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About this blog

The musings of me

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Youtube Turns 10

YouTube is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and to celebrate, I thought I'd post my favorite 10 videos from YouTube. What are yours?   10. by Jenna Marbles, 2010  I love how Jenna Marbles packs insightful social commentary into a dumb blonde persona. Well-done.   9. " , 2008  Twilight brought much laughter during its run, least of all the many, many spoofs that existed.   8. , 2007  For context: Britney Spears 2007 VMA's   7. "Oakland!", 2009 (A Tourism Guide)   6. ", 2014  5. , 2012  4. by MainStayPro, 2011  Fan film that imagines Haymitch's time in the Hunger Games. Really well-done.   3. ", 2008  Obama's election to the tune of "One Day More" from Les Miserables. 'Nuff Said.   2.   I watched Simon Cowell be a nasty piece of work towards people who aren't conventionally good-looking for years on American Idol, and it was amazing to watch all these people who were laughing at her because of her looks shut up when they realized how good she was. Talk about ripping through all cynical.   And one is of course....   1. , 2011  So what are your favorite videos?

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Alright, so it's the new semester. I have a job on campus at the student dining hall. Work is work, but this time around I'm getting more hours. And to be honest, I really don't like two of the shifts I have- I don't like the pace, and while I know I could get used to the duties over the semester, I just don't feel like $7.25 an hour is worth getting aggravated trying to get used to something when I've got two other shifts with job duties I'm used to having. This week I'm working somewhere close to 20 hours, and I'm just feeling like it's too much for me. I'm considering dropping back down to about ten, getting rid of the two shifts I really don't like having, while being open to "sub" in for other shifts.   I totally thought I could work about 12 to 15 hours, and I don't know if I can really do it. On one hand, I really like making extra money, with spring break coming up and everything. On the other hand, I'm starting to feel like I'm getting stretched thin- not there yet, but when the academic workload really starts coming in I don't know how I'm going to feel. I feel like the hours are already cutting into my study time.   I hate feeling like a quitter, but I really don't know if I can carry this kind of job workload all semester. My gut feeling is telling me to cut back on my hours, but I'm worried about how that will make me look, as well as lost money opportunities.   What do you think?

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Why Delaware has so much suburban sprawl.

