24 hours with Thomas

10:06pm – Started this blog post after commenting on one of Jim Belshaw’s posts. It took me roughly 8 minutes to think of what to write. Currently, I’m talking to a friend of mine – Chris, who lives in England and attends Birmingham City University. He is doing education, a drama and English major. I tried to meet up with him last year when I was over in England, but he was too far North in the country to get too. I do want to meet him one day, so I expect another trip to England (the 3rd) is in order. I was listening to Dance Floor Anthem by Good Charlotte. It’s the only song of their’s I like because of the ‘message’ behind it. I then decided that I would keep half-hour updates for this post this evening that contain my activities for that 30 minutes, unless something interesting happens. I’ll see how that goes, and if I need to have longer time periods between updates tomorrow.

10:36pm – Checked Ninglun’s Gateway – laughed that there is a 3rd layout for the day. Saw that I got a reference (I liked that layout Neil). I can hear my father snoring in the next room and fully expect my mother to come into the study (where I am) and kick me out so she can get some sleep on the sofa-bed. Checked for some interesting news on CNN Political Ticker to blog about- nothing since this morning. Checked Google News – nothing. Did some work on a U.S. politics post for tomorrow about ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states, and how unpredictability in voting is going to make for an interesting race come November. I had to find some stats and links for this, which got me distracted for a while. Checked my emails. Read the Sitemeter report for the week. Listened to Johnny Cash’s When The Man Comes Around a couple of times.

11:06pm – Went and got my HSTY2656 A House Divided: The American Civil War course reader and an Easter egg. I eat one of the two (you’ll never guess which one!). I’m trying to get ahead of my course readings to make assignments easier. I’m currently on the next tutorial’s readings – the Confederate Constitution (which was very interesting), 2 chapters from Southern Rights – Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism, one chapter being called Jefferson Davis and History, the other Jefferson Davis and the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and a chapter from Lincoln – The Liberal Statesman, this chapter titled The Rule of Law Under Lincoln. This last one is so dense and filled with legal references and specific knowledge that it nearly puts me to sleep. I’d already nearly finished the last reading. A total of 29 pages, and all could be blog-worthy. While reading, I checked Jim Belshaw’s blog to see if there was a reply to my comment (no), followed a link to a blog that he also talked about – The Blonde Canadian, ate 4 mini-Easter eggs, finished my conversation with Chris in England.

11:36pm – Kept reading the course reader, and finished that week’s readings. Onto the next week’s, and a collection of Civil War songs, and an article from The Journal of American History titled ‘The Feminized Civil War: Gender, Northern Popular Literature, and the Memory of the War, 1861-1900’. I do not look forward to that week’s tutorial at all. While reading, I checked Ninglun’s Gateway to see if there was a new layout again – no. Checked his blogs for updates – none. I went to Yahoo7 to check what was on television tomorrow night. Jack crap is on. I remember the days where I used to watch hours and hours of television. Now, little-to-none. I’ve stopped listening to music, as it’s too distracting for these readings.

11:40pm – Reading about a feminised Civil War was too much, and I’m headed to my room to watch some more episodes of Gilmore Girls. I’ll continue this post tomorrow, when I wake up. I’ll also be noting what I get up to once I get off the computer for an update tomorrow.

11:43pm – After getting myself a glass of Vanilla Coke, I settled in to watch some Gilmore Girls. I watched 3 episodes, which totaled 2 hours. These were some really great episodes – some laugh out loud moments. This took me to nearly2am, where I read another chapter of I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert. This chapter was a poke at Hollywood.

2:15am – Lights out, went to sleep soon after.

10:08am – Woke up, shaved, showered, and was ready for a day of not much. I sat down to finish the article about the feminised Civil War. I got through nearly 5 more pages before I gave up again. Unlocked the house, let the dog out the back and had a look around the front yard. All in order. No one else is home – they are all at work.

10:37am – Turned the computer on, sat down and started checking all the news websites: Google News, CNN Political Ticker, Yahoo News, a few political blogs and websites, polling websites for the U.S. primaries, YouTube for new videos (where I find a new idea for a post), and then finally get around to checking my emails, then to my own blog to read any new comments – which there were – and then visit the Jim’s and Neil’s blogs. All this takes roughly an hour and a half, most of it is reading news articles on websites, and then recalculating the maths involved with the U.S. primary race with the latest polls and delegate counts (sounds like a boring act, but it keeps me informed enough). Afterwards, I play some Spider Solitaire to give my brain a rest.

12:15pm – Resumed work on the ‘red/blue’ state post.

