Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.
|March 31, 2001|
We played an April Fool's prank on Arcadia very early on the 1st...
Arcadia always dresses in black, white, or grey. So Dan Blim snuck into her room and filled her closet with clothes of many colors, all as vibrant as we could get. I was originally going to play too, but we thought Arcadia was in her room, so I went back to doing whatever, and the plot was enacted without my assistance.
Messe in h-moll tonight and tomorrow. It went... something. Almost trainwrecked, but not quite, and there are some soloists I just love to hear.
People are weird, and I'm tired, and it's all odd, but mostly good, and more parents! Yay!
|March 30, 2001|
A very short post-cast-party entry from me. It's now 2:51 am, and I have to be on campus at 10:30 for a folkdance demo team rehearsal.
Rosenstern went beautifully tonight. Packed house, good crowd interaction, well-behaved sound equipment. It was good. A pity our show ran only two nights. Afterward, I stayed to help strike; we moved a damn lot of lights, took apart the set, mopped, etc., etc. Then off to the cast party, where I watched people. Yay, people.
David and I have a plot to direct a show next year. It will be very cool indeed. I hope it comes through.
I saw my parents! They're here, as are Grandma and Byron! Yay!
I am falling asleep, and must de-makeup myself.
|March 29, 2001|
Now I really am reading Thoreau, thanks to Kimberly-the-fantabulous, who brought a copy of Walden for me when she came to see Guildenstern this evening. Thanks!
The show went well--few flubbed lines, a reasonable house, and an audience who warmed to the show. Yay! They still laugh at my Fortinbras costume, replete with codpiece. Sigh. Will they never learn?
Ding, dong, the waltz is dead. It's handed in, with some bad parts, but nothing I couldn't live with. Susie tells a story of a faith where it is considered bad luck and impious (which is, I gather, bad luck as well) to create anything perfect. So, she always sews a mistake into her work somewhere, to deliberately keep her work from being perfect. Maybe that's what I was doing with my waltz. Yeah.
Sleepy time for boy.
|March 28, 2001|
Almost nothing today. I am off to write more of my waltz; it's due tomorrow.
Rosencrantz will survive and be good. So will I.
|March 27, 2001|
I'm sitting with a cup of tea--lemon, with honey in it.
I am reading Tolkien and Thoreau, rather than sleeping.
One of those statements is true. Actually, not, because I drank the tea already. It was sort of good, but a little too cloying.
There's something to the finality of sending things away, really. Once you send a letter, an email, a glance, a phone call, there's no taking it back, and you usually don't get to know in advance how it will be received. This makes it a little hard to plan.
Hell Week. Almost 'nuff said. Ugh. R&G rehearsal was painful tonight. I hope it doesn't all explode.
It's a tired Hollis that I am, and so I think I shall sleep. Think good thoughts for me, O reader, and worry not that I am cryptic. When you are ready to understand, the answers will appear, or not. Until then, I bid you good day, and hope you will write me soon.
|March 26, 2001|
Hell Week has arrived in force. Accordingly, I have broken out the heavy artillery: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I think I must have spent some time around an English major recently--I keep listening to the lyrics and analysing them, and I've realized (duh!) that nearly everything Tom Petty wrote was a veiled (or not) drug reference. That or sex. Well, actually, you could probably say that about most of the music from this century.
"Well some say life will beat you down, and break your heart, and steal your crown. So I started out for God knows where; I guess I'll know when I get there. I'm learning to fly around the clouds." -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Learning To Fly"
Many hours of rehearsals today: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, then choir, then more R&G. However, we were productive in R&G, and got through some of the Bach in choir. Things are looking good: I'll have actual guests at the shows! Yay! Parents, grandparents, local friends, Mawrtyrs, area dancing people, yay!
I don't get to dance with Eleanor enough. This is a sad, sad thing. I think the universe conspires against me sometimes. I don't get to dance with most people enough, but Eleanor seems consistently to be discriminated against by Fate. Grar. However, there will be more dancing soonish, and we will dance, yea verily. I got to chat with her a little bit at Inverarity, and it was good. Then we talked more this evening, and it was... something. Mysterious. I'm not going to tell you what we talked about, so you'll just have to wallow in misery and be ignorant of the subject.
There's something oddly self-indulgent about being blatantly enigmatic in your own webjournal. I could misuse a Swattie word and call it solipsistic. I don't know--it's sort of like manipulating people through a black box, because you're really sort of seeing who'll write and demand explanations ("running something up the flagpole and seeing who salutes"), only you don't know that anyone reads your words, so it's strange. What is the sound of one hand manipulating people?
It snowed a bit today. Kendra would say 'Sna?', and so might I. I woke up, looked out the window, and assumed this sort of stupid sappy grin. Unfortunately it all melted by noon, but still. Yay snow!
I lost my sunglasses today. This is an incomparable badness. Somewhere between my entering Sharples for lunch and my reaching the top of the hill after lunch, the sunglasses fled my presence. This sucks because they were really cool, looked good, and were a gift from Abby, who got them for free at a Yankees game. Sigh. Maybe someone will find them and turn them in.
I used my assembler to write some simple code for our simulated computer. Yay programming in binary. I hope it'll work. Odd how long it takes to figure out comparatively simple things like basic operators when you've got a restricted instruction set to work with.
We struck many lights from the Frear grid today. It looks all bare and naked without any lights on it. Yes, I know that's redundant; that's the point.
I did a few good turns today. I don't usually keep track, and today was no exception. This means nothing, really, except that I'm tired and can't think straight and thus don't know what to write. Anyway, yay for being a good little Eagle Scout.
