Monday, June 23, 2008

Styx lyrics

Well I feel like a deficient blogger cuz I haven't posted anything in awhile... but as I also have to get to sleep, this will be kind of quick.

I was introduced to Styx thanks to my high school marching band director when he chose a Styx field show for us in my sophomore year. Suffice it to say (for now) that I absolutely loved it. I later searched out an album (Greatest Hits) that has all 5 songs we marched to: Grand Illusion, Renegade, The Best of Times, Too Much Time On My Hands, and Come Sail Away. I ended up loving almost every other song on the album as well :D. The music is what I like most, but some of the lyrics have caught my attention too. Most songs I hear today don't have much of a message or an original subject, but a bunch of the Styx songs I know do. So, here are some that I like or find interesting, without additional comment:

Blue Collar Man
Give me a job, give me security
Give me a chance to survive
I'm just a poor soul in the unemployment line
My God, I'm hardly alive
My mother and father, my wife and my friends
I see them laugh in my face
But I've got the power, and I've got the will
I'm not a charity case
I'll take those long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my eye to the keyhole
If it takes all that to be just what I am
Well, I'm gonna be a blue collar man

Make me an offer that I can't refuse
Make me respectable, man
This is my last time in the unemployment line
So like it or not I'll take those

Long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my back to the wall
If it takes all that to be just what I am
Well, I'm gonna be a blue collar man

Keeping my mind on a better life
Where happiness is only a heartbeat away
Paradise, can it be all I heard it was
I close my eyes and maybe I'm already there

I'll take those long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my back to the wall
All that be just what I am
Well, I'm gonna be a blue collar man
You don't understand

I'll take those long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my eye to the keyhole
If it takes all that be just who I am
Well I vow to be a blue collar, gotta be a blue collar,
Gonna be a Blue collar man.

Believe it.

Too Much Time On My Hands
Sitting on this barstool talking like a damn fool
Got the twelve o'clock news blues
And I've given up hope on the afternoon soaps
And a bottle of cold brew
Is it any wonder I'm not crazy? Is it any wonder I'm sane at all
Well I'm so tired of losing- I got nothing to do and all day to do it
I go out cruisin' but I've no place to go and all night to get there
Is it any wonder I'm not a criminal?
Is it any wonder I'm not in jail?
Is it any wonder I've got

Too much time on my hands, it's ticking away with my sanity
I've got too much time on my hands, it's hard to believe such a calamity
I've got too much time on my hands and it's ticking away from me
Too much time on my hands, too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands

Well, I'm a jet fuel genius - I can solve the world's problems
Without even trying
I have dozens of friends and the fun never ends
That is, as long as I'm buying
Is it any wonder I'm not the president
(He's not the president)
Is it any wonder I'm null and void?
Is it any wonder I've got

Too much time on my hands, it's ticking away at my sanity
I've got too much time on my hands, it's hard to believe such a calamity
I've got too much time on my hands and it's ticking away from me
Too much time on my hands, too much time on my hands
Too much time on my hands

Suite Madame Blue
Time after time I sit and I wait for your call
I know I'm a fool but why can I say
Whatever the price I'll pay for you, Madame Blue
Once long ago, a word from your lips and the world turned around
But somehow you've changed, you're so far away
I long for the past and dream of the days with you, Madame Blue

Suite Madame Blue, gaze in your looking glass
You're not a child anymore
Suite Madame Blue, the future is all but past
Dressed in your jewels, you made your own rules
You conquered the world and more ..............heaven's door


Red white and blue, gaze in your looking glass
You're not a child anymore
Red, white, and blue, the future is all but past
So lift up your heart, make a new start
And lead us away from here

Crystal Ball
I used to like to walk the straight and narrow line
I used to think that everything was fine
Sometimes I'd like to sit and gaze for days through sleepless dreams
All alone and trapped in time
All alone and trapped in time

I wonder what tomorrow has in mind for me
Or am I even in it's mind at all
Perhaps I'll get a chance to look ahead and see
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball

Tell me, tell me where I'm going
I don't know where I've been
Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
And then tell me again
My heart is breaking, my body's aching
And I don't know where to go
Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
I've just got to know

Crystal ball
There's so many things I need to know
Crystal ball
There's so many things I've got to know
Crystal ball

Miss America
You were the apple of the public's eye as you cut the ribbon at the local mall
A mirage for both you and us. How can it be real?
We love your body in that photograph, your home state sure must be proud
The queen of the United States, or have you lost your crown

Well aren't you Miss America
Don't you Miss America
Won't you Miss America
Our love

