By Jeff Kazmierski, Copy Editor/Columnist
Summer is finally over, and we’re all gearing up for a new Fall semester. If you were able to take advantage of the season’s dry heat by lounging near a large body of water (pond, lake, ocean, pool, mud puddle, whatever), I envy you – I spent my summer largely occupying a cubicle. Oh, well, it could be worse. Some of my neighbors had their roofs fixed, and I definitely did not envy the roofers. There are some jobs I’m glad I don’t have.
Anyway, we’re back, rested, ready and tanned (except me; I tan like a Maine lobster) for a new school year.
For me, the back-to-school season began two weeks ago as we started preparing the kids for their returns to school. With one still in elementary school and the other just entering high school, it was definitely an interesting time. There were forms to fill out, introductions to keep, meetings to attend, and, for the older child, books to buy. Yep, you read that right – this year I’m buying books for two students, not just myself. Welcome to non-traditional student life.
It hasn’t been all work and no play, though. Between classes and work, I managed to find time to take the kids swimming and actually have some fun, though some days the pool felt as refreshing as a lukewarm bath. Weeks of unbroken sun and heat don’t make for refreshing swimming conditions, but swim we must and so we do. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
And those lazy evenings poolside left me with plenty of time to think.
Big, important, world-changing stuff.
Like games. Readers who have been following the Gateway’s online publications are probably familiar with my programming column, Hello World!, and whose who have kept up with it have been introduced to a classic game. Games have occupied probably too much of my mental energy for most of my life (it’s one reason I got into programming, back in the dark ages of the ’80s) so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’ve been spending a lot of time in other worlds, pondering deeply philosophical questions. Like, Skyrim or Fallout 3? Which is more awesome, fireballs or mushroom clouds? And can I buy a mini-nuke in Whiterun?
How about the drought? I’m frankly surprised that Omaha and Bellevue didn’t institute water controls and limits on water use. With most of the midwest dry as a bone, and my neighborhood looking more like Arizona every day, it was just irresponsible not to. That water was needed for crops, not lawns. Are city leaders that out of touch with reality? We’re finally getting some rain, so it looks like I may have to mow my lawn again, but a pittance of pissing precipitation does not excuse this bit of mayoral short-sightedness.
Politics, of course, is always on my mind (when I’m not swimming, slaying dragons, blowing up super mutants or doing homework), especially in an election year. The choice this time is clear – on one side, we have a pair of men who worked their way up the hard way, who have experienced all the struggles and trials of the middle and lower classes; on the other, we have two stuffed shirts who resemble characters from a really bad Ayn Rand novel more than anything else. I know which side I’m on.
So, anyone else NOT buying a parking pass this year? With prices rising, and all my classes being at PKI, that’s the last thing I’ll be spending my hard-earned money on. No more Parking Games for me. The College of Information Technology will have to send a different tribute this year if my name comes out of the hat.
And then there’s sports. I’m not a sports fan, as our editorial staff will most definitely confirm. I know the basics; it was beaten into me in high school. I know the difference between a touchdown and a field goal; I just don’t care. But there’s one event that I never miss. I love the Olympics. To me, there’s nothing that symbolizes the spirit of international cooperation and peace more than this quadrennial celebration of athleticism and physical perfection. As usual, the U.S. took home a mountain of gold, silver and bronze, and even set some new records. For the first time in history, an African-American woman won gold in the gymnastics competition – way to go, Gabby Douglas! Beach volleyball, one of the newest additions to the games, was always entertaining, and of course, Michael Phelps will be returning to his tank at Sea World after raking in even more gold. So here’s a big shout out to all our fantastic American athletes. USA! USA!
That’s all for now. Hope you had a great summer, got lots done, slew some dragons, and generally slacked off. Because if you didn’t, it’s too late now. Back to work, you!