Lenny is back and visiting! Yay!
Hell week will be over soon, one way or the other. May the Lord bless us and keep us, and shelter us in the palm of his hand. May my sunglasses reappear, energy suffuse us all, tech difficulties for the show resolve themselves painlessly, and may I get some sleep tonight. Please watch out for those who need it tomorrow, whether you be God or a gentle Reader. Please help my composition and lighting plots get done, and grant me inspiration to do them well.
In a letter to Someone, I wrote that I'm reasonably convinced that life generally finds a way to work itself out, and that things you need come along when you need. Certainly, it doesn't always work, but more often than you'd guess. Joseph Campbell wrote that "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
I'm learning to fly around the clouds.
|March 25, 2001|
Before I get started on what really ought to be a short entry--it's late and I'm tired, allow me to direct your attention to the fact that there is in fact a journal entry from yesterday; I just added it late because I was out rather late last night. So if you haven't read it and want to, go nuts.
More on Inverarity and all. Inverarity is held at the home of Kate and Ed Nealley, wonderful people and very good dancers indeed. It's in their basement, with a pickup band and program created at random--people sign up to brief dances of their choosing. As it happened, this one had both of the dances for Joyce Watson on it. Joyce was a Hawaiian dancer who died recently and had asked for two dances to be on her funeral dance program--the Bees of Maggieknockater, and J.B. Milne. Both showed up.
I got to dance a little bit, though my head was spinning, and I played some, replete with The God-Awful G#. This is one that I'm never going to let myself live down. So, the last dance of the evening was Miss MacLeod. I invented a descant to play, and it was to end on high G#. Now, G#'s not diatonic on a D whistle; you've got to half-finger it to get there.
This is normally no great difficulty, at least for slow work. However, when you're tired and your fingers are sticking to your whistle, things get a little dicey. We're really kicking on the set, it sounds great, and I go for the descant the last time through the B section of the tune. Great! Wonderful. Then the dance ends, with my sticking fingers forcing out a G natural in clash with the V (E, and thus G#) chord at the end of the tune. Oh, right, it was in the upper octave on the whistle, too, so it was _loud_. God. I went and hid in the closet.
Lucky for me, people wanted to dance it again, and I was saved by my fingers that time. Yay opportunity for fixing past mistakes. A short waltz with Kimberly later, the dancing was over. I thought.
We all hung around upstairs talking with friends. People trickled out until in the end, Kimberly, Jesse Ball (BMC '00, another good friend), the Nealleys, and I were the only people left. We chatted. Good good. Jesse (who lives with them) offered to drive Kimberly and me home. I accepted, and off we went, bagpipe rock playing on the stereo.
Suffice it to say, I didn't get home for another several hours. We talked, we drove around, we stopped at PathMark and had pas-de-basque races in the parking lot, we bought sparkling cider and drove around drinking it and talking, and then we were in Swarthmore. We decided we weren't done talking, so the three of us headed off to The Country Squire, a diner in Broomall. Smoky atmosphere was unfortunate, but it didn't kill me too much, and I had fun.
It was a fantabulous evening. And there was a cat! And friends! And I want to spend far too much time gushing, but I need to stop, so I'll just go lie in bed and ponder again everything that happened last night.
Or perhaps I won't go quite yet. Today's been good, though nothing compared to yesterday. I woke up a bit earlier than I otherwise would to see whether I felt like doing more dancing; I didn't, so I just sort of sat around and eased into the nice morning ...
... which got rather brighter when I got a call from a friend. Now, you should know, I never get phone calls, and even though I was sort of expecting this one, it was immensely pleasing.
I wonder why I never get phone calls--maybe I'm too infrequently in my room, and I really do get lots of calls that go unanswered by the voice mail. Maybe people all think it's easier to reach me by email. They're probably right; anyway, it made this one that much more wonderful.
"Get on with it, you say,", I say, à la Tom Lehrer. Oh, fine. Today was decent. Wrote an assembler in Java that generates binary code for the computer Allan, Andrew and I've been creating in Computer Architecture. Handy to have, anyway. Then I went to Spring Budgeting, where Budget Committee awarded me (us, rather) full funding for Folk Dance. Funny story--evidently they've been having some problems with people not keeping good records, so they're tightening up the funding regulations. I asked about removing one of the new restrictions, which would have been separate subcodes for E-S Ball and contra dances. I thought it rather a lot of unnecessary paperwork.
So, they're talking about how it's a good idea for record keeping and all, and Marvin Barron, the SBC treasurer, says something about how folk dance has been pretty good about being honest with its funding and keeping good records. I whipped out the Treasurers' Book, which I'd brought halfway expecting something like this. Basically, it's all the treasury records, in original hands, for the last thirty-something years. Budget Committee sort of looked at it, gaped, and Tenaya said "Right, you get one subcode." Yay good reputation! So that's cool.
Almost six hours of Rosencrantz rehearsal. Gah. I still have issues with parts of my costume, but that's okay. Good conversation with mom, about sewing as well as other things.
And as it's now so far after midnight that the Libby's people have come over to spice me and can me as pumpkin pie filling, it's time for me to head to bed. Hopefully people who haven't checked their email in a few days will start doing so, and I'll be able to talk to them again. You know who you are...
Goofy quotation of the day: "It keeps him quiet. It would keep me quiet. Which is a good thing." -- me
|March 24, 2001|
Good lord, but there's a lot of beauty to the world. It lives in lots of things: in the dried flowers in my window, in the misshapen head I made in studio art last semester, in the music of Joshua Redman, in Scottish dancing, in cooking good food and eating it slowly.
