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[ 11/2001 | 12/2001 | 01/2002 | 02/2002 | 03/2002 | current ]

10/24/02 Now that they have probably caught the sniper, I don't feel as bad about saying what's been on my mind:

This case has completely fascinated me. The way the sniper communicated with police was something out of Hollywood. The whole thing in general reminded me a lot of a great book I read once called GASP! (out of print and hard to find, and written by Frank Freudberg, who also happens to be a friend of mine). I feel like it's 7:30pm and I'm sitting in front of the TV, halfway through the best Law & Order episode ever written.

I mean, come on...did anyone really expect that they'd find this guy (these guys)? Alive, no less?

10/09/02 An exercise in transitions.

I was having a bad day. It was the usual type of bad day for me; no one particular thing happened, just lots of little ones. I had a toothache. I found out that a correction was made to a recent midterm that doesn't help me, so it brings me down closer to the mean, in a class graded on a curve. I found out that my car needs minor service. And so on.

So I needed a break from the world. I've never liked going on walks very much in the city. I guess I don't appreciate the serenity and beauty of artificial things, or something like that. But I decided to try a walk anyway. I grabbed my Discman, put in Animals by Pink Floyd, put on my jacket, and left.

Pigs On The Wing, Part One. I leave my dorm and decide to head down to the Biopond area. It's the closest thing I can think of to the calming, natural environment I'm looking for.

Dogs. I've never been to the Biopond this late at night alone before. It's pitch black out, and I don't really know my way through the small park and gardens. It's a little scary. But I'm enjoying it. "If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?" I decide to turn left at the fork, push my way through 8 foot bushes on both sides, and make my way down to the pond. For the first time since I left the main walkway for the Biopond, I see other people. A couple sitting on a bench on the other side of the pond. I make an effort not to make eye contact. I don't want to disturb the peacefulness for them; I want to be part of the nature for them, if anything.

Pigs (Three Different Ones). I walk over the waterfall, stopping to hear the water rushing over the sounds of the music. And finally I am a bit more relaxed. I go off to the end of the pond, out of view of the couple on the bench. I sit on a picnic table, admiring shadows and trees and water and nature. I feel a part of it. I head out, over the waterfall again, and get lost in the gardens again. On my way back to the main path, I notice the sign posted, asking visitors to Please Respect This Fragile Place. "Ha ha, charade you are." It seems so out-of-place for something to admit its own fragility in the middle of Philadelphia. But that's exactly what the Biopond is, a beautiful icicle which somehow has earned the respect of those who know of it.

Sheep. I head into the Quad, a place I've always relished for the juxtaposition between natural and artificial. "Things are not what they seem." I wander to the balcony overlooking the vast courtyard, surrounded by dorms on all sides, reminiscent almost of a prison. I lay down on a bench, looking up at the stars. At the occasional helicopter. I hear the faint din of a cell phone conversation behind me. And the real world slowly starts to come back into view. But I stay on the bench for a bit longer.

Pigs On The Wing, Part Two. "Now that I've found somewhere safe to bury my bone." I get up and go inside, to warm up and catch up with friends.

* * * * * * *

Two hours later, I was back on the balcony for the annual Penn tradition, the Econ Scream. At around midnight, hundreds of people all scream simultaneously, supposedly because of the stress of the next day's Econ midterm, except that most of the people who were on the balcony probably don't even take Econ. I didn't scream, I just sat and watched and smiled. And then there were occasional, shorter screams in the minutes following, as the much-hyped yet sparsely-populated corollary to the Econ Scream, the Econ Streak, began.

In some respects I had come full circle, yet I felt much better by the end. Somehow.

09/17/02 Great things in the world:

Dr. Dan Gottlieb
Snow on your birthday
The bottom of the 9th
Sleeping bags, and occasions to use them
"When The Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin, or "Dogs" by Pink Floyd, depending on your mood
Knowing what the teacher is going to write next
Being one with the song, and with everyone else who is singing with you
Afternoon naps when you forget to take your socks off
Tears not necessarily of joy or sorrow, but of intensity
Not needing words to communicate

Writing sappy lists to improve your mood

08/29/02 I really learned a lot about myself this summer. About who I am and about where I want to go with my life. In that respect, at least, it was the best summer of my life.

