Monday, December 27, 2004

So I found out what my last two grades were. Two B's. That gives me a solid B average - not great, but not my worst either, so I'm not complaining.

I had a dentist's appointment this morning. Apparently I was very lucky to make it - my parents told me that after I'd left they called to cancel because the technician was out sick. But I didn't have more than ten minutes' wait, so I guess some patient must have been out sick as well.

After that I stopped by Gretchen's. We watched "Cowboy Bebop: the Movie" and some cartoons and music videos she had downloaded and walked her puppy. Cute.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Murphy's Law #1,280:

You will not have a white Christmas. You will, however, get several inches of snow the night before you have a doctor's appointment early in the morning, if the route there takes you over two mountains and several stretches of steep or winding road.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Over the past few days I've been trying to organize my comic book collection, for the first time in four years or so. But my attempt has been halted only a fraction of the way through. Not because I lost interest or had other demands on my time, but because I ran out of polybags and cardboard backings. I had underestimated the size of my collection when I bought that stuff, apparently.

My boots were getting pretty worn out, so my parents got me new ones today for Christmas. I went with the theory of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" - the soles were going so the boots themselves had to be replaced, but they were comfortable and they fit, so I got almost exactly the same style.

Had dinner at Kendra's (a friend of my parents'). Good stuff - pizza, both regular and pesto pizza, because Kendra is allergic to tomatoes. A nice, traditional Christmas Eve dinner. :) But happily, it seems that dinner tomorrow at Laurie's actually will be nice and traditional. I'm told we're abandoning that ethnic food thing we'd done the past two Christmases. It didn't bother me nearly as much as some other people, since I can eat almost anything, but at least there'll be one less thing for people to whine about. But then, maybe I shouldn't count my chickens before they're hatched. Several in the family are vegetarians, including the hostesses, so I have to wonder what they're going to do about the ham and turkey I'm told we're having.

I've plugged my iPod into the computer speakers and I'm listening to "The Night Santa Went Crazy" and "Christmas at Ground Zero" right now.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I read The DaVinci Code today. A lot of people had been recommending it to me for a while, so on a day when I had nothing planned and nothing I needed to do between now and mid-January, I sat down and read it.

My God, it sucked.

Well, that's not totally fair. I admit, there are three reasons I'd be prejudiced against it. First, practically nothing could live up to the hype it had been given.

Second, I have a pet peeve about how a lot of authors write dialogue where foreigners speak perfect English, just perfect, except for the most common words of all, like "yes" and "mister." Frex, in the book, a French policeman - sorry, "gendarme," as I'm sure a writer of a book like this would call it - speaks English with an accent good enough to be perfectly understood, with perfect grammar, with no problem with long or rare words... but for some reason, he lapses back into his native tongue for words like "yes" and "please." I think I first noticed this in The Bourne Identity, even though I was too young to be bothered by it at the time. But I remember a bit where a woman made a code of slipping "n'est-ce pas" and stuff like that into a conversation carried out completely in English, when the other person barely spoke French at all. But whenever I see it now... it's unrealistic, it breaks the rhythm of what's meant to be smooth and natural speech, and instead of making the character look foreign or uneducated it just makes the author look pretentious.

And the third reason I enjoyed it very little is the fact that the mysticism behind it, the big revelations one after another that were the entire dramatic thrust of the book, is stuff I've seen time and again in one piece of fiction or another.

So for the first 50 pages or so I was constantly tempted to throw the book across the room whenever I saw a French word in italics. And for maybe 200 pages after that I was kind of getting into the spirituality. I was wondering what was missing in my life and how did I get so jaded and walled-off that I couldn't be moved by all that Goddess stuff. But by the end of the book, the only thought on my mind was, "Hey, I read this exact same story years ago in the Preacher comic books, only those had much better prose and a lot more nudity!"

Despite all that, I did learn something interesting from it. About writing. In theory, ideally, some day many years from now, I'd like to be a novelist. If I want to eventually make a living at it I could do a lot worse than to take a page from Dan Brown's book. You want to know why this book was so successful? Because the book is about how a guy with a sedentary desk job uses dozens of word games to thwart the plans of a secretive group of religious fanatics, supposedly striking a blow for women's rights in the process (but in fact, the book doesn't say all that much beyond, "The Dark Ages were too sexist," and that's not a bold stance at all.) Everyone with a boring job that would like some excitement, who doesn't fully trust a secretive group of religious fanatics, who thinks society has made progress since the Dark Ages, and who likes crossword puzzles would enjoy this. How many millions of people do you think that is in this country? No wonder it sold so well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

One time, when I was apologizing for a mistake I'd made that caused him some problems, a friend of mine told me not to worry about it. He said something like, "If you aren't going to feel bad about it in ten years, don't worry about it."

Today, I made the phone call to find out that I missed all the deadlines to get my picture in the yearbook. (By several weeks. Talk about putting it off.) I wonder if I'll regret that in ten years.

For a consolation prize, I'm pretty sure a CT group shot will be in it, but... damn. And to make matters worse, this is something my parents were bugging me about, but even so I didn't do anything about it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Earlier today I checked WebCT (the service that lets some classes have notes be posted online and homework sent in online), and found my term grade for Business Ethics was C+. Nothing to complain about there. Obviously, i should have done better im a bad student one of these days i need to learn planning and bla bla blah. But I think a C+ is an acceptable grade for a class that's just an allied field to my second major. That's the class which I was doing badly in because it was so easy to miss deadlines and stuff. And the Access Web page is slow as death, probably because of other people trying to do the same thing I am, but I finally got through. Another grade is posted - American Literature, where I got an A-.

Today I did practically nothing other than the household chores and stuff. I might have been tempted to go to town, but with the weather I didn't even think of it.
Jesus Christ it's cold out there. Zero degrees on a sunny afternoon in Middlebury, I don't want to imagine what it will be like in Bethel tonight.

And speaking of taking the Lord's name in vain, my parents got a video version of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" before I got back here, and I've already watched it twice. It only took me three years of hanging out with Gretchen and Kenny, but I'm starting to like musicals. It's an extremely weird staging, if that's the word - Judas in a black leather jacket? Apostles with spiky platinum blond hair? - but I like the way it tells the story, and it has some amazing songs.

I only have one Christmas present left to buy for someone. That's the best ratio I've had in my life five days before Christmas. (I say "ratio" because this year I've also bought presents for more people than usual.)

Jo's Yule party Saturday night was fun. We were going to see her mural, but she had to stay around the house to take care of her grandmother, so we didn't wind up leaving. We watched "Hellboy." My memories of it are pretty hazy, and I've never read the comic it's based on so I didn't know what to expect, but it was one weird movie. A demon gets raised by good guys, works for a secret branch of the U.S. government called the "Bureau of Paranormal Research&Defense," and fights a clockwork zombie Nazi assassin and some Cthulhu-like monsters. Call them Cthulhoid dogs. Ooo, is "cthulhoid" a word? If not, it should be.

Damn. Google finds 805 hits for "cthulhoid." Oh well.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Home. Nice drive back. Relaxing. Good to see pets again. Looking forward to Christmas party tomorrow at Jo's. Zoë's vacation has started, but she's gone back down to Burlington to do a day's work, so I haven't seen her yet. Considering a temp job, like subbing at high school or going back to that temp agency, for that week after New Year's but before I go back to school. I'm thinking of it partly for the money, of course, and partly because I feel like the way Zoë constantly has a paying job makes me look bad, but the biggest reason is simply the fact that before this summer I didn't really know about the options for very temporary work in this area. When I asked my dad for advice about subbing, he brought up looking for a real job. Not a bad idea, for that matter, since I'll need one in just a few months, won't I.

It's sort of funny how I can get competitive about my iPod. I have 800 songs on it. That's more songs than I've ever owned in my life, considering that after Thanksgiving break I burned 8 CDs belonging to my parents and sister onto it. (And I'm already making plans to add a few more CDs of theirs.) And yet I've talked to two people with iPods who both have hundreds more songs than me. I'm culturally deprived! I'm clueless! I used to be such a techie, but now some girls who barely know anything about computers are putting their toys to much better use than me! I'm not geeky enough! Waah!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

In the book Catch-22, there's one part where Yossarian - the main character, a very pessimistic, cynical and cowardly airman on the Italian front in World War II - goes on a bombing run and misses the target. He was too scared of the anti-air guns, so he dropped his bombs and turned around too soon. So he leads his planes around a second time. This time he hits the target, but a plane with him gets shot down.

When he gets back, his immediate superiors can't decide what to do with him. He screwed up and caused the loss of a plane and deaths of some men. But he got the job done. And the whole thing makes his superiors look bad. (I forget why, maybe they shouldn't have promoted him in the first place or something.) So what do they do? Well, they can't punish him or anything, because they, in turn, would get punished for what he did by their superiors. But they have to do something, or else they'd just be ignoring some gross negligence. What he did was too big and too unorthodox to possibly go unnoticed.

So they give him an award. He got the job done, after all, despite the odds, and at great personal risk. People can hardly criticize him for screwing up if it's in black and white that it was an act of heroism, right?