It lives in the abduction we conducted of a "spec" (Eve Treuille '03) from a campus tour last Tuesday, in the face of a teacher who keeps teaching despite everything life throws her way, in the body of a squirrel back home who refuses to die despite having been horribly wounded. It lives in poetry, in prose, in addresses hastily exchanged, in beautiful carpets of crocus poking up blue and purple through the ground.
It lives at Bryn Mawr, where I spent a wonderful time yesterday. College Gothic architecture is something to die for, (yes yes, analyse the life and death imagery, go for it, you know you want to) and Bryn Mawr's a striking example of it. Gorgeous, gorgeous buildings. Kimberly and I walked down Senior Row, carefully breaking off before the end (it wouldn't do to invoke the wrath of the gods by walking its full length; I would never be able to graduate from Bryn Mawr. Oh, wait...) on the way to Batten House, where she lives.
Batten's a kooky cooperative, and I love it. It's fantastically house-like, is filled with seemingly neat people, and has a wonderful kitchen. Of this I definitely approve. We made penne and ate it with focaccia. Yum. A quick tour of the house, some random conversation, and we started walking to Inverarity, the dance party we attended.
On the way there, we talked. A lot. It was very excellent. A lot. There was a cat, and it walked with us for some of the way. Even let us pet it, for which I am very grateful indeed. I've been needing my cat fix, and this one helped a lot.
There's a lot more to tell, but I must away to a budget committee meeting so as to have money for folkdance next year. It's actually tomorrow right now; I got home too late to update last night.
Props to the phantom page visitor from the Greater London area, and also the ones from various random cities around the country. Show yourselves!
|March 23, 2001|
I spent almost five hours working in LPAC today, helping Sophie focus and cue lights for Rosencrantz. It's going to be a good show, with good lighting. Sophie is, of course, afraid that she created a boring lighting plot with nothing to distinguish itself. I think she did a good job. We'll see who was right when our lighting prof shows up and says he liked what she'd chosen to do. Just you wait.
Went dancing at chez Hurd this evening--Intermediate class, taught by Melissa Shaner. Lots of fun, even though I sat out half the evening due to foot problems. I like dancing. A lot.
Eleanor has gotten suspicious, and delights in friendly nosiness. I wonder what she thinks. Somehow I suspect I'll never quite find out, but that's okay. Mystery is good, too.
Once again I have spent too much time being clever. It will be good, though. Yes yes.
There was a baby near Sharples today. He belonged to some psych profs, apparently, and was being chaperoned by roughly half the Swat campus. I had to rip myself away so as to go to my library shift.
Oh--I got a haircut today! No longer am I a shaggy beast of ridicule! No cracks about my being a freshly-shorn beast of ridicule, now. It took an hour rather than the twenty minutes I expected, and it's not quite what I thought I'd get, but on the whole, not bad. Also fun because they have a hand massage person on their staff (Swarthmore Hair Studio), and I taught her the hand massage trick I learned from Susie. She insisted that I show it to everyone there, and plans to use it in the future. Yay massage diffusion!
Sound cue-to-cue in the afternoon, then off to Bryn Mawr!
|March 22, 2001|
Gerry actually likes parts of my composition! There's a lot I need to do on it, but he doesn't think it horrible! Yay!
I am going dancing this weekend, yes I am, yes I am... I am far too excited, yes I am, yes I am...
Susie and I talked during our lesson today about the program for the April 21 social dance that we're playing--we've added some new dances due to requests. Bonnie Stronshiray is now on it, as are some others you'll recognize. Should be a good show--lots of guest musicians, and I'll hope to dance a few with friends.
As it turns out, I may have a gig on June 22 up in New Hampshire with Susie and Viveka Fox. This will be most exciting. More on that if and when it happens.
I'm listening to Altan, on my mix CD. God, this music makes me feel alive. It's so excellent. Now it's The Grey Funnel Line, played by William Coulter. I could do worse than to spend a lifetime playing this stuff.
Still no word on computer science. I'm getting antsy; it's hard to stay uninformed this long. I'm trying not to worry about it too much, though. Somehow life will work itself out, and more good things will come to me from entirely unexpected directions.
I was going through my wallet, and found that fortune cookies sometimes hold wisdom: "Because of your melodic nature, the moonlight never misses an appointment", "Your charisma enhances your future, stay positive", "Fame, riches and romance are yours for the asking", "Many new friends will be attracted to your friendly and charming ways", and "You will be free of the heavy burdens you have been carrying".
Two, though, seemed particularly valuable.
"Nothing in the world is accomplished without passion."
"Keep true to the dreams of your youth."
Maybe wisdom is finding truth wherever it lies, be that in the pages of a book or in the paper from a fortune cookie.
|March 21, 2001|
A poem by E. E. Cummings, courtesy of Susie:
And then a couple of thoughts from computer architecture class today:
Today I did not finish my composition, though I spent close to nine hours in Lang today doing music. Grar. Somehow it will get done eventually.
However, I was mischievous and enigmatic, and these are often good things. Bree tells me I'm an NF personality type, and she's right--I'm not sure why that goes in this paragraph, but it does.
I am writing a dance. It has a truly godawful pop-culture--reference pun as the title. Ask me about it sometime.
Sleep is good, as I must get up far too early tomorrow. I hope it will come--lately my sleep has been delayed by torrents of remembered words racing through my head. An interesting thing, the memory, particularly under close scrutiny. Are those things we remember actual fragments of the real, or are they all colored by what we wish had happened?