One of the things I learned is that I want to become more comfortable with my own writing. So I think (I hope) that I'm going to start practicing that more.

06/21/02 Diary of a sports fan who really doesn't care about soccer all that much:

<12:02am> Hey, the game starts tomorrow at 7:30. I guess I can catch the first half in the morning before I go to work. I hear the games are actually fun to watch.

<12:10> Sleep.

<7:22> Snooze button.

<7:30> Alright, alright already, I'm up!

<7:45> I go in the den, turn on the TV. 20 minutes into the game already. Wow, they actually start on time. And there aren't commercials either. Baseball could learn something from them.

<7:55> The announcers are right. America does actually seem to be playing better than Germany. Maybe there's a chance. It'll have to be zero-zero for awhile, though. No, wait, I mean nil-nil.

<7:59> Damn. I hate Germany. Though that was a good goal. Nothing to complain about; they just beat us off of that direct kick thing.

<8:05> Halftime. Breakfast. Right on schedule, good. I guess I'll check the final score when I get to work.

<8:30> Well, back in front of the TV. The second half's about to start. I can watch a couple minutes before I leave.


<8:37> Okay, looking at the replay, it wasn't a goal. It was damn close, though. But...STUPID #*&$ING REF, THAT WAS A HAND BALL!!! This game should be tied!

<8:38> Okay, that wasn't a hand ball. Apparently according to the rules, it has to be intentional, and that definitely wasn't. Good call, ref, though I'm convinced he didn't actually see it touch the guy's hand at all. But this is the type of goal you need to get in order to win a soccer game, I mean, match. Because they're so low-scoring.

<8:40> Finally leave my house. Two minutes later than I like. But if I walk quickly, cut through 30th Street Station like usual, and don't stop for anything, I can catch my 8:52 bus. It's the last one on that route for the day.

<8:49> Get to 30th street on time. Cut through a different way than I usually do.

<8:50> Walk past the sports bar. Stop to check out the score. Still 1-nil. Oh well.

<8:52> It's only a 15 minute walk to work from here anyway. Who needs the bus?

<8:53> I'm standing outside the sports bar, watching the game through its thick glass windows from the main walkway of the train station. You can barely see the score or read the closed captioning, and the announcers are fewquently drowned out by the crowd murmurs, but you can definitely see the game fine. There's a nice crowd of about 10 of us here, and the inside of the bar is packed. During morning rush hour. If there weren't an Eastern Hemisphere sports event that had us all transfixed, you'd wonder why there are suddenly so many alcoholics around...

<8:54> On my first day at this job, the first thing my supervisor told me is that I don't need to call if I'm an hour or so late. It's no big deal. And she was right; people are late all the time. Thank goodness.

<8:59> The guy next to me: "Geez, that's like 5 yellow cards in the past 3 minutes!" The woman behind me, just like someone else every 2 minutes: "Ooh, what's the score?" The beggar behind me: "What is this?" Me: "World Cup. You know...Soccer." Beggar: "So it's the championship?" Me: "No. It's, um, the playoffs. 8 teams left." Beggar: "Oh. Go USA!"

<9:06> Wow, soccer is much more exciting than I thought. There are actually rushes in the general direction of the goal on occasion, not just guys passing it back and forth. And there are a lot of corner kicks; those are exciting.

<9:10> Okay, so if I leave at 9:15, I'll only be at work a half hour late. That's not so bad.

<9:12> GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! The place goes nuts, erveryone's screaming. Half of the train station, including the entire staff of Auntie Anne's and Au Bon Pain, come running over to see the amazing replay of the US tying the game. A short Chinese man with a white apron asks excitedly, "It's 1-1 now???"

<9:13> I think I'm the first one to realize. "It's not a goal. He hit the outside of the net! Dammit!" One by one, people come to that realization. A chorus of "awwww"s permeates the air. But aside from the food service employees, the crowd doesn't dissipate.

<9:17> A guy behind me asks how much time's left. "About 12 minutes of stoppage time, I think." I still haven't decided how long I'm staying. The station isn't air conditioned well, and with my backpack on my back, I start sweating a bit.

<9:20> I guess I read the digital board thing wrong. It must've said 2 minutes, not 12. The game stops, and people start asking what's going on, until the graphic says "Germany advances to the semifinals." The crowd starts leaving to try to catch their trains, or keep their cars from getting towed. I head for work.

