Monday, January 25, 2010

the other side of the SATs...not dark though...still pretty legit

So I proctored the SATs on Saturday for the second time, and although I was bored for a while, I've decided it's totally worth it. So many entertaining-maybe-only-to-me things happened...I can't even begin to describe.

Just kidding--I totally can. That's what I'm doing here.

So envision with me, if you will...a college campus that's a little complicated to navigate (aren't we all?), where all the buildings look the same, and where they all have lovely large wooden doors. Also, envision a bunch of clouds and rain. That was USD on Saturday.

Now take that campus and insert me, my friend Jimmy, who works at USD, my friend Nick, married to my friend Mindy (this matters later), a couple of other grown ups, and about 15 college students who work for Jimmy. That was the proctor pool at the SATs on Saturday.

NOW that you have all of that solidified...add about 300 super nervous kids, all with big ziplock bags full of pencils, calculators and granola bars, and their overprotective parents.

And that was Saturday.

For those of us who haven't taken an SAT in, I don't know, more than ten years, here's how they worked.
On the walls of the the hall where students walked in, room assignments were posted for SATs and SAT IIs. Once a student knew what test s/he was taking (you'd think they'd all know, because the tests are REALLY, REALLY different), s/he would just look to see where, on the list, their name fell in order to see their room assignment.

Por ejemplo: one sheet said SAT, Room 308, Francisco--Herman. So if you are Ben Francisco, Jackie Herman...hell...even Guadalupe Garner or Ajumbe're in 308.

Get it?

No worries if you don't...neither did a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds.

Oh, here's something else cool to envision--you enter on the second floor of this building. Floor one is below us, and floor three is above.

So I get there at 7 (amazing!), and as I'm getting out of my car a kid comes running over to me and says "Do you know where Serra Hall is?," to which I reply "Sure--it's to the right. I'm headed that way if you want to come along!" He said "Ok let me tell my dad."

He pops back into an SUV to tell his dad, who zooms off, then comes to follow me. Here's our conversation:
Me: "Are you taking the SAT?"
Him: "Yeah...........are you?"
Me: "No...I did that a little while ago. But it was a good time. Are you excited?"
Him: "Ha ha...sure."
Me: "Have you taken the test before?"
Him: "No...and I'm a senior."
Me: "Awesome. Well good luck, man."

P.S. That is NOT awesome. It's basically too late to get in any college with the January SAT.

And that was just the beginning of the awesomeness. The following things also happened throughout the day:

--I saw a boy with jeans tucked into his Uggs.

--I was a hall proctor, which meant that in between breaks, I was hanging out with Jimmy in the main room. Nick was in a room with a reader, so he checked for cheating in that room, while that girl read the instructions. The girl in his room came into the main room (where I was sitting with Jimmy) to turn in her roster, and I said "Ha--Nick sent me a text saying that it's real boring in there." Apparently, that girl read a LOT into that, because she went back and told Nick he could go to the main room and hang out with his wife if he wanted.
This is the ring I was wearing that day.

Yes, everyone. We are married...he got a platinum band, and I got a big owl ring.

--after explaining repeatedly to EVERY group that came in "Just find where your name falls on the wall and that will send you to your assigned room. We're on the second floor," a mom came up to me in a panic and said "Our name isn't on the wall!!!!!!!!" Really, Gina? You really think we post everyone's name on the wall? You really think only 12 people are taking the SAT today?

--Again, after REPEATEDLY saying "Just find where your name falls on the wall and that will send you to your assigned room. We're on the second floor," at least ten people said "Where are the stairs for the second floor?" Right here, kid. You're on them. They're invisible, and they don't go up or down.

--A mom very confrontationally asked me "So when is the SAT going on the computer? Because it's the last test to be on paper." First of all, no it's not, which I happily told her, and second, I had a handwritten name tag with "SHANNON" written on it in colored Sharpie. Do you really think I speak for CollegeBoard?

--Another mom (see a theme?) came to me, also in a panic, and said "This says his ID has to be the same as his ticket...he signed up as Mark G. Smith, but his ID says Mark GORDON Smith!!!!" Oh noooo identity thefttttt!!!

--A mom (what?) and dad sent their son off, and were still staring at the wall, looking extremely concerned, so I walked over and asked if I could help with anything, and no lie, the mom said (in one breath) "Well I see that there are 7th and 8th graders taking the test today [more on that in a sec] and my son is a freshman and this is his second SAT and he's only scoring in the 700s on each section and I know he can perform better than that so we're signing him up for more so he can get those perfect scores but I'm so worried that colleges will see these first few tests and see those low marks and think that he isn't very smart and that the perfects are just flukes!!!"

**Even though the SATs have added a writing section, each section is still out of 800...soooo scores in the 700s are pretty good...especially for a friggin 13 year old.**

So I tried to console this mom without being incredulous and told her that in my office, we'd view that as motivation, and that it would show that he's a hard worker. I thought she was going to hug me.

--So yes, 7th and 8th graders can now, as a part of a Johns Hopkins program, take the full SAT. They're 11 and 12 years old. COME. ON.