I wrote this article for Reddit just for the hell of it. *** Someone posted earlier about the annoying amount of over-development and suburban sprawl in Delaware. I thought it would be interesting to go a little bit over the reasons why the system is set up like the way it is, and how the forces of suburbanization have made Delaware into the bedroom community it is today.   Wilmington developed at a steady pace throughout the 1800's- especially during the Civil War, which the du Pont Company really flourished as at the time they were known for gun powder. In 1864, a horse railcar line was developed around Delaware Avenue, which allowed for Wilmington residential development to expand out towards the "country", and leafy residential neighborhoods began to sprout. Note that this would be a continuing pattern for Wilmington's elite- building pretty "country" houses and pushing north of Wilmington.   Soon, the railroad came, as well as the trolley car. This allowed for Wilmington's first official suburb, Elsmere, which was developed in 1886 by Joshua Heald for working middle-class families. Though there were talks for Wilmington annexing Elsmere into their city boundaries, Elsmere had incorporated as its own town by 1909. Wilmington couldn't really do much about it, because they had a weak city charter and New Castle County government would thwart them time after time whenever they tried to expand their borders.   World War I and World War II brought continued prosperity to Wilmington, which reached 112k in population by 1940. Again, given that Wilmington had a weak city charter that made it hard for them to annex surrounding land into their city, a lot of residential development began to spill out of the borders of Wilmington, which was made even easier by the car. It was around this time that the prosperous North Wilmington suburbs were developed, originally for the du Pont company chemists and their families. (Think Alapocas, Greenville, Talleyville, etc.) Meanwhile, the more solidly middle-class suburban development continued out from Elsemere along the newly built Kirkwood Highway. Newark, which had been a relatively small town throughout most of its history, also exploded in population, going from just 6k people in 1950 to over 20k by 1970. The first wave of suburban sprawl began to hit the Newark area as areas such as Brookside were developed.   As the 1950's continued and gave way to the 1960's, suburban development and flight from Wilmington continued. There are a couple of factors for this. The first is that the building of I-95 required demolition of several city neighborhoods, which destabilized the entire area and also made it even easier for people who worked in Wilmington to commute from the suburbs. The second is that the G.I. Bill, which returning WWII vets were using to buy homes, strongly favored new construction in the suburbs as opposed to the older housing stock. Third, the returning G.I.'s and their wives would give birth to what is known as the Baby Boomer Generation. This cohort was so large that entire children-consumer industries sprang up. These G.I.'s preferred to raise their kids in their suburbs, continuing the suburban flight from Wilmington. Finally, the perception of Wilmington being unsafe stemmed from the Wilmington riots of 1968, which led to most of suburban Delaware turning their backs on Wilmington and never looking back. From the 1950's through the 1980's, Wilmington's population would drop from 95k in 1950, down to about 70k by 1990, which is more or less where the population has stabilized.   In the late 1970's, Christiana Mall began to be developed, which drove more development. The success of that mall meant that developers have clamored to build retail in the areas surrounding the mall since, hoping to capture that success as well- you see that today with the new Christiana Fashion Center. The building of nearby Christiana Hospital in 1984-1985 would also be a major driver of development in that region. Another biggie would be MBNA, which was founded in 1982 and became a massive behomoth of a suburban office complex in Ogletown.   Ah, yes, we can't forget about banks, which began a boom in Delaware in the 1980's due to laws passed in 1981 that were favorable to banks. This did in fact led to a lot of office development in Wilmington, but the Baby Boomer bankers preferred living in the suburbs to living in the city. I mean, there were some city neighborhoods that got revived (think 40 Acres/Trolley Square) but by and large the affluence that was being driven by the banking boom of the 80's/90's was going out into the suburbs instead of being invested into the city. At least, beyond the gleaming office towers. The next round of suburban development (the 1980's-1990's) would take place around the Bear/Glasgow area. Originally cheap farmland (this area was big on horses), it became known for townhomes and cookie cutter housing developments. On the more upscale side, the affluent developments around Hockessin began to pop up as well. Both of these areas were not incorporated, which meant that developers did not need to go through city laws/city councils in order to get their developments approved- just having to deal with the city. I grew up in Bear during the 2000's, and I remember my jaw dropping when someone told me that Bear had largely been the "country" back in the 80's. You can still see some remnants of its past (I remember seeing some horse farms close to Old Porter Road) but man.   Anyway, another really, really huge factor in the suburban sprawl deal in Delaware comes up in the 1990's. That would be the construction of Route 1. Originally built to bypass Route 13 and create a faster route to the beach, this would help the MOT area (Middletown, Odessa, Townsend) explode in population, as it was now a more convenient area to commute from. Middletown had 3k people in 1990, now it's up to over 20k, and that's just within the city limits. One difference in the suburban sprawl story of Middletown is that the mayor of the 1990's actually set this in motion on purpose, because Middletown was a dying farming town. The town began to aggressively annex surrounding areas so they would benefit from the building of the housing developments and strip malls. This would led to Middletown's population growing by 206 percent between 2000 to 2010. Not that there hasn't been some pushback- in 1999 Middletown residents rejected a school referendum purely as an attempt to stop the suburban development, but of course, it didn't really work.   Route 1 has been a major driver of suburban development all across the state for the past 20 years. I lived in Dover from 2005-2006, and I remember there was a lot of suburbs getting built around the former farmland. Downstate also saw a lot of this growth, particularly with the beach areas, although that growth hasn't extended out to the western part of Sussex County. One thing that began to happen, especially during that 2000's real estate boom, is that developers in New Castle County started talking about "re-developing" golf courses, nature preserves, and former office complexes, particularly in the more crowded part above the canal. One particularly nasty fight occurred when the Stoltz Company wanted to build a 13-story tower in Greenville at the former Barley Mill Office complex, and basically the residents banded together to sue them 'til kingdom come until those plans were dropped. Another really controversial move has been talk abut re-developing the Newark Country Club, which has been bandied about for at least the past 15 years but it keeps getting thwarted. I also remember there were some whispers about developing in Bellevue Park around this area, although I don't know if that came to fruition.   The Great Recession did put a damper for a while for suburban development in Delaware. Development has come back, but if you notice, a lot of what's getting built currently are townhomes aimed at seniors as well as apartment buildings. (Notably, the Newark student apartment buildings that everyone likes to bitch about.) You're not seeing as many plans for McMansion developments the way you would have back in the 90's and the 2000's.   Anyways... 1.) Delaware has always been a really convenient place to travel through when it comes to go to Philly, D.C./Baltimore, or New York City. This convenience has only increased with the building of roads like I-95 and Route 1. (Probably the new 301 is really going to jumpstart some new suburban sprawl as well.) 2.) Delaware has historically stayed away from compact urban development. Newark was originally a sleepy town that had a small college. Dover was small town until the 1970's. A lot of Delaware was rural for most of our history. (Still shocked at the thought of Bear being a sleepy little farming community as recently as the 80's.) Our only "big" city is Wilmington, and even when they had 100k residents, they weren't building tall apartment buildings- note the row-homes and townhomes. 3.) Developers like building on flat, open spaces, which Delaware had/has a lot of because we had so many farms. And we are largely on the Atlantic Coastal plain. 4.) Wilmington lost 40k people in the course of about 50 years, and been unable to entice people to come back. One interesting fact- in 1940, Wilmington had 112k people. Delaware itself only had 266k people. That means that over 40 percent of the entire state of Delaware lived in Wilmington in 1940. Now that percentage is down to about 7 percent! 5.) Government, especially in New Castle County, has a really, really hard time saying no to developers. There's also this mindset of not thinking ahead. I've learned in the Memories of Newark group that in the 1960's, the Newark City Council was floating the idea of building a by-pass that would have gone around the Main Street area. Sort of similar to what's going on right now with the 301, which is going to by-pass the current 301 that goes through Middletown. It was floated because at the time, Newark was booming, and the traffic problems we see today started to appear. However, the city council voted it down because they thought it was unnecessary. Today, the proposed bypass would be impossible because most of that land got developed, so Newarkers today basically have to pay for the mistakes that were made 50 years ago. And you see similar stories to that again and again- developers getting their way and our government not making them put in the infrastructure needed because they don't want to lose the development deals.   So yeah, there you have it. It's basically almost inevitable that Delaware basically is the way it is. We're basically just reaping what Elsmere sowed back in the early 1900's when they refused to become part of Wilmington because they didn't want to pay city taxes. TL;DR: Delaware's life as a suburban bedroom community is the result of forces that were set in motion as early as the 19th century. Edited...looks like people want some sources so here's a couple: "Corporate Capital- Wilmington in the 20th Century" by Carol Hoffecker, Temple University Press, 1983. Wilmington DE population Newark DE Population Dover DE Historical Population Delaware population figures Middletown DE Wikpedia Page Save Our County- Website for the group that fought the Stoltz Company tooth and nail over the proposed Greenville development Push for country park on former orphanage site remains strong, Newark Post Online 2017 West Main Street Residents Want By-pass, Newark Post Achives September 2,1994 Christiana Fashion Center's first phase on target, Delaware Business Times March 2015 Northern Delaware's Christiana Mall remains resistant to retail's rough patch, BisNow 2018 Banking Haven- Washington Post 1983 Middletown, Delaware Annexing Farmland- New York Times 1990 Market Street Renaissance- Out & About, October 2015 Developers Target Delaware Golf Courses January 2016 *** Growing up as suburban kid...I wouldn't have it any other way. I fucking LOVED hanging out at the mall growing up. I don't know if I would have liked being a city kid, or being in some small cow town or something.
 

