Sunday, September 28, 2003

Lots to post. I figured I'd do it all at once when I got back and could think coherently. We caught the train back to Billysburg today happened to meet Liz Mullin and Kenji at the station. Turns out that what Sarah told us when we visited her in Kensington was true: Kenji went up to Boston to see his girlfried, got caught, was brought home, and then released on some sort of trust pact (ha! right). Liz slept most of the way, Andrew and I read, fooled around with our laptops, and dozed off at varying intervals. When we got back here we had to carry our bags all the way back to Talliaferro--so now I have aching shoulder muscles to match the aching leg muscles I got playing laser tag. I'm still not sure how I got them...the laceration on my knee I got when Andrew told me to get down and I hugged the ground a little too enthusiastically. The thighs, though...I still feel like they're on fire every time I go up or down stairs and I can't for the life of me figure out why. I think the adrenaline masked whatever pain I might have been feeling along with overriding the common sense circuit in my cerebellum. It's amazing what you can do when you're high merely on your own chemicals--makes you wonder why druggies would want to settle for more.
Some cool things about laser tag. I had an "Operation Bughouse" moment when I wandered into a literal nest of the enemy. I kept wanting to reach for my flamer or use my jump jets to get away but the Reds were EVERYWHERE. Johnnie Rico never had to mess around with a frikkin' laser beam or target pads on jumpsuits either--he had the gift of instant immolation. Ah well. My stats were okay for a beginner: I ranked 19 out of 23 in the first round and 17 our of 34 (I think?) during the second round. We soundly trounced the Red team both times, incidentally. I like to think that I scored the way I did because my typical opponent stood knee high from the ground and presented a bad target. Andrew's idea of "phaser-whipping" became more attractive as time went on.
Oh yes, and we visited UMBC again yesterday. We didn't do much--Caitlin and I watched a movie and then we went out and played to a draw in chess before going off to dinner with Andrew and Lori. Lori asked me to beat Andrew for her every time he flirted with another girl and I said that my fists couldn't take that kind of exertion. I mean, Andrew is the kind of guy who talks about girls who come up and start to talking to him in front of his girlfriend. What good does physical punishment do against that kind of...what's the right word...obliviousness? I tried reassuring Lori that Andrew was probably stupid and definitely imprudent about that sort of thing, but not unfaithful. Anyways, most normal women find imprudence and (ahem!) tactlessness off-putting. He's just lucky she either puts up with or enjoys the spectacle he likes to make of himself.
Speaking of obliviousness, I've been trying to teach him the proper way to name bands--as opposed to the Dave Barry way. I explained that shorter band names provided more of an impact--i.e, Charge, Combust, Flair, Jam, etc. (Mind you, this is all from my point of view.) Multi-worded band names need to either have personal meaning as well as across-the-board appeal (I mean, if you're broadcasting your band name nationwide, you want it to have more than just a cool name--you want it to have auditory appeal when the DJ says "the newest from [band name].") For me, such names include The Impromptus and Time No Longer (the latter being a reference to a book I read once called "Tom's Midnight Garden"). However, I wasn't able to convey this to Andrew in my tired and befuddled state, and after listening to such things as "Exploding Clergy" and "Highly Flammible Chemicals" I suggested "Overwrought Roommate." It had its intended effect--the gratifying effect it had on his sense of humor also served to drive away his delusions of nomenclature.
Well, it's time to amble around Talliaferro for a while. I'll probably post some more on other occurences at both my house and at the Durfors'.
Attention, passengers. Next stop, Narcissussville. Population: Me. Why are you people even here? I'm all this town needs.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Well, haven't updated in a while. This is due in part to the hours I've been keeping and not having ready access to the internet. Plus, Andrew and I have been different sorts of trouble with getting on...this is the first time I've gotten on Blogger since I got up here.
So far, I've visited Caitlin at UMBC and gotten eaten by bedbugs. People keep thinking that I'm joking and that bedbugs are mythical, but if they are, then I'm living in one giant, ITCHY dream.
So much for the hurricane story. That'll have to wait until my life gets back to normal and I start getting my daily infusion of caffeine. Mmmm....Coke. How I miss you.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Oh, and speaking of the Boots incident...I don't think any girlfriend, present of future, of Andrew's need worry about his faithfulness. He's rather like the hurricane himself--full of energy, passion, and show, but when it comes the actual reality, he's mostly just wind.
*sigh* So many stories, so little many things which are not appropriate in an adult audience blog. The one thing that really sticks out about this whole thing is that you CAN go home--but nothing feels the same. The yard (well, okay, the hurricane made a difference, but the yard still didn't have the same affect on me that it did when I actually lived at home), the kitchen, even my own room--nothing struck the familiar G chord of "I'm home." Only Taliaferro Lounge can do that for me now--not that this is all a bad thing. Ah, le change, c'est la vie.
My room...perhaps that's what hit me the most. Since I brought a lot of stuff to school, the old familiars weren't there. I still had all my books, most of my board games, and a lot of other things that have the mark of my personality upon them. And yet something was missing--namely, ME. I hadn't been there for long enough that I couldn't even sense my own presence...if that makes sense.
Perhaps you can go home again. But the experience can be unsettling. And in a hurricane with no electricity, even more so. I doubt this will traumatize me, but it does leave me things to ponder. As if I needed more material.
More Isabel stories later. I need to comb my memory and convey my perceptions of the Boots incident as accurately as possible.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Well, I'm going home. William and Mary is in various stages of evacuation. I just hope that I can do all the stuff I need to online before the phones lines go d
"Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. Different circumstances require different methods, but not different moralities...Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place. Targeting innocent civilians for murder is always and everywhere wrong. Brutality against women is always and everywhere wrong. There can be no neutrality between justice and cruelty, between the innocent and the guilty. We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name. By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we do not create a problem, we reveal a problem. And we will lead the world in opposing it."


