successful. There are many, many reasons that health care needs to be reformed.

The simple fact is, health care in the United States is broken. Because of the declining quality of care available to all Americans, the US is becoming a second world nation. Currently, we are twenty-third in infant mortality rates. We were tenth in 1960 and twenty-first in 1990. Either way, our infant mortality rate is worse than that of Cuba, Greece, Guam, Andorra, and Israel, just to name a few. America is twenty-first in life expectancy for men, down from first in 1945 and seventeenth in 1960. Our immunization rates are also deplorable. We are sixty-seventh, immediately after Botswana. For serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and others, America has higher rates than most other industrialized nations. These statistics are even more unbelievable when you realize that our doctors are the most well-trained in the world. The US is also the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee health care for all of its citizens.

This is a particularly divisive issue because there is so much misinformation out there. People rarely know the truth of the matter, so I'm going to try to dispel some myths. First of all, we will not have a health care system like Canada or other socialist countries. Private health care is not going away. Obama has said that it makes more sense to fix the system we've got than start from scratch. Much of the new laws will change how insurance companies treat policy holders, however. One issue that both Republicans and Democrats agree on is that no one should be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. These conditions can include asthma, diabetes, mental health disorders, and cancer. It will also be illegal for insurance companies to drop a policy holder if they get sick. There will be no caps on how much money the insurance companies will pay over a lifetime and they will be required to allow people to seek preventative care. There will be a limit on how much a person pays out of pocket, as well.

People without health insurance will, for the first time, be able to have it under this plan. This is probably the most controversial part. I've heard people say that health care isn't broken; 85% of people are insured, compared to 15% who are not. First of all, do these people know exactly how many people make up 15% of our country? In 2008, the American population was estimated to be around 304,059,724. 15% of that is 45,608,959 people. The US is not a small country.

People who say that health care will be too taxing on the public are also wrong. Despite the abysmal statistics listed above, the US spends 40% per capita more on health care than any other industrialized country with universal health care. Congressional studies have shown that the US would save $100-200 billion on single payer universal health care compared to how much we spend now, even while covering those previously uninsured. When we compare health care to our neighbor to the north, who switched to universal health care in 1971, statistics show that the money Canada spent on health care increased at a far slower rate than what we spent. All in all, the US would save money by reforming health care.

There are other reasons for reforming health care. Children who receive reliable, quality health care from birth perform better in school, have lower rates of juvenile delinquency and are all-around better citizens. Private, for profit health insurance has also been shown to be the least efficient way of providing health care. Furthermore, this plan would not qualify as socialized health care. The proposed single payer universal health care is a medical payment system, not a delivery system. The government would not be able to control Americans through health care, either, as I heard Rush Limbaugh claim. People will be able to chose their health insurance and no pre-approval would be necessary; the insurance companies already have a ridiculous amount of control over Americans by being able to deny coverage. Also, the board that would decide how health care money is spent would not be comprised solely of government officials but also by members representing consumers, providers, and businesses.

If this post has helped at least one person learn more about health care reform, then I am happy. It makes me angry to hear all the lies and misinformation spouted by people who claim they just want to protect the American people. All Americans are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Any three of these could be threatened by ill health -- if you don't have your health, you don't have anything, as the saying goes. It is high time for America to take care of its own and I challenge anyone to say differently.

If anyone wants to read the sources I used myself, here they are:
www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-to-a-Joint-Session-of-Congress-on-Health-Care/

cthealth.server101.com/the_case_for_universal_health_care_in_the_united_states.htm

Of School and Other Formalities


Here it is, over a month since my last post.  Ah well.  Knowing that I'm not very good at keeping a journal, much less an online one, is not very surprising.  At least I'm posting now.

So yes.  What is going on at the moment?  I'm almost done with Fall semester.  It's a weird feeling -- after starting off with quarters at OU and moving on to semesters at Akron, term can feel especially long.  But now that we're nearing the end, I feel as though it rushed by.  I am doing much better this semester -- hoping for three As and a B! -- and I finally think I'm at the right school.  With the way things are going, I could graduate by next December.  That's not too shabby considering I took off a quarter when I left OU.

I've picked out my classes for next semester as well.  Let's see...they are 19th Century Europe, Gender and Culture in China, American Revolutionary Era, Science and Technology in World History, and German Intermediate II.  That makes four history classes and my last German class.  Oh boy.  At least history is my favorite subject.  I'm a history major now and, since I switched majors, I have very few history requirements met.  I'll be taking a crap-ton of history classes from here on out but, like I said, I really enjoy it.  I'm weird like that.