Well are you really who we think you are
Or does that smile seem to wear you down
This girl who you once were is screaming jump out
This dream that you must live - a disease for which there is no cure
This roller coaster ride you're on won't stop to let you off

Well aren't you Miss America
Don't you Miss America
Won't you Miss America
Our love

Miss America, Miss America
Miss America, Miss America

Well it's true just take a look - The cover sometimes makes the book
And the judges, do they ever ask to read between your lines
And in your cage at the human zoo, they all stop to look at you
Next year, what will you do when you have been forgotten

Well aren't you Miss America
Don't you Miss America
Won't you Miss America
Our love

Come Sail Away
I'm sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free, free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board, I'm the captain, so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try, oh Lord, I'll try to carry on

I look to the sea, reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had
We live happily forever, so the story goes
But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope, and this is what they said
They said come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me

I thought that they were angels, but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me

The Best Of Times
Tonight's the night we'll make history, honey, you and I
And I'll take any risk to tie back the hands of time
And stay with you here tonight
I know you feel these are the worst of times
I do believe it's true
When people lock their doors and hide inside
Rumor has it it's the end of Paradise
But I know, if the world just passed us by
Baby I know, you wouldn't have to cry

The best of times are when I'm alone with you
Some rain some shine, we'll make this a world for two
Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime
We'll take the best, forget the rest
And someday we'll find these are the best of times
These are the best of times

The headlines read 'these are the worst of times'
I do believe it's true
I feel so helpless like a boat against the tide
I wish the summer winds could bring back Paradise
But I know, if the world turned upside down
Baby, I know you'd always be around

The best of times are when I'm alone with you
Some rain some shine, we'll make this a world for two
Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime
We'll take the best, forget the rest
And someday we'll find these are the best of times
These are the best of times

And so my friends we'll say goodnight
For time has claimed it's prize
But tonight will always last
As long as we keep alive memories of Paradise...

The Grand Illusion
Welcome to the Grand illusion
Come on in and see what's happening
Pay the price, get your tickets for the show
The stage is set, the band starts playing
Suddenly your heart is pounding
Wishing secretly you were a star.

But don't be fooled by the radio
The TV or the magazines
They show you photographs of how your life should be
But they're just someone else's fantasy
So if you think your life is complete confusion
Because you never win the game
Just remember that it's a Grand illusion
And deep inside we're all the same.
We're all the same...

So if you think your life is complete confusion
Because your neighbors got it made
Just remember that it's a Grand illusion
And deep inside we're all the same.
We're all the same...

America spells competition, join us in our blind ambition
Get yourself a brand new motor car
Someday soon we'll stop to ponder what on Earth's this spell we're under
We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are

Mr. Roboto
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Mata ah-oo hima de
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Himitsu wo shiri tai

You're wondering who I am-machine or mannequin
With parts made in Japan, I am the modren man

I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.
So if you see me acting strangely, don't be surprised
I'm just a man who needed someone, and somewhere to hide
To keep me alive-just keep me alive
Somewhere to hide to keep me alive

I'm not a robot without emotions-I'm not what you see
I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free
I'm not a hero, I'm not a saviour, forget what you know
I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control
Beyond my control-we all need control
I need control-we all need control

I am the modren man, who hides behind a mask
So no one else can see my true identity

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo
Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For doing the jobs that nobody wants to
And thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For helping me escape just when I needed to
Thank you-thank you, thank you
I want to thank you, please, thank you

The problem's plain to see: too much technology
Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.

The time has come at last
To throw away this mask
So everyone can see
My true identity...
I'm Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy!

(All lyrics from Lyrics On Demand ... always credit your sources, haha.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Red Bull

So I think I've had Red Bull maybe 5 times total in my life. I guess the real caving in began when I started switching over from getting hot chocolates to getting mochas at Starbucks in Commons during freshman year. (Lattes, caramel macchiatos [sp??], cinnamon dolce lattes, and frappucinos have since followed.) Not that I didn't stay up crazy late working on homework and projects in high school, but somehow when I started doing that in college, I found I could no longer stay awake in classes the next day :P. And hence my new interest in coffee took on a new purposeful role, thanks to its caffeine... But anyway. Though John was kind of getting into Red Bull sophomore year, I shied away from it. I suppose I thought it was weird to consume this drink just for the caffeine effects...? Of course such effects were probably more often than not a major reason why I drank so much coffee, haha.

Anyhow, my first Red Bull was kind of on impulse. I'd gone to Savory to eat and hopefully cram tons of last-minute physics into my head before the final exam at 6pm. This didn't exactly happen, though I enticed Dan to come study with me by offering to buy him food haha. And I just kinda saw the Red Bull fridge thing there and got one. I'd tried it before, but still thought it tasted weird. Carbonated, not quite as sweet as soda, a taste rather unique and hard to put into words.