12:33pm – Gave up on the ‘red/blue’ state post. Started work an a post about a certain campaign ad.

1:15pm – Posted ‘Fear ad vs truth ad‘. Took longer than usual because of all the parodies I watched concerning the original ‘3am ad’ of Clinton’s that attacked Obama’s foreign policy experience. Now headed downstairs to get some food, as I’ve finally got hungry.

1:31pm – Finished lunch. I prepared and ate a can of Scottish sardines, 2 glasses of Vanilla Coke, a slice of chocolate cake, and now am eating an Easter egg. All this will do me over until around 8pm-ish, when I will eat the dinner that everyone else in the family has already eaten. Back at the computer, I’m now going to start reading the next readings for my other history course HSTY2614 Australian Social History. I have a tutorial paper (1,500 words) on the next week’s reading due, about the Depression in Australia. I chose it because I wanted to get it out the way, but didn’t want to do the first week’s. Thus, I chose the 2nd week’s topic. But so did quite a few other people, which will be interesting to see how tutorial discussions play out (as people writing on the week’s topic are expected to ‘lead’ the discussions).

1:38pm – Signed onto MSN Messenger. Not too many people are online (which is to be expected). Only the Pope, a cousin of mine, and some people I know from overseas. I sign out nearly straight away.

2:08pm – While I was reading, I re-checked a few blogs and pages I had checked earlier. Nothing new. I return now to reading.

2:39pm – Taking a break from reading, I sent an email to a friend I met over the Internet in South Korea. Also, I sent one of my father’s work colleagues who lives in Connecticut, by way of Alabama. Larry from Alabama is a staunch Republican, and to his credit, he gave me his personal email to ‘trade political views’ if I wanted. He also said that when I go over to the States, if I’m going to anywhere his family is, they will gladly accommodate me. I’m thinking now of trying to find my way to Kansas now, to take up this offer. Boredom sets in afterwards and I mill around the Internet, looking up rumours for the next episodes of Lost, then reading some more political opinion pieces that I wouldn’t normally waste my time with.

3:09pm – Received a phone call from Andrew. The first human contact for the day.

3:16pm – Ended phone call with Andrew. Discussion included books we ordered on Amazon, a book I already have, the resurgence of poker, him not being online over the long weekend because the Pope was playing World of Warcraft for 4 straight days, and tentative plans to do something Friday night. I told him that I didn’t have a shift – upon checking after the phone call ended, I realised I did have a shift. Sorry Andrew. I’ll get back to him with this bit of information, and probably plan something for Saturday night now.

3:33pm – Just read some of Keith Olbermann’s The Worst Person in the World. Had a good laugh at some real idiots out there. Thought about resuming any of my history readings, but couldn’t be bothered. Instead, I’m going to get another drink.

3:49pm – After walking around the house for a while, trying to think of a blog post to write, I check on some links that I discarded about Pennsylvania voter registration. I find my way to the New York Times’ report on the story, and there discover a good post. Starting work on it immediately.

4:19pm – Finished my latest post – Campaigning in Pennsylvania – A second look. I think it’s definitely better than the campaign ad that I wrote earlier today, but not one of my best posts. I realised, as I posted it, it has started to rain lightly.

4:26pm – I’m going to check the letterbox to see what catalogues we’ve received today, and maybe some mail. I don’t expect to get any mail – I rarely do.

4:28pm – Guess what? No mail for me. Some for the parents though. Bills, I expect. I’ve decided to start work on my assignment for my Civil War course. I have to write an essay proposal. 500 words I think. But first I need to choose an essay from the list of options.

4:34pm – I checked Jim Belshaw’s blog for updates, and found a monster post. I read it and am quite impressed. Following this, I head over to Ninglun’s Gateway, and see that I’ve got a second reference for the day’s entry. I followed a link to a page where I’ve got a ‘who’s who’ entry. I was impressed, all things considered.

4:40 – Have ruled down the list of possible essay questions to 3:

  • Why did foreign powers fail to intervene on behalf of the Confederacy?
  • Compare the exercise of political power by the Union and Confederate governments during the war.
  • Discuss the way new meanings have been invested in the Civil War by analysing at least three twentiet-century depictions of the war. (n.b.: you can use novels, films, memoirs, etc. You might also choose to focus on a particular theme – say, violence, race, combat experience, the coming of the war, the war’s aftermath, etc.)

I also remembered that the lecturer said if we came up with a question of our own, we could run it by her for approval, and if it passed the grade, we could do that instead. I doubt that my invented question would pass the grade – ‘Why is Barack Obama so great?’

