Friday, December 10, 2010

College By The Numbers, Quarter I

Because quite a few pre-college students are reading this blog, I thought it would be interesting to provide some useful information about the numbers of college, primarily things I've used throughout or faced this first quarter. Just remember that most of these are estimated, and will vary between individuals, but you can definitely use this as a way to see what you'll face in college. I will also provide numbers as often as I can, even if when you read them you go, "Whaaaa?"

Western's Fall quarter of 2010 started September 22 and officially ends December 10 (of course, people leave a little early according to final exam schedules).
That is a total of 2 months and 18 days (or, 11.29 weeks; or, 79 days) or 57 weekdays. I moved in the week before classes started, so I've been here technically 12 weeks.
(Oh, the wonders of WolframAlpha, go ahead, try it).

And here are The Numbers for...

Dorm Life
  • Finished one bar of shower soap and just started another a few weeks ago.
  • Used ~2/3 of a bottle of shampoo (that was 22.5 fl. oz., so about 14.85 fl. oz. used)
  • Used ~2/8 of a large toothpaste tube (that was 8 oz., so I've used about two ounces---completely guesstimating)
  • Gone through one toothbrush
  • Used almost a full roll of paper towels
  • Used more than half a bottle of alcohol hand-sanitizer (of 3 fl. oz., so like 1.6 oz. used)
  • Visited home maybe seven weekends (of the twelve).
  • Received thirteen pieces of mail from family and friends.
  • Used my microwave for actually heating something once. (It's been more of a conveniently-placed clock for my roommate so far).
  • Been locked out of my dorm zero times this quarter. Although, I can't say the same for my roommate.
  • Have found $7.27 in the laundry machines.
  • Checked out billiard equipment about five times to play pool with guests.
  • Spent $6 on my Laundry Card, which is rechargeable at the Dining Halls.
 Note: It's a good idea to have like $3 on it just in case you need to have an emergency washing or drying cycle.
Class Materials
  • Finished off one black, ball-point pen taking notes all quarter. (Without losing it!)
  • Used about half a "vial" of pencil lead for my mechanical pencil doing math problems.
  • Filled a notebook and a half with notes between three classes.
  • Like maybe an eighth of a packet of loose-leaf, lined paper for homework assignments.
  • Gone through ~100 Sticky Notes, writing notes to myself and my roommate, as well as make-shift coasters for cups and utensils. 
  • Edit (1/2/11): Spent $223.13 on four textbooks. The most expensive was for math class, at $119.

  • Have spent $58.89 Dining Dollars (of $150). These are dollars to be used at campus diners and coffee shops other than the three dining halls. Whatever money is left at the end of the quarter rolls over to the next quarter, but is terminated at the end of the year. (I haven't been getting my chai this quarter).
  • Eaten at the dining halls for 146 meals, using all 10 guest passes. This was using the Unlimited Plan, which I've liked a lot because it's flexible and I didn't have to worry about  running out. Keep in mind I visited home several weekends, and the next step down in meal plans is 125 meals.
An average week for me was about 13 meals at the cafeteria, and if I had paid for them myself, rather than using a meal plan, it works out to about $93.75 a week, or $1,125 for 12 weeks (one quarter). According to this file found on WWU's website, the per-quarter cost students pay for an Unlimited Plan is $1,208. That's just how Fall Quarter worked out with my schedule, and I'll be doing this next quarter so anyone can compare the changes. Just for your curiosity and consideration.
    • Spent $87.68 at the Associated Students Bookstore on things other than textbooks. I was given a $100-gift card to the campus bookstore, and it has been very good to have with me. I have practically spent only $3 of actual cash on campus. Everything else, like meal plans, printing  money, bus passes, and laundry fees, are all on cards. (Take note I spent ~$50 in gifts yesterday).
    I highly recommend even having a gift-card of $50 just to help buy the random things you'll need like paper, pens, and folders, without taking away from your wallet's cash--you know, for movies and stuff.
      • Edit (3/17/11): Printed out about 360 pages on the school's computers. Each student gets $25 per quarter, which is about 500 black-and-white pages per quarter (Math breaks it down to ~$0.05 per page, non-color). If a student goes over they must pay for additional pages themselves by buying printing cards.
      • Have yet to actually use the Bellingham Bus System--and thus my ID card to pay for said system, but I will get there eventually.

      Thursday, December 9, 2010

      Things I've Heard in College, Quarter I

      I'm sure I'm going to have a few of these collections of off-handed college-isms, but here is my first collection.

      Now remember, this is college, so some of this stuff might be explicit, pointless, and sometimes really funny.

      Or better read: This isn't censored.

      In class during role call (in a 140-student class), a kid in the back yelled "Tough Luck and Catch ON. Set, Start!" Yep, the intro narration to a Firefight match in Halo: Reach (and ODST). Only a few people heard him and appreciated it.

      My really young-looking math teacher told us to use peers and tutors before asking him for help, because he wouldn't be there to bang on our doors every night and see if we get it. A girl in the back said to her friends (and a few rows), "Yeah, but you still can at my apartment."

      Group of guys in the hall, one says: "--I'm continually confusing friendship with lust--"

      Large group of people in line were telling jokes and a girl jumped in: "Okay, I don't remember the joke, but it had something to do with three guys..."
      Guy: "--I like where this is going--"
      Girl:"...a bull, a building, a fridge, and St. Peter asking how they all died..."
      Another guy: "Hey, I think I wrote that one!"

      Another group of people before late-night dinner.
      Guy: "Okay, question mark. What happens when Siamese twins marry? Is it to two people?"
      Girl: "No, they're two separate people--"
      Another guy: "--Hold on! Two Siamese twins marry another pair of Siamese twins!"
      First Guy: "Boom goes the dynamite!"

      While playing Halo: Reach:
      "I'm going for rockets...Guy is going for rockets...He has rockets...Rockets got me."

      Guy: "Hey, Evan!"
      Evan: "Yeah?"
      Guy: "Fuck you!"
      Evan: "Why?!"
      Guy: "I dunno, later."
      Evan: "See ya."

      Two guys walking up the street, as I pass one sniffs the air loudly and says "Bitches be ovulating!"

      Someone walking in the rain in sandals and no jacket: "It's fucking shitty out today."

      Two girls in the bookstore:
      Girl 1: ".. and it was the best time ever!"
      Girl 2: "That sounds so good! I wanna have fake arguments with my boyfriend now, just for that make-up sex!"