I finally understand Bush's decision to give Medals of Freedom to Bremer, Tenet, and Franks. Well, they say life imitates art... I guess it was only a matter of time before it imitated a cynical, dark comedy about the chaos and insanity of war, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I really did not expect this. I found yet another of those quizzes on a friend's blog, and I took it, and this is who it said I was most like:

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I think it's weird that I enjoy seeing people embarrassed in real life - like seeing them put their foot in their mouth or something - but I can't stand it on TV. I mean, I haven't watched sitcoms in a while, but when I did I'd always change the channel or leave the room if the plot revolved around someone accidentally misinterpreting an innocent remark (happened on "Frasier" all the time) or accidentally misusing a piece of clothing or some cosmetics (happened on "Friends" a lot.) It just always seemed so stupid, so pointless, so cruel... But in real life, I find that kind of cruelty fun. The best example I can think of was a few years ago. Jon (former Tiernanite) asked me how my girlfriend was doing, and I told him we'd broken up, and I gave him a detail or two that he really wouldn't have wanted. Two reasons: to see his expression, and to make him wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

Maybe I'm just an asshole. I don't know, call it schadenfreude.

Don't start singing, Kenny, dammit!
Today I took a final exam and I finished and turned in a term paper. I think I did pretty well on both of them, knockonwood. As for the exam, there was one question I'm not sure I answered the way he wanted, and there was another question I had to puzzle over and do a lot of scratchwork on, but I'm pretty confident about the other 10 or so.

So, I'm done with two classes. Only one is left, the one I'm doing worst in. Stuff I have left to do before I leave:
Study for Business Ethics exam.
Take Business Ethics exam.
Talk to Jessica to work out exactly when we'll be leaving.

All in all, I'd say today was the hump, and I'm now over it.

Last night was pretty depressing, and not just about the work. But I'm not going to go into details because the problems are other peoples' business. Suffice it to say that I can be pretty self-absorbed at times. (No comments from the peanut gallery needed, Katye! :)) I'm talking to a friend and something she says gets me a little depressed, so the subject turns to that for a while. But she was trying to ask my advice on a more serious problem of her own all along, and I hadn't even noticed until she came right out and said it. Yes, emotions don't read well over AIM, but still. Another one of those things I should probably work on. Well, I hope you can straighten it out, (you probably know who you are,) and I'm here for you if you need it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Peanuts is the comic strip that has made Charlie Brown a household name. Another of the main characters is a girl named Lucy. Her full name is Lucille van Pelt. "Pelt," according to, means "the skin of an animal with the fur or hair still on it." So Lucy's name could, with a little jiggering, be Lucy Fur.

Was Charles Schulz a Satanist?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The elections for CT editors for next semester just ended. They went from noon to 7:30 p.m., and I'm told that's quite a bit quicker than how it went last year. I'm going to be one of the two copy editors. I'll still be there and involved and stuff, but it's a lot less commitment and responsibility than being a section editor or something else, so I don't have to feel guilty about leaving halfway through my term when I graduate. There was only one election result that I thought was really objectionable. Other than that, I can't complain.

During the talks, though I didn't think of it in time to bring it up with both serious candidates for Editor in Chief, I had a new idea about why the CT has so many problems with controversy. I mean, there's at least one big argument a semester, and apparently last week someone made a motion to censure us to the SA Senate or something - I don't know the details, but it didn't sound good - so it seems like we have more problems like this, proportionally, than we should.

Here's what I think: we the editors and staff all think of most of the paper - Opinions, Comics, Features - as an open forum for the student body. We'll print nearly anything sent to us, as long as it's not blatantly false or hateful or whatever. Even the other sections - they're not a forum for the writers, but we make an effort to get both sides of every issue, so to some degree it's a forum for the people we write about. So when people get mad at us, we often think they're being over-sensitive, not reading for context, shooting the metaphorical messenger, or even just complaining for the sake of it rather than doing anything to educate or raise awareness.

But I think that's not how most people see it. I think most people think of the CT as speaking with one unified voice, or trying to, or at least pretending to. I can see where they'd get that idea: the Editorial Board editorials are the first pieces in every editorial section and are usually the topic of the cartoon. Most - most - of us do tend to agree with each other and the student body on most issues. And most of the offensive stuff happens to be written by editors, or at least well-known long-term staff, rather than random students.

So I think most people read a logically incoherent or pointlessly offensive column by Rob Clemm, or a "Republicanism Now!" cartoon by Dave Pascoe where he didn't make it clear enough if he was satiring himself or the other side, and people think that's actually what the leadership of the paper believes, or even the majority.

Or, to take a more recent example that's causing the latest problems... last week we had a column on the Web page apologizing for the confusion over Ben's "interracial marriage" editorial and trying to explain it, but basically accepting responsibility for the confusion. We didn't commit to any deep changes over this, but I think we made it clear that we knew there was a mistake. But in that week's issue, we had a cartoon by copy Jay (copy editor Jason Buitrago) which was lightly making fun of the people who didn't get Ben's editorial.

To us, it was harmless and I don't think anyone even thought about how they'd look side by side. But when I heard there were problems with it, it occurred to me that if you put them together it might look like we're saying, "Okay, we're sorry you guys were too stupid to figure out what he meant."

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Well, I made it. The paper was very close to on time, and I don't even think it was all that bad.

Ray at the CT said he wished I had been accepted to Take 5 so I'd be around next year. Today I made an appointment to talk to a Take Five counselor to see what happened and stuff. Mostly just to satisfy my curiosity.

I didn't sleep last night. Now I'm struggling to stay awake until 6:30 when there's this Undergraduate English Council something-or-other I want to go to. Normally I wouldn't, but Professor Memmot will be there. He's the CT advisor and I've never actually met him in person, so I feel sort of obligated.
I'm working on my term paper in the computer lab to avoid all the distractions present in my room. It's coming along nicely and I've been saving regularly. But the mouse has frozen for some reason. I can still save and stuff by hitting the keyboard shortcuts, but in order to do anything else - save to somewhere else or under a different name or upload it back to WebRFM (how I'm moving the file around) - I have to get the mouse back. To do that, I have to restart the computer. And I've been saving to the desktop. And when a computer in the ITS Center is shut down and restarted, it automatically deletes everything on the desktop.

Should I scream at the top of my lungs and put my fist through the computer monitor, or just dislocate my knee so I'm unable to go to class?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ah yes, what would a Wednesday night be without staying up all night to work on a paper? Of course, this week it's not the CT but a term paper, but still.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Okay, first of all: what is with the wind? I was walking back from the coffee shop, and it was literally hard to stand up straight coming back. It was unbelievable! According to the wind is between 40 and 60 mph. For a while the wind blew me around, so I turned around, spread my arms, and let it hold me up. Nisha saw it and wondered what I was doing. Which brings me to -

Okay: what is up with Tiernanites at Common Ground? I went to get a coffee before a few hours of paper-writing. Sitting at a table with a couple friends I found Nisha, waiting for a drink she had ordered. At the booth next to the table with the sugar and lids, Laura Schell is sitting talking to Diano Santos (a former Tiernanite.) Across the room, Katie Fry and Lindsay are sitting with a few other people - APO, I'd guess. And as I'm leaving I hear a distinctive laugh - it's Kenny in a table at the back, sitting with Adam Bink and a few other people. I mean, all of us together are something like a sixth of the entire Tiernan Project, and we didn't go together, we just happened to all be there seperately or with friends. Bizarre.

Finally, I gave up on waiting for my problem with AIM to go away. So I uninstalled it, reinstalled, and created a new screen name. I am now cybishop1982. Unoriginal, sure, but who cares. I like cybishop but straight "cybishop" is already taken, cybishop007 is lost to me for some inexplicable reason, and any other combination of numbers would probably be even more unoriginal than either 007 or my birth year. So, everyone add cybishop1982 to your Buddy Lists. Don't delete cybishop007 just yet, I guess, maybe I'll eventually figure out the problem.

Also, as I said, I have my old Buddy List stored by Trillian - even though I almost never use it, preferring the simple and familiar interface of AIM - so I still have all the screen names from my old list, or very nearly. However... I have no idea how to find the Buddy List file, wherever it's saved on my computer. I'd really like to avoid having to type over a hundred screen names in anew -

What the fuck? Holy shit, it seems Trillian could do it for me! As I wrote this I was fiddling around with the Trillian settings, and I told it to sign on through cybishop1982, and suddenly about 30 "xyz has signed on" AIM notices appeared. That is so cool! I still have to create my old Buddy groups for this new account, and I have to add comments with everyones' names to their screen names (but maybe I'll stick with Trillian now, where that's a bit easier), but still, this rocks! Wow!
I won't be putting as much time and thought into this entry as I'd like. But I have a term paper due soon, and not only that but in class today I thought of something even more interesting that I'd like to write about when I get the chance, so I just don't have the time to really put energy into this.

That being said, this is the political thing I was talking about. As Andrew Sullivan said on his site, where I first saw this thing, "He died. They lied." It's a blog talking about how Pat Tillman, the pro NFL player who died in Afghanistan, actually died in friendly fire and how the Pentagon hushed that up. I'd recommend that everyone read it, and the thing it links to.

As is so often true in politics, "it's not the sex, it's the lying". Who cares that he died in friendly fire? Either way it's sad, either way he was self-sacrificing. But why did the Pentagon cover it up? What else do we take for granted that key details have been left out of, or maybe even made up completely? How does this narrative supporting the war and the administration that people have made up and are constantly adding to relate to the truth, the actual state of the world we live in? Does it?

Monday, December 06, 2004

I love the tunnels. This morning I walked to Dewey and back, stopping by the Pit to get lunch on the way back, and I did it all by spending probably a grand total of less than 2 minutes out in the snow.

