july, 2000

June 21 - July 6: PYO Tour to Prague & Italy

July 8, 2000, 1:56 AM

back from the trip. Journal will go up soon, as soon as I get it typed up fully and linked and pictures scanned. Ought to be in the next couple days; I'm not doing a ton.

Though I have been hanging around with Allison and Emilie, and Tarah a little. So good to be back in Madison for a couple months. Allison and I walked down to the lake tonight. I read the Isthmus. Went to the Art Fair on the Square. Madison things. I'd love to live here when I'm older--I'm not sure I can; if this viola thing pans out, I'll need a real orchestra. But I'd love to. Having grown up here I have all the good memories and associations, plus it's a great town. There's a lot to be said for moving away when you grow up, but having done that for college, it may not matter so much. We'll see. That's thinking too far ahead.

Right now, next semester is about the farthest I can get. I'm reevaluating what I'm doing at Swarthmore. Do i want to be a music and CS major? That's what I've been telling people, but I think that's only because it was my last change of majors before school got out and I haven't made any decisions during the summer, so it just stuck. I feel like I have to be doing some one track gung-ho at this point, but I also feel like to do so would be so limiting. (<- full rant available upon request) Allison asked me what my ideal schedule would be for next year (not counting ensembles, of course, which are always a given) and I said:
  • Music Theory 13
  • a language course
  • a literature course
  • Studio Art
So, where does this leave me? I was planning on doing Music 13, Music 37 (history), CS35 (Java), and Greek 011 (2nd-year). I could potentially of those keep the greek and theory, learn java over the summer by myself in order to keep the option of that major open, and just ditch music 37, knowing that that would mean i'd have to take a music history course in the spring for the major. Add Studio Art and Russian Novel. Ooooooo, that sounds nice. I don't think it'll actually work with the greek, because Studio Art Foundation is almost 3 hours long, but we'll try something like that.

Today was excellent. I woke up early, went to Art Fair on the Square, ate bruch at the Original House of Pancakes, bought my sister the new Harry Potter (it's huge!), painted my car more with Allison and Emilie (almost done!), set up a lemonade stand while painting (made my own lemonade from my cookbook), netted 75 cents :-), made a great dinner of italain pasta (also from my cookbook), walked down Lake Wingra with Allison, swung and let my hair down (I love swinging! hair down, sweeping the ground, me in my dress i sewed:

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

--my mom used to recite that to me as she pushed me on the swings at Stevens Street park), and then watched American Pie with Allison and Emilie. This is summer. I'm so glad I get seven more weeks of this. Granted, I'll have to find a job ASAP, but I'll live in the world of denial and Robert Louis Stevenson until then. :-)

July 9, 2000, 11:24 PM

altimboogey (9:52:46 PM): but how are you doing?
n0r1 (9:52:54 PM): quite well. i fucking love summer.
n0r1 (9:52:56 PM): eating cherries
n0r1 (9:52:58 PM): drinking chai
n0r1 (9:53:00 PM): painting my car
n0r1 (9:53:03 PM): blasting dar williams
n0r1 (9:53:06 PM): chilling with my friends
n0r1 (9:53:09 PM): watching videos
n0r1 (9:53:15 PM): seeing Shaw in outdoor amphitheatres
n0r1 (9:53:21 PM): fruitlessly looking for a job
n0r1 (9:53:23 PM): yeah, life is good

On the other hand ...


I have been looking for a job and can't find one. Not long, I grant you. But my temp agency--through whom I always get jobs--has none for the summer! My friend Laura has been looking for one for a month and a half now, almost two, and has submitted 34 applications, 33 of which have said 'no', and 1 of which hasn't responded. I am circling ads in the classifieds (Allison says, this is like the beginning of a movie. No one actually does that. Don't you feel like you're in a movie? I tell her, no, I feel like I'm broke and I owe my mom $600, have a credit card bill to pay, and need spending money). I will call them all tomorrow. But WHAT THE FUCK IS UP???? I MUST HAVE A JOB!!

Updates to follow.

Today, equally excellent (as yesterday). Brunch with Allison and George at the Original House of pancakes. I love that place. Read Cosmo. (Should I subscribe? I'm trying to figure out if it's more fun to buy it sporadically at the grocery store than to receive it in the mail.) Attempting to paint car, but still too wet. Orange custard chocolate chip ice cream (my favorite!) on the terrace instead. Gelato i've decided, cannot be lumped under the same word as "ice cream." Apples & oranges. Drove to APT (American Players Theatre) out in Spring Green for Shaw's The Devil's Disciple. Excellent as APT always is. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tomorrow all this job shit starts. Allison takes her leave for the east coast, and I call every place on the face of this planet (every place in Madison that wants to pay me $10 an hour for my services) and make them hire me!