      Girls in hall before math: "I wish the University would stop being cheap and buy shower curtains that won't attack you while you're in there. It's so gross knowing it's done that to other people."
      (That one is sad because of this; it's not cheap curtains, it's physics).

      Guys on my floor playing Halo and getting owned:
      Guy 1: "I like you better when you're drunk!"
      Guy 2: "I like you better when you're more sober!"

      Saturday morning cafeteria brunch:
      "Fuck this fancy stuff, I'm gonna see if they have Reese's for breakfast!"

      Man getting out of a very flatulent stall: "Battle shits is the best way to start the day."

      My English teacher: "Instead of watching TV, I sit at my computer and come up with really bad sentences."

      My roommate and I playing Halo: Reach
      Rob: "I'm going to the bathroom. If I'm not back, keep playing and I'll come with glorious redemption."
      Me: "--That's what she said."

      My math teacher during registration week:
      "So, I tried registering for my own class just to be funny, and it turns out I couldn't because I haven't met the prerequisites."

      Tuesday, November 30, 2010

      Diving Once More

      It seemed like my last post about getting stuck on my English paper was very helpful in getting me to find my topic and just going for it. So, this is me trying that again. Below is the sandbox for random thought processes, lines of inquiry, segues, and ramblings [...I think].


      [Insert Creative, Unique, and/or Witty Title Here]

      Society is obsessed--worships--Success and Independence. Two very hard things to pin down their exact meaning, especially within Society as a whole. Most readily, Success is linked with the accumulation of  things. Some examples include wealth, material possessions, and ideals that many people group together: big house, full of luxurious and expensive items getting married; a steady-paying, 9-to-5 job; having kids, enough money to live comfortably.

      Hungarian psychology professor, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi explains in his essay What Is The Self? that personal objects help create an ideal image to those around someone, while "the objects one collects in the home seem to serve a different function. As they are more private, their function seems to be to create inner order and clarity in the owner's conception of self, rather than making an external impression." (256)

      Whoever says the choice for careers is "college or flipping burgers" clearly has never seen Dirty Jobs.

      I have a one-liter bottle of water next to me while I'm working on my paper, and I'm wishing it's some other kind of drink. Is there such thing as "liquid courage" for college--something like "liquid inspiration" or "drought of productivity"??

      We want our women in seductive, form-fitting clothes that don't easily allow other things--like a wallet or cell phone--to be carried without disrupting the appeal of the clothes. Are we secretly wanting our women to be completely dependent on us during dates? The solution for women: purses.

      The violent wind slams the unrelenting brick, slapping against the windows, slowly stirring a revolution in the air within the rooms: to join its cause and spread an icy domain within the dorms.

      The Saints coolly light their cigarettes while the wind whips outside. Their halos are undisturbed by the violence.

      Sunday, November 7, 2010

      Diving So Deep You Sink

      So, at the moment I'm working on a 5-page working draft due tomorrow, and am somewhat floundering. I dove so far into my line of thought and paper that I'm treadmilling. Wishing to stay away from the idea-beaching shallows and sandbars I dove into the deep-end of the bay to find the pearls of wisdom I sought, but have found the waters more vast and engulfing than originally expected.

      I'm going to use this open, and less formal-feeling post page as a proverbial anchor to tie myself to; a raft to collect my thoughts; and a float for support between dives. 

      Perhaps this "informal" venue will act as an old, experience-weathered fisherman who is teaching his apprentice (me) in thought-diving, whispering nuggets of advice and seasonal-teachings in this lost art. From the stationary raft he watches me take a deep breath and sink into the dark, mysterious depths of Thought. As the water laps around the raft he remembers the light and lightness that can be discovered in those deep, dark waters. Diving too quickly and too deep, one becomes disoriented, and may even dive deeper instead of rising above and viewing the writing as a whole. One has to breath from time to time. A safety line is almost always required, just to find which way is up.

      You as a reader will more than likely not see, read, or experience what happens between my dives, but at least I've given a somewhat entertaining and fresh look at writing, assigned or otherwise.

      Yeah, I got an A- on this one! Hoorah, for diving!

      Full Steam Ahead

      Here is another post (#5) for Megan Writes 365!

      Look up an image of a boat (or "ship" if you're fancy), and then write something starting with "The ship's sails..."

      Even though I gave all the rules, you can still go to the page and see Megan's video, etc.

      [This wonderfully steampunk ship is not my work, but found it on this blog--and found it's from fellow DeviantArtist, CreepyBlueStorm, so go check out the art!]

      And now, the story:

      The ship's sails had been ripped apart by the harsh, vengeful winds the previous night. It had been a bitter battle against the fierce side of Nature. Captain Antoni scanned the calm seas, in total awe at how quickly his Mistress could change. But that's why we all love Her, he thought. You can never tame the Sea, but merely define yourself within her shadow. You can fight and oppose her all you want, but eventually she holds all of us within her beautiful, cold grip. We all belong to the Sea.
      He hobbled his way back inside his Captain's Quarters, and brushed off a pile of spilled books and journals off his desk, revealing the ship's com-system. Flipping on a switch and adjusting a few dials, the ancient device crackled and hummed to life. Reading the various gauges to determine it was back to full power, he spoke to his crew. His orders and and plans to keep heading North would be somewhat discouraging to his crew, but he knew these men. His most loyal sailors and life-long friends, they would follow him to the very Gates of Hades, and they knew that would most likely be this venture's destination, even if their mission was completed.
      The com-system crackled and then remained silent as Antoni dialed it off. We must conserve as much power as we can, he thought. As he heard the ship's massive engines humming and then chugging back to life he flipped off all of the cabin's lights. For a moment in the darkness he imagined Shadows closing in all around him, but the images burned away as he flung open the heavy-canvas curtains to the giant, wrap-around window at the back of his quarters. The water around the ship started to circulate and bubble, as the mighty screws beneath the waves churned and rotated, slowly pushing the ship ever Northward.
      After scrawling quick notes and calculations in a log, Antoni went back on deck, into the brisk morning air. Using his personal pair of binoculars, he spotted the Cornelius and Olympus IV just before the horizon to his East. The night hadn't been fair to anyone, no matter how experienced or prestigious. Antoni slightly smirked at the thought of Prince Andrew's precious steamer Olympus IV, beset by the prevailing winds and rough seas. Not even Royalty can match Nature.
      We are all Hers, Antoni announced to the wind.

