Monday, August 30, 2004

Not much going on here at the present. I had the usual beginning-of-the-year freakouts, but nothing too special. It's raining like all hell here--we're getting one of the classic Williamsburg supersaturation storms. It started around 1:00 and it's still going strong--I'm thinking we might be dealing with it all week. Probably just remnants of the tropical depression.
So far my classes are pretty cool. Archaeology, of all things, has a fairly liberal bent--all this talk of "racist notions" of other cultures, etc. Bleh. Oh well, nothing's perfect. Linear algebra--well, what can I say? You either like algebra or you avoid it at all costs. Orgo II--meh. Whatever. So far it isn't too painful. Physics--eeeaaasssyy. At least, thus far. I imagine it won't get that bad, and I like calculus okay anyways. Military science--as I said, this is the challenge course of the semester. I'll have to do physical training and I'm considering doing the MiliSci lab as well. We shall see...
Also, I found out Rob Leventhal, a guy who taught me in high school, is teaching here now. He used to be a professor at UVa, but I guess he decided to relocate or something. Can't say that I blame him. I'm thinking about taking his German philosophers course next semester...I could use some padding out in my schedule as far as Humanities go.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Mmmkay...just to finish up on that last post. We went to St. Augustine, FL, on Friday, August 20th, and flew home the following day. S.A. was a lot of fun--I may go back someday just to explore. Hot and humid, but a really neat old town. (And by old, I mean, 16th century.) Lots of cool, narrow, cobblestone streets that are just begging to be ambled down. Looks like a neat place to spend a lazy week.
And now I'm back at W & M. Spent the first two days before classes getting moved in, seeing old friends, etc. etc., and now I'm back in the thick of it. Had four classes today--Archaeology, Organic Chem part two, Physucks, and Military Science. MiliSci is pretty hardcore...even for us civilians. I still have to take PT once a week to get credit, though I still haven't figured out whether I have to take the Lab to get credit. The Captain was a little ambiguous about it, and I got my wires crosses. Oh well. More as events warrant. (The whole Lab thing bugs me anyway, since it would require me buying a uniform. But the activities therein sound pretty cool.)
And I found out my friend Constance, from Camp Chanco/Episcopal Youth Community, got into William and Mary and is living across the street from me! So I'm helping welcome her into the W & M community. So far, this is shaping up to be a very interesting and (heh) invigorating semester.

Friday, August 20, 2004

OK then! For those of you who care enough about the minutia of my life to read this blog, here's how my vacation has gone thus far:

Sunday, August 15th: We left Dulles early in the evening and got to Jacksonville, Florida, fairly late. After getting our rental car we checked into our hotel. Dad and I went out and got dinner, and I spent the evening trying to get the network in our room to work, to no avail. I then went downstairs to use the hotel's computer to get online, but it froze up. Went to bed in a bad mood.

Monday, August 16th: Found that I could connect my laptop to network cable downstairs in a room off the hotel lobby. 'Twas very happy. Got online and downloaded a few songs, and caught up with folks. After leaving the hotel and getting lunch (we missed breakfast), we drove out to meet my cousin Marlow "Buster" White. He wasn't home yet so we tooled around Tallahassee for a while. When we came back to his house he was waiting for us, so we sat around and talked while he made artichoke and oyster soup (a bit too pungent for my taste, but if I liked artichokes better it would have been great). I also met my second cousin Patrick White, who is attending FSU in a few days time. After dinner we sat around talking about various people on my mom's side of the family, during which I learned a lot of interesting trivia that would be dull in the re-telling. I went to bed really late, after sitting up reading "Night Lamp" by Jack Vance. An excellent book.

Tuesday, August 17th: After breakfast at a diner we went to Wakulla Springs, near Tallahassee. As a point of interest, this is the resort where various Tarzan films were shot (also where "Creature from the Black Lagoon" was shot as well). Apparently it's one of the deepest springs in the world. Pat and I went in; fifty-nine frikkin' degrees. Fahrenheit. After a while we got numb to it, and even mustered up the resolve to take an eighteen foot plunge off an observation tower into (roughly) twelve feet of frigid water. It was quite a swim, though; cold water does something that is quite revitalizing. I may go back to that resort some summer, when I have money and free time. They also have really good milkshakes at the snack bar. Anyways, we bade our farwells to Buster and Pat we headed out to Laguna Beach, where we spent the night at Dolphin Inn. I went out in the water sometime late at night and it was quite an exhilarating experience. I may write a song about it. Just to give you some advance warning.