I went to both my classes today. It's been too long since I could say that on a Monday or Wednesday.

I've finally got around to straightening out my exam schedule, and it looks pretty good. I'll need to call/e-mail her to make sure, but if I remember correctly it looks like I'll be able to get a ride home with Jessica. Very nice.

The bad news: I have a 15 page paper due Thursday. Other than that, things are going great.

Later I really want to do this post about a political thing I saw, but I don't have the time now - there's two homework assignments I need to get to. I'll try to remember it later.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ouch. I had a headache when I woke up this morning - hangover.

For some weird reason I can't get AIM to work. It just says "Sign on blocked" every time I try, even when I try with a different screen name or on a friend's computer, and apparently no one else has this problem. If it isn't back by tomorrow, I'll have to try creating a new screen name. But, small favors: thanks to Trillian, I can access my buddy list without being online, so even if I do have to abandon my old screen name - and I don't have the faintest idea why this happened - at least I won't lose peoples' screen names.

Wednesday was yet another night where it went well, but I don't have a clue why. I mean, I'm torn between feeling frustrated that we're so disorganized and lazy that it's always last-minute, seat-of-the-pants writing and editing, and feeling proud that we handle it so well. But anyways, that was my last paper as a news editor. I might be a copy editor next semester if they need it, and I'll definitely keep on writing and eating dinner there and stuff, but all the hard work of being an editor is over for me. Since I'm only going to be around for a semester, I can't be an editor again.

Why not reapply for Take Five next semester? I've thought about it - and in fact, it just occurred to me that I should try to find an advisor or something and ask why my proposal was rejected, if only to satisfy my curiosity - but I don't think I will. If I plan for next year assuming I would get into Take Five and I don't, it would be a huge mess. No double major, committments at the CT I wouldn't be able to keep, etc. But if I sign up for classes assuming I won't get in, then it would seriously hurt my chances of getting in, I believe, and even if I did it would completely burn me out to take eight classes of Spanish language and culture in two semesters.

Anyways... I had really planned to go to class on Thursday. With exams and final papers coming up, I can't slack off any more. But I didn't go to bed immediately after getting back to my room, so instead of waking up in class I slept through my damn alarm. That night we ("we" being a dozen or so people from the hall) went to the Boar's Head dinner. It was my first. The food was great by any standard - and by the standards of campus food, it was amazing.

Friday I made a drink run with Allison in the morning for a party later that night. In the afternoon/evening I played some games of Magic with Katye and Kenny. Around 11 I went to that party at Sandeep's in GLC, seeing his place for the first time. It was fun (but to judge by my hangover, a little too fun).

And now, I need to go get back my backpack and 12-pack, which I forgot over there.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Damn. I didn't get into the Take Five program.

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, I can't say I'm surprised. But I think I had a decent chance, despite the problems with my application. Too bad it just wasn't enough.

I think I'll go for the double major, then. Of course, that like everything else is subject to change (especially since I decided it in the past five minutes), but a double major would always look good, there doesn't seem much point in only taking one semester of Spanish, and my committments at the CT will be minimal next semester so the overload should be easy.

Speaking of which - off to work. This is our last paper of the semester, of our term as editors, so I'd better get back to work on my story.

Monday, November 29, 2004

I think this story about a spam-blocking screensaver is very interesting, but it has more implications than are immediately apparent.

On the one hand - cool. A way to fight back. I've been forced to change e-mail addresses before because my old one got so much spam that if I didn't check it for a week, messages would bounce because spam was taking up all the space. With my new address, I've done everything I can to be more careful about which Web sites I give it out to. I'm definitely going to download this thing. And more generally, it's pretty nice to see a problem getting solved in a free-market way. One of those "triumph of human ingenuity" things.

But on the other hand, it looks to me like this (along with many other innovations, like file-sharing) takes the rules of cyberspace in a very different direction from the rules of the real world. Protecting yourself, individual property rights, all that is perfectly fine - but this seems to be going way past the line. This screensaver doesn't just block spam, it attacks the people who are sending it - and in a way that could potentially put the burden on an innocent third party, their ISP. I mean, think about it in real world terms. How is this different from avoiding junk mail by slashing the tires of the mailman's car? Or avoiding telemarketers by cutting their phone lines? It's so much easier, of course, because spammers are pests, sleazy smut-peddlers, con artists, big faceless corporations, or all of those at once. But does that change the ethics and implications of this? Hell, put it another way - what if a spammer company wrote a computer virus that deleted spam-filtering software?

(Let me repeat the cop-out that I am no expert, that for the past five years I haven't paid any more attention to technology than the average English major, that I haven't tried using this yet. Basically, that I might not have a clue what I'm talking about.)

I think my childrens' definitions of "privacy" and "property" will be completely and totally different from my parents'. Because the current "real world" standards of those values are either impossibly high or are ridiculously easy to ignore in cyberspace. Is this good? Is it inevitable, or could it be reversed by consumer demand or governmental fiat or individual awareness? How much has already changed without most people having any idea about it? What else is changed by the fact that so much of our lives now takes place in a setting that is not literally a "place"?
Weekend update: good times. Except of course for putting Felicia down. I was crying my eyes out in the vet's office, but it was pretty much inevitable. Arthritis, incontinence, glaucoma, deafness - she was just too old. She was a good dog, and I don't mean that in the impersonal, "fill in name here" sense. I've come to like our pug Fiji, but when she dies I'll probably be calling her fun, funny, cute - but not a good dog. But Felicia was. She wouldn't hurt a fly, yet she'd always be so eager to say hello to every new person or dog she saw that it was a real effort to hold her back on walks. We'd sometimes call her "the Nose" because when she wanted attention, she wouldn't bark or scratch or anything, she'd just stick her nose in front of you or rub up against you until you scratched her head. At our old house (where we let her outside a lot more, because she wasn't deaf yet and there were fewer neighbors to care if she ran off anyways) she'd always be so bouncy and perky, it was like an 8-year-old puppy.

Well, anyways... Thursday was a simple Thanksgiving dinner with the family. Turkey and stuff. Friday I went over to Gretchen's. We got dinner and went to see "The Incredibles". I had heard mostly good things about it, so, being a comic book geek, I just had to go. And I liked it. I think my favorite scene is near the end, when


the family is at Dash's track meet, and they're cheering him on, but yelling for him to slow down so he doesn't win by too much and give away his powers. "Faster, Dash, faster! You can do it! Wait, slow down, let them get ahead again! Okay, now faster!" What they were saying, the expressions of the people sitting around them... hilarious.


Saturday I went up to Burlington to pick up Jo and give her a ride home, since she had spent the night there with friends but didn't have a car. I also did a little Christmas shopping up in Burlington. We hung out at her house for a bit with Kendra, Paul, and his boyfriend Eric. Was Eric his name? Oh well, if not, it would hardly be the only thing I've forgotten. We watched Shrek 2, which Jo had just bought, and she showed me the progress on the mural she was hired to paint at a nearby bar.

And Sunday I had another excellent ride back. Despite starting a little late and bad traffic, it was still about four hours quicker than the bus would have been, and a whole lot roomier and with better company.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

We just put Felicia down.
Damn, I wish I'd had a friend to come back with every year. I've learned to put up with the bus, but this was so much better. Only five and a half hours, a roomy seat, only one stop, only chipping in gas money instead of buying a bus ticket...

My sister is now a freshman at Northeastern. So my mom and dad are living alone together for months at a time for the first time since I was born. So when my mom picked me up and we were driving home, I asked her how they were handling empty nest syndrome. Hah. When I got back I found a plastic gate at the top of the stairs, the kind that adults can easily open or step over but babies can't get by. Apparently it's their latest attempt at solving the incontinence problem a cat (or cats) has. I guess a litter box in the hall upstairs wasn't doing it. And they've come up with a complicated system involving a rubber band and a paint can to ensure that the cats can get to the cellar, where the litter box is, but Fiji the pug can't. "Empty nest" my ass.

On a sadder note, it looks like our poodle Felicia is failing fast pretty suddenly. She's 14, I think, and it's just a bunch of stuff adding up. Arthritis or something in her back legs, glaucoma, lots more... my parents say she might have to be put down this week.

Last night Katye and I were pretty much the only people left on the hall, so we hung out. I played Magic with her a few times. She won both games. I usually cut her a little slack because I've played a lot more than her and because they're my decks. Nothing big; just, in one game when I had two or three creatures out before she had any, I was only attacking with one and saving the other, even though I didn't really need to.

Come to think of it, that's how I lose a lot of games of strategy. Magic, Warcraft III, Starcraft... I'll almost never go for the quick and easy kill, waiting instead until I can launch some fancy or just big offensive. It just seems more fun that way, I guess. The Warcraft III analogy seems best - why would you ever send footmen to kill your opponent's peons, for example, when you could send knights and griffons to kill your opponent's wolf-riding orcs and shamen? Of course, the problem with that is that if you don't do the first, you usually don't get the chance to do the second. Oh well... it just looks so damn cool!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Turkey Party was fun. I was badgered into entering the contest. At first I wasn't going to do it, because I figured it would be much better to do nothing at all than to do something pitiful, half-assed, and clearly either for the prize or because I was talked into it. But when I finally thought of a theme that would be interesting and doable on short notice, I got into it. So, I was a Zombie Turkey. I took the construction paper beak and tail everyone uses, and added to it a gaping throat wound I bought for Halloween, some fake blood and a ripped shirt. I thought it went pretty damn well. For my song, I sang along to Alice Cooper's "Feed My Frankenstein", doing my best to add turkey-themed lyrics: "Feed my butterball! Hungry for stuffing, and it's dinnertime!" And so on.