Monday, September 15, 2003

No blog for a while. I'm buckling down for real and need to deal with a few things before I can spend time on extracurricular things. Not that I don't want to...anyways, there isn't much to report. Got classes to go to. Got a hurricane coming. Got caffeine to take. Got things to do. Updates as soon as possible.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Forgive me for sounding judgemental...I just find it disillusioning when I see people close to me drinking. I suppose drinking in and of itself isn't so bad--but when it becomes a game, something to be toyed with (literally--I don't know what they're playing but coherency is lost rather rapidly. Drunk people tend to be funny only to other drunks and people who drugged people laughable) I guess it makes me feel...weird. I guess I'm just sensitive about the whole subject--I kind of went to the other extreme when I saw the single-mindedness it brought to people I knew in high school.
Ah, but I'm in no place to cast stones. Alcohol would be a lesser evil in some respects. In the end, we all do a bunch of stupid stuff--some that we look back on with regret, some with a sort of wry fondness--and the vast majority of us survive virtually unchanged.
The only other part of it is: why would anybody want to use a beverage that tastes like iron filings filtered through bilge water in a GAME? "Next up: we're going to suck poisonous smoke into our lungs and snort painful substances into our noses! This is called fun!" Makes you wonder who first thought, on seeing a tobacco plant, Hmmm. I'm going to stick this in my mouth, set it on fire, inhale, and see what happens. It takes all kinds, but it seems that most of them are crazy.
Andrew still isn't back from his dart gun fight. I hope someone with a supercharged Nerf rifle didn't leave him paralyzed in the gutter. Will? I feel...cold...

Friday, September 12, 2003

I missed putting anything in for September 11th yesterday, so here's a late post. In a way, though, it's not just for 9/11 alone, but for the time between then and now and the time to come as well. I guess I'd like to think that we can look up after our proper time of grief and remembrance and see what needs to be done--and in so knowing, make the world a safer, better place. Onward and upward...excelsior.

WARRIOR by Wishbone Ash

I'm leaving to search for something new,
Leaving everything I ever knew.
A hundred years in the sunshine
Hasn't taught me all there is to know.
In the valley, we will gather there,
Helpless in our surrender.
Tomorrow the plow becomes the sword--
Make us stronger in our danger.
Time will pass away,
Time will guard our secret.
I'll return again
To fight another day.
I'd have to be a warrior--
A slave I couldn't be.
A soldier and a conqueror,
Fighting to be free.

