Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Overcoming the negative voices

One more thing about goal setting: Make sure your goals are specific. Instead of saying that you want to lose weight, put an exact amount on it. Instead of saying you want to be rich, put an exact amount on it. Instead of saying you want to help humanity or the world, put a specific thing that you will accomplish. This will give you a measurable way to determine progress. It also helps to put a definite time for the goal’s accomplishment.

As we work on improving our lives, we must be cautious about the negative voices that tell us we can’t do it. These voices can be external to us, coming from friends or family, or they could be internal voices, our internal doubts and fears plaguing us. These voices are insidious, and can sabotage our best efforts towards growth and progress. Whether external or internal, we must develop ways to counter those negative voices. The external voices of people around us will have to be regulated -- we require a network of understanding friends and family who are giving us positive and encouraging support as we work towards our goals. The internal voices are trickier. As we attempt to improve our lives, unconscious resistances may get stirred up. We will need to have some way to process them, if we do not wish for them to derail our efforts. Journaling, meditation, therapy, etc., some form of emotional processing that we can use to overcome those negative voices is absolutely essential in our efforts to work towards our goals.


Dave Roel.
You are better than you’re allowing yourself to be.
- Scott Sonnon

Monday, October 28, 2013

Visualize your goals

Imagine the endpoint of your goals. Visualize it. Feel it, hear it, sense it with all your senses. Get it to the point where it is very real for you. If you want a good career, or degree, visualize it. If you want to be more fit, visualize yourself wearing the clothes you would like, doing the activities you want, etc. If you want a good relationship, visualize yourself doing the activities you would want with your partner. Get emotionally connected to these visions.

Now that you have the endpoint in sight, let’s say it’s set for five years from now, what would you be doing when you’re half way there? You’re probably deep into the project, doing the research, applying yourself, etc. Where would you be on these goals in one year? In six months? In one month? In one week? What would you need to do today and tomorrow to get yourself 1% closer to your ultimate goals?

You’ll make adjustments as you go along, of course — that’s just expected. You’ll inevitably have to do some revising of your plans. The external world and your own internal world will occasionally throw some obstacles in your way. But you do what you need to do to make those adjustments, and continue. The goal is like a beacon — you’re zeroing in on it, even if you go off course from time to time.

Visualizing the accomplishment of your goals helps create a positive emotional attachment to them, which helps to overcome the negative voices in us that come up. More about this next time.


Dave Roel.
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
- Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Only a little less than 2 months to go...

          AND WE ARE DONE with the semester! I can't believe it's happened so fast. It's extra strange for me as a first year, because just earlier this year I wasn't halfway done with my classes til December. Midterms weren't even until after winter break, and October still counted as early in the school year. Here, we're hitting the halfway mark or already past it. I haven't been posting as regularly because of midterms...I should have accounted for them.
          I really should have accounted for the transition from high school to college, because as a high schooler, we took 7 classes every day no big deal so I thought 5 would be so easy! Man I was wrong. I ended up withdrawing from a class and now I only have 4. )': Well as Caitlin put it, better a W than a D, right? I'm actually really bummed about this decision because I dropped my favorite class, English 211. I just could not keep up with two literature classes so I decided to keep English 102. The workload in 211 was heavier and too fast-paced for me and it was taking time away from studying for the classes that I actually could keep up with. On top of that, my 211 was a night class that ended at 10, and I had a morning class at 7 the next morning, so it was a little....hectic.
         Not academically, something I enjoy here at FC is the Stinger's Cafe. Although small, they really do provide a great variety and I like to find shelter there early in the mornings in between classes. Since it's about 8 AM, there are only 5-10 people there sipping their coffees and it's just really nice. Something else I got really excited about on campus was the book sale in front of the library they had a couple weeks back. I found a great hardcover novel for $6 and it looked brand new so I was really really excited about that. I can't wait to see what else the rest of the semester has in store for me!

Joy ☼

Friday, October 25, 2013


Everybody always says things like this, but I genuinely can't believe it's already mid-semester. The past few months have gone by so quickly.

This semester hasn't at all been what I expected, both academically and in terms of... other things. I don't necessarily mean this in a negative sense-- I didn't expect to be doing as well as I am in a math class (stats), or that I'd enjoy my speech class as much as I do. I really doubted that I would get all the classes I needed, or that I would be able to transfer to a UC or CSU next year, but I was totally able to accomplish both. And I actually didn't expect to make many friends, especially since I commute from Long Beach, but FC has exceeded my expectations in that regard as well.

That said, it's been a bit of an adjustment coming to a community college from a UC, particularly since I was on the quarter system. I'd gotten used to the relative anonymity of big lecture halls, professors who aren't necessarily invested in their students' progress, short courses and sudden exams-- which I actually prefer, to a degree, but I feel a lot more comfortable with the semester system than the quarter system.

My grades are also much better than they were-- I made a strong finish in my 8-week online anthro class, math is strangely making sense, and I really appreciate the option of having classes on a weekly rather than almost-daily basis, as it gives me a lot more time to devote to that specific class. Nothing has gone horribly wrong, other than withdrawing from one of my courses. It's amazing what a change of environment can do.

Stay classy,


The semester so far

It’s been a hectic semester so far. Chemistry takes a lot of studying. But it’s alright, as long as you can remember that it’s fun.

It’s certainly been great getting familiar with the campus again. The buildings are elegantly designed. The library and the computer labs are wonderful resources, and I’ve been pleased I’ve been able to make use of them.

