Posts Tagged ‘Buckeyes’

Yesterday I had an appointment on Ohio State’s campus. This was my first time back on campus since I’d come back from Germany, so I decided to leave the house early and hang around on campus for a few hours before my appointment. Heck, college was one of the best times of my life (hopefully there will be many more to come), and I wanted to revisit the places and people that made that all possible.

You know the first thing that hit me when I got to campus? How much construction can make getting from point A to point B a bloody maze. Not kidding, I’d actually forgot that. I got off the bus near the north residential district of campus, and I thought it would be a quick matter of walking down the street. Little did I would have to take about three different detours due to all the construction going on in that district. And all to get to my old workplace!

The second thing I forgot was walking around campus in below-freezing weather. You’d think I’d remember that–I was a student for four years and I’ve lived in Ohio for most of my life–but no, I was still shocked by how freaking cold I was and I really hated myself for forgetting my scarf. The cold is something you can taste, a dry taste that takes the air out of your lungs and skins your throat raw. Even a few minutes is bad enough that once you get inside, you need a few minutes of doing absolutely nothing so as to regain your body warmth without losing any more energy.

But besides a horrible maze of buildings and cold that feels like it’s ripping off your skin, being back on campus was a great experience. I got to see my old coworkers and had about the same conversation twenty times, telling people about Germany and what was going on in my life. Everyone at work agreed that the Student Financial Aid office was quieter without me, and that they missed my personality.

After that I visited a few of my old professors (it was the first day of classes at OSU, so nearly all the teachers I wanted to see were around). It was great running into them again. In one case I almost literally ran into a professor: on the way to see him, I came out of the stairwell, turn the corner, and nearly walk into him as he’s going to the bathroom. He was like, “Whoa!” and then he said, “Take a seat in my office, I’ll be right there.” We had a nice conversation after he got back.

Another professor I got to see was the teacher who taught two of my classes, including my science fiction literature class (yes, I took that and a History of Witchcraft course. Be jealous of me!). I gave her a book of early twentieth century sci-fi stories I picked up in Germany as a gift, figuring she’d get way more out of it than I did even if she was retiring at the end of the semester. She also told me an interesting story: during the previous semester, she was teaching about the “7 Beauties of Science Fiction”, and how there is a similar list for fantasy. Apparently one student did a Google search online about this, and found “an author who did posts on the beauties of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. And his name’s Rami Ungar.” My teacher was like, “I know him!” So like a ghost, I still haunt the school.

Walking on campus was an interesting experience, to say the least. While I’d been a student, I’d felt like a member of a giant mass of something big. And now, I’m an alumnus. Strangely, I felt a little weird walking among all those students. I was one of them, but I wasn’t. It was like being a big kid on a playground filled with younger children: you used to be part of that crowd, but now it’s a little weird, though I was probably the only one who saw it that way. I kept expecting someone to come up and say to me, “You’re no longer one of us.” It definitely was a new experience for me, but I think by the end of things I got a little used to it.

After that, lunch, and my appointment, I went to visit OSU Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus that I’d frequented at least once a week nearly every week for my undergraduate career, and it had barely changed since I left. Sure, there were a few new things here and there, but on the whole most of it stayed the same. Hillel’s like that, in a weird way: no matter the changing faces, it kind of stays static, as if to let people know that no matter how much time flies, OSU Hillel’s there for them.

Well, it certainly was a wonderful and interesting day for me. A real trip down memory lane, and I was glad to come back. It made me realize how much I missed OSU, not unlike how I miss Germany. And the good thing is, despite my weird feelings of being “too big” for campus, I felt like I belonged there, like this was still a home for me. I guess once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye, right? Like the blogging community or your circle of fellow authors, you know that even after a long absence you’ll be accepted back and given all the friendship and help you could possibly need. And I absolutely love that about Ohio State and its people.

And I’ll be back on campus tomorrow for another appointment. Given my impressions from yesterday, I’m likely to have just as good a time as yesterday. Until then, I’ve got things to do, so I’ll wrap it up here. Have a good day, my Followers of Fear.

Oh, and there’s only a few days left for the 2016 New Year’s Sale. You have till Thursday to get to Amazon, Createspace, or Smashwords to get a copy of any of my books at a great price. Trust me, this is not an opportunity you’ll want to miss.

It’s Thanksgiving in America today, when you’re supposed to be thankful for what you have in your life. Well, you should be thankful for all that year round, but especially today, because…the government made this a national holiday with that sort of connotation.

Well, in the holiday spirit, I’m going to write about all the things I’m thankful for in my life. There are quite a few, but I think I can get keep the list down to the most important ones.

My friends and family.

Whether I met them online, through school or work, or if I’m just related to them by blood or marriage, I love my friends and family. They keep me strong and help my mood stay up. Yeah, sometimes we have our disagreements. My sisters and I can get very nasty towards each other if we spend way too much time together. But it’s the people in my life that keep me less insane and are why I get up each morning. Love you guys. I’m so thankful you’re in my life.