Let it be known: I have known what Andrew has never done before. I beat Baal in Diablo II on single player, something he has never achieved. He HAS done it in multiplayer--albeit with the help of other people, something I didn't have. It is now time for a resounding HA!
Forecast for today: WET. I like the idea that Billsburg is God's proving ground for weather. Hmmm...this seems violent enough. Miami, here I come! Anyways, the campus is one giant aqueous solution. Water running downhill is fine, but there is very little downhill around here. You can hydroplane just by running on the sidewalks...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

So maybe 1 in 4 wasn't exactly the indoctrination I thought it was going to be, but my scorn for it is still pretty withering. The general consensus was that it was a waste of an hour. As we wrapped things up, one of the program leaders said he hoped it "inspired us." The only thing it inspired me to do was go to seminary and join a monastery. At least you don't have to worry about undue contact that can and will be held against you in a court of law.

Oh, and here's a transcript of the telescreen announcement that was sent out by the Oceania Broadcasting Corporation to all the male dorm rooms:

"Gentlemen of Talliaferro, your attention please. Since 25% of all college women are raped during their time at school, we find it necessary in our infinite wisdom to choose an equivalent number--namely, one quarter of your number-- at random, take them outside and quietly place them against the wall, and shoot them. This will not only by random chance eliminate potential deviants, but also act as a massive deterrent to those of you considering perpetrating such acts. To those of you who have such perverse inclinations, we would say this: We know, and we are always watching.
You may now return to your lives as normal."
I just heard today about some meeting in the near future called " 1 in 4." This name relates to the so-called statistic of women who are raped at college. I find this somewhat hard to believe; by that count, 5 or 6 of the girls on my hall will be sexually assaulted by 2007. If this were REALLY true, wouldn't the college be taking more steps than some dinky Soviet-era re-education program? Such as de-commissioning the co-ed dorms, transferring the guys to Siberia and re-naming the school "Queen Mary's School for Girls?" This "1 in 4" has got to be the worst idea ever. Guys who are--how to put this--inclined to rape women will, in all probablilty, not be saying as they come out of the meeting, "Gee, I came here with the intent of having my way with women, but I guess that was a bad idea. Now I'm going to become a monk instead." For the guys who, like 99.9% of the male population at a normal college, are NOT inclined to be rapists, it's a waste of time they could be studying, eating, sleeping, or joking around. Instead of those things, they are getting the living daylights scared out of them as they wonder what it is that constitutes rape. From what I've learned, rape can be anything from the actually act of sexual assault to an angry woman pressing false charges because she felt "uncomfortable." My take on it is, any man who is forced to go to such a meeting should have his therapy bills paid for by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Saying that every man is a potential rapist and needs to be re-educated is akin to saying that every woman is a potential "rapee," for lack of a better word. It's demeaning, insulting, and casts a cloud over an entire group for no damn reason. Sadly, Academia has long since given way to such mindless exercises; it will probably be a long time before programs like "1 in 4" are seen in a realistic light and left by the wayside where they belong.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Various quotes:

"Women are impossible to understand; no man who has attempted to do so has escaped unmarried."


"The Heisenberg Uncertainty Theory was originally intended to describe women. You can either know their mood or what they want, but not both."

Okay, so much for non-partisanship. I'm writing this mainly because I'm tired of every liberal on this dorm who wants to rehash their favorite things: "Bush is Evil! Bush is in league with Big Oil! Bush IS Big Oil! Bush is crazy! Bush is dumb!" yadda yadda ad nauseam. But I'm also doing it merely because it's time I got to espouse my own views without someone interrupting me, usually angrily and rudely, before I get a chance to say anything:

Me: But, if Bush were really...
Me: Tell that the Kurds who...
Me: (sigh) So how about them Cubs?