      Friday, November 5, 2010

      Here I am, stuck in my crib...

      And no one is paying attention to me. Yes me, Charlie Angus "Baby" Treeflinger, the first brown-haired, green-eyed Treeflinger in the last two generations, and one day the world's mightiest Treeflinger!

      But for now, I must stay in this crib, slowly biding my time when I can crawl among the grass and fling as many trees as I can. Why are you looking at me funny? You know, trees! Those little, thin brown things in the grass that fall from those huge brown things covered in green outside--Yeah, those giant things that whisper when the clouds blow on the grass. Anyway, I love flinging trees all over, and I laugh so loud when I do it. Sometimes I laugh so hard my parents sniff the air and look at me with funny faces.

      Then after that I'm whisked away and put on a table somewhere, and daddy always makes funny faces while dressing my legs. He looks like he ate something slimy, like a slug. Side note, don't ever eat those. Ech. I don't like them that much, but I like "peamut-budder and shelly" a lot a lot--but only cut in triangles. Never squares.

      My older sisters ask me to play with them, even though they're in first grade. (What does that mean?) Other girls they know come see me, and dress me up in colorful clothes, like mommy sometimes wears. Then they take a pen and press it to my lips and laugh and giggle. I just smile and laugh at them. They're so funny, and they all have long hair, like Belle from "Beety and the Best". I like her. She sings and has a funny daddy.

      I'm so tired of this crib! I'm gonna play with my t-rex toy. He can growl, but has teeny-tiny arms that can't throw trees like I can! I member in a movie he says "IAVEABIGEDANDLILARMS" I laugh so hard I snort like Ms. Piggy!

      You're boring, I'm gonna not play with you!


      If you haven't figured out by this point, this was another write for Megan Writes 365; Day 4!
      Now, time for me to go, because you're boring. Or maybe I meant asleep, like I should be??

      Tuesday, November 2, 2010

      Mid-Quarter Resolutions

      This post isn't really related to mid-quarters or even college in general. Just another prompt write for my friend Megan's project Megan Writes 365. Just to help her out, and spread around the joys of Nerdfighteria, I created a link just for her blog. Enjoy, Megan! You can take the following link and post it anywhere online to spread it around!

      New Year's Resolutions;
      every year we think and
      we say we're gonna do it;
      yes, finally treat our goals like Pokemon and
      e-raticate them in the next 364 days.
      As usual, our strong minds
      renounce the old ways, but only for
      so long, and then we're the same as last year:
      running back to the computers and couches,
      entreating ourselves to the joys of not changing, but
      surrendering to what we hold familiar.
      Outraged after 342 days, we jump up in arms, and swear an oath against
      laziness and procrastination.
      Usually, this means that once again, we write a resolution
      that we will actually follow next year.
      I on the other hand have come up with a solution,
      obtain a time machine and convince yourself you'll
      never actually finish a resolution for a year, so try one just for the

      Early-morning Write

      Gonna follow the second day's prompt as part of Megan Writes 365. If you don't already know, my friend Megan is trying to write as often as she can, and posting prompts for her and other people to do to help make their writing better.

      For today's prompt, you can click here.

      And now, my piece:

      The post card arrived from the Christian camp in the middle of the state yesterday. The card was of a sunset over a hill with a pair of birds silhouetted against the colorful clouds. One of the birds had been crossed out by a dull pen, so there was a scratchy white X violently etched into photopaper. The writing on the back of the card was written so heavily I could read the reverse through the once-pristine image of the sunset: "!OUY KCUF"

      I chuckled to myself as I browsed through the rest of the day's mail. Just more political ads and coupons for coffee places I'll never go to. These I tossed in the recycling bin upon leaving the Post Office, but I kept the post card. I drove home and push-pinned it onto the corkboard above my desk at home. Yeah, the one I place all my little accomplishments on--like the clippings of articles that are awarded, the rejection letters from prestigious publishing companies, and the young fans that write just to say how much they love what I write.

      I woke up this morning, poured coffee into my body, and sat in front of my computer. As it hummed to life I smiled at the not-so-innocent post card, and then went to work. All the while, I could just picture the woman that wrote the words, and how she was doing at the camp. Of course, going there she didn't know it was a Christian camp, she had merely taken the offer to drive out there and relax for the week, all for free. She had heard what I said, "It's a consolation gift." A consolation for what, I can only imagine what her mind twisted and fabricated to suit her own feelings, her view of our history, and how I somehow still owed her something. She had failed to decode the meaning of my words as I handed her the tickets and gas money. It was a consolation for me, even if it was just a weekend. Just knowing she would be with a group of people that wouldn't take her prissiness and dramatizing everything was enough to get me smiling. The fact she took time to buy the over-priced post card and send it to me was the icing on this deliciously cold cake.

      I had gotten over what she did (a few times) about a year after we broke up. We never talked, and that was perfect for me. It was only about two weeks ago when she got in touch with me after the success of my second book. Figures. I admit I might've been half-blinded by the thought of getting a jab at her, but the adolescent side of me that wanted at least a little taste of vengeance, despite the immaturity. I just gave in to it.

      My fingers hovered over the keyboard, anxious to start typing and start moving the clock's hands, sentence by sentence:
      "Today, I received word from my ex. Ex of a few years, I should add. She absolutely loves the gift and tickets I bought for her, and sent me the nicest card. I'm expecting a call from her in a few hours once she's on the road and headed back to civilization."

      Monday, November 1, 2010

      College: Intra-Urban Geographies

      Edit: Nov. 25, 2010 - Pictures added

      Today, the Bellingham Weather System decided to stop denying that it is officially fall in Western Washington, and it's been chilly and raining all day. Because of this torrent of water, more and more puddles are forming all over campus, especially where there's tons of brick (which is everywhere).

      One vast expanse of brick is known as Red Square, and today walking between classes I have discovered a hidden quality of it: there's a miniature terrain in the bricks.

      Through age and imperfections in the Square, brick-lined estuaries, lakes, straits, islands, peninsulas, and other water-land relationships are created in miniature. As rainfall increases, there is a miniature urban flood that only conflicts with foot traffic through the square.
      This accidentally man-made landscape slowly redirects the ebb and flow of students between classes. Those who wish to avoid getting soaking socks choose increasingly hop-scotch-esque routes among the "dry" brick-islands, while those with tall shoes, rainboots, or aren't concerned with wet feet, merely walk undaunted through the tiny lakes, creeks, rivers, sloughs, and channels that are created. Everyone that walks through Red Square in the rain is a wayward explorer, landing on dozens of unnoticed islands and mini-continents that will remain unclaimed.