People are friendly, which is nice. I’ve been able to strike up conversations with people in the library, or just randomly. People compliment me on my shirts. And classes are full of people who are friendly and helpful. There’s always been a vibe of camaraderie and bonhomie at this school, and it’s always made attending Fullerton College a pleasure.

Time management is always an issue. There’s only so much time in the day, and the week, and certain items have to take priority. It’s always a delicate balancing act, but there’s no use in complaining -- you have to do what has to be done, and that’s all there is to it.

Oddly, some of the best moments for me thus far this semester have happened off campus. There is a regular gathering of students that happens at various local restaurants, and I’ve had some terrific encounters there, meeting many interesting people. These conversations will be remembered when I think back on this semester.

Overall, this has been a fun semester. The large Ragtime-themed event was a lot of fun. The regular book sale is always a welcome sight, although I didn’t find anything I needed. I’m enjoying the semester, and there’s still another half to go.

Here’s a cartoon!

METRO from Jacob Wyatt on Vimeo.


Dave Roel.
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
- Coco Chanel

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cycling: Benefits and Pitfalls

I ride my bicycle everyday. I've always loved riding a bike as soon as my dad took the training wheels off around age 5. I used to ride around my neighborhood for hours and just have a great time. It wasn't until about age 13 that I started biking everywhere and really getting into it. As I grew older I realized that the bicycle isn't just for fun, but for practical use as well. I bike to  and from school everyday and it is great. 

There is some great things about the bicycle. First of all it's a great workout and keeps your legs moving constantly. I also love my bike because I can lock it up pretty much anywhere around school. When you have a car you need to pay for parking, gas, maintenance, and you need to spend the time and effort washing them. With a bike all you need is your two legs, a couple of tools and a lock. It's also about 1/10th the price of a car. When you consider the distance from my school it's actually faster than driving a car there. On the way to school there is many stoplights and the streets are very busy. Luckily on a bike you can quickly maneuvere through intersections and side streets without having to worry about red lights and stop signs. 

Then again there is some things that aren't too great. When riding on the sidewalk there can be areas where tree roots have completely busted through the concrete or there is no ramp from the curb to the street. The main thing that bothers me about bicycles is people not being respectful. Sometimes I'm behind a person walking practically screaming at them saying things like "on your left" or "excuse me" and "coming up behind you". I don't know if the majority of people in Fullerton have a severe hearing problem or they are just oblivious to the world around them, but it drives me insane. Another downside to biking is having to deal with bad drivers. You'll find bad drivers anywhere you go, but bad drivers are especially dangerous with bicycles. There has been times when I'm crossing the street and people almost drive right into me or straight through me. It's not a visibility issue either. I am always letting people know that I'm crossing the street or passing by and I still can't seem to avoid the issue of almost getting run over.

Biking is so good for you. It's a fun way to stay in shape, it's energy efficient, cost efficient and easily "parked". All over Europe (especially in Scandanavia) people are riding their bikes. I don't see why more people don't. You always hear people complaining about their car like "it always has problems" or "it's slowly falling apart". There is an easy solution to that and it's called a bicycle. I want to live in a world where one day everybody rides their bicycle. And it won't be too long until we run out of fossil fuel.

Stay cool, stay informed.

Setting Goals

Now that we've identified our important areas to pay attention to, we need to set specific goals. They will, of course, be unique to you, but they should cover our three basic areas of interest. A broad outline:

1) A career that makes you happy, and will support you comfortably.

2) A commitment to a healthy intimate relationship with another healthy adult.

3) A physical discipline for daily practice.

You can get specific about those to suit yourself, of course.

Once you've got them shaped up to your liking, write them down, and tape them up near your sleeping area. Ideally, the list would be the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see when falling asleep. Read them aloud, using your voice, when you wake up and right before you go to sleep. Doing this programs your subconscious mind towards these goals, giving you an unconscious drive towards them.

Try not to get frustrated at the slow pace of progress. There is no way to accomplish our dreams overnight. Slow, steady effort will eventually prevail. Commit to putting in your effort to accomplish 1% of your goals, in each area, per week. Just enough so that you can say you are 1% further along in your career path, 1% better at being an ideal life partner, 1% stronger and more fit this week than you were last week. And commit to another 1% next week, and the next. At the rate of 1% per week, we can accomplish greatness.


Dave Roel.
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.
- Robert M. Pirsig

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Puppy In Need of a Home!

Meet Chloe, this little (or not so little) baby that needs a home: 
Her name is Chloe! She is a pitbull/boxer mix and is currently at a temporary home waiting for her new parents (that could be you!) to adopt her.
Now I know that you could be thinking that pitbulls are aggressive, hard to control, and wild. Contrary to popular belief, pitbulls are trained to be aggressive, not born. They have been pitted against each other and cast as undomestic canines, but that's actually against their nature. They're loving and sweet, and Chloe is no exception. And boxer is just a complete misnomer. Did you know that boxers used to be known as "America's Favorite"?!
Chloe was found abandoned by the street when a woman brought her into the animal hospital my friend works at, which is how I know she needs a home. Yes, the lady who found her would love to take her home except she already has ELEVEN dogs. She lives by a place where dogs are often abandoned, and after repeatedly rescuing them, she unfortunately has absolutely no room left for a twelfth dog.