My stories and those reading them.

Understandably, my stories are very important to me. They’re almost like my children. I’ve put so much work into them over the many years, and I always feel so happy when I get to a new stage in their writing process or when they get published. I’m so thankful that I’m able to write these wonderful stories and to work on them. It’s my passion, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

I’m also thankful for my readers. Whether you’re on my blog or checking out my books, you people are important to me. Every writer is a bit of a narcissist (why do you think we’re so desperate to get our work read by others?), so you guys tuning in every time I publish a post or ordering a book off Amazon just bring the biggest smile to my face. Thanks for coming at all and coming back again and again. It means so much to me.

The experiences I’ve had.

I’ve been to Germany twice. I’ve also been to England, France, and Israel in my time. I graduated from a good school with a great sports program (Go Bucks!) and I got to study fields I love. I’ve had great work experiences, with Ohio State, the building I lived in for two years, and the US Army. There’s a good likelihood that I might get that with my next job, once I find it. I have a blog with hundreds of followers and it’s growing, slowly but steadily. And of course, I’ve published a few books and I’ll hopefully publish a few more in the coming year.

There are also a bunch of bad experiences that I’d rather not remember, but they helped me grow as a person, so I’ll acknowledge them too.

To say the least, I’ve had the pleasure to see and do a ton in my short life, and I probably will get to do much more in the future. I’m thankful for my experiences, good and bad (though I could always use less of the bad). They bring quite a bit of spice to my life.

How good I’ve had it.

There are a lot of people less fortunate than me. I’ve never been persecuted because of the color of my skin, what country or region I’m from, or my religion. No one tells me what I should do with my reproductive organs like they know better than me when they don’t. I’ve never lived in a violent neighborhood or feared for my life just by walking out the door. I went to college and I’ve been able to earn a living except for short periods here and there. And there’s a growing amount of people in the US who don’t think I’m sick in the head, unholy, or after their children just because of my sexuality. And I’ve had a bunch of people in my life supporting me and showing me right from wrong and offering me their advice when I need it. I’ve had it good.

And there are people out there who cannot say the same thing as me. Plenty of people the world over suffer because of their race, their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, their ethnicity. They’ve been hungry, or lived in war-torn areas. They’ve experienced violence in their own homes. Some, through genetics or accident, live life without the full use of their bodies or minds.

I’m aware of how privileged my life has been, and how so many people struggle through life because of some form of unfairness or another. That puts me in the unique position to try and help them. Whether it’s raising money for charity, advocating for a certain change, attending meetings, writing blog posts, or simply weaving an issue into a story, I’m making a difference. Perhaps it’s pretty small, but it’s better than nothing, right? And just because it’s easier to let other people handle the problems of the world, doesn’t mean I should.

So I’m thankful that I’ve had a good life. And I’m thankful that I know it, and that I’m in the position to make a difference. Because if I don’t, then I’m basically contributing to the decline of the world and of humanity. And I don’t want that to happen.

 

I’m not exactly sure who I’m supposed to be thanking on this day (God? The Founding Fathers? Whichever President who made this holiday a thing? It’s never really discussed), but I’m thankful. I can’t take for granted anything in my life, because it could be taken away at a moment’s notice. You never know what will be thrown at you. And here today, I’m making sure people know what I’m thankful for and that I don’t forget it.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll see you all tomorrow. It’ll be Friday, and you know what that means. Goodnight, my Followers of Fear.

What are you thankful for in your life?

Today is my last day in Germany. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for four months; it feels more like I’ve been here for ages. The day I arrived, all the way back in July, feels like it happened years and years ago. Heading home to Columbus feels almost a little weird. Almost like I’m heading to a place that only exists in my memories. I know that sounds weird, but after being away from home for longer than I’ve ever been before (the record before this was five weeks in Israel back in high school), that’s what it feels like.

I am looking forward to coming home to Columbus.* It’s where my family is, and where I’ve spent a majority of my life. It’s familiar, it’s got a lot of people I know. And our football team is undefeated this season, which is always something to be proud of. Go Buckeyes!

Still, I will miss being here in Germany. I’ve become so used to this nation, it’s become something like a really nice foster home for me. Every day there was something new to learn or see, and I got to go to all these wonderful places while I was here. Germany is filled with such history, and I was lucky to be able to explore that history in so many ways, from traveling to the many WWII-related sites in Munich to a Roman wall in Wiesbaden and everything in-between. I even got to see a castle, something no trip Europe is complete without. No matter what the cost, it was worth going out to see all these things.

The Roman Wall. I'm going to miss seeing stuff like this.

The Roman Wall. I’m going to miss seeing stuff like this.