I suspect some of both occurs, and it's not a bad thing--I can't say that the remembering has been anything but pleasant, if a mite confusing at times. Well, it wouldn't be a sophomore year without soul-searching and emotional rollercoasters. I'll sleep with a smile on my lips tonight; I hope you do the same.
|March 20, 2001|
Blarg. Yet another day of not much written. I spent too much time in Lang trying to write music yesterday. God. This thing's due Thursday and I'm nowhere near done.
Talked to Eleanor online last night for the first time, then went off to Scottish dance. Quite the night for coincidences: first, Eleanor had asked me to look into putting a certain dance on the program for a dance I'm helping to run, and there it was in class last night: Bonnie Stronshiray. Then, I read on strathspey (a mailing list about scottish country dancing) that a rather important Hawaiian dancer had died, and that she had wanted to have certain dances on her memorial dance program. So a friend of hers asked all dancers around the country to dance one of them this week.
I got to class and asked Joanna if we could do J.B. Milne, one of the two. I was surprised when she started teaching the Bees of Maggieknocksomethingorother, the other of the two.
Rosencrantz rehearsal last night, when I got to die lots of times and do my pirate yells. Fun stuff.
Bree was at dance class, and had fun grilling me on various topics. Did you get the information you wanted, sweetie? Well, anyway. She'll email me if not.
Bwahaha. My nefarious plan to have something to do this weekend looks like it may well come to fruition. Yay!
|March 19, 2001|
You'll all have to forgive me--I just spent two hours writing an email that is far too long, filled with confusion and good-natured weirdness, contradictions and idiosyncrasies. I believe, as I've said before, that my writing should sound like me, and that if it doesn't, I've failed somewhere. I think I usually succeed; if you have an opinion, you're welcome to share it.
But anyway... I'm sorry to attend one person at the expense of So Many Others, but hey--you'll live, and maybe one day it will be your turn. Of course, it would be ungentlemanly to leave you with nothing, so I'll give you a picture stolen from Katie's webcam, and a quick recap.
Today went well--lighting project went off almost flawlessly, and the professor liked it. Got some good music writing done, and rehearsed well, I think. More to write tomorrow, amid plotting to freak out the specs. A friend told me of a feeling he'd had recently, that my life was going to become suddenly clearer in the near future. Here's hoping he was right. Thanks, all.
|March 18, 2001|
Many misadventures aside, I had a wonderful time this weekend. Spring Ball, Spring Brunch Ball, good conversations, good food, and fine music all came together to make it work out well.
I found this evening that writing a journal entry is sometimes cathartic for me, which pleased me greatly--it was my hope when I began this... project, if you will... that it would one day help me deal with the world. It seems to be reaching toward that goal. Yay. I've found that writing here often helps me clarify what I'm thinking, even though what I write is sometimes unrelated to what's going through my head.
There is, of course, the inevitable censorship. Those looking for the secret identity of She Who Dwells Within My Heart of Hearts will find themselves nothing but disappointment--that's not really the point of this sort of journal, I suppose--but should they somehow find the answer, they should let me know, obviously. A lot of thoughts aren't really suited for public consumption en masse, which is fine; if you've read me long enough, you have probably already gained a measure of the ability to read through the lines to what I'm thinking.
That, too, is part of what I wanted. I've made a bunch of friends through the writing of a journal--Kendra probably closest among them. A friend wrote me a couple of days ago saying that he was amazed at the honesty of what I write, and that he wanted to get to know me better in part because of reading this thing. I smiled, of course, and intend to take him up on it, but I found myself especially pleased to have forged a connection without direct communication.
I spent a long time this afternoon talking with Bree about the nature of love and romance. Bree's a good friend from dancing, and is wonderful. She's also far too perceptive for her own good sometimes, even though it sometimes slips. That's a non-sequitur intended mostly for her. Anyway. We talked, some of the time in Lang while I was figuring out chords for my music composition, some whilst walking her to the train station, some sitting in the golden late afternoon on a bench facing the tracks. I found that through talking about it with her, I came to some concrete observations of my thoughts--akin to the journal effect, I guess.
Take ye heed--blathering commences here. We chatted about relationships that work. One thing that characterises them for me is this: both can stand alone, but choose instead to stand together. If one falls, the support is there to help him stand again, but he's free to pull himself up on his own if that's what's needed. The one you end up with needs to be a good friend first.
This segued into conversation about romance in novels. I mentioned the plot line that I love almost to exclusion of the others, if it's done right. Basically, our Hero and Heroine, or Heroes, or whatever, start as friends. They get closer, just love each other's company, and it's just great. Other people realize that they're meant for each other long before they do. Finally, they turn clueful, decide that (of course) they're wonderful for each other in a romantic way, and that's that.
Of course, real life doesn't generally work out that way, but it's nice as a plot line. We chose a name for a potential novel character: Andrew Lawrence MacAlpin--a name tied tightly to my personal history. Bree will write the novel and give me a draft to read sometime, and it will be most excellent.
We talked about her boyfriend for a while, and about how happy she is with him. Bree asked me what some of the things I look for in potential Romantic Interests were, and I realized that I didn't have a terribly good idea. I thought, though, and here are some of the things I came up with.
She needs to care about music. She may not have to play or sing, but she's got to care. Her passion for dancing should be as strong as mine. She must be a person I love to talk with, even when it's far later than is good for either of us. She should like to cook as much as I do, and should appreciate good food. Yay! Cats, while not a necessity, are definitely a plus. She must be willing to share with me, and accept the same in return--take that however deeply you want. I must love her for the person she is as well as the person she tries to be, and she must do the same for me.
