~Forgotten Wings~

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31 January-- I was in an odd mood today. Can't give you a reason, really... stress and anxiety about housing for next year? This sore that seems destined to last forever, since every time I think it might be healing, it gets bumped and reirritated again? The fact that for no apparent reason I seem to be thinking about life after graduation a lot recently?

Well, regardless, I felt out-of-sorts and extremely procrastinatory and kind of lonely. But luckily, I had a great evening, with all sorts of time spent with all different friends. It made me feel really connected-- it was nice. I can't say I feel perfectly normal now, as I head to sleep. But that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate the hours with my friends.


30 January-- So at about 3:30 today, as I was about to head up to Tech before my 4:00 astronomy quiz, I checked the online syllabus on a whim (they ran out of them on the first day of class so I don't have a paper copy). And whaddaya know, it turned out that the chapter I read over the weekend was in fact nowhere on the syllabus, and the quiz was on two completely different chapters. (This is the kind of thing you notice, I suppose, if you go to class.) So I got up to Tech with 15 minutes to spare, skimmed the two chapters, listened to the TA review for a few minutes, and pretty much nailed the quiz. In some ways, it's sad, but I don't really mind having a class this easy, for once. (Yes, I know, Linguistics was not the world's toughest class, but it took more work than this one does!)

Had a Peace Project meeting and an NSAS meeting tonight (skipped the NOWAR meeting sandwiched in the middle-- for a good reason this time, but I feel a touch guilty because I somehow end up missing them all the time. But hey, energy can only go so far, and there are plenty of people who'll keep NOWAR going strong regardless of my involvement). I feel like there could be a lot of great stuff happening with our groups in the near future. We just really, really need to get more, younger people involved!

Okay, time to sleep. Trying not to think anything at all about housing for next year...


29 January-- We visited 2037 Pratt today, and I love it. I do. I have the same excited feeling I've had thinking about a handful of other places so far, except that the difference is that I have actually seen this one and it could actually be ours. I expected that it would be nice, but it is Nice. Big and beautiful with tons of perks... Sure, it's expensive, but you get what you pay for. The place you live in is a really important part of your life, and I am not inclined to scrimp here. And it'll be cheaper than living on-campus anyway.

I was inside it today, and I may never be inside it again. There are other people who want it, too. I have this sinking feeling that it can't possibly work out for us. And I just know we'll never find another place we can afford that's that Nice. If we're lucky, we'll find somewhere else nice-- but it won't be the same. It'll be perfectly okay... it'll be fine... but... but...

This silly bounciness of mine kept me from accomplishing much all night, as my stomach coiled up in knots wondering how things will turn out. I didn't even touch my astronomy book in preparation for my quiz tomorrow, and my poem is uninspired. Ah, well. Maybe after we sign a lease, I'll start being productive...


28 January-- We had a nice warm day today for the first time in a week or so. It snowed quite prettily all afternoon. (No, these sentences are not mutually exclusive.)

I was pleased with the turnout for the State of the Union event, and the quality of it as well. The address itself? Way too tired to go into that now.

I have a cold sore in the inside of my bottom lip. It is acutely painful. It has hurt for a half a week now. I really, really hope it heals soon, or I may have to shoot myself. Or surgically remove my entire lip. Any votes on which would be the better move?

I am apparently not so good with this poetic inspriation thing. I spent hours-- hours!-- staring out the window into the snow, trying to come up with an idea for a poem based on an extended metaphor. Finally, at about 3:30, I gave up on trying to come up with a good concept and just picked a lame comparison that could theoretically work, and have now scribbled some mediocre lines which I call "a rough draft." Oy, tomorrow will be fun.

I am very tired, and have decided to skip my nightly shower, despite the fact that my hair somehow always ends up atrocious if I don't wash it every single night. But it would probably be a cold shower anyway. And besides, I got an e-mail today about conserving water for 24 hours. See, I'm doing my duty as a good Evanstonian!


27 January-- Apparently there's a rumor going about that the Olsen twins will attend Northwestern next year. Now, I understand and sympathize with the horror that is felt at even the vaguest possibility of this. But the hubbub is based on this link. Now, not only is the URL kind of fishy (none of the links go to somewhere with those numbers at the beginning, they start with CNN.com-- and there is no return link to it on any page marked CNN.com), and the story weird, but it's in CNN World, for goodness sakes, which makes no sense whatsoever. Oh, and I have just discovered, as I tried to browse around, that the first part of the link takes you here. I rest my case.

In other news, I apparently decided this evening that smoothies and "The Making of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" were more important than schoolwork. Someday, this is going to bite me in the ass.