July 13, 2000, 2:07 PM

Summer has quickly lost all its exciting interita, has hit some kind of pothole, and is quickly losing air in a few tires. Look at this:

Alanastill in Chile
AllisonSwarthmore, doing Astro research
AlyssaNorth Carolina, being a counselor
AnnaProvidence, working
BenBudapest, at a family reunion
Claire W.San Antonio, being a Blockbuster whore
EmilieD.C., visiting her boy
JeanneProvidence, RISD summer program
JoelOhio, where he lives
JulieSwarthmore, interning

I could go on. But you get the idea--all my friends are in various parts of the country, even world, doing their own cool thing, and I'm here in Madison--which is a very cool town!--with at least 95% of my friends scattered. Rar.

Not that I'm not having fun ... I think ... I mean, I'm doing stuff ... yesterday I called a viola prof here in Madison asking about lessons, and I went running (albeit for 15 minutes), went to a Concert on the Square with my mom and ran into some old friends there, scanned some photos from the PYO Tour, finished Harry Potter IV, did the dishes. Today I so far have had an excellent dream till noon, reveiwed all my classes at Laurel's cool classes reveiw forum, balanced my checkbook and realized how badly I need a job, written a few emails, unloaded the dishwasher, made myself chai and a toasted poppy seed bagel with cream cheese, and done a helluva lot of nothing. I'm listening to Natacha Atlas, a random artist I got out of the library, who's a really cool blend of Middle Eastern style and pop. I like the track Yalla. I'm considering making a summer mix but I want to wait until I get my Ben Folds Five CDs on hold from the library. I'm toying around with my fall schedule, trying to figure out which classes aren't lotteried, etc. I think I've got it: Music 13 (Theory), Russain Novel, Astro 3, and Greek 11 (2nd-year). The last 3 are PDCs, yay! I really want to do a cool english or French Lit class, or studio art, but I don't like the french ones being offered, or if I do they conflict with the ones I'm already taking, and the English ones that sound cool (a) require an intro lit course as a prereq, and (b) are all lotteried. (Tolstoy, Joyce, and García-Márquez! How cool would that be!) I'm going to write a letter to Alana, read more Unbearable Lightness of Being (--I've heard that book touted by so many sources, but I really have gotten stuck somewhere in the middle, just through sheer friction--the inertia's worn off and there's nothing to keep it going), and convince my body to go running again. Blah. I need a job just to give structure to my day. I mean, I should be reviewing Greek and learning java, but just because there's stuff to do it doesn't mean it feels like a full or purposefully-spent day.

Hollis got new bagpipes. I'm excited. We're going to go blast George out of the library with more viola-bagpipe duets come fall.

July 16, 2000, 2:07 PM

Ah, eBay ...

I have purchased a couple little things on eBay before, but never anything like the purchases I just made in the past day or so. I was looking at a new computer system, so I went to CompUSA with Bydywojo (they're great; they'll talk to you for hours and help you figure out what you want if you don't know), milked them for their wisdom, and then looked at systems on eBay. I am now the proud posessor (or will be shortly!) of a computer with: a 650 Pentium III processor, an 8x DVD-ROM drive, a 4x CD-RW drive, 128 SDRAM, a 40 GB hard drive, and a Dell flat-panel active matrix lcd screen--all for $1450 (not including S&H). I'm so proud of me! Now I just need to start working to pay for all this. Ick. But this system is better than most frosh of '03 bought (granted, a tiny bit less good than the ones of this year will buy), and has a flat screen. I'm very pleased. I will make grand announcements from it once I get it all hooked up.