Here's all you need to know:
  • She's 8 months old, so still kinda young
  • She'll definitely still grow, but not by much more
  • ALL HER SHOTS ARE TAKEN CARE OF, & she's spayed.
  • There aren't too many white pitbull/boxers out there so okay SPECIAL DOG
  • She's great with kids and other dogs--the other 11 dogs had no problem with her, and they all range from 5 pounds to 80, so that's a huge variety of canine!
  • She adores swimming and water
  • She's very active yet not high-maintenanced
  • She's extremely sweet! Have some proof:

So I know we're just all a bunch of poor college kids, but you can adopt her FOR FREEEE ! All she needs is someone to love on her, shelter her, and feed her. The only real thing you'll probably have to pay for is dog food.

So if you ever get lonely in your apartment or house...
Or even if you're just considering it, leave a comment with your number/email below if you're interested so I can give you more details to adopt Chloe!
Joy ☼

Friday, October 18, 2013

Some random reviews

So how about some pop culture reviews.

TV. Breaking Bad. Entertaining. Good music. The lesson: getting involved in crime is always a bad idea.

Agents of Shield. Honestly, I'm finding it a little weak. Seems kind of cheap looking. Not really that thrilling. The characters aren't really all that compelling. Sure, it's really early, and I'm willing to give it a chance to settle into its groove. But it seems a bit bland.

Comics. Still enjoying Hawkeye. The current Infinity event is fairly decent cosmic hoo ha, as long as you don't think about it too much. Strangely, I feel that Astro City has taken a bit of a jump in writing quality lately, which surprises me; I've never been overly impressed with Busiek's writing.

I'm actually kind of enjoying what Mark Waid is doing with Daredevil. He's done what he should do, write it the way he wants, without being indebted to the past. He doesn't want to imitate the past, mean streets, gangland crime stories; he's set the thing solidly in the Marvel universe, and writing it as a super-hero book, which I think is a good decision. He's certainly paid more attention to Daredevil's powers than anyone has in a long time, and the story is compelling and solidly crafted. The visuals are pretty inventive, too, especially with the depictions of Daredevil’s radar sense. A good read.

I'm also enjoying Waid's Indestructible Hulk, Slott's Superior Spider-Man, and Aaron's Thor. Not really enjoying Bendis's X-Men, or really any X-books these days, or Forever Evil, or really much of anything DC these days. X-books and DC are really fairly dismal these days.

Now a cartoon!

Bendito Machine IV - Fuel the Machines from Zumbakamera on Vimeo.


Dave Roel.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
- Thoreau

Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Novels Not to Go Unnoticed

1. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac - When it comes to the Beat Generation it doesn't get better than this. For those of you unfamiliar with the beat generation it refers to a group of post WWII writers. Other Writers included in this were William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski. The Dharma Bums is all loosely based on Kerouac's introduction to Buddhism. The novel follows Ray Smith (based on Kerouac) and his adventures with Japhy Ryder (based on Kerouac's friend Gary Snyder). In the book there are many references to Kerouac's friend and colleagues. In the book the most famous scene is when Ray, Japhy and Henry Morley (another one of Kerouac's friends) are climbing Matterhorn peak in California. This type of hiking was what made Kerouac serve as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak.

2.Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami - This is by far the weirdest book on the list. Written by Japan's most influential and controversial writer the book is split into two narratives. The first one is about a split-brained data processor, a mad scientist, and his undemured granddaughter that must stop the end of the world from subterranean monsters. If this is not weird enough for you, don't worry because there is definitely enough to go around. The next narrative is about a man that moves into a town where he is forced to be cut off from his shadow. In the meantime he works at a library reading the dreams of dead unicorns by tracing his fingers across their skulls.

3. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - Ernest Hemingway, a writer from the times of disillusionment post WWI, also known as the "lost generation is considered the most popular writer of his time. The Sun Also Rises takes place mostly in Pamplona, Spain during the running of the bulls. The novel is based on Hemingway's trip to Spain in 1925. Hemingway is known for his spare writing-style and his short-clipped dialogue. Some of the themes explored in the book are love, death, rebirth and the nature of masculinity.

4. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce - This semi-autobiographical novel,  follows Stephen Dedalus, the alter-ego of Joyce. The book was rated number 3 in the Modern Library's list of greatest English-language novels of the 20th century. This book follows the early life of Stephen Dedalus and his rebellious behavior towards the traditional Catholic way that he was raised. The book follows his philosophical awakening and his transformation into an artist. When published the novel received global recognition and was said to influence writers all over the world.

5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin- This book is the first installment of the series " A Song of Ice and Fire". I believe this series will be more popular and renowned than J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. There is a popular HBO television show based on the series. I advise that you do not watch the show, but read the books because there is so much history and background that goes into the book that it cannot be conveyed in the show. The book follows and endless power struggle between seven kingdoms. I must admit that I am not normally a fantasy reader, but this book is fantasy for people that don't normally read fantasy. As of now there is only five books, but it said there will be seven total. Before you start this series just know that it is a commitment because you will get hooked and read all five of them consecutively. No installment is under 500 pages and the third and fifth reach up to about a thousand pages.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TV Shows vs. Movies