Well, soon after starting my internship, I discovered that Matt's daily caffeine source is Red Bull. (I think he's got one of those six-can mini fridge things in which to keep a stock of them.) One day early on he offered me one, and what can I say, I was tired (and even as of now I still don't know how to find my way to the Starbucks that is supposedly somewhere in the building complex), so I said, "Okay, ... this is my second Red Bull ever haha.." Since then, he has supplied me with a few more... Tuesday morning he walked in and said "Red Bull, anyone?" I think I just laughed and he handed me one. Today he didn't even ask - just placed it on my desk, lol. And now that I've had several, I think I am coming around on the taste...

One final comment:
Today as I was leaving work, I still had a third of a can or so left, so I figured I'd pour it into my water bottle and thus be able to recycle the can yet not waste what was left in it... Well, I poured it in, looked at it - in all its yellow carbonated-ness - for a few seconds, took a drink, looked again, laughed, and thought: "...Now I definitely understand why Red Bull comes in a can." (I ended up pouring it out after all, hahaha.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My summer internship (the beginning)

Last summer, my job was through the Monmouth County Summer Employment Program; I worked for the Public Relations (and Member Services) departments for the county-wide library system. It was not a bad job by any means, and the PR people were very friendly and nice to me (which was great). However, for this summer, I wanted a job more related to the kinds of things I've learned so far in my major, Digital Media Design. (And maybe I'd even get to actually use some of them! haha.) So as the months of the spring semester went on, I watched people around me going to career fairs, updating their resumes, and getting internships. I'd thought a bit about where to start looking for jobs, but I didn't even write my resume until spring break. (It definitely took at least a solid day to condense my experience into one organized and pretty page.) I still applied to the county summer program (requesting something computer/design-related on the app), and googled around to look for anything interesting that'd be local (and I don't live in a city, or near one of any acknowledgeable size, so it's not so easy...). One night I really started panicking that I hadn't found something good, and stayed up really late rather frantically searching PennLink (Penn's Career Services job listing thing) but to pretty much no avail.

So what happened? Well, my mom turned out to save the day. Thanks to Google, she found an IT internship being offered by Dow Jones, and near enough to home, too. (They have locations in Princeton and South Brunswick.) The internship description was rather vague. It listed probably 30 technologies (programming languages, database stuff, and other words of which I don't really know the meaning :P) and said if you were familiar with any one or more of them, that would be enough. I was glad, because most of the job postings I'd found or seen had requirements that I just didn't fulfill, and it was getting discouraging. (How do people learn all this stuff anyway? I don't think there's enough time to teach us most of it in college...) I think Java and C++ and even Microsoft Access (lol) were on the list, so I figured I might as well go for it. I didn't really expect I'd be successful; I mean, "this is Dow Jones, how can I be good enough for that?!" I thought.

So I wrote a cover letter and completed the application online just after spring break, then waited for awhile... And suddenly I started being contacted (!!). An "Application Architect" from the Wall Street Journal first emailed me, then called my house the next day (my mom passed on the message to me). I called him back that same day and he interviewed me on the phone. I wasn't too hopeful though, because he asked me some things about Java and other stuff, and I don't think I gave a solid answer for any of them... Soon after that, I received another totally unrelated call, and had another phone interview, with people representing three different departments. And then there was a third call, with yet another group of people. I kept trying to get a good explanation from all these people about what they really did in their departments, but to be honest, I didn't understand most of what they were telling me haha. Thus, when I thought about it (and conferred with my parents; my dad tried to give me some clue about the terminology with which these people were explaining their jobs), it seemed that the first person I'd talked to would be the best match. The Wall Street Journal Online sounded good to me, and maybe I'd get to do some programming... So when another guy who works with the first one emailed to offer me the position, I decided to accept it.

Fast forward through more emails, a few more phone calls, the end of the school year, and a number of forms and info packets, and I was almost set up to be a Dow Jones employee. I had a couple weeks or so between getting home from Penn and the start of my job (the Tuesday right after Memorial Day), during which I enjoyed sleeping in, reading, shopping... and I worried that I wouldn't be good enough for the job. Seriously, I didn't know why he accepted me when I thought I'd done pretty badly on the phone interview. I kept telling my family and friends I was petrified, and of course they all said I'd be fine and not to worry so much. (Worrying is something I do too much in general, probably.)