And in the end, I won the prize - a bottle of Wild Turkey.

The party was fun. It wasn't wild by any standard, but there were quite a few more people than last year (I think) and we had fun. Card games, dancing (mostly to "The Time Warp"), and a lot of drinks. But I was sorry to disappoint Seth and some other people - I only had four. They were deprived of seeing me drunk, which I'm told can be quite a show.

The end of the year is creeping up on us. The next issue of the CT is the last one this semester, elections are coming up, and I'm forced to realize that I let myself get too far behind in one class. Not that it's a hard class, just that it has that combination of ease and self-direction which makes it incredibly easy to put stuff off or lose track. Frex, I could have done this one assignment in all of an hour, but I never, ever get reminders of it, so short of tacking the syllabus up by my computer I'd forget about it until too late. But then, it's not like this class matters at all.

I was planning on coming home for Thanksgiving today like usual, but plans changed: I know this girl, Laura, who's from Vermont, and this friend of hers is also from VT and is driving back. So I saved some money and some time on the road and I'm leaving with them early tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Also, there was an interesting moment in Business Ethics class today. We'd read a case study of a whistleblower who talked to the media about something probably-immoral-but-maybe-not-illegal that his employer did, and they fired him for blowing the whistle. One member of the group making the presentation on it said that they company was morally justified in firing him because he (and the bad press he created) was now costing the company more money than they paid him, so they had every moral right to fire him.

Something about that argument seemed wrong somehow, but I couldn't articulate it very well. I rambled vaguely about responbilities and obligations to employees and stuff for a bit. But when the guy sitting next to me tied it in to worker's compensation, it all became clear to me. That guy said that compensation for a worker injured on the job was one case when an employer should not fire someone even though he's not paying his own way at the moment. So the presenter said there's an exception for worker's compensation because it is mandated by contracts.

And that's bullshit. There's a legal obligation to provide worker's comp for people injured on the job, but there's also a moral obligation. It's one of the most basic ones there is. You break it, you buy it; you make a mess, you clean it up; you hurt someone, you try to make it better. That doesn't apply to every case when someone is injured on the job, of course, maybe not even the majority, but it still needs to be considered. And this situation is similar. Firing him was unethical because this whistleblower had a choice between violating the law and/or his conscience (injury in a non-physical sense of the term, you might say), and losing the job he relies on, and it is unethical to put someone in that position.

So when I said all that, how did the presenter respond? He said that worker's compensation shouldn't be required by law. To me, that looks like he's saying it's not a moral imperative overall, that "cleaning up your own messes" is optional.

I realize I'm casually summarizing something from memory of when everyone was speaking on the spur of the moment, and it was happening as the class was running out of time, but still - the impression seemed to me like an insight into economic libertarianism. People should be free. People should be free to ignore any moral principles, even the most basic and universal. You don't have a committment to anyone else unless they have it in writing. The government has no business interfering with people getting screwed over. And most of all, first and foremost... "Look out for number one" and "Gimme" are as acceptable as any other belief system in this modern pluralistic society of ours.
Jesus, Wednesday night sucked. Printer problems. Too little content: this week it was caused by my not being organized (as always) and by an important article being given away to another section that needed it more. And there were controversies. An editorial which almost but not quite everyone recognized as satire at first glance. (More about that later.) And a comic strip which was making fun of people with anorexia (or was it bulimia?) which didn't get run--and the "censorship" of that pissed Ben off so much that he resigned as editor. We finally got out of there around 8:20 a.m. And just to add that special something, I decided to work on a couple assignments between then and class, so I skipped sleeping. Naturally, I was in bed by 6:30 Thursday night, and even that was pushing it.

Today's gone pretty well, though. I did 2.34 miles in 25 minutes on a treadmill at the gym. I know compared to some people it's not great, but I think that's the best I've done since January. I watched some TV, went to class and walked to the comic book store and CVS. Then not long after I got back from that, Eric knocked on my door (pounded as if he was trying to wake up Kenny) and invited me to go bowling with him, Katye, Katrina, Mike, Pam, Lindsay, and Shelley. So I said yes, it sounded like fun. I started off strong but got progressively worse. But oh well, who cares - I only really get competitive around my family, for some strange reason.

After that we went to Jay's Diner for dinner. Good stuff.

Ben Heaton wrote an Editorial Observer. On its surface it was complaining about interracial marriage, but it was meant to be a clear satire of the arguments against gay marriage. How? I mean, after all, it's never explicitly stated, right? Well, I'm looking at it now, and here are some reasons:
  1. The title "Marriage debate not new one" ties it into the marriage debate going on right now in this country.
  2. The first two paragraphs (all right, except for the last six words of them) never say a word about interracial marriage. But they are framed in the language of the contemporary debate: using the phrases "activist judges" and "religious and cultural values," referring to a constitutional amendment, and even taking an example from a TV show of this century. I did exactly the same thing in my editorial a few weeks ago - talked about something in vague but leading terms before (in Ben's case, supposedly) switching to the opposite topic.
  3. Of the six premises Ben presents "for" an amendment banning interracial marriage, five of them are taken directly from the gay marriage debate and have little or nothing to do with the decades-old interracial marriage debate. The best of these, because it's so completely ridiculous that you'd have to be fucking batshit crazy to actually believe in it, is the nature comparison: "Biologically speaking, interracial coupling is unnatural. It does not occur in other species - you will never see a black Labrador and a German shepherd having sex, for instance." But even besides that one, his article is almost entirely a bunch of gay marriage criticisms word for word with the word "gay" replaced with "interracial."
  4. It refers positively to Plessy vs. Ferguson, which is famous for being one of the handful of Supreme Court cases that have now been repudiated.
  5. You know that joke, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve?" It's more casual and flip than many, but it's just one reason out of hundreds given for why homosexuality is wrong and/or unnatural. I've heard or seen it dozens of times, and I'll bet most Americans have seen it at least once. Well, the last line of Ben's editorial is, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and some black woman."
  6. How the bloody fuck could anyone imagine that Ben Heaton, only published before now for making fun of a rich authority figure, in 2004, at the University of Rochester, would write anything at all actually opposed to interracial marriage?
And yet despite all that, I've heard two groups talking about it just randomly, around campus, as I was sitting in CLARC. (Which I think is a first for a CT article.) And both groups were convinced he really was attacking interracial marriage until I corrected them. I realize two is a small sample, but since Chad's e-mail saying we'd have to talk about it at the weekly meeting, I feel that's a conclusion we can jump to.

I don't know a lot about H.L. Mencken (apparently he was some kind of elitist/racist?), but he was an author so cynical that he made me look like Smoochy the Rhino. A quote of his comes to mind: "No one in this world, so far as I know...has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." All of us except for Michael He were sure that people would get the message, but it seems that Michael was right. Well, next time I'll be sure to give people less credit for intelligence.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I've become pessimistic about next semester. I still don't know if my Take Five application will be accepted, and I won't find out until December 1. But in registering for my classes, (which I did late since I thought it wouldn't matter; I already had the instructor's permission for what I thought would be my only selective class), I found that what was offered next semester was very different from what I wanted. I don't know how it happened; I thought I put together my application using the most current info available. So the Take Five Review Board is probably going to see my application and say, "Wait a minute, this is impossible, this program just won't work." This is a hell of a way to finally learn a lesson about putting stuff off. I used to worry about procrastination but I reassured myself that it didn't matter as long as I got the work done in the end. But some papers handed in at the last second and some bad CT weeks have already made it impossible for me to make that claim any more. Missing Take Five on top of that would really suck. I could always reapply next spring, but I don't want to sign up for classes on the assumption that I'll get in and then not make it, which would screw up whatever plans I make for my degree.

But just to show that things could be worse - it didn't take me long to find the positive side of this. If I don't get accepted, then the very difficult question of what to do over the next few months/year is already made: finish school in May and move on. And who cares what classes I take next semester. Since nothing else would be going on, I could manage any of the realistic possibilities. But if I do get accepted, then I'll face some tough choices and soul-searching: run for editor-in-chief? Finish the poli-sci major? Live off-campus for the first time to avoid paying for on-campus housing? Bring a car to campus so I can finally enjoy some degree of independence, Do all of those or some combination, thereby increasing my workload and responsibilities a ton?

I'm reminded of something Katye said a few days ago, for basically the same reason of avoiding a tough choice: "I want to get into exactly one grad school. No more!"

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Last night: Kenny's birthday party (happy birthday again, K-Dog!), followed by a Beirut tournament with some CT people, followed by extreme drunkenness - holy shit, but that punch was strong. It just tasted a little more tangy than perfectly normal fruit juice, but all I had was two cups of that and two beers and I was incoherent for the rest of the night. For some reason, I was speaking in an Australian accent to Sandeep at the CT party. I mean, Australians have a reputation for being party animals, so anyone who's drunk must act Australian, right? Well, it made sense at the time.

Today, 8 p.m.: Doing great, except of course for no small amount of work hanging over my head. Other than that, fine.