26 January-- My mom's last day here was a good one. After we went to Clarke's for brunch with Matt, we headed out to the Burlington Coat Factory to get me a new winter coat, which was not an easy task. For one thing, I'm obviously small, so lots of coats are just huge on me. For another, every time I found a coat I liked, I checked the tag to find out that yes, the trim on the hood was indeed fox fur, at which point I shuddered and tried to get away from it as quickly as possible. It was truly disgusting and disturbing. But we finally did manage to find something warm which fit me and had no bits of dead animals on it.

After a stop at Jewel, my mom dropped me off at PARC, said goodbye, and headed to the airport. I joined the constitutional committee meeting in progress, as we killed off exec board positions like there was no tomorrow, then got my reading and watched about an hour of the Super Bowl. (The part I saw was exciting, and the commercials were so-so.) Then it was off to dinner for Malavika's birthday (happy birthday Malavika!) at Mt. Everest, where I tried Indian food for the first time and found it quite yummy. After my fourth dinner in a row at a restaraunt, how am I going to go back to Allison tomorrow?

'Twas all downhill from there, with a weird exec board and sad friends and failing to accomplish much work. And tomorrow is Monday! How'd that happen?


25 January-- Mom arrived. Went to Costco; bought smoked salmon. Went to Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio; want to design own home, but am told is very expensive. Came back to Evanston, picked up Kim and Malavika, and went to Flat Top; had rather good kahlua and cream drink recommended by mom, and discovered that you can get on their e-mail list and get free meal within month of birthday. Went to Evita; thought deep thoughts about how musical compares to actual history which am quite familiar with.

Back at dorm; pretended to attempt to study, actually talked to Matt and then procrastinated on computer. Went upstairs to Kathy's room on premise that being away from computer would help; read explicit things in Colleen's course packet not to be quoted here in fear of what Google searches would result. Had discussion with Colleen; identified possible defining personality characteristic, perpetual sense of failure, previously unexplored-- should investigate at future time.

Took cold shower; apparently decided to boycott pronouns in entry. Am tired. Will sleep.


24 January-- My mom got here today! Okay, yes, there were other things that happened first, like my astronomy exam and my Peace Project audit (at which I got frustrated and snapped at my poor account exec-- I just fail). But then my mom got here.

After enjoying some of the benefits of having a mom and a car around, like a ride to the post office and a trip to Target (where I got two pairs of shoes for $7 combined! as well as a set of long johns with ice-skating penguins on them), we went out to dinner with Alex, Scott, Colleen, and Laura at Dave's. It was nice, although I was kind of spaced out and felt like I was failing at spurring good conversations. But not only was it my second night in a row of good food, it was my second night in a row of munching on bread dipped in oil prior to the meal. Very good-- must remember for future.

Our original plan was to go out to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind tonight, which was subsequently modified to seeing Mee-Ow's show. But after dinner, both my mom and I were tired, and neither of us was particularly excited by the idea of waiting on line in the cold for tickets. So instead we came back to the dorm, and played a rousing game of Mille Bornes (in which I cruised out to a smashing lead, made it within 125 points of the win after a few turns in the third round, and was from then on kept scoreless by the combined efforts of Scott, Colleen, and my mom to the point where Scott came back from about 3000 points behind to take the game).

And then? Then my mom left for her hotel, and I looked at my syllabi and realized how much damn work I need to get done this weekend. I'm going to have to find time to squeeze it in, somehow. I meant to get ahead, really I did! Sigh.


23 January-- I had a very nice birthday, which I mused about here, so I'll let you read that and then I won't have to write it twice nor will you have to read it twice. One thing I may not have said clearly enough there, though: thank you!

Instead, I shall brag that I talked to a landlord/realtor on the phone today about what seems like a place too good to be true. I have the tendency to get overenthusiastic about apartments without having actually seen them, and I should keep that in mind now. But this one sounds really great, and it's solidly in our price range, as well. Must take deep breaths and wait for current tenant to e-mail me back...

Oh, and in case you've actually been waiting with bated breath for the conclusion of the poor-Britt-who-has-to-have-her-poem-workshopped-in-class saga, we took so long to get through the poems today that the prof cut my classmates off after the "talk about what you liked about this poem" time and before the "make suggestions about what could be improved" bit. As a result, it seemed to go quite well. Of course, I'm sure there's plenty of criticism on the printed copies I got back. And that's good; that's what I really need to see to help me make the poem better. I just haven't gotten around to reading those quite yet.


22 January-- Okay, so sometimes the "whatever day it was when I woke up" method of dating entries doesn't work so well, since this of course says 22 January, but it's been my birthday for 3 hours now. And a quite nice beginning for my birthday, too, with a bunch of my friends just hanging out in my room with me and having fun-- when you come down to it, that's about the best it can get. Being surrounded by friends, enjoying yourself, feeling that people care about you and want to make this particular day special for you. What could possibly be left for the rest of the day, then? (Oh, I forgot, the alcohol. )

It all turned out much better than I expected back when I came upstairs to see a black screen on my computer saying "Cannot detect hard drive." "Oh dear, I'm fucked," I thought, but of course Colleen managed to fix it for me, even if she doesn't know how she did it.

