Monday, October 29, 2007

sleepy time day

So I come home from lunch today (bringing two meals' worth of smuggled food with me) to find Tasha asleep on the living room floor, Sara preparing for a nap on the couch, Julia lying in bed trying to convince herself that was worth getting up to do her homework, and Tony awake but inexplicably sprawled on the floor in the doorway of his room.

Ironically, this is the first day in quite some time that I have neither fallen asleep in class nor felt like napping when I got home from lunch. Craziness.

I do hope at least Tasha and Sara wake up soon though, because I got a movie on reserve from the library and I need to watch it and return it by five, and I don't really want to disturb them. They look so peaceful.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So, um...

As of brunch today, I am officially out of meals. Out. Done. Nada más.

Eep.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

vocabulary

I am in love with words. Seriously. There are so many of them, and they can say so many things.

I am also a big fan of the subtleties and nuances of language; think how much more you are saying when you describe something as "convoluted" rather than just plain old "confusing."

Of course, sometimes I feel like people think I am taking this too far. For example, yesterday, I was trying to come up with a word for my Facebook status to describe just exactly how I was feeling. It was a crummy kind of day, and I was feeling vaguely icky: sleepy, mildly depressed, slightly grumpy and just a tad sick of the world. I found the exact word to describe these symptoms in lassitude: "weariness of body or mind from strain, oppressive climate, etc.; lack of energy; listlessness; languor." But it was a noun with no corresponding adjective, and I wanted an adjective to fit with the "Andrea is" in my Facebook status. (Granted, I could have just said, "Andrea is suffering from a feeling of lassitude," but seriously, that just sounds dumb.) Tasha suggested "lethargic," which was close to what I wanted, but not it exactly. I also could have used "listless" or "languorous," directly from the definition, but those still (in my mind, anyway) did not have the exact connotations I was looking for. I suppose this is probably just me splitting hairs; I think I have a habit of ascribing subtle connotations to words that most people don't. But still!

However (and this is me bragging, pure and simple), I quite enjoy having a reasonably large vocabulary, as well as a smattering of knowledge-bytes from other languages. It means I don't often come across a word in English that is utterly foreign to me, and when I do, I can usually make a reasonable guess as to its meaning based on its parts. For example, I was recently reading and came across this gem: verisimilitude. Fairly straightforward, phonetically speaking, but I had never seen it before in my life. So I thought about it for a moment, glanced over the contextual clues, and formed a hypothesis: "veri-" would be something meaning "truth," as in "verily," from the Latin veritas, and "-similitude" would probably be related to "similar," so "verisimilitude" would mean something like "the quality of being similar to the truth or reality." This made sense in the reading, so I accepted it and continued. Later, I went back and looked it up; according to the American Heritage Dictionary (via Dictionary.com), it is "the quality of appearing to be true or real" or "something that has the appearance of being true or real." Hot damn.

Friday, October 26, 2007

contentment

I think yesterday was the most perfect day I've had in quite some time. I was kept busy for pretty much the duration, but it wasn't a rushed kind of busy, and almost everything I did was new or interesting or otherwise not boring and required.

I had classes in the morning, which were fairly unremarkable, except that I managed not to fall asleep in World Music, which was nice. Then there was lunch and an hour's break and I was off to work until four.

At four, I went to the Caxton Club reading in Old Main. I'd never been to a CC event before, but I'd meant to on numerous occasions, and the reader at this particular one was Cyn Kitchen. I was in her Beginning Fiction Writing class last year and loved it, so I figured now was a good opportunity to actually make it to the event. I was very glad I did—she's a wonderful writer, and great to listen to.

Then it was home for dinner and then back to Old Main at six for a discussion about what it means to be an environmentalist. It was part of the Environmental Awareness Week and sponsored by the Philosophy Club, another organization by which I've always been vaguely intrigued but never actually got around to checking out a meeting. I enjoyed the discussion immensely, and even contributed a bit in the latter half, which I hadn't expected to do.

After that, I headed upstairs for the weekly movie for American Studies. This week's selection was a pair of one-hour documentaries about the Black Power movement; I watched the first one, but decided to leave at before the second, partially because I was slightly bored and afraid of falling asleep, but mostly because I just really really wanted to go to ballroom. (I'll still have to get the second documentary from the library and watch it this weekend, but that's okay, because it's much easier to stay awake and attentive watching in my own living room in the mid-afternoon than in a dark classroom.)

