Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas eve

Is it a bad sign when you are making a blog entry at 10pm on Christmas eve? I think it is, yet here I am, making one any way. This Christmas is just not right so far. Here I am at Grandma's, typing away, while Dad is at home with his mom, and Mom is grumping here. The spirit just isn't here. We didn't go to St. Alban's this year, which makes a grand total of zero people happy, but mass was at 6! Impossible to work out, basically. Sigh. I want to go back to Firefly.
What a sexy setting. Jeez.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sleep schedule? What?

Who needs one? Clearly, I don't think I do, since I got to bed at 6 am this morning (er, yesterday morning) and got up at 3:15 pm today, and I have not yet gone to bed now. So... that's nice. Also, being so busy has not given me much time to obsess over anyone at school, though he has been in my dreams two nights this week. A little crazy, but considering that I have been dreaming much more this break than I did while I was at school, maybe not so crazy. But that also means we haven't seen each other online in several days. So, we'll just have to see how that goes. In the mean time, I've been keeping busy by not doing work. Which, of course, means that the end of break is going to be a little cramped with the working. Also, (duh!) I forgot Michael's lyric poetry packets at Northside. Whoops! (I hope he can forgive me...)

Monday, December 19, 2005

What am I dreaming about this Christmas?

Short answer: boys.
Long answer... So I've had two pretty strange guy dreams. Well, one strange, one not strange except for the fact that I had it. The strange one first... I dreamed I was at U of C, staying in Shoreland. And my room was a double, and my roommate was Ms. Gumms, Emma's mom. And the roon had a tiny bathroom and an enourmous closet, and the fridge was kept in the bathroom, and it was stocked like John's fridge, because he had filled it. He announced that and then left. Anyway, I can't quite communicate the strangest parts of what I've said, because it was really a feeling. But then a (gay) friend from Yale comes in, and we start talking. And then we stop talking and start making out. In the closet. And when we've finished with that, then I tell him that it wasn't exactly rewarding and that "This really shouldn't happen again..." or some crap like that. I have the most disturbing third-person image of us kissing, and it is creeping me out. I haven't told him about this dream yet.
The not-strange one is somewhat easier to tell. I am at a dinner party at my house, and everyone has finished dinner but is still generally sitting arouond the table, and I get the question about boys at school. So I give my response "Well, there's this guy Jason, and I don't know what's going on with him. It's so ambiguous." To which my mom responds "You're making him nervous!" And I look over and who is sitting there talking to my mom but Jason! I confirm that it is him, much to my chagrin and extreme awkwardness, but as I pass by his seat he reaches out and grabs my hand and kind of pulls me into the chair next to him.
And then I woke up.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


So, here I am, sitting at home. It's such a different world than school. I would kind of rather be at school though my longing isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm just happier there, really. Not that I don't love my family, because I do, and not that I don't miss my home friends, because I really do. But at school. things are just different for me, and I like them the way they are there.
But there are some nice things about being here, even if the heat is not nearly as good (old houses!). For one thing, I can catch up on my back Christmas movies. I never pass a Christmas season without at least watching all the classics a dozen or so times. So I watched White Christmas today with the family. And there is St. Alban's, which is nice. Though we'll see how it really compares to ECY, it was nice being back there today. And, generally and tempermentally, I think I like the change of scenery, though the timing is somewhat inconvienient... Things are crazy, especially when people are ambiguous. Now, perhaps I am being a touch hypocritical, but some people are very inscrutable and few things drive me as crazy as when I really want to know something and I can't figure it out! Ah, me oh my.
But, in other news, I really like Don Quixote so far (a whole 25 pages, baby!). I didn't expect to, really, and so it is coming as a nice surprise. I've been trying to decide what prejudiced me against it so much before. I guess I expected an impenetrable style or something very Baroque, which isn't what I'm finding so far. And also, I think I did well on my philosophy final, which is awesome because I was rather frightened of it. But it went well, and I think I'll do fine in that class. I want grades to be posted also. I know I'll almost certainly have an A- in Lit, but the other three are somewhat more variable. What will Charley give me? Did I manage to write a passing astronomy paper? I sure hope so!
And tonight is our annual family Christmas party. (Yes, it is a Christmas party. No, I'm damn sure it isn't a "holiday party"!) I should probably start being a human being again, and not just a creepy internet personna. And, I have to watch myself, to keep myself from sitting on the internet for long stretches waiting for someone to sign on. Because that right there is trouble. I'm bad enough as it is.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dear Finals Week,

Dear Finals Week,
You suck.
What's the problem? Well, it is several things all in one.
1. I don't want to go home! I mean, home is great and whatever, but I'm honestly just happier here. I like the people and I like the place and I like the things I do and this is home now. So I don't want to go home. Also, I would so live with the band.
2. My philosophy final is going to eat my soul and spit out my bones like an owl pellet. I mean, I just don't know how to study for this, or how I am going to write two essays tomorrow or how I am going to respond to a million ID questions about dense philosophical texts that I may or may not have read and may or may not have understood. What? The ontological argument? What?
3. I've kind of been living in boyland. Boyland has several effects on me, all bad. I don't eat properly, if I eat at all. I can't get work done. I think about the wrong things. I am easily distracted (more than normal). I do stupid things like wait for people to show up at places where they are not going to appear. I stay up until 4 am on AIM, and make stupid faces when they talk about ex-girlfriends. What am I doing?
4. Why can't my friends get it together and be normal, and have normal issues? Just to pretend for a few minutes that she was cheating on you or some garbage like that. No, this point is a lie. I wouldn't have it any other way. But still, it's frustrating.
Why can't you be followed by "spend an awesome week with the YPMB" week? Why is there no Blunch tomorrow?

Sunday, December 11, 2005


So, I usually don't suffer from pre-test anxiety. But today, a few minutes before my Literature final, I am feeling a bit queasy. Though it has crossed my mind that I may actually be thinking about something else, it is still a spectacular example of poor timing indeed.
I shouldn't be nervous about this test, either, because I feel fairly well prepared for it. Sigh. What to do, what to do?

Friday, December 09, 2005

feeling a little flakey

Yes, so here it is. Crush on junior=a little scary, and rather hopeless for several reasons. Not least of all, the fact that I have a source (fairly reliable, I should think) that says he is still in love with his ex-girlfriend. "Whenever she comes around they still sleep together, whatever that means..."
Also, I've essentially been talking myself out of it, for that reason and also examining if I would actually be ready for that. Also, generally considering the general awkwardness I've been feeling about the subject recently.... So I feel flakey and like a chicken. Is that for the best? Is there any way to know?
Also, what happened to my work ethic? I had some during high school, but now... gone! I wonder if it is at least living somewhere with nice weather. Because it looks like we're going to have a lot of snow tomorrow. I can only hope.
Also, I am trying to figure out a way to justify going to the LOTR marathon the band is having tomorrow night, 7 pm-7 am. Can I even do that??

Friday, December 02, 2005


There is a great pit in my life where work was just a few minutes ago! I am oddly free right now, considering that I have no classes until January 9, and three finals starting in a week. But in the mean time, I have nothing extremely pressing to do (whihc is good, because if I did, I wouldn't have the attention span to do anything about it anyway!).
But, yes, my first semester at Yale is drawing to a close. How strange!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

ADD, anyone?

You know I'm in a bad state if I've posted here more than once in a day... and here we go, another post. I have no attention span tonight. I have been sitting here in CCL for... an hour. And I have written... about 100 words. Also, made a painting, posted to Discuss, read away messages, read the news, twiddled my thumbs (in every way but literally), sent some emails, read some emails, talked to someone in one of my sections, facebooked, people watched, thought about switching libraries again, sent some IMs to people who aren't even there, and forcefully stopped myself from falling asleep. The real issue here is that I have the guts of the paper written, I just don't know what my thesis is. Great, right?
Ugh! I wrote this so fast that I didn't even think about what I was writing about. There is just so much evidence that the evidence kind of overwhelmed the actual, large-scale analysis. The small scale analysis is great, but it just isn't adding up to anything right now.