When Things Don't Work Out- Post-Script

So you guys have heard all about my internship that went incredibly south, and the incredibly humiliating way I was released from the internship.   As a bit of a post-script, I had to fill out a survey. I vented out some of my anger at the situation, but I managed to keep it from going too over the top After mentioning my points that I think my supervisor needed to be more direct with constructive criticism and not engage her interns in so many private conversations, I was able to suggest this: (more or less)   If the decision has been made to release an intern from their internship, I believe the news should be delivered to the intern in a face-to-face meeting with the superior making the decision and a neutral third party who has not personally worked with the intern. The neutral third party can ensure that the superior relays to the intern a firm understanding of why the internship has been ended, but also done in a way that is polite, respectful, and non-inflammatory to the intern.   I mean, I don't know if that's ever going to change anything, but I liked being able to speak my peace. I can deal with the fact that I fucked up and I closed a door permanently shut. What bothers me is that the director of the internship felt that he could yell at me on the phone, relay to me gossip from 7 to 10 years ago, and then questioned my mental status. There's something rich about about being called out by a superior about your lack of professionalism, in a way that was INCREDIBLY unprofessional.That's not okay, and I hope I was able to convey it that way without sounding like a big ol' crybaby.   I was also able to applaud the very awesome volunteer coordinator I'll call "Amanda". She was a cool chick, and made my exit interview far less painful than it could have been.   I'm not going to lie- I'm still angry and hurt, but I think I'm moving on. I think, anyway.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

When Things Don't Work Out

Well, my internship with the state park did not work out. I'm pretty shocked and sad about it.   Long story short, they felt like a particular incident showed that I had not gotten over my behavior problems from a decade ago, and given that I had a lot of baggage with them from that time period, they did not feel like I was a fit with them. I was given a second chance and I blew it.   It sucks and I'm pretty angry at myself. I know I'll move on- I closed a door with ever working with the state park system in Delaware, apparently, but it's not the end of my career. I might really want to start thinking long and hard about staying in the state of Delaware, however.   Right now my immediate course of action is to just go ahead and start increasing my volunteer hours at another museum I work at (thank god I didn't actually leave the place), do some soul-searching about why this internship did not work out like the previous 3 I've worked in, and get back on the horse and try again. Luckily I've got this side job cleaning apartment buildings a couple weekends a month so I'm not completely at 0.   Ugh. I guess I just have to remember that this was a learning experience, even though it wasn't in the way I wanted it to be.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

When Parents Take Over Their Deceased Child's Facebook Page

I got the heebie jeebies the other day when I was playing the game Farmville yesterday, and I got a notification that B.P. had done something to help my farm.   B.P. died back around August, an apparent suicide. He was only 22. After that, his father took over the page, giving us updates on stuff like the funeral. Then he started sending us stories about Brian. Now he's apparently using his son's facebook page regularly enough that he's playing Farmville under the name of his dead son.   I understand the father is grieving, and maybe this is his way of dealing with it, but god, this just creeps me out so much. Am I wrong for feeling like there's something wrong about this? It'd be one thing if the father just left the page up as a memorial, but I've gotten a birthday notification, status updates, and now Farmville help from B.P., who died back during the summer, and it's really unsettling. I'm thinking about deleting him from my profile, but I don't know if that would be a nice thing to do. Still, I just feel really uncomfortable about this.   UPDATE: I wound up deleting the profile from my friends page in October. When it had reached over a year, I just couldn't take the weirdness of it anymore. It's not my friend Brian's page anymore- it's his dad's.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