Summer, however, minus this excitement, continues to drag its ass slowly through the mud. Everybody's still gone, and though Ben's supposed to get back today, I have no faith that he'll remember to call for another week (though he might show up at my door at 11:00 PM some night and announce that he's taking me out; that wouldn't be unprecedented). My job starts Tuesday. Anna invited me out to go live with her in Providence for the month of August, and I'd really like to, but in a lot of ways I want to stay in Madison, too. I love it here during the summer. I think this summer is going to be my worst transition period--when it becomes clear that you can't go back. All my friends from high school are scattered, and of course my swatties are too. I have no job that has any interest attached to it. I'm not doing anything exciting--whereas in Providence I'd be around one of my best friends in the world, if her plans come through i'd be working at her cool café, I'd be out doing stuff, having fun, whereas here I sit on my ass and write webjournal entries, emails, bid on eBay, and read. Not that any of that is bad. It's just boring as all hell. I am unoccupied. But the more I think about going to Providence, much as I'd love to, the more I really want to stay in Madison, in my town, with my family, with all two of my friends that are ever going to be around. I don't want to leave, even though I can't stand my mother yelling at me to practice, being a dictating force in my life. I know she knows I've been on my own for a year now, but I guess old habits die hard, and she can't help but tell me to practice and nag me when I don't. So in ways I hate being around here--stifles some of my autonomy--but I can't bear the thought of leaving. The Catch-22 of growing up I guess. Yeah, I have been reading too much Kundera. Damn Czech authors with their middle european depression.

Laurel and I are planning a grand schlepp out to Swarthmore in the fall, involving 4 or 5 swatties, one Mawrtyr, a U-Haul and a couple dozen bagels. Plan: three midwestern kids attending eastern colleges (Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr) pile into respective vehicles (U-Haul from Des Moines, orange Oldsmobile from Madison) and convene in chicago, where they find two more swatties. The five pile into the truck and car and head east, partying. Now we need our parents to approve this. Damn parents. ;-)

I've been reading.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  • The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
They're both good. The first took more effort than I expected to get through. It's interesting--pretty much all sex & philosophy, but interesting, not written in a condescending manner, and not philosophizing, which is good. I think I can only tolerate philosophy in fiction. But it didn't grab me the way i thought it would. Though it was interesting to compare Tomas of Kundera's novel to Arno of Baker's The Fermata--the epic lovers. Heh. The Name of the Rose is also good, but so far it's a lot of rhapsodizing relgiously. It's a murder story, for chrissake! Maybe it'll pick up. Maybe not. Maybe that's the beauty of it. Maybe I'm just bored out of my gourd and need some occupation. I'm going to go make something yummy to eat and practice viola, I think.

July 17, 2000, 2:07 PM

It's amazing what a huge difference a small thing like one friend can do to lift your outlook on the world. Ben came back today from Budapest--apparently his passport had expired in June, and he'd had to talk his way into the country. Leave that to Ben. Also, he's gotten his driver's license revoked for not paying a ticket, so I had to come pick him up. But he did call, good boy. I drove by his house in my orange car (much admired! yay!), chatted with Lynn & Mike (set of parents at that house), and we drove down to Michael's, where we ate a DEATH BY CHOCOLATE sundae. Lay in the grass in Wingra Park. So good to see him again, even if he is an awful correspondent. But my whole outlook is reshaped now--summer again rocks, and I love being here, even given a tiff with my mom at the end of the day.

Reverse-chronologically, the color of this page is the color of the pants I will make with the new pattern and material I got from Jo-Ann fabrics today. Yay sewing! Next on the list is a skirt, but not until I finish these. They will rock.

Still going backwards, I had lunch with my mom and Diedre, which was great. Great to see Diedre again in a relatively relaxed atmosphere. She's so cool.

From Hollis's journal:

Nori and I are already planning our triumphant return to playing Scottish music in the atrium of Lang. Last semester I taught her Mhari's Wedding, and we stood in the stairwell, two kids with viola and smallpipes, and played that sucker. George came running out of the library and informed us that Lang is not soundproof. This is something with which Nori and I were unfamiliar, because neither of us spends any time at all in Swarthmore's music building. Not like anyone cares if it's loud in the library anyway--the librarians are always playing music on the CD player, and people talk at volumes quite unlike the standard for libraries. Anyway... I'm thinking.

  • Why can I never paint my nails without ruining them within the next hour?
  • Why does underwire have to come out of bras in the washer? That's so obnoxious!
My toenails are again gold! I found my polish and rechristened them for summer. Hallelujah.

Tomorrow I start my temp job ... I believe it's time to sleep. I love staying up talking to Swatties on IM, though. Yay for conference chat. Speaking of Swatties--if you're one, or have recently been one, go reveiw a class on Laurel's student comment form! Not enough people are taking advantage of this excellent resource.