I swear to God, it is colder in this library than it is outside. Shiver, shiver, shiver!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

unfriendly bitch

So, that's what I feel like right now. Mostly because I'm a tiny bit ticked that I went to dinner with some friends, both pairs of whom recently became couples. I got my food, sat down started eating. Noticed about halfway through eating that I was still sitting alone. Finished eating while still alone. Left dinner, still alone.
And now, I am off to spend a fantastic evening in the library, probably underground. That's right, alone.
I will continue to wallow in my self pity until I don't feel like it anymore, and there is nothing you can do about that. (NB: BLATANT LIE! You can come keep me company, or better yet, find me a date. Or date me. Whatever.)

Monday, November 28, 2005


So, two main points.
1. It's my birthday. What can I do now, at 19, that I couldn't do before? Exactly nothing. But it's cool, not every birthday can be super-special, by definition.
2. I'm going to die this week (a condition made much worse by posting here, but whatever). I have tons of reading to do, a presentation in class tomorrow, a final on Wednesday, a 5 page lit paper and a 10 page research paper (not started) due Friday. This is trouble.
So much trouble.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanks are being given.

Thank you, to whatever power or cosmic order or quantum mechanical determinism, did the following things.
1. Put this break right when it is. I think I might have exploded if I were still at school right now. Too many things, all at the same time, and too much stuff to handle.
2. Made me be born in Chicago! God, I love this city, and in a few minutes, I will be out in it, exploring and enjoying instead of dreaming about it.
3. (This one is named Chris) Made me join the band. I keep dreaming about the band. JT and his Siouxa, and Chris in that pom-pon hat... all on a bus. Yay, band.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

So, here I am on a Sunday afternoon. Life is good, despite the following thngs.
1. There is so much work to do. As always, there is so much work to do.
2. Mom is flipping out because my family isn't a priority, despite the fact that I spent an hour and a half on the phone with my parents last night. Clearly, that doesn't count for anything.
3. I am sleepy, and therefore 1 looks really unlikely to change.

But, as I said, life is pretty good. Had a waffle this morning for breakfast, went to Casino night last night. Had fun "salsa dancing" with Dan. Finally got a washer despite the fact that it is Sunday, so I will have real, clean clothes to wear tomorrow. Hurray.
I've been wondering about Thanksgiving break. I think it might be wierd to go back home. It is going to be a complete and total change from living here. This is home now, really, and there is a very comfortable routine here. It is also going to be crazy busy with all the commitments I have made, the things I want to do, and then the people I want/need to see. And then there is my family. I know that at least I will be spending Thursay and probably much of Saturday with them, so they are built into the schedule. I'm sure Mom will want to spend more time with me than that, though. It will be negotiated. I really do want to see eveyone again-- that should be very nice. I can't wait to see Ian and Eric and Andy... Hurray!
I really need to get to work, if anything I want to get done today is going to get done today. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


So, I participated in an ancient yale tradition tonight. It was kind of exciting.
There is this relatively exclusive club here, basically only open to yalies, which is famous for its cups
they are giant silver loving cups, filled with strange and usually alcoholic things. You must pass these cups around the table (the cup is never permitted to touch the table) and make a toast every time you have the cup. You pass with half turns, and when the cup is empty, the last person has to finish it, dry the cup on their head, and then prove that it is absolutely empty by putting it on a napkin and having no ring and people tell stories, and (if you're me) you watch other people get drunk... It was fun. Hurray for ancient yale tradition. Also, nothing better than singing Yale songs really loudly, with a lot of drunk people, even though you are pefectly sober.

Ya? Well, fuck you too, numbers, fuck you too.

Too bad I can't do Rex's south Jersey accent while typing that. But the moral of the story is that my astronomy midterm kicked my ass. It makes me very sad, and I don't know what to do now.
Cry, perhaps.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I wonder if I have any sometimes. I think maybe I do, but then, I can't be sure. There is this guy, and I get contradictary messages from him.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


So, I did a tarot reading for myself today. It was a little strange, I thought. The first part of the Celtic Cross was full of ,ajor arcana. I got Hierophant, Empress, Strength, Temperance, and the Hermit, as well as the four of wands (a nice card to have, even in the "what crosses you" position. So, that part of the reading seemed simple enough-- think about the balance between the fun and the serious, the whimsical and the weighty. Half of those cards discuss balance, and half discuss the spiritual aspect of being. (I was in particular pleased by the discussion of the tripartite soul, as I have just finished reading Plato's discussion of the tripartite soul in Republic. Hurray for DS!)
The second half of the reading appeared to address a different question than the first half. Balance and spirituality forgotten, the 8, 9 and 10 of cups appeared along with the Knight of Pentacles (kind of how I have always seen myself....) And don't get me wrong, I was asking this reading about cup-issues, and of the cups, none are better to get in a reading than the 9 and 10. But of course, the 8 was in the outcome position, which is a little depressing. It means that it is time to turn away from something old, and move to something new before there is stagnation. And while it is unclear what this is referring to, I have my guess. Though that isn't particularly well-established. And perhaps it is not so far from taking the card's implied advice if I just change the relationship, and not abandon it altogether. That seems so wasteful! But perhaps it will be necessary, who can say?
I have to stop wasting my time and get to work. Papers don't write themselves anymore.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Oh, I am very excited. I just had to put this up here. I had to put it somewhere!
I bought this teapot today at an antique store, and I am so in love with it. It is a Simpson, Hall, and Miller plated silver, and dated 1874. Image hosted by
It is my favorite thing now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Isn't it great when two of your friends (unbeknownst to each other) have exactly the same problem? And they both ask you what you think? And you don't have any kind of good answer? I think it's great. Because it is ironic. But also because it is depressing and sad and it means that two friends have the same sucky question to answer. Sigh.
In other news, I hate George R R Martin for lying to me. He said that the bloody book, A Feast for Crows was going to be published this week, but no. Instead, it isn't coming out until November 8!! God, that is forever away. I was counting on that book to get me through the rest of the summer. I guess I'll just have to turn to my Directed Studies readings earlier than I thought. And I have 30 days left with my family, 26 for the rest of the world. It is coming quickly now. But I am becoming genuinely excited and pleased about it, in large part because I know have access to OCI (Online Course Information) and Facebook. But also because I am ready to be busy again. As much as I love getting enough sleep ALL THE TIME, I am really looking forward to being productively engaged. And also, as much as I love my friends (I really do, guys), I am ready to start meeting new people. I have full intentions of preserving all my old friendships, because I would hate to see them suffer unduly. You know what I mean.
I want my computer! I want my iPod! I am getting them soon, but I want them now!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Hurray! I got my Yale email address last night! So, this of course means that I am now on the Facebook. Facebook me! It is eating my life, but also conviniently my time. Again, my life falls into the pattern of a few jam-packed days followed by many empty days. Full, empty, empty, empty, full, empty, empty...