What A Wonderful World

I had a good weekend. I didn't go crazy and rage- I just had a couple of drinks with my friend Seth at this nice little bar on Philly Street. Sang some karoke and all that fun stuff. The next night I went out to Wolfie's and danced. Friday night I got to see the Plain White T's, and that was fun.   But the best part about this weekend was the sense of utter contentment I had. I've made some choices that have left me satisified about where my life is headed, and I just feel good.   Sunday afternoon, it was beautiful day out...I walked around IUP, marveling at this rare nice weather day. I stopped at the Oak Grove, which is the campus quad full of big old oak trees. I saw all these people out, enjoying their own day...friends lying out on towels and blankets, enjoy each other's company. I saw little kids playing with one another, next to what I'm assuming would be their parents. I saw people sitting on benches, quietly reading. It was all ordinary, yet extraordinarily beautiful.   So here I was, observing this beautiful day. I sat down over by a bench, and I was just overcome by the beauty of everything that surrounded me...I started crying tears of joy. At how wonderful the world can really be, when you stop to really look at it, and how lucky I am that I'm still alive and able to experience it.   And this sense...this sense of "I was right to come here" just came over me. Yes, it would have been cheaper to have gone to Del State, yes I might have been better served by getting a degree from Wilm U, but yeah....I really do feel like I made the right choice in coming to IUP. This place just feels like home, and that's the first time I ever truly felt that, deep down in my gut. And realizing that I moved on; that I can be happy in a life outside of being a University of Delaware guy...well, I really did need to learn that. Because when I was a senior in college I thought the best part of my life was over when I finished UD. And I realize now that I was wrong; that I still have a lot great moments of happiness left even though I'm no longer a crazy UD college kid.   I hope of all you get that kind of experience every once in a while...the only I can best describe how it feels would be the words of Louis Armstrong:   I see trees of green, red roses too I see them bloom, for me and you And I think to myself What a wonderful world   I see skies of blue, and clouds of white The bright blessed day, dark sacred night And I think to myself What a wonderful world   The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky Are also on the faces, of people going by I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?" They're really sayin', "I love you"   I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know And I think to myself What a wonderful world   Yes, I think to myself What a wonderful world Oh yeah

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Whacko for Flacco

I was at a bar tonight. Some DC business dudes noticed my University of Delaware flacco sweatshirt. I got it back in fall '09 when I was drunk at Homecoming. This one guy wanted to buy it off of me, because the Baltimore/DC area apparently doesn't sell Joe Flacco UD swag. I wound up selling it to the guy for forty dollars. Plus the two drinks I got, and the tip I would have given the bartender, I wound up clearing about 48 dollars.   The best part is that the sweatshirt had almost little to no sentimental value- I enjoy Flacco and all that, but I can easily get UD Flacco swag when I get home. A new jersey with his five number would cost 35 dollars there. And I had the sweatshirt for almost two years, so even if I had payed over 40 dollars for it(I can't even remember what I paid for it because I was drunk when I bought it), it's not really worth that now. My actual, sentimental University of Delaware hoodie is at home.   It's just one of those things where you wanna laugh and go, "One's born every minute."   Seriously though, that was pretty cool. I heard that Ravens fans really wanted to get their hands on Joe Flacco UD gear, but I'd never really experienced that until tonight. The whole things a win/win- I get money that I need to replenish my stock after having spent so much money on spring break, and when I'm home and have some extra money, I can just buy a new Flacco t-shirt or something for 15 dollars.    

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Weezer

Weezer was giving a free concert at the Christiana Mall today, which was pretty cool. They were there to celebrate the opening of the new Microsoft store at the mall.   They closed it with Say It Ain't So, which was awesome.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Weekend Fun