      Of course, there is the possibility that the apparent "flaws" in the way the brickwork sits may be on purpose. Perhaps a team of brick-layers worked together to replicate familiar (and perhaps imaginary) landscapes and terrains through the reaction of brick and trapped water.

      On this track, I was immediately reminded of the plaza on campus just a little further south, Haskell Plaza. According to WWU's Walking Tour with Artists--Part of Western's Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Haskell Plaza is a miniature, familiar terrain:

      "As you walk from Hamrol’s work further into Haskell Plaza, you will notice an increase of segmented, grassy mounds. These mounds along with the patterned brickwork represent the San Juan Islands just beyond Western and Bellingham Bay. The landscape architects, Campbell & Campbell of California, wanted to connect us through its miniature version to the larger world outside campus." [*] p.22

      Whether on purpose or not, Western Washington University has at least two miniature worlds that connect students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the outside world; even if it is not as obvious to most people. Perhaps an intra-urban cartographer will one day map out the wavering brick-archipelagos and lake systems that are located within Red Square on particularly rainy days.

      This line of thinking has me wanting to go browse through Geoff Manaugh's BLDGBLOG some more. Even of you aren't one for architecture (like I used to be), you should still check out his stuff!

      Since tomorrow is my "off day" and it should be rainy out, I'll try to snap some pics of people interacting with these miniature systems and post them here.

      I seriously have no idea why it took this long.

      Examples of the micro-environments located in Red Square, Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. Tried to take the shot from the same angle on various days to show the changing aquatic elements, as well as the way people travel around them.


      [*] -

      Sunday, October 31, 2010

      Alex Writes One

      I've decided to follow along with my friend Megan's newest project, Megan Writes 365. Basically, she's following the prompts in a book for roughly the next year, as time/school/life allows. You can view her introduction on her blog.

      Because I've got some time on my hands and am a bit behind, I'm gonna follow the first prompt today. The title links to the "rules" so you can see what the challenge is.


      Sometimes, I feel just like a gerbil, running around and around on his wheel.
      It all started when I decided to follow the telephone number on the ad asking "Would you like to meet a real-life Exorcist??!" The line below listed a telephone number (not 555, believe it or not) and specified: "Not for the faint of heart." I think it was at this time I was hooked.
      I called the number about a week later. The voice on the other end on the line asked if I knew what I was getting into, and if I was ready. When I said I could take it, I was given directions to a parking garage near the middle of town, and a time and date to meet this so-called exorcist.
      The following Monday (the given time), I took my friend Nate with me in case things got sketchy. The garage was full of cars and there was plenty of foot-traffic outside to (hopefully) deter any homicidal tendencies of both the human and supernatural persuasions. Ten minutes after we arrived, a beat-up black car pulled into an empty space and flashed its lights.
      Nate and I walked over to the car, where we were greeted by a tall man in a brightly-colored trenchcoat. There were enough peace signs and flowers stitched into the coat's fabric to induce flashbacks to anyone alive in the 60s. The man shook our hands with firm grips, and introduced himself as "Kembar, the Paranormal Exterminator Extraordinaire." With a flourish, he opened the trunk of his car, and Nate and I stared in disbelief.
      At the bottom of the trunk was a large, black bowl, polished enough to distort and reflect our facial expressions as we peered deep into the trunk. "Kembar" produced a large flask from within his psychedelic trench coat and filled the bowl to the brim with what looked and smelled like vodka.
      Before we could ask, he explained, "The alcohol attracts the spirits, draws them into the deepness of the Void of the bowl. Silence!" Nate and I jumped, and our gazes locked on the surface of the vodka, turned smoke-black from the bowl's depth. Some thing was inside the bowl, lazily moving and stirring the dark liquid.
      "And there is spirit!" Kembar announced. His strong hands darted out of the folds of his coat and clutches the bowl. With a groan, he hefted the bowl up and around Nate and I as we yelled as the bowl was chucked onto the pavement. The bowl shattered, and the vodka splashed in a wave. For a brief moment, there was a small, black mass on the pavement, violently twisting and sputtering before it vanished with a splash.
      Before Nate or I could recover from what we saw, Kembar slapped our backs and jumped into the car. He rolled down the window and as he backed out to leave shouted, "Now the spirit is your problem, boys! Think of it as a keepsake!" And he was gone in a flash.
      Thoroughly shaken and officially weirded out, Nate and I drove back home. It wasn't a day later until things started happening. Little things at first, like a book falling off the shelf or the toilet lid suddenly slamming closed, but the events quickly escalated into phantom voices and things gliding, floating, and smashing around the house.
      Ever since then, Nate and I have been looking for the psychotic, drug-driven, Hippie-exorcist extraordinaire, so we could kick his ass for pawning his haunting onto us!

      Friday, October 29, 2010

      Sex on Campus

      Now, I know many of you clicked on here just for the title alone, and I know just as many are more than likely appalled that I would blatantly talk about this particular topic.

      While I can say that this is college and sex does happen on (in, near, around, etc.) campus, this is not the particular topic of this post. I'm talking about sex as in gender, and the inequalities on campus (and in general).

      It was recently brought to my attention (by a friend) that in a neighboring residence hall, in one of the ladies' bathrooms is a stall known as "The Hottie Potty."(I also like"Man Stall"). Within this stall are tons of pictures of male models in various stages of (un)dress. My friend who told me did not know of this before going to said stall one day, and it surprised her seeing so many men staring at her. When she told me this story, I honestly chuckled at the idea.

      Today in class (math of all things), my mind related this to the apparent inequalities between men and women, in which certain social "protocols" are overlooked in favor of women. In high school, many girls in my grade (actually, every grade) pinned up similar male model pictures. Any time they opened the door to grab a pencil, there was some hottie in barely-waist-high jeans trying to make "sex eyes" at who ever was looking. I remember saying in high school, "If a guy posted a bunch of women models in their lockers, they'd be practically forced to take them down."

      I think this hypocritical stance would happen in our residence hall bathrooms. If a bunch of guys on a floor posted up supermodels in one of the stalls, word would get out, and some one "higher up" would order they be removed. Now, I have no word of if the ladies' "Man Stall" has been found out and eradicated, but I'm just using this as a parallel to show some "inequalities" in social behavior concerning the sexes.

