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Saturday, March 26, 2005

EASTER VIGIL AND SPRING BREAK

Tonight was the Easter Vigil at St. Isidore's, and all of the catechumens and candidates for Confirmation officially joined the Church. I went through it two years ago, and it was extremely memorable then. It was just as meaningful tonight, being a team member and seeing how excited many of the catechumens were after they were confirmed. When the night was over, the Catholic Church had 48 new members from St. Isidore's.

I'm hopeful that all of them converted to Catholicism for the right reasons and will remain dedicated to their faith, always learning and growing within it. I joined the RCIA team in August because I felt that I, as a convert myself, had a unique perspective on the Catholic Church. There are many converts who join the RCIA team in the years following their confirmation, and going through all of the classes again is a very beneficial refresher course in the core beliefs and practices of the faith.

I haven't done much over spring break. Last Saturday, I went back home, and on Sunday, Dad, Michael and I went to Monument for Mackenzie's fifth birthday party. I hardly ever get to make it out to the farm anymore, so I was glad that I took a couple of days to make sure I could be there this year. I'll be out of school by the time Reilly's birthday rolls around in May, so I'm going to really try to be at his party, too. Mack got a lot of really good birthday presents including a TV with a built-in DVD player. Lucky! I have one of those, too, but it's as old as Mackenzie herself and doesn't have a remote anymore. (I could buy a universal remote, but I'm just too lazy, I guess. Wait - no I'm not! I actually get up to change the channels!)

I came back to Manhattan on Monday, shut myself in my room and have accomplished a healthy combination of homework, newspaper work, and relaxation since then. Out of the six weeks left for Collegian production in the semester, I've got two of my own columns written and another idea ready to go. By Tuesday, I already had columns for this upcoming week being sent to me, so I got those edited, sent back for revisions, back to me again and finalized. Most of my columnists do a really good job of getting their first drafts and final drafts to me on time, which makes my job a heck of a lot easier. Currently, I've got seven columns ready to run this week (out of 10 needed) and another on the way later tonight (or early this morning, I guess).

I got a lot of artwork done, too, and some of the examples are posted below. And, of course, there is homework to be done.

I got a book read that should have been finished before spring break. I took one whole afternoon and evening to do nothing but read and got it done. Friday night about 11:00pm I started on a research paper - also something that should have been started long ago. I could have been working on it all through spring break, but I was missing one key component that was supposed to arrive in the mail on Monday.

On Friday the 18th, I ordered a video from the Discovery Channel that dealt with my research topic. It was after 1:00pm, so it wouldn't ship till Saturday, but I wanted to have it as soon as possible so I could watch it and get a good overview of my subject before I sat down to write it using all of the books and newspapers that I have as sources. The info in them is interesting, but it doesn't flow nearly as well as a video on the subject does. I paid the extra money for overnight shipping, but I was a little worried by Wednesday when the DVD wasn't here yet.

I e-mailed the Discovery Store to tell them that they were not going to charge me for overnight shipping since their website showed my order as still processing. Several hours later I got a reply that no order from me had ever been received.

???

So I called. Fortunately, I got a hold of the same lady who had written the e-mail. The order - according to her - had been lost by the computer system. It happens, she said. I believe her. Occasionally, unfortunate things like that do happen, and no amount of complaining would have turned back time and made things right. So, I was really nice and understanding, and she processed the order herself while she was on the phone with me, gave me overnight shipping and didn't charge me a dime for it. Like Dad says, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

I started to worry again when UPS hadn't arrived by 4:30pm yesterday. It ended up being after 5:00pm when the video came. In reality, I could have started writing the paper long before I watched it (as in two weeks ago), but the whole hour-long DVD just condenses everything that I say in my paper. It helped to have a model of how it can be done before actually starting to do it. And then I was up late typing, but one night's work got me about 50% of the way through the paper. The Easter Vigil and all of the preparation that came with it kept me busy today, but I'll hit it again hard tomorrow and probably get it close to being finished. It's due on Wednesday, and it only has to be a rough draft by that point. I'd say for the 50% that I've got done, it's in much better than rough form.

The topic is "The sinking of the USS Maine" and the different versions of history surrounding the event. The explosion that sunk the Maine was initially blamed on the Spanish and said to have been caused by a mine or a torpedo (some sort of exterior blast). Controversy about the sinking has been around since the moment the ship exploded, with others believing that negligence and an internal accident caused the disaster. But even with the aid of modern scientific research, no definitive conclusion about why the Maine sank has ever been reached.

Thankfully, I don't have to reach that decision. I just have to write about the different ways that the Maine's history has been presented through time. It's an interesting enough topic, but I'm glad it's my last history course. I am extremely fortunate to have a history major coupled with my political science major, but my true interests lie in politics. Those interests, however, have been significantly bolstered (as well as changed to a certain degree) by my four years of study in the history department. Even though I'll be done with the major, true studies of history continue for the rest of your life. In May, I'll be just as proud of my history degree as I will be of my political science degree.

And then, it's off to grad school to really dive into politics.

While I was writing this, another column just popped into my e-mail inbox, so I'm off to edit that. Happy Easter! I can eat meat again!

Thursday, March 24, 2005





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