My weekend was nice.   Thursday night, I decided to hit up Skid Row to shoot the breeze with some of my buddies. One let me take a shot of Absolut vodka, which was nice. I walked over to my best buddy Steve's dorm, where he is an RA. Along with his residents, we sat around and talked about life and took shots of cheapo Smirnoff vodka. He gave me a Negro beer to chase, which made me think of Adam's advertisments for Negro Modelo in Cross-Currents and Brushfire. I had about four shots of vodka in total, along with two beers. If this had been spread out over a course of at least three hours, I would have been fine, but because I did this within an hour-and-a-half time frame, I was very, very, very drunk. Hanging out with my friend Steve and James in Jame's dorm, I apparently put on someone's hat that I called a "Castro hat", and went on a spiel about communism. LOL. Allegedly, I also fell asleep mid-sentence while talking to someone, and fell flat on my back while trying to walk in the hallway. Laughs were had all around. Later I went back to Steve's room, and passed out on his floor for about three hours.   Friday, I went to an outdoor concert called Bennyfest, held at a house on- you guessed it- Benny Street. They had bands playing, with a pretty sound system considering it was just one house. The fest wasn't big, but it was nice and lively. The cops were tipped off, so they weren't allowed to sell jello shots as planned, so I didn't really drink there because I didn't feel like it while still nursing my hangover from Thursday. They had a slip-n-slide set up in the backyard. The object was to play a game called "slip cup", which was supposed to be a hybrid game combining a slip-n-slide and the game flip-cup. We played it a little, but in the end, the mud created by the constantly running garden hose was too tempting. Myself, along with what grew to be about 15 or so people, decided to roll around and play in the mud. We had mud fights, and mud wrestling, and generally got covered head to toe in mud. I mudwrestled three times with two different guys- losing once, winning twice. It was freeing experience- walking around covered in mud and not caring what people thought. And a cute shirtless college guy in mud? Can be damn nice to look at. Especially when you turn the hose on them to get the mud off. It was quite possibly one of the happiest moments in my life- slinging mud around and rolling in mud while on a beautiful late spring day, as sweet tunes drifted across the air in a celebration of our end-of-school-year.   Saturday, I wound up a frat party to hang out with my friends Ian and James. It was fun- I saw a lot of my freshmen friends there. I showed someone how to properly work a keg so as to minimalize foam- it felt great to impart some wisdom on the younger generation. And with this girl Juls, who was from Ian and Jame's dorm, I decided to throw down and work this stripper pole that had been set up in the basement. Dancing seductively around the pole with Juls, I felt very sexually freed. Afterwards, I watched as Ian and James lost their beer pong game. Knowing that there weren't anymore parties to go to, we walked over to Little Caesars to fufill our late-night alcohol-induced munchies. They wanted to stay outside and eat, but I decided to get back to Steve's dorm, because he was going to pay me back for a pizza that I bought for him. I wound up taking the bus, where hungry college kids tried to tempt me into giving up free pizza. I resisted, though one cute freshman boy bought a slice off of me for a dollar. I got back to Steve's residence hall, and hung out with him and a few of his residents until five a.m. in the morning. Nothing majorly significant happened, although we did tease James about this guy Eric- who we are POSITIVE is a closetcase, and we're also positive has a total crush on him.   Sunday, I did some studying. Then took off to Deer Park for a nightcap of double vodka cranberry. You should try them, guys...they're good. Then hung out some more with my friends at their dorm. My little shitstirrer side came out, as Eric actually hung out with us that night, and I keep making these little innuendos about Eric and James that increasing pissed James off, LOL. We also made plans for the summer, as a few of the guys are going to be around here this summer. Should be fun.   And then Monday, we had a casual barbeque at my sister's house in the boonies. It was fun- we celebrated my oldest sister's 32nd birthday, and all four of us siblings were able to catch up a little on our lives.   And that was my weekend. I liked it, a lot.     This week? Finals. Did my first, got another one on Thursday, and it's goodbye junior year!

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteering Day 5 and 6 and Flooding

So on Day 5 of volunteering, I finished going through my box and started on another one. On Day 6, which was this past Tuesday, I started on a new box- in this case, a good chunk of what I saw in the box was actually pretty new, like posters from the 2009 parade and the like, as well as a DVD rip. Which was interesting, because on one hand, it's good to have them, but on the other hand, it doesn't really feel like history.   In main news...Newark, Delaware flooded out. Not like, Mississipppi River flooding or anything, but I've never seen flooding like this on Main Street before:     Flooding is usually mitigated by the significant amount of creeks around the Newark area, so it's rare you see flooding like this in the downtown area. Pretty crazy.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteer Work- Day 8 and Day 9

On Day 8 (which was Friday, July 5th) and Day 9 (July 9th), I worked on the inventory for my 4th box. This particular box was mainly the files of paperwork from the parades, going from the 1980's to the 2000's. I had a conversation with the museum leader about the box- he agreed with me that it wasn't really necessary for me to inventory each and every single piece of paper, so I did the inventory by the folder.   Some of the paperwork was pretty tedious(I found memos about catering the event from 2005 to about 2007), but there were some pretty cool things about the guests and the participants of the parade. I also found some newspaper clippings- some going all the way back to 1984. I'm guessing that the person who donated the collection joined the Memorial Day Committee around the mid-80's, since none of the paperwork goes further back than the mid-1980's. The photos do, but not the paperwork or the newspaper clippings I've found.   It was for the most part one of the easier boxes to go through, because a lot of the files had already been labeled with dates. You guys have no clue how useful that is for future archivists.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteer Work- Day 3 and 4

On Day 3, I continued going through my box of Memorial Day photos. I found a couple of pictures of Governor Tom Carper (D, 1993-2001), which made it far easier to nail down a date for that set.   For Day 4 (this past Friday), the volunteer manager had myself and another volunteer go through cataloging basics. Even though I've already done cataloging, I appreciated the refresher. Plus, as I've learned, every museum does things different- a true universial standard for cataloging doesn't really exist.   I really like the collection we went through yesterday- the donater had brought memorabilia pertaining to his mother's, father's, and his own days at the University of Delaware (the late 1930's/early 1940's and the 1960's, respectively). It was really cool to see the mother's dance cards from all these dances from circa 1939-1941, complete with little pencils. That was back when University of Delaware had a men's college on the North Green, with the women's college on the South Green, and back then there wasn't as much interaction between the men and the women of the school. It was also interesting to realize that this was just a few years before most of the male students would drop out of Delaware to go fight in WWII.   As for the 60's, I found a 1962-1963 student code of conduct book, as well as a lot of student athletic schedules. There was also a sideline pass for a UD/Rutgers game, which was interesting, because I don't think Rutgers and UD play football against each other anymore. There was also an interesting UD magazine that talked about the plans for building Morris Library- I cannot tell you how much time I spent in that library when I was in high school and college. It made me think about how UD seems to be on a constant building spree- since the 1950's, the only period where there wasn't constant building would be the 1980's, when the number of college-aged people contracted sharply. Right now UD's on a major building mission, but it makes me wonder what'll happen when the baby bust of the late 1990's and 2000's starts to hit colleges.   The memorabilia made me wish I could've gone to school in the 1960's, though- we found a booklet that listed tution for the entire academic year as being $1,120. You can't even go to community college for that anymore! LOL.   All in all, it's really nice using my skills again, even if I'm not getting paid for it.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteer Work- Day 2