'What is romance,' Bree asked. What is it? Romance is flying across a dance floor with a beautiful girl in your arms, listening to a fabulous waltz, and seeing the sparkle in her eye. It's finding yourself on the sidelines, watching that couple dancing together, and seeing how perfect they are for each other. Romance is joking around about things that matter and taking gravely those things of no import at all, and knowing that your mischief is understood and, what's more, loved.
Romance was finding that her boyfriend had stopped by her apartment and left her roses while she was out at work. Romance is looking back over your life together and having few regrets. It's knowing that you could perfectly well live apart, and wanting not to. It's giving something of yourself, and taking in return, such that you can begin to fill up the spaces where, deep down, you feel alone. Romance is trust--being able to share anything at all. Romance is seeing a friend across a room and grinning helplessly, from sheer joy.
Romance is the stuff my dreams are made of. It's life, done right.
You'll notice a lot of that contained dancing images--spending all weekend Scottish dancing rubs off, you see. I found some new favorite dances (the Cranberry Tart, the Dancing Bees, and Kabin Fever), some old favorite dances (Shiftin' Bobbins, Roaring Jelly), some new favorite partners (Eleanor chief among them), and some old favorites (Eileen, Kimberly, Bree, Kyla, Jesse, Joanna, and others far too numerous to mention). Thanks to all--you're wonderful.
I exchanged addresses with my friends today. It always surprises me to watch new people become entwined in my life. I'll hope to hear from some of you soon. Ooh! Someone at Bryn Mawr has been reading this page today. I wonder who it is! Confess yourself!
Helped Rebecca Ennen out a little bit with life and lighting design. Rehearsed a heck of a lot. Had good food at the brunch. Showed the St. Lawrence tartan to Bree, Kimberly, Eleanor, and Jesse. Had a stupid argument with someone. Got over it, largely through writing this journal.
I wrote something earlier about indirect communication. It's true that web journals provide a wonderful way to feel people out, to get to know them, to see what's new and kicking in their lives. Still, nothing can substitute for more direct contact. Read this if you will, and I hope you will, but please, say hello once in a while. Come on in, share yourself. The water's fine, I promise.
|March 16, 2001|
Spent forever and a week in the Frear today working on lighting. However, my lighting project is DONE. Done done done. Yay me.
I'm damn tired. I wrote a SWAPA 'zine. I talked to some people. I got up in the morning.
|March 15, 2001|
Eileen and Katie are home! Or, rather, "home". Or something. Anyway, they're back here, and this is widely deemed to be a good thing. We sat about and talked. Yay!
A bunch of us (Katie, Eileen, David Bing, Rae Solomon, Katie Surrence, Stefan Gary, and I) sat around and played this question game where someone relates bare details of a story, and the others try to feel out the situation. A basic example is this: "Three dead men are lying in a room with nothing save 53 bicycles. What happened?" And you figure it out. That's an easy one. They gave us the evil one about the abalone. We might never have gotten it if it hadn't been for my random mutterings. It was fun, though. Much fun.
Had a lesson with Susie, which we termed our "ADD lesson". Neither of us could concentrate. However, we did get some good work done on strathspeys and reels for the April 21st social dance we're playing in Haverford. That'll be cool. Yay!
Before that, LiErin and Marie and I went to dinner at Friendly's, in the Springfield mall. It was good to see them both, and to get to hang out with them outside our usual haunts, without some of the usual constraints. I was glad of their company, and they seem to have enjoyed mine. We had sundaes. Sundai? Sundae-en? Anyway. Afterwards, we walked home. This was immensely cool except for the fact that it was raining hard and was rather cold. That part of it sucked a lot. Also Marie hurt her hand. But still, it was good, and I think we had fun.
Before that, K&E and I went erranding to FMFCU, the bookstore, the mailroom, Borders, and Genuardi's. Yay. I managed to buy nothing at Borders, though I've found some coveted items, and I got to look at some previously coveted ones in person! Yay!
Eileen and I have plotted to have a Quaker pseudo-meeting sometime in the next few days since there isn't going to be a Young Friends meeting this week. It should be cool.
|March 14, 2001|
I spent a while today attempting to relearn VHDL, which is short for VHSIC HDL, which is short for Very High Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language. Glad you asked?
Then I went to Celtic Fusion with Susie. CF is a new celtic thingy along the lines of Riverdance, and our friend Dan Houghton is playing pipes and flute and "whittles" in the band. Quotations because they misprinted in the program both his name and his instrument: Don Houghton on pipes/whittles. Great.
Anyway, CF was fun, if hokey as all hell. It's that sort of crowd pleasing Irish dance-masquerading-as-plotful-story. They did Tir Na Nog. Wahoo. Replete with Grania and Seamus and Sinead. Well, fine. Their plot choice sort of wasn't great, and the lyrics to the songs sucked, but the music was decent and the dancing fantastic. We saw it at the State Theatre in Easton, PA--an hour and a half from Swat. CF does a fairly decent job of fusing irish, modern, and jazz dancing into a cohesive unit. Also, my god, there was this one dancer who was drumming... Damn she was good. Drumming on a plastic tub, drumming on the floor with her drumsticks, drumming, drumming. Damn.
Afterwards we went to "the pub" (read: a local bar) and hung out with some of the musicians and dancers. I did not get carded as I ordered my Coke. Alas, I now reek of smoke. Sigh.
Lots of chatting on the way home, and I find that Eileen and Katie are home, Emily has written to me, and I've gotten email from various others as well! Yay! Also, it's after 2:00 am, so I should go to sleep.
|March 13, 2001|
It's been a weird, long day, but pretty good over all.