One thing I do need to work on is getting more involved on campus.  Since I live kinda far away, I don't really do much at Akron except go to class.  I've made some friends but they're just school friends.  It'd be a heck of a lot easier if I lived there, which I'm considering doing by next summer.  I need to join some clubs, hang out with people, just do something.  I am thinking about joining the swing dancing club but I have to find out more about it.  Oh well.  One thing at a time.

Speaking of which, I should go on to some homework.  That German essay won't write itself, sadly.

October

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I've been in a somewhat contemplative mood lately.  Because of that and the dearth of recent posts I've decided to update again.  Considering this is more a journal than a networking/friends thing, I feel justified in writing whenever I wish but...well, I should be journaling more.

This is my second semester at Akron and it's going pretty well.  I need to get better grades but I'm much more dedicated this time around.  It helps that my classes right now are pretty interesting.  I just can't wait until I'm done with my English requirement.  It's unbelievable that I once considered majoring in the subject; History is a much better fit.  Speaking of which, my 20th Century Europe class is much more exciting than I thought it would be.  That could be because the first part of the semester is mainly concerned with the world wars but the professor is also very good at what he does.  He lectures as if he were telling a story, plus he's kind of funny. 

What I didn't expect was liking German so much the second time around.  At OU, I was happy just to get the year required over with.  But after having spent a month there and then starting the second level here at Akron, I think I genuinely missed it.  I remembered much more than I thought I would (I actually managed to test into the third semester) and for some reason it just feels more natural.  That could be because of the professor or my classmates, or a variety of other reasons, but it's good I decided to continue with it instead of starting over with something lame like Spanish (no offense to people who have!).  I think I might even minor in German.

I also got a new job at Pearl Crossing, which is the retirement community where my oma lives.  I don't really get enough hours there but it's nice to have some spending money and it leaves me plenty of time for schoolwork.  I might apply at the main branch of the Summit County library since I seem to love those places so much (understatement).  But that's not a big deal right now.

In other news, I met Neil Gaiman!  It was really cool, thought I wish the talk could have been longer.  And when I got my book signed, I wish I wasn't so nervous so I could have said something besides "can I have a picture?"  But all in all, it was great just seeing him in person.  He's really nice and clever and, well, I could go on but there's not much of a point.  If you've not read anything by him, then I feel bad for you because he's one of the best contemporary writers in any genre.

So yeah.  That's life at the moment, or at least a snapshot of it.  I could say I'll try to update more often but we'll see how that goes.  Suffice it to say that I'll write when I think about it.

No reason...

Pride and Prejudice
So I felt bad for not posting for a while, not that I think anyone actually reads this. Maybe...idk. But I had a good reason: school. Ugh. I really wish that I didn't have to go to school but if I want my dream job, not only do I need a Bachelors but also a Masters. But I think that's becoming more normal.

Actually, I was lying. I do like school, it's just the homework part that gets annoying. Ha. I like learning and everything but most outside work seems irrelevant. Especially in Environmental Science, not that we get much work in that class anyway. Seriously, on Tuesday we watched THREE videos in class and on Tuesday we watched two. The professor doesn't talk about science very much either; it's all about critical thinking and paradigms and middle school-type stuff. I guess it is a 100 level course but still. We're in college.  That means that we pay out of our own pocket for school and we deserve to learn what we paid for.  I hate throw-away classes like this more than anything.

Other than that, my life is incredibly boring.  I'm trying to make it less so but that's not easy, haha. 



...wait.  Why does LJ think I live in India?

Bored

Pride and Prejudice
Haha, I didn't realize I had so many friends. Or at least I didn't know my f-list was so complex. I check the communities I belong to, not that page, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, as some of you know, I have a Teaspoon account. I will be posting more stuff there eventually but just not at the moment. I won't write anything prose at least until the end of the week. I've been ridiculously busy of late. School can be stressful but I love it.

So yeah. If you haven't heard, I don't want strangers im-ing me. So Facebook, comment or contact me in some way before you do. That's all. I don't mind if you want to talk to me, I just have to know who you are first.

Surprise

Pride and Prejudice
Britney Spears' new song isn't actually that bad. Who knew?

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High School

Pride and Prejudice
So yeah. I'm glad that I'm in college now and almost done with my Bachelors. Seriously, high school is fricking redick. I can't wait until grad school. But yeah. People just need to get over stuff. I'm too busy to handle any complications and if you have a problem with me, let me know. I'd rather deal with it than let something fester. I can't stand people that hold onto stuff like this. Seriously, get over yourselves. And if we went to high school and you want to catch up then cool. But if you don't like me anymore then don't even bother. I don't have the time.

That done with, on to other things. I had to get a new license and get a money order for a traffic ticket. My second ticket, actually, since the accident. So I hope this is it with the car stuff. Haha. I'm meeting up with a friend today for her birthday and that will be fun.

So yeah. Drama is stupid. Anyway, I'll be leaving soon. You all have a good day!