I started work on another box- this one isn't going to be as easy, because it's not filled with photo albums with dates on the front like the first one I worked on was. It's mostly scattered photographs in packets from photo development shops.   The bulk of the photos I've run across in this box are from the late 1990's into about 2004, although I did find photos from 1988-1990.   That was interesting for me, because I started hanging out around downtown Newark/The University of Delaware area in the late 1990's/early 2000's, so I was seeing a lot of familiar old sights there. One photo I really loved was of Rainbow Records- it's an indie record shop that had been really popular, to the point that they had moved into a nearby building as part of a big expansion. In latter years, the store had moved back to it's original space, and then eventually moved to an even smaller space in what had once been the store's back offices. It's been barely hanging on, but it's still there- just in a much smaller space. So the photo of what the store looked like it in the glory days of CD's before MP3's became common was pretty cool to see.   I had to do a lot of "dating" clues when it came to the photographs. One that helped was Gore Hall, which was built on campus in 1998. So if I saw a photo of ROTC kids marching on camps and they passed by Gore, I knew the photo had to have been from post-1998. Another interesting clue I had was a picture of these children who were at the parade- one little girl had a shirt on that said, "04", which suggested 2004 to me. I remember when it was particularly trendy at that point in the decade to have shirts that said the year on it. Then there was Cafe Gelatto's, the fancy schmancy Italian restuarant that had been around since 2000, where I would get Gelatto since I was in high school. My favorite clue though, was when I'd see photos with Mayor Vance Funk (who became mayor of Newark in 2003), and Ruth Ann Minner, who had been Delaware governor from 2001 to 2009. So having those two in the parade would definitely point to a 2004-ish time period for those particular set of photos.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteer Work- Day 10

Today I came close to finishing the inventory on my final box before going into full-on processing.   This box was one of the easier ones, as it mainly consisted of dated photo albums- so far ranging from 2009 down to 1979. One really cool photo I found was a 1981 photograph of then-Senator Joe Biden. I've seen a lot of photos with Senator Tom Carper (he was also governor of the state from 1993 to 2001), but I had never seen one with Joe Biden. Dude still didn't have a full head of hair even 32 years ago. Beau Biden must have lucked out either by not having the gene, or having really good hair work done on him. The 1981 photo album also had a pretty cool view of the old pedestrian bridge that used to exist over South College Avenue- it was brown and round-shaped, and it connected Smith Hall to a patch of grass on other side. Students called it the "Gerbil tube". It was replaced in the 1990's with a much more physically appealing white pedestrian bridge, and the patch of grass was built into Gore Hall in the late '90's.   I also found a Guest Book that covered events going from 1979 all the way up to 1990- it was cool to see a guest book that was actually completed. I also really enjoyed finding the 1985 Photo Album, and thinking about how that was the summer my mother was pregnant with me.   There's just something awesome about going through old photographs to me.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteer Work- Day 1

So today I started doing volunteer work at a small museum near where I went to undergrad, called Newark Historical Society. I decided to do this in order to keep my skills relevant while I look for a paying job.   They started me on a project where I'm going to go through 5 boxes that city hall sent them, which consist of photo albums from the 20th century Memorial Day parades. I'm not doing any real processing yet, just a little inventory. Today I looked at Box 3 of the Collection- it had albums from 1969, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, circa 1986, 1989, and circa 1990.   A lot of the albums had the years embossed on the front, but three of them did not. I had to do a little detective work for the ones that I deduced as being from about 1986 and 1990- one of the volunteers that is a fireman, and said he recognized the vintage of the firetrucks from the mid-80's in one album, and the early 90's in another. What really nailed the year down, though, were two pictures that showed the winners of the Newark "Pushmobile" contest- basically, the soap box derby for this town. (It was gone by the mid-90's, because I moved to the town in 1995 and there wasn't anything like that.) In one album, it showed a photo of a boy who was announced the 1986 winner, and the other showed a little girl who was announced the 1990 winner.   I really enjoyed trying to deduce the year- it was easy to get an "era" down in terms of the clothing, hair, and cars, but an exact year can be harder to come by. It was really funny looking at the 1990 photo album, because that's a year I can remember, and it really brought back memories of how things looked when I was 4, 5 years old. Another fun moment was when I was going through what I think was the '86 album, and I saw what looked like a brown 1981 Buick...that was our family car through about 1993, if I'm remembering correctly.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Volunteer Work - Day 7

