Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuscaloosa ContinuedLive | View Comments | permalink
On our first service day we went down to the Volunteer Reception Area at the McAbee Center.
They had us sign our initials on the area that we came from on a map that had initials all over the country. Around the map were thank you cards from local elementary school students.
Then we sat down for our Safety training and met with Patrick Branch, the coordinator who first got us set up with our host church and who has guided us through the planning process. He got us completely set up as volunteers.
Then we were sent out to the debris field that was being organized by the miraculously untouched SOMA church . I didn't know this before but apparently you cannot place even a temporary living structure on a chunk of land if it's not pristine. FEMA won't touch it because it's not safe. So we spent the next 7 hours clearing small pieces of debris : glass, metal, roofing tiles, etc. It was seriously tedious - and there were no trees or homes left from the tornadoes to provide shade. The temperature was 98 but the feel like was 106!
It was so hot. We eventually reached a point where we were no longer productive and just had to leave.
So we took the students to the University of Alabama pool - which is this fantastic place with a lazy river and a waterslide - to cool down. It was so lovely!
After all of that, all we wanted to do was shower, eat and sleep. And honestly - that's all I've wanted to do since then as well.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Tuscaloosa TripLive | View Comments | permalink
My graduate assistantship is more than a job to me. It's something that I'm ridiculously passionate about and something that I commit myself to as often as possible. At Santa Fe College I manage the Office for Civic Engagement and Service, and I'm extremely lucky for two things. 1. That the amazing GA before me was so organized and efficient that she really set the stage for me to do more projects and have big dreams. It wouldn't be possible without the perfection she left behind. And 2. My boss is extremely supportive, loving and offers me a ton of autonomy. So when dozens of tornadoes hit the south just a few states above us and killed nearly 300 people in Alabama alone, I knew that if it was possible - we needed to help.
And so a plan was concocted, and so many people helped make this possible. The entire Student Leadership and Activities staff supported me by figuring out the monetary logistics, marketing, sending students my way and giving me advice. Literally two weeks after the idea was even brought to light, a staff member who is from Tuscaloosa came and spoke at Student Government - entreating us to do something - without knowing that we had already begun. Everything aligned. So now here we are; 8 students, me and this amazing woman named Julie who also works for Santa Fe and who is far more experienced in student trips than I am.
Did you know that AL was famous for peanuts? I didn't
Right when we got into town Julie took us to this elementary school that was completely demolished. Alberta Elementary is just piles and piles of brick and steel and chairs and learning supplies. This was so intense. To think about how horrifying it must be for a child to lose his safety and his routine - in addition to possibly losing his home or his family members.
We found these foam blocks with random words on them. First Julie found ick. Then I found Why. They seemed pretty appropriate.
We took those blocks with us as souvenirs of the trip. I hope no one minds.
Then we made our way to Skyland Baptist Church, who is so kindly hosting us while we're in Alabama. They're facilities are so beautiful. We have access to a full kitchen, separate rooms for the boys, girls, and advisors just like Santa Fe College wants, and an indoor basketball court?! Seriously, we were blessed to be set up with these people. And look what was waiting for us in the bedrooms?
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Bridesmaids - Worst Movie Ever? ... YES.Live | View Comments | permalink
Not so long ago Jessa and I decided we wanted to go see a movie. We didn't really know what movie we wanted to see, but we knew we wanted to see one. After seeing some previews and hearing different feedback from some people we decided to go see Bridesmaids. It is touted as another Judd Apatow movie that blends chick flick, rom-com, and raunchy guy flick in to one single movie that both him and her can love equally. Sounds perfect.
So we head to the movie theater in high sprits. Ready to laugh our faces off and head home with an endless slew of one-liners and situational based humor references we'll be dropping on each other and friends for months to come. As we get settled in, I open a sprite I had in my pocket that was throughly shaken up, spraying sprite all over the place, yeah, I'm that guy. So I go get napkins to clean up and a giant cherry Iceee! (delicious).
As the movie starts, we are waiting for it to get funny. We continue to wait for it to get funny. About 20 minutes in we decide this movie is a late bloomer. We decide that the second half of the movie has to be funny and staying to view it will remove the urge of us wanting to remove our own brains. Sadly this was not the case. As the movie continues it gets worse and worse; to the point that killing yourself is the only real answer.
Over all this movie was one of the worst movies I've seen in the last 5 years. Jessa said this movie wasn't as bad as Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I disagree. I am currently speaking with multiple lawyers to find out of it is possible to sue someone for 1 hour and 45 minutes of your life back.
Oh and to everyone I know that told me this movie was funny and I should go see it, we aren't friends anymore and your tastes suck.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
BonnarooLive | View Comments | permalink
I've been to one smaller music festival in the past. Wanee plays host to... well, I can't find exact numbers, but my guess would be absolutely no more than 10,000 people. I really loved Wanee, it had such a terrific feel to it and the music was pretty darn amazing. So, when my roommates were all "hey, wanna go to Bonnaroo? It's supposed to be amazing and we're going to volunteer so the tickets will be free" I was all "HECK YES!" Unfortunately, it wasn't really anything like Wanee.
Parts of it were amazing. Like the music. Florence and the Machine, Eminem, Grace Potter, Alison Krauss, Portugal the Man... it goes on and on. It was fantastic.
Photo of Florence from The Bonnaroo Website.
The worst parts were probably the heat and the dust. Even with handkerchiefs over our faces almost permanently, we sputtered and coughed our way through the trip.
Also, there were... like... 100,000 people at this event? So you couldn't get close enough to a band to actually see them or even stand in the shade at any point. It was just WAY too crowded.
Besides it being about 200 degrees outside, and the severe lack of sleep associated with those ridiculous temperatures, we actually had a great time. There was no traffic and the people we met were really fantastic. These kinds of music festivals open your eyes to the good and the bad in humanity. People who know each other at all become instant friends - which reminds you that you have friends all over the world just waiting for you to meet them. But we also met some people who had really valuable pieces of property stolen from their campsites, which is something I heard NONE of at Wanee. We try to focus on the positive though.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
More Living Room!Live | View Comments | permalink
You don't know how much better I feel having this room even partly complete. It's not much to look at it but it's certainly a huge step up from piles and piles of boxes laying everywhere. This has been a long process, and just to be able to sit here the way that I am, watching TV with Wayne and Rachel and Mills, is so comforting. Anyways, here are a number of more detail photographs of the room. I ♥ the layout, I ♥ how open the room still feels, but everything else will probably change.
Just so that none of us gets complacent... Here's a picture of what is going to change first. :)
Next Page »