Wednesday, August 18th: Dad got me up at a reasonable hour to go swimming. Unfortunately, after spending most of the night watching Law and Order and the X-Files I was sort of woozy. It took me a long time to get mobile, at any rate. Dad and I went down on the water and swam around a bit. Contrary to a warning I'd recieved from a random passerby the night before, there was no evidence of sharks or jellyfish in the water where we were. We went back and I sort of crashed out in the room for a long time. Later on we went out to get various supplies (band-aids and V8) and then, after another briefer swim, the parents went out to get food while I stayed in to catch Law and Order. After dinner I spent some more time watching X-Files. I had planned to hit the water after dark again, but the 'Files scared me into staying in my room. Plus the air wasn't as warm, so it wouldn't have been worth getting sucked under by a lampreyman anyway.

Thursday, August 19th: We checked out of the Dolphin Inn, much to my regret. After a final swim, a dip in the pool, and a shower, I took my sorrowful leave of Laguna Beach. We got breakfast at a buffet and hit the road for Tallahassee, where we met Buster and his client (he's a lawyer, but a cool guy nonetheless) for lunch at an El Salvadorean restaurant. After lunch and another (and, sadly, final) farewell to Buster we went back to Jacksonville, which is where I am right now. I think. I kind of lost track, to tell you the truth. So anyway, here I am, at wherever. We go to St. Augustine tomorrow. Woot.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

"If I were a mad scientist hired by Bush svengali Karl Rove to construct the most unelectable Democratic presidential candidate possible, I'd start with a load of big-government one-size-fits-all dependency-culture domestic policies. Next I'd throw in a consistent two-decade voting-record aversion to American military power. Then make him the kind of fellow whose stump speeches are always butt-numbingly ponderous and go on way too long because someone told him that if you intone a platitude slowly and sonorously enough it sounds like the Kennedy inaugural address.
He'd probably be a senator because, in a business that attracts pompous blowhards, senators are the crème de la crème. A senator from Massachusetts, because that's as near as you can get to running Jacques Chirac while still meeting the citizenship eligibility requirements. He'd have to be an aristocratic Massachusetts senator, because there don't seem to be any other kinds, but he wouldn't be glamorously high-class, like Jack and Camelot, just aloof and condescending and affected. And every time he tries to talk a little guy talk, a little hunting or baseball, it doesn't come out quite right. And he's so nuanced he's running not only as America's most famous war hero but also as America's most famous anti-war protester.
No, scrub that last bit. No one would believe it."

--Mark Steyn, John Kerry Can't Shoot Deer Or Stop Terror (Daily Telegraph, July 27th, 2004)

Friday, August 06, 2004

Wow--this is the first time I've blogged more than once on the same day this entire summer, I think.
Not that I have that much to say. I've been looking back on this summer and realizing how much I got done:

1) Developed some upper body strength through construction work.
2) Had a couple really fun "Men's Nights" with Dave, George, and Neil.
3) Dropped a lot of carbs from my diet and subsequently lost four pounds (to date).
4) Had some down time to do this same sort of introspective schtick.