Monday, July 11, 2005


I realized today that I very rarely think about what actually makes me happy. This is not to say that I do not have ideas about what makes me happy, but I think that these are mostly scattered. There is no easily discernible pattern. What I do know:
1. Past regrets are not really holding me back. Sure, there are things I wish could unsay or undo. But seeing as this is particularly unlikely to happen, I consider myself pretty good at letting most things go. (This is despite the fact that I know full well that I sometimes hold grudges, though I think that these are rarely against people I actually know. I am much more likely to hold a grudge against a larger entity. Walmart, for example. Also, people I don't know, such as Mr. Rove.)
2. Contentment is not the same as happiness. It just is not enough to be content, though contentment certainly has a place in the grand scheme of happiness. It is probably impossible to be happy without first having some measure of contentment. But contentment seems a shallow measure of pleasure and happiness can be much broader, including things like joy, pride, and satisfaction that aren't necessarily included in contentment.
3. I'm not really sure what does restrain my all-out happiness. While I feel a little strange classing this under "What I know," it is always good to acknowledge the gaps in your information. This is a critical one, which I must think about more. Perhaps if I could come to a helpful conclusion, it would give my life some more direction and give me a little more guidance. If not, it simply means that I know myself better than did before, nothing I will ever complain about.
4. I don't think about these kinds of questions unbidden most of the time. It usually requires some external motivation to figure it out, such as a question or a book or some other outside stimulus. I find this to be a big problem with myself, as I tend to criticize myself for not thinking enough. Also, it is hard for me to be truly clear about some point that I am trying to express if I am limited to my silent thoughts. It comes along much better when put in writing or exchanged in a conversation.
All in all, I am writing mostly because of this last point. At the moment, there is no one here and I cannot share my thoughts on the subject except by writing them down or talking to myself. I do enough of the latter to mean that this is a nice change of pace. So there you go.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Movies in the Park

Here is the schedule for the movies in the park. Want to go?
Jul. 12: 8:59 p.m. "Citizen Kane"
Jul. 19: 8:54 p.m. "Annie Hall"
Jul. 26: 8:48 p.m. "My Darling Clementine"
Aug. 2: 8:39 p.m. "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial"
Aug. 9: 8:30 p.m. "The Night of the Hunter"
Aug. 16: 8:20 p.m. "The Hustler"
Aug. 23: 8:09 p.m. "Star Wars"

Also, there are some neat looking concerts coming up soon...
Wednesday, July 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Grant Park Orchestra; James Paul, Conductor; Christian Tetzlaff, Violin
Quiet City
Symphony No. 2
Violin Concerto in D Major
Internationally renowned violinist Christian Tetzlaff makes his Grant Park debut at this concert in Brahms’ heart rending violin concerto.

Friday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Grant Park Orchestra; James Paul, Conductor
Capriccio espagnol
Lieutenant Kije Suite
Symphony No. 6 in B minor
Two Russian favorites and one of Shostakovich’s middle symphonies share equal billing at these midseason concerts.

Wednesday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Grant Park Orchestra; James Paul, Conductor
L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2
Suite in F Sharp Minor
Ballet Suite from Estancia
From Bizet’s famous and frenetic Farandole to Ginastera’s Latin rhythms, this concert offers three very different and colorful orchestral suites.

Damn it!

Few things are quite as subtely depressing as watching Oprah late at night. It sucks. I have obviously never done this awful thing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Another news article I thought I would share with you.

Astrologer Sues NASA Over Comet Probe

By Associated Press
Published July 5, 2005, 12:35 PM CDT

MOSCOW -- NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust -- it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer.

Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday. A Moscow court has postponed hearings on the case until late July, the paper said.

Scientists say the crash did not significantly alter the comet's orbit around the sun and said the experiment does not pose any danger to Earth.

The probe's comet crash sent up a cloud of debris that scientists hope to examine to learn how the solar system was formed.

Bai is seeking damages totaling $300 million -- the approximate equivalent of the mission's cost -- for her "moral sufferings," Izvestia said, citing her lawyer Alexander Molokhov. She earlier told the paper that the experiment would "deform her horoscope."

NASA representatives in Russia could not be reached for comment on the case.

Monday, July 04, 2005

So, this is pretty great. It's a pretty good commentay on Science v. Religion. Keep going-it's part of a little series. I've been spending a lot of time reading these excellent Dinosaur Comics. Each strip has exactly the same image with different text. It's a pretty excellent medium, thogh I was highly skeptical at first. Though Ian advised me to start at the beginning, and I have found this to be good advice so far. They make for very entertaining reading. They have been keeping me busy.
Sometimes, I do a damn good job of keeping myself busy. It is at times like this when I get about 4 hours of sleep on at least two consecutive nights (like the last two...), and then I cease functioning as a normal human being and begin to talk about absurd things like drinking games based on calculus or what truly matters in life instead of holding perfectly normal conversations about fireworks and food and such. Anyway, today my feet made a new enemy (my shoes), and they are complaining about this loudly right now.I have a whole bunch of blisters and several damn inconveineit calluses. I also watched the movie Alien. It wasn't actually a sci-fi movie, because it was actually a horror movie. Even still, it was entertaining. I also got to eat three meals today (I don't actually remember the last time that happened. Since school ended, I have been eating on a terrible and erratic schedule, and some days I hardly eat at all. Even though I ate light at all three meals, it was good because I actually ate like normal people! Hurray. There are few enough things where I really feel normal. You know how that goes.)
And so I had a good day. And it finishes well- with Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Not a great movie, but a few of the shootout sequences are pretty cool. Though overall, the fight scenes are cool and interesting. The plot is entirely summarized by the commercials, but who went to see that movie for the plot? Duh.
Remind me to write about being obsessive sometime.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sandra! Noooooo!

So, the news is everywhere. My mailbox is full of emails from liberal lobbyist groups, asking me for money to fund the coming war over the idiot President Bush is bound to nominate. Just yesterday, I regretfully threw out a People for the American Way letter about the balance of the supreme court (also asking for money). I threw it away because I didn't think that this was going to happen quite like this. I suspected that evil Rehnquist would e the first to go, owing to his thyroid cancer. But no, it had to be one of the more moderate ones! At least it was a consesrvative, instead of a true moderate. But the implications for this are very frightening, and it could mean that some things start to change for the worse come October (when they start their next session). I think I may just donate to PFAW or some similar group. That three sentence letter has me quaking in my boots.
If you are of a similar mindset, perhaps you should sign up for their email action alerts, at PFAW. They are often not asking for money- they also want you to write or email or call your representatives and senators or sign petitions. I am not convinced of the efficacy of the petitions, but it's a lot of fun to get letters in the mail from your senators. The best part is the postage- their signature in blue ink. (Confused? Go look up the franking privilege.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Society for Creative Anachromism Siezes Control of Russia