As a birthday present to myself, I'm going to try to get enough sleep tonight. But to manage that, I need to shower and get to bed very soon!


21 January-- Surprisingly enough, what started out as a very nice evening of going out to see Julius Caesar at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater somehow became a very bleh night.

It wasn't the fault of the play, which I quite enjoyed. I'd never been to a professional performance of Shakespeare, so I wasn't expecting the way they contemporized it, with tuxedos and storm-troopers with guns and paparazzi with cameras. But I've always really liked the play, and it was really fun to see. We were right up close to the stage on one side, and almost got sprayed with Caesar's blood when he was stabbed.

After a boiling-hot bus ride home, Malavika let me into the Allison mailroom so I could discover that not only had two of the packages I'd shipped to buyers from half.com been returned, but in fact "all packages weighing 16 ounces or more that bear regular stamps must be presented at a post office retail center." In other words, shipping any heavy book means walking all the way to the post office. Fun.

If that wasn't enough, I was also apparently overenthusiastic about something in a discussion tonight, annoyed people, and got yelled at, which I promptly proceeded to feel bad about for a few minutes, since I am overly sensitive and also didn't have anything else to do at the time.

And to top it off, I have accomplished absolutely nothing tonight. We got back from Julius Caesar at about 10:30, I think, which means about 5 hours vanished into thin air. That's just depressing. There's plenty of stuff I need to get done.

So yeah. Bleh.


20 January-- So tonight I was looking at my inbox, and noticed the e-mail from last week from my thesis advisor. I thought, "I haven't made any progress in thinking about my thesis, but I should at least do her the courtesy of responding and telling her that." So I started my e-mail, and decided I should make at least a token effort at mildly narrowing down topic ideas. And before I know it, I've spent two hours composing this e-mail. I'm on a roll, thinking of topics that would really excite me and synthesize everything I'm looking for in this experience, coming up with good questions to ask to figure out where to go next. I absolutely got more done regarding the thesis tonight than in the entire last month combined. Go figure.

Of course, was not so productive on the schoolwork-actually-due-in-the-near-future front...


19 January-- Floor hockey? Very cool.

I decided to take the plunge and join the PARC IM floor hockey team this year. Now, mind you, this is not something like soccer, which I hadn't played in years. This is hockey, which I have never ever played at all. I had to get a quick demonstration of how to hold the stick before the game, and then, after a few moments of boggling at the absent-mindedness that resulted in me wearing a sweatshirt to the game, I was out on the field (floor? ice? court?) to start the game. It was really really confusing for the first two minutes or so, as I tried to keep up with what was going on, and had to be directed by about 3 people where to stand during a face-off. (Which I don't really have an excuse for-- I've seen hockey games, I know how face-offs work. I was just unprepared to actually fit myself into that alignment.)

Anyhow, I got the hang of it pretty soon. The actual hit-the-puck-with-the-stick part is not terribly complicated, and I hope I started to pick up on where I should be positioning myself as the game went on. It's really exciting! Since there are so many fewer players than on a soccer team, you're forced to be involved more, and people have to rely on you regardless of how good you are. Even though it's tiring (we had only 3 subs), I still kept feeling like, "Ooh, I wish I was out there playing right now!" instead of "Thank God, I'm finally out and can rest." (Okay, so there was a little of that too!)

Oh, yeah, and did I forget to mention? We won. 4-1. I am led to believe this is not the usual turn of events, but it suits me fine. Is it next Sunday yet?


18 January-- Today has indeed been a historic day. After spending the whole day on it, my room is cleaner than it has ever been since I moved into it. If I'd only vacuumed and done laundry, it'd be perfect. (I did dishes, though!) Of course, considering that it's me, keeping it in this state is utterly unsustainable. Nonetheless, hopefully I can keep it presentable for a week. It's rather a nice room when it's cleaned up like this, especially after I put a number of things up on the walls and on my desk. I like it. (Oh, of course I don't like it enough to actually maintain it in this state. But that doesn't mean I don't actually like it .)

Oh, and speaking of historic events, I actually sat on my chair using my laptop on my desk this evening. That is a first for the year.


17 January-- Whoops, forgot to write this 7 1/2 hours ago when I went to bed. So I'll catch up on it now, because I'm sure you can't possibly bear to miss a single day of the excitement that is my life. In short, I studied, I procrastinated, and Matt and I spent about an hour walking around Evanston in the freezing cold looking for phone numbers on houses and apartments, until it was too cold to go on. Fascinating, no? I'l try to make today a more interesting day, but I can't make any promises.