July 21, 2000, 12:20 AM (7/22/00)

Rrrgh. Am tired. Very very tired. I'm now working forty hours a week, and it's really immaterial that I've only worked 32 hours this week. Shuddup. I'm still tired. I am now a legal secretary for the Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation. They pay me $10 an hour to file shit, fax shit, photocopy shit, and type shit, pretty much. I answer phones and open mail and take dictation, and other random stuff. I'm finding diversions--I downloaded Eudora (high-speed lines! gotta love 'em) and it checks my mail every minute while I work; I have a Cézanne on my desktop; I downloaded claire's matrix screensaver, which keeps me amused. Today the entire office was amazed and impressed with my Cézanne; i had to show a secretary, the paralagal, the legal assistant, and an attorney how to do it. Finally just typed up instructions. :-) It's funny--I guess it's because I'm the youngest one in the office by about ten years, but I'm by far the most computer-literate person there. By a long shot. Leanne, the person who shares my cubicleish space, is about 30 and rocks at Corel WordPerfect, knows it inside and out, but then again I guess you would too if it were your job. I had to help Cheryl (an attorney, my boss) out with getting the little paperclip guy in Microsoft Word to go away a few days ago, and yesterday I showed her how to associate file types and then opened an document for her in IE. She was just staring blankly as I clicked away. That's kind of a cool feeling. I guess adults who didn't learn to think in this kind of environment are by and large clueless about it, but I'm suprised every time. I went in to Eric's office yesterday to deliver something for him to proof and sign, and he was typing with two fingers! at a rate of about 15 wpm! max! I remember my two-finger days--they were in first grade, and the best I got with them was about 30 wpm. Now I'm 85. That's really the only skilled labor I do around there, though--showing people what's wrong with their computers; how to make them better. Not that it's awful. It's not; there's variety. But I HATE working 40 hours a week! Even if I have made $320 (before taxes) in 4 days.

The more I temp, though, the more I get a very clear sense of what I want to do and what I don't. Not like I had any doubts, really. But just a much clearer definition. This is where you will be if you don't get a college degree. This is what the unintellectual, white-collar world is like. This is what life looks like in black and white. Are these people passionate about their jobs? about anything? I kind of doubt that they are. I hope for them that they are, but (a) I don't see how you could be passionate about being an attorney, and (b) they seem resigned, shuffling paperwork around madly, dictating letters ... maybe they all snap into their element in the courtroom. But there's SO MUCH red tape to get through first! So much bureaucracy! (That's pretty much what my job is, actually--their bureaucracy.) I hope for their sakes that there's some passion in their lives. I really do. It's amazing to see people function like this. Live like this. Exist like this!

Hung out the other night with Ben Wikler and Mike Gilles, Lynn MacDonald and Mike Edwards (they don't all need last names, but the two mikes do, and if I don't give Lynn a last name it looks like hers is Edwards, which it's not, and then if 3 of them have last names and Ben doesn't, that looks dumb, too). Went over after helping Rae type choir documents (she insisted on paying me, and I didn't protest for too long), and was a third-party (fifth-?) (nader or gore? hmm) (the silver-savages are throwing a "green party," hehe) scrabble player for an hour or so. Ate brownies. Chatted with my boys and with Ben's parents. Looked up many words. Thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'm enjoying straight interaction time with Ben (like the only person who's home right now) and my mom a lot more recently now that all I do all day long besides that is communications--faxes, phone calls, emails, IMs, letters, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So now dinners with my mom (tonight at Sunprint; yesterday just at home) are a lot of fun, and I love hanging out with my friends even more. Personal time matters so much more. God I hate working.

my new computer! except mine's cooler! :-)So, my new computer arrived! Today! In a big box that says "Intel inside! Pentium III!" (It likely didn't have the exclamation points; those are my addition.) It has everything at right except the monitor, since I ordered a flatscreen about which I'm really excited. It hasn't come yet, though, and the guy from whom we ordered it (also eBay) hasn't gotten the money yet. Which is ridiculous. Anyhow, I'm really anxious to hook everything up and play with my new toy!!

We got an email the other day from VirtualRatings.com that said, go rate your professors! We being the majority of swatties, which is kind of disturbing, that they could get hold of our addresses like that. So, using the reserved-student lists Laurel & I had typed in last spring, I sent a counter-email out to all the Swatties of '01, '02, and '03 ('00 will likely come tomorrow):

Subject: Professor & Class ratings for swarthmore

July 20, 2000

Dear Swarthmore Students:

Today you likely received an email from Professor Ratings, or some such server. We (Laurel Eckhouse and myself, Nori Heikkinen, both '03) encourage you to not rate your professors and classes there, but rather support Swarthmore students' enterprise and do instead at http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/~laurel/studentcomments/. This site, while it perhaps lacks the dot-com spit and polish of the commercial site, is just as cool, and even more so, owing to its local authorship. Once it receives a few more submissions, it will be an excellent resource for all Swatties to see classes and professors organized by area (social science, natural science, humanities), within that by department, and within that by both professor and class.