Society for Creative Anachromism Siezes Control of Russia
MOSCOW—Official reports from the Kremlin Tuesday confirmed that the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group of medieval-wargames hobbyists, seized control of Russia in a bloodless coup over the weekend.
Above: SCA members guard the recently seized St. Basil's Cathedral.
"Weakened by food shortages, political instability and widespread economic chaos, our military's combined forces proved no match for the enemy's rattan-and-duct-tape broadswords and homemade weaponry," said deposed Russian president Boris Yeltsin during a national radio address in which he relinquished rulership to the "Principality Of The Mists," one of several dozen SCA "kingdoms."
"I can't tell you how humiliating this is," he added.
The SCA, founded in 1966 by a group of Berkeley science-fiction and fantasy fans, is a non-profit organization dedicated to fun and learning through such medieval activities as metalwork, calligraphy, lute-playing and brewing. Boasting more than 20,000 dues-paying members in 14 countries, the club is also known for holding elaborately staged mock battles, followed by feasting and merrymaking amid the revelry of troubadours and jesters.
The seizure of over 70% of Russia's land mass marks the first time the SCA has ventured into the arena of international politics.
"I can't believe how easy it was to claim Kiev for the Kingdom Of Ealdormere," said Royal Peer Gawain Falconsfyre, a 44-year-old tech-support assistant from a suburb of Toronto. "It was a piece of cake. Haven't any of these Russians ever heard of a moving-shield-wall offense?"
Falconsfire and an SCA faction armed only with rubber maces successfully captured two Russian tank divisions outside Moscow Saturday when fuel shortages immobilized the armored vehicles.
Due to the disarray of communications within Russia, information regarding the actual invasion is sketchy. It was confirmed, however, that St. Petersburg was taken without a shot being fired late Saturday morning, after thousands of Russian soldiers deserted their posts, joining approximately 70 SCA knights advancing on the city in hopes of being issued new boots and coats.
The SCA also overtook vast areas at the borders of former Russian republics Ukraine and Belarus simply by trading several sacks of potatoes for enemy guns.
Above: Former president Boris Yeltsin transferring control of Russia to Grand Seneschal Ulf Silverhawk.
"Forsooth, mine legions of brave warmakers hath conquered the Lands West O' the Urals! Let there be great rejoicing in our noble victory!" exclaimed Cedric, Bard of the House of Æthelmearc, 36, hoisting a flagon of ale. "What, ho! Bring on the serving wenches!"
Cedric, known as Harold Freed when among non-SCA members, is credited with capturing two military air bases and a string of missile installations throughout the north Caucasus region along the Georgian border—an area rendered vulnerable by ethnic infighting, corruption and military anarchy.
SCA leaders, who have called the weekend's campaign "a really good time," were said to be especially pleased with the invasion's early wrap-up, as it left the remainder of the weekend free for social recreation in the form of mead-drinking, archery contests, and the singing of bawdy madrigals.
Even captured Russian soldiers were invited to join in the fun and campfire dancing. Such "good sportsmanship" has some analysts arguing that the SCA's power base in Russia may even benefit the troubled land in the long run.
"Though civilian rioting and widespread starvation still rock the major population centers, Russia is actually more stable right now than it has been for the last 18 months," Harvard political science professor F. Horace Gunderson said. "Candle-dipping seminars are addressing the problems posed by energy shortages, and the booths selling roasted turkey legs represent, in many regions, the first source of food in weeks."
"This could be the best thing to happen to Russia in years," agreed State Department foreign-affairs analyst Howard Plum. "The sale of jewelry, driftwood art and other medieval handcrafting at concession tables throughout Russia has boosted local economies, and SCA presence has even created new jobs in the custodial and campground-rental fields."
The U.N. security council is drafting a proposal urging SCA forces to remain in Russia, at least until a more viable interim government can be structured.
"Under the current political system, the Russian people face Mafia domination of the black market and a deteriorating national infrastructure," U.N. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering said. "With an elaborately networked consortium of amateur gamers in charge, however, there will at least be some semblance of order."
Members of SCA nobility, however, say the group has no interest in running Russia for any great length of time, especially with the members' need to prepare for their next major event, this summer's Pennsic War between the East and Middle Kingdoms, to be held in Pennsylvania. Insiders expect the occupying forces to return power to the Russian government "on the honor system" and return to their day jobs by the end of the week.
"We're doing this for fun, not the vulgar acquisition of personal political power," said insurance actuary and Arizona native Willownook Pendragon, of the Kingdom of Atenveldt. "We're here to celebrate our mutual interest in the ways and customs of pre-1600 feudal Europe, and to bedeck ourselves in the heraldic regalia of our fictional medieval personas, not to get mixed up in politics."
Pendragon added that "anyone who wants to have a fun time and make new friends" should check out the SCA home page or contact the group's California headquarters directly at its toll-free number for more information on an SCA chapter in their area.
"We're really just friendly folks who welcome outsiders," Pendragon said. "Plus, now is a great time to get involved, because there's lots of super events coming up this summer, and you'll want time to prepare the correct blazon for your heraldry."

I love it. I love it so much.

Friday, June 24, 2005

La la la...

So, I doubt that anyone actually went to that concert. I didn't even go. I was at a baseball game in Milwaukee, and we waited in a parking lot for a long long time before getting onto the parking lot (I 94). So, after thhe many hours stuck sitting in a hot car, I opted out of the concert. There are more, though, and I intend to go to them.
And, I have another bridge game tomorrow morning before Claire's party. I'm pleased by that, though I fear that it will go as poorly as the last one did. Sigh. I really did get reamed that night. And I haven't done anything to help myself since then. There are just so many things to do. Reading bridge books is a hard habit to get into, especially when there are such entertaining things as crossword puzzles. Damn things. I bought the evil paper today, just because I wanted that crossword. I felt a little bad about that, too.
Oh well. At some point, when it isn't so oppressively hot, perhaps I will write about my obsessive tendancies.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Oh no!

This new article casts doubts on the solar sail mission. They fear that it might not have seperated from it's rocket booster pack, which would be very sad. I would mourn the loss of the private investment more than the same amount in government money. I hope all is well with the Cosmos-1.
Also, there is this concert in Millenium Park on Thursday. I am going to try to go. Perhaps you would like to go also?
Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, Conductor; Karina Gauvin, Soprano
MOZART Exsultate, jubilate
MAHLER Symphony No. 4 in G Major
Mozart and Mahler’s works share a common vision of heaven. Karina Gauvin, soon to be one of Grant Park’s favorite sopranos, wowed audiences last year with her celestial renditions of Handel and Faure.

One more thing. I had this dream last night, where I was the First Lady. I was trying to call Laura, to give her some decorating advice or something, and I was trying to leave my name with the secretary, but I couldn't remember my last name. I guess that is pretty appropriate, considering my unmarried status. But the dream got me to thinking. I would probably be an unsaavy choice as mate. I am white, pretty liberal, and from Illinois, not even close to a swing state. But it also made me think that perhaps if such a thing came to pass, it would simply be indicative of the fact that I was chosen for my personal qualities, not my political capital. That certainly would be the better way to do things, though I can't forget the old saying "Every good marriage begins in tears."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Finally impressed

It is so rare that a sentence in a science fiction or fantasy book really stands out to me for beauty. Occasionally for simplicity, weight, narrative value, or poor writing. But almost never for beauty. So I decided I had to share this sentence from Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light.
"A sea of turbulent light appeared overhead, and three times spilled streams that rode crazy crescendo down to splash upon the stone fang curving blackly into the wind, about a quarter mile up the slope."
I especially like the phrase "crazy crescendo."

Good Morrow to our Waking Souls

Space! Hurray. I like the idea of a space craft that uses solar sails. The idea just seems so classy. I really hope it works as well as it is predicted to-- it would be really great. Also, the mere fact that the mission is privately funded is fantastic. Though I certainly don't like the idea that governments are spending less and less on science, and therefore less and less on space missions, I am pleased that people in the private sector care enough to fund this (very very cheap) mission. Of course, this technology won't be practical outside the near planets, really, because the "solar wind" the sails are powered by won't be strong enough too far from the sun. But still. I heartily approve.
And some sad personal news... Sean, at Preposterous Universe is "going on vacation." Bummer. He always has such interesting things to say, even if he hasn't posted anything about cosmology in a rather long while. I do so enjoy those discussions.
But some good news: I bought the Complete English Poems of John Donne today. I felt it only appropriate to buy something like that with Mr. Hahm's graduation gift. Not to mention the fact that I love John Donne. His poetry is so intricate and wonderful. For example, The Good Morrow.
The Good-morrow

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we lov'd? Were we not wean'd till then,
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

And more good news: I finished the New York Times crossword todayy. After stealing it out of a paper from Corner Bakery, I finished it with some help from my mom and from Heywood. I was exceedingly pleased with myself, even if Monday's is the easiest one. It is still pretty hard to finish one of those things. It took me a while, but I'm glad I stuck with it.
And still more good news: Andrew is almost in Italy. His flight left at 3:00, and it is about nine hours there. So, about three more hours until he lands. He promised me he would call before he left, but I guess he forgot about me. So much for that. :-( I know he'll have a great time. I am mostly just jealous, because I get to sit at home and blog while he is galavanting around Italy for sixteen days.
And it is my sister's birthday tomorrow. I only have a lame present for her, and that makes me sad. She is the best gift-giver. She can always come up with an innovative and sincere gift that everyone appreciates and comments on and remembers and genuinely wants to own. I come up with trite gifts, or useless things, or boring things. Never the really good ones. And this birthday is no different. I wish I had done better.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I love you, BBC.