          I was talking to one of my friends the other day about a TV show, and he started arguing with me that it would have been better if it had become a movie trilogy instead of a television show.
          Now I disagree. I remember I used to be a crazy movie person, I'd have a "to-watch" list I used to search up movies online and find them on youtube and watch them in you guys remember that? Or was I the only one? They used to upload them in parts of 10 and I'd pre-load them all and think, "the internet is so cool, I can find a WHOLE movie online!" Okay I was like 12. I was fascinated.
          I hadn't yet discovered TV shows yet though, so I just kept re-watching the same movies. But then, one day my mom decided to get cable--this was years ago, when people actually watched TV and almost everyone had cable--for the first time in my whole life. Well she ended up canceling it after 3 weeks because I wouldn't get off the couch. But in those three weeks, I caught a random episode of the first television show I had ever seen that wasn't on Disney Channel. It really intrigued me, and I decided to look it up on Wikipedia and then I looked it up online and started over from the beginning. And then it happened.
          One show lead to another, and another, and now I'm finally here knee-deep in my shows and so happy it's currently TV show seasons. All my favorites have finally come back from hiatus after an incredibly long summer of waiting and that is something you cannot get from a movie. 
         Man, I almost completely stopped watching movies afterwards. I only go to the theater like, once a year now. Movies are great. But wow they're short. After watching like, 9 seasons worth of Grey's Anatomy and to see a story stretch out for nine years and then watching Pitch Perfect and see it end in less than two hours, it's just...really different. With TV shows, you become extremely attached to the character and unless we're comparing a show to Harry Potter--which I bet would have made an extremely awesome show--you get to see the characters grow from little adolescents to people who get their life together and, I don't know, it just feels so much more real! 
          Character growth is one of my favorite things. To me, it is so amazing to see the writer twist a character into somebody I cannot stand for two seasons into a hero or a heroine by the end. I'm sure you can get that from a movie too but it's a lot cooler when you've hated them for two years only to realize they're not that bad than if you hate a character for thirty minutes because then what kind of a plot is that.
          There is so much potential in a movie. But because of the time limit, there's only so much they can do. Some storylines are definitely better off short and to the point, but for the ones that are hurried, can't you imagine if your favorite movie was stretched out into seasons, and you got to see your favorite character every Wednesday night on your screen do different things?! Yeah, that's something you don't get from movies.

Joy ☼

For those who want to see Ender's Game:


I mean, I love Ender's Game (the book-- if that was unclear). I think it's fantastically written and has some important messages and social commentary. I'm also fairly certain it influenced Mass Effect, which is one of my favorite video game series. And even for those who haven't read the book, the movie probably seems pretty appealing-- powerful child soldiers, space wars, aliens. But: Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender's Game, is a gigantic homophobe.

I don't mean the subtle, garden variety "oh, you know, I'm fine with gays, just don't, like, hit on me" kind of homophobe, either. Nor is he the laughable kind, like the Westboro Baptist Church has become. He literally said that the legalization of same sex marriage "marks the end of democracy in America" among other really nasty, bigoted things. And he's part of the National Organization for Marriage. And he-- probably emptily-- threatened to go up against the government should same sex marriage be passed at a national level.

Which, you know, people are entitled to their own opinions and all, but he puts money into anti-LGBT organizations that make life harder for people who are already at a distinct societal disadvantage. And seeing Ender's Game in theaters would be giving him money, which, symbolically speaking, is giving him support and is, literally speaking, giving him the means to donate MORE money to bigoted organizations. Which is something that I definitely don't want, the LGBT community doesn't want, and is something I'm sure at least a few other people would like to avoid.

So what I propose is a boycott. If you want to see Ender's Game, I suggest doing so through means that won't give any profits to Orson Scott Card. I don't necessarily mean seeing it illegally, but I'm not saying that's out of the question either, depending on your morals. If you want to read Ender's Game, which I suggest over seeing the movie out of personal taste (the movie trailer didn't exactly leave me impressed, but that's just me), try borrowing it from a friend or through a library, or getting it at a secondhand bookstore.

And to be clear, I suggest this mainly because he donates money to anti-LGBT organizations. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but opinions don't exist in a vacuum-- opinions that can cause harm to others tend to do just that at some point, on some level. Orson Scott Card just happens to do this on a particularly big level.

Stay classy,


Kinds of people 1

“Listen carefully,” he said. “This is important.”

“Okay,” I said.

“In this world, you’re going to have to deal with four kinds of people. If you learn to recognize them, and know how to manage them, life will be easier for you.”

“Okay,” I repeated, intrigued.

“First, let me make sure you understand that these four aren’t all the kinds of people there are. There are others that don’t fall in these categories. The categories I’m going to tell you about don’t include children, invalids, the extremely old, those with extreme mental or physical ailments, the homeless, etc. Those are people out there, too, but I’m not talking about them. I’m also largely talking about people in the contemporary industrialized western culture. There are certainly people in non-western cultures, indigenous peoples, tribal people who live and think in very different ways from us in the industrialized west. They are out there, too, of course, but for the most part, we in the west don’t tend to run into them a whole lot. I’m talking about the types of people that you will largely have to deal with in your life. You understand?”

“Okay,” I said. “I got it.”

“So,” he said, “there’s four types of people you’ll run into. First, there’s people who are only out for themselves. They’ll do anything for themselves, and nothing for you. They don’t care about you. What matters to them is that they win. And they’ll run over you if you get in their way. There’s always going to be people like that, and they’ll be present more often than you realize. You can find them on the streets, on the sports field, or in the boardroom. Don’t think you can get them on your side, or that you can change them. All you can do is learn to recognize them, and do what you can to protect yourself.”

“I actually know plenty of people like that,” I said.

“The next type,” he said, “is the people who are committed to following the rules. It doesn’t matter what the rules are, it just matters that they are followed. It could be religious rules, or it could be legal rules, or it could be social rules. There are all sorts of different sets of rules out there, and for each one, you can find these types of people obeying them. They are true believers, unwavering in their devotion to their set of rules. They will not alter their commitment to what they know as the one true path. Anyone who is not on board with their belief is, to them, a heretic who must be corrected. There is nothing you can do to reason with them, or get them to alter their view in any way. All you can do is learn to work with them, in their unvarying, unyielding beliefs.”

