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I wrote so much I forgot to title this...so there!

Well, well, well it's already April...MAN time is passing by. So, let's see, what's new? Ah yes.

Yesterday was my re-entry into the college world. I went to my first Popular Culture class at De Anza. Man, I gotta say, in terms of the class, what a change from engineering classes at Poly. Wow.

We have two tests, some reading, homework, and a paper. But, that's about the extent of the boring stuff. We get read a book on comics as an art form, and the book IS one giant comic book! Most of our homework is either surfing the net or watching our favorite TV shows and coming in to discuss them. A lot of class will be watching movies and such. I've never had such a care-free class, it's awesome! The paper is only 4-6 pages, so like 2-3 pages double-spaced. Shoot, our first assignment is to just print off pictures from 2 Internet sites. Our prof even explained to us how to use the Internet to do "research" like this. Yea, don't exactly call that research, but whatever...

In terms of the class, it seems like a good mix of people. Definitely going to be tough going from 5:30 until 9:15 every Wednesday night, but that's the only time it was available. I wanted to do a conversational language course to bone up on my speaking skills before Europe, but looks like they're all in their third quarter already. I'm trying to audit, since that's A) something I've never done in my stressful college career and B) I don't have the time to worry about the assignments, I just want to do the reading. Oops, scratch that, Admissions just sent me a message back that you can only audit classes you've already taken the max number of times for a grade. Well, I guess we'll shoot for Credit/No Credit then haha.

Walking around the campus, I felt so old. Kinda hard to believe I'm only 23. Maybe there's just a lotta freshman on campus. But still, I felt like I was all growed up, almost like I didn't belong. It's kinda sad. I don't want that to happen, I was always an academic. I'm still shooting for grad school in a year or two, so I'm hopeful that I can get myself back into the game. Even so, being a community college, you do see people from all ages.

It did feel nice being on the campus scene though. Walking around and seeing people with iPods on almost run into walls, guys trying to make you sign petitions and register to vote, a cafeteria where everybody just ignored quality and ate the cheapest stuff they could find and more. It's not a huge place, but it's still enclosed enough to give you that campus feel.

It makes me miss Poly...shoot, it even smelled like a campus to me. (minus that lovely manure smell coming off the fields at Poly) It made me a little homesick for SLO, but luckily I should be there next weekend for Open House. (that or Vegas maybe if Nikki heads out West)

Going to a college class right after working straight for days also makes you appreciate the stark differences between the two worlds. I always agreed with people who said academics, professors, students, what-have-yous all live in a little dream world, their own "academia bubble" if you will. De Anza feels like a separate ecosystem within the sprawl that is Silicon Valley. It's amazing to me, how different working is from school. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved to work probably (a little) more than class. All I'm saying is you don't truly appreciate both worlds until you've been in both and see the other from the outside looking in.

Well, enough of that. What else is new? Oh yea, I bought myself a Nook! I must say, it's pretty nifty. I decided that with tax refunds and my bonus, I HAD to burn some money. Oh sure, I could save it all for Europe, but what's the fun in that? I already have enough money saved up for my trip plus I'm an impulse buyer at heart. Here's a picture (not mine of course):

I decided an eBook reader would be cool, since the whole e-ink thing got me curious. I mean, the whole reason I read is to get AWAY from a screen, so why get one to read on? Well, my buddy Robb at work explained to me how eBooks use this electronic ink that isn't back-lit and is easy on the ideas. Sounds interesting, and since it's electronic, I'm sold!

I immediately swore off the Kindle and iTampon...I mean iPad, because they both use the proprietary Amazon format and you can't check out library books on them. Uh oh, this is going to turn into a review...oh well, here we go. I was almost positive I'd buy the Sony. It had a touch screen, a larger 7" model, and a lot of extra features. The Nook was a mere 2nd due to software issues. However, after going to BN and SonyStyle, I must say, I'm astonished how some of the other reviewer pros/cons I read stuck out even more.

