Old Daily Shows--May 2002

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

Wednesday May 1, 2002 Work

Crunch time.

The problem with this composition is that it isn't written yet.

No Florence for me, and I am almost relieved, actually. No, I really am.

Life continues apace, with alternating good and bad. I'm finding that I really like updating SCCS documentation. I hope that's not insurmountably dorky. Also, procmail frustrates me because I don't understand it yet.

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Thursday May 2, 2002 Cleaning

Susie and I have decided to keep the flute. So pretty. So worth it, I think.

Sometimes, it's worth it to say "go away, work" and clean your room. My space is a lot more my own tonight than it has been, and I feel, for the moment, a great deal more serene. Some dishes are washed, though not all of them. My desk is largely clear, as is my nightstand. I washed my candle snuffer.

The windows were open, and a clean wind blew through my room as I worked. Elizabeth saw a chipmunk today. Bruce Hamilton was at folkdance tonight. Life can be good.

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Friday May 3, 2002 Fever

As I sit here, it's 65 degrees out, and I'm bundled in slippers, socks under the slippers, sweatpants, shirt, polartec pullover, and polartec throw, and I'm shivering like a bad 70s dancer.

At 1:15, my fever was at 100.9 degrees; at 3:20, at 101.56 degrees. Now, at 4:05, it reads 101.8 degrees on my cheap thermometer that I bought at Michael's College Pharmacy. I so totally don't have time for this. I had a good voice lesson, though I was sick; I got home, stuck a thermometer in my mouth, and was shocked.

I<'mttryng way too hard to make this appear cogent and welo-written, een though I often have to type words three or four times to get them wright. Oy.

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Sunday? May 5, 2002 103.7

So, I didn't make it to NYC today to play in Cecily's recital. After being in Worth last night with a fever of 103.7, it was decided that I needed lots of ibuprofen, lots of tylenol, lots of water, and lots of rest. I feel as though I've drunk a lake in the last 3 days.

I'm down around 100 right now, with the drugs, which scares me, because it shouldn't still be above normal. I did a bunch of work today; not enough, but some. I'm trying not to be terrified by how much remains, and how quickly it all has to be done. Really, I am.

It's not working so well.

Somehow, this will work out. My fever will stay down without the aid of modern chemistry. Really. Please. Soon?

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Tuesday May 7, 2002 98.6?

So much to write about, and it's so late, and I'm exhausted still. Goodness, badness, worseness, more goodness, all that stuff that runs the gamut of Aristoxenus. There isn't time to write about it, but I wanted to let you know that I'm here, I'm alive, I'm mostly surviving, and my temperature actually hit 98.6 degrees for a bit today.

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Saturday May 11, 2002 Cooking

Today's been really a pretty good day, though I'm currently laboring under a nasty sinus headache/congestion thing that ambushed me about halfway through the afternoon.

Elizabeth and I made risotto for dinner after midnight, because we were both really hungry, and it was really good.

Compilers exam was yesterday. It was okay, I think. David left this morning. I am sad.

I miss writing stuff that's interesting. I sat down and tried to write yesterday, and I just couldn't do it. I wonder if that's just the end-of-year stuff.

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Sunday May 12, 2002 Books

I am, perhaps, inordinately pleased with myself for having the patience to get books at good prices on eBay, books that I've wanted and haven't quite been able to justify buying. I've bought four O'Reilly books on eBay in the last month, and here are my successes:

  • Essential System Administration, second edition, by Aeleen Frisch. Amazon price: $44.95. Price I paid: $3.25
  • Learning Perl, 2nd edition, by Randal L. Schwartz and Tom Phoenix. Amazon price: $24.47. Price I paid: $9.00
  • Unix Power Tools, by Jerry D. Peek, Tim O'Reilly, Mike Loukides. Amazon price: $41.97. Price I paid: $19.50
  • MySQL and mSQL: Out of print. I paid: $9.99

Some of these are better than others, and I'm done shopping for now. But it feels good to have gotten books that I needed anyway cheaply. Yay.

I'm sick again, which is sad. Back to Worth tomorrow to see a doctor who is not Dr. Rinker and will, I hope, speak somewhat more slowly and listen rather more to the things I'm saying.


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Monday May 13, 2002 Curricula and endings

Natalie will be proud of me. For my curriculum project, as part of the culminating assignment for Education 14, I'm going to design a curriculum for teaching people how to cook. I'm gonna show them how to bake, sautee, simmer, boil, toss, sharpen, slice, chop, smash, fry, improvise, and enjoy themselves into an Italian dinner after only seven easy lessons. Yes, it's late, but the professor knows about the health problems I've been having, and it will be all good.