16 January-- I am clearly an utter failure at predicting fireside attendance. I made my first sweep of the dorm at about 7:15, with only a couple tentative responses from people that they'd be coming. When I went down to the lobby to let Wendy Espeland in, I bumped into Guy, who'd let her in. He said no one was downstairs, and looked rather worried. The two of headed through the dorm again, but only a couple people actually said, "Yes, I'm about to go down." I was worried it was going to be an embarassing turnout, which is certainly not unheard of. Instead, somehow we had 22 PARCers in the basement at one point or another, the vast majority for the whole time. Do you realize that's 1/5 of the dorm? I never get that kind of turnout for firesides! That's more than I've gotten for key events! I just hope that all those kind folks had a good time. I thought it was a good topic, but it was rather law school-centric, and Professor Espeland isn't a terribly exciting lecturer. But this makes me feel a little bit better about doing a good job as academic chair. Hopefully the fireside with Jeff Rice will go almost as well.

In other news, I ended up visiting an apartment in the Carlsen Building by myself today. It defintely had its plusses, like the ceiling fans in every room, and its minuses, like the single bathroom and single common room. It seemed like a livable place, especially for the price. But of course, we're continuing to look. It's such a bizarre process, this.

I'm probably going to go walking tomorrow afternoon looking for phone numbers on houses and apartments, if anyone wants to join me. Ideally I'd put it off until Monday, when it's supposed to finally make it up to 30 (for the last time beforenext Sunday), but 20 degrees tomorrow isn't too bad. Damn, looking at the 10-day forecast depresses me. I'm going to bed.


15 January-- I like Dreamweaver. A day after all my documents disappear into the abyss, I simply open up the program, reenter the settings for my website, select all the files it detects in my Topcities account, click "Get," and voila, what seems to be essentially everything I ever made on Dreamweaver is back on my computer and as easy to work with as ever. If only recovering everything could be so simple...

I put off working on my poem for too long tonight, either overestimating how quickly I could finish it or underestimating how much there was left to be done. I ended up putting a good couple of hours into it, and when I finished and sent it to Colleen to look at, I was feeling pretty good about it. But when I finally printed it out, suddenly I was seeing all of its worst attributes, realizing that the version I was holding in my hand was the version that I'll be handing out 16 copies of in class tomorrow for people to critique. I'm really rather nervous. Tons of people reading my not-completely-polished writing, people who have no reason to like me but who will spend the rest of the quarter in my class, thinking when I walk in, "Oh, there's the girl who wrote that really bad poem." I know I exaggerate, but still, I'm uncomfortable with it. Oh, well. Such is life. Writing is for an audience, after all, so I should learn to suck it up.

I just wish I wasn't in the group going first.


14 January-- Just in case anyone out there is curious-- your computer developing corrupted files and refusing to open? Not fun.

I knew it wasn't a good start to my day when I was awoken at 10:30 by someone calling from the Chicago Tribune, but I didn't realize just how it would be until I turned with my blurrily squinting eyes to see on my computer a black screen and the words "Cannot start Windows because file is missing or corrupt: Windows\System32\Config\System". It suggested I try to repair it using my start-up disk. I groggily looked around and utterly failed to find it, so settled for running diagnostic tests off another CD for the next hour and a half as I nodded in and out of sleep.

When my alarm actually went off at noon, I got out of bed and had no real time to fiddle before dashing off to class. From then until 6:30, I couldn't get back to the dorm, what with 5 hours of class and a Dining committee meeting.

When I did get back, I naturally called desperately for Colleen's help. And amazingly helpful soul that she is, she stayed upstairs to help fix it for me for the better part of the next seven hours. It is entirely possible she is a saint.

Thanks to Colleen, I can now open Windows again. And all of the programs still seem to be here intact. The documents? Not so much. (Well, some of the documents are here. All of my sister's various scribblings in the separate user profile I made her are perfectly intact. Of course. While mine have utterly disappeared.) I should count myself lucky that there's nothing major I lost-- just my Protest article, the poem I'd started yesterday, all of my old documents (none of which seem terribly vital), and all of my e-mails, including several that I probably owe responses to.

It could be worse. My computer still works. I didn't lose anything I spent hours on, although the Protest article is a disappointing loss. But still, I wouldn't recommend this to others if you're looking for some excitement to shake up your life. Damn computers...


13 January-- I didn't have too much work I actually had to get done tonight, so surprisingly, I actually buckled down and got it done fairly quickly. Then I was ready to start on my first poem for Poetry class, so as to not both start and finish it Wednesday night. After much staring out the window at the snow (in concept, getting inspiration; in practice, letting mind wander for an hour), I made a bold stab at it.