--After everyone had gone to their rooms, IDs checked, kids in seats, a fellow hall proctor came walking in with a disheveled looking girl and said "I found a lost one!" She was looking at the wall, so I asked "Do you know where you're headed?", to which she replied "Uh huh...I'm here for the SAT?" Yeah girl...yeah.

And my favorite...

--If a test site is full when you sign up, you can still sign up to take the test on stand-by--it just means you have to check in, then wait to see if people don't show up, so you can take their spot (was that insulting that I just explained "stand-by"? Sorry about that). About five stand by kids were eventually assigned rooms, but of course, it was after all the other kids were in rooms, so when they came out into the hall with their assignments, it felt like they were late, because the hall was empty, even though all the rooms were waiting for them. That made them more nervous than they already were.
So this one guy had pencils, a calculator, snacks, his ticket and his ID in one hand (most in a bag), and when he was walking, knocked over a Wet Floor sign--one of the triangle-sandwich-board-style ones that sits up, then folds down (was that also insulting?? I just don't want you to think it's one of the cone-pyramid ones!!). He bent down to pick it up, realized that he couldn't open it up to stand it back up, looked around, saw all of us looking at him, laid it back on the ground where it had fallen and ran.


I'm always doing this!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My problem with Alicia Keys:

#1--If the lyrics are, as everyone online claims, "concrete jungle where dreams are made of," I'm pissed about it. That doesn't even make sense. Why not just "concrete jungle, what dream are made of," or even just the ever-musical "concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh..." or even "concrete jungle where dreams are made up." All of that makes more sense than what's out there.

I'm really hoping those aren't the real words, actually. Somebody prove me wrong.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pumpkin mask.

So I found this pumpkin face mask in my cabinet from like a year ago, and I've used it several times. I haven't noticed a thing it's done for my skin, but I keep using it because when it's on, my face smells like it's covered in pumpkin pie.

Delicious pumpkin pie...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

the long awaited, much requested (not really either) rules of the combo word

Good morning, America.

Is it weird that saying that makes me feel as though I'm being untrue to The Today Show? XO Meredith.

I just llooovveee a good combo word--my own or someone else' long as they follow the rules. But the masses (two to three people) keep accusing me of changing the rules on them, so here you go, jerks. I'm writing down the rules (only two) that have always existed no matter what you people say, AND...for the first time in print (does this even count as print??), including the new rule number three, that originated outside of myself, but finally made enough sense that I added it. But it really took me a long time to be convinced. Good work, Frankums (and better work on that nickname, Mindy).

First of all, for the unknowing (no one that would ever read this, I'm sure, because I see most of you basically every other day), the combo word is two (or three, if you're awesome) words combined. Hence the name. Right? Right.

So here are the rules:

Rule 1. Saying the combo word has to be more efficient than the original two (however many) words (in length or just in tongue flowage),
Rule 2. the words combined have to either share a syllable or have a rhyming syllable that serves as the bridge to the combo, and the new and equally important rule...
Rule 3. an cool, uninvolved third party would have to recognize, without explanation (but context can be provided), which words are combined.



Go crazy.

But not yet.

For the purpose of not being accused of changsies again, let's go into too much depth.

If I love a good combo word, I sure hate a bad one. For example, calling a chicken taco a "chaco." That's maybe the worst combo word I've ever made up as an example. Let's check it against the rules.

Rule 1--Sure, it's more efficient. Two syllables saved.
Rule 2--Hell. No. You tell me which of these syllables rhyme: "tac," "o," "chick," and "en." That's right...none of them. There can be no syllable replacement, ergo no way to properly combine the words.

So it's already not a real combo word, but just for fun, let's ask a cool, uninvolved third party what "chaco" means.

Rule 3--"Um...Chad taco?"

There you have it.

So what if someone wants to get dinner this week, and asks when you're free. "Sure, sure, I have a freevening on Thursday!"

Rule 1--Yes--you just knocked a whole syllable off of "free evening." Excellent job.
Rule 2--Why yes! "Free" and the long "e" of "evening" DO rhyme. Thank you for asking!
Rule 3--"Free evening, of course." And that was his first guess. Just perfect.

As a small, but very important side note, there is one small subcategory. Don't get so mad about it...I'm not watering down the combo word. This just important. Some combo words can follow all the rules, but must be classified as a "best-in-print" combo word. You can call it a B.I.P. if you want.

Here's what I mean. "Know what I just love to get at Rubio's?"
"Fish tacos."
"Yeah, that's true. But something else."
"The delicious chicken buwheato."
"Ah...a wheat burrito. That's such a great combo word, really, but it's more of a B.I.P., wouldn't you say?"
"I sure would, dinner friend."

That convo actually happened (more or less). So why the subcategory? Because that one is just funnier when you read it.

