A Work in Progress

Herein lies... well, just my blog really.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Augustus Caesar

was human. "Twelve Caesars" is amazing. Augustus Caesar, the most powerful man in the Mediterranean, who seized control of Rome at age nineteen, who decieved Antony and Cleopatra into suicide... was human.
I laughed so hard I cried, listen to this: "He also had a favourite metaphor for swift and sudden actions: 'Quicker than boiled asparagus.'"
What? Augustus said funny things? I love this book.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jacquaux le rat!

This is Jacquaux, Maggie's and my rat for Psychology. He's the smartest rat in the class. He learned to press the right lever for food in five minutes. By ten he was consistently pressing the lever, five times a minute, on average. As he got better, we only gave him food every other time, then every three times, the every four times! By the end of it he'd pressed the lever almost three hundred times (and only pressed the wrong lever twenty times) and ate one hundred banana-flavored pellets. He's the champ!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Day 1. And counting.

So. I'm done with the first day of second semester of my freshman year, and I already feel like I'm behind. Grar. I'm reading Lucretius, (as my roommate just so eloquently burst out in frustration, "Oh man! Lucretius!") a Roman philosopher-poet-scientist dude, who was surprisingly accurate as far as atomic physics go. But he's long winded, and repeats himself, and now and then lapses into, 'well, you just have to admit that I'm right, because you just have to.'
I have a seven hour block of classes tomorrow, plus another book in Lucretius' "On the Nature of Things" and who knows what else I'll have to do for Psych and French. Oy vey. Eh. I'll be fine. Maybe I'll even use some of my spare time to learn the fine art of trapeze. I'm not kidding. There's a circus school up on Hawthorne called Do Jump.
So. I'm going to bed. I want to be rested for my Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Starburst Paper Cranes!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Grease, Hoops, and Zombies, oh my!

Well, the second day of Paideia was a roaring success. I dismantled various parts of 3 dollar bikes and put them back together again in considerably better condition. You should've seen me, wielding a wrench and a grease rag. I had fun, plus now I can claim to know slightly more than nothing about bike mechanics. Yay!
A bit later I went to Peter (the fire-eater)'s class on contact juggling. He taught us some fun 'crystal' ball tricks (go check out YouTube, search for contact juggling) and I met a super-cool Portland punk named Dustin. He's a whiz with hoops, and taught me some of his blindingly awesome tricks. I can't say I'm ready for performance yet, though.
And finally, the piece de resistance - Zombie Self Defense. This was amazing. A bunch of people showed up and clamored for spots on the couches around the demonstration table. The teacher, Nick, was all set for battle with zombies in army fatigues and running shoes. He had a full array of weapons that one might use against the undead, such as a machete, which we will get back to a bit later. He began with a scientific explanation of what happens when a person gets infected by the Solon virus, which will turn humans into zombies within 24 hours, complete with an explanation of the effect it has on the frontal lobe - the site of the zombification. He went on to explain the capacities of zombies, such as the ability to survive underwater, in order to better arm us when the time comes. It is very important to know the abilities of your enemy when planning your strategy. And if you're prepared for your enemy, you must take your own state into consideration as well. You must remove all loose clothing and long hair. And this is just what he did. Nick actually sawed off his own shoulder-length curls in front of an audience - now that's devotion. We gave him a round of applause. He then moved on to the demonstration portion, and oh my - Gallagher revisited. He brought out two coconuts, two honeydew melons, and a cantaloupe, and proceeded to destroy them with: a kitchen knife, a hatchet, both ends of a hammer, a crowbar, and the machete. We passed around the shards afterwards, though if they had been real zombie heads, we wouldn't have eaten them because zombie flesh is fatally toxic (though, as we ascertained during the Q&A session, we don't know the LD50 for zombie flesh).
So, yes. That was pretty nuts. And today, if I ever get out of bed, I'm going to review some theatre tech stuff, do some more bike maintenance, learn to twirl an umbrella with grace and style, knit, make paper cranes out of Starburst wrappers, dye my own wrapping paper, and get a course on how to deal with cops from two old Reedies who are now lawyers. Oooh... Or, at least, I could do all those things.


(Note the excited Reedies snowball fighting in the bottom right)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Grade-A Day

If both-coast days are a little uncomfortable, second days back are (in this case) pretty awesome.

I woke up to the sad realization that I, away from the comforts of my parents' refrigerator, had no food. So I donned my new scarf (Thanks Mom!) and stuffed a pair of socks into my pocket to serve as makeshift gloves. This may need some explanation - I could stick my thumbs through the holes in the heels and wear the rest of the sock as a sort of mitten. It didn't come to that, thankfully, as my nine a.m. walk to Trader Joe's was blue-skied and brisk, but not freezing. I got all sorts of yummy goodness, such as pesto pizza and vanilla yogurt. The cashier even gave me a raffle ticket (for $25) for bringing in my own bags!
On my way to the mailroom later, I ran into three of my friends tossing around a frisbee. I joined in for a bit, and we discussed all sorts of interesting things in between throws. When I got my mail, I saw that a stranger had written me - an old Reedie by the name of Clint who read my application essay in Reed magazine and was "blown away". He had a few things to say about how it spoke to his own spirituality and sense of wonder, which was really gratifying. It was pretty fantastic, actually.
A bit later Phil and I went to the bread-making class at the Co-op. I had so much fun! We proofed our yeast, got in flour fights, drank homemade Pinot Noir (wooo...fancy), and devoured our naan and tortillas, complete with avocado, tomato, and olive oil and garlic toppings. Mmmmm. I'm thinking I might apply to be in the Co-op dorm next year if I don't get the HA position. There was a strong sense of community, likely due in part to their simple act of making and eating dinner together five times a week. Plus I could learn to cook. See the massive loaf of bread me and my friend Kate made - and this is only half of the thing!

After that I pretty much hung out with Peter and Phil for the rest of the day. This involved long dreaded sunglass-wearing folk appearing out of the cold to play beautiful piano music and leaving without a word, that pesto pizza, contact juggling, intense discussions, and the suchlike.
Ah yes, a good day. And tomorrow I'll be able to pick up my film (hurrah!). I might even build a bicycle.

Airplanes are weird.

Something about waking up in Michigan, being (essentially) hurled into the air, and landing in Oregon is just bizarre.
Two-coast days are always strange for me.

A Progression
Detroit Airport to Chicago Airport to My Dorm Room:

On one of my flights I saw the most amazing thing: Turns out, you can see rainbows from 30,000 feet up, too. Instead of bows, though, the arc goes full circle so you get a sort of prismatic double-ringed rainbow cast to any clouds below. This was pretty mindblowing in and of itself, but at one point the plane was directly between the sun and a cloud below my window, and cast into the rainbow-ring's center was our plane's shadow, which flickered and morphed as it passed over the cloud peaks. A picture wouldn't have done it justice.