College Life: What to Expect

Unlike high school, a typical college day is a lot less scheduled depending on how well you plan and manage your day. In addition, you have more freedom and opportunities to explore your interests and passions. While at it, you can join online educational forums such as Rincon del Vago. There you can interact with peers from different colleges while at the same time learning from educational material that is present. Read more College Life: What to Expect

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Documentary 2,000 Miles to Maine Fails to Suck

I regularly accept requests to review films and do so with boisterous glee. Hollywood is afraid of my brutal honesty but, once out of the “Golden State” of California the fear dissipates and my poignant slams are more graciously accepted. But then I get ambitious, underfunded, granola-laden documentary and I’m giddy as a schoolgirl thinking, “Tearing bad boy apart should be easy.”

Documentary 2,000 Miles to Maine Fails to SuckI sat down to watch it, pen in hand, anxious to bring to humorous light the many painful shortcomings and unintentional self-mocking… yes, I really do much of my writing with a pen but that’s not the point. The sound was okay, the composition was fine, even the back music fit in well. Ten minutes into the film, frustrated, I threw down my notepad and committed to just watching it

The film 2,000 Miles to Maine documents hikers attempting to trek the 2155-mile Appalachian trail from Georgia to Maine highlighting the difficulties and improbabilities involved in walking mountain trails in all weather, traversing more states than most people ever even get to see. I didn’t know there were interstate hiking trails and, admittingly, it’s a pretty romantic notion for sure.

As the trek and the film progress (both “northward” if I can use that to mean both “to the North” and “for the better). I did find the very few things I had expected to humorously poke fun at, though each came around as intended devices to the film. Many featured hikers gave up (Aha, I got something!) but they’re mostly followed up with. Unlike most documentaries it lacks the ever-present narrator and, once again, my would-be Aha! moment dissolved again as I realized that made me actually judge the speakers rather than rely upon the disembodied voice to tell me what to think.

As it winded to a close I was prepared with my anger. Nothing to mock is a mocker of me as a satirist (or cynic, if you prefer). Not to be outdone by a single DVD of any [non-pornographic] sort (those have always been my undoing and outdoing indeed), I steeled myself for the impending slam as it must surely follow.

In the final moments the triumphs of human spirit brought out in low-tech straight forward, real-life ways, my own inadequacies as a social aggressor seemed insignificant. Watching the trail end without fanfare, without outside praise but rather with overwhelming personal success and gratification gave me hope in the spirit and steadfast resolve of mankind. It’s almost tear-jerking, honestly.

If a dude with a backpack and cast-titanium resolve can walk the Eastern Seaboard, he can do anything! If he can do anything, so can I! Yes, I can make a mockery of film.
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Of course, walking to Maine takes 4-7 months to do, and so shall my insult to film come. Give me ’til sometime early 2005 and my comical review will surely be forthcoming, unless of course, like 90% of those who attempt the Appalachian Trail, I give up the hike. In the meantime though, I will be watching film again. In fact, if there was a 2000 Miles to Maine book, I’d buy it too. Sometimes I feel sucked into self-doubt, but was singly the most uplifting true story I’ve seen since The Rookie and didn’t even have baseball in it.

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Heelys; Sole Wears Thin, Novelty Don’t

After three solid years of near daily use, my faithful novelty shoes, bought on a whim, must now be unfortunately retired. And why? What an insult to modern value that shoes eventually wear out.

When I first bought them, I had money to throw around. I was assured by all that, though a great novelty, it would soon wear thin and they’d be buried in my closet next to the pogo-ball and my springy boots. Still, it seemed like a wise investment. $110 for a pair of snappy sneakers, why not?

Ever since I was a kid I hated being stuck walking around all kinds of willy-nilly. I always thought, “Man, if only these damn things had wheels that I could use at the mere thought of it, I’d be set!” Actually, back then I thought I’d be a superhero, but that’s not the point. Little did I realize that someday wild fantasy (which we’ve all had I’d like to point out,) would eventually be realized by the mad scientists at Heelys.

Fantastic novelty, yes. Conversation starter, for sure. Those things do wear thin, what I hadn’t figured on is just how addicted I would become. Maybe not addicted so much as dependent. Now, the idea of walking without them seems so civilian and time consuming. Pedestrian, if you will.

I’ve rolled on the Great Wall of China (perhaps you’ve heard of it?) I’ve freaked people out by my glide-acious scurrysome levitation in stores, at concerts, even rolling back to the aft bathroom on airplanes (that really freaks ’em out,) but now my faithful companions are aging, nearing death.

It took a good two and a half years before the first bit of real wear began to tear. The heel fabric started ripping out as you can barely see in picture. What the hell man, what gives? I mean, yeah, I’d worn them pretty much every day for 30 months and used them to shimmy cool on three continents, but for some unraveling to occur? Well that was just disheartening. My previous record for wearing a shoe without total failure was nine months, but still. Perhaps they’d have aged better if I had untied them once in a while, but I can’t be expected to look cool, get around town in record time AND know how to tie my shoes!

Beginners brake by grinding the front heel. I wore down that heel in the first year. Besides, any seasoned pro knows the best way is to drag your back foot. Not only is way more controlled, it also leads to all kinds of new tricks you can do.

Since the leading heel was long since ground down, I had been working on likewise grinding down the back sole. As you can see at right, photographed conveniently in my son’s bassinet, the left heel is quite gone and the other sole is well on its way. Still, no problem stopping.

Why didn’t that kill them, I wondered? Now that I think about it, these shoes have some real balls trying to outlive my waning youth! (Shoes with balls, don’t try to picture it.)

The next bummer came with the following rainfall. I live in Seattle and people thinks it rains like every day. It doesn’t, it’s just gloomy as hell. At the winter solstice we get less than eight hours of “sun” and I use quotation fingers because the few hours we do get are overcast, so it sucks. With the rain finally back around I found that I had a crack in the sole of my companion, which allowed water to soak my little toes. A crack? Oh come on, if your shoe cracks for sure the thing is dead, right? It’s gotta just come asunder at that point, disintegrating like a well lanced vampire, but no. Not the case.

The end was definitely drawing near, I knew that, but how near? These stellar accessories of fashion and portability have a tall sole, as to accommodate the hidden wheel. Without these shoes would I be reduced from 5’7″ to 5’6″. I would have to come clean to so many I’ve lied to. At my height, I haven’t much room to be giving away an inch, and please, withhold your “giving her an inch” jokes… no seriously.

When the barring finally blew I knew it was over. I had upgraded to speed wheels along the way and really enjoyed the premium performance, but do I put a new pair of wheels into shoes haggard? I mean, come on, these shoes got like a hundred million miles on ’em, man.

I decided instead to replace them. I was scared that as “novelty” shoes the company would be gone, but it turns out they are now available in 50 countries. Not just that, but when I bought mine they only had three styles, now there are dozens. They even have trick competitions. And the best part is that Sketchers, one of the first companies to make their own half-assed knock off, was forced to stop making them because it was clear they were infringing on their patent. Ha! Take that corporate raiders!

So I guess I’m back off the Journeys. They sell them, but so do a lot of people. Of course, there are also ways you can get them for free, but that’s a different matter.

And once again, I’m going for the real deal. There’s a lot of imitators out there, but most of them are ridiculously dangerous and not one of them out there can assure me I’m going to get a quality shoe.

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