The assignment was to write in rhyming iambic tetrameter couplets. (Think Robert Frost's "Whose woods these are I think I know/His house is in the village though," although the rhyme scheme is a little different overall.) I am very much not used to writing or even thinking in rhythm and meter, and when I rhyme it's mostly in less-than-serious poems. So this is pretty new to me. It adds whole dimensions when you consider the rhythm and flow of the spoken word when you're writing, and I'm quite intrigued.

After struggling with how easily this form lends itself to the sort of cliched "greeting-card verse" my prof warned us against, I ended up deciding to acknowledge that in the poem, and use its banality to make a point, before creating a contrast by going beyond those constraints.

Of course, that's a bit of an ambitious task, and I'm not sure how well I can accomplish it. It's a bit dangerous to purposely accentuate the cliche to make a point, unless you're quite sure your audience follows it and doesn't just think, "Ick, that's boring." So I've decided that I'm going to wait until tomorrow, when I find out whether I'm in the half of the class who'll be workshopping this particular poem in class. If the poem's only going to my prof to read, I'll take the risk and try to make this work, and if I struggle perhaps she can help me with it. If 15 classmates will be reading and commenting, however, it's time to start from scratch and leave this to be worked on later. I'm a coward like that.

I must admit, though, it's good to actually do some creative writing. It's been a while.

(Note to new and quite enthusiastic visitor using Road Runner and apparently from the Memphis area: Hi! Who are you?)


12 January-- So much to do... always so much to do.

I woke up late this morning, somewhere in the vicinity of quarter to 3. It was a shame, really, to think of how much of the day was gone already. I should have had something to drink the previous night, apparently. When I drink I somehow manage to always wake up refreshed in the morning-- the actual morning, as in "before noon."

In any event, the late waking meant that I was able to get all of an hour of reading done before having to head over to Norris to work on Peace Project's Annual Review (ie, the thing that we give ASG to convince them we should stay an A-status group and continue to get their money). Naturally, this took several hours, so that by the time I made it back to PARC, it was nearly seven.

So, of course, that leaves 2 hours until exec board. Plenty of time to accomplish things, you say? Well, when you take out a chunk in the middle when I was downstairs talking to Guy and trying to make Andy's Gnucleus work, it leaves just enough time to get close to the end of unpacking before 9 comes. An hour and a half later, post-exec board, I could've finished said unpacking, but had made an agreement with myself that I would need to finish my Protest article before anything else got done. And thus ensued a very long 4 hours of work on my article.

It's hard, because I really want it to be good, and I have such a lot to say, and it's hard to weave it together well. And because despite my intentions, I keep thinking about who's going to read it, and how they're going to read it. So of course it isn't done, and neither is anything else, but I should get to bed nonetheless.

Why are weekends so short?


11 January-- I did work today. I read for hours. Hours for Modern Europe on the revolutions of 1848, hours for Poli Sci on the welfare state, socialism, and American exceptionalism, hours (okay, not hours) for Astronomy on Kepler's and Newton's laws, and even the start of some reading for Poetry before I gave up because my head couldn't take any more. I was only going to stay downstairs for a short while to relax, but instead I watched Andy and Alex and Nick get progressively drunker for quite a long time. I know I did enough work today to make that acceptable, but tomorrow's hardly going to be a cakewalk. Especially since, on top of doing schoolwork and finishing my Protest article and other things like that, I really do want to actually finish unpacking, and straighten up my disaster area of a room. Stop laughing, and wish me luck!

10 January-- Looking for apartments online seems to have become a new habit of mine, as I run through the listings that could not have possibly changed in 24 hours. The repetition is almost soothing: 32 listings on rent.com, 41 on the off-campus housing page, 8 at homestore.com, 15 at apartments.com, 25 on Craigslist, 174 in the Evanston Review. I don't know about the Online Sublet page; it's not numbered. There's some rationale in relooking, noticing 4 bedroom places that wouldn't have caught my eye at an earlier time. But I think I'm caught up on all of that now, and there are times when I've just got to make myself STOP!

Then, of course, I can just spend my time entering textbooks into Half.com to sell, or looking up LCD replacements or freestanding monitors for my laptop when the screen kicks the bucket, which I fear I'm going to accelerate by sending it in. Proportionally, it's almost hard to notice the hour or so I spent on reading tonight. (Although I did get a good 45 minutes of reading for poetry done this morning in astronomy class!)

And some of the apartment-hunting did fall into the range of the actually productivbe today. Colleen, Matt, and I went over to look at two apartments on two floors of a building this afternoon. Trying to ignore how dirty the second-floor place was (I am the queen of being messy in the cluttered sense, but actual dirty, dusty, grimy mess does bother me), it was interesting to try to imagine actually living in such places. I think the consensus-- at least I felt this way-- was that it was a livable place, but hardly something to make us stop and say "This is it!", and that we should keep looking and comparing. I'm not sure if I should say anything to the landlord at all to let her know what we're thinking.

