Sunday, January 30, 2005


Apparently, when I was 5 and was told that my mother was pregnant again, I said, "If it's a girl, we should name her Snow White and dress her in rags." Later, when I was still five, I was known to comment, in all seriousness, "We've decided on its first name, but haven't come up with a last name yet." I'm told that all those to whom I made this remark refrained from laughter in order to spare my feelings.

I'm pretty tired now, as by the time I got to bed last night, it was about the time I've been waking up for the past month, so naturally my body didn't want to sleep, so finally, I decided around four o'clock in the morning that staying in bed awake wasn't doing any good, and I've been back up since. Now, though, but for a catnap on the plane, I've been awake for 40+ hours. Too tired to do the math.

But the trip was really good, once I got to Vienna and away from Salzburg, and hence away from all the Lacrosse guys who were literally drunk before we got on the plane to leave the states, and whose condition didn't improve over the following four weeks. Fortunately, there were some others more interested in the cultural and educational aspects of the trip than visiting all the interactive nighttime beer museums, so I made some friends.

I'll probably be sharing anecdotes and so on about the trip at some point when I'm less tired.

While I was in Vienna, I did manage to accumulate Iain M. Banks' entire canon, with the exceptions of: The Crow Road, Song of Stone, Inversions, and The Algebraist, for which I will be waiting for either the Night Shade hardcover or the Orion paperback that matches all his other books. Oh, and I also didn't get his nonfic book about the search for the perfect whisk(e)y.

I also encountered a circumstance in Austria I've never experienced before, anywhere, at any time (and please forgive any syntactical or grammatical errors in this sentence, because rereading it just now it didn't sound right to me): Girls (yes, s-at-the-end plural, not just one) actually checked me out. This is, I repeat, a situation that I have never in my life experienced, and I must say I found it quite pleasing, and a bit of a boost to the old morale. And, when girls saw me looking at them, instead of going cold or getting upset as usual, they generally smiled, and one actually had the decency (or indecency, or whatever it is) to blush, which in turn made me blush.

There were many times on the trip that I found myself wishing I spoke German.

I also butted heads several times with a Serbian kid on the trip over what actually happened in the Balkans, particularly Bosnia and Serbia, in the nineties; whether the Muslims deserved to be wiped out; the virtues of "yellow monkies" and so on and so forth. It's good to have somebody with whom to argue every once in a while.

Also, I'm updating my book list, though I probably won't upload the updated version until I head back to school in a couple weeks. I'm wondering, if anyone's actually going to look at it, whether there's anything in particular you'd like to see me work into it eventually. Annotations of some sort, maybe -- little blurbs about the authors, or links to pages with author bios and bibliographies, or reviews, or anything along those lines? Anything else?

Eh, I'm too tired to type anymore at the moment. It's good to be home, and I'm sure I'll be around.

EDIT: I lied. I'm back, not ten minutes later.

After I graduate in May, I want to do some sort of volunteer work or service, non-military, for a year or two. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, something along those lines. Anyone got any suggestions for a good program? If so, now's the time.

After that, I hope to go to grad school. If I had to choose one area in which to concentrate now, it would be political science of some sort. Will that change over the coming months and years? We'll see.

And now I'm really too tired to type. I think I'll go shovel snow.

EDIT: Back again.

I had some dolmas in Salzburg. Liz made them much better. I miss you, Liz!

Also, Aunt Martha's pregnant again. Congratulations!

Sunday, January 02, 2005


Alright. I leave in a couple hours. Usually when I travel, I do not tend to stop at Internet Cafés, and I'm not carrying my laptop, so don't expect to hear from me for a month.

That said, I'll definitely be back, so start checking in again around the first of February.

Last night I saw Forever Plaid, which was a nice, amusing little show. If it's ever playing in your area, check it out. Also, I watched Garden State, and will take back some of the things I've said about Natalie Portman's acting. She's not great, but I can't with good conscience say she can't act. And while it wasn't my favorite movie, it was quite a good one -- and one that people of my generation will probably get a lot more out of than our parents or even older siblings might.