One thing about this Dow Jones internship is that the complex ("campus", I think they actually call it) is in Princeton/Monmouth Junction. My parents of course think the value of this opportunity overshadows the hour-long commute, and I guess I didn't really know what to think of it. My dad helped map out a more back-roads route which would hopefully avoid the worst traffic, and on the Thursday before I was going to start, I got up early to practice driving there. We took Dad's truck and made it without a hitch (well, perhaps aside of being late :P); after making sure I knew how to get to the parking lot and entrance I'd been directed to use on my first day, we turned around and headed home.

A few days later, my first day arrived. I left my house around 7:45am...and shortly thereafter, realized I'd forgotten my purse at home. And obviously couldn't call home to tell anybody, because my phone was at home in it. So there was basically nothing to do except continue driving, else I'd be late. With the help of Google Maps printouts and two sets of written directions (mine and my dad's), I arrived at the Dow Jones entrance guard booth at 8:51am. (I know this because the guard labeled my one-day parking pass with the time.) I had survived the first trial of the day (driving there), but was still so nervous that the guard had to ask me to repeat my reason for being there because I wasn't loud enough...

I walked inside and told the guy at the reception office window that I was starting my internship. As he was looking me up and trying to call Matt (the guy who had interviewed me) and then trying to call Frank (the other guy who had emailed me) since Matt wasn't answering, and whatever else, he asked for my driver's license, and I was like "umm... I kind of.. forgot it..." (hahaha). Luckily he just asked me to spell my name and then gave me a visitor's badge. Then I headed over to HR, where I had another minorly embarrassing moment: the receptionist asked who my contact person was in HR, and without really thinking I mentioned Matt, then Frank... she was like, "Do you have your letter?" I finally realized she meant the guy whose name was on my official job offer letter. Oh well. Said guy came and filled out my I9 (luckily I had my passport with me despite not having my purse, so I didn't look illegal or anything). He took me back to the check-in window and got me a real Dow Jones employee badge (which, yes, I think is kind of cool, haha. It's retractable and I can scan it to unlock the building doors!) I went back to HR, where I called home to discover that my parents had realized my forgotten purse, Mom had called Matt to tell him, and Dad was already on his way to deliver it (oh brother).

Finally, Frank came to fetch me from the HR office and took me upstairs where I was introduced to several people whose names I don't remember anymore lol. Matt still wasn't there, so someone showed me where the cafeteria is, and then we headed back towards where I'd entered (Building 5, by the way--though Building 1 and 5 are connected) and picked up my purse from Dad. Somewhere amidst hallway touring with somebody, we ran into Matt, finally. I discovered he is young after all, as I'd guessed from the phone conversation. (It feels weird to call him "young" when I'm years younger than everyone else there, haha, but it's all relative.)

So Matt and I walked around and talked, trying to figure out what I should work on for the summer. I told him I was up for anything, since I didn't know what to expect. Eventually he decided on something for me, and left me with the instructions to go through Javascript tutorials online. This sounded good to me, because after all, Javascript was one thing on my mental list of things I wanted to learn, so I dug in...

Lunch posed a bit of confusion for me. For some reason I could not understand, I'd been placed at a desk within what I now call a "rectangle" (defined by these cubicle wall things) containing nine desks total, but most of these were empty, and Matt wasn't even in the same large room as me, let alone my rectangle. So I walked over to another rectangle in another large room where I thought I remembered his desk was, but didn't see him there. However, several people in that rectangle looked up at me and one guy asked if I was looking for Matt. I said I thought I should tell him I was going to lunch, and the guy kinda laughed and said I didn't have to tell anyone I was going to lunch, then showed me where the cafeteria was for like my third time that day. At least they are friendly :) .

As the afternoon went on, I kept reading about Javascript (and some HTML, because I was only vaguely familiar with most of it), and as 5pm approached, I started wondering if I should go talk to Matt at all. Luckily he came to see how I was doing, and then briefly showed me a little more about what I should be looking up and what kind of code I'd be working with. He asked if I was good to go, and I said "Well.. can you tell me how to get out of here?" He laughed and walked me back to Building 5. I followed Dad's reverse directions, and managed to get home. And my first day had gone pretty well, I figured. :)