Oh, those crazy Nepalese! The Maoist council said "Our party has issued special instructions to all cadres, the People's Liberation Army and other units not to carry out physical attacks on any unarmed person until another decision." Why does that take a special decision? How is that not just good policy? Ack. Anyway, the quote is taken from this BBC article about the aftermath of a landmine explosion that killed 38 innocents.
This is also a nice article from BBC about using seismic "geophones" to listen for elephants. Though admittedly impractical, it sounds really cool.
A story I like about how ancient Egypt rocked...
But this is my favorite. Using quantum mechanics, in such basic terms, to allow time travel. Quantum behaviour is governed by probabilities. Before something has actually been observed, there are a number of possibilities regarding its state. But once its state has been measured those possibilities shrink to one - uncertainty is eliminated.
So, if you know the present, you cannot change it. If, for example, you know your father is alive today, the laws of the quantum universe state that there is no possibility of him being killed in the past.
It is as if, in some strange way, the present takes account of all the possible routes back into the past and, because your father is certainly alive, none of the routes back can possibly lead to his death.
I love you, BBC.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gone fishin'

Not exactly. But close enough. I am headed down to Springfield to be feasted tomorrow. I won a scholarship, so they invited me to lunch. It's pretty exciting. In any case, I shall return late Friday night (with burried treasure? I think so.)
The concert yesterday was lovely, even if the weather was uncooperative. We toughed it out, though. Mendelssohn is worth a little rain. And considering the misty nature of the rain, it was certainly bearable. The music was great, and the sound was fantastic. I can't wait to go again.
And in other news, there is no other news.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bone of Contention?

Ok, it's a bad pun I borrowed from this neat BBC article about growing human bone in the form of a wedding ring. It's pretty cool, both from a scientific standpoint and from an artistic one.
Alice's party was a dance party. I had not been warned about this. I do not dance. So there you go.
That isn't to say that I didn't have a good time. I got to talk to some people that I wouldn't have otherwise, including Alex Schmidt and Zach Parsons, Eve and Mieka. And I got to play an aborted game of Tichu where Miriam and I rocked out. And the music was really good, even if it was dancing music.
And on the way home, several funny happenings. Andrew to Eve: You creamed me! (There was some éclair crème involved...) followed much later by Andrew to Mieka: You coked my hair! It's all artificial caramel coloring now!
Ok, maybe you had to be there.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Edison Graduation, take 2

As I walked into the gym this morning, I had the eerie feeling that I was missing my mortar board. I think I would have felt more at home in cap and gown than seated up on stage with Mrs. Gray, Mr. Springer and Mr. Barber. When I looked down at the graduates, I didn't actually see their faces most of the time. Instead, I saw my own classmates, now scattered and about to scatter much father. I saw Puran, Anthony, Sammy, Danielle, Monica, and Sophia, all sitting there waiting to turn that tassel. The people who were actually in front of me look like fourth graders, as if they hadn't changed at all since I left.
As great as it was to be back there, seeing all the teachers that I loved and still love, and seeing some of the brightest kids in the city wearing their gym uniforms, I felt out of place there. I have two alma maters now, but no real school. I don't go to Yale yet. I have hardly even been there. I have little enough right to call myself a Yalie. And so I am displaced, much as those eight graders are. They don't belong at Edison anymore, but they don't yet belong at Northside or Whitney or Lincoln. Highschools only have three classes over the summer, but they also have 5. 4 is the least appropriate.
I got a lot of praise for my speech, but I'm not really convinced. The speech itself, in its written form, I was pleased with. The delivery, though.... I think it could have been very bad. I have a very stiff mannner in that formal context, which usually doesn't serve me very well. In this case, I wasn't exactly sure what to do with the podium or microphone. My dad tells me that I didn't come off as nervous at all, but I think that is a lie. I know that once I got through the middle of the first page, I became more comfortable. I noticed that myself. So maybe I wasn't nervous seeming by the end.
And I forgot to bring my camera. So sorry, if you missed it you missed it. There are no pictures, and I have no video. Just the text of the speech and the collective memories of my parents and myself.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Summer To-Do List

See Body Worlds
Go to Shedd Aquarium (Crabs)
See the Symphony
Go to the Museum of Contemporary Art
See a movie in the park
Go to Lincoln Park Zoo
Go to a Sox game
Go to the Field Museum
See the Toulouse Lautrec exhibit
Have lunch with Aunt Susanna
Have lunch with Liz
Have lunch with Mrs. Schlaggar
Have lunch with Ethel
Have lunch with Mrs. Levin
Finish shopping for school
Send school email to teachers
Watch Pirates of the Caribbean
Go to the beach

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Party time

Well, yesterday was fun. Overall, it was a very good time. Of course we had way too much food (like always), but the cake went really quickly (mostly because Mom cut giant pieces). I know my attention was pretty scattered yesterday, but I was trying my hardest to be a good hostess. I hope no one felt neglected.
I got a lot of excellent things, inclluding a lot of money, some books I look forward to reading, an amazing bridge ledger, some cool framed art (like fish photos from Mr. Arnam!), and earings I can't yet wear. And of course, the digtial camera. I used that new toy to capture this lovely image. Image hosted by You know this is how you'll go down in history, right?
Also, this one of my unbearably cute cousin. Image hosted by
I call this picture Dignified Brian with Lightsaber Straw... Image hosted by And this one is Eric Charading. Eric, you are the most enthusiastic and unrewarded Charades player. You rocked out last night. Way to go. Image hosted by

Friday, June 10, 2005


More and more, I find these lyrics relevant. That is a depressing thought, I know.
A key in the door, a step on the floor
A note on the table, and a meal in the micro
Note says "I'm in bed, please make sure that you're fed
if you're taking a shower, you can borrow my bathrobe
When I'm asleep I dream you move in next week"
I crumple the note and save it to put inside

My shoe box
Shoe box of lies
Shoe box
Shoe box of lies

it's under my bed, it's never been read
it's in with my school stuff and my mom never cleans there
From my first little fib, when I still wore a bib
To my latest attempt at pretending I'm someone
Who's not seventeen, doesn't know what you mean
When talk turns to single malts, or stilton, or


Did somebody tell you
This is how it's supposed to be?
Or did you just find it
And you don't want any more from me?