      Another "inequality" I recently found (on a forum) was about a local character. Many stories are circulating about how a woman goes around looking for guys coming back from a party, giving them a ride, and sexually assaulting them. Now, there are other stories saying it's a guy dressing up as a woman to assault other men. According to the stories, the cops aren't out in force to find the suspect. Now, this is all from a forum and no real evidence either way. I'm just using the conversation as part of my thought process.

      What jumped into my previous segue was something that was said in response to the woman assaulting men story; paraphrased, of course: "If this was a guy picking up women and raping them, the whole city would be after this guy!"

      As a male writer, I'm not here to gripe about some of the few inequalities that are in favor of women. Only once women have equal rights to their men counterparts, then we could knit-pick about the little things like "Man Stalls." (Although, sexual predators of either gender should be taken seriously). As a writer, I ask you readers (and hopefully a few responsive writers) what your thoughts are on these "social, sex-based inequalities"? Should men let the women have these "little victories" or should there be a movement of men to stop women objectifying them?

      Personally, it goes both way as objectifying goes, but I'd love to hear from some readers--whether they post anonymously or not, that's your choice. I just want a conversation (i.e., not a debate) started about social nuances such as these.

      (Again, I have no research into the forum issue, so I can't say one way or the other what is fact, I was merely using the discussion I read about the topic to add a perspective).

      Monday, October 18, 2010

      College Collection

      For those interested in my college-related endeavors, here is the complete list of titles and their dates published here. Keep checking back here for updates or "follow" my blog-ring on Facebook. (To the left)

      Quarter I - (Fall 2010)
      Quarter II - (Winter 2011)
      Jan. 4 - Back to Business
      Jan. 12 - Cafeteria Tips / Tricks
      Jan. 18 - Sharing Our Secrets
      Jan. 27 - Late Night Activity
      Feb. 4 - Dorm Life: Laundry
      Feb. 8 - Graffiti on Campus
      Feb. 17 - Studying Habits
      Feb. 24 - Scholarships and Financial Aid
      March 9 - Things I've Heard In College, QII
      March 17 - College By the Numbers, QII
       Quarter III - (Spring 2011)
      March 31 - Third Quarter, Start
      April 28 - Tests and Exams 
      April 29 - Wait a minute...  
      May 5 - Typing as therapy from boredom 
      May 19 - I've been where the sun doesn't shine...
      May 23 - End of quarter procrastination
      June 4 - Things I've Heard In College, QIII
      June 9 - College By the Numbers, QIII
      June 16 - College Rat Move-Out
      June 18 - College by the Numbers, Year I
      Quarter α - (Summer 2011)
      June 14 - Jack's What to Bring, Intro
      June 23 - Jack's What to Bring, I (Clothes)
      July 7 - Jack's What to Bring, II (Dorm: Daily)
      July 24 - Jack's What to Bring, III (Dorm: Furntiure)
      August 3 - Jack's What to Bring, IV (Entertainment)
      Sept. 1 - Jack's What to Bring, (Humans versus Zombies)
       Quarter IV - (Fall 2011)
      Sept. 19 - Back to Campus!
      Sept. 26 - Year Two, Week One
      October 10-29 - HvZ Fall 2011 (collection)
      January 3 - 2012 - No excuses!
      January 3 - Things I've Heard In College, QIV
      January 3 - College By the Numbers, QIV
       Quarter V - (Winter 2012)
      January 3 - First Day!
      January 9 - First Week!
      February 4 - Winterness
      June 12 - Things I've Heard In College, QV
      Soon - College By the Numbers, QV
       Quarter VI - (Spring 2012)
      June 14 - Things I've Heard In College, QVI
      Soon - College By the Numbers, QVI
      Quarter β - (Summer 2012)
      Quarter VII - (Fall 2012)

      October 17 - WWU HvZ Fall 2012, Day 1

      The Portrait of a Cheater

      -Subtitled: A College Tale-

      While some of you that know me personally may have initially thought of my past relationship when you read this title, it is actually referring to what secondary educational institutions call "academic dishonesty."

      Today was my Art History's first exam of the year (of three-with no final), and I was feeling really up to it. I knew a majority of the material very well, I did all the readings, and knew the dates and eras of specific works were going to get confused in my head--but for the most part I'm pretty confident that I did very well. In between classes I had half an hour, so I did some very quick scanning through all my notes and the study guides, so that helped freshen everything up.

      However, many people weren't so prepared for this exam; or as calm. One of these people happened to sit next to me. Dark brown hair, about a head shorter than me, shifty eyes, and a nervous tick.

      Her knees were always bouncing, and she was constantly fidgeting. I know some people just get nervous during tests--especially when they're titled "exams"--so I didn't pay attention to her.

      It wasn't until halfway through the test I realized that she seemed to be looking at my answers for practically every question. I kept hearing her eraser to change answers. Apparently, I fill in multiple-choice bubbles in a way that gives off an aura of confidence. I had no idea I even had an aura of confidence (dressed in everyday clothes, of course--pinstripes are my Superman-suit).

      So, I started to write my answers, and cover them up with my pencil as the teacher showed slides of the artworks we had to identify and write about. After I started this tactic, the assumed "snoop" next to me periodically leaned back against the chair-back to make it look like she was stretching. It felt like she was looking for someone else to look off of?

      After the last slides were shown, I finished the rest of the answers fairly easily and left the room early.

      I hope for my sake and hers that I did very well for the first half of the test, and she didn't misread the bubbles. Or perhaps she was merely someone who was just really nervous, and my suspicious mind misread her body language.

      Maybe a class like "Body Language 203" is one I should take next quarter to help distinguish the difference?

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010

      Lost and Found Sorta Day

      I woke up this morning knowing that I wanted to do a post about the types of things that jump out at me during the day. And then when I got back to my dorm from the shower I realized I left my keys in the room, and had to call my roommate to wake up and open the door...

      Little did I know that's just how today was gonna go...

      So this post will go thus, I'll list the things I've lost today, and then list the awesome sights that I found throughout my day--just so I don't end on a negative--so bear with my grumbling (and excessive use of ellipses).