The glare on the Sony from the touchscreen annoyed me so much, I couldn't live with it (thank you Mr. Touch Screen). Along with that, they have a smaller book library and it's way more expensive (of course, it's Sony!) Lastly, the contrast of the screen wasn't as good, making things harder to reader. The Nook had great contrast and little glare. No touchscreen, but I liked their secondary screen to navigate, although you have to get used to it. They have an awesome library of books that are a little cheaper. The staff was also more knowledgeable and shoot, the thing costs a lot less! I was sold. The software bugs, if any, are under work right now. They even had the software guy come to the BN I was at to ask for feedback. Overall, I'm happy with my purchase, although I haven't really gotten a book yet that I wanted to read. A lot of older books aren't available to check out for free from SJ Public Library, although you can buy them. Google's also get the huge public-domain library of free books, which is cool. We'll see how it goes, I'm hoping that having an electronic gadget to read gets me to read more!

Speaking of reading, I'm working my way through The Corrections right now, which is one from a list my mom provided me. Here's the book:



I must say, as she noted in the email, it is EERILY similar to our family situation, granted it is in NO way the same. For one thing, the family in the book is a little fragmented, which we aren't. But other parts are spot on. The older parents live in the Midwest, while the kids have fled the nest, heading to greener pastures. The goal of the mom is to just get everyone home for Christmas, which appears to be a monumental task. Each sibling has their own back story and reason to avoid going home. We'll see how it all turns out, I still have another 350 pages or so...

Like I said, the story isn't exactly like mine, but many of the concepts the author describes are spot on, especially when it comes to the Midwest. He describes it almost like a foreign company, a place that is stuck in the past while the world moves forward. It is a place that breeds a unique individual who is very different from the rest of this country. Those on the outside find the place very strange, while many on the inside work to make their escape. Life is much simpler, things are centered around the family, and life just seems a little easier. Once you leave, looking back you can see how strange a world the Midwest really is.

While these are all paraphrase concepts from the book, I could just as well written down this same paragraph based on my own experiences. Unfortunately, the book has a slight negative slant on the Midwest, painting it as this backwards, alien world that is almost like a perverted wasteland. While I'll agree that some parts of the Midwest are a little behind the times , I don't consider it a bad place at all.

I'm still hopeful that the Midwest will rise to meet the future one of these days. I staying touch with the news, looking for signs that they're getting techier, cooler over there. Articles like this make me very hopeful:

What Detroit could be in 10 years

Why am I looking for hope? I don't know, like the book says, once you escape, it's a very strange place looking back. However, it also breeds a unique individual. My question is, once you've been brought up in the Midwest fashion, can you ever change to truly fit in with the rest of the world? I'm not sure, at least when it comes to California. Do I miss it? Of course! I miss my friends and family, but there's nothing for me to go back to for my career. There's no high-tech industry in Michigan for me, at least not yet. Jobs are harder to find there than any other state.

In term of Cali, don't get me wrong, this place is awesome. I love many things about the Bay Area, it's just some of the smaller stuff that gets me thinking.

Now for the real question, will I ever go back? My true answer: I don't know. I think I'd like to, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to. California has just changed me so much. If anything, I'm not so sure if I want to go back to the Midwest so much as to just move out of Cali one of these days. I love the mix of people, the modern, liberal ideas of this state. However, the one thing I miss that you will only find in the Midwest is a simpler lifestyle that's more family oriented. Out here, I have met very few people that are in healthy families. As I've said before, almost every person I've met knows someone in jail or on bail. Things are always speeding by me, and sometimes I feel like a left behind. I know this shouldn't bug me, but things just seem a little more "stable" back east...or maybe things are just really unstable in Cali. (a thought that'd I'd probably agree with more)

Bottom line, the book is good (maybe too good), but for me and the Midwest, I'd say maybe someday if things improve I'll be back. It'd be pretty awesome to work in for a green company in MI. Oh, and snow would be awesome! That's definitely something I miss. In the meantime Cali, I like you a lot, but you better play nice, or I may eventually ship out of here. I like this coast, so maybe Seattle? I can deal with rain all the time. Or Portland? We'll see, I'm going there this Memorial Day. In the end, only time will tell.

Who knows anything haha. I'm always Stan the Man with the Master Plan, but I gotta say right now the place is a little grey.

Whew, my fingers are gonna fall off (and I'm sure your eyes are going to fall out too), time to stop righting. All is well and I hope you're well too.

Later gator!

-StM

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