The Daily Texan

As I write this article, I am sitting in The Daily Texan office, typing on a swanky Mac computer that I have no idea how to operate. People are all around me at their computers, and the more I think about it, the less sure I am that it’s ok for me to blog from here. But oh well!

I am in the process of trying out for UT’s premiere student newspaper, The Daily Texan. I have written for two other newspapers here at UT, but neither of them is on The Texan’s level. UWeekly was a weekly newspaper that revolved around an area of expertise that is not mine–nightlife. Before that, I wrote an article for “Our Campus,” which was actually a newspaper that targeted UT faculty as its primary audience. The Daily Texan is really the only student newspaper that a student would read, and that’s mostly because it publishes everyday, and it does a coherent job of covering the news. I am not sure I am journalistic material, but I have to throw my hat in the ring to find out.

I was instructed to come into the office this morning at eight thirty so the editors could give me my story. I came into an office with four girls seated in chairs, and the editor at his desk delegating stories. I ended up, partly because of chivalry and partly because of idiocy, with the worst story. I was assigned to write an article about construction on the UT campus and in West Campus, a popular place for students to live off-campus. The thing that was very different about my experience at The Texan was that my article was due at five that evening, a far cry from the lax due dates of my former paramour papers.

I sat down in the office around nine and worked on calling people, mostly state-sponsored construction businesses, about the latest info on what kind of construction was taking place at and around UT. It was slow going and I felt overwhelmed, still unaccustomed to such a short deadline. I made some good work, but was still really skeptical as to whether or not I wanted to work like this. Partly because it’s hectic and occupies my mind the entire day, and partly because it means that on my “day off,” Wednesday, I am busy all day and can’t go to Travis for Young Life.

I went to class from eleven to twelve and then roamed West Campus looking for interviews, and asked a few random people questions about the road work occurring on Rio Grande. After that I got lunch and then headed to Speedway to get an interview with some construction managers working on-site. I ended spending about an hour talking to Joel and John, and while I learned a lot, I feel bad because I didn’t need/couldn’t use all the information they gave me.

Immediately from there I went to the Student Activities Center to type up my final 400-500 word article and finished around four thirty. I raced back to Dobie to shower and then headed to where I am now, the office of The Daily Texan. After looking like an idiot because I have no idea how to operate a Mac computer, I finally downloaded my article. Now I have to wait for the editors to look at my article so they can go over revisions with me, but I’m not really allowed to leave until they do so. I have no time frame for long this will take, and they encouraged me to get food, which is good and bad. Mostly bad, because that means I’ll be here for awhile. So, I’m going to go snag some grub, hunker down with some homework, and wait for my garbage article to get eviscerated.

I’ll post it if it gets published, but I don’t like the topic, and I don’t think you will either. Good news is, I have one more trial day, so maybe then things will be better.

The Daily Texan

What Would You Buy with a $25 iTunes Gift Card?

I bought:

  • By Bon Iver: Flume; For Emma; Re: Stacks; Blood Bank
  • By Katy Perry (judge me): Firework
  • By: Explosions in the Sky: A Poor Man’s Memory; What do You Go Home To?; The Birth and Death of the Day
  • By Lucy Michelle and the Violet Lapelles: 36th; Connect the Dots; Chinese Lantersn; Peachy Keen; Polda Dot Lake; With You; Osbick Bird; Traffic; Postcard
  • By Knaye West: Otis

I still have enough money for four more songs, and I want to hear your recommendations. I would prefer if you suggested just one song, or even just an artist, but I really can’t decide what last few songs to buy. As you can see from the music I bought, I’m not really feeling any one vibe right now, but lately I have been listening to a lot of folk music, like Johnny Flynn and Lucy Michelle, so I’d be disposed to a recommendation along those lines. Really whatever would be fine though, as long as it’s good. I have very few internal qualms about buying commercial music like “Firework” so long as I like the song a lot; and I really like “Firework,” to a really odd degree. I feel like Katy Perry gets me.