The next days included a variety of challenges and experiences. I eagerly worked on the Javascript tasks Matt gave me, looked up tons of little quirks, found out that Firefox usually does what I want and Internet Explorer doesn't (hahaha), and tried out extra things just to see if I could do them. Matt sometimes took me to a conference room and drew diagrams on the whiteboard to try to explain larger structures and concepts to me, and I usually was (sorta) able to understand. I found the cafeteria garbage cans and the nearest bathrooms, and read Tuesdays with Morrie during lunch, sitting in the comfy cafeteria lit by the sun coming through skylights. I found out that my "group" or whatever was in the process of moving into the rectangle, and gradually people populated most of the remaining empty desks. Matt is now next to me (though the desks are pretty wide, so he's probably at least 6 feet away), and next to him is Jeff. The next side has a "doorway" into the rectangle, but they've kinda blocked it with the whiteboard, haha. The next side (opposite mine) has Steve, Dean(?), and another guy whose name I don't know. The fourth side is moved away to make doorways, and two women whose names I also don't know sit there. I've come to recognize some other people who stop by the rectangle and/or apparently sit in nearby rectangles, but I mostly don't know names, especially the Indian ones. I think everyone I've talked to has been friendly, which is really great. Our rectangle is not without its silliness, either. This includes various goofing around, such as taking tables from the center of the rectangle and claiming them as extra desks, then placing stuff there and joking about opening a bazaar... throwing around a compactible (what?? Firefox spell-checking tells me that's not a word? oh well) Commerce Bank frisbee... joking about "Sue's balls" - these were golf balls, hahaha, but I guess guys will always be guys :P ... Steve getting Facebook... "I'm too sexy for my code" (because those center tables look like a runway LOL)... Oh man, there's more but I can't remember all of it. At least I'm learning that just because Dow Jones is a big intimidating-sounding company doesn't mean there aren't real normal people inside who like to have a good time :).

And speaking of that, one day, Jeff came over to me and asked if I played foosball, haha... I told him not really in awhile. I used to play really hardcore with Greg, back in the day, with that little table that caved down towards one end and the plastic players moved around and all...such good times though. So we went over to the "game room" or whatever and I requested to play defense (3 goalies? what? I guess that's the standard and ours was just old or something), but I am definitely out of practice, and my left hand is better for snapping the players, so I wasn't doing so well with the defenders (right hand). Jeff and I lost the first match to Steve and Dean(?), but then Steve left and someone else took his place, and Jeff and I switched positions so I played offense, and we won :).

...aaand that was a bit more than I planned, so I didn't get to the past few days, which were the original subject for this post.. but hey, it's all good.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Last night, at the Subs 'n' Sounds concert, two boys were sitting in the row in front of me. I'm terrible at guessing ages, but they're probably in elementary school. We had maybe 15 or 20 minutes to wait before the concert would actually start, so I watched them playing hand games together (not too obviously, I hope). The first game they were playing involved slapping each other's hands (not lightly, either), and the second one (I think there's a name for it, but I don't know it) involved getting ammo(?), guarding, or shooting at the opponent on each successive turn. The kids were laughing, smiling despite the hand slapping, just enjoying each other and the fun of playing together. One kid had these sports glasses things strapped around his head with an elastic strap. The other one had shaggy dirty blond surfer hair. I thought that when these two boys got older, these surface elements of physical appearance could be a social barrier to them hanging out with each other. As you get older, entering middle school, you become more aware of your appearance and whether you are fitting in with what's cool at the time. I imagined that sports-glasses kid could get made fun of for wearing those. But seeing them together, enjoying each other's company through something as simple as hand games, made me think that these young kids are unknowingly living more humanly than we might live when we are older. Innocent and free of the superficial things we concern ourselves with (our personal appearances, our homes and cars, etc.), they can simply connect with each other.

For a long time, I had said I would never have kids. As I watched them, I thought that perhaps this was one of the joys that would make it worth it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A thought from my commute

...Actually my drive to work and my drive back home afterwards were both filled with thoughts; however, it's late (and I need to get some sleep), so for the moment I'm only going to mention this one. In the morning, after getting on 33, I switched to the left lane, passed a school bus, and switched back to the right lane. Driving home, I passed a dump truck of some sort, and then a cab of a tractor trailer (without any trailer). And.. though it's probably just a norm of highway driving (moving ahead of slower-moving large vehicles), I felt a little bad about it. The drivers of these large vehicles are probably depending on driving them as their jobs. And we, in the much smaller cars, SUVs, and minivans, feel the need to move over, zip ahead, and move back in front of them -- because they are driving a little bit under the speed limit, and in this fast-paced world, we all feel the need to drive a little bit above it. It's sort of like not-so-discreetly moving around and in front of an older lady or gentleman on a sidewalk, so that you can rush ahead... seems a tad disrespectful. Okay, maybe that's a little far-fetched, and hey, I moved ahead of these vehicles too. But I couldn't help feeling it was another sign of how everyone is so caught up in what they've got to do, where they've got to go, the rush and business of the day, that we forget that we're all people, living together in this world...

Hmm. Maybe Tuesdays with Morrie is sticking in my mind more than I realized? :P That's probably a good thing, though. :)