Today, 10 p.m.: I'm the lowest of the low - I can't believe what I did while drunk last night. And I see a choice from a few weeks ago in a new light, and it looks pretty disgusting. Did I really think so little of a friend of mine that I thought she'd easily cheat on a serious, deep, long-term relationship just because I made an advance? What's wrong with me? I'm a terrible person. I don't deserve my friends, but that's okay because at this rate I won't have them any more.

Today, now: Wait a second, I was completely inarticulate due to the massive amount of alcohol in my system, but what I actually did last night wasn't meant the way it was taken at all. It may have sounded extremely sexist, but in fact I was actually trying to confess to having done something slightly sexist. Not bragging but admitting. So either alcohol not just nullified but actually reversed my emotions on that subject... or that was my weekly episode of Bad Communication Skills. And what I did a few weeks ago - maybe it would have been as bad as some people thought, except that I said that very minute that I didn't expect her to respond well to my making a move.

Heh. Embarrassing, sure, but disgusting and terrible? Again, too self-critical, I think.

Thanks for talking me through this, G. Sounds like I needed it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I had such ambitious plans of getting to the gym first thing this morning... wasted. I put it off for a bit, and then a friend IMed me, and then I only had so much time before I would have to get to class... Sigh. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Wow, last night was pretty damn good.

Over the past week, I put everything off, in some cases past what would prove to be the "last minute," so it never got done. By Wedneday at 7:15 p.m. the news section was faced with 2 or 3 missing stories, a bigger section than usual, one story that was shaping up to be very crappy (mine), and a larger paper in general, which meant everyone else had more to do so we were competing with each other for the same printer time.

So no one was more surprised than me that by 7:15 a.m. Thursday... I'm here. In my room. We're done. Due to a combination of judicious use of graphics, hard work, accepting my sucky story and a puff piece partially to fill space, and the fact that other sections were doing well themselves, the night went great.

Also, there are two letters to the editor about my editorial last week. Both complaining. I suppose I should have taken Chad's advice and at least tried to clarify one point about it, but... well, suffice it to say, neither letter has exactly persuaded me to rethink the basic position of my editorial.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Some things that happened yesterday:

I had read or heard in some class somewhere that in Renaissance England, it was fashionable in some situations for womens' dresses to have necklines that went lower than the nipples. The idea was to show that their breasts didn't have stretch marks, which meant they had never nursed a baby, which in turn meant that they were either virgins or were rich enough to afford wet-nurses. Well, yesterday in my Renaissance poetry class, the teacher mentioned that Queen Elizabeth practiced that habit - well into her seventies.

At dinner with Seth and Katye, the discussion somehow turned to Speedos. Now, while I was in France I went to this pool with a host family once, but for some reason that place didn't allow normal swimming trunks. So I bought a Speedo just for that afternoon, and I haven't used it since. So I said, "I had a Speedo once, but I gave it away to my dad." (Who swims to stay in shape.)

There. You may now proceed to scrub your eyes with steel wool. :)
Wow. So simple, yet so true.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I just saw something scary online. Following the directions I saw in a blog, I went to Google images and searched for "Lynndie England". For those who don't know, she's one of the more infamous soldiers involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal. If you've seen a picture of a dozen or so people piled in a pyramid of naked bodies, do you remember a woman standing in front of them throwing a thumbs up to the camera? That was her. Well, I searched for her on Google images. You know what I found? Nothing.

Same for her fiancé (or husband now?) and accomplice Charles Graner - only one picture comes up and it has nothing to do with the worldwide news story he was an integral part of. Hell, even search for "abu ghraib" and you'll find about a hundred pictures, and yeah some will be gruesome, but not one will be any of the pictures of torture. The guy in a hood standing on a box with electrical wires on him, the pile of naked people, of people being threatened with dogs, of people simulating sex acts - none of it is indexed by Google.

This is censorship. And I guess it's premature to call it scary like I did, but it is definitely sad. We don't know yet why this was done - a general desire to be less offensive, a lawsuit or threatened lawsuit by some "decency" group, a decision by Google owners to promote a political agenda, pressure from the administration - or what. But whichever of those reasons it is or something else entirely, information relevant to politics is being made harder to find, and it's being done covertly. We are only a few steps along this road, but it's not a road we should be on at all.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Holy Shit - we're out. Now that, my friends, is called living the dream.

I'd say there were two reasons for it. Well, maybe three. First of all, we had relatively little to do since we only had 5 pages and they were relatively ad-heavy. Secondly, Sandeep and I (to our shame) found out about some important stories on Monday or Tuesday but put them off until next week due to a lack of time and/or writers. So there were few last-minute stories, but if we had set our sights on high quality there would have been more.

And as I was writing this it occurred to me that there might be a third reason - almost everyone was depressed by the election results. So though more people were watching TV or arguing with Chad and Emily (our editor-in-chief and his fiancé are the only two right-wingers in the office), few were enjoying themselves, fooling around, or whatever. For my part, I know that every time I was walking to or from the office to get quotes or write something in CLARC I had my iPod on and was listening to Rage Against the Machine. And/or Eminem's "Mosh".

Anyways - it will be very nice to get a full four hours of sleep or maybe even more tonight.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Once in a while - not often, since I and almost all my friends are solidly on the left, but once in a while - someone's comments have made me feel that I'm too far to the left, that I've been listening to an echo chamber too much, that I should give the other side the benefit of the doubt.

This is why I can't do that. Because as far as I can tell, about 80 to 90 percent of Bush supporters think like this shitstain. From the "We’ve won. Winning means not having to say you’re sorry," to the "If anyone needs to work to 'bring the country together' it’s those on the left who have divided it so badly," to the "My life’s goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like Stephanie Herseth who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes," to the final "Those who didn’t support Bush can go and perform a certain anatomically impossible act. They lost, now they can sit in the back of the bus."

Winning is more important than doing the right thing. Blaming everything that ever has gone wrong in the world on some bogeyman called "the left". Racism, sexism and simply assholery masquerading as the real egalitarianism. Cooperation and diplomacy only being used because they can't get away with violence. And either people like that make up the vast majority of the right, or the compassionate conservative majority is too apathetic or ignorant to stop these un-American fascists from representing them.

This isn't anywhere near an exact quote, but I believe my senator Jim Jeffords said something like this when he left the Republican party: "I didn't move left from the Republican party. They slid right out from under me." If a lot more Republicans don't make the same choice over the next four years, then this country is fucked. Plain and simple.
For what seems like the first time in my life, I've been accused of being too optimistic.

But Kerry could still pull it through. Bush has a margin of about 140,000 votes in Ohio - but there are still about 250,000 absentee and provisional ballots uncounted. And due to massive unjustified voter challenges (here and elsewhere on atrios), I feel safe in assuming that the provisional ballots will lean heavily Democratic. Will they lean Democratic heavily enough? Well, that's the question, isn't it. But I'm not giving up hope for Kerry yet. And if he does win... damn, that might be the deathblow of the electoral college, and I'd call that nothing but good news. For the second time in a row the electoral college would have picked the candidate who lost the popular vote, and this time Kerry lost the popular vote by an even greater margin than Bush did in 2000. Now that both sides have been hurt by it, maybe there will be serious attempts to get rid of the electoral college.

However, even though Kerry still has a chance, I'm not optimistic about the direction of our country in general. And it's not just the obvious fact that judging by the popular vote, most of the country prefers one of the most incompetent presidents ever to an actual American hero. I don't know why, but judging how dozens of votes went across the country, there is something seriously wrong.

Randy Kuhl won the House seat for New York's 29th district because when his opponent Samantha Barend showed that he threatened to shoot his ex-wife, it was seen as dirty politics and created a backlash against her.

In Kentucky, incumbent Jim Bunning won re-election, despite the fact that he is suffering from some sort of dementia.

Lisa Murkowski got her Senate seat in Alaska in 2002 because the governor appointed her - Governor Frank Murkowski. Her father. And yesterday, she got to keep that seat.

Of course, there are amendments forbidding gay marriage and civil unions passed in a dozen or so states.

And then there's all the stuff I've talked about before - studies proving that Bush supporters are less well-informed than Kerry supporters and that Fox viewers are less well-informed than people who get their news from NPR or PBS, and stories showing that I can't believe character is an issue at all and that some of Bush's followers show cult-like devotion.

If Kerry does win Ohio, then he will face a House and Senate both controlled by a Republican Party (by an even larger margin than before) which will be absolutely enraged by Kerry winning in only the electoral college (even though that's how Bush won in 2000). If Kerry had won in a landslide the genuine conservatives in the Republican Party might have waked up and taken it back from the theocrats and Big Business shills, but now they'll all stay united. He would also have inherited a war on terror in which we just gave our enemy a huge recruitment boost, a seperate War on Iraq which is - dare I say it - a quagmire, and the largest budget deficit in history. There's no doubt in my mind that Kerry would be better for the country than Bush, but in the face of all those obstacles, would he be good enough?

And if Kerry doesn't win Ohio, then all those trends will mushroom. With the addition of between one and three more Antonin Scalias. I'm sorry to be optimistic about the country's future at the start of this post and do a 180 by the end, but I have to wonder, what will this country look like by the time I'm 30? What could possibly reverse or even just halt all these patterns?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Holy shit - this article explaining structured procrastination might change my life.

And ordinarily it's so unorthodox that I might dismiss what it says as a joke or for people with a problem different from mine, except for one thing - when I saw the article, I was practicing it without even realizing it.