I finished inventory on my third box, and now I've got two more boxes to go through. After that, I'll go through actually accessioning the collection.   I found a packet of photos that ranged from 1957 to 1982, as well as a photo album from 2005. This was a very wide-ranging box in terms of the years.   One really cool thing I found was a very old newspaper from Saturday, August 1st, 1987. It was pretty crazy- the paper was actually in really good shape considering that it was twenty-six years old. One of the front-page stories was about Ronald Reagan getting surgery from skin cancer- I don' really remember Ronald Reagan as president, but I know '87 had the whole Iran-Contra affair going on. On the back of the paper were a bunch of advertisements for VCR's, ranging from 300 dollars to 500 dollars. Crazy to think how expensive that was back then- nowadays you can get a DVD player for 59 bucks, which would be 30 bucks in 1987 money. The advertisements also listed a "Big Screen TV"- at 26 inches. LOL.   Another really interesting item I found was a 1989 police statement investigating a fire incident at the State Theater. (The State Theater was located on what is now the 1996-built Galleria Mini-Mall, anchored by Grotto's Pizza.) It had been built in 1929 and put on the National Historic building list in 1983, but had closed down by the late 1980's. Here's a photo of the theater I found from 1981:     Here's what's there now:   Gotta love progress, right? Anyway, according to the police statement I read, four men in their early 20's snuck into the closed theater while being very intoxicated. The guy giving the statement said that they wanted to visit the theater, because it held sentimental value for him since he worked there before it closed. At some point, the theater caught on fire, and the statement was basically the guy saying that they did not intentionally set the theater on fire. The statement basically indicated that there was no way to salvage what was left of the theater, which makes sense, since seven years later there'd be a mini-mall on the site.   It was really interesting learning about the history of a site I've gone to many, many times in my life. I cannot tell you how many times I've parked at the parking lot behind this mini-mall, or gone to Grotto's Pizza/Kildare's when I went to UD.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Utterly Disgusted Right Now

So over 40 million people decided to hand over control of the country to a racist, homophobic, sexist xenophobe who starred on a realty show.   I fucking blame the DNC for failing to connect Hilary with the voters.   Just disgusted. Completely and totally disgusted. I think I'm done with caring about politics. May God help us through these next four years. Or actually, may god help Trump when the working class straight white males who voted for him realize that he isn't actually going to bring back manufacturing jobs.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Update: Saying Good-bye and An Unfortunately Sidetrack

Hey guys,   I talked to Tim Saturday and he's doing as well as can be expected. He lucked out and was able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor after some cops were talked down. (It's good to know some cops, I guess.) He has a hearing to try and get his car back, and he'll have his hearing October 1st, but things are looking good for him, thank god. He'll just have to pay a shitload of court costs and the like.   He'll be alright, I think. Tim told me he went back on Prozac and is seeing a therapist again, so I think he'll be fine. I'm just glad that the whole felony thing won't happen...having a misdemeanor conviction is one thing, but a felony is a whole 'nother thing.   As for the saying goodbye bit...I won't lie, I've been down for the past week. And it does bother me that I missed the actual service. At the same time though...I thought a lot about how much Steve HATED ceremonial/formal stuff. It just wasn't his thing at all. He bounced from Delaware as soon as he was done with finals instead of staying around for graduation. We had our real goodbye to college right before we both headed off to our respective grad schools, when we hung out at Brett and Tim's junior year house. So there's something that kind of feels right about the fact that I missed the ceremony, but I was there for the informal lunch where we sat around, ate, looked at photos, and talked about the guy that we all loved and now miss. That was definitely something I needed to do, be around people who don't just dismiss Steve as some junkie that brought his death on himself, so I feel grateful that I got to do it.   Some people were talking about having some informal memorials for Steve down the line, which I really hope happens.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

Unsure About A Movie Theater Job

I'm just got off my third shift as a concessions guy at a large movie theater. I can't stand it. I don't feel like I'm particularly good at this and I'm just not feeling it. I also don't really fit in as a guy who's 29 among a bunch of teenagers. Should I just up and quit? Or should I just see it through to the end of the probation period, and then quit? I do really need the money but I really don't know if they'll keep me. I'm thinking about asking the managers for advice so they know I'm trying. Luckily if they do decide not to keep me at the probation mark I don't need to mark this on my future job applications but eh. This is just not fun. The training has been almost non-existent...you were pretty much just thrown out there, and the first two days were okay, but today just flat-out sucked.   The main idea was to work this job to pay the bills, and hopefully get some money set aside to take some computer classes. But man, I do not know if I can make it. Part of me wants to gut it out, do my hardest, and seek out feedback to see how I can be better, but the other part wants to get out now.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

University of Police Fascist State

http://www.udreview.com/udpd-steps-up-tailgate-regulation-1.2641368   I love reading about how my alma matter has turned into a fascist police state where no students are allowed to have fun. J-walkers and tailgaters get punished, yet that same weekend three students were robbed by gun point and the UD police didn't give a damn because they don't make money off of them like they do fining students over ridiculous reasons.   University of Delaware was once a great school, with lots of uniqe and great things about it. But in the school's singleminded attempt to kill off the party scene so that UD will be seen as a serious Public Ivy academic school, they've curtailed the freedom of their young adults to explore their boundaries, create fun memories that they'll laugh about when they're middle-aged and sitting in an office, and meet people in situations that they might otherwise never have met.   College tailgating is a time-honored tradition, and gives people a chance to mingle and meet new friends. These freshmen will grow up, become alumni, and when they come back for Homecoming with their own kids while pumped full of nostalgia for their own glory days, their kids just might be persuaded to come here. It's an ingredient in creating a successful football team, healthy alumni giving, and the next generation of students. By making it so that your students are fearful of tailgating, you have essentially cut your nose to spite your face. Especially when you consider that UD has been talking for such a long time about how they want to move up a football division(with a planned stadium expansion to 30k). Guess what? Big-time football universities also have big-time tailgating. You can't have one without the other, and the fact that UD football attendence is down to 1998 levels pretty much speaks for itself.   UD can give prize giveaways all it wants, but until students feel like they can tailgate without an arrest, the kids are going to stay away from the games.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