And the people here are very awesome as well: more than once when I got turned around trying to get somewhere, I was able to find someone who was able to point me in the right direction. Even at the grocery store, people were more courteous than I could imagine: yesterday a woman at the grocery store saw I had just the one item (a bottle of wine for my dad and his wife), and she let me go right in front of her. I usually don’t get that even in the States, so I was very grateful for her kindness. When I heard reports about how Germany was the only European country willingly accepting refugees while other countries closed their borders, I wasn’t at all surprised, because that’s just the sort of country Germany is, a kind and accepting place where you can feel as welcome as you might in your own home.

Plus I got to watch Doctor Who several hours before my Whovian comrades in the Western Hemisphere, seeing as the show airs in Europe before it does over there. That was nice. I will miss that.

But yeah, I will miss Germany. My time here was well-spent and I learned and experienced so much, and one day I would like to return, see old friends and do some more exploring of the country if possible. If I could do that, I’d be one very happy horror novelist.

Here's looking at you, Germany.

Here’s looking at you, Germany.

So thank you Germany, for being my home away from home. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve been here (even the more stressful minutes) and I can’t thank you enough for all you, your people, and the other guests who call your lands home have done for me. It has truly been a wonderful experience getting to know you firsthand. So auf wiedersehen, and I hope we can one day meet again.

Until that day comes though, you will be alive in my thoughts, my memories, and in my stories (horrifying as those are).

*And apparently Columbus is preparing for me to come home as well. Already the National Guard has been called out, people have been praying for salvation like mad. There’s even been strange activity reported amongst animals, like a bridge full of spiders (not kidding, it made the local news). I guess they know I plan on jumpstarting the Apocalypse, huh?

It’s as close to a halfway point as we’re going to get. Normally semesters start on Wednesdays, giving the semester sixteen weeks, plus a week or week and a half for exams. For some reason this semester it started on a Monday, so it’s fifteen this semester, plus exams. We’re halfway through the seventh week of class, so I say time to update people on how my last semester is going.

And going it is, rather fast. I’m having trouble believing it’s the last week of February. I’m also having trouble believing how cold the weather is, but I guess that’s part of the deal when you live in Ohio. Anyway, school is going well. If you don’t know, I have three classes this semester. Business and Professional Writing is taught by one of my favorite teachers, so you know I’m enjoying myself. I’m also learning a lot that I can apply to my professional life, like some tips for job searches and resumes. I’ve already applied some of it by making slight modifications to my resume, and I keep modifying it depending on where I’m applying for a job. Whether or not those modifications are helping, I’ll write an article on that later this week if I get the chance.

History of Magic and Witchcraft in Europe is, as you can probably imagine, full of interesting stuff to learn. It’s not like reading demonologies or the court records of particular witch hunts. It’s more like learning how certain beliefs evolved, how people formed their views on witchcraft and how it came to be demonized. Right now we’re diving into the Malleus Maleficarum, the definitive work on witch-hunting of the Middle Ages. Trust me, it’s heavy stuff. And believe me, I’m getting plenty of inspiration for my own writing, as well as plenty of opportunities to go “Nyah ha ha ha!” like a witch.

History of Magic and Witchcraft in Medieval Europe. If you pass, you get a pointed black hat (I wish).

Restoration and 18th-Century Literature is also pretty interesting. The class is mostly focused on depictions of masculinity in plays and poetry of the era. It’s pretty raunchy stuff (believe it or not, we even read a poem about a living sex toy called Signor Dildo. Hilarious stuff!) and a lot of what we’re reading is pretty comedic. We even read a play I read my first year at Ohio State. It was quite the flashback. Sadly though, the teacher of this class has come down with a sudden illness and has had to cancel class a couple of times because of it. He’s currently rearranging the syllabus due to the missed days and he may have to give up some teaching duties, so I’m hoping and praying he gets better soon. He’s a good guy and I enjoy the subject matter, so I hope he doesn’t have to take off too much time for his health.

And finally, my thesis is coming along great. I’ve been working on the second draft of Rose, and I got two chapters done last night.  I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I should be ready for my thesis defense in April. I’m meeting with Manny and Paul tomorrow after work to talk about progress in our theses and maybe our defenses, so I guess I’ll have something to write about after that.

Am I forgetting anything else? Well, I guess I can say that I’m on track for graduation in about ten and a half weeks. Still a few things to knock off my checklist, but I’ll get them done before too long. Also, work and home life are going well. I know I’m forgetting something…not the job search, I’m writing about that later this week…oh yeah, now I remember:

After the semester started last month, the Ohio State Buckeyes took on the Oregon Ducks in the National Championship and defeated them 42-20! This is something I’ve been hoping would happen since I started at Ohio State and I’m delighted and proud to say that it happened in my final year. I’m going to have to get a commemorative T-shirt or sweatshirt one of these days. GO BUCKS!

Well, that’s all for now. Lots of editing and other stuff to do. Have a good evening, my Followers of Fear, and stay warm if you’re like me and you’re stuck in a place with lots of snow and chill.