Was it something I said, or was it something you read
That's making me think that I should never have come here
I can offer you lies, I can tell you good-bye.
I can tell you I'm sorry, But I can't tell you the truth, dear
And what if I could -- would it do any good?
You'll still never get to see the contents of


You're so nineteen-ninety
And it's nineteen-ninety-four
Leave this world behind me
'Cause you don't want me anymore

But I only bring it up because I looked through my own shoeboox tonight. It is under my bed, no one else ever reads it, and my mom never cleans there (neither do I, actually). And though the letters and notes in there must have been true when they were written, they aren't now. And that makes them a particular kind of sad lie. "To my true love, From your not so secret admirer." "To the love of my life" etc. Not to mention all the pictures... old proms, summer events, John looking drugged wearing a Hawaiian shirt (all for lost love of me.)
All in all, it makes for a pretty depressing looking experience. I don't know why I even looked at it. But I got off the phone with John, and that was pretty sad too. John, if you still read this, I don't know what to do about you. I still don't understand. Either why you did what you did, or considering, why you seem to think that things are just normal. I wish you would consider these things, seriously. I don't even know how to talk to you. You may have noticed this in our rather empty phone conversations. I don't know how tomorrow will be. I'm no longer sure that inviting you was a good idea. I don't hate you. I know you're afraid of that. Well, no worries on that front. And as much as I try, I do still have some shred of caring left. But I don't know what you really want from me. And even if I did, I doubt that I know how to give it to you.
I just don't understand. So many things. I guess I'll start with this. Why did you feel some strange sense of urgency? Why not let it dissolve naturally, since I was going to be leaving at the end of the summer anyway? What made you decide it had to be then?
And what do you want from me now? You've already confessed to me that you don't care as much as you did. That's why you put us here, or at least that is what you would have me believe. No one else believes you, and I want to, but I don't know if I can. I thought I knew you. We didn't have those barriers between us, or at least I thought we didn't. But now we do. So I have to look suspiciously at what you are saying to me. Maybe I shouldn't trust what you are saying now. Maybe I shouldn't trust anything you said for weeks beforehand.
March 30th. You remember this day? Do you? Because I do. One week before. I went down to see you, like every Wednesday. Why? Because I liked your company. Why? Because I loved you. Why? You tell me fucking why. We were in your room. I got a call on my cell. It was Andrew, he had gotten the scholarship, and I was sure it meant that I hadn't gotten one. But then I did get one. It was one of the happiest moments of my life, right then. You know I feel stupid now, admiitting that a huge part of that happiness was you. Was the mere idea that I might actually be able to afford to spend the next four years with you. Happy. Blissful, even. God. That milkshake, and then bridge that night. I really genuinely thought that you cared about me. And then, that night, on the way home you were grinning like the damn fool in love I guess you were pretending to be. You told me you loved me, and you looked into my eyes and said it like you meant it. I was the happiest person that day.
And one week later, just seven days later, you tell me you don't. That is has been a lie. That you don't care any more, that we should break up. And yes, I sat there like a moron. I sobbed as you ripped my heart out while looking at your shoes. And yes, I was the pitiable girl in the movie who sits there repeating "But I still love you" like a fucking broken record. Maybe I was lying too. Maybe I didn't actually love you, not like it used to be. But I cared about you very deeply. I could see our lives together. For a long time. But now, now?
What do you see, John? In the ashes of our wedding, in the ashes of what I must have dreamed we could have had, what do you see? Do you see me gone, waving to you as I move on? Or is it the other way around?Have you moved on already? Is that why you keep calling me? Because you have already given up on all the things we had? Or were you done when you said the words? Accepted this reality already?
I don't know what you want. I simply do not understand you anymore. So, you'll have to lay it all out for me, like I've been trying my damndest to do for you.
What do you want from me?

Life in a really big nutshell.

Today went really fast, so far. I finished my Directed Studies application and submitted it. If you read it, thank you. If not, well then you suck.
I watched the Cubs bludgeon the Boston Red Sox (a dream matchup, by the way. It is, in fact, every baseball fan's favorite matchup, since about 1918.) I'm very pleased by the score- 14-6 should be enough for just about anyone. And if David Ortiz hadn't been playing, it would have been 14-3. That 9th inning homerun was just a little show of defiance off of a second string bullpen guy. As long as the bats show up tomorrow and Sunday like they did today, I'll be happy.
I got up pretty late today. I'm going to blame my nightmares. I woke up sometime in the middle of last night. I had dreamed that my grandfather died, and I hadn't even gone to visit him. The dream shook me a lot. It got worse and worse until I thought that it might actually be a dream, and I forced myself awake.
The weather has been pretty oppressive today. The heat hasn't been so bad, but the humidity is killer. Hopefully the rain will drive the humidity and the temperature down before the big party tomorrow without making the grass too soggy.
I should be writing my speech. I still have no idea what I can say. I don't really know what I have to say to a room full of eight graders. I'm not old enough to really impart a whole lot of wisdom, not that they would be inclined to listen anyway. Nor am I funny to go up there and tell jokes while having a nice cliched message. Nor am I one of them, who could get up and tell stories and generally reminisce about the experience. So nostalgia is out. What does that leave?
I'm not sure either. But if you had an idea for me, I'd love to have it. Send it to me.
Yesterday was nice, but not to my feet. I went to Andres' house with Andrew and met a bunch of people there. Mostly I worked on the Tribune's crossword puzzle. With very little help from anyone else, I managed to do more than half of it, which is the best I think I've ever done with a crossword. It makes me wish I got a paper every day so I could fail at finishing the crosswords. Anyway, all the walking I did in new shoes left me with blisters. Two on one little toe, one on the other. Ug. So I ended up walking around Lincoln Square barefoot (just like after Prom), and got calluses which are bothering me while walking barefoot today. It seems I just cannot win. On the plus side, though, I have not put shoes on all day. That is a victory.
Yesterday, I may have said goodbye to two people for good, or for a really long time. Mari and Sophie are both going to camp over the summer, and then leaving soon after they get home. Mari is also going to go to Israel for a long time, so I doubt that I will see her for a very long time. It is concievable to me that I may never see them again. It is a rather depressing thought to me, thinking that it may be a year or more until I see them again.
Today, I have been thinking about what I'll be reading all summer. For one thing, I feel like I might die before George R. R. Martin releases his next book (July 26, practically a lifetime from now). But once that does come out, I'll be reading that. I will also get my hands on a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I am looking forward to. In preparation for that, perhaps I will re-read the last one. I also have Ian's copy of A Mote in God's Eye , which looks rather Asimovian. It was reccomended to me, though I don't recall by whom.
Then there is some more serious reading I should do. For example, The Rape of the Nile by Brian Fagan, and some of Brian Greene's physics stuff. I should perhaps also brush up on my French and German, as well as what little Middle Egyptian I ever knew. Michael has also threatened to try and teach me Greek. I think that would be fun, and I'm all for it.
I also want to play some bridge! I have my first bridge game since April scheduled for Monday. I hope Todd does not have a meeting. I might just go anyway. I need to get back into the swing of things. And Andrew, you should look over that green book I gave you. I think it will help you some. I also have a more advanced book of conventions that Todd gave me. Those require partnership agreements, though, and so are harder to do on one's own. I think I might want to finish that book on defense that I started after the tournament disasters. Ah. How fondly I remember them.
On an not entirely unrelated note, sometime this summer I will gather a group together for an all day (perhaps also all night) History of the World fest. Perhaps we will also rent History of the World, Part I. But I will play that game before I leave for school in August.
Ok, I think I'm done.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


This is a great story. BBC, how I love you. Im not really sure which part of this I like the best.
More gamers are taking disputes over virtual property to court
A Shanghai online gamer has been given a suspended death sentence for killing a fellow gamer.
Qui Chengwei stabbed Zhu Caoyuan in the chest when he found out he had sold his virtual sword for 7,200 Yuan (£473).
The sword, which Mr Qui had lent to Mr Zhu, was won in the popular online game Legend of Mir 3.
Attempts to take the dispute to the police failed because there is currently no law in China to protect virtual property.
Appeal plea
Buying and selling gaming artefacts such as imaginary weapons is a booming business on the web.
The internet games section of Ebay saw more than $9m (£5m) in trades in 2003.
While China has no laws to deal with the theft of virtual property, South Korea has a section of its police force that investigates in-game crime.
I know I've been adding a lot. I think it is because it is early summer and I don't have much better to do. But please remember to go down and look at my essay. I have to submit it on Friday, and so your help is appreciated.