Also, if you're interested, feel free to check out my bookcase. I've got most of my SFF collection listed, with some exceptions -- a lot of YA stuff, Madelein L'Engle, Susan Cooper, etc, is not yet listed. Comic book artists are not yet credited. Some of my media tie-in books -- Star Trek, Aliens, etc -- are not yet on there. But for the most part, that's the SFF that I own. If you notice any mistakes, glaring oversights, etc. let me know. I'm getting the more "mainstream" and "classic" fiction in there, but so far I've barely scratched the surface on that -- mainly I've added what's in my room, but not what's on cases downstairs or in the basement. Same with nonfiction -- barely scratched the surface so far. With nonfic, I've tried to categorize it not alphabetically, but in some compromise between chronology and theme. Then I started getting pinched for time and just started throwing titles on at the end of the list. Eventually I'll get that all sorted out. Also, if you're interested, you can check out my DVDs. There are some I'm embarrassed to own on there, and I don't know how the hell I ended up with any edition of AI, let alone the fullscreen. Also, there are movies that would be on there, but that my siblings own them so I don't have to. I may get around to listing them eventually. And titles that have gotten nicer releases since I bought them that I'd like eventually to upgrade to are marked with an *. So there that is.

And that said, I've got to get going. Get packed and all. Everybody have a fantastic January, and I'll talk to you all in a month.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year 

I was thinking, last night around midnight, of writing one of my notoriously bad thirty-second mock haikus, but decided not to. It probably would have gone something like this:

Beneath mistletoe
I something something something
Five four three two one

Or perhaps even worse. Plus, since there was no mistletoe, and I didn't count down, and everyone had gone to bed already anyway, there just didn't seem much point.

Then, I couldn't fall asleep. And once I had fallen asleep, I didn't sleep well. I did dream, and though it was mainly one big dream narrative, I only remember very disjointed fragments and can't remember how it all pieced together. I remember following a narrow mud path onto a sort of grass hill rising out of a river, but I couldn't go back to get off the hill because it was too narrow and muddy and steep. I remember thinking in my dream that it was like a bad jumping puzzle in a video game, because there were other little hills in the river, but I couldn't jump far enough to any of them. In front of me there was a ship/platform sort of thing in the river with people/sailors/workers on it, and I eventually managed to jump off my hill onto a pile of grass clippings they were pulling in. I ended up on this ship thing, and met a bunch of people I don't remember, though I do remember some of them had the faces of people at school, and followed a punch of passages I don't remember while being lectured and questioned about things I don't remember. Then for some reason I got to go up a special staircase, and through a door that led outside, to a green riverbank sort of thing, where I met some guy whom I don't remember. From there, I entered another door and ended up in a weird movie theatre with several people from school, one of whom was Miche, and the movie was Waking Life, but it really wasn't, because there were forty minutes of real movie before the animation kicked in and the annoying expounding on trite, unsophisticated "philosophy" began. I know this because there was a clock and we walked out at the forty minute mark, and ended up back outside. Later I ended up going up that staircase again, and through the door again, and some really weird stuff happened that I don't remember. Later I had what I think was an unrelated dream in which my mom went to run a quick errand, leaving me in her Suburban with several younger kids in a parking garage. She took a really long time, so I started driving around the parking garage, then ended up in this big indoor mall/market thing which reminded me of a library, except stuff instead of books. I was driving up and down the isles and back and forth through the rows, very slowly, careful not to hit anyone, looking for mom, and finally found her after a while, but she still had three more errands to run, and I don't remember any more of that one.

Yesterday, I watched Before Sunset, which is a wonderful, wonderful little movie, despite that Ethan Hawke is very annoying. Do yourself a big, big favor, and go out and watch Before Sunrise (in which the characters are in Vienna, where I will be, incidentally, in just a couple days), then wait a couple weeks and watch Before Sunset. It won't affect you the same if you haven't seen Before Sunrise first, but it's such a touching little movie. Highly recommended. If you're at Hartwick, I'll be glad to let you borrow either or both of these movies.

One of the things you've got to keep an eye on when you've got a dog with big floppy ears is, well, the ears. They tend to get dirty, and are easily infected. And let me tell you, trying to apply medication to a dog's ear is not easy when said dog is 100+ pounds, and panics whenever you touch his ears -- starts whining and crying, throwing his head around, bucking and jumping and pulling. Even if you managed to muscle him to the ground or hold him still, it takes both arms to hold him steady and then you don't have a hand to actually apply the medicine. Very frustrating, very stressful for all involved.

But he is a funny dog. When he realized he could walk on the pool cover, he started going out onto it and then jumping on it like it was a trampoline. Then he tried to climb the "mountain" where the cover stretches up to cover the heated area. Very amusing antics.

I've got to go get some stuff done now. I'll be back again probably once more before I leave for Austria.

Have a Happy New Year, everyone.

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