Anyways...I figured it was my turn.
Bush did NOT, repeat, NOT, invade Iraq for the oil. First of all, Iraq produces a very small quantity of oil per year--it isn't exactly the top prize for a petroleum-hungry nation. Anyway, we could have gotten the oil with no loss of life and the rather uncertain bonus of keeping our ties with the UN secure merely by lifting the sanctions. Saddam was ready to trade--even with the smuggling across various Arab borders, you know he could have used the money for a new fleet of Mercedes for Uday and a couple more riverfront palaces.
And, considering another popular opinion is that Bush is in league with Big Oil, wouldn't his invasion of Iraq and the supposed oil gains therein hurt his connections? Foreign oil on the market would drive down the prices, thus hurting Amercan companies. It's one or the other, but why choose when you have two equally great epithets? Ah, diversity!
What some people, including my roommate, need to learn is not a change in their ideology but in their presentation. It is useless, tiring, and, frankly, depressing to talk to someone who uses vulgarity, obscenities, and resorts to name-calling in a "political debate."
This is the main reason I keep silent on issues--not because of my views, but because of the anger, hostility, and cynicism with which I am recieved. Over the years, I learned when to keep my mouth shut--and it's serving me well now.
Funny...were I a liberal, I could sue for a violation of my First Amendment rights.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Oh yes, one thing I forgot to mention the other night. I found myself wondering why I go to the frats at all if there's nothing there to interest me. Well, the guys and girls in my dorm--how do I put it? I can't stop myself from liking them. Drunk or sober, sane or crazy, they're wonderful people. I figure I may as well be with them in some strange environment than by myself in a controlled one. There'll never be anything quite like the people in my freshman dorm...
I've heard that my roomie has been making not-so-well-thought-out remarks about certain prominent Republican leaders. I would like to take this oppurtunity to take a different route and say that there are many Democratic presidential candidates with intelligent ideas and good strategies for handling our nation's problems. They are also adept at staying non-partisan on the most important issues racking our country today.
Sadly, most of them won't be born for the next ten years or so.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Went frat-hopping tonight. I noticed as we walked to one of the units, Pi Sigma Tau or Why Me Now or something like that, that broken glass littered the ground in front of all the buildings and shone from the reflection all the lights, like hard chips of brightness from a thousand fallen stars. The parties...well, Hollywood doesn't exaggerate much. A line from Faust pops to mind: "Why, this is Hell, nor am I out of it."
It wasn't all bad, though. Since I was out so late I managed to get the piece of bamboo I've been wanting to drag back here without having to worry about a bunch of people seeing me and thinking I'm weird. Which I am. But I want them to think I'm weird for better reasons than carrying a large piece of bamboo around campus.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Not much to report on. I hear Andrew posted a vicious diatribe about our argument last night. If I were less lazy I'd read it and post a riposte, but that would lead to an extended online battle and to tell the truth, I don't have the energy or desire to do that--right now, at least. So instead of quabbling in a partisan manner, I'm going to be the better man and leave the argument be and content myself with bashing Andrew's face in with a bamboo walking stick that I'm making.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I had a sudden realization today during Economics that my professor, if he were to shave, would be a dead ringer for Jack Nicholson. Well, Sparky, that's the way the GDP works. Any questions and I'll beat you with a roque mallet. Geez. Except that Jack Nicholson would never be that as laid back as Professor Meyer. He (Jack Nicholson) always seems to be struggling with inner demons that threaten to rip him to shreds and thence destroy the universe. But maybe I'm projecting.
Okay, so I go to my Calc lab after an interim breakfast of yogurt (NOTE: Never again. No. Would not advise.) and it turns out we're doing this dinky little test run on a math program called Maple. Standard of functions and everything, how to plot graphs using this software, how to type in what it tells you and get it wrong, how to tear your hair out by the roots--the usual stuff. And then I get to this one part where I type in an equation and evaluate it for 2, and there, in the margin of the lab handout, is this:

#Note: Maple will give a nonsense output for this command.

Which really freaked me out. I mean, I got up at 8:00 (all my construction habits have gone out the window--8:00 is for SLEEPING, as far as I'm concerned, and my dad's schedules can stay dead and buried for all of me) to come to this lab, am trying to get acclimated to yet another math software program, and they're telling me that it gives NONSENSE outputs? Does it just have these wild whims? Sorry, Dave, I don't feel like computing that today. Why don't you get out your slide rule? Ha ha. *sound of bytes being reformatted into the binary equivalent of the finger* It should at least just say **SYNTAX ERROR** or something. Why toy with the emotions of some poor freshman? Maybe there's a sadism circuit in there somewhere.