The day began at 6:00 am with all three of my alarms going off to wake me. I needed to be awake. Unfortunately, though I was no longer in bed, and though I was vertical, I didn't quite manage awake. Oh well. Had a Pop-Tart that someone had kindly left in the lounge, and got in the car with Susie to head to Friends School Haverford for their show: A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Got there at ten of eight, and started final setup. Susie had, at my request, gotten gels for the stage fresnels from McManus Theatre Despot, and so I spent a while making cuts. Turns out we had 6" fresnels rather than 8" ones, so the cuts are a bit large, but hey--no worries. Teacher Lee put them in for me, which was good. Did some final modifications to my cueing for the show, figured out a way to work house lights properly, and there we were.
The show itself went largely without a hitch. Some of their kids are better actors than others, but the level of ability was certainly acceptable for a fourth grade. They had fun, I had fun, and I may have gotten paid, so it's all good. They even put my name in their program! "and to Hollis Easter, for lighting!" The fourth graders invited me to their little party afterwards, where they gave me cake, showed me their guinea pig, and generally partied. One kid, a young black gentlemen who played Wall, wanted to talk with me. Man, this kid reminds me of the way I used to be--going and talking to the big kids who were there to help. He wanted to know if Swarthmore was hard. I didn't have to answer, fortunately, because his teacher said something about how hard we work here.
Well, I don't know about that. I know we work hard at life, and we sometimes work hard at school. Maybe it's that we're always working hard at something that counts. Maybe we sometimes succeed at vibrance, become those roman candles Kerouac mentions, burning and exploding across the stars. It's not a bad way to live, I suppose. Maybe, in our own ways, we come to Swarthmore for the same reasons Thoreau went to Walden: we too want to suck out all the marrow of life, and know, when we come to die, that we really have lived. Maybe Swat attracts us because we think it will help us on our paths to discovery. Maybe we shouldn't write things like this at 3:20 am, because we get all pretentious and philosophical and quote famous authors without attributing the quotes. Maybe we should learn from that. :)
Anyway. I got home from FSH at 11 something am, and promptly fell asleep. This was a good thing and a bad thing. It's why I'm still awake now, but my sleep schedule is all weirded out. Oh well. There are worse ways to live.
I've spent a lot of time today with Sven (Olsen '03) and Ben (Raoul '04). Good people. I decided late in the afternoon that I wanted to cook something for dinner, but I felt cheap and like it would be a waste of time to cook entirely for myself. I enticed them to come to the grocery store with me, and en route waylaid them with my plot for dinner. They would come eat, and perhaps contribute to the cost of ingredients, and I would get to cook. They, cleverly, agreed.
And so, corn chowder was had, for less than $5. I made it in my room, if you'll believe that. Yum. Actual potatoes, with the skin on for flavor. Sauteed onions and garlic. Real cheese and corn. If griffins make Godlike snacks, at least I can make a decent chowder. Yum.
Then I inflicted Getting In on the assembled masses, well, mass, well, Sven and Ben and Stefan and Rae. It's a "comedy" about getting into med school, theoretically set at Swarthmore. It even credits a "Swarthmore University" in the closing credits. Don't ask. Anyway, it's a film that does Hollywood credit, I guess, in a pass/fail kind of way. Watch it. Enjoy the horribleness.
And then, WaWa. BDan and Sven and I were sitting around contemplating our mutual desire for ice cream. We talked about going to WaWa on our bikes to get some. I didn't go, because I have no headlight. Sven and BDan, however, made separate trips, and procured ice cream for our enjoyment.
Then Kyla and Stefan arrived, separately, and we had more ice cream, this time in the basement kitchen.
Then I sat in the lounge watching Star Trek: TNG with Sven, even though I had intended not to. Doh! It was the Geordi and Ro dying episode, though. Fantabulous.
And now I'm back here with you, and it's 3:30, and I'm tired, finally. A big shout out to Hester and Constanze, both of whom wrote me today, as well as Ophelia, whose company I've missed. Come visit!
|March 11, 2001|
Hi all. Break is good, yea, good. Hooray for sleeping late, seeing friends, and cooking.
Eileen and Katie and Stefan and I made oatmeal this morning. Oatmeal! With raisins and apples and bananas and brown sugar and oats and stuff. Fabulous! Last night Katie and Eileen and I (I need a nickname for us--typing it out every time gets tedious) made pasta and had bread and hummus and such. Interesting story there--try making pasta without a pot big enough to boil water in sometime.
We eventually found one, but Rebecca Jones had a better solution: a hot-pot cookery thingety thing. I went to Target with E&K and got one today. $24.99, comes with lid, strainer thingy, and adjustable heat. Holds six cups of whatever, is fully immersible, and has a non-stick coating. Yes, pasta will be happening. Yay. I hope to use it tomorrow.
Music Group concert in Wayne today, with Susie (performing) and Emily (attending). Was good, except that my sick body decided that it was time to punish me for not loving it enough, and made me have to cough so much that I couldn't hear the first half of the concert from fighting down coughs. I didn't cough during the piece, though--yay me. It was a good good concert. Yay Music Group! Saw Scott and Leslie Higgs there, as well. They're great, and I miss them. Come visit, guys! I'll make you tea!
Then we took Emily home, snagged a pizza at Renato's (pepperoni and black olives) and headed to Haverford for lighting and set building meeting. Disappointing because the lack of a stepladder meant I couldn't do much, but hey. Something will happen, the kids will not be in the dark for the show, and it will be all good.
TheSpark's Match Test feels that my personality archetype is The Boy Scout. Heh. Here's what they say:
Upstanding, selfless, gentle. To all those girls out there who like nice guys, you're the perfect man. To everyone else, you're an amusing dweeb. Therefore, you are probably single.