      *Keys, as already grumbled...
      *Halfway through my day I realized I left my jump drives in a classroom that I won't have class in until next Wednesday...
      *Jacket in math class...which I fortunately rescued before the next class began.
      *To load extra $$$ on my washer/dryer card...I was able to do it later in the day, though.
      *The detergent when I went to wash my clothes...all I had to do was go back up seven flights of stairs to get it.
      *Used my washer/dryer card to try and get in to the dining hall...I had my real card on me, at least.

      *Sea of fog-banks pooling over the Bay, while a pillar of white steam wafts into the air. The cold, morning air sometimes spawns a huge amount of fog coverage in and around the Bay, and I'm loving it every morning. We keep our blinds open at night because of it. Or at least I keep them open, and my roommate doesn't say anything.

      *Two guys walking up a hill, continuously looking around, wearing bright orange armbands. Today was the first day of WWU Humans Versus Zombies. If you're interested, check the link, it's really fun to watch. I didn't know it would be this soon in the year, so I don't have any Nerf guns, but I'll definitely sign up next round. (PS - When I checked the count this morning, there were 30 zombies. Now it's up to 92).

      *Spider-silk line from the top of a light pole to a tree limb. Showing us once again, nature--in big or small ways--will always prevail, and keep going where we left off.

      *Soft sunlight on the grass coming back from class. The grass looked electric, and like a rug of emeralds between the bricks. Just a really relaxing sight that helped me just relax and enjoy and focus what was around me--rather than dwell on the things I kept losing all day.

      *The unique and "tagged" bricks throughout campus. There are bricks everywhere on campus, and a few of them have special tags people/students/staff have marked in some way. I think they're just bricks that were created, and then placed in the big walkways when no one was looking. Some of dates, some have quotes, and I even saw one that looked like a street-tag graffiti, relief style.

      *This wasn't a sight, just a find: Two quarters from someone else's load of clothes. Gonna keep looking throughout the year.
      *Orange glow and lights of Bellingham at night. As you can see in another post, the city at night is just awesome. I'm going to take more in the future to show it off some more.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010

      College Fitness, Part Two, and Sustainability

      So, last week I talked a little bit about trying to be healthy on campus. I said I'd try to count my footsteps taken during a busy day for me. This won't be happening, as I found my pedometer uses different batteries than are sold at the AS Bookstore. So, I'll save that one for another time.

      In the meantime, I can keep going with the healthy feeling and also talk about sustainability and being eco-conscious.

      Living in a dorm, you begin to realize that you are disconnected from water utilities, bathrooms, and a kitchen in a way that probably never happened living at home. Every time I make a mess or need to wash my hands, I remember that I have to walk down the hall to get water to clean with. It really makes you realize how often it's needed (depending on how messy you are).

      I usually drink a lot of water, just to stay hydrated and healthy. The first week my roommate had a case of water bottles; we'd finish one, throw it in the recycling bin and grab another. After a time, we had very few bottles, so I decided to start reusing mine. Now, I am constantly refilling two, 16.9 fluid oz. water bottles and a bigger one I carry in my backpack--so once every two hours or whatever it is (I haven't timed it), I'm going down the hall to refill these bottles, and clean whatever dishes I've used.

      I think this technique is really good, because it keeps me aware of my dish and water-use, as well as what I reuse, recycle, and throw away. It's a pretty good way to stay eco-conscious.

      Further use of eco-friendliness is we keep our window blinds open during the day. It's so bright, we don't usually need extra light unless we're doing homework or reading at our desks/beds.

      For those that don't know, Western is very much about being green. There are recycling bins everywhere, stickers in bathrooms reminding about water/paper/electricity usage, and even has a small plot of land for growing food on campus.

      Also, this happens to be Campus Sustainability Week. See? It all fits together.

      Wednesday, October 6, 2010

      College Fitness, Part One

      Update: 8:15 p.m.: New stair tallies seen below.

      A lot of people are worried about the so-called "freshman fifteen" on campus. A lot of people are going to the gym a lot, others are trying not too eat too many sweets and trashy food, and some just make small adjustments throughout their day.

      I'm not one to worry about my diet and my weight. My body does what it needs to do, and I try to balance things out. Of course, having big batches of home-made cookies within arms' reach while I play Halo: Reach isn't exactly helping...but for the most part I try to be more healthy overall than not.

      This morning, I decided to take some tallies throughout my day. Originally I was going to track my total number of steps on my busy days (when I have three classes all across campus), but this morning I found my pedometer is out of batteries. So, I decided to count the total number of stairs (up and down) I stepped today.

      Total number of stairs: 445
      Walking up: 215
      Walking down: 231
      Overall trend: -16

      New Tally:
      Total number of stairs: 794
      Walking up: 389
      Walking down: 405
      Overall trend: -16

      Due to different routes to and from classes, the numbers are different up and down. Today's trend was I took 16 more stair steps going down than going up. One can say today I was "lazy" but I can refute that saying I didn't take any elevators--and that I go to the fifth floor to two rooms I go on my busy days.

      When I first posted this, it had tallies of right after I get off class. I hadn't considered what would happen the rest of the evening--like going to dinner. The overall tally almost doubled, but it's curious that the trend was still sixteen. Must be one of the routes I take across campus that I don't repeat later.

      Just keep in mind how worked someone gets when they have to go across campus, and then up at least three flights of stairs; all in ten minutes between classes.

      And that's what my busy day feels like. I'm hoping to have a battery by Monday, so everyone can see total steps throughout my busy day.

      Tuesday, October 5, 2010

      Long Night

      I thought I'd have something substantial to talk about in this post. Basically, I'm bored, and edited some pictures that will be up on my art blog, Northwestern Artist very soon.

      Other than that, not much happening. I realized some of my ideas for blogs I can't do until my busy-scheduled days (Mon., Wed.). You will soon know what I mean.

      In the mean time, you can share my geeking out over a new way to multiply polynomials, and the very interesting and strange critters in my room.

      Enjoy, and keep an eye out for new posts this week.

      This was actually created on GIMP so I could share it with people on Facebook. My math teacher put it on the board as an alternative for sketching a square and using the FOIL method. You may or may not really appreciate this.

      This strange fly/moth flew in my room, and perched by my light. I just snapped some macros while it was there, and I haven't been bitten by it (yet), so I'm not complaining.

      Sunday, October 3, 2010

      Awarded Works

      For all of those curious about my awards at the 2010 Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest, here they are:

      All pages are owned by La Conner Weekly News, and used with editor's permission.