Either those gowns go or I do.

Ok, I'm no Oscar Wilde, I admit it, but I am gone. I am now an official Northside Alum. While on the one hand it scares me that it could have just passed so quickly, on the other, I don't really feel that much. It just is. Done, that is. It went by rather quickly. The ceremony was brief, as expected, and I started crying while trying to say goodbye to Mr. Lucero. I just don't know what I would have done without him the last few years. He's the best. But he knows me so well... as I started to cry, trying to thank him, he changed the subject to baseball and I was better. I didn't really get many pictures. I hope other people did. I guess there are a rather lot of people that I will miss, even if some of them I was just starting to get to know. Sophie, for example. I didn't really spend that much time with her, but in the last few days I have and I really like her. Alice too. But I am moving on to bigger, and perhaps better things in August. Northside was very good to me. I can't really imagine how awful I would feel if I had gone to a "normal" highschool. I think I might have died. But I certainly wouldn't have the awesome friends I do have. (For example, all the people who were at Sabri today- super good Pakistani food, or Andrew, Andrew, Randy and Caitlin at dinner tonight. Ya'll rock.)
And John, I did graduate today. It was nice of you to notice.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Yes, I am one bad person.

Not the worst, though.
You scored as Darth Vader.

Darth Vader


General Grievous


Mace Windu






Padme Amidala




Anakin Skywalker




Obi Wan Kenobi


Emperor Palpatine


Clone Trooper


Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with

Caitlin is Padme, but I'm glad I'm not. Better Darth Vader than Anakin, too. I must admit, Yoda would be the coolest, but I just do not rock that much.

Your help, please.

Ok, so I want to apply for Directed Studies. (See Oh, Eli). And to do that, I have to write two essays. I wrote this draft for the first one today, and I would like your help. Please read it, add what comments you will. No need to be nice, but constructive things are always better than not.
An essay of approximately 750 words that discusses an influential course you have taken. Your focus should be on the course itself, not the teacher, and it may be a course whose significance was not necessarily positive.

Last summer, I took an archaeological field school through DePaul University. Our site had been the famous Pullman Palace Car factory, but any glamour the buildings once had was lost in a devastating fire about ten years ago. The remaining buildings were old, built by George Pullman in the late nineteenth century to house his offices and assembly plants. Behind them, a large empty space stretched back to more modern factories and warehouses. This overgrown urban jungle concealed bare foundations and industrial treasures, and a history forgotten even by historians.
Pullman is still known today, though not as much for Mr. George Pullman, his elaborate rail cars, or his innovative factory operations. Rather, Pullman is associated with a brutal era of labor conflicts and owner retaliation, especially the strike that bears the same name or the Pullman porters. And today, the small Southside community is still struggling to overcome the economic troubles that began when the factory finally closed in the 1970s. The neighborhood has its treasures, like any other: the row houses built for foremen, the beautiful Victorian hotel that echoes the grandeur of a bygone age, and the McDonald’s decorated with Pullman memorabilia.
The factory itself is mostly gone now, a burnt-out hulking structure of Lake Calumet brick. Even the clock tower, once the symbol of an entire industry, stands scorched and empty, surrounded by weeds and the bitter dust of progress.
It was into this landscape that my field school entered, trowels and brooms at the ready. Industrial archeology is not a glamorous field. There are no ancient treasures or golden masks to be unearthed. It is not the stuff of legends. But the class was not about glamour or legends. Rather, the finds revealed a more intimate knowledge of people’s lives. We mistakenly believe that we know everything about the people who lived in the newly industrialized world. After all, they lived where we lived, spoke the language we still speak, did jobs that are still familiar to us. But we do not see what we have lost in the intervening years.
The process at the Pullman Car Works that summer was an amazing means of rediscovering what society had lost to time and “progress”. I found inspiration in the simple things we found, like bottle caps, chicken bones, and teacup handles. These things were a part of the place, literally within the soil, and they gave me a connection to the people who worked there every day as I did, generations ago. The littlest things have been lost to the broad strokes of the historical record. Only the most important people, the most pivotal events are captured in our notion of the past. But in this class, the events found in my history books could not capture the pervasive sense of life and work that the most common objects of yesteryear exuded.
For my final paper, I contacted a gentleman who worked at the Pullman site in the years immediately following World War II. We had several long conversations, and he shared his whole life history with me, from his experience as a soldier in Europe, his work at Pullman, and his job as a Chicago streetcar driver. The little relics we found were the things that he and his peers left behind on their journey to the present. This fine man, who was kind enough to help me write my paper, is representative of the community I found stretching backward into the past, starting with my own experience there and arcing back to the original surveyors of the site for George Pullman himself. Their work was the industrial foundation that modern-day America rests on, and I was able to dig through the physical remnants of that foundation.
Pullman has left a yearning for a connection with the peoples of the past with me. The class emphasized the idea that history is not a dry collection of names, dates and events. Instead, it is the life of a community and the lives of individuals who leave their traces both in the chronicles of a society and in the dirt beneath their feet. The place I worked may not be more than an arson scene, an abandoned lot, or a dangerous eyesore to some, but to have been there and pulled pieces of people’s lives from underground, I understand it to be a relic from the past. We can ignore it, choosing the glamour of the well-known history, or we can reach out for what is left under the glimmering surface. We can find the deeper, spiritual connection to the past through people and the things they have left us if only we look.


A better robot, with help from a hissing roach

By John Schwartz
New York Times News Service
Published June 7, 2005

Garnet Hertz, a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, has given a roach a car.

The idea, he says, is to take a novel approach to the problem of robotic navigation. In the past, robots haven't been particularly adroit; getting from Point A to Point B can be arduous, and navigation systems cumbersome and complex.

Hertz, a Fulbright scholar from Canada, was inspired by robotics pioneers such as Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have suggested that robot intelligence should resemble that of roaches and other insects, which react quickly and instinctively to their environment.

Hertz said the project extends work in biological mimicry, but he adds: "It's a little bit of a joke. It's meant to say, `If all this bio-inspired stuff is so great, why don't you just use the biology and cut to the chase?"'

He uses the Madagascar hissing cockroach, which can grow as big as a mouse. In the summer of 2004, he built a three-wheeled cart, which rises about knee high. Atop the aluminum structure sits a modified computer trackball pointer, with a Ping Pong ball in place of the usual trackball.

The roach rides atop the trackball. As it scampers, the robot moves in the direction the roach would travel if it were on the ground; a Velcro patch and harness keep it in place.

Hertz also made use of the fact that roaches don't like light. In the device, the insect is enclosed by a semicircle of lights. Individual lights turn on when the device approaches nearby objects; in theory, the roach, in trying to avoid light, avoids the obstacles as well.

But biology is less predictable than technology.

Sometimes a roach appears perfectly happy to sit motionless on the ball for minutes at a time. Some roaches ignore the lights. And one of them, he believes, enjoys bumping the cart into walls.

Hertz orders his roaches online. In an unpublished essay, Hertz said he hopes the project would inspire "discussion about the biological versus computational, fears about technology and nature, a future filled with bio-hybrid robots, and a recollection of the narrative of the cyborg."

As opposed to simply, "Eeew."

Oh, Eli!

