Old Daily Shows--December 2000

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

December 24, 2000

Bless me, friend, for I have slacked off. It has been eighteen days since my last Daily Show.

A little pseudo-Catholicism to liven things up. It's Christmas eve, folks! Spent two hours in the church this afternoon, practicing bagpipes and whistles in our little neo-Gothic Episcopal church. I'm in Potsdam, by the way.

Dad had me playing plainsong chants in Irish style on the whistles--it was sort of neat. Yay re-interpretation of musical styles. I've switched reeds on my highland pipes, and am still getting them tuned closer to where I want them. They're not great yet, but they're better than they were.

Today, I sat quietly in my chair, and looked out a plate glass window at the road up the hill on which I live. Heather and Kira will recall looking out the window at a very different landscape, and I thought of them today.

Big, fluffy snowflakes were falling gently down, thickly enough to obscure the road and trees. Odd that so much whiteness doesn't obscure the land--it's still quite possible to see the contours of things. Occasionally a car would go by, slowly because of the snow, making the quiet rushing sounds that cars do in the snow.

Listening to good music on the speakers in the living room. A new artificial Christmas tree graces our home this year, after so many years of getting sick from actual Christmas trees. I miss them, but it's nice to be able to breathe. I hope I won't get the evil hacking cough of doom that plagued me last year.

Reading lots of things--Douglas Coupland's microserfs, old Daily Show entries and Yeats, cookbooks, a book about Feng Shui. Still working on the music homework, though I haven't gotten much done since returning home. More will happen soon.

Today's been such a lovely day. All three of us noticed that it's been one of the nicest Christmas Eves in years... very low-key and unstressed. So nice. Scampi (our cat) has changed so much in the last couple of years. Where once she was the aloof outdoor cat, she is now an unrepentant demander of pats and affection. This lends further credence to my theory about cat societies. She'll now put herself on our laps if we're sitting down, and will put her paw out and poke you to let you know that yes, she would like to be patted, and wouldn't you like to oblige? Of course you would. Cats are such lovely creatures. So many of us miss our pets at school. Eileen with her dog, Laura with her cats, Katie with her many many many cats... It's funny, but we seem to have certain pet (no pun) behaviors we associate with our pets and miss when we don't have them. Yay pets. They're a good thing to have around.

From the kitchen, where I am chopping onions to put into split pea soup, I look out the window at the side yard. The bird feeder is out there, covered in snow. In the snow below it are a goodly number of seeds, thoughtfully sprinkled by my father for the birds that prefer ground-feeding. There's a cardinal out there now, a patch of gorgeous red against the unsullied white of new snow. His mate's there too, light brown and burgundy. They eat seeds together, as the snow falls on them. The male now has a snowflake on his head. Interesting. Something startles them, and they're off for the safety of the trees, but they'll be back. It's nice to have something wonderful that doesn't fill you with regret once it's gone.

Life has been a happy place to be lately. The Music Assignment of Doom (MAD) is still killing me, and the linear algebra final was not overly happy, but one is finished and the other begun, and it's good. People are trying to stay in touch despite differences of time zone and location. Friends are so good. Since coming home, I've been thinking about this semester in more general terms than usual, probably because of having to explain it to people who haven't seen me in months. I'd say it was immensely uncomfortable a lot of the time, and probably good for me in the long run.

People always say that sophomore year of college is an uncomfortable time. Why is that, do you suppose? Is there some universal constant of human experience that relates to this time? Is it something about being about two decades old? Would you still undergo the sophomore year confusion if you weren't in college? Does it happen to everyone, or just some people? What's up with that? Ooh! Dad just brought me some Triscuits with smoked Swiss cheese melted on top. Bliss.

I've probably cooked more for fun in the two days I've been home than I did all semester at school. Yesterday we made irish pub soup, and I made baguettes stuffed with Cheddar cheese to go with. Fantastic. I've found that I like experimenting with stuffed breads--they're fun, just as easy as regular baguettes, and very good. Caramelized onions are another favorite. Today I've chopped things, and we made fudge. Old family recipe, whose story I will write one day. We're making all kinds of things for Christmas dinner tomorrow, when Grandma and Byron will come over to eat in the afternoon. Turkey, stuffing, chocolate mousse with orange and Chantilly, bread, cappuccino, all manner of lovelinesses. It will be a good day.