On the other hand, the commercial site appears to be poorly organized, only alphabetizing by professor's last name, and making no distinction as to department, or leaving room for reviewing an actual class instead of just its instructor.

With students submitting reviews, Laurel's site could be exactly the resource that current (and incoming--don't neglect the frosh!) students need. Not only would it be better suited to our specific needs and curricula, it would be more aesthetically pleasing! and by contributing to it, you would feel part of a cohesive, proud, and entrepreneurial student body, instead of that slimy feeling which would descend into the pit of your stomach after having used the commercial site, knowing that you were contributing to the megalomaniacal oligarchy that dominates the better part of the world wide web.

It is your choice--support your school and its students? or put on your lemming-suit, climb into your handbasket, and follow the dot-com? If I may quote your fellow student Chris Fanjul--"our web-fu is the best."

Again: http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/~laurel/studentcomments/


Nori Heikkinen & Laurel Eckhouse

I'm pretty pleased with it.

I miss Alyssa Timin. A lot. All my people are scattered, and typing in Swat email addresses, and just thinking about school makes me really really miss the place. And my people. I'm listening to all the Ben Folds Five CDs I can get my hands on through tthe public library--not only are they cool music, but they smack so strongly of Alyssa. And the Matrix screensaver of claire. I'm back in Willets 1st South rm. 119 ...

alyssa & claire

Hollis picked the color today (990099). I'm too tired to.

July 23, 2000, 12:30 AM (7/24/00)

My allergies are gonna kill me. I refilled my medication but can't pick it up till tomorrow. Oh my god, how did I survive without these drugs?!

Last night I went to a concert entitled "3-some," hehe. Presented by the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. I love Madison. They passed out daisies on the way in, had huge paisleys dangling from the rafters, gave us brownies ("nothing illegal!" they swore) during intermission, distributed tie-dye T-shrits as door prizes, played a set in bellbottoms and fro wigs, and performed Mozart, Brahms, Hindemith, and Czerny. :-) This has gotta be the coolest place ever. I really really enjoyed myself--it's great to be on both sides of the stage from time to time. I love watching Parry Karp, Jeffery Sykes, and Stephanie Jutt perform, too. The latter two are so charismatic and really ham up their performances, and Karp is just such an excellent cellist that it's a joy to watch him play. Inspiration. I've been practicing more--some Hindemith. Dragged Ben along to the show. He greatly enjoyed it, as I predicted, even though he hadn't previously been acquainted with the pieces. The Hindemith was a little more obscure to him, but nonetheless he had fun. Great to see the boy again. He's a terrible correspondent, but a great friend one-on-one, and in the summers. Sigh.

I ordered bumperstickers from Northen Sun today! I love having my own car. I've already got a Nader one on it. :-)

I broke my hug ring! I'm so sad about it. It just snapped off my finger during dinner. It's sitting forlornly in two pieces in a little jewelry box next to my computer. We'll see if it'll be cheaper to get it soldered back together or just to buy me a new one. Wah!

Just finished The Name of the Rose. Still have no idea why it's called that because the whole explanation was in Latin. Still, was a good book.

Bed time. Sleepy. Don't wanna work. :-(

July 31, 2000, 11:26 PM

My hair is wet. I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the shower recently, what with running and whatever. My hair gets washed too much. It's long enough now, and thick enough again, that it'll stay wet all day if I put it up tight, but now it's down and wet more than usual. My shirts all have the top halves wet.

Friday I got the afternoon off, because WPS was having a big employee picnic. They all wanted me to come, too, but I told them in so many words I had better things to do (obligations, I said--I needed to relearn greek, mail some packages, practice viola, get music for my quartet, et cetera. I did have a lot of things to do. But I still did not exactly relish the idea of standing under a big tent with a few hundred soulless, potato-salad-chomping, hamburger-grilling, claims-processing insurance workers. The most interesting guy I've found there so far is Eric K. G., Esq. (attorneys seem to have an obsession with middle initials! I wonder what the few who don't have middle names do? Just put an "O" there for "nothing"?). Perhaps Eric's only intriguing because he has a voice about an octave below the average adult male. It seems there should be a wider distribution of voice ranges, but I guess true bassos are relatively rare. And while none of the people in the office are particularly intellectual (I had been going to say "intelligent," but i guess they have to be, a little at least, if they passed the bars ...), but Eric at least laughed when I commented on the lawyer up in Baraboo whose name was Virginia Wolfe (spelled wrong). But it was either WPS picnic or freedom, so I drove away in my cool orange car to the sound of Indigo Girls blasting away the office.