After my 12:30-1:45 class, I went to print something out and give to a Take Five advisor, and also ask a question about the letters of recommendation at Lattimore 312. Getting it and stuff took longer than I expected, so I wound up missing my 2:00 class. I was a bit mad at myself about that, because it seems like I miss that class relatively often. But when I went to the advisor's office, I accidentally went up one floor too far, and I saw that "structured procrastination" article on a professor's door. And that's exactly what I was doing without even trying. The class, really, isn't that important - attendance isn't taken, homework is given out in e-mail, and there isn't a test today. By contrast, I was working on making happen what I want to do next year, and from there I went on to buy an ink cartridge so I wouldn't be mooching of the CT office any more.

And besides all that, the article is funny.
Hmmm... what to wear today?

"Republicans for Voldemort" t-shirt?

Black hoodie, in honor of Eminem's "Mosh" video?

Blue jeans and a blue shirt, as Kenny suggested, in honor of the color we want the map to look like?

Well, since my only black hoodie is back in Vermont, that's kind of ruled out. And if I go with blue on blue, then I'm definitely not spiking my hair - I'd look like Sonic the Hedgehog!

Monday, November 01, 2004

A final post-election post:

What a long, strange trip it’s been, to quote Jerry Garcia. This election… matters. In 2000, it really didn’t seem like that. It seemed like a choice between the cowboy and the tree trunk, both of whom were running as centrists, at a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity despite the best efforts of both sides (depending on who you ask). Before that—well, I’m only 22 so my knowledge is very limited, but in hindsight it seems like for most of the past 50 years either the choices faced by the president were very clear or the race was very lopsided. (And yes, I realize that I’m just advertising my ignorance here by making sweeping generalizations like this. Bite me. There’s no law against it.) But now, this time… it’s fucking weird.

The party that stood up for states’ rights for the past 40 years tried to amend the U.S. Constitution to include discrimination in it for the first time ever. The U.S.A. launched one of the only pre-emptive wars in its history - the Mexican-American War was a de facto pre-emptive war, if I remember my history correctly. Hey, wait a second, that's how we got Texas. Coincidence? Well, in a year where the Democratic candidate is a JFK from Massachussetts and the Red Sox won the World Series, I don't want to write anything off as coincidence.

Well, I've done enough pontificating about the election in general, so I'll turn it over to people more qualified than me. Andrew Sullivan explains some of the paradoxes in this race much better than I could.

I'm often annoyed by the College Republicans here, so it was a lot of fun reading about this College Republican Gone Wild. Every time some "reasonable" person tells me that both sides are equally bad or that the crimes are the result of a few bad apples rather than being connected in any way to a party's official leadership, I find something like this. (Follow-ups on that from the same blog here and here. And a ton more could be found elsewhere online.)

And finally, for those three of you out there who still don't think there's an appreciable difference between the candidates, here are two things to keep in mind: only one of them demands personal loyalty oaths, and only one has supporters who act like this.

Okay, that should do it for politics for a while. At least until the legal challenges to the elections begin. And eventually I plan to write a post about how crazy right-wingers must have to be to see themselves as a marginalized minority, as some do.

Non-political stuff: *WHEW*, I finished my Take Five application with 30 seconds to spare today. Well, I still have to ask another professor for a letter of recommendation, and I shouldn't really breath a sigh of relief until both recommendations are in, but still - it's on track. Despite yet again putting it off.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: this is pretty cool.

UPDATE: I had meant to include this with the political stuff, but I forgot, so here's one last link for the moment. I really liked reading this post.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

So, progress on that "to do" list?

  1. Done.
  2. Made relatively definite plans to see Danielle Monday at noon. And serendipitiously, the fact that my story fell through didn't matter - I just wrote a story about something else. Amusingly enough, that was the second week in a row the same story fell through and I found something arguably even better.
  3. I'm going with Nisha.
  4. Close enough. I did some catching up, though as I expected not all. And I'm told I don't have to catch up completely either, because getting the response paragraphs is what she uses for attendance so she doesn't expect to have one for every day. That itself is only debatably good, but the point is, I need to do only one or two for next Tuesday instead of three or four.
  5. Done. I mean, it's always a work in progress of course, but we're roughly where we're supposed to be at this time of the week.
  6. Shit.
  7. Not yet, but this is one of the only two things I have left for the weekend, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I need to organize, prioritize, and generally get to work. Hmmm, maybe a "to do" list will help.
  1. Do case study for Business Ethics, and meet with group to prepare for presentation. Easy and not too time-consuming, but important because due ASAP.
  2. Talk to Danielle Beyer come Hell or high water for that story about her judicial (disciplinary?) advisory group. I thought we had agreed to meet Monday at noon but she never showed, so one of us must have got the time wrong. And I'd like to have my story done before Wednesday night again, so that's relatively pressing too.
  3. Find a date for the Viennese Ball, if I want to go to that.
  4. Read up to Book III Canto xi of "The Faerie Queene" before class at 12:30 Thursday, and catch up on response paragraphs. Well, catching up might be an unrealistic goal, but do at least two so I'll have made progress and not be as far behind.
  5. Do regular CT stuff - put together a budget for next week and edit this week's stories and pages - ASAP, because Sandeep will be around less than usual.
  6. Finish my Take Five application by Monday Nov. 1 — which also requires deciding once and for all about my major(s), whether I want to double major or single major and double minor.
  7. Read some of the American Literature assignments before class on Monday. Most of this should be easy, maybe even fun, but whenever next quiz is I want to be prepared for it, unlike the last one.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Frickin' hilarious.

It's a parody of Bush/Cheney's "Wolves" ad. You know, the vague, fear-mongering one that completely misrepresents important facts about Kerry or Edwards. Oh wait, that could describe every single ad they've run. Well then, it's a parody of the Bush/Cheney ad with wolves in it.
On dailykos they're making predictions for how the election will go. I'm too lazy to sign up for an account there just to post one prediction and way too lazy to do all the electoral college math, so I'll just post my prediction here.

If this election is influenced by a spoiler candidate, it won't be Ralph Nader. It will be Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party candidate.

After four years of everyone (rightly or wrongly) blaming Nader for the 2000 election, after literally dozens of people who endorsed him in 2000 now endorsing Kerry and asking Nader to withdraw, after the Green Party withdrawing their support for him, after Dean firing up the left in ways that Washington insiders never could (God, I love Vermont), I think Nader has a snowball's chance in Hell of influencing this. Of course, we shouldn't dismiss him completely, but still.

Badnarik, on the other hand... in four years, Bush and the rest of the Republicans have done exactly two things for Libertarians or libertarians. He's lowered taxes (while raping the concept of fiscal responsibility in the process) and let the assault weapons ban expire. Meanwhile, he's also added 800,000 people to the federal government, endorsed an amendment to the Constitution to limit states' rights, and pushed what is probably America's most Orwellian bit of legislation ever, the USA PATRIOT Act. For the first time in history as far as I know, certainly the first time in my lifetime, America has seen what happens when the checks and balances get pushed aside and Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches of government. (Or for that matter, any one party.) If even two percent of the country is libertarian, well-informed, and fair-minded, that two percent cannot possibly vote for Bush in two weeks.

Wishful thinking? Armchair quarterbacking? Maybe. But if I'm right, then damn, I'll feel like a genius on November 3.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Wow, small world.

I was just doing some last-minute Googling on candidates running for office in Vermont to make a less uninformed decision. I was looking up Tabby Connor, a candidate for Vermont's House of Representative who is most notable for being only 21 years old. I find an article about her on a college newspaper Web site. It isn't immediately obvious what college that's from, so I look around a bit. I eventually find that it's Brown, but on the way I see that their photo editor is one Marissa Hauptman - who was the CT's photo editor for a while, who was a friend-of-a-friend of mine freshman, maybe sophomore year. She transferred, and apparently the place she transferred to was Brown. Small world.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Well, this is certainly an unusual reason for a break. I've taken them before on Wednesday nights, usually because I'd leave the office to get quotes or something and take a few minutes extra off for whatever reason. And earlier in the afternoon, before things really get busy, I've taken naps. But this is the first time work was cut short by a fire alarm.

Yes, Wilson Commons is evacuated, and the CT office with it. I happened to be in the bathroom at the time, and I was damn lucky the alarm there wasn't making any noise. Since I live so close, I figured I'd just walk back to my room where I could have a seat and stuff, and have someone call me when we can go back.

I've experienced another fire alarm in Wilson Commons before, in fact. I was writing the story about the SA Constitution, and the Senate meeting on it was setting the Senate's standard for ridiculous, disorganized arguments. Because there had been weekly meetings of the Constitution Committee where anyone could go to give their two cents, but no one went, so a half-dozen problems came up on the night that should have been a simple yes or no vote. The debate on that one issue lasted about three hours. It finally finished around midnight and they moved on to the other order of business when the fire alarm went off, so they took a shouted, perfunctory vote as everyone was walking out the door.

Good omens about the rest of the night: for possibly the first time ever since I've been an editor, I chose to write a story this week and had it done before 6:30 at night. Which means I can devote my time to other stuff, and the part that is made almost impossible by distractions is finished.

Bad omens: I got an hour or two less than usual of sleep last night. I was yawning out loud by 2:30 in the afternoon. Hopefully enough caffeine and sugar will get me though the night all right. Well, hopefully it won't be that late a night - but let's be realistic.