I find myself sad, in planning this thing, that I'm not going to get to actually teach it. I want to watch new bakers learning what it's like to punch down dough for the first time, learning to let go and enjoy the sensation. I want to watch them feeling the marvelously elastic creation that a good batch of dough, guide them as they play with it. I want to show them what it's like to cook without any books or rules or recipes, watch their faces light up as they realize "wait, the recipe has anchovies, and I don't like anchovies. It's okay for me to leave them out" for the first time. I'm sad that I'm going to spend all this time putting myself onto paper, writing down what I think it's like to cook as Hollis Easter, and all that will ever happen to it is my professor will look at it and assign a letter to it based on its intellectual merit. If I'm really lucky, she'll take my recipes home and try them out.

Really, though, how do you write about the evolution of tastes and methods? I'm reasonably set in my preferences--is it the province of educators to go about changing that? So many questions, and not enough time, and I'm so tired of spewing out the same over-intellectualized bullshit that every other PDC student at Swarthmore has written. I'm not good enough at it, frankly. Writing the same paper that 75 other people are writing this semester doesn't stimulate my intellectual curiosity; it makes me self-conscious and vaguely nauseated.

Of course, even that little rant is probably very Swarthmorean in character. Rabi writes eloquently on the tired horses we all bring out to whack around, and I think we all long for something original. Thoreau writes, now clichéd, about wanting to drink deep of life's draught, wanting to sink his teeth into the marrow of the world and taste what's really there. Is that what we're after? Do we long to write "This is what courage is. Nothing else matters." on a paper, and hand it in? Or are we really content, constructing bulletproof summaries of why the Hegelian dialectic discussed in Frantz Fanon's philosophy is relevant to that of Sandra Bartky, in such stilted language that every essay reads exactly the same, simply because there aren't enough pretentious words to go around, let alone enough thoughts to be had?

So that, ladies and gentlemen, was Tori Amos's "Winter", which was playing on the stereo for much of the last few paragraphs. Now, we've got The Beatles doing "Hey Jude" from the heart of the black country, with chords that still sound fresh to my 21st century ears.

Things are rapidly drawing to a close here, much faster than I'm ready to think about their doing so. My roommate is gone; many of my friends will be gone by Wednesday night. Elizabeth and I sat in my room just before midnight eating Table Water Crackers that she'd bought in New York City and brie that I'd given her as a present on a bad day, and we talked about the summer. Oddly, I don't feel like it's going to faze us at all. I know it will, of course, and that in the middle of July it's going to be hard to realize that my muscles are gradually forgetting what it's like to shorten my stride a bit so we can walk in step, and that I don't any more have at immediate command bits of information like which shade of blue her eyes are (I've always been bad at remembering physical descriptions, of normal people as well as girlfriends), but really, I don't feel like it's going to be bad. I hope I'm not jinxing it by writing about it, but honestly, we're going to be fine. And that, O Best Beloved, is pretty darn cool. And I will go walking by myself in the Wet Wild Woods, by my Wild Lone, and all places will be alike to me, and yet I will return south with the coming of September, a bellwether of the birds to come. We'll be fine.

I'm on antibiotics now, and I'm beginning to feel better, I think. Good music and great people all help, and life probably will be okay after all. Visions of garlic bread dance in my head. Mmmm. Who would have thought of doing garlic bread, pastas, puttanesca sauce, homefries, and so many other things as an education project? It's almost laughable. Yet it feels sort of right, and as I think of it, I've got a grin on my face.

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Tuesday May 14, 2002 Linkbox

Another day slips by, with not enough done, but my curriculum project is better thought-out, and I've actually started writing.

A friend commented that it was nice to see another sit-down-and-write entry (yesterday's), and indeed, it felt good to write it. I'm too tired to write another tonight, but soon, they'll return.

The observant readers will have noticed a small change in the annotation pattern in the People linkbox: there are now three classes of links: +link+ is a link that was updated not more than 12 hours before the update script last ran; link+ was updated 12-24 hours before the script ran; and link* was updated a day before the script ran. The script runs twice a day, offset by twelve hours. If you click on People, you'll get a popup window with a key for the annotation style.

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Wednesday May 15, 2002 Recording

Not enough work, but some is done, which is good. Did some recording with Susie, just spent a while talking with Dan after finishing my naïve journal (the assignment title, not a comment on my writing) for education...

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Thursday May 16, 2002 Done

It's 4:22 a.m., and after spending the last 16 hours working on my Medieval and Renaissance Music final, my Education final, and my Education curriculum project, I am done with academic work for this semester.

I'm done. I'm so going to bed.