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other
but in looking outward together in the same direction."
-- Antoine de St. Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars

Midnight services begin in about an hour, so I should get ready. More to come soonish... In the future--Hollis's stunning trip to Hogmanay! More cats! Adventures with Linux! The thrilling conclusion to the music saga! (I hope?)

December 6, 2000

That's a picture from last year, when I had the admissions QuickCam on my computer. I was testing it. Seems so long ago, really.

Kyla and I broke up last Monday. A year and twelve days, in the end. You've all read far more than I ought to have subjected you to about that, so I won't say too much more, other than it was somewhat mutual.

In retrospect, it becomes obvious to me how much I was living inside a shell. In the last week, I feel like I've become a person again--someone whom others seek out, who's fun to talk to, and who is cared about on his own merits.

That sounds... something. Anyway, I'm happy. It's hard not to get into recriminations, but I seem to be avoiding it pretty well. I'm glad for a lot of the experiences I had with Kyla, and I wish a bunch of them hadn't happened. Now that that's over, we can all move on, I guess.

I've made some new friends, and rediscovered some old ones. Liv Herriot, Rachel Kaufman, and Sarah Newman are new friends--they're thoroughly nice people, and I look forward to getting to know them better.

Then there's Laura. Laura Bonem, the first person I met when I arrived for orientation last year. We moved in at the same time, and our parents bonded. It was terribly cute :). We talked a fair bit about music, and composition--she's a rather accomplished composer--and had lots of fun. We ate lunch together with our parents, and then walked back alone from Sharples together. It was our first time going through the tunnel by ourselves. Fun stuff. Somehow I lost her along the way during the last year.

We've been spending more time together lately--partly because of Beethoven, whose Ninth Symphony we presented last weekend (she on violin, I on tenor)--and partly just hanging out and talking until far too late at night. We stayed up until 3 in the morning the other night talking about Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series, which we both love. Good stuff. Last night we were up here, and randomly looked at my high school compositions. Not bad stuff, given that I had no music theory. I should go back and revise some of this stuff sometime.

Susie and I played last night for Scottish dance class, and will play again next Tuesday, as preparation for the Hogmanay Ball. I'm coming down here before New Year's to play and dance at the Ball--should be great fun, and I'll get to hobnob with many incredible musicians. I intend to hit Chris (Layer) up for information about flute playing, which I want to learn some day, as well as small and uilleann piping. It should be lovely.

I'm taking Harmony and Counterpoint 4, Principles of Computer Architecture, Theatre Lighting Design, and Russian Music next semester--should be a bit of work, but interesting stuff.

I'm trying to figure out my final project for Studio Art. Randy thinks I should do something with my bagpipes... I don't know. We'll see.

Jean-Jacques Goldman sings his wonderful folksy French on my stereo.


Je garderai les disques, et toi l'électrophone
Les préfaces des livres, je te laisse les fins
Je prends les annuaires, et toi le téléphone
On a tout partagé, on partage à la fin

Je prends le poisson rouge, tu gardes le bocal
A toi la grande table, à moi les quatre chaises
Tout doit être bien clair et surtout bien égal
On partage les choses
quand on ne partage plus les rêves

Tu garderas tes X et moi mes XY
Tant pis, on saura pas c'que ça aurait donné
C'est sûrement miex comme ça, c'est plus sage, plus correct
On saura jamais c'qu'en pensait l'intéressé(e ?)

Mais l'amour, tu peux tout le garder
Un soir, je te l'avais donné
Et reprendre, c'est voler
Et reprendre, c'est voler

What comes between fear and sex? Funf. Think German.

I got new clothes with Megan, and black boots. I like my boots. They have steel toes. People like to walk on them. The boots, not the clothes.

What a week it's been. One part of my life is over, and a number have begun or been revived. Friends have come out of the woodwork to care, and I'm glad to have them.

Life feels possible. Life is good. Life is exciting again. I can't imagine a better way to end the semester.