“Huh. I know many people exactly like this, too,” I said, impressed with what he was spinning for me.

“Then,” he said, “there are the people who believe in progress and improvement and achievement. These people see the story of mankind as an upward trajectory, continually improving, getting better. They believe in scientific progress, that man has applied logic and reason to the world and has improved the lot of humanity, and will continue to do so. They will tell you that science and technology are boons to humanity, economic growth is always possible, and that personal achievement and improvement are desirable goals.”

“Hm,” I said, thinking about it. “I do know many people like this, too.”

“And,” he continued, “there are people who are concerned about the health and stability of the systems of the world. From these people we have environmentalism, civil rights, social justice, women’s rights, psychology, animal rights, postmodernism, the new consciousness movements, etc. They are concerned about the health of the systems, and they are putting their efforts toward correcting injustices and practices that cause harm.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I do know people like that, too.”

“These are, for the most part, the people who are out there. It’s in your interests to learn how to recognize them, and how to deal with them when you come across them. A lot of problems come up when we’re trying to get someone to change, or be a different way from what they are. Your life will be a lot easier once you give that up, and work with people as they are.”


Dave Roel.
The highest result of education is tolerance.
- Helen Keller

Monday, October 14, 2013

Career, health, and relationships, in balance

It seems to me that success in life lies in establishing a balance in our lives. Most people concentrate all their energy into one or maybe two areas of life, and get very developed in that one area or two areas, at the cost of neglecting the other important areas of life. They may become perfect masters of one thing, but have lives that are otherwise undesirable. There are some people who become very successful in business, become very rich, but have done so at the cost of a healthy family or marriage. There are some people who are very successful in maintaining their health, but have poor finances or relationships. I don't think we need to sacrifice an important area in order to achieve success in another. I believe we can achieve healthy, sustainable success in all the important areas of life, simultaneously. We can have good health, good financial security, and good relationships, all at the same time. That's my working definition of success.

One area is not more important than another. They are all important. Because if we're like most people, and we concentrate on one area or maybe two areas and neglect the rest, it is the neglected areas that will eventually hurt us. We can't neglect our health indefinitely. We can't neglect our finances indefinitely. We can't neglect our relationships indefinitely. Eventually, it is the area or areas that we have neglected that will bring us down. Maybe not this year, or next year, but eventually.

Career, health, and relationships, in balance.


Dave Roel.
The survival of a civilization or an individual depends upon its ability to adapt to change.
- Kenneth Johnson

And there goes the weekend...

         Weekends really are too short, aren't they? Back to school bright and early Monday morning, unfortunately. Luckily for me, I don't have class till noon. Unluckily for me, that is possibly the worst time to find parking. Whenever I get there right before 7 AM, there are always spots. But by noon, I have to spend about ten minutes looking for a space and then walk ten more minutes just to get to class. Can't wait for that tomorrow!

          Also, I did the dumbest thing. I felt like such a stupid first-year! My teacher senior year warned us, again and again, that we would not be so lucky once we went to college. We'd have tests and he'd pass out the scantron and he'd tell us, "These things are not as cheap as you think. Not that you know. But you will, next year! You will have to BUY YOUR OWN SCANTRONS." Then he would laugh and call us suckers. And then my professor told us, "don't forget to buy your scantrons don't forget to buy your scantrons" and right after class on Monday, I stopped by the FC bookstore--wow I was impressed that place is really neat it's not even like a bookstore it's like a little convenience store for college students--to buy my scantrons. I was like, PREPARED. 

         Except, come Monday morning, I was rushing to leave and I was thinking, "okay, exam today. So I don't need my book, I don't need any paper, I don't need any anything except for a number two pencil and an eraser and then I am outta there." (I love that, by the way. In high school I was always done with my tests early because I don't like to double check--I scan my answers over if that counts! And I had to entertain myself for the time remaining except I had to keep quiet and I'd usually forget to bring something to read so I'd have to just sit there twiddling my thumbs for half an hour. Now that I can just go straight home instead of sit idly, it's amazing. I know everyone else is used to it but I'm still not. I feel so cool leaving before the other half of the class...don't judge me. I'm new at this. 

         Okay but anyways, I felt totally ready. I had reviewed my study guide mentally, my mechanical pencil was stocked fully with lead, and you know, I was just ready! I sat down and saw everybody else waiting like me, except they all had scantrons on their desks. I looked up at my professor to see her begin passing out the tests, and my first thought was, "Crap, I'm late so she must have passed out the scantrons without me!" So I looked around to find her extras, only to not find any. Obviously. So I began panicking. Even though I went out to BUY MY SCANTRONS, it was a week later and I had completely forgotten I was no longer in high school and that I had to bring my own scantron to class. My brain just reverted to high school mode or something, because just sitting down waiting for the test, I was also waiting for the scantron that accompanied it. 
          I was just lucky the girl sitting behind me had brought her whole pack with her and was nice enough to spare one. I'm just gonna hope I never make that mistake again, because next time there may not be a person to save me!

Joy ☼

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I ended up withdrawing from one of my classes, which was totally a good decision. But the hardest part about it was, for some reason, actually deciding to do it. It seems like a lot of people aren’t really sure about what withdrawing does in terms of GPA and transcripts, or under what circumstances they should consider withdrawing, so I did some research.

Obviously, when you withdraw from a class, you get a W in the class-- this means that it’s not incorporated in your GPA, and, literally, there will be a W on your transcript next to the class name. What everyone seems to ask when I mention that I’ve withdrawn from a class is, “Is this a problem when college advisors look at your transcripts?”