<9:29> I pass Bobby's Lunch Truck. The breakfast customer says to a man I can only assume is Bobby, "you hear we lost, right?" What's going on here? The city only talks about sports this much when a local pro sports team makes it to the semifinals of the playoffs! This team isn't really even local, and it gets this hype for the quarterfinals? Wow. But I admit, it sucked me in too.

<9:34> I get to work; sit down at my computer. My boss and my supervisor both aren't here yet; a lot of other people aren't either. I wonder where they've been the past few hours....

06/01/02 Ha! I have a web page! I forgot! Thanks, all of you who still stopped by every so often to see if I'm still writing. I think I might start again.

Anyway, I'm still really looking forward to this summer. And I say "looking forward" because even though finals have been over for four weeks now, it seems like it hasn't really gotten going yet. Plus, it's really hard for me to think of the summer as beginning in May. I think that it will finally feel like summer once graduation at my old school happens. And I can't wait until graduation. This is the last class at my high school that I really feel I have a connection with. And it's a class that I've sometimes felt more a part of than my own. This graduation might mean more to me than the one I wore a funny blue hat to, a few years ago.

And then the rest of the summer. What a summer it'll be. A semi-boring day job that pays me well. Lots of friends around to hang out with in the evenings and at parties. Learning a lot about computers. Various road trips to visit people. And then in August, The Summer Institute and FEST!

Is there any wonder it's my favorite season?

(Updates: Archives page and various backend stuff.)

04/23/02 Happy finals! Updates will resume by the middle of May.

04/10/02, 1:31am: I just got back from rehearsal, and finished reading and writing rehearsal-related e-mails. Damn, this show is time- and soul-consuming. But that's part of the fun; I really don't mind. Except when my professors expect me to read something, or something along those lines. That's kind of annoying.

At the end of our rehearsal, we had our daily production meeting, where everyone gets together, gives updates on the progress of the show, and then meets with other people to discuss specific problems. This meeting didn't start until 12:20 the past two nights, and each night it was preceeded with a chaotic rehearsal which didn't seem nearly as productive as it actually was. So we're all frazzled and tired and just really desperate to get back to our rooms, in general.

You know the concept of over-tiredness, when after you've been tired for awhile, it just kind of goes away, and you get something of a second wind? If you were to lie down, you'd be asleep in a second, but for now you're functioning on some sort of bonus awake time. Well, tonight at the production meeting we were all over-stressed. By the end of the rehearsal many of us would've liked to scream at someone, and some of us were on the verge of almost doing it. But by the time we got to the meeting, there was a sort of calm over everyone. We all realized that we weren't actually upset at people, just stressed in general. We all remembered that the real reason we do this is because of the people we get to work with, and it really is a damn good group of people. We all know that this will all come together in the next 42 hours, and there's nothing to worry about. But there's still a lot to get done. So you meet with someone to discuss problems, problems that might have started a fight a half hour earlier. Both of you say yes, I noticed that too. It'll be fixed tomorrow, it's not a problem. Oh, you need that? I'm going to CVS, I'll get it for you. And by the way, thank you, you've been a big help. Keep it going, you're doing great. Really, I mean it.

And then you smile at each other. It's a weary half-smile, but there has never been a smile so honest. For me, that smile is what theater is all about.

* * * * * * *

Scary thought of the day: In a discussion of influential musicians of the past 30 years, Britney Spears has to rank up there with Nirvana. It's scary 'cause it's true.

04/08/02 Well, crap. I just woke up, and this is definitely the wrong side of the bed. First of all, this is almost 4 hours later than I needed to get up, and second of all...I don't even know what the second of all is. Crap!

I spent 14 hours in the theater yesterday, building the set for Superstar. It was a great day. I love the people I work with, and I just love the theater in general. What I don't love is the fact that I had tons of work this weekend that I just couldn't/didn't get done. And that I was so tired that I forgot to set my alarm, so I'm up now at 10:30 instead of 7:00, and am now going to miss a class and not finish the work I had to do for it. And that I have to go to class at all this week, when really my time would be much better spent in the theater.

11 days until my last class. 18 days until I'm done most of my work for the semester. 25 days until my last final. I can do this. I can do this.

