Old Daily Shows--April 2003

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Friday April 11, 2003 Returning at last

It's been about a decade since I last wrote, hasn't it.

My last entry was about Flute and being named a Watson fellow. The Watson thing really hit home today. I went to a meeting, you see, a meeting I'd attended four times before. Twice each year, the College hosts an informal meeting to provide students with information about the Watson Fellowship, to help them start planning their proposals.

My first was freshman year, in the spring. Anna Hess had just gotten her Watson, and I wanted to know what it was about. So I went, quite possibly the only freshman there, and I listened. The next spring, I went again, plans beginning to form. I thought I might go and study bread baking around the world.

At the end of junior year, I went to the meeting, plans coalescing around the idea of Scotland. I'd been to visit during that January, and loved it. I went to the meeting, and I started making plans in earnest. The next meeting was this fall, a week or two before the proposals were due, and the room was filled with tense seniors, full of curiosity and concern. I heard so many wonderful proposals that night! Cooking and dancing and singing and studying birds and reproductive health systems and hiking and monastic life! They all seemed so exciting.

And then tonight, I was at that meeting again, listening to Joy Charlton explaining about the Watson again, reading the familiar handouts again. There was a list of past Swarthmore Watson Fellows... and at the bottom, "Hollis Easter '03 - Auld Tunes and New: the Bagpipe Music of Scotland". And then Joy was introducing me, describing my project, and holding me up as proof that actual students do win this award.

Somehow, seeing myself not as one who will go on the fellowship but as one who has done what others will do was jarring. I sent in my registration materials this week; I'm definitely going. The meeting made it all the more real, though.

In other news, my collection of Celtic books has been chosen by the Swarthmore Library people as the winner of the first prize in this year's A. Edward Newton Library Prize competition. This is nifty, because it recognizes a fair amount of work that has gone into the collection, and also because it carries a $500 award for further additions to the collection. Neat!

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Friday April 11, 2003 Ceilidh

Tonight, the Folk Dance club hosted what we think is Swat's first semi-authentic Scottish Ceilidh. Dancing, music, jokes, food. Good fun.

It is now late, and I am going to bed. I wrote to Ian Duncan and Roddy Macleod today about doing lessons and such while in Scotland. I also called and wrote to Hamish Moore about ordering smallpipes. Go me.

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Saturday April 12, 2003 Dancing and singing

Today was my last Family Weekend folk dance demonstration. It went well, I think--our Scottish demo dances looked decent and felt fun, and it's always good when the dancing feels fun. I played some bagpipes with Susie and David Knight for Reel of the 51st Division, an impromptu third demo dance with Cecily and Geoffrey Selling, and helped a lot of new dancers get through our English participation dance, Geud Man of Ballangigh.

Strange to think that I've probably got one more demo before I'm done with them at Swat. Come to think of it, will we even have that? We always do a demo for Spec Weekend, but Spec Weekend is midweek this year, for reasons that seem unclear to most of us. It's also no longer Spec Weekend; now it's "Ride The Tide To Swat!". I think Spec Weekend was better. Anyway. How will we do a demo during the day in the middle of the week? So much for activities fair.

And then this evening we had our chorus concert--Stravinsky, Brahms, and Orff. Went pretty well, I think. My legs are killing me from standing up for so long, though.

More crème brûlée afterwards. Good fun.

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Sunday April 13, 2003 Choir

Final choir concert here at Swarthmore. Final concert here at Swarthmore, I think. Eloquent thoughts go here. I am fine but tired. Eliz and I made yummy Palm Sunday Potatoes for tradition's sake, and I made baguettes and fabulous hummus. Yay!

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Monday April 14, 2003 Seminar break

Today I felt studly for making baguettes and fresh hummus for Robotics seminar break. People liked them.

Then I went to the health center. I might have a cold. Or allergies. Or mononucleosis. Or Lyme disease. Or something else. Yay!

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Monday April 21, 2003 Wealth

prik kii noo, they're called, or Thai bird peppers, or Thai chiles. A mass of peppers, they are. A hoard of Capsicum frutescens, a wealth of capsaicin clutched carefully in my hand. These have powered a Thai green curry paste that made beef satay, a fiery fresh water pickle, and the garlic chile oil that's pictured with them. Wonderful to slice them using the cleaver, cutting board carefully balanced on the bathroom windowsill, and better to spoon them into the jar. Quite an elegant container for one that cost 50 cents at IKEA, eh? I sliced chiles carefully, moving them with the spoon to avoid touching the oil.

Capsaicin, the chemical of our dreams, is oil-soluble, you see, and so the olive oil infusion seemed like a necessary thing. The things we dream up to keep ourselves sane. Less than six weeks until I am a college graduate. Thursday night, Ben Schak and I finished up our natural language processing research, wrote the paper, and handed it in. We'll have some revisions to make, but the paper is in, I won't fail the class, and for all intents and purposes, I am now a CS major, signed and sealed. I could do nothing for the rest of the semester, and I would still graduate. That's an odd feeling.

And after that... what? Homeward, where I'll be productive, except that it'll likely take a while for this to sink in. Swarthmore. Strange to think of leaving it so soon. Mozart Clarinet Quintet on the stereo as I write. I've been listening to the chamber music constantly in the last little while, preparing for the repertory exam of the same name. I feel like I'll be well-prepared eventually.

But yes, I made chile oil, and it's sitting in the refrigerator, getting ready. Flavors mingling, and sometimes I wonder whether all the cooking is my way of dealing with change. Not that it's a bad thing; I just wonder. It strikes me sometimes how much I am my parents' son: on Friday night I spent four hours making dinner, and it didn't seem unusual or wrong in any sense. Is rhythm the relaxant I use? I play music, give massages, and chop vegetables. I wonder about that, too.

So yes, when I saw those chiles, a huge bag of them sitting on a cart in the Italian Market, I felt a bit like Ali Baba staring at the trove. I gave the man his $1, and he gave me the bag. Hotter than habaneros by weight, these are the gold standard of eastern chile use. Joy, a friend who loves hot foods, was in a play on the weekend, and I made her a flower out of chiles tied to a stick with dental floss. It was amazing.

Today is April 21st. If you've seen me today, you've noticed a big grin on my face. I had a wonderful vocal coaching today; I saw a chipmunk yesterday. But the real reason I'm grinning so much?

Eliz and I have been together for a year and a half today.

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Tuesday April 22, 2003 Chamber music

I passed the chamber music repertory exam today. Yay me!

Hung out, did work, had a day. Looked at mobile phones for Scotland.

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Wednesday April 23, 2003 Stuff

Stuff continues to go on. I had a good acupressure appointment today. Yay!

The campus is swarming with prospective students.... I'm feeling a bit sad that I won't meet them as frosh. They seem neat. Ah well.

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