I also called up the landlord for a place on Garnett which I jotted down the number for this afternoon. It sounds like a really cool place, although naturally we'll want to actually see it, and he's not advertising and showing it until the end of the month. Ours would have 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms over two floors, and would include a deck, and the landlord said he just refurbished everything last year. The main issue is price, which is a bit high for us, and I'm all proud of myself for trying to stand strong and bargain instead of being, "Oh, I'm sorry, I guess not then." He said he'd "see if we can work something out," so we'll see what happens. It may not end up being doable, but I'm hopeful. And he says we're "at the top of the list." Yeah for being proactive!

In the meantime, I'll keep on waiting and waiting for Amy to get out of the shower so I can take mine and get to bed. Even if we only end up with one shower next year, it'll be only five us sharing, including two guys. After years of sharing one shower with 8 girls, that's an improvement in my book!


9 January-- Dude. Potential living situations come and go so quickly here! At the moment, it seems like people are generally in favor of a "five people in a four-bedroom, decently priced, close to campus place" plan. As this is my personal favorite plan (as long as it doesn't involve me in the shared room!), I hope it will come to pass. In an attempt to move towards that goal, Colleen and I will hopefully get to look at a potential place tomorrow afternoon, and then check out the Off-Campus Housing office.

But someone should tell me that no, looking up housing stuff does not count as doing work, since apparently I'm quite confused. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on such. Although as it was nearing 1 AM tonight, I actually did manage to start on some actual schoolwork. I got all of an hour and fifteen minutes of work done. After compiling today my Depressingly Long Comprehensive List Of What Is Due When In All My Classes, I'm thinking I've got to really dig in this weekend and get some serious work done. Oh, and maybe unpack eventually.


8 January-- I need to make my new goal be to not accomplish anything. That way if I don't accomplish anything, I can be proud of reaching my goal, and if I am productive, I'll have gotten things done. If I'd set that goal this morning, I'd have achieved it with flying colors.

I spent 4 hours of the evening at Peace Project meetings and C&C, and about a half-hour this afternoon in a valiant but failed effort to help Katie Koss pull together a soccer game. The rest of my time was spent dealing in various ways with the craziness that is next year's housing.

It used to be that everything was understood. Or at least assumed. Katie, Kim, and Malavika would share an apartment. Alex and I would share an apartment. Matt and Colleen would stay at PARC. But in all of 3 days, as Alex put it, "The world has suddenly fallen apart." Okay, perhaps that's a little melodramatic. But Katie and Malavika are now studying abroad in the fall and TMing in the spring, thus not living with Kim. Matt has decicded he wants an apartment, which then puts Colleen's status in doubt. At first, I leapt with joy at the idea of all 5 of us (that is, me, Alex, Colleen, Matt, and Kim) sharing a house. I even found a place, only 1.3 miles away, which has 4 bedrooms and a "private basement" which I suspect could become a 5th bedroom, for the ridiculously cheap rent of $1250 a month. (To clarify, for anyone who may be confused: I did not mean we would necessarily live in this house! I was just demonstrating the options! I fully intended a house closer to campus!)

Of course, after being away for a couple of hours, I returned to discover that Kim and Matt had decided that having 5 people in a house would be too much and there would be personality issues. So I of course overreacted to the destruction of my little dream image (dream images naturally tending to involve no interpersonal tension whatsoever, naturally), and with that beautifully characteristic insecurity of mine, decided that this meant that Matt, Kim, and by extension Colleen didn't want to live with me and thus didn't like me. And of course, in contrast to beautiful dream-image house, real life 2-bedroom apartments are either too small or too expensive per person or too far away, usually at least two of the three.

I have since come to my senses a little more, although things are no more certain. Things have changed this much already in a few days-- who knows what will happen in a few more? I'm just a little worried, since for the best chances at the best places, you really need to be on top of things, and the time for working on that is pretty much now. I want to go to the Off-Campus Housing office on Friday afternoon; what the hell am I going to say I'm looking for?


7 January-- Dude, I won Risk! That never happens! In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never even won second place, either, so my strategy for most of the game was to hole up in Australia and hope the winner of the game would let me live so as to not have to bother with me. But after I'd built up strength, I was talked into taking some risks, and somehow (much thanks to some lucky dice-rolling, and the set of cards I'd been waiting to trade in since the third turn), I won the damn thing. I beat Scott and Scott, one of whom has won every game of Risk I believe I've ever played at PARC, with the other getting second place probably 80% of the time. It was damn cool.

It's good that I won and had something to make it worth spending 4 hours on a game during a night that was supposed to be productive! Although even if I hadn't won, it was good to hang out with Scott Medlock. He feels like he belongs here at PARC, y'know? I keep being half-surprised to remember that he's heading back to Texas and law school on Sunday.