04/07/02 As promised, the stuff I wrote a week ago about what happened last Saturday night:

Tonight was a fun experience. I was hanging out with a few of my friends who were home from college. I don't drink, but they do, and I have zero problems with my friends drinking responsibly. They were bored, and I had promised one of them that I'd buy her alcohol at some point, and I was the only one over 21, so what the hell. I went to a state store and got some cheap vodka for them (Woohoo, I'm admitting to being a felon on my website!). We came back to one friend's house, they all did a couple of shots, and then we went out bowling. (Yes, I drove. As I said, drinking responsibly.)

On the way back from the bowling alley, the friend whose house we were based at for the evening called his dad. On the phone, the dad asked if we had been drinking. My friend's answer: "Of course not." And suddenly I'm thrust into a situation that I've only seen in the movies, and I never thought I'd have to live, as a non-drinker.

My friend being off the phone, we all start trying to figure this out. Did he sound drunk on the phone? No. Were we making too much noise in the car while he was on the phone? No, and that wouldn't mean anything anyway. Did we forget to put the shot glasses away? Nope. The bottle itself? Safely hidden where it would never be found. Did we clean up any spills afterwards? Spotless. How the hell is this happening? I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from My So-Called Life: "It's so weird how parents can, out of nowhere, turn psychic. It's unnerving."

And then we figured it out. The paper bag which the bottle came in was left on the counter. With the receipt on top. "Wine and Spirits Shoppe. Cheap Vodka: $6.99. Sales tax: $0.42. Total: $7.41." Idiots: 100%.

So, what next? Come up with a plausible lie, of course. That didn't take long. I'm of legal age. So we decided that I just bought some vodka for a party down here at school. And before we went bowling, we stopped at my dorm room to drop it off. Why'd we take it out of the bag, and leave the bag? We decided that "dunno" is a plausible answer for that one.

And we were done, and the story worked fine, and I feel really dirty now. But I guess this was just part of growing up. A ritual of passage, or something like that. I too have now lied about alcohol, and I am now one step closer to being a true American.

04/05/02 Back when I used to keep a real journal, the kind with ink and dead trees, it seemed so much more important than it does now. I think I figured out why. To me, a journal seems to serve two purposes. It helps you get your thoughts in perspective, and it's a record of your memories. The thing is, I don't need the first reason nearly as much as I used to. It goes in waves, but often, talking to my friends suffices, or is even better than a journal. I have a much closer relationship with so many people than I ever could have imagined four years ago, and I'm always grateful for that. The trouble is, I miss out on the other benefit. It really sucks. I regret that I don't have much of a record of about 3 years of my recent life, and I regret that this one is going to be so scattered. But oh well. I do what I can.

So let's see. New in my life: I have a summer job. Programming at the LDC here at Penn. I'm really happy with it. Flexible hours, decent pay, and minuscule commute. I love that I'll have a chance to see if I can program for 40 hours a week and not hate it. I love that I'll have a chance to know what it's like to work 9-5 with virtually no responsibilities related to those 8 hours that I have to fulfill in the other 16. (In other words, no homework!) And I love that I'll have significant spending money of my own for the first time ever. Let's hope I actually like working there...

Baseball season is upon us. The Phillies are 2-2 so far, and today I went to my first game since last August. It felt so amazing to be back at a ballgame. If you can relate, you know what I mean, and if you can't, I'm too tired to explain it now. Ask me sometime, if you really want.

Might be a possibility or two on the romantic horizon. Of course, I always think that, so this isn't really something new, even if the details are different.

I went to church for the first time I can remember. It was quite a fascinating experience. I couldn't stop noticing similarities and differences from a synagogue. Good thing, too, because I have to write a paper on exactly that...

School is school. And 3 weeks from this moment, it'll be close to over. In the next 3 weeks, I think I'd prefer to talk about and think about school as little as possible.

And then there's Jesus Christ Superstar! Come see Quadramics' production, this coming Thursday-Saturday, April 11-13, at Penn. Ask me for specific times and location...I love this play, I love Andrew Lloyd Webber, and most of all, I love that I'm going to spend between 4 and 14 hours on this show every day for the next week. No, I'm serious, I do.

Guess that's about all, until next time.

Memo to my future self: There, here's your memory record. You happy now? Good, I hope so.


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