University of Delaware students rampage for "I'm Schmacked"

University of Delaware students rampage for "I'm Schmacked"   Well, it could have been worse. It could have been like Penn State, who threw a hissy tantrum riot because Joe Paterno was fired for allowing Jerry Sandusky to live outside of prison walls for another 13 years and molest even more boys. Check out the party footage here:     It's funny to watch this, considering that I've walked over that pedestrian bridge umpteen times. I also think it's hilarious because University of Delaware, since the mid-1990's, has been working hard to diminish it's state party school rep from the 1980's. This included banning organized outdoor charity concert festivals like ChapelFest and my personal fave, Skidfest. This incident just reinforced in my mind that college kids will be college kids, and for all the pearl-clutching of the establishment that wants to try and "protect the children from binge drinking!", they'll find their own ways to have fun.   I'm guessing this means that President Harker's attempts to sell University of Delaware as the next University of Virginia has hit a snag?

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

University of Delaware hiking tuition, fees for 2013-2014 school year

From Delaware Online: ***   Tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students at the University of Delaware will increase by about $430 next school year – the lowest percent increase in about a decade, university officials said today. The 3.7 percent increase brings UD’s in-state tuition and mandatory fees to $12,112 for the 2013-2014 school year. Out-of-state students will pay $1,160 more, bringing tuition and fees to about $29,932 – an increase of 4 percent. Graduate students at UD will pay $1,578 per credit hour, an increase of 4.25 percent, which is $65 more per credit hour.   The tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students were announced this afternoon. The university waits each year until after the state’s budget is approved to announce tuition rates. Those costs were approved by the university board of trustees earlier this summer, but they only announced dorm and dining hall costs at that meeting. The cost of living in campus housing and eating in dining halls varies based on why type of dorm or meal plan a student selects. The costs for “standard” housing and dining is about $11,200.   **** It does boggle my mind though- when I went to University of Delaware, tuition ranged between 7k to 9k a year...pretty crazy that just four years later it's now 12k for in-state, 29k for out-of-state. It's still not quite as ridiculous as what it costs to go to Penn State, but still.   University of Delaware has been on this decades-long building binge, which to me explains why the tuition is going up so high...I did notice that this year's increase was smaller than in year's past, so hopefuly it'll stay steady. I do think that if/when college enrollments in the country start to decrease, UD is sooo screwed.

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

UD Wants to Start A Law School

My undergrad, University of Delaware, wants to start a law school by 2015. University of Delaware's Law School Aim     I can't tell you how bad of an idea I think this is. Delaware's a small state, and it already has a law school, Widner. Delaware's strength is based on the chemical engineering and business program, and I can't see how adding a law school would do anything to enhance the university. Programs are already getting cut- like the journalism major- and I imagine that will only get worse if they go ahead with the idea.   The greater Philadelphia metro area is already so saturated with lawyers. And think about it-Penn, Virginia, Georgetown, GW, Villanova, Temple, Rutgers, American, and the NYC schools (NYU, Columbia, Fordham) are all a train ride away. There are so many top-notch law schools in this area that I can't see how a law school at UD would be anything but a third-choice back-up plan. Plus, University of Delaware no longer offers in-state tuition rates, so why would any state resident want to pay 25k a year for a law school program when they could go somewhere established for not that much more money?   University of Delaware is ALREADY planning on building a medical campus(allied with Jefferson), an expansion to the football stadium, expansion to the student gym, a new dorm, a new science building, a new dining hall- all within this decade- and now they want to do this? If UD ends up bankrupt I wouldn't be surprised. I just feel bad for the kids going/will go there who are having to pay for all this stuff. If UD experiences an enrollment drop because of the 1990's baby bust, they're going to be SCREWED.    

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

 

UD Student Gets Arrested on Rape Charges

From Myspace to Rape Charges   Man. I know Nick. Nick is the boyfriend of my friend, who's a pretty sweet girl and absolutely doesn't deserve this. It's absolutely creepy to think that just after the weekend I hung out with him and his girlfriend, he got arrested for having sex with a 12-year old girl. I mean, I played beer pong with him two weeks ago! *shudders*   It's crazy. Something about the guy always creeped me out, although I could never quite articulate it, and now I know why. Man. He's a perfect case of why you need to trust your own instincts when it comes to people, even when they seem like a cool party guy. I just don't get why he had to do this- he has a girlfriend his own age, and he seemed to be good at getting girls interested in him. I don't get why this happened.   It's so strange that I now can say I've met and hung out with a pedophile. Ugh. Eww. And Uck.    

methodwriter85

methodwriter85

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