      When opening and zooming in on files, be patient and let them load completely. The text should be legible, although the pictures seem to degrade in quality in this format.

      Second place - Best Story of the Arts: "Giving life to stone"
      Third place - Best Government Reporting: "Voters quiz and candidates spar" - cover, cont'd
      Third place - Best General Feature Story - Short: "Fire in the blood"
      Third place - Best Sports News Story - "A great show at Homecoming"


      Newspaper Weekend!

      Back from my two-day WNPA Better Newspaper Contest conference in Wenatchee, WA.

      My English teacher would be so proud, I was making connections all weekend! Oh, and I obtained four awards for my writing with the La Conner Weekly News; but more on that in a little bit.

      In English class, we're reading sections of the book The Young and the Digital by S. Craig Watkins. In it, Watkins explains the cultural migration of tweens and young adults to the internet and digital, social media. The concept of the book is that all of this media communication is making people evolve in their communication, rather than stunt it. The internet is just an extension of real-life relationships, and is the next social adaption.

      Now, the newspaper industry is going through something similar. As my editor from the La Conner Weekly News said this weekend, "There are some dinosaurs here. We have to evolve from dinosaurs if we want to survive."

      There is a migration of news-related media to the internet. I know you're thinking that the big news stations like Faux News and everyone else has already been online. I don't classify "TV news" as actual news, not in the same way as locally-produced newspapers.

      At the convention, there were several workshops on various topics, and all of the ones I attended were very informative. The first one was in two parts, and was basically the business plan of the future, and it revolved around the idea that multi-media, internet/social media-driven news sources were the next step in evolution.

      It really got my editor thinking, and now they're going to experiment with different things, including more on their blog and starting a Twitter account.

      Anyway, the paper won fourteen awards total, with a clean sweep in our group for Best Government Reporting. (The papers are grouped by circulation, and we are in Group I for having < 2,500 in circulation every week).

      Of the fourteen, I won four awards:
      Second place - Best Story of the Arts
      Third place - Best Government Reporting
      Third place - Best Sports Story
      Third place - Best General Story - Short

      Oh, and I was the youngest person attending.

      The convention was a great experience for me. I got to hear from long-time industry professionals, learn from these professionals, and meet several interesting people, including the President of the WNPA--we sat at his table and got away with it.

      Later this week I'll actually post the articles I won these for. For now, adieu.

      Thursday, September 30, 2010

      Sounds of College

      This morning I woke up and decided I needed to do a post about college life; and I had no idea what to do, and then it hit me: The sounds I hear in a day of college.

      So, I'll list notable sounds that stuck in my mind today. And I'm using a list just to get the sounds out there. Hopefully by the end my mind will have congealed a few sparse ideas into a clever conclusion. If not, you get to a personal, audio-tour of my day.

      *A whole room of people studiously typing on keyboards. Seriously, there was no other noise in the room for like ten minutes. The teacher commented how cool it sounded.

      *Guy singing while playing guitar. Some guy was walking around Red Square with a guitar and singing. Couldn't tell the song, but it perked up my day a bit just seeing/hearing him.

      *Everyone talking on phones. Just a huge scramble of conversations between classes. Felt very ethereal and white-noise-y when I decided not to focus on any and just hear the chaos.

      *Musical bricks on the way to class. Most of campus has laid brick for walkways, and some of them shift when people walk, causing a clinking sound. One area is notable for it, and so it's constantly clinking between classes.

      *Bikes flying by. There's a hill I walk to go to the cafeteria, and everyone zips by on the road on their bikes, whizz-clicketing away.

      *Hum and buzz of conversation. I like that drone/hum in the air when a lot of people are talking all at once, like in a cafeteria. It feels energetic and alive.

      *Soft singing. During a candlelight gathering, a group of people started to softly and somberly sing.

      *Group of guys celebrating. A few rooms in my hall got yards and yards of ethernet cables and LAN-lined their XBoxes together in a big match of Halo. The victors ran down the hall yelling and jumped into the room of the people they beat.

      *Doors at night. Our dorm doors are very heavy, and if you aren't careful, they slam shut. Of course, when you hear other doors slam, it sounds like deep thumps up and down the hall.

      *Trains at night. Like I said before, I'm always hearing trains everyday, but at different times. It's something I missed about Santa Fe, but didn't truly realize it until I started hearing them more consistently. nothing. Maybe next time. Good night!

      Monday, September 27, 2010

      Banned Book Week, Again!

      [Reposted from my other blog, Seattle Whispers]

      So, this year Banned Book Week crept up on me, so I didn't prepare anything big or week-long like I did last year. But, I can still write a little something about it on here to bring it into everyone's view.

      I was recently reading Ray Bradbury's A Pleasure To Burn, which is a collection of short stories and novellas with themes, stories, and characters that eventually led up to his classic, Fahrenheit 451. In this book, there's a line that eventually came up, evolved, in F-451, and it goes like this:

      "That was the year I came to class at the start of the new semester and found only one student  to sign up for Drama from Aeschylus to O'Neill. You see? How like a beautiful statue of ice it was, melting in the sun. I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths. No one wanted them back. No one missed them. And then the Government, seeing how advantageous it was to have people reading only about passionate lips and the fist in the stomach, circled the situation with their fire-eaters."
      -- Faber, Fahrenheit 451, p. 79

       In the story, all books beyond tabloid magazines are banned, but what Bradbury says mid-way through the book is that before that, people eventually stopped reading and being curious altogether, and then the Government made laws to keep it that way.

      This struck a resonating chord with me.

      I've been writing for a newspaper the past year, and I know this niche is slowly disappearing. I was working for a library, and people have been saying how digital books on Kindle and the iPhone will make printed copies obsolete. I refuse to believe this; books will always remain, maybe not as plentiful in the future though.

      In my college English class, we're studying how people are flocking to the internet and digital communication for social connections and news. In a way, it is dealing with the issue that Bradbury was trying to warn us all about: the disconnection from the printed word, and the strongly-bonded sense of imagination and curiosity with those words.

      So, for this Banned Book Week, remember how significant written words are, and pick up/check out an old classic that you love, and be thankful you are still able to snuggle up with it and enjoy the story.

      Sunday, September 26, 2010

      College: Week One

      This week I have learned about the true seductiveness of temptation. Almost sounds redundant, but it's true.

      This week was my first full week of college. Technically. Even though my first classes started on Wednesday, I've been living on campus and experiencing college for a full week. So there.