I’ve gotten a lot of mixed answers, but essentially-- no. A couple of spaced-out W’s does not seem to give colleges any pause, and it’s definitely better than a failing grade in a class. What is problematic is a regular pattern of withdrawals-- withdrawing from one or two classes every semester, or something akin to that-- because colleges may interpret this as a evidence of a sloppy work ethic. This doesn’t mean that having a lot of W’s is necessarily bad, but I’ll get to that.

When to withdraw:

There’s really a wide variety of reasons that someone might withdraw from a class and the reason is typically not listed on transcripts unless you’re asked to clarify why you have a lot of W’s, so go nuts. Within reason.

When you’re going to fail a class -- This is the most common reason people withdraw from classes, since W’s are much preferable to D’s or F’s.

When you’re not sure you can handle the coursework -- As long as you don’t make a habit of it, as mentioned before.

When you have a problem with the professor’s method of teaching/grading/whatever -- This is mainly why I withdrew from the class I was taking, and it’s also largely subjective. I wasn’t big on my prof’s method of teaching, but that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me. What was a deal-breaker was that I had reason to think that we had such a severe clash in opinion that it may have affected my grades on coursework, and so it wasn’t worth the effort. But ultimately, it’s up to you.

When you have a personal emergency -- It’s not unheard for people to drop all their classes for a given semester due to failing mental health, or a death in the immediate family, or some other emergency, and colleges likely know that. This is where having a lot of W’s is not necessarily a bad thing-- it will be clear to college advisors that something happened to make you drop a semester’s worth of classes entirely, and that something is not likely to be pure laziness. When it comes to emergencies, it’s understandable that school is not the first priority.

I am not an expert though, obviously, so before deciding to drop a class, it would be advisable to consult a counselor on how this will impact your transcripts specifically and what to do next.

Stay classy,


Friday, October 11, 2013

4 Easy Hikes in the Fullerton Area

I love the outdoors, but because I'm from riverside it took me a while to find any place to go for a walk.  After about two weeks I decided to look around and I've found what I think are some of the best hikes in the Orange County area.

1. Castlewood Trail- If you're looking for a leisurely day hike this is definitely the place for you. This hike, which is about a mile, is part of the 12 mile bike loop commonly known as the Fullerton Loop. This hike is good if you ever need some quiet time or have an hour or so between classes. If your looking for a place with absolutely no sign of civilization thos might not be the best hike, but in the right conditions you'll be able to catch a glimpse of the ocean and if you're lucky maybe even Catalina Island. If you like this one I would urge you to check out other trails in the Fullerton Loop.If you want to avoid bicyclists, try to go in the morning on weekdays or in the afternoon.

2. Juanita Cooke Greenbelt and Trail- This trail is great. very easy and only about 3 and a half miles. This trail is available for cyclists, mountain bikers, and even horses. The weirdest part about this trail is that it is so green and lush, but the trail ends near Downtown Fullerton right on Harbor Blvd. I recommend this trail to any runners because of the nearly incline free terrain. There is shade all around so sunscreen is not a necessity. This trail is perfect during the winter and spring seasons.

3. Carbon Canyon Regional Park- When I first heard about this park I didn't believe it because I was told there was a grove of Sequoia Redwood's in the park. I decided to check it out and sure enough there is a grove of them. You have to hike through the park to get to the trail head, and then it's about a 3.5 mile hike to the grove or you can take the slightly easier 2.4 mile loop. This trail is dog, horse, and bicycle friendly. You want to make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen considering there is not much shade once on the trail.

4. Fullerton Creek- I love this hike in particular because it reminds me of the trails in Riverside. It is only about 1 mile and the scenery is idyllic. If your looking for more of a challenge there is an exercise  part of the trail, and it is also a nice place to go if you are a runner. The hike usually takes about one hour. Either a hat or sunscreen could go to good use

Staying informed is staying hip.

Liam Harder

Dave's Favorite Writers 3

More of my favorite writers.

Alan Moore. I hardly need to be the one to offer praise for Alan Moore. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the last thirty years. I love him for the same reasons everyone else does: his solid craftsmanship, his delicious prose style, his penetrating insight, his champion imagination, his wealth of knowledge and erudition, his perceptive understanding of psychology and society, his rich characterizations, his smart, clever humor, his deft ability at empathetic characterization, and his sheer, raw power to tell a damn good story.

You feel smarter after reading Alan Moore. You feel you know more about how the world works. You know something you didn’t before. If you’ve never read anything of his, check him out, and for goodness’ sake, never watch any movie based on one of his books. If you have, forget it and read the book — the book is better.

Here’s the opening of one of my favorite Alan Moore stories.

Neil Gaiman. Again, not an obscure writer. He’s one of the most well-known authors on the planet. If you’re any kind of a regular fiction reader at all, chances are you have an opinion of him already. But his popularity shouldn’t obscure honest assessment of his work. His fame is due entirely to his ability — he really is quite a good writer. But I don’t need to be the one to offer encomiums to him. You’ll be able to find plenty.

Here’s a completely random bit from Sandman.

Now here's a fun cartoon.


