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Friday, December 16, 2011

Where the term Aggie comes from

Someone on the ESPN message board posed the question of "What is an Aggie?" I've always had a basic understanding that it came from the schools agricultural roots and was kind of just a remnant of this, but out of curiosity, and due to having the day off, I put a little research into this question and found quite a lot of information on what led to students and alumni of Utah State University being known as Aggies and if possible became even a little more proud of the title.

USU was originally founded as the Agricultural College of Utah back in 1888 and they were known as "Aggies." Lots of schools in the late 1800's and early 1900's were known as the Aggies. Oregon State, Nevada, Colorado State and Wyoming to name a few. Most of them changed their names to what they currently are now. The iconic "Old Main" building on campus still wears the original designation of "Agricultural College of Utah" above its doors.

In the 1940's the teams from Utah Agricultural College (slight name update) were called the Farmers and their mascot was a dude in overalls, but many locals still kept referring to us as Aggies and to the school as "The Agricultural College." In 1957 when UAC changed its name to Utah State University they officially adopted Aggies as their mascot, but kept the farmer around for a while.

During 1969, due to concern by administration of not being known for anything special by people outside of Utah, a movement was made to change the mascot to the Highlanders due to the ideological tie of the school's setting being on top of a hill in a mountain valley and the Scotsman song which was a popular tradition among students. During a football game at halftime it was officially announced that the name would be changed to the Highlanders and the student body and alumni alike booed for the remainder of the second half. That idea was quickly bailed on and we remained Aggies. The Scotsman song remains popular with Aggies.

In 1975 the bull first appeared at Utah State. It was actually a live white bull which they painted blue. It was kept around for a while, but despite rubber boots it still occasionally caused damage to the brand new Dee Glen Smith Spectrum's floor. This and the high level of upkeep for a bull which gets painted blue multiple times a month led to it being replaced with a guy in a bull cartoon suit in 1987, but there is a huge statue of the bull on campus which has a student tradition of being ridden naked to earn the title of Ultimate Aggie (yes, I am one.)

Apparently we really like being Aggies. I wouldn't accept being called anything else, even if there isn't much sagebrush left in the valley.

Go Aggies!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Looking Back on Yesterday

Today I hung out with my old best friend from high school, Joe. We've stayed in contact all these years while I've been on the other side of the state and he's been doing the whole married thing. We went and got lunch, he brought his wife along - suppose he figured I wouldn't mind. I suppose it's fine. Unlike some of my friends wives she's a cool person and I get along with her. It's just never quite as fun hanging out with your friend plus their wife as it is to hang out with just your friend, but I digress.

It was nice, he kept reminding me of things in my life that I'd either forgotten or heavily repressed the memories of for good reason. It's interesting looking back on it. When we got back to his house I hooked him up on Spotify and he was talking about old music we loved, so when I got home I made him a playlist of all the angry pissed off music we used to listen to during those very forgettable years of 15-19. I even got out some old CDs for ideas of what I wanted to listen to and it really brought back the memories. Some good, most bad.

In no specific order here are some memories of high school that I was reminded of by songs I listened to tonight:

Eva by Orgy always reminded me of my Grandma. My Grandma was a wonderful woman - kind of like a second parent. I had a single parent and we always lived with my grandparents. She died just before my 17th birthday and life was rough, losing a close friend like Grandma is never something an emotionally unstable 17 year old wants to deal with. I mostly hid inside and listened to Orgy's CD Vapor Transmission and Tool's Lateralus CD over and over for weeks. I still love the CD's.

Cloud 9 by Distorted Penguins reminded me of this stupid girl Vonda. At 16 I liked her, I wanted her. She liked me. We went out a few times. Then I decided to let her meet Joe. She decided she liked him better and I was "destroyed" or about as destroyed as a 16 year old can be over a girl. They made out and he told me about it and I remember feeling like the world just ended, haha. Silly Brandon.

In This Diary by The Ataris reminded me of this girl Brindy. Her and I "dated" when we were 15 or 16. By "dated" I mean we'd sit next to each other and hold hands on occasion. Once we even "kissed" and by "kissed" I mean our lips touched briefly. Afterward Joe had a thing for her for about 6 years. It never amounted to anything though, haha. She was very anti-dating of friends.

World so Cold by Mudvayne reminded me of my friend Eric. We're still friends, but in high school we had a brief period of non-friendship. I don't blame him, I was an overdramtic punk. I wouldn't have wanted to hang out with me, but we were still tight in junior high and he bailed to hang out with some shady kids who were into things I didn't approve of at the time... you know, like beer and R rated movies. Haha. He also led me to believe that he was dating the aforementioned Amber which was pretty low, but apparently he wasn't.

The Odyssey by Orgy reminded me of track meets. Eric and I would listen to that song to get psyched up. We thought it made us run faster. Honestly it was just a cool song to listen to and you don't really need to psyched up to run, but man, we sure thought you did.

Silhouettes by Smile Empty Soul reminded me of this time that Joe and I decided that the lines "I don't want to live like my mother/father" were how we felt about our lives. Even though to be quite honest we both have parent(s) who are good people, but hey - in high school you just want to find something, anything, to hate. At least I did.