      And speaking of roommate and I are tempted by a few things already, including Halo: Reach, snack/junk food, and taking breaks from school work. And we have both given in to these temptations. A lot.

      Although, we've both been able to get each other to finish homework, even if it was so we could play Reach online for hours. Some motivation is better than no motivation.

      I myself have found and given in to another (cliché) temptation: Going home for a weekend [and getting laundry done at home].

      It so happens this weekend was my friend John's family's annual cider day, and I just couldn't miss it. So, I packed a vacation bag to go home (an odd thought/feeling), and then worked with apples all day yesterday. Picking, washing, grinding, pressing, straining, pouring, and finally enjoying all-natural cider. Can't be beat, and it was a relaxing (and productive) weekend. Now, back to school!

      Also, here are photos of my dorm, for those that have been wanting a taste.

      My side of the dorm. The lofted bed adds a lot of room.

      Another view of my side, with more of my work zone shown.

      An angle looking out of my window, overlooking Bellingham Bay.

      Pretty much exact same view, but at night. I love these orange-laden fog banks at night.

      Tuesday, September 21, 2010

      Creative Communicating - Roommates

      When you live somewhere, you tend to communicate with those around you out of necessity, comfort, and social behavior. And to figure out each other. With roommates, this talking, with or without words, tends to be immediate. Ground rules need to be established (or gradually learned), especially about sharing things, when to fall asleep/wake up, bringing guests to the room, sexiling, hanging out, etc.

      Other than that, the communication between flatmates can be sparse, on-the-fly, and second- or even third-handed. I have one solution.

      Recently I MacGyvered a simple device to help with one of the levels of communication with a roommate. Whenever I'd come back to my room and my roommate wasn't there, I never knew quite where he was, other than the ambiguous, "out." So, I decided to make an interactive message system for the inside of the door. You just place your name next to where you'll be.

      I dub it the Status Board*.

      If I find the time/parts, I want to rig a clock to look like my Status Board, but you move a designated hand to "times," which will be substituted with similar phrases. Yes, I know this is from Harry Potter, but mine won't be magic-driven or self-updating.

      Also, I'll soon have a system in place for the outside of the door, with coded signs so that we know if the other person is sleeping--and thus needing to enter quieter than usual--or not enter at all because of being'd all be coded because seriously, the "sock on the door" signal is a little conspicuous and scandalous.

      Another way to keep up-to-date with your roommate is texting. I use it the most when I'm out and about because it's almost instantaneous, but the Status Board works best at the times you're just down the hall in the bathroom.

      Texting can feel too impersonal and too personal at times.

      * - The Status Board is made of a piece of cardboard from a surge protector box, Sharpie, statuses, Post-It Notes, and creativity.

      Monday, September 20, 2010

      Built Up

      I moved into my dorm on Saturday, which wasn't as hectic as we thought it would be. There were the ever helpful HELP squad that would unload cars and carry loads of everyone's stuff inside and up the endless flights of stairs.

      I had a hard time sleeping in such a new place. New room, new nocturnal sounds, new bed and sheets. Although, the orange-glowing fog bank coming off from the bay really put me in a good mood. That, and hearing the familiar sounds of the BNSF train--That is the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe line that I heard almost nightly growing up in Santa Fe, NM. It's been so long since I heard the train. And then the people down the street started partying. Loudly. With firecrackers.

      Sunday I waited in line for bed parts to boost, for like an hour. People ahead of me kept walking out of the storage room with nothing, so I was really confused and wasn't sure if there'd be parts for me. At the end, my roommate and I did get bed parts, really heavy bed parts.

      Just to let you know, building up your beds can be rather difficult. And we had to wait for this tool called a "bed wrench," and they didn't say exactly what it was. There were about six of these being shared between six floors, and almost every room was building a bed.

      For those of you coming to Western next year and want to prepare, the mysterious tool is a 1/2" socket wrench with a universal joint. Who knows, maybe you can buy one, and rent it out on Move-In/Build Up Day next year?

      Now, our beds are boosted a good like four feet up, which gives us room to put things like desks, fridges, and microwaves under the beds and free up space. Sleeping on them last night was a little scary, as they aren't the most stable structures known to man, but they can handle someone getting up and laying still all night.

      Experience (3)
      After a long line of waiting, sometimes key pieces like ladders and rail guards won't be available. Also, bed parts are heavy and can be difficult to maneuver. Fortunately my roommate's parents were there, and then my girlfriend and her sister showed up. Even then the beds were a little uncooperative, but we got them up.

      Advice (3)
      Get in line for parts early, and have people there to help

      Get in line early; everyone else seems to do so. Make sure you have two or three people there to help transport and help with building. If you don't have parents or friends with you, call on your hall neighbors. If they're busy building, help out, and then they can help you. Teamwork and community building!

      Thursday, September 16, 2010

      Winding down

      Now, I have officially ended my internship with the local paper, the La Conner Weekly News. The internship was through the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA), and it all started back in March.

      (Sorry for the dirge of links).

      Today I received the second and final check, which was sent to me after I had completed 240 hours of interning, and I had written an exit-essay/letter to the Internship Board at WNPA. To celebrate, the owners of La Conner Weekly News, Sandy and Cindy, took me out to a very good (and filling) Mexican lunch with one of La Conner's best writers, Jim Smith. Yes, the Jim Smith that writes "Notes from Pull-and-Be Damned" and hangs around and gives "college lectures" the local coffee joints.

      This week I also had my last day at the local library...

      It feels very weird to be wrapping everything up and moving on to college life. Yesterday I spent a few hours turning the pile of stuff in my room into a bigger mess and pile, and then strategically reordering everything to fit in boxes. Somewhat.

      Experience (2):
      My roommate and I didn't started talking until a few days ago, and we move in together this week. Before then, he had been on vacation, and I hadn't been able to contact him at all. But it all worked out in the end.

      Advice (2):
      Once you know who your roommate will be, try and contact your roommate as soon as possible.

      Before you move in together, you should get to know them, as well as plan who will bring what, and establishing ground rules, etc. The best part of starting as soon as you can, you have more time to contact them if they happen to be on vacation. Also, a lot of colleges let you request a roommate (if you both request each other), so if you know someone that's going to the same school, you can talk and see if you want to live together. Could be a classmate from high school, someone you met at a concert, or a player from a rival team you happened to befriend. Whatever works.