4:45pm – Getting another drink. This time I’m getting 2 glasses and bringing them both up to save another trip.

4:49pm – Mother is home from work. She’s excited to see the dog. I venture downstairs to say hello. All goes well.

5:00pm – I recheck all of my relied-upon news sites, like this morning.

5:21pm – As I’m reading the Wikipedia entry about the Colt Manufacturing Company, I get an SMS from St. Ives Correspondent about my ‘comment section’ being a ‘cactus’. I go to check my recent comments. I apparently give St. Ives Correspondent too much credit in terms of deduction. He hasn’t seen that this has been a progressing blog post. St. Ives: The time that precedes each paragraph in this post is when I wrote and saved the post. I would have thought that by not signing my name at the end, it would denote that the post isn’t finished. If I need to point it out, I will: The post will not be finished until 10:06pm tonight. Leave the squabbling and nit-picking to me – it’s a fine art to perfect my friend.

5:30pm – Reply to St. Ives’ comments.

5:32pm – Sign onto MSN Messenger again. Conversation immediately starts with St. Ives.

5:38pm – Start listening to music. Start with 1234 by Feist. Start my plan for the Civil War assignment I have to do. I’ve settled on the questions: Why did foreign powers fail to intervene on behalf of the Confederacy?

5:47pm – Check a few of my familiar blogs again. Bored once more. I’ve begun to think about what I’ll be doing later tonight – watching some films that a friend lent me or watching more Gilmore Girls.

5:48pm – Mother asks me about going to the doctors. I tell her that the only way I’ll go is if she makes the appointment. She says she will make it for Wednesday. By her saying that, I think that she thinks today is Monday, and has been thrown off by the public holiday. I won’t mention anything until she is heading to bed.

6:01pm – Call from my father. He needs an email from a calling card he’s left at home. He’s in Brisbane at the moment on business. I give it to him. Conversation lasts 2 minutes.

6:27pm – I’ve been reading extremely interesting essays and pieces about diplomatic relations during the Civil War. I’m glad that I’ve chosen this topic, and expect I’ll enjoy it. Diana, a woman I know from New York through the Internet, has started a conversation with me. We’re catching up on people we both know, though I haven’t heard from for some time.

6:32pm – Sister gets home from work.

6:51pm – Dinner is served up. Burritos. My mother and sister are happy to eat together downstairs, while I bring my food back up to the study to eat at the computer.

7:18pm – In between reading about foreign relations during the Civil War, I’ve been trying to find tickets to a New York Yankees match in July. The prospects don’t look too good for getting good tickets without shelling out a ridiculous amount of money. The readings about the Civil War, while good, have started to get all melded together, and I’m giving it a break. I’m now going to seriously draw up an itinerary for my July holiday and get planning on that.

7:24pm – Checked some blogs while I waited for some flight websites to load.

7:32pm – Decided that flying directly into New York, and not taking a 3 day stop-over in Los Angeles is what is best for my holiday. I’m still talking to Diana from New York about baseball. She is a Boston Red Sox fan and a New York Mets fan.

7:41pm – Started playing with a trip planner that I found on STATravel. While it was fun to begin with, it is giving me headaches now. I want to go to some ‘out of the way’ places, like Iowa and Kansas, but this thing doesn’t give you the option, or when you try and use the feature that should enable it, it crashes on me. I’ve completely stopped thinking about the Civil War or the Depression.

8:04pm – The Pope starts a conversation with me over MSN, saying that Obama should be voted in as president, Pope, and something to do with the television show The Iron Chef. Seeings I don’t watch that show (because from the whole 5 minutes I’ve seen of it, it looks stupid), I told him I support the first two propositions. We exchange our happiness that Bill Richardson has endorsed Obama, and that Nancy Pelosi will be the one to tap Hillary on the shoulder to bow out of the race. I say I hope that Pelosi does the tapping with 2×4, which has the Pope laughing.

8:15pm – I check my WordPress Dashboard (where I control the blog from) for new comments and see that Jim and Mr. Rabbit have both commented. Both were rather recent, which means I don’t have to be annoyed with myself for being late in referencing them. Jim: The Monster post was fine as it was. Mr. Rabbit: Inspired was the last word I expected you to call this – futile, ridiculous, crazy all sprang to mind before inspired.

8:33pm – I stop playing with the flight planning thing. After a little under an hour, I’m no closer to having a formed schedule of what I want. I believe I’ve narrowed down where I want to go to, but I think the next part will include me trying to get the flights locked down with either my father’s help or a travel agent’s. I am a bit wary trying to do it all alone. What is troubling me is the accommodation for all the places I plan to go. Not the price (I know that it will be expensive), rather staying in the ‘right’ place – i.e. near to the people I want to meet over there.