Really, though, I feel more than ever these days like the future is incredibly malleable. Coming out of last year I felt like I was locked into something (I may have even had a few posts relating to that very metaphor). Not a rut, per se...just a sort of series of bad habits that were leading me down the same roads over and over again. And really, all you have to do sometimes is change a few seemingly minor things, and the rush you get from all these little minor successes gives you a sort of tailwind. My dad used to tell me that a lot of life was made up of basically small decisions, and that if you made the right choices for even a simple majority of them it would make all the difference in the world. Naturally my response was the usual one--Sure dad. Uh huh, dad. Right, dad. In the bored tone of voice that says "Excuse me, I'm trying to read my e-mail."--but I've been thinking that maybe all these little things, little successes, could be paying off after all. Don't you hate those times your parents really are right?
Last thought: A few years ago at Camp Chanco, my small group leader Mike told us that the great thing about being young is that you could experiment with life to a certain degree and the consequences were fairly light. In other words, you could fuck up here and there and it wouldn't hurt you too badly. That being said, those fuck ups are, in themselves, a sort of guidepost. "Hey! This hangover meanst that drinking twelve beers in the course of an evening isn't such a hot idea!" So I guess it's better to view the past, not with a wince, but with a wry grin. Oh well; stupid then, stupid now. Not much changes.
Wow, what a week this has been.
On Tuesday, I went into Charlottesville (C-Ville, if you're nasty) to see my brother Jamie play at the Blue Moon Diner. He and his fiddle player, Rollin (who are also in the Eden Party pictures in the link at the right *hint hint*) were there, as well as Spencer, who was playing stand-up bass, and Tom, who was playing a bongo. Rollin is a bloody fantastic fiddle player--I've never heard anyone play the way that man can. Anyways, I was playing around on Jamie's guitar in the side room during their break when Rollin came in and said:
"Hey! Let's go in and play something! It'll really kick Jamie's ass! You're better than him!"
The last one was a blatant lie but I said, sure, why not? We went in and I played "Acoustic #3" by the Goo Goo Dolls and "Ghosts" by Horslips while Rollin just jammed around on the fiddle. I swear, all I have to do is give him the key I'm in and he can make a friggin' concerto out of the song we're playing.
Then, last night, I went down to the mall with Dave, George and Neill--Dave and George are/were my two supervisors (since yesterday was my last day of work), and Neill is their Geordie brother-in-law. We hit up South Street Brewery, Christian's Pizza, and finally Miller's, where we played pool for a few hours. Then we went downstairs and sat outside to listen to the Jazz that the band inside was playing (which was the ostensible reason we went into town, anyway), during which time we messed around with the waitresses and various people sitting outside with us. Our particular waitress was wearing a shirt that said "Built Iris Tough" with the word "Iris" inside the Ford blue oval, so we called her Iris the rest of the night. I toyed with the idea of trying to say, "Ah, sure an' I can see why they call ye Iris; you're like a lovely flower in bloom," but decided that alcohol was required for such antics. I left that sort of thing to Dave and George.
Anyways, it was a great week to end my summer and end my time at New Age. I only wish more of my summer could have been like it.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

My dad and I went up to Morgantown, WV this weekend to see my cousin. She just delivered two twin girls through an emergency C-section (though I suppose that's a redundancy, isn't it?) . The girls, Jessica and Jennifer, are doing fine--though "fine" is a relative concept when you're only 24 weeks old and living in one of those incubator type things. I'll spare you all the gory details, most of which could probably give a future obstetrician nightmares, but apparently it was in the nick of time--literally, in a few more hours, one of them would have died due to complications within the womb.
All this stuff made both me and and my dad reflect on the whole idea of abortions and the like. I mean, right now, those nurses and doctors at WVU Hospital are fighting to keep these kids alive--in an age where any woman can get a third trimester or even a partial birth abortion simply because she doesn't want the hassle of a child in her life. Looking at my cousins in their incubators, it's easy to see that they've already developed "personalities" as much as any healthy new-born baby has--they respond to their father's voice, they kick and wiggle their fingers and cry, etc.
And they're quite legally killable under current Virginia law.
If I ever did, I no longer doubt that abortion is murder, plain and simple. And don't write to me about the whole "rape and incest" thing--I don't want to hear it. Those babies have souls. They are alive and kicking, literally. And they are completely without any human rights, in the most chilling sense of the term. Ground up and spat out like so much waste.
It's ironic that the liberals who, 30 years ago, referred to American soldiers as "baby-killers," are now practicing infanticide on a wider scale than has ever been imagined since King Herod. All with the silent approval of an American "majority."
Convenient how none of US were never aborted, isn't it?