As I told them, I had errands to do. I went to the post office to mail chris's cookbook (I'm negligent, I know--took me long enough), and a package to Allison. four poppyseed bagels. :-) I composed an ode to go along with it in Spanish, which took me fucking long enough! everything kept coming out in Italian, and instead of trying to push the spanish through the barely-gelled Italian veneer that had begun to form in the language bit of my brain, I let the words stay buried and had to look up palabras like "mañana," "pequeño," and "también." pretty embarassing but at least I got mistaken for an Italian in italy. :-) The ode:

Oda al Bagel

O Bagel,
tu es tan lindo--
completamente un círculo
redondo sin término
lleno de pepitas de amapola
tan perfecto--
cada mañana, antes mis lecciónes,
antes mi trabajo,
antes la salida del sol,
te como,
con crema de queso.
Las pequeñas pepitas se alojan en mis dentes
tu llenas mi estómago,
y estoy contenta.

en el estado árido de Pennsylvania,
¡no es!
¡no existes!
Pobrecita, ¡la triste niña que no tiene bagels!

yo le envio quatro bagels de pepita de amapola.
Ella los comerá antes sus lecciones,
antes su trabajo,
¡antes la salida del sol!
--y ella estará contenta también.

Not Neruda, hélas, but it was fun to write Spanish poetry.

Having mailed my packages, I went to the music library to get some parts for our quartet which was going to start up again, and I ran into Randy. Good to see the weird man again. In the library, Bydywojo helped me find the Rasumovsky quartet (Beethoven Op. 59, No. 1--yes, Hollis, the one we presented sans Justin to Music 12 a scant few months ago, hehe) and confirmed my suspicion that there do not, in fact, exist any Brahms trios for violin, viola, and cello. Wah. There are some Haydn, a few Schubert, and a few Mozart divertimenti, op. 130. Well, poop on that. (We hadn't been able to find a second violinist yet--it was just me, Matt Valley, and Michael Wang (who has mono!).) I got the music and xeroxed it. I'm no longer a student, so I can't actually check things out (never mind my huge library fines), but I can get into the library and xerox things. This time I'd remembered to bring a lot of money in coins, so I actually could xerox. Hallelujah.

I love driving around in my bright orange car. The boy in the parking garage booth started chatting me up, using the paint job as an excuse, hehe. It's surviving the rains well, too. Too bad it's now fucking BROKEN DOWN AGAIN! Story below. I've gotten into running a lot in the past week. I'm giving Allison credit; she gave me the shoes with which to run. Every day after work I come home and run the three blocks down to West, two laps around the track, and then back, walking the last block. Friday it was particularly fun:


allison's mix--"driving to appleton"--
in my ears, and my feet,
nike-d for victory,
hit the decrepit stone stairs, the driveway, the pavement
i pound lightly down the corner and
crossing the three-way stop
begin my cyclic trek in rhythm to
Cat Stevens, Suzanne Vega, Dar Williams
under trees shaking with dew

the afternoon filters through the vibrating drops
making the chlorophyll pop out
and everything green can stay
(if only for an hour)
--it is the night i took ben driving in reverse hues:
there the white shone crusted glacially over the branches,
hanging down into points
against a rich black backdrop of night;
here the colors push eagerly out of their chloroplasts into my eyes

just post-rain, summer is at its most pungent
freshly-bladed grass smells hot and like dirt
(good dirt, eating dirt)
brats waft distantly from a neighbor's grill
north carolina and my grandmother
smelled the same when i was six
--she pointing out the shapes of the leaves to me
and the old wooden bridge across the stream
carried me much faster than it did her in her then-septuagenarian gait
creaking out the flavor of a handful of decades and new rain--

on the damp track
the goalpost comes at me in sharply changing perspective
the two posts straight up,
the crossbar revolving around me
as i revolve around this less-than-400-meter path
(five and a third laps to make a mile,
i learned after four
trying to run the whole thing in tenth-grade gym
--i hadn't run since)

my footsteps echo in the gravel between songs

a black spot on the sidewalk is the only place still beaded with water
is it black because it is wet,
i wonder,
the rest of the chiasmus flashes across my subconscious
and i step over the spot
moving too fast to let the thought finish phrasing itself
still in time to simon & garfunkel

the tidepools left from the temporary river's path down my street
smile up at me as i cross them
walking now
upside down

i crack the ice tray so hard--
the purple mold is at exactly the right plasticity--
that the cubes pop out, like the color of the wet leaves,
into my glass of water.