Dave Roel.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don't kill the messenger

All life is change. Change is inevitable. Change is happening all the time. But if you tell people that, they don't want to listen. People don't want to change, particularly if they like things as they are now. If a person or a company has been successful at doing something, if you tell them that they'll have to change, you're saying that they have to abandon the ways that have worked for them. It's no surprise that people don't want to hear that. Companies fail for many reasons, but in many cases, especially in technology industries, the thing that made them successful is what ultimately kills them. Change is critically important to pay attention to, if you intend to stay in business. If you compare the S&P 500 of today to fifty years ago, there's essentially no continuity. The companies that don't change don't survive. And that's essentially all of them. People don't like hearing that they have to change. There's an old saying that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country. No one likes to hear the message that change is upon them. It’s scary. But the signal is ignored at one’s peril. Don’t get too emotionally invested in techniques and strategies, even if they have worked. Be willing to change when circumstances change. As they will. Be willing to bend to the wind, and adopt new ways when necessary. That will facilitate continued growth and success. And when someone tells you that change is coming, listen.

Just some ruminations.


Dave Roel.
I learned a while back that I’d be lots happier if I accepted things as they were, rather than expecting them to be different.
- Jack Mierop

Monday, October 7, 2013

Arctic Weekend and Vampire Monkeys

This is slightly delayed, but I saw Vampire Weekend at the Hollywood Bowl the other weekend! I also saw a ton of people I knew from around campus at the venue. So since many of us appear to have at least one band in common in terms of music taste, I thought some music recommendations might be in order.


They're three sisters, their music sounds a lot like what might happen if one combined Vampire Weekend with Michael Jackson, or classic rock with 90's pop and R&B, they just released their first album on September 30th, and they're starting to get big. Plus, their bassist (on the right) makes what she calls Bass Face during performances (see below).

To start off: Try their Forever EP, if you're more interested in the Michael Jackson/90's pop and R&B elements of their sound. If you want something harder, try "My Song 5" off their album, Days Are Gone. For something else entirely, i.e. a sweet, stripped down love song, try "Honey & I" off of Days Are Gone.

Then listen to everything. I mean it. Everything.


This is a bit obvious, as Beirut actually opened for Vampire Weekend, but still. Their frontman Zach Condon (pictured above)-- or "Zach Unfortunate Last Name", as I affectionately call him-- formed Beirut after dropping out of school to travel Europe, an experience which undoubtedly shaped his sound. There are trumpets. Trombones and flugelhorns, even.

To start off: "Postcards From Italy". Literally everyone has heard it. Then I suggest The Flying Club Cup album. From there, you can make your own way-- it entirely depends on whether you enjoy the brassy sound and ukulele or not.


Obviously this isn't a contemporary musician, but Paul Simon's influence is notable in Vampire Weekend's music. He's better known as Simon of Simon & Garfunkel, but his own music is a blend of folk rock with "borrowed" elements of reggae and African music.

To start off: "Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes" is probably his most popular song. It's off of the Graceland album, which is probably the best follow-up, and his most popular (and controversial, given all the "borrowing" of other music he did) album. 


Also not recent but very much instrumental to Vampire Weekend's sound-- they even reference him in "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa". He was the frontman of prog band Genesis, which you may better know as That One Band Phil Collins Was In, but split off to do his own thing. The result is a blend of soft rock with Afrobeat and orchestral influences.

To start off: The Scratch My Back album features Peter's covers of a wide variety of artists, including Regina Spektor, David Bowie, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and Bon Iver, so it may be a good place to start. His covers of "My Body is a Cage" and "Mirrorball" are particularly noteworthy. In my opinion.

Stay classy,


Our third critical area of importance is relationship. This includes family, friends and co-workers, but is most strongly represented by our intimate relationships. This will be a major part of almost everyone's life. Very few want to move through life without a partner. There are some, but not many.

Someone once said that in relationships, you get what you can afford to pay for. That doesn't mean money. In this arena, emotional honesty, energy, commitment, passion, intelligence, self-respect, confidence and physical health are the coin of the realm. We tend to attract and hold those who match us in energy, emotional honesty, commitment, physical health, etc. If I am interested in having a partner with certain qualities, I'd probably be best served by working on developing those qualities in myself.

If I have a pattern of destructive, dishonest or even abusive relationships, if I am in a loveless marriage, or if I have no intimate relationship, my first step is to take the responsibility for creating that. I would need to ask myself what I would need to change in myself in order to attract or accept an appropriate partner, or heal my current relationship.

Okay. So there’s our three critically important areas to pay attention to in life. If we are exactly where we’d like to be in every one of these three areas, I’d say that’s a solid foundation for a happy, healthy, successful life. How many of us can say that we are exactly where we’d like to be in all three of these areas, though? Chances are, you can see there can be improvement in at least one of these areas. So now we know the areas we need to work on. What is that work, specifically? Ah… That’s what we’ll discuss next.


Dave Roel.
To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
- David Viscott

Sunday, October 6, 2013


          Yesterday I attended something totally out of character. Now, I am not an athlete. I am the opposite of an athlete. I am a couch potato with asthma, so the desire to attend any kind of run is a little...extremely uncharacteristic of me.
          So I went to the Blacklight Run. I don't know if you guys have ever heard of the color run, but it's basically the same thing as that, except AT NIGHT! Which makes everything all the more exciting, right? And, instead of just being colorful, the powder they throw on you while they run is actually blacklight powder, a neon, glow-in-the-blacklight kinda thing. It appears totally innocent once somebody shines a blacklight on you, then the whole thing glows and it's just really awesome.
          But back to the whole out of character thing: I signed up back in the summer, when I had no summer school because I was a first year and had no idea how to petition for classes or even what petitioning was. I didn't want a prospect-less summer, so when my best friend pitched the idea of a blacklight run, all I heard was glow in the dark and nighttime and being around good company, so I immediately thought, YEAH OKAY THAT MEANS I'LL HAVE SOMETHING FUN TO DO THIS SUMMER! I don't know why it didn't occur to me that even though signups were in the summer, we weren't going until October. Also, it's only 5k. So I thought, okay, 3 miles, that's not that bad. I can walk 3 miles! It wasn't until I got there that I thought, "what did I get myself into oh my goodness how do I leave?!"
          Hey, I made it out alive though! So this is me and a bunch of my friends pre-run, when the sun was still out...