Rule save a syllable.
Rule 2--Mos def. The "-rit-" in "burrito" rhymes the hell out of "wheat."
Rule 3--This one could be up for debate, depending on how cool your third party is, but my third party totally got it. That's what I mean, though, about the B.I.P. Because even uncool third parties get it on paper. In fact, if I was a band named B.I.P., that would be my first album title. "New from B.I.P.: Because even uncool third parties get it on paper."

But it's still a combo word.

Fin! No more rules can be added unless there's complete consensus. Stop it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the great drawerganization of 2010

So I was caught up on emails and phone calls yesterday (a brief but celebrated moment in this season), and decided that it was about time for me to completely clean out my drawers. I have six in my desk and four of the four-foot long file drawers. After three hours, I got through five of my desk drawers.

I may be a hoarder. Not sure yet, since I just added the show to the DVR, but it's a real possibility.

Anyway, I was just so pleased with the things I found that I thought I'd share them here, as to never forget them, ever, in all of time.

1--a bunch of choco-coins from my grad program's noncommittal holiday 2007 (I licked one. Still good)

2--a picture I took of my brother pretending to be falling in some sort of battle, complete with Taco Bell mild sauce special effects

3--a photo booth photo of me and a friend from high school with scrunchies and Phoenix Suns t-shirts

4--three pages of quotations from a really crazy guest speaker in my business comm class when I was a college sophomore who said things like "Ok, say you and I are golfing together...I'll be you and you can" (more on this below)

5--a Valentines Day card to "My Beloved Husband" (me) from "your adoring wife" (my friend Jessica)

6--three pairs of different kinds of scrapbooking scissors (I have never scrapbooked, or wanted to)

7--unmailed Thank You notes from Fall Travel 2005

8--a really old sign that, after an especially formative day in Freshman Psychology, my roommate and I posted on our dorm door that said "My id can kick your id's @$$"

9--A card for a free FroYo, from back when it was called FroYo

10--a joke from an old Chinese New Year cracker that reads: "Why is an elephant large and wrinkly? Because if it were small, white and smooth it would be an aspirin!"

And so I can finally throw these papers away (key indicator that I am not a life is so confusing!), here are all of the quotations from Crazy Julie, written on pages from my college planner in 2003, from her presentation on job interviews.

"Barbers! These guys don't go barbers! They have someone...just cut their hair."

"You say to me 'Julie, you are gonna be a BB in two seconds.'"

"So you're standing there, looking at me glassy-eyed, saying nothing...who's the winner? No one! You are the loser!"

"PowerPoint is easier, right? Yes, I think so too. I like overheads."

"See this paper? It records names AND companies AND family AND cell phone. If you can find an better way to keep track of that with a computer, you let me know!"

"Stand out, or else you look like...Cheerios. And not even the honey nut kind."

"These keys are a comp-u-lation of other keys."

"So you're in a room with a it a big room?"

"If she didn't come...oh man. OH MAN!"

"He kissed people...but it was so much easier when I talked to him...I didn't feel like he was going to kiss me."

"They bug you and all you want to do is grab their jaw and squeeeeze..."

"Know why you're not like Westpoint here? You don't fight in wars. Here, you all fly around like...rolling BBs...and you forget your friends."

"OK, so picture me as an accountant. I'm an accountant...I have very few personal skills."

"I don't knooooow if I have a job because I don't knoooow if you speak English. Yikes!"

So I'm pretty sure some of those were taken out of context, but really, even in context...what the hell? That was a weird day. All of the BB references alone made it weird.

And this lady used to be in charge of the Business Center. That thought just made me smile.

Monday, January 4, 2010

getting dressed without double checking

So I laid in bed this morning, thinking about what I was going ot wear (if I don't have it pre-thought, it turns into a really long, horrible process that leaves me pissed and my room a mess) and mentally imagined a new combo of clothes. I got up, put that isht on, then left for work...

...without double checking in the mirror that it actually looked like I wanted it to.

In walking back into my office today, I saw a reflection of myself in the glass and my first and only thought was:

"What the...did I think I was trying out for High School Musical 4 today?"

Wwwhhhyyyy do I forget how old I am sometimes??? Late-20-year olds cannot wear leggings and really high heels and skirts from Urban Outfitters and tank tops that are too low cut for work and baggy sweaters. Seriously, self?

The best horoscope I've ever gotten.

As a Leo, I literally cannot wait to see how 010 pans out.

Mindy called it my Whore-o-score.

I hope yours is just as amazing!!

What's in the stars for 2010? :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Horoscopes

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

You'll be restless, wanting to explore and experience all that you can physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Your passion and desires will not be denied. You will attract partners of all kinds who will help you find your way and reach your objective. Constant change will inspire you to think big and leave an imprint that will motivate others.

Love: Open your heart and feel the love. You will be desirable and in demand.

Money: Mix and match the old with the new, and you will turn a profit.

Health: Living right and by the rules will lead to emotional and physical strength.

Best months of the year: March, June, August and November.

What you should strive for: The big ticket, the top of the pile, the first on the block.

Fashion: Make a statement that oozes with success but isn't pompous.

Your lucky numbers: 5, 11, 16, 24, 33, 37, 41.