It's really weird how I've gotten into this running thing so suddenly. At the time of my last post, I'd run twice, and both to not a ton of success, so there was very little incentive for me to do it again. But i got over my inertia and now am running daily (5 days a week, at least), and it helps me, makes me feel better while i'm doing it. Today I got home and yelled at Alexis for eating some food I'd saved for work breakfasts and lunches, and then went out and ran off my anger in three laps around the track and there and back. I feel so good after I do it. I called Alana today, and told her as much, and she was much taken aback. So am I, actually (and I told her i've only been doing it a week). But it's so cool. Funny how the things that are best for you, and make you feel the best, are things like practicing viola and runnning. They take so much effort, and so much intertia to overcome, but they're the best ultimately. Okay, enough truisms. Onto the narrative of the weekend:

Emilie and I were going to hang out, and she called Michael, who said he'd been going to hang out with Tarah, who was open to going with us. So I drove over to Emilie's, my mix tape from allison blasting. The music drowns out the nasty noises the car makes. :-) So I'm driving along, and pick up emilie, and as we're pulling across Midvale on Yuma, the power steering goes. The engine starts making really rumbling, and I can barely drive. We go back to mom's house, ditch the car, and get hers. But the car is broken! Waaaaaah! --coffee with emilie, meredith, and michael. Emilie and I rent a movie (the world according to garp with robin williams) at four-star but are too tired to watch it.

Saturday Ben calls me at ten in the morning. i think it's three o'clock because i've been having weird dreams. he drags me off to the Original House of Pancakes (well, 'drag' isn't quite the right word to use when that's the destination, i guess :-) and, while waiting for our table, I get two bunches of basil at the hilldale farmer's market. I love that smell. Chocolate chip pancakes and it's so good to be back in Ben's company again. I miss my Madison friends terribly while I'm at school.

Emilie calls, she's going to the pool and do I want to come? yes but i have no swimsuit, does she want to hit the back-to-school-summer-swimsuit sales with me? Ha. So, we spend two hours in the odious West Towne shopping through Younker's, J.C. Penny, Boston Store, Sears, only to come back to the original J.C. Penny for the purchase of a neon-pink, floral (just the top) bikini for $20. Took too much shopping time, but now I have a cool bikini again. Then to the pool--it was five o'clock, and we only had an hour left before they closed. Water tepid at best. I ran into Sam Lipp (bassist from West) lifeguarding; we chatted. Acquaintences from high school are swarming! I saw at least twenty of them that night with emilie! --Tried to sun ourselves but there wasn't much sun left. Will have to take the proverbial raincheck on that one, I suppose.

Bach Dancing & Dynamite concert that evening, by myself since none of my classical music friends were in town or not sick (ben, dancing; michael, mono; all else, gone). Still it rocked. Love them. They're playing Shostakovitch piano quintet next week, which i'm excited about, because I'm playing that next semester.

afterwards met emilie for capoeira at Chautara! $5 cover charge, and the capoeira rocked (I must find a place to do that at Swarthmore or in Philly! at the very least I want to take African Dance ... hm, maybe I can arrange that ...). Much fun. The dance afterwards was hardly a dance, not even a party, and we left. Ended up via sentry in em's basement with a bottle of champagne (served in parfait glasses--far from perfect but did thet trick), cheese, zesty sour cream 'n' onion potato chips, applesauce, and the movie. We only saw half of it. Much fun was had, though, and a precedent for a tradition. ;-) I slept over. Ah, seventh grade ...

Sunday morning I slept till 11. Goddess, sleep is good. Went to Matt Valley's hosue to read the Rasumovsky Quartet with him and Michael. Matt's mom went out to get us a trio because we only had three instruments, but accidentally came back with mozart quartets instead. Oh well. We had a lot of fun with the beethoven (whom i prefer to most mozart, anyhow).

Did nothing of any interest until the evening. If then. I hooked up my new computer and started playing, downloading the necessary appurtenances, and making it pretty. My monitor still hasn't come (=fiasco) but i borrowed a crappy, $25 CRT one from Ben and am using that for the time being. Can deal. New comptuers are such fun!