Here's to the Night by Eve 6 reminds me of when I didn't graduate high school. I quit, I gave up. I'd had enough and decided I didn't need an education. For a brief time my mom tried getting me to do an alternate high school, but that wasn't for me either. I didn't fit in with the druggies and the people who were looking for that technical type of education. Not that I'm above that, my brain just doesn't work that way. I can't fix a car or weld something, it just doesn't doesn't please me to do so and I honestly just have this mental block that makes me give up about half way through anything mechanical like that because I get frustrated.

A couple years later I went in for the GED test. What a joke that was. They allot 5 hours for it. I took two hours and took my packet up to the lady. She asked if I was taking lunch and I told her, "No, I'm done." and she asked if I wanted to maybe review my answers and I told her that I already had. When compared to projected scores of graduating high school seniors I scored in the 79th and 84th percentile in writing. Not too shabby. Math, science and social science scored me in the 90th, 98th and 99th percentile though. Yeah, I kinda owned that test. The pathetic part of this is that I actually took the GED test. Haha. Yikes.

Up all Night by Unwritten Law reminds me of the first time I had sex. It was cute. It was both of our first time. Looking back on it, it was probably terrible for both of us because of that, but again, it was cute. May 16th 2003 I believe. Not sure why I remember that.

No Hard Feelings by Bloodhound Gang reminds me of when we broke up two years later. Her and I still talk now and then. She's a good person though certainly not the type I would date at this point in my life, haha. Despite us being e-friends now, I certainly hated her for a while after we broke up. She sorta boned some dude that she met from myspace, haha. I don't fully blame her, we were obviously bored of each other and neither of us wanted to end it. It was for the best, but I was destroyed over yet another girl. The song Attack by 30 Seconds to Mars reminds me of getting over her.

Closer by Nine Inch Nails reminds me of my first kiss, which by the way was terrible. I liked this girl, Brindy, and was at her house for some party. It wasn't with her. This other girl Rachel was there. I'd never met her before, she was my friend's friend. While watching a movie, Joyride with Paul Walker, somehow we ended up snuggling. Afterward she attacked me. I was 16 and just wanted some, so I made out with her - in front of like 6 people. Yikes. In my defense she 100% initiated it, all right? Anyway, for the next year I kept wishing it would have been Brindy, haha, but oh well. Rachel was at least knowledgeable about what she was doing I guess. She would always tell me some Kelly Clarkson song was "our song." I didn't bother listening to that song. I didn't like it then, I wouldn't like it now.

Blue and Yellow reminds me of my car (which by the way was white.) All of these songs we would always listen to in my Supra, but for some reason Blue and Yellow was something we'd listen to more than any other. I had a 1985 Toyota Celica Supra that my grandma bought me. It was nothing fancy, keep in mind that it was older than me, but I loved it. At the time I thought it was a racecar and the coolest thing ever. I had big subwoofers in it and a hidden switch that turned on fog lights. I still have those same subwoofers in my WRX actually. They work just fine 8 years later. We'd drive around town pissing people off and getting in fights with rednecks. We got drunk way more than any minors should and we fooled around with girls that I wouldn't even give a high five to anymore. Blech. Dirty. Yuck.

It might sound fun, but I'd never been more unhappy in my life. There was always something missing. I'm not sure what it was, but it's not missing in quite as large of an abundance anymore. I was never happy. I found distractions to keep me from being sad, but for a good 3 years I just never had a feeling of "Oh wow, I sure am happy to be here." It's fun to reflect like that. That was the worst half-decade of my life and remembering it in detail makes me so much happier to be me now.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would attend the best university in the world and be a scientist 7 years later. Shut up, a geologist is still a scientist. Never in those same wild dreams did I imagine that I'd be nearly 26 and still single. I certainly never thought I'd still be in the Salt Lake area. Being someone who doesn't drink now, even around people who do drink? Yeah right. I guess I probably never even thought about what I'd be doing 7 years later when I was 18. A lot of days I really didn't project me still existing when I was 25. Well here I am, I made it. I think I installed a few major upgrades too.

I wonder when 32 holds for me.

If I had to project at this point I imagine I'll still be a geologist. I may even still be working at Norwest, but if I am I wouldn't be surprised to see me at the Denver office. Otherwise I think I'd have moved to Northern California or possibly Oregon by now. I'll be married. Nice woman, probably tall and thin. Doubt we'll have kids yet, well I don't know - maybe a baby. I'll still drive Rex (my WRX), but I'll be heavily considering something new at this point, something more lush but still semi-sporty. Maybe a Legacy? I imagine I'll own a house. Nothing huge, but it'll be newer and in a nice neighborhood. I'll still make it to Logan often enough for Aggie games. I'll own a really expensive telescope. Like a $2000 telescope, just for fun and a hobby. Oh! A dog. I'll definitely own a dog. Probably a Corgi or something similar in size and personality. Maybe a few more personal upgrades too. I'd be cool with that. I'll have likely forgotten about this blog and in no way read this at 32, so I'll have no clue what my 25 year old self expected of my 32 year old self.

I often romanticize about the past. This is one instance where that is not the case. It's an interesting trip down memory lane, but I can't even put into words just how much I don't miss that time of my life.

Seriously, fuck high school.