But yeah, that kind of shot holes in my plan to be extra-productive tonight to compensate for tomorrow night, when I have meetings from 7 until C&C. Although I did get everything done for classes tomorrow, which basically means reading for Modern Europe, since I don't have books yet for either Spanish or Astronomy. Unpacking? Not so much. Any guesses when it will actually occur?


6 January-- D'oh! My bold plan was to go to bed early tonight so that I would naturally wake up with time before my 12:30 class to run a number of errands. But it seems I've blown that, lulled by the beautiful and deeply evocative Fellowship of the Rings soundtrack I've been playing (again) into drifting through the web trying to find something to fit my emotional state. Not so productive.

I did get one of the two chapters for Modern Europe read, so the evening's not completely a wash. But the rest of the night's been much like the last hour and a half, at least as far as what I accomplished. A whole bunch of us went out to dinner with Scott Medlock since he's in town, I watched the ridiculosity that is "Joe Millionaire" (oh, but that's nothing compared to Fox's newest show, which appears to be designed to allow the TV audience to match up strangers who will then marry-- will the marriage last? it's a new reality show!), I saw several zillion pictures from Egypt (and a drunken singing and dancing Nick), Matt and I watched a TV special on the history of prostitution...

Oh, but this music makes me want to just drop out of school and write books or work on movies as amazing as Lord of the Rings. I want to do things like this to people's emotions, fill their hearts with so much beauty and pleasure it hurts. Screw profound stuff like rearranging the socioeconomic structure of society. I could just touch people, make them happier. Barring that, I should probably just get to sleep and quit babbling.


5 January-- Home in Evanston...

Ever since I was a freshman, I've said "home" in reference to Evanston, but this break, I've noticed both my parents saying it too. They correct themselves and seem sort of stricken by it slipping out, but they've said it.

I made it here, despite the snow in Maryland (which led to them deicing the plane while we were on board, something I've never seen before-- much spraying of hot pink and green liquid, quite bizarre), and shared a cab with the girl in the seat next to me on the plane who happened to live in Shepard. And while I've given out all sorts of gifts and cookies (the majority of which made it here intact) in the hours I've been here, I got around to plugging in my fridge a few minutes ago, and have not started to unpack. Rather sad, really.

And tomorrow, classes. Another quarter begins. Do you ever feel like you've been taking college classes for as long as you can remember, and it's just this ever-repeating cycle?


4 January-- Some days you can't think of anything memorable to write about; some days it's impossible to pick.

I went shopping in the morning, mostly looking for a gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter, which we absolutely failed to find. I also got the last of the Christmas gifts I needed to buy, and more. I meant to shop light this holiday season, and I did on some things, but I splurged a bit, too. I hope it doesn't come out too unevenly for people, and that no one takes it personally.

I had a delightful afternoon making and decorating gingerbread cookies for a dozen of my friends. If no one likes a single one, it'll be worth it, for the fun of mixing and baking and especially cutting out and icing them all that I got today. I'm afraid they'll all get somehow broken in transit to Evanston tomorrow, though.

Unfortunately, though, it became quite a depressing day, as the Colts and the Packers got soundly beaten and eliminated from the playoffs, and I got a healping helping of second-hand disappointment from my dad and Alex, and some first-hand, as well. We went out to eat at our fondue restaraunt, so I missed the second half of the Packers game, although I popped out to the car a couple of times to check on the radio. It distracted a bit from the fun of fondue.

So then I made it home, and I've been packing and watching the commentary track on the Fellowship of the Ring DVD for the last 3 hours. I've finally finished the packing (I think), and so it's time to sleep and head back to Evanston. And no, I didn't do any work-study, or work on my Protest article, or on my thesis today. Oh well.


3 January-- Today I was checking a little-used alternate e-mail address and discovered that since it went idle for more than four months, it had shut down and had to be reactivated. This would have been merely irrelevant had this not been the e-mail address I'd happened to forward all the old e-mails on the hard drive of my Mac to when I got my laptop this past spring. It's not the end of the world, but I do like to keep old e-mails for sentimental purposes, even if I rarely actually read them. It's sort of sad to think that now they've disappeared into the abyss, never to be retrieved and read again. Ah, well. This'll teach me that if there's ever anything that I truly don't want to be lost, I should print it out and keep it somewhere solid, instead of trusting it to a free online e-mail service.