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Friday May 17, 2002 Tough farewells

Goodbyes are always hard, and impending goodbyes are sometimes worse. The faces that I see so many times every day are disappearing, sometimes with pomp and circumstance and big smiles and smaller lines under the eyes that show how much we're all trying to be big kids about this, how much we don't want to let others see how much it hurts to let go. We are, most of us here, just kids really, though to many different degrees. Sometimes people just disappear without a trace, because you were taking an exam or sleeping or whatever else, and you hear from your friends who remain near that such-and-such a person left last night, and didn't you know?

It's hard. And necessary, I suppose, but every year it gets a little harder, and one longs for a stable group, a place where people live nearby and you can see them whatever the season, where May doesn't imply both freedom and the loss to obscurity or graduate school or work or whatever something like a quarter of one's friends.

Most non-seniors are leaving tomorrow; a few of us are leaving Sunday. Elizabeth will leave tomorrow morning or afternoon, likely while I am in Lang Concert Hall recording a demo tape for the recital I'm giving in Potsdam this summer. Will I feel her go? Am I tied too much to metaphysical things, that I'd even wonder about it? On a different level, will it affect my playing? I don't know. So many questions that must, by nature, be left unanswered. She's standing behind me now, reading as I write this, and I'm trying even as I type to memorize the way it feels to have her pressing gently against the chair behind me, her hand resting lightly on my shoulder, forming a silent "I love you" in sign language. My chair moves as she breathes, just as it does when I do the same. Will I remember that in a week, a month, two months? Maybe, just maybe, writing about it will help me to.

Endings have always been hard for me, and this is certainly no exception, but I feel that it will just be a change, really, not an end, in a sense that I haven't felt with other people. It's possible that I'm just deluding myself, but I don't think so.

There aren't enough hours left anymore, and so I'm going to stop using them up with typing and go back to talking. It's going to be okay. She gave me a hedgehog to take with me for the summer. We'll be fine.

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Saturday May 18, 2002 Packing and goodbyes

It's 2:07 am, and as time goes on, my back begins to hurt more. I'm no longer quite sure how much remains to be packed, because it all seems blurred and I'm not sure what things are coming home and which are staying here, where by staying here I mean going in cars to Susie's house tomorrow.

It all seems to work in chunks, and time stops for a while, as when I sat with Dan and Adena on Adena's floor eating my cheddar and Triscuits, and then it runs faster-than-normal, as when I realized that it's the last night I'll spend with the two of them, and when I walked into my room and started packing again. Time is a funny thing.

Eliz is home, and called me tonight, and it's strange how comforting a simple phone call can be. I saw her last not more than 14 hours ago, and yet it seems years ago that we last hugged, that I felt that particular aching pain in my throat as I tried not to be too sad that time for being apart had come.

I've been listening to the same songs for hours now, on endless repeat on my computer's stereo, and I've noticed for the first time that the current song, one I learned from a mix tape Kyla made me back when we were dating, comes just after the song Elizabeth and I have chosen, without ever having really discussed it, as "our song". We both always wanted an "our song", and now we have one, and it's good. And then there's Gordon Lightfoot, who is just indescribably wonderful.

As I procrastinate a bit further and ignore the fact that so many people will be gone so soon... but it will be all right. There's a hedgehog in my bookshelf.

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Sunday May 19, 2002 Home

And I'm home, after a long long day of packing and traveling and unpacking and traveling and packing and traveling and unpacking and now I'm here. I really, really hate packing.

But it's good to see my cat and great to see my parents and nice to feel the familiar carpet under my toes. The heat just came on, and I know that sound. Soon I'll go to sleep in my own bed, and it will begin to hit me that I'm here. My parents rock.

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Tuesday May 21, 2002 On books and giving

Kyla often wondered why I own so many books, why we buy books in my family rather than getting them from the library, and while I privately thought that she had at least as many books as I did, I wondered, too. As I look through my room, at the four full bookcases therein, and try to find space for the huge number of books I brought home from school, I wonder, too.

Another one arrived today: another O'Reilly tome, this one MySQL and mSQL. UNIX Power Tools came yesterday and I've read something like a third of it already; before that, I read all of Philip Pullman's Golden Compass between the car trip home and yesterday afternoon and evening. It's not just that it's convenient to own them, though, that it's easy to walk into the living room and pull them off the shelves and read.

Looking upstairs, I saw a copy of Sir Thomas Malory's Legends of King Arthur (yes, I know that's not the original title), and I remember unwrapping it, a gift from Byron, my grandfather. I remember sitting in the bathroom at our summer camp in the Adirondacks, in Paul Smiths, and comparing the stories with the versions in the moderately dog-eared dark-covered copy I'd grown up with, finding differences and similarities.