Eli Yale, that is.
Yesterday, I started to talk about Yale like i actually wanted to go there! This surprising development is very pleasing to me. I know that I will like it once I go and start meeting people, but I have all these insecuririties about my decision. So when I started mater-of-factly talking about all the things that I will do in the fall at Yale, my tone surprised me. I think I am going to apply to Directed Studies, which seems a little better than the freshman seminar program I could apply for.
I wonder if this is possibly a symptom of my impending graduation. I didn't feel like I was emotionally very affected by it, but I am seeing more and more that what I think has absolutely nothing to do with how I feel. Sucks to be me. I had a very hard time saying goodbye to certain teachers yesterday. Some were easy, but surprisingly, some were very hard. The worst, perhaps, was Mr. McRaith. Though we disagreed enough in terms of literature, we were in exacltly the same place about education and on the disasterous path Northside is on right now. As he said, we are confusing real learning with hoop-jumping, and this only gets worse with the swelling of the AP culture that has taken hold of the place. So, while I can support his decision not to teach AP next year, I find it sad, because it will probably only mean that someone else with more hoop-jumping will take over. I really felt that there weren't too many hoops-- just the CRJ and then only in the end of the year. It was a very needed tool in the early going, because it absolutely set the tone for intense noticing.
Ok, I'm changing the subject. This is real day-killer.
" Kerry's Yale Grades Similar to Bush's
By Associated Press
Published June 7, 2005, 4:09 AM CDT
BOSTON -- Sen. John F. Kerry's grade average at Yale University was virtually identical to President Bush's record there, despite repeated portrayals of Kerry as the more intellectual candidate during the 2004 presidential campaign.
Kerry had a cumulative average of 76 and got four Ds his freshman year -- in geology, two history courses and political science, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. "
Frankly this just sucks all around.
Did you read this? Leave me a comment. Just for the hell of it. Please.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

More delays.

There are to be further delays in the posting of more pictures, owing in large part to the fact that I don't have them all back yet. There are a few on my photobucket, though, which you can browse through if inclined.
This weekend was about the best prom weekend I could have asked for, considering. I had a grand time, even though one wish was not granted. I did not get to play History of the World! But I did look at some Roman coins and an oil lamp, so that is close enough, I guess. I did get to make a ton of inside jokes and references. There was some card playing, some video game playing, but mostly many many hours of talking. Thouroughly enjoyable talking.
Ian being here is such a nice excuse to drop everything else and just have fun, even if our idea of fun is the anti-party. Nothing screams jubilation like four relatively depressed teenagers talking about their exes. Sweet! Well, anyway, I should go. I have some obligations I must take care of. But first I will post one more prom picture, since my secret is out.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Thomas, the awesome Prom King, and me. How great is our class that we voted for Thomas over Justin? Oh, right. The best.
Image hosted by The Feet. Just showing Ian's feet vs. Andy's feet. That's right.
Image hosted by Last one. The Yalies! Boola Boola!

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Ok, it was spectacular. The best. Had a blast. Currently, I am running late for a cery important date. Must go down the rabbit hole, you see. Will write more later.
Image hosted by

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Not yet

Well, I finished graduation practice, and I wore my silly hat all the way home. It hasn't hit me yet. I think maybe it won't for a long time. I did my four years. It was a good four years, but I feel done. I'm not in a hurry, but I am finished.

Pre Prom

So, yesterday was the last day of high school. During last period, my class went outside. It was fairly quiet for the first part of the period, but in the second half, people kept streaming out of the building. By the end of the day, there must have been 50 or 75 seniors outside. At 3:05, everyone started cheering and screaming and jumping... Sunia said "It's good. I spent the first minutes of high school with you, and now the last ones too."
Strangely, I don't feel very much about this. It doesn't even feel like summer yet. Perhaps it will be a little more impactful after graduation practice in a few minutes. I won't really miss a lot of my classmates, and those that I will miss, I hope to keep in touch with. But some of the teachers... Now I know I will miss them. Ms. Maleug, Mr. Lucero, Mr. Hahm, Mr. Koreman, Dr, Lally... It seems to me that I have taken the last four years to assemble this crack team of mentors, but I have to leave them now. I guess it is all I can do to thank them, and try to let them know how much they've helped me over the last four years. And there is always email. Thank goodness for that.
So, Ian is coming to prom with me. While it isn't the prom I'd always dreamed of, I am very pleased with our plans. Hopefully nothing will go terribly awry. It's the best of both worlds, I guess, because I get to see Ian while going to prom in a huge mob of friends. I'll post pictures here, I promise.
I guess I should go, before I'm late for practice.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


In terms of John, I felt like we broke up all over again. The first part of the evening, we "watched" the Italian Job in very awkward silence. I played with the dog for a little while, but after a time, even we tire of each other's company. Dinner, again, in a kind of awkward small talk to other people kind of mode, and then I got a call on my cell. I went into the sunroom to take it, and fell asleep in the rocking chair. After an indeterminate amount of time, he came in and we started talking in a rather painful way. He said (for the first time) that he had intended to break up with me on that Sunday at my house, and not abandon me to the CTA with no mercy like he did. He reiterated the fact that he just didn't care as much as he used to, and that "I couldn't keep going the way it was". I guess it came down to the fact that I cared too much about things, and that I was too high-maintenance for him. I'm not sure I understood everything he was trying to communicate (but he was trying very hard and it was clearly very stressful). I guess I must have been at my coldest about then- as hard as he was trying to be expressive, I was trying to remain calm and to stay at a certain rational plateau. After a while, I got really freaked out and I walked out of his house, sobbing like a crazy person. I called my mom to get me home, but right before she came I called John and asked him to come outside. (I feel really stupid writing this. If you are reading it, then I must not have deleted it, but I thought about it. A lot.) I guess I couldn't just walk away. So, with my mom sitting there in the car, ready to whisk me away to emotional stability, I go up to him, call him stupid (and I think I swore, but I'm not sure) and gave him a hug and walked away. I got into the car, just a wreck, and he is just standing there and I am just sitting there. He looked more confused than I thought it was possible to look. (Yes, I am quite aware of the many run-on sentences, and I don't mind them. Also the crazy parenthetical and fragments.) My mom pushed me out of the car to go back and talk to him. "But I have nothing left to say," I said. "Go tell him that." And that was that, and I did, and it was an absurdist kind of silence for a while. He says "I'm sorry" in a voice that suggests that he wished it meant something. I jumped on that, but it was a start to a conversation which I didn't expect to happen at all. After that, I stayed for maybe an hour and we resumed making small talk and generalized chatter for a while. It amuses me how curious he is about prom yet how afraid he is to ask me about my plans. I know he wants to, but he won’t do it and I won’t tell him. I guess it is mostly some kind of sick joke of what walls we have erected to keep each other out now. It amazes me to think that we were so close that we didn’t have walls before, and now, just weeks later, we are like fencers, dancing around each other and guarding our words and expressions.
I don’t know. I still have hope, but being at his house that night was like rubbing salt in an open wound, showing off all the things that he doesn’t want anymore, all the things I can’t have or that I don’t have a right to anymore. How does that ever feel normal? How can you make a transition like that? I guess that is why most people don’t- it is too bloody hard to switch lenses like that. Maybe in public it will all be the same because I felt like we were a pretty group-friendly couple and then there are no appearances to keep up. But I don’t have that one person to share things with, to call and say “Want to grab some lunch?” That was him, but now what? And I can’t even imagine what he will do, because he is more inept socially than I am.
I know you know this, but I guess I should say it anyway: this whole thing was probably more for my benefit as for yours. It seems important to make sure things are clear enough to commit to words, especially when they can’t rely on expressions, gestures, or context. They have to stand alone. Depressingly alone.
I feel like I should end this email on a happier note, but I don’t have one right now. Sorry about that.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Something new

I decided that it was time for something new. Diaryland served me well enough for a very long time, but it just doesn't have the class that I'm really wanting. And, Livejournal gave the only username I was interested in (neferkatie) away to some other boring girl. So, here I am. My old diary, fare thee well.
The inspiriation for this, like so many other things, comes straight from Sean . I love his blog so much. Maybe it will be better, maybe not, but bear with me while I try it.