On a more pleasant note, tonight we spent hours on the Fellowship of the Ring Extended DVD set my sister got for Christmas. (Oh, shut up about all the things that I should've been getting done! I've still got tomorrow!) There was a significant amount of footage added in, including some wonderful scenes in Hobbiton and Lothlorien, as well as just a few short scenes that I thought added tremendous character depth and explication to Aragorn, who is quite possibly my favorite character. (Although it's hard, since I love Frodo and Sam and Gandalf and Legolas an awful lot too. And the others-- so many wonderful characters! Isn't Tolkien amazing?) I played around with some of the extra features as well, such as all sorts of documentary footage about the cast and the filming and the effects and all that. And I watched about 15 minutes of the movie with a commentary track on it by the cast (who are so delightful, especially Elijah and Billy Buck and Dominic whatever-his-last-name-is and Orlando Bloom), and hope to watch more of it tomorrow. Would you believe there are 3 other commentary tracks as well? This DVD is packed! I may just have to steal it when I go back to school...


2 January-- Ah, 11 hours of sleep feels good...

New Year's Resolutions:

1. Procrastinate less.

2. Make to-do lists. Constantly. Write down everything that needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. Then check them and try to do things in a timely manner.

3. Take breaks from schoolwork by spending time with friends, thus collapsing the two separate categories "hang out with friends" and "procrastinate by staring at the ceiling or playing stupid internet games" into one, saving lots of time.

4. Clean room more often. Attempt some sort of continuous maintenance of cleanliness, instead of doing a big cleaning and then doing nothing at all for several weeks until the next cleaning.

5. Do more work-study hours.

6. Spend more time on extra-curriculars, such as Peace Project activities and responsibilities to PARC. This will require the accomplishment of #s 1, 2, and 3.

7. Get papers done with enough time to spare before deadlines that others can read and comment on drafts. Ask people to read and comment.

I was pretty productive today. I made the arrangements for my mom to come out to Chicago for my birthday. I came close to finishing the rough draft of my Protest article. I did another hour of work-study. And, umm, my mom and I went shopping and I picked out 3 dresses. For a grand total of 4. I came home a couple weeks ago and said, "I haven't had a new dress in at least 3 years, I'd like one for Christmas," and I somehow now have 4. Of course, this is how I shop: I absolutely hate spending more on things than I think they're worth, but if I find good deals, I'll get as many as I see. And I mean, seriously, some people spend $38 on one dress. (Or three times as much-- I saw the original prices on the dresses on the clearance racks! And damn ugly dresses, too...) But now I have four. And two of them are red, which is rather exciting, since I have never owned a red dress before. All of mine seem to end up blue and black and grey.

(Some people babble about shopping because it's something they love and do all the time. For me, it's rare enough that it's a newsworthy event.)


1 January-- I got my New Year's morning of sleep in three separate chunks of about an hour and a half, so I was a bit tired when I was roused at 10:30 AM. As was Lauren, but she ever-so-kindly got up anyway and drove me into Sparta to catch my bus.

As I boarded the bus, I told the driver I was going to the Willowbrook Mall, and he told me how much to pay him for my fare. We hit the road, and at one of the many stops, the driver got off and a new driver got on. When we finally had the Willowbrook Mall in view, I grabbed my stuff and moved up to the front of the bus. I watched as we drove past every entrance I could see, and when it was behind us and it became obvious that there was not another entrance the driver was looking for, I said to him, "Excuse me, haven't we passed the Willowbrook Mall stop?" He answered, "Oh, you wanted to get off there?"

When I said yes, he looked puzzled, and finally drew to a stop where the ramp branched onto the highway. "You want me to get off here??!?" I asked. "That, or stay on," he said. Considering the next stop was in New York City, a good half-hour away, I got off.

So there I was, standing in the white lined-off space in the middle of a very busy road, in a place very unfamiliar to me, in the pouring rain. I could see the mall off in the distance, although it was unclear how to get there. I figured the first thing to do was to get out of the middle of the road, so I waited and waited for the traffic to slow up enough so I could dash across. Of course, when it did and I made it to the other side, I was left clinging to a guardrail and standing on maybe two inches of concrete as cars whizzed by me and sprayed puddles into my face. I worked my way slowly down the guardrail, knowing that if I slipped I was going to fall into the middle of the busy lane, until there was a place to climb over it into a small strip of grass. I crossed that, made my way across a lane of speeding traffic one way and then one going the other way, and then finally crossed the entrance road into the mall and was in. Then, completely soaked, I dashed across the parking lot and found an awning to duck under while I called my grandparents on the cell phone my parents had let me borrow.

Yeah, not so much fun. It was a bit of a soggy ride down to DC from there, although I dried off eventually. Of course, just when I thought I'd had enough near-death experiences for the day, the rain began to pound so hard for about an hour that the awful visibility kept me constantly on edge. I was certainly glad to make it to DC, meet my parents and sister for dinner, and then finally get home and be able to stay in one place for a couple of days!

And I barely noticed it's 2003. New Year's resolutions will have to wait a day!

 

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Last updated 3 March, 2003
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Intellectual Property Rights denounced by Britt Gordon-McKeon, 2002