Damn. I didn't bring my backpack with me when I came back here. All the work that could be done in a few spare minutes, like now, is in the CT office.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Yesterday I went to the gym around noon. After getting back from there, I went with five or so other people to go apple picking. I came away with almost 10 pounds of apples, about a quarter pound of raspberries (including a breed I had never seen before, which was yellow), and a half-dozen great donuts (which are all gone now. What was the point of even going to the gym?)

Also, that event, if not that date, marks one year of blogging. (This post wasn't the first one, but the two before it were just experimenting and stuff.) Sooo... what's changed in the past year? Anything? What's blogging done for me? Again - anything?

Well, the first question - some things have definitely changed. I'm now more assertive, motivated, and outgoing than I was a year ago. Writing pointed responses to angry e-mails I've got for my CT writing, being a substitute teacher, starting to take anti-depressants, finally reaching some kind of stable state between me and Gretchen, kissing Katye - all that would have been almost unimaginable in the fall of 2003. So things have definitely changed for the better, but I'm not sure that they've changed enough.

Fuck, I was just about to list all the problems I didn't manage to fix - but overly critical much? What, did I expect to go from loser to Renaissance man in six weeks or less? Things are better, so it would be pretty damn stupid of me to list all the reasons they aren't perfect. I have stuff to aim for, goals in mind, more ways I could improve - there's nothing bad about that.

As for blogging? I don't know, it's been fun. It's hardly what I had originally thought it would be - %50 diary, %40 fiction, %10 politics or philosophical musing or whatever. It didn't take me long to realize that a weblog was a bad format for fiction. And I might have made an effort to write more and post it on the server space that UR provides, but the CT took priority - I never had the time or motivation to set up that web page and write enough fiction to make it worthwhile. I've just been using this mostly as a diary. I've censored it a bit because (as I've explained before) there's always stuff I wouldn't want everyone to know about, but other than that I've been using this just like I used to use a journal kept with Word on a Zip disc, and before that with a pen on paper. To organize my thoughts and think about things more deeply - with the added benefit of getting feedback once in a while. Politics has appeared now and then, and I plan to do another political post soon, but basically, well, it's just for fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I've realized a new "rule to live by" which, if I can stick to it, would probably greatly improve how I'm doing in classes.

For my purposes, "the last minute" is now defined as "midnight of the night before the real last minute."

I have missed several classes lately for bad reasons. I don't mind missing them for good reasons, which can include, "I have something more important to do," or "I'm dead tired," or even "Nothing is going to happen, going to class won't affect my grade at all, there's no point." Sometimes those are good reasons. But I don't think it's a good reason to miss class because I put something off until the last minute and underestimated how long it would take me. And that's happened twice in the past week. As far as I know, the teachers haven't taken points off when I've handed something in at the end of class instead of the beginning, but, A) why press my luck, and B) classes don't have to be my first priority, but they damn well shouldn't be my last.

My work ethic is strange, really. Working for myself or my family, there's practically none. Hell, just look at the CT: I'm all over articles and I'm cheerful until 6 a.m. on Thursday, but Chad has been telling me to tack some front pages up on the wall and I've been dodging him for weeks. And other examples abound. But for a boss, I'm eager to please. When I applied for a job as a sub, my dad was genuinely shocked when I got a good (and by good, I mean glowing) letter of recommendation from a previous boss. And despite the many reasons not to, I only missed one or two days at the [shudder] junk mail factory, even though it would have been easy to miss more.
Okay, so technically, we didn't live the dream this week - technically.

For news, managing editor and editor-in-chief, and I think sports, getting out before 6 a.m. is called living the dream. Today, we called the paper done at 6:09 a.m. In other words... not too bad.

We were helped enormously by Meliora Weekend. A whole bunch of stories which just required writers to go to talks, ceremonies or whatever, and write about them. And in several of the cases the writer volunteered or was going anyway, so finding writers was easy too. I think we only had one story that required anything like investigation this week. There were only two reasons why we weren't out of there by 2 a.m. One: other people. When six different editors want to print their page at once, it takes a while. And two: I had to write that one investigative story (about a student government snafu. They make the CT look responsible and organized, and anyone who's written for us knows that's damn scary), and it involved a hearing that happened at 8 p.m. Wednesday. If that story could have been written even a little bit earlier, if we had the printer and proofreaders all to ourselves by some miracle, we could have been out of there by 2 a.m. - hell, 11 p.m. But considering this is the real world - no, 6:09 is nothing to complain about, I guess.

Of course, I'd be a lot more exultant (or simply asleep) if I didn't have a paper to write for a class, which I've barely started on and I've put off until the last minute. Yes, I'm an idiot.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The hall has gone crazy. Rich came over to visit with me and Seth, and he always livens things up. Also, James Ng had come to get advice on an article from me. It needed work, but hey, he's just starting. And both James and Kenny were extremely hyper. And James met Rich for the first time, and promptly got hit on. (Bizarrely enough, James and Rich's ex-boyfriend have the same last name and both speak Cantonese as their first language...)

Which reminds me, I think a conversation I had this afternoon was the funniest I've had in a long, long time. (This isn't verbatim. Sorry. But I think I've got all the important stuff and got it in the right order. Wow, I'm really getting into the journalism thing if I put a disclaimer like that on my personal journal/blog.)

I've just handed in homework to my teacher after a class in Meliora 212, and I've gone back up the stairs and I see Katye sitting on the couch at the top of the stairs, waiting to meet someone.

KATYE: So why are you so dressed up?
ME: No reason, I just felt like it.

Seth walks by on his way to a class.

SETH: Oh, nice shirt, Cyrus.

Katye says something snide.

SETH: Well you know, I'll bet Katye's just paying so much attention to how you're dressed because she has a crush on you.

He goes on to his class. Katye and I stick around and keep talking, a bit awkwardly after that remark.

KATYE: I think he really has a crush on you, and he's just projecting it onto me. Be careful, Cyrus.
ME: Meh, I'm used to it.
KATYE: You're used to getting hit on by gay guys? Happens a lot, does it?
ME: Yeah, I guess. I can think of two. That's relatively a lot.
KATYE: And how many girls have hit on you?
ME (thinking): Maybe two... definitely one.
KATYE: You're attracting more gay guys than girls? I'd be worried. It makes you wonder...

Just then, Rich comes up the stairs. Apparently he was in a class, which was taking a break just then because it was a 2 1/2 hour class. So when I see him, I say -

ME: Ah, speak of the devil.
RICH: Me? You were talking about me?
ME: Oh, I was just telling her a story. About Las Vegas.
RICH (joking): Did you tell her about how I sodomized you?
KATYE: I don't want to know. I don't want to know. I don't want to know.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Shit. They want my blood.

I stopped by the blood drive today just out of curiosity. Sure enough, they still have that thing saying that you can't donate if you spent over six months in Western Europe any time after 1982. But this time, I noticed a clause they didn't have last time I checked: now, it's six months in Europe after 1982 but before 1996. So next time - I can't today - I should donate.

Shit. I've had blood drawn twice, just enough to be tested for blood or tissue type. Both times it made me so dizzy and nauseous that I had to sit down or lie down after. Don't ask me why; maybe I'd be fine if I just did it on a full stomach or didn't look at the syringe or something.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I'm watching commentary on the presidential debates right now on CNN. Maybe I'll be back later to write more about the debate in general, but one thing jumped out at me.

A fact-checking talking head just came on and "corrected" what Kerry had said about job loss under Bush. He said that Kerry claimed 1.6 million had been lost, but in reality, as far as private sector jobs go (emphasis mine, and it's not meant to represent an exact quote), only half that many jobs have been lost.

So, if 1.6 million jobs have been lost and only 800,000 of them are in the private sector, then that means... can you guess? It means... Bush has created 800,000 government jobs.

In my free time, I'm working on a list of myths and big lies. Lie #1: the Earth is flat. Lie #2: the Jews are our affliction. Lie #3: The Republican party is the party of smaller, limited government.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Huh. I would have posted once if not twice over the past few days, but Blogspot was having some weird technical difficulties. And I don't have the energy or even desire to write seperate posts with changed timestamps and stuff. So, here's my best attempt at remembering and summarizing what I was going to write.

Tuesday night: After seeing the Vice-Presidential debate, I left feeling depressed, convinced that Cheney had won by a little bit if not a lot. So I was surprised but relieved when Andrew Sullivan, Jesse and Ezra at, Kos, and several polls all said that Edwards had won or at least called it a tie. I've rarely been happier to be wrong.

Wednesday afternoon: Dude, I rule. I wrote four pages of a paper in about three hours and I think it turned out pretty good. Well, I probably shouldn't be patting myself on the back yet. But when I get it back, if I get a good grade on it, then a whole lot of patting myself on the back is merited. It must take some kind of writing skill to completely phone something in and get the same grade that a freshman would work hours on and plan carefully for. Also, when I quickly reviewed my paper at the last minute I found it a bit amusing how CT style is getting incorporated into all my writing (even here, with the italics and stuff).

Now: A very good CT night, I'd say. If we had had the usual five pages instead of six, or even if there weren't several other sections still around fighting with us for rank in the printer line, we would be out of here already. For once this week... nothing major went wrong. We assigned a lot of articles and more than enough of them came in, and were plenty long, and nothing really big came up at the last minute and so on.

