Monday, October 15, 2012

Haunted House

Throughout college I wanted to go to a haunted house or haunted corn maze with my friends. In four years, we never did go. But this past Friday I finally got to go to a "haunted house," in Little Rock. My mom and I took my niece to the "Old Haunted Warehouse" in Little Rock, located right behind the Pulaski County Jail.

I wanted to go as soon as I saw the flier at Spirit Halloween Store and the clerk said it was well worth it. Not only is it a "haunted house," it is in a bad section of town, behind the county jail and visitors have to walk from the parking area to the warehouse. I loved it. Of course, I am almost 24 years old and male. I'm not stupid, I know nothing is really dangerous inside and that people in costumes are going to be jumping out at me. I was never scared, never even jumped. But I did laugh the entire time.

My niece is 10. It was dark inside but my eyes had adjusted. I could tell where there would likely be people hiding and I kept my eyes on all of the figures. When I walked around a corner, I put my back to the wall so that I wouldn't be surprised. In another room I was watching my surroundings -- that is all I can say because I don't want to give away the surprise. I will say my favorite part was the strobe lights. Again, I won't say more than that.

I think I may go again with some other friends. If the staff will let me, I have a few tricks up my sleeve (or at least one) that I would like to pull to further scare my friends since I already know the layout and whats coming. Anyway, if you are looking for a good haunted house in the Little Rock/Central Arkansas area, the "Old Haunted Warehouse" on Brown Street (off of Roosevelt) behind the jail is one good option.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Guardian Angel

Two times in less than 72 hours, I have narrowly escaped nasty accidents. Both times, if I were alone in the car, I probably would have been dead or in a hospital. But I wasn't alone, I'm sure of it.

The first time was Friday evening after I got off work. I needed to fill my car up with gas before going to Jonesboro the following morning. The best way for me to get gas is taking exit 7 for Pratt Road off of I-530. It had rained some that day and the road was damp and oily. The exit is short and involves a very sharp turn. Of course, I was going 70 when I hit the off ramp. I tried to slow down but began to hydroplane. "I'm about to crash and it is going to be ugly," I thought to myself as I let off the break and tried to gently turn into the curve so that I would be on the inside. I felt the back end sliding. I made it around the curve and stopped by he end of the ramp. But I knew that I was about to go flying off the road at 50+ miles per hour and into a tree.

The next one happened this evening. I didn't have any problems going to Jonesboro, but the trouble was on the way home. For some reason, there always seems to be a wreck around the I-40/I-30 interchange. Tonight was no difference. I had to speed up to 70 to get into the lane I needed, as a car was letting me in, even though they were speeding. Probably 20 seconds later, everyone was slamming on their breaks, including me. I wasn't slamming hard enough and swerved into the far left lane, narrowly missing the car in front of my by mere inches. That would have probably been at 50+ mph as well and been a multiple car pile up.

Those stories said, I am very thankful to have avoided both accidents and firmly believe I was not alone in the car.

Lifelong Learning

Sometimes I wish that "student" could truly be a profession. I sometimes wish that I could be paid to go to school. Of course, what would be the purpose of that education then?

When I started High School, I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write children's books. Then I discovered journalism. By my junior year, I was writing for my school newspaper. When I graduated, I chose a school based on my desired major: journalism. I even received a journalism scholarship my first year there.

It had its ups and downs. I loved (and still do) writing. I started out as hard news and wrote a variety of articles including features, opinions and even sports on occasion. I interned at the Army News Service in Washington, D.C. at the end of my junior year. By that point, I was losing confidence in my own abilities. Is it just a thing that writers have where they hate their own work even when others say it is great? I definitely wasn't sure I wanted to follow through with journalism. But what choice did I have? I was almost through with college. If I switched my major then, I would be there for another year or two without scholarships to help me make it through.

I stuck with Journalism, knowing that the communication background could come in handy even in another field. More and more, I wanted to make a difference. I thought maybe I could do in depth stories with the homeless and try to bring light to their stories. But I didn't even know how to get started. My senior year of college, I found a way to make a difference.

My professor and newspaper adviser forwarded the class an email advertising a communications internship at an organization I had learned about a few years prior. It was an organization that, although I didn't know a lot about, I knew enough that I supported their mission. I even hoped I might be able to work there one day. Little did I know that two days after I graduated, I would begin a communications internship at Heifer International.

Before graduating I had also added a second major, Spanish. I had a few opportunities during the internship to speak Spanish with some of the international staff from Latin America. I never took any classes in video production or editing, but quickly learned some on the job and was able to help teach some other coworkers. I continued learning.

Later, I went to Spain for almost a year. Once again, that was an experience full of lessons and learning. Some lessons were a little tougher than others. Not only did I learn my Spanish was no where nearly as good as I thought it was, I learned a little more about Embassies and consulates after losing my passport on a trip to England. I also learned how big a difference just having someone to talk to can make in a person's life after spending countless hours alone in my apartment  Then there were the cultural lessons. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was in perseverance  After three months, it was hard to leave for Christmas. And then in June it was hard to come home, knowing that I was leaving many new friends behind and didn't even have a job to go back to.

Less than a month after arriving home in the United States, I was offered a temporary position working in Human Resources at Heifer. I had no experience in that field. My task was working with company polices, reviewing and updating them. I learned. It has been a continuing learning experience all together as I researched what types of things should be policies, what policy manuals should contain etc. I have even helped with other tasks and have already learned a ton about Excel. What has surprised me the most is what I have learned about myself.

In tracking information, I have found that I actually enjoy some of the tedious work. I enjoy looking at the statistics, making charts and graphs. Even if I wasn't a math major and never had an interest in it. Applied to the real world it is interesting. I have been working in the Human Resources department for a little over three months now and am still learning. Of course, learning continues for a lifetime.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Smart Phone

When I got back from Spain, I had to have a new phone. For some reason or other, both of my batteries had blown up. Well, not literally, but neither would hold a charge for more than an hour or two when the phone wasn't even in use. So in June I got a Samsung Droid smartphone. Smart. Yeah right.

This short blog isn't really about how dumb those phones can be though. The more features you add, the harder a phone is to use as a phone. I think mine serves more as a computer now. It is super hard to type with the tiny keys though so I don't do a lot of typing. But because I am not on the computer nearly as much now, that means I am not spending nearly as much time with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and you guessed it, my blog. So that is one reason I haven't written much.

The other is that I forget my ideas by the time I make it home from work. Or I am just too tired. But when I get on, I try to write a few blogs. Maybe I should be setting a schedule or something?