If you ever want to get someone a good gift, iTunes giftcards are great, because they say I don’t know at all what kind of music you like or even what your interests are, but I’m assuming you listen to music because if you don’t what the heck is wrong with you.

What the recipient of the gift thinks is: he cares about me and knows I love music! What a thoughtful gift!

Then the recipient, a.k.a. me, gets his gift card and faces several very tempting impulsive purchases, such as “I Can Show You the World” from the Aladdin soundtrack. Hopefully your gift-reciever is able to overcome those impulses (I do still have four dollars left…) and buys solid music that he will listen to for years to come.

I recommend Bon Iver, I’m really starting to get deep into his music, and with ACL coming up (although he’s not performing), I’m reminded that it benefits the listener to invest in the artists he enjoys listening to, because then the experience is better for both parties. If you like folk music and want to hear something different, check out Lucy Michelle and especially the song “Light.” “Otis” is my favorite Kanye song from “Watch the Throne,” and Kanye and Jay-Z totally pull off the no-chorus jam. Fireworks is the theme song to my life. Explosions in Sky is from Austin (!) and is some of the best study music in the world, second only to Christian hymns (weird but true).



What Would You Buy with a $25 iTunes Gift Card?

If Something Reallly Good Happens to You Inexplicably, Do You try to Explain It?

Well, personally, I think it depends on the situation, and I’m not usually a relativist on most topics. When it comes to good luck though, in this case, I’ve tried to explain it, but I just don’t know what’s going on.

The last few days my “site views” have been skyrocketing, more than four and five times their normal amount, and even today as I write this, at eight eighteen in the morning, I think I might have my fourth record setting day in a row. I am not exactly sure why this is, though. WordPress tells me that if I have been “stumbledupon,” referred by a Google search, or linked to via another blog, and so I can see the reason so many people are visiting my blog, although I do not understand it.

Apparently, you’re Googling Peyton Hillis? Tell me if that’s right. I Googled Hillis myself, and my blog was not referred to, so I don’t know what kind of magic ya’ll have conjured or what peyote my site stats are smoking. Regardless, it says that the search “Peyton Hillis” has brought most of my nascent viewers. I Googled “Peyton Hillis Mark Stenberg” and found myself, but I don’t think that’s what most of the folks on the interweb are doing.

It’s inexplicalbe, but it’s making me very happy. Of course, with my luck, I’ve been really busy lately and haven’t been able to give them any good blog posts. But oh well, I’m not Peyton Hillis.

If Something Reallly Good Happens to You Inexplicably, Do You try to Explain It?

Austin Bat Fest

Because Austin is weird and celebrates the bats that fly out from under the Congress Bridge every night, someone decided to make a “fest” of it, something Austinites seem to love. 

The festival was on Congress Bridge, and in my opinion, there were very few bats involved, either real or fake. There were however, a plethora of vending booths selling everything from Peruvian panchos to wolf t-shirts, fried chicken to sushi, lemonade to 4 Lokos (not that big of a difference actually).

There was a band that the people I went with really wanted to see called the Bob Schneider Band. I had never heard of him before, but his music was a nice sort of palatable country music. I was jamming out until it was time to leave, and now I think we’re going to a friend’s party, but plans change.

But lest I neglect the reason for all the fun things I’ve done today, I must tell you that Gabi Montemayor was here all day! She is visiting from San Antonio, and I’m trying to show her some UT life, but sadly it’s too hot to do anything but eat at places and sit inside of places, and so the pickings have been thin. Still though, BatFest was tight and I think the night will turn out well.