I gave Elizabeth a copy of a book that is, perhaps, nearest to my heart of all the ones I can remember, as a gift for Christmas. She finished it yesterday, and on the phone this evening we spent a long time talking about it, discussing the plot and the various characters and the way the different story lines work. I've loved this book for so many years I can't remember when I first read it, and I've never really talked with anyone about it.

It really bothers me when people mistreat their books, when they crease the covers and flatten the spines and pour soda on them and let them get wet and fold the pages and tear the pages and otherwise subject them to wear. For years, when asked why, I told people that books had always been my best friends, and that it bothered me to see them treated that way. In a way I was right. But partly, it's that books are more than bound paper, for me. They're touchstones, connections to another place and time, different people, and different memories. I know where almost all of my books came from, and for a lot of them I can tell you what the circumstances of their arrival were, and who was involved. Reading about Cimorene and Kazul will forever remind me of Laura, who introduced me to them and gave me the first two books, just as Richard Feynman belongs to my father and feng shui to my mother.

And when I go to sleep with The Golden Compass next to me on the floor, placed there gently, it makes it somehow easier to deal with the fact that the woman who gave it to me is so far away right now. We're seven months together, today, just as my dad has a birthday and my parents have spent 25 years in marriage. Talismans are important, at least as important as the memories they conjure. Why do I keep books, when a library might do just as well? I can't write inscriptions in a library book, nor can others write them to me, and it's just not the same.

I am glad that there's a copy of that book to sit on a shelf in Rochester and remind her of me when she needs it, and that I didn't send an email saying she should try to check out a copy of this book some time. Are books vessels for the spirit? I don't know. I like to think they are.

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Wednesday May 22, 2002 Little birds

Another day spent recuperating, with some effort made toward making publicity tapes, learning German (I'm getting better!), learning various other things, and making dinner. Dinner was _good_. I made the Greek pizza for which I never remembered to write down my recipe; rest assured that I do intend to write it, and it'll appear eventually. I was even going to write it down tonight, but it doesn't seem to have happened, and now I'm tired and wish for my bed.

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

-- E.E. Cummings

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Thursday May 23, 2002 Paella

Today was spent writing letters, baking pie with dad, working on the publicity for my June concert, practicing bagpipes a little, and reading summat.

I ate a Spanish olive for the first time today, and found to my surprise that I liked it. Dad made this neat vegetarian paella for dinner, which was cool because it didn't have any of the seafood that normally fills paella, which meant that I liked it. It was really good! And it had two kinds of olives in it, which is almost always a plus. I'm in the process of making mustard, the nifty red wine/garlic mustard whose recipe I learned from Kyla's mother. Yum.

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Friday May 24, 2002 Chocolat

A day filled with vague misgivings, about which I shouldn't write much, but I was worried about a voyage undertaken, and don't know yet how it will end. But there was soup, and mustard, and the excellent bread my dad made, and Chocolat, so it was somewhat better than it could have been.

I'll feel better when I get my reassuring phone call, though.

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Saturday May 25, 2002 Chipmunks and ethernet

In Massena today, in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart that dominates one half of the river bank, there was a wedding procession. A convertible with bride and groom drove in, slowly, driver honking constantly. They slowly drove around the perimeter of the lot, waving to everyone, and my family and I watched, deeply unsure of what to make of it all. As they passed, I waved on impulse, and then started laughing, big and full laughs, at the absurdity of it all.

After getting home and installing the new ethernet router, I went and looked in the side yard, to see if there were any chipmunks. I love chipmunks, you see, and there are often chipmunks eating seeds in our side yard. I literally watch them for hours, sometimes, if there's enough free time. Lately we've had two--a special treat.

And so I was glad to see, when I looked out the window, four small chipmunks happily munching away on seeds. They were wonderful.

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Sunday May 26, 2002 Memorial Day

This afternoon, shortly before we all left, my parents both saw a bluebird. We were about to go to Chris Fay's restaurant, one of those bastions of the restaurateurs' art that makes you say "oh. so that's what they mean." Chris apparently knows most of my family, or at least he gave that impression. In fact, he'd only ever met Grandma and Byron once, a couple of weeks before, but he remembered what they'd ordered and liked, and I was quite impressed. The only mistake I heard him make, and it was a small one, was confusing Byron's name with "Brian". But really, that's a small thing, and I was impressed. He knew his restaurant well, and managed to be a thoroughly appealing host without intruding or being under foot.