          Naturally, I'm the least athletic-looking one, the one with no ponytail closest to the right of the left picture and then I'm the one in the middle of the second picture. It's okay, I have short hair as an excuse to not tie my hair up. And no, it wasn't just a bunch of girls! Here's our whole group, (there's me in the middle!)
It was originally going to be a smaller group, but because it interfered with our church time, (we have service Saturday nights for youth at my church because our Sunday service is too overcrowded) we decided to expand and make it a church event. We're a really small church with only about 30-40 people in our youth service, so this is about half of us at the run. Again, this is pre-run! The wait for the run was so incredibly long and when it finally began, there was no official sign, or gunshot, or a guy yelling "OKAY GO!" so it was actually very confusing they just began herding a bunch of us (there were THOUSANDS. I overheard someone say there were 14,000 people there and I'm not sure if that's true but there were a LOT of people there) towards another area and somewhere along the way the run began and half the people didn't know that so half were walking and half were running. 
And finally, THIS was the after effect of the run:
The picture on the right is how it looks under the blacklight. THAT POWDER WAS CRAZY. There were "powder stations" about two or three times during the run where you'd be running and you run under an arch and there are volunteers or workers next to it who throw powder into the air and chase you and throw it on you and it's pretty awesome but it got on EVERYTHING. I took a shower when I got home and when I scratched my head my fingers came back bright pink, which was a little alarming. Also, that powder made people a little mad. Some guy threw some into HIS OWN MOUTH because "I want my mouth to glow!" Now that's a little insane. After the run, every runner was eligible to pick up your very own "powder pack" and people were running around on the field (this part was just for fun though) having powder fights and going crazy. One girl straight up came to me, took some powder out of her bag, smeared it across my chest, smiled, and walked away. It was the most bizarre thing.

Maybe it was the blacklight after-party that made all the runners a little hyped up, too. The party started right after most of the first wave of runners were out, and there was a stage, and a DJ, and it was REALLY loud and they'd throw glow sticks and rings and bracelets and free blacklight shirts and all sorts of goodies out. It was incredibly tiring. But a really great experience that I'm glad I was a part of. 
Also, another bonus, a big chunk of the proceeds go into helping with children's cancer! So it was a run for fun, for helping children, and also to have a really great time. My hips and calves and thighs and almost all of me is sore, but it was worth it. I'm really glad I attended!

Joy ☼ 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dave's Favorite Writers 2

So why don’t I tell you about some more of my favorite writers.

Jonathan Carroll is a remarkable fantasist, a prodigious imagination, and a searing, emotionally affecting writer. His work twists and plays with your expectations, delights with the inventiveness of the confabulations, and somehow always drills to the core of your heart. He is highly regarded in the field as a superb writer. Sample any of his works, and you’ll be hooked.

Tom Stoppard is a playwright. His work is filled with wordplay, intellectual rumination, puns, inventive scenarios, enthralling characters, compelling ideas, and plenty of humor. Reading Stoppard (or watching a production of one of his plays, if possible) is an intellectual joy. He is a writer who respects the audience’s intelligence. Give him a try, if this sounds like your kind of thing.

Jorge Luis Borges is not in any way obscure — he’s one of the most famous writers of the twentieth century. There’s little I can say to add to the abundant praise he has deservedly received. He was a titanic imagineer, a writer of sublime intellect and interest. He wrote mental joyrides through universes of thought and possibility, constructed elegant machines of concept and magic. His stories insinuate themselves into your mind, expand your horizons, altering you forever.

These writers get my highest recommendation — their works have provided me with endless hours of stimulation and delight. Give any of them a try, if they sound like the sort of thing you’d be into.

(No links — I presume you know how to Google.)

This week’s cartoon is an all-time classic.


Dave Roel.
A man is as strong as he will let himself be. That is the first truth of magic.
- Alan Moore

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We can't do this alone

I attended a small gathering for conversation, last night. I met some interesting people. One was a psychology major, another was a philosophy major. I love talking about these subjects. We had a good conversation. We covered what ground we could in the short time we had.

At the end of the night, I asked if there was any interest in staying in touch. They’re not on any social networks. Ah.

I try to be as available as I can be. I’m on Facebook, Google+, Skype, Instant Messenger, etc. I’m always up for conversation, and I love discussing philosophy, psychology, spirituality, science, etc. I also manage several online discussion groups, some to discuss personal improvement, some that discuss philosophy.

We become better by association. I try to seek out those who know more than I do, and learn from them. We can all use guides, people to help us navigate the waters, people who know the lay of the land, who know which way is up, and can provide us with some necessary feedback on our efforts.

Because one of the secrets I know is that we can’t do this alone. The world is too complex. We can only survive with the assistance of others. If the modern era has any major theme, it is that we are all in this together. We need to work together, and learn from each other. At this point in the world’s history, with the difficulties we are facing, that’s our only chance.


Dave Roel.
You learn more quickly under the guidance of experienced teachers. You waste a lot of time going down blind alleys if you have no one to lead you.
- W. Somerset Maugham