Ballroom was, as always, grand. I haven't gotten to go to many of the Thursday night practices this term (because of the movies), and it was encouraging to see the healthy number of people (and especially leaders) in attendance. And of course, the other nice part of going on Thursdays is that I get to practice my leading, which I'm growing to enjoy quite a bit at times.

After ballroom, I was kind of wanting to go to Jazz Night at McGillacuddy's, and at first nobody really seemed into it, but then Tony and Allison decided they wanted to go, so the three of us headed over and hung out there for awhile. Then we came back and I sat in the living room and chatted with Tasha and Sara and Dan for a bit, until I fell asleep in the bean bag chair and Sara woke me up and made me go to bed. It was, all in all, a very full and interesting day, and I wish I had more days like that, but alas, homework seems so often to render such things impossible.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Damn you, Doublemint!

I have been scouring the vast interwebs off and on for the past three hours for a particular Doublemint Gum commercial, and it's driving me bat-shit insane. I remember it from when I was fairly little; the only lyrics I could remember initially were the last few lines: Double your pleasure, double your fun, that's the statement of the great mint in Doublemint gum. For awhile I thought I was nuts, but Google finally reaffirmed my sanity with this hit, confirming that, if I was hallucinating the ad, at least it was a shared hallucination.

If anybody else remembers this, or better yet can find a clip somewhere online, I'd greatly appreciate hearing about it before I go completely mad. As I said, I was pretty young at the time (think early 90s). And FYI, It's not this one, this one, this one, or this one, and most certainly not this one.

And no, I really do not have a life. We've established this.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The moose is on the loose!

The Knox ballroom moose, that is. I guess you kinda had to be there...

Anyway, the competition Saturday at U of I was strange and horrific and wonderful in various ways, much like last year. There are a number of things about which I could complain (east coast swing is NOT best danced to jive music, thank you very much!), and a number of other things about which I could rave (the dancing M.C.!), but I've neither the time nor the energy at this point, and it probably wouldn't be very interesting or coherent to anyone who wasn't there anyway.

Our team as a whole made a decent showing, especially for being a small team from a tiny school, which was nice. As for me personally, I led three dances and followed in five others, so I felt comfortably occupied throughout the day. I'm sure my leading of the foxtrot was abominable, and I felt kind of bad for Katie, the dear, whose following skills I put to the test. I also was not the most brilliant leader in E.C. swing (advanced group, yikes!), but Jen is a doll and we both agreed that we were just out there to have fun, which we did. And honestly, even though we didn't place, I do feel like I did quite well for having very limited experience with swing leading, even successfully throwing in a move I'd picked up only moments before going on the floor.

Elisa and I made finals in beginner E.C. swing (she led), in group A (the "good" group, to put it quite bluntly and not very accurately), and ended up taking 5th, which made me very happy. Even more exciting, Chrissy and I made finals in cha-cha (with me leading!) and took 6th, which was pretty much the best thing ever. Don even complimented us on our cha-cha-ing, which pleased me greatly, because I often don't feel like I do much that's particularly compliment-worthy in ballroom, and I also feel like Don doesn't generally give undeserved compliments.

And I can't forget to mention that we had Greek food for lunch and Indian for dinner. And don't forget the Moonstruck Café. These are, of course, the important parts of any ballroom competition.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Success!

I must say, there is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush one gets by printing off a paper fifteen minutes before it's due, only to realize that the printer's out of ink and one must make a mad dash across campus to Founders to print it off and then to Old Main to turn it in, and accomplishing all this in only seven minutes. God love bicycles.

And now I can sit here and bask in the lovely post-midterm glow, brooding contentedly about the meaning of life on this rainy Wednesday afternoon. Glorious.

Friday, October 12, 2007

so much information...

It all started with a Google search for a slightly more in-depth definition of "periphrasis," because for once, dictionary.com's terseness just wasn't enough.

It ended up being a multi-hour jaunt through Wikipedia, learning more than I ever needed to know about rhetorical devices, speech impediments, and autism spectrum disorders.

It is for situations like this that I both love and hate Wikipedia, in fairly equal measures. I got no studying done, nor did I begin my midterm paper that's due on Wednesday. However, I did find out that there is a name for the way I don't say my 's'es quite properly—it is a (slight) lateral lisp. Fascinating.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

malaria

So, there was a blood drive today. I signed up for it a few weeks ago, and then I was a little worried, because I had to get that tetanus shot and I wasn't sure if that would disqualify me from donating.