But I've gotten off topic, and you're wondering about the bluebird. Aren't you. Anyway, it was in the backyard, sitting on the lawn, by reports--I was in the shower, and was unable to confirm. We've wanted bluebirds to come for a while now. My uncle Ron is very much into one of the bluebird societies, and sold us the kits used to make the bluebird houses that stand in our lower yard. And so, a bluebird.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the first since September 11th. Tonight, there was a memorial television program on TV, and none of us watched it, feeling that it had been poorly done and was not worth the time. I wonder what tomorrow means for me, for my parents and family, for you others who read. Does Memorial Day carry anything special for you? I write, of course, not with regard specifically to September 11th of last year, but in more general terms. What will you remember tomorrow? Friends who are gone? Family members? Long-dead politicians and orators?

Will you focus on the past, or the future, or both, or neither? Does Memorial Day stir in you a remembrance of those who have died, or a desire to cherish those who live still, or something else entirely? Does it matter, to you? I don't know where I stand on this one, really. Perhaps clarity will come with the morning.

Before then, though, I'll keep the one daily ritual I've held onto. When all the other lights are gone, I'll light a candle. Maybe a small one, maybe a larger one, it doesn't much matter. I've lost the ritual a couple of times, I think: in Scotland, where I was not allowed to bring candles or flame, for fear of terrorist activities or some such thing; and a few weeks ago, when a fever burning me kept me from thinking of the candle a few inches away. Every other night has brought a small flame and a short period of quiet, sometimes prolonged, sometimes shorter than a few seconds.

I don't really have a reason--it isn't always to remind me of things, or to calm me, or to help me remember those I miss who are gone, or as a focus for prayer or intention or whatever--except that, at times, it has been all of those things. There will come a time when it is no longer important to me that I light a small fire each night, and when that time comes, I will stop. But for now, it is important.

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Monday May 27, 2002 Joseph Campbell

In the midst of a pile of books, while I was looking for something wholly different, I found the book I'd been looking for. A book I didn't know we had in the house, really--I'd started reading it at school, but put it down when sickness forced me to bed, and left it down when past sickness forced me to concentrate so hard on work.

And here it was, all the time. So many stories, and yet none, contained in one book. And so Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces sits now on my desk, waiting to be read.

This evening, my dad and I had a campfire, and we tended it carefully, gathering flames out of wet wood, and it was good. Overhead, bats flew in the gathering dark, eating the mosquitoes that were, in turn, eating me. There was fire, and I sang lightly, under my breath, songs I haven't sung in too many years. I smell of woodsmoke even now, and I smile.

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Tuesday May 28, 2002 Squirrel

Four months ago, I turned 21 years old in Swarthmore. Now I sit in the living room I've known all my life, listening to Brahms 2, typing in an editor I learned to use a couple of months ago. How strange.

All around are the trappings of a set of lives separate but intertwined, past, present, and future, and it's beautiful. We saw the bluebirds again today. I spent part of the afternoon trying to convince a squirrel that the bird feeder was not for the squirrels, but rather, for the birds.

The squirrel, of course, couldn't have cared less about me, though he did seem somewhat miffed when I threw water on him in the middle of his lunch.

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Wednesday May 29, 2002 Two years

Today, the Daily Show is two years old. A lot's happened since then, and I could probably sum some of it up for you, but there are the archives, and that speaks truer than any attempt to offer a précis. I may try later, but not just now.

I spent a while making a new bread concoction--they're sort of stuffed baguettes, sweet ones, filled with chocolate, like a cross between a petit pain and a pain au chocolat. Not bad, and easy. A recipe soon to follow, perhaps.

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Thursday May 30, 2002 Recordings

Much of the day spent in editing recordings for publicity. So hard not to change the level of criticism as the session goes on, not to be easier or harder on yourself. And the fact is, the recordings aren't all of the same quality. Some of these don't do justice to the music we played, so I won't release them. But others are really quite good. I'd listen to them, anyway.

I think, in the end, that I will not put up a recipe for the bread concoction, because it did not come out as I'd hoped it would. Oh, it was good, mind you, but not the mind-blurringly fantastic culinary experience for which I aimed. Live and learn; part of what I tried to do worked well, at least, and it was certainly edible.

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Friday May 31, 2002 Scripting

Dad made quiche Lorraine, and it was really, really good, and also a rhubarb-apple-meringue dessert that was very yummy.

Today was hard for lots of people. I will be glad if the hardness eases somewhat. Shouldn't have stayed up this late, but was helping people. Sigh. Up at 7:30 tomorrow for road trip to Syracuse and then tomorrow's tomorrow brings Eliz! Yay!

Oh, and I wrote a script to give myself German flash cards whenever I log in. Groovy!

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