Thursday, October 29, 2009

10 Things You Learn...

10 Things You Learn After Spending 26 Hours on Campus Over a Two-Day Period

10. Candy corn will probably be made an illegal stimulant at some point in the near future.

9. Trying to translate one's Latin sentences into Elvish instead of English is a good indication that one should go to bed.

8. Protocol matters: Dropping a book in the 24-hour study room is cause for Class 3 dirty looks after 10 p.m.

7. Coughing is cause for Class 2 dirty looks at any time.

6. Setting off alarms on doors to restricted areas is cause for Class 1 A+++ dirty looks and, if repeated, of expulsion from the society of conscientious graduate students nationwide.

5. Coffee shops secretly pay professors to assign their papers all in the same week.

4. Anything involving stairs after Hour 15 should be avoided.

3. There are 29 specks of dirt on the window in the study lounge which, if examined with the head at a 13.5 degree angle for two minutes consecutively, resemble a small kangaroo jumping over a Christmas bell.

2. Productivity = (0.5 x cups of coffee) + (1/hours-until-deadline) - (0.7 x hours-spent-working) / time-of-day-in-military-time. and...

1. You are a graduate student.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

C'est fini

L'examen, c'est fini. Si je l'ai echoue ou reussi, ce n'est plus ma probleme!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Life in 10 seconds

Trying in vain to transition my brain
from Latin to French
between now and Tuesday
for my translation test.

Ad infinitem.

Non omnes qui errant amittuntur.

Et cetera.

C'est tres difficile, n'est-ce pas?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Confession: I frequently re-read papers which received a good grade. Not to analyze what I did well and could do better, but to relive the euphoria of the positive comments.

Confession: I save and revisit emails in which someone complimented me. Not for any practical purpose, but to read nostalgically when I'm discouraged.

Confession: About half the contents of my "memory boxes" are mementos of my successes or awards. Not because I loved the essay that won a blue ribbon at the fair ten years ago, but because the ribbon is "proof" that I did something well.

I've been thinking about the facts of those confessions quite a lot since I started graduate school. This afternoon, I read the post Asking "Is it true?" from the blog Stuff Christians Like. Check it out:

When I feel wounded or hurt, I often feel tempted to ask Google Analytics, a web traffic tool, if I’m any good. I want to open up my statistics and look at all the pageviews and say, “See, that’s not true. I’m not worthless, look at all the countries that have read this site.”

And maybe if you don’t have a blog, you go somewhere else for the answer to the question, “Is it true?”

Maybe you go to a memory, and try to relive a time in your life when you felt popular or loved.

Maybe you ask a new car or a new pair of shoes or a new anything your question.

Am I old? Is that true sports car?

Am I ugly? Is that true new outfit?

Am I dumb? Is that true new laptop?

And we ask and ask and ask, but regardless of the answer, regardless of if our loved ones provide a temporary salve to a question that hinges on our true identity, something gnaws at us. ...

Oych. It's so easy to do ask my twelfth grade soccer trophy if I'm valuable, my conference acceptance letter if I'm grad school material, my test scores if I measure up to my peers.

The problem is that for every positive memento is a negative one: rejection letters, criticism, angry words. The problem is that on the balances, the accolades may not always be heavier.

I think ultimately it's not that I keep these mementos, not that I prize the respect and praise following a job well done, but that these things are the Band-Aid I use to heal my self-esteem and the cold weather gear I put on my identity.

"Who am I?" and "What am I worth?" are awfully big questions to tie to a few crumpled ribbons, scraps of paper, and dusty trophies.

"Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When Benjamin Met Lynch and Blake

This is what happens when it's 10 o'clock at night and you don't want to read philosophy for your 9:30 class.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

When Benjamin Met Lynch and Blake

When Benjamin met Lynch and Blake
They all went out for tea,
Except that Blake re-named the cakes,
And Lynch forgot the brie.

"No problem, friend," said Blake to Lynch,
"I have this pound cake here.
But since the name has now been changed
We'll eat it all as 'Prear'!"

"Except, dear sir," said Benjamin,
"There's not enough for three."
"But wait! But wait!" cried David Lynch
"Mix dirt in with the tea!

The taste, you'll find, is not unlike
A bit of blood and worms:
Quite suited for the appetite
Of men who've come to terms."

"He has a point," said Benjamin,
"The aura is quite rare."
"Well then, let's dreat," said William Blake,
"And sup this glooging fare."

Since glooging fit the mood by chance,
They all agreed to "dreat"
And when they'd dreaten all the prear,
They called it quite a treat.

But after all was cleared away,
A feeling strange came on,
And William Blake asked David Lynch,
"That dirt you chose - a pond?"

"A puddle, Will," said David Lynch
"With scum that has no peer!"
"Aha," said Benjamin to Blake,
"At last it's all come clear.

The sounds that whistle round our guts
Are not the Future's art.
Instead, quite simply, what we hear
Is nothing but the start...

It's Lynch's first film coming true,
Except not six but three.
You see, our skills are better spent
On books than fixing tea."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hello, Autumn

It is allowed to be autumn now.

Certain events or sensory experiences just signal "fall" to me. For example...
  • Seeing the yellow-orange powder of crushed acorns on the sidewalk.
  • Hearing the shushing noise of leaves underfoot.
  • Seeing the tips of the maple trees begin to "catch fire".
  • Feeling the chilly air on my face in the morning.
  • Listening to the Anne of Avonlea soundtrack.
  • Going to the fair.
Last night, I went to the local fair, and now it is allowed to be autumn.

Going to the fair involves so many sensory experiences rolled into a pastry shell of memories.

The petting zoo, which now smells like pine shavings and dust and animal hair and other animal products, and which reminds me of the goat who knocked me down trying to eat the buttons on my green sweatshirt when I was little.

The education building, which now has beautiful cakes and cakes that are oozing and sagging pink frosting over the edges of the plate, and which reminds me of the 19 craft projects I entered one year when I was trying to outdo my sister in blue ribbons.

The midway, which now bangs and thuds and pulses with competing music from every game, barkers heckling the crowds and people talking and calling to their friends, and which reminds me of the first time I rode a roller coaster, the pink-and-yellow one that gave me whiplash and scared me away from roller coasters for almost 10 years.

The concessions area, which now smells of deep fried everything from apple fritters to sweet potato fries, funnel cakes, snickers bars and oreos; cotton candy and bits of sugar and grease coating everything like a bizarre mix of snow and an oil spill, and which reminds me of my childhood love for cotton candy even though I inevitably felt ill afterward.

Not to mention the fireworks...the sunset...the people...the ferris wheel...looking down over the city lights and seeing the scrawled autographs people have left on the very top...and so much more.

I love fall.

*EDIT: I should add to the list, almost being late for class by getting caught up in fond recollections of the fair... haha