Here was the only bat(cow):

Austin Bat Fest

A Quick Summary of My Classes

Western Civilizations (PII): A Plan II class that I insisted on taking because my experience with its precursor class was amazing. The original class was “The Fall of the Roman Empire through the Medieval Ages,” this is “Post Renaissance through the Industrial Revolution,” I think. The professor reminds me a lot of Clive Owen, and he can be pretty funny, but his humor only comes in little “asides.” The class seems more difficult than I had imagined, and larger as well, but the literature seems interesting. Short, and interesting. I don’t have the main textbook yet, but I started reading one of the novels we have to read and I really like it. There will be a lot of writing, consisting mostly of essays and and papers, which is fine with me. I guess I don’t really care so much anymore about how I do in class, so long as I learn as much as I want to learn. Plus, my good friend Patrick Noe is in that class so I have someone from whom I can mooch and at whom I can shoot spitballs and other things miscreant schoolchildren do.

Philosophy (PII): I’ve only had this class once so far; in fact, I’ve only been to rest of the classes I’m going to talk about once–still. I love this class. It seems right up the intellectual side of my alley, and I think I can bring an interesting Christian viewpoint to everything being discussed. Professor Seung is an eighty year old South Korean, with a tendency to be mildly, cutsey-racist to races near his place of birth i.e. “you’re Indian? you’re Pakistani? Don’t sit together.” “You’re Chinese? I thought you were disciplined. Why are you late?” It’s hilarious. He seems incredibly smart and calm, but he ejaculates (hehe) out of nowhere sometimes, yelling at people for very normal responses. Not reprobating, but encouraging, typically like “Yes! That’s the answer I was looking for!” kind of thing. Our first literature is Plato’s “The Republic,” and it’s very interesting so far, but I feel like this one of those classes where although we spend massive amounts of time reading very important books, we’ll only discuss the books briefly. Professor Seung is the kind of guy who values us getting a good education over us getting good grades, and so I can see long, lengthy diversions and digressions in our discussions.

Classical Mythology: As with four of my five classes, I’ve only had this class once, but at this point, I am easily the most dissapointed in this class. I love mythology, something that a certain Mr. Sipe cultivated and aggrandized during three years of Latin in high school, but this class does not appear to be at all what I thought it would be. The professor is taking his class much too abstractly, which I know is a weird claim seeing as how none of it is real, but he is focusing too much on the role and importance of the myth in culture and metaphoric symbology, then he is on just letting us study Theseus. And, to make things worse, he has already given a load of homework. I think though, that giving so much homework may be his way of weeding out people (like me) who thought this class would be fun, easy, and rote memorization-based. I won’t quit, but I foresee many people dropping this class because the professor–a chubby, Central American, unfunny man–takes his class too seriously for an intro to mythology class.

Intro to Geography: The class for which I had the lowest expectations is now appearing to be one of my favorites for two reasons. First, the professor has something about him–I can’t say what exactly–that just makes him really easy to listen to. We played an interesting sort of “Where’s Waldo” game for the first class, where we looked at pictures he has taken from across the world, and we analyzed the data available in the pictures in an attempt to “think like geographers.” The professor is intriguing, funny at the right moments, and not afraid to say geography is way more important than it really is. Second, Mike just moved into that class! It was the only class I knew no one in, and Mike needed the science credit, so now we’re taking it together. Booyah

Logic and Modes of Reasoning (PII): This is another Plan II class, and I think it’s really going to earn that distinction. The professor seems really smart, and like my biology class last year, he is able to make complex data very understandable. In addition to making the data colloquial, he looks like your typical “cool dad.” He wears Converse with high top slacks and a bowling shirt, and cracked quite a few jokes. More than the professor though, the subject matter we went over in the first day was so interesting. We did logic problems that I think are just riddles, but they’re so fun. They’re hard problems to explain, but it gives me hope that I’ll be able to enjoy this class and learn a lot, but if I’m having trouble I’m going to be in his office hours like a fly on the wall.

Order of classes I like the most so far:

1. Philosophy (narrowly beats out the #2, and only because of the good literature we read)

2. Logic and Modes

3. World Geography

4. Western Civ

5. Mythology

A Quick Summary of My Classes