Let us let you in on a little secret--you might have problems now, but once you get older and girls have grown tired of jerks and gigolos, you'll be a hot ticket. Take solace in this fact, if you haven't already found your pink princess. Either way, you need to get more practice in the sack, or your special someone will leave you for the pizza-boy.
You're a guy who's not afraid of commitment or self-sacrifice, but don't let people walk all over you. Hang on to yourself. It's quite possible you'll lose your heart to someone more selfish--she'll take and take and take, and one day you'll find all that's left is your skeleton and a few toenails.
So that's that.
Mom told me the sad but uplifting but sad story of this squirrel who leaves at our house and has been very badly injured but just keeps on truckin'. Poor squirrel! I salute you, squirrel. I hope you live a long, long time and get lots of seeds to eat.
I've been cleaning. Yay cleaning. More tomorrow. Sleep now.
|March 9, 2001|
And with that, one of several fears was allayed. I will not be majorless at Swarthmore. While I didn't really think it would happen, it's nice to know that I won't be denied both of my majors. Still no word on CS, though the news on the street is that they're going to use strict GPA to decide who gets in. More on that later.
Break is finally here, thank God, and I'm listening to Just Like This from Liz Nickrenz's CD, "Unspeakable Crushes" at 2:10 am. A small tea light burns in its Ikea cup on the desk in front of me. I've tried to light the Goya candle in its tall glass bottle--you know the kind, the ones that churches burn all week long--but failed; I can live with that. It's late at night, the music is quiet, and candlelight dances across the bezel of my monitor.
The Shawshank Redemption this evening--an old standby, one that Eileen and Katie hadn't yet seen. We watched it with Kyla and Laura after running to Genuardi's for groceries just before the store closed. I want the shirt that Tim Robbins wears in the last scene of the film, and I want the body to make it work right.
It's funny to see films like that, sometimes. Watching it, I realized that I still want to be able to look back on old mistakes and recognize what it is that I've learned. Actually, that didn't surprise me much at all. What caught me a bit off-guard was this: to look back on your mistakes and learn from them, you have to make the mistakes first. I think I may have lost track of that one somewhere, and it seems somehow good to have found it again.
I went to a healing prayer thingy sponsored by Pauline Allen, the campus Protestant ministry coordinator, on Thursday night. Susie's rehearsing for Music Group's performance of Mozart and Pärt, so we had to cancel our lesson this week, and I had free time. Out of the blue came reserved-students emails about the meeting--it appealed to my senses, so I went.
I was the first student to arrive at Bond's second floor Common Worship Room. Pauline was there already, in her nicely-appointed office, and I introduced myself. We chatted a bit about this and that, about my grandfather taking services in the church across the street, and various other things. The form of the gathering was very simple: a group of people gathered in silence, stillness she called it, around a candle flame. People came in as time went on--eight or nine all told, if memory serves. Time for quiet reflection is one of the things whose lack I've felt most strongly of late, and I was glad for the chance to sit and think.
I've always believed in the power of fire in ritual, and it's one of the things I consistently include in my own. Kendra quoted me the other day in her webjournal, writing "I go on lighting candles for myself, whether or not the world needs them. ...Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." I feel... more connected with myself now that I have time to clear off my desk, light a candle, and enjoy it.
One thing I noticed about Shawshank is the use of music as a subtle guide to emotions. I can't write too much without giving away spoilers, but found it interesting that the score lived in a very minor key space, almost atonal, for a good portion of the movie, and that the first time we ever got to hear scale degree 3 in a major mode was near the end as Red reads Andy's letter. First time we got a major third on the tonic. It was understated and gorgeous.
People have come and gone, mostly gone, now that break has begun. More will leave tomorrow. I must leave you now, as sleep has come to call. Cheers.
|March 7, 2001|
I figured out part of why I'm so unhappy with my sophomore paper.
It doesn't read like my writing. There's not enough of me in it. It reads like my college entrance essays, works of literachaw constructed with the intent to get into something or other. Though it's not the medical school of the Johns Hopkins University, I tried to say all the right things, and it ended up not being right.
Sophomore papers aren't supposed to be about getting in. Getting into the major of your choice is supposed to be a foregone conclusion, and choosing what to say about it is intended to be a period of quiet reflection, to paraphrase the Registrar's office. In contrast, everyone I've talked to about the CS part of the paper has said something along the lines of "Holy shit! Your sophomore paper actually counts?! What the hell?"
I feel like the college has screwed me over, kind of. By refusing to provide funding for CS profs such that the department has to cut students, they've denied me the opportunity of the sophomore paper experience. Do they honestly think this is good for the mental health of their students? At the crisis hotline where I work at home, we try to help callers focus on the future, and make plans for what they're going to do with themselves.
What the fuck do I do with a sword of Damocles over my head all the time? How does one plan for the future when all it takes is a stroke of a pen to write off the life plan I've followed for the last six years?
I figured it out that we've spent $16,500 on CS classes for me so far, assuming a tuition of $22,000 per year and an 8 course per year load. I'm sure there are others in a similar situation, and some of us are going to get cut. Sure, I'm whining about this, but still--supposing your average CS student takes 2.5 CS classes per year (most take two or three), that's $103,125 of class fees just from the people getting cut from the major. Doesn't it seem like the college could afford to hire a professor at $50k a year? Grar.
I'm listening to Fauré's Requiem and trying to regain a sense of control. My body's not working right because of having caught Eileen's cold/flu. Various other things are weird.