Well, turns out a tetanus shot is okay (as long as you don't show any symptoms, which I didn't), but my trip to Costa Rica in March is not, and I shouldn't have been allowed to donate when I did in May. The reason they didn't catch it was because both the places I stayed are not malaria-risk areas. However, we traveled by land through malaria-risk areas, which the lady then didn't ask about, and I didn't think to say. So, I'm ineligible until next March.

On the one hand, I understand the need for rules like this, and the fact that they can't make any exceptions, etc., etc. On the other hand, we drove straight through, in a closed car with the windows up. I can say with 100% certainty that I did not get any mosquito bites during the journey. It's a bit frustrating.

Ah well. Guess the vampires at the Red Cross will have to wait a bit for my malaria-tainted blood.

a declaration

As of the end of fall term, I will have achieved junior status. This means I have to declare my major before the end of term.

There's really no question of what to declare; I've known for awhile now that I want to do creative writing. But putting it on paper makes it so official. I'm not some aimless first year wandering through my classes anymore; I've got a purpose and a goal.

In some ways, that thought is very pleasant. It does have a certain sadness to it, though.

My mind is wracked by ambivalence.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

epic adventure

It was a Saturday afternoon early in October, the weather still ridiculously warm for the season. I'd just finished my allotment of studying for my World Music midterm the coming Tuesday, and Sara, Dan, and I were melting in a heat-induced stupor, trying to decide what we should do with the rest of our day.

"We should have an adventure," Dan posited.

I raised my eyebrows and replied, "What kind of adventure, Dan?"

"I dunno. An epic adventure."

There was a brief silence while we considered this statement, and then someone, maybe it was Sara, said, "We should go to Lake Michigan."

So we did.

We went to dinner early, woke up Tasha, grabbed some snacks from the c-store, and started out of town. There was a bit of a hitch in the beginning, as there always is with this sort of thing: Sara's car was making a strange rattling noise, and we, being calm and reasonable teenagers, were worried it might to explode, fall apart, or otherwise cause us serious bodily harm or death. So I called my mother, saint that she is, and described the noise to her, and she, being a genius as well as a saint, correctly diagnosed a loose muffler, which ailment we verified and then, deciding it was not a life-threatening condition, opted to continue on our quest to put our feet in Lake Michigan.

We arrived in downtown Chicago shortly after 10:00 PM and managed to find a free parking place quite close to the lake shore. We then played in the sand, waded in the lake, looked at the few stars we could see (being in the middle of Chicago and all), and contemplated the immense black void of lake and sky before us.

Then we drove through a pretty sketchy area, a not-too-sketchy area, and into the western suburbs, which are very large and suburban and odd.* There, we met Dan's friend and her friend, and we went to a Denny's at something like 1:00 AM, and found that Denny's has exactly no entrées that do not include meat. So I got a Western burger, sans burger, which ended up being absolutely delicious, in a Denny's-at-one-in-the-morning kind of way (which, let's be honest, is often the best kind of way).

Then we parted ways with our new friends and piled back into Sara's car to go home. Sara drove the whole way, and the rest of us slept or dozed or looked at the stars. Once we got away from civilization, we could see quite a few of them, as well as the moon (a lovely crescent, with the dark part visible—so cool) and a really bright planet (we think it was Venus). It really was a gorgeous night.

Meanwhile back in the car, Dan was curled up in the front seat with Sara's teddy bear, and it was both hilarious and adorable. I think Tasha was asleep for a good portion of the trip also, but it was dark, and I couldn't tell for sure. I dozed in almost exact 15-minute spurts, as is generally my habit when I'm comfortable, and stayed up to make sure Sara stayed awake the last half hour. And I have to say, props to her for the driving; there aren't many drivers in whose cars I can sleep half that well.

We rolled back into Galesburg sometime around 5:30 AM, having completed our epic adventure and achieved our quest. It was probably the best time I've had so far this year. I love these people.


*I'm sure there's nothing really all that odd about West Chicago, as suburbs go. I'm just not used to suburbs in general, and therefore they all seem immensely sprawling and empty and odd to me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

calm

So, September was apparently a bust month for blogging. For me, at least. Hey, cut me some slack, I was mourning the death of summer break.

Anyway, here I am, back at school, and despite my many peevish complaints, I really do love it here. Words cannot express my utter delight at having a house full of friends instead of a dorm full of random people or some other housing nonsense. It's definitely a very different experience from living in the either the quads or the townhouses last