Short Thought on Which i do Not have Time to currently Expound: I was shaving the other day (yeah, i have been kinda regularly ... just a phase, i guess) using my sister's peach-scented shave gel, and got a whiff not of tropical fruits, but of Nadav. I associate that smelll with him now becaue of the peach schnapps (which I will never touch again) drunk with him one night, and the cloying smell of my peach shampoo the next morning. Haven't used anything peach-y since. Because my acquaintance with him is so short and relatively concentrated, everything--like a scent of peaches, which usually carries so much more semantic value than just a boy--has more symbolic weight.

Another Thought, On Which i do Also Not have Time to currently Expound: Reading Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald in close proximity to reading A Romantic Education by Patricia Hampl is fun. They both are from St. Paul, Minnesota, and both make the same observations about the culture--manifest in entirely different ways. Two passages:

"The first boy who kissed me, a French horn player who soon after explained that he had to be careful of his lip, held me in a long embrace and said, 'My God, you're fun to kiss!' Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, book II, chapter 9, spoken by Dick Diver to Nicole: their first kiss. My French horn player didn't care if I found out his magic line was not his own; it was he, soon after, who loaned me the novel and said I ought to read it. The language of the art crazed is rarely our own, almost never in youth. ... It was the alluringly aged, dusty voice of an author. It was prose. We bowed our heads and spoke in quotation, excising the citations for the sake of the moment."

-- A Romantic Education, Patricia Hampl, p.116

"The voice fell low, sank into her breast and stretched the tight bodice over her heart as she came up close. He felt the young lips, her body sighing in relief against the arm growing stronger to hold her. There were now no more plans than if Dick had arbitrarily made some indissoluble mixture, with atoms joined and inseparable; you could throw it all out but never again could they fit back into atomic scale. As he held her and tasted her, and as she curved in further and further toward him, with her own lips, new to herself, drowned and engulfed in love, yet solaced and triumphant, he was thankful to have an existence at all, if only as a reflection in her wet eyes. 'My God,' he gasped, 'you're fun to kiss.'"

-- Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald, p. 156

Also interesting to note the way they both refer to "what [someone] is" (as opposed to who)--Hampl points it out; Fitzgerald uses it. The one writes about the other, but it's neat to have read H before F. More musings later, perhaps, when I don't have to get up so early.


  • i love lists
  • i love ben and his lists
  • i like checking things off
  • allison made me a great list before she left
Describing my job to an old teacher today in an email: Since I got back a few weeks ago, I've been looking to pay off the expenses incurred abroad, also the purchase of a new computer, and now, it seems, work to be done on my car--the rack & pinion just went friday. No, don't ask me, I don't know what that is either. I'm learning more about mechanics by owning a decrepit hand-me-down vehicle than I ever would have otherwise. So I've got a temp job, putting all my skills to work for the taxing disciplines of photocopying, faxing, filing, taking dictation, et cetera. I'm doing a legal secretary gig at WPS, this big insurance company. Luckily they don't care too much if I spend a quarter of my time reading the New York Times online and writing emails ... :) The coolest part of the job so far (aside from above) is closing subrogation files into boxes, and then pushing them over and stacking them under a table--but if you're as bored as I am here, you too would drive them over the carpet, making loud car noises and attracting the bemused condescention of the attorneys in the office. There's a huge filing cabinet on tracks that you move with three-pronged wheels, much like steering wheels of old ships, and every time I have to file something I think of Monty Python's Crimson Permanent Assurance, the ship of pirates sailing a fin-de-siècle office builing and singing:

PIRATES: [singing]
It's fun to charter an accountant
And sail the wide accountancy,
To find, explore the funds offshore
And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy!

It can be manly in insurance.
We'll up your premium semi-annually.
It's all tax deductible.
We're fairly incorruptible,
We're sailing on the wide accountancy!

--how appropriate. I think I'm the only one here with such associations, though. A shame.

two contrary thoughts about Capitalism:
  • Monopoly is the avatar of capitalism! I can't believe I didn't realize this until my sister pulled out the box today to play with her friend Steve (whom I know cursorily from a high-school english class), and i heard her shouting, I'm going to buy that! Money, money, money--makes the fuckin' world go round! Wow, get 'em while they're young in the harmless guise of a board game ...
  • Ordering stuff online is so cool. Yesterday I received five bumperstickers from Northern Sun, this great, leftist catalog. Check 'em out. Mine (now on the appropriate place on my car) say: kill your television! the truly educated never graduate. question gender. the arts are not a luxury. it will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need and the army has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. Rock on.

all this ©nori heikkinen, July 2000

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