I hope it's just the stress of the last week before "break" that's making everyone seem so distant lately. I've noticed it in myself, too--I've wanted people to just go away a lot of the time lately.
On the other hand, I'm still glad for the ones who aren't problematic, for those on whom I can sleep, who take care of me, who help me out when I need them. For them, I am thankful.
Amusing story of the day: my mom's defroster fan in her car died. She took it in to the shop to have it fixed, and they found a most unusual problem--the fan was clogged with penne. Yes, that's right, the tubular Italian pasta. Penne. Turns out we had a mouse stealing penne from a shelf in the basement and storing it in her fan motor. The guys at the shop saved the penne for her--it has teeth marks.
Well, the time has come for me to go away and sleep or do reading. More news on the major thing when it comes--they're supposed to tell us by 6 April. Cross your fingers for me.
|March 4, 2001|
This weekend, I went to Friends School Haverford to help Susie figure out lights for the elementary school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that they're putting up. It was frustrating, but I feel like a moderately butch techie for figuring some non-trivial things out. We'll see how that goes.
Shye, you will be proud of me. I went to the Screw Your Roommate Formal (though not, incidentally, with my roommate or Screwed by him) and danced. Until 1:30 in the morning, in fact. You were right about the necessity of social lubricant--in this case, the needed one was a group of friends who were just as goofy and weird as I am, and insisted that I dance. So, I danced. I looked like a dancing fool, and since I hadn't had anything to drink, I remember more of it than many people at the dance will. Still, it was great fun, and to all who participated, thanks.
Also, to the girl who was smoking a cigarette ('fagging', as Ben calls it) inside TIC, may you rot in a hell of bad floral perfume.
So it's "snowing" in the "storm" "of the century" down here. Read: a little bit of freezing rain. They closed all the shuttles down, etc., etc. Yay silly states. Oh well.
It's 2:45 in the morning, and I have finally finished my stupid sophomore paper. Ugh. It sucks, but it's done. Here it is for your amusement.
A sophomore paper from Hollis Easter
Before I came to Swarthmore, I guessed that by sophomore year I would choose to let either Computer Science or Music drop as a major. I thought one of them might not be as important to me as I had imagined. Since then, my thoughts have clarified a little. I decided not to choose between CS and music, since I feel that both are important to the person I want to be. The formal study I've received in music analysis here has helped my performance skills a great deal, by helping me begin to understand music in its own language. Studying CS has helped my approach to problem solving, and added to my fascination with the way things work.
None of that really touches the heart of my reasoning: I want to study these things because they excite me. I want to know more. I have been singing and playing music for so long I can't remember when it started. I have worked with computers since my father brought home an Apple II+ from work when I was two or three-I learned to program on it, I took it apart and put it together again, and I loved it dearly.
I want to study computer science and music because I've been feeling my way toward them both for years, and I want the chance to learn as much as I can about them. I know that music will never leave my life, though I wonder about it as a career. What seems more appealing at the moment is work in CS, with music as an avocation. I find my thoughts turning to graduate work in CS, with the possibility of teaching somewhere in the future.
I therefore submit my application for a double course major, in Computer Science and Music. I realize that the choice of double major will fill my remaining two years, as it has the previous two, with a good deal of coursework in these two departments; rather than fearing it, I look forward to the study I will make of both fields.
If time allows, I would like to continue my studies in theatre and studio art, as well as in linguistics. Art history, religion, and philosophy are areas I would like to study if I have room in my schedule.
Toward the Computer Science major, I have completed Unix and C, Algorithms and Object-Oriented Programming, Discrete Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, and Linear Algebra. I am currently enrolled in Computer Architecture.
Toward the Music major, I have completed Harmony and Counterpoint I through III, and am currently enrolled in Harmony and Counterpoint IV, as well as Russian Music. I have been a member in good standing of the Concert Choir for four semesters, and follow a course of study in the performance and history of English, Irish, and Scottish music with a teacher outside Swarthmore. I am working with Marcantonio Barone in Basic Piano.
To complete the requirements for my majors, I propose the following schedule:
Fall 2001: Operating Systems Concepts, Algorithms seminar, 19th Century Music
Spring 2002: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Harmony and Counterpoint V, Medieval and Renaissance Music
Fall 2002: Computer Graphics, J.S. Bach
Spring 2003: CS Senior Conference, Conducting and Orchestration
If time allows, I would consider adding Compiler Design, The Art Song, W.A. Mozart, and Opera. I am saddened that due to scheduling problems, CS 81 (Robotics) will not be offered during my time at Swarthmore-I wish there had been a way to take it, as I found myself fascinated by basic robotics while taking Artificial Intelligence and wanted the opportunity to study it in greater depth. I have tried to select courses from those offered that interest me, though the set of class offerings is a bit unfortunate. I have not scheduled in Keyboard Musicianship or Score Reading, though I plan to take both classes-I was unable to tell when they are offered. My schedule should have enough leeway to fit them in whenever they are needed.
In the end, I chose my majors because they challenge and stimulate me, because I feel that together they have molded me as I have grown up, and because the prospect of giving either of them up seems an unspeakable loss.
So that's finally done. I realized something, in the process of editing the damn thing. Eileen and Katie and I were sitting around discussing future plans, and I thought "Wow. I've only known these people for a year and a half." Funny how relatively new acquaintances move so quickly into being close friends, dear friends, people without whom one wouldn't want to live.
Indigo Girls on the stereo, banana bread in hand (courtesy of Laura, who cleverly went to sleep--smart girl), we sat, looked at our futures, said 'Ack!' and ran away. Maybe that's what the real purpose of the sophomore paper is--to force you to realize what you've got that you didn't have before.