8:35pm – Decide I need a drink. My mother has been bringing me drinks all afternoon – she has been offering them, and I’ve taken up the offer. While I probably should do some more university work, I’ve decided that I want to do some blog-related things. I check some people’s blogs, and then go to Google News to find something to blog about. If I can’t find anything there, I’ll go to some U.S. politics websites. I don’t have high hopes of finding something to write about – the dead news hours have come around now.

8:50pm – As expected, I couldn’t find anything that took my fancy to blog about. I checked my email accounts, cleaned out my spam folders, and read some subscription emails I received through the day, though didn’t read, knowing full well that extreme boredom come post-7:30pm for me.

8:53pm – Checked my MySpace for something to do. A good waste of time because the website takes so long to load.

8:57pm – My sister and mother sound like they are having fun downstairs. I’m going to investigate what they are doing, and try to put a stop to it. And I’ll get another drink while I’m down there.

9:18pm – I’ve come back from the computer. My sister and mother were intent on showing me parts of The Footy Show from last week. As I drank my can of Pepsi, I watchd and laughed at the bits. I found out my doctors appointment is for Thursday. All the while, when I say I’m a bit peck-ish for food, my mother suggests chips, chocolate, lollies, and more sugar-laden things.

9:22pm – Check my Technorati profile and blog rating. This blog, among the registered blogs at Technorati, is now ranked 150,747. Yesterday, at around the same time, it was 135,000-something. This fall is due to the blog losing ‘authority’ – links from other blogs. It was at 55 ‘authority’ yesterday; now it’s only at 51. Out of interest, I go looking for what Ninglun’s Gateway has (962,510/ 8 ‘authority’), New Lines from a Floating Life (294,012/ 28 ‘authority’) and then Personal Reflections, Jim Belshaw’s blog, (345,597/ 24 ‘authority’). While I am surprised at some of this, I then remember that nearly everyone one of my politics posts gets picked up by those blogs out there that trawl through WordPress for recent entries by keywords, then copies the first few lines, and links to my blog, inviting the reader to ‘read the rest of this great article’. I accept that these aren’t real links to my blog, and consider my blog’s ranking and ‘authority’ inflated.

9:34pm – Someone has cooked blueberry muffins. I saw the box was out when I went down for my lunch earlier today. I just heard my sister head into her room and close the door – I assume she has retired for the night and will watch television in her room until she goes to sleep. Thus, it is my mother who made the muffins. I think I know what my late night snack will be tonight.

9:37pm – I get a message from Diana. Our conversation, which had died at 7:48pm has now resumed. Baseball season was starting today, and she was all prepared to watch the game with some friends and rink some beers. Apparently the cable channel is out, and she can’t watch the match. I’m just glad to be talking to someone, and not amusing myself with stupid things I could find on the Internet. Because I’m definitely not going to do any university readings.

9:44pm – It just started bucketing down with rain over here. I love it – the sound, the smell. I really do like the rain.

9:49pm – For some reason I start thinking about the Sailor Moon and Pokemon cartoons. I used to watch Sailor Moon religiously through primary school, then Pokemon started on Cheez TV on channel 10, and I was so hooked on that. Those were so good cartoons. Not like today’s crap. I started to think how I could turn this thinking into a post, then abandoned hope, as those shows were so many years ago I would probably just get ridiculed for writing about them. For example: Sailor Moon was an anime cartoon about 5 teenage girls who had secret identities (each a different planet or the moon) and would fight monsters and bad guys. My favourite characters were Sailor Jupiter (who appeared later in the series) and Darien (I think the only male hero in the series, who was cool because he fought in a tuxedo, had amnesia, and wore what looked like a pair of glasses frames as his only method of disguise). Now do you see the problem?

10:02pm – I find myself at EzyDVD’s website. I’m interested in two things: 1) Is Sailor Moon on DVD yet?; 2) I wonder in my pre-ordered items are in yet?

10:06pm – I’m still at EzyDVD’s website, my mother just said goodnight to me, and I’m the last one left awake.

And that is how I spent my 24 hours. This was a somewhat productive day – 2 blog posts (other than this one), did quite a bit of my university readings, and started one of my assignments. I’ve had better days for both facets of my life – more productive on the university work, more blog posts written – but I think the ‘balance’ I struck today would suffice for the week’s break I have now. When I’m back at university, and the assignments are more ‘pressing’, I’ll be more productive. But for now, I’m happy with my day’s efforts.

Thomas.

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