I could get up to four hours of sleep tonight, depending on exactly how prepared I want to be for my classes tomorrow. And Meliora Weekend is on the way. Not bad at all. :)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Huh, I see I didn't post over the weekend. It's not that nothing happened, I just didn't feel like it.

I went to the Train concert. It was fun - good music, and the lead singer, whatshisname, had an entertaining stage presence or whatever you'd call it. I mean, the music was good, and so were the jokes. "You know how at some concerts, you'll get people tearing their shirts off, and flashing the band? Well... I'd just like to thank all the guys in the audience for not doing it here." And lots more like that. But I really feel sorry for CAB and/or UR Concerts. Just a couple weeks after the CT Ed Board wrote an editorial saying basically that entertainment on campus sucked, which pissed a lot of people off (rightly, IMO) because they put a lot of work into that stuff and it's normally hugely successful, they hold the Train concert and they get terrible attendance. That must have been a terrible night for Anna. Not only was there that problem, but all through the concert she kept looking for her boyfriend Jesse, who never showed up. Sure, as far as I know, it's possible that he never firmly agreed to, but still - Anna's a great person, it takes a real idiot to leave her hanging.

There are a ton of CT stories this week, and there probably will be next week with Meliora Weekend coming up. That sounds bad, but it's really not, because we won't have to run crappy stuff to fill space and us editors won't have to write anything important.

My big project for the week, maybe even more important than the paper due Wednesday for English class, is cleaning my room before my parents get here for Meliora Weekend. Compared to some people, it's not bad, but still - what they don't know won't hurt me. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2004

One of the first arguments I saw that Fox News was biased was a survey I saw on a website from some time in late 2003. It made an interesting argument: it compared beliefs held by Fox news viewers about concrete facts to beliefs held by NPR/CNN viewers about those same facts. The survey showed that people whose main source of news was Fox were more likely to believe incorrect statements that were flattering to the Republican party than viewers of NPR or CNN. For example, the survey asked something like "Does world opinion support the war in Iraq?", "Have WMDs been found in Iraq?", and (I think) "Is there a connection between Iraq and 9/11?" The correct answer to all those questions, backed up by evidence as strong as pretty much any historical record, is "No." But Fox news viewers were more likely, sometimes twice as likely, to answer "yes," which in every case makes the Republican party look better than a "No". (I won't bother to quote it all here, but for details, watch "Outfoxed". I can lend it to you if you want.)

A couple weeks ago, a right-wing friend of mine was skeptical when I told him that Fox was biased. When I told him about the survey, he said that he's never seen anyone on Fox say any of those things. So I asked, "Well, there's a relationship, there has to be some reason. Do you think [it's because] stupid people watch Fox News?" At which point he pushed me, of course, because he watches it.

Of course, I don't really think that people on the right are stupid. Or at least I didn't until I saw this. Just now I was reading and found this article. The details of this new survey can be found here. To summarize: the majority of Bush supporters hold incorrect beliefs about his positions on several issues, like banning land mines and the Kyoto treaty and many others, and the proportion of Bush supporters misinformed about him is much higher than the proportion of Kerry supporters misinformed about Kerry.

Dammit, I want to be fair. I want to believe that people are basically good and the only serious sticking point in this country is when differing values. No I still believe it, I know plenty of admirable right-wingers. So why do I keep on finding surveys proving mathematically that people who support Bush are less likely to be well-informed about concrete, provable, relevant facts than people who support Kerry?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Well, the A-Sock-sination game (Tiernan's unique version of Assassins) has been going on for almost two days now (it'll be 48 hours at 1 a.m.) and I'm still alive. It's pretty funny, really, just how much I'm getting into this. Looking over my shoulder at every turn, taking alternate routes to my room, waiting half an hour for my victim... Finally, a game that revolves around one skill I'm great at - stalking people! :) (Don't worry, it's completely a joke.)

Homework has, true to form, been put off until the last minute. I had two things due today and, though I had looked them over before to make sure they weren't hard, I didn't actually put pencil to paper or keys to keyboard until well after dark last night. But on the positive side, I am catching up on the CT a bit. I have a ways to go before I'm on top of things enough, but I'm closer now than I was a week ago.

Sandeep said today that he's not going to work with the CT anymore after his term is up in December. He's easy to work with, so I'll miss him next semester, whether I'm an editor again (if I get Take Five, and remind me to write about that soon too) or if I'm just a writer. But what he said, combined with how I had been working on some stuff for this week's mini-paper, reminded me of something: I'm not much of an editor either. I mean, I don't know if it's leadership jobs in general or maybe it's details about this specific one. But I have to drag myself through all the section editor stuff - telling writers to write being the biggest one - but it's not due to run-of-the-mill laziness, because I'll jump on any chance to work on stories instead of that stuff.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

For once, I'm looking forward to a relaxing week. The Campus Times this week is taking a halfway vacation. Fall break is normally at the beginning of October, so the CT is giving ourselves some time off for the first paper of October, even though fall break is later this year. We're still working, but it's going to be a shorter-than-usual paper and, wonder of wonders, all online. Which makes the editing and everything several times easier. Hopefully Sandeep and I will use this week to get caught up.

The Tiernan Bubbles volleyball team just got back from a game. I don't remember the exact score, but we got creamed. Background on the intramural rules: first team to 30 wins, every serve is a point (not like some games where you only get a point on your own serve) and the winner of a matchup is the team that wins two out of three games. Well, I don't remember the exact scores of the games today, but Tiernan's team didn't break 15 in either of them. But to be fair, I think that says more about our opponents than us. I don't think we had one single serve go wrong, so we're getting better - but none of them were really incompetent, and two or three were actually good enough to spike and overhand serve and stuff.

Before I left my room around 5:15 I put up the Away message, "Studying all too briefly before the volleyball game." All too briefly indeed. I'm sweaty now so I don't feel like going back to Wilson Commons, my room has all the usual distractions, and anyways I have three meetings planned for the rest of the night. I'm sure I'll get to some after those meetings, but still - I should have started trying to work earlier.
Saturday was fun.

I started the day a few minutes after noon with a trip to the gym. I'm not in quite as good shape as I was at the end of spring, but I'm getting there. After that I had a chicken finger sub for lunch. The cricket club was meeting on the academic quad at 3:30 and Sandeep had badgered me into joining, so I got there at 3:40 and enough people got together to start playing by a little after 4. So I played cricket for the first time, and it was pretty fun. It's like baseball on a playing field shaped very differently. It's more interesting and engaging than baseball (at least, the very small and improvised version we played was) and less exhausting than most other sports.

After that a friend of Sandeep's met us and we went to Wegman's, and I bought some liquor for them at the store nearby. This is the second time in two (three?) weeks I've done something like that. I'm so terrible.

I had sushi for dinner. At 11, about 10 people from the hall went to see the move "Saved". It was great. It's about a very Christian girl who learns that her boyfriend might be gay. She tries to save him from that and winds up pregnant. Touching, intelligent, and hilarious in parts. And later, I realized something: I've changed quite a lot in the past year or two. Because, a movie about a single teenage mother who's fucked up in a few ways, and the guy who pursues her - at certain points in my life I would have become miserably depressed because of all the reminders of me and Carissa. But now, I didn't even think of her until the movie was over.

Me, Brian, Katye, and Seth hung out in Seth's room for a little while after that, talking about the movie and religion in general. And... that was Saturday. Dammit... I was supposed to work. Oh well, there's always Monday. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Fucking incredible.

This is shaping up to be our worst CT night ever. Several stories didn't come in for various reasons both good and bad, inevitable and stupidly preventable. The printer has got progressively worse every week since the start of the semester, to the point where right now it needs to be shut off after printing a page to prevent it from overheating, or something. And there's a new writer who is driven, dedicated, helpful to a fault--and completely incapable of being serious. Of course, I shouldn't blame him for the blow-up at 6 a.m. and last minute change of layout, just because his article was the trigger. If I had been doing my job, his article about a ferry would not have had four different jokes about Canadian prostitutes.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I'm not claiming that this has any deep meaning at all, but I found it hilarious. What follows is the complete text of an e-mail to me from someone who is an English professor and assistant director of the College Writing Program:

Hi Cyrus, I think you're looking for the winner of the social sciences category in our Writign Cetner Colloquium contest. I've forwarded your message to the Writign Center Coordinator so she can forward it to that student.


An English professor, people.

"The best laid plans of mice and men..."

Last week, I took my dad's advice and finally started writing stuff I needed to do down in a daily planner, to help with my procrastination and study habits and stuff. Today, I finally started following it. So, of the three items I wrote down - see the CT's faculty advisor about getting course credit for it, get a poli-sci advisor to sign off on my major form, and find someone to give me details on the Take Five program - how many did I actually accomplish?

... one. I got up around 11 this morning, 2 hours before my first class. I skipped my second class of the day to go to a Take Five information session. But Memmott, the CT's advisor, doesn't have office hours today, so I just e-mailed him to ask when we could meet. And by the time I had filled out a major form, I didn't have time to take it to a professor before that Take Five meeting.

But then, I shouldn't complain too much. I made a good start on all those items, I have several hours of productivity left in me today, and it's not like I didn't get around to them because I was playing games - it was the CT, as always. I should have got up earlier, but other than that, I've spent about half an hour of today doing anything you could call unproductive. So who cares, really, if I don't have stuff done two months in advance instead of just one?