To top it all off, the TA says that this "lab" is really bad prep for the next one, and that we probably need to read Lab 2 on our own before next Thursday. I just hope no one is basing their senior thesis on that software.

ADVISOR: Why does this printout say "Screw you, human" on it?
STUDENT: Oh, sorry, Dr. Jones. It was giving a lot of nonsense outputs today.
Some great but rather random quotes from Douglas Adams:

"'So you see,' said Slartibartfast, slowly stirring his artificially constructed coffee, and thereby also stirring the whirlpool interfaces between real and unreal numbers, between the interactive perceptions of mind and universe, and thus generating the restructured matrices of implicitly enfolded subjectivity that alowed his ship to reshape the very concept of space and time, 'how it is.'"

"The second nonabsolute number [in a type of restaurant science known at bistromathics] is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself."

"There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in knowing how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Worked on my History website today after a late lunch. Although I'm not exactly a Luddite, I still find stuff like HTML and computers a little scary, so this website thing had me freaking. When I went online on my laptop and found that it--surprise--looked the way I wanted it to, I was somewhat suspicious. There must be some sort of catch to this. I think I'm kind of scared that one day a dark stranger will show up on my doorstep, beckoning. You remember all that unearned success you had with your website? Well, I've come to exact the price. Eeek. Not happening. Please, somebody reassure me that Java has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the occult?

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Just so everyone knows, I have a student website here at Pretty soon it's going to have a bunch of stuff on it for my History 150W class, but right now it's just a bunch of random pictures and tbj gs. At any rate...I may be able to sneak a few things in there without my professor minding, so I figured I'd throw it onto the chopping block so people could toss it around a little.
Anything that I say about Andrew is NOT, repeat NOT, embellishment. He [censored] with the [censored] for a long time, and I swear I could see [censored], but he said that was just because of the lighting. Then they [censored] and [censored] the [censored] again, and although we [censored], the donkey is expected to make full recovery.

PLEASE NOTE: This blog complies with the restrictions applied by the Andrew Durfor Website Board of Approval.
My 'ead's a blank.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Time for a quick post before I leave for my Chem Discussion course. Eh, in my day, sonny, we didn't need no discussion courses; if a professor didn't like our work he whipped us right good with a yardstick! I realized that I like my Calc class the other day when Professer Shi finished an example and a student asked, "Could you do one that's a little harder?" and NO ONE COMPLAINED. Not one snicker, sigh, or glare from anyone in the room. High school memories, you are now dismissed from my memory. Tap tap, DELETED.
At least with the courses I'm taking, my professors aren't giving me the standard line of "forget everything your high school teachers taught you." Of course I guess I'm biased, after taking an extremely esoteric Stat course last year where he completely destroyed my Mickey Mouse ideas about the subject. When I finished the course, I fully expected to be in a course where my physics prof would say, "Now, class, you may have heard in high school that gravity is a natural law. That is false. It can and will be revoked at the whim of any qualified individual, especially our tenured staff."
On a altogether different note, I met a guy when we were getting our books the other day (I don't know when, all those orientation days kinda merge in my mind) who, had he been carrying two more books, would have been unable to see over them. I asked him what classes he was taking and he said, "Healthy Living 103 and Stress Management 235."
Seriously, he had three government classes with about ten books each and something else with another fifteen, by a rough estimate. His parents must be selling off major organs on the black market to fund his budding career as a political analyst. Speaking of which, selling your soul to get into politics isn't necessary--being born without a soul will suffice.
Got to go...more later.
Hi people. I've got to go soon and get breakfast, but I decided I ought to put in a few words lest I forget. Omissions have a way of building.
Things have been...rather strange around here, which I why I haven't put up anything in a while. Also, I've become addicted to Diablo II. I see why people get so into their character on RPG's--whenever mine dies I feel personally offended. Hey, you can't do that to me! Not seriously enough so that I'd pine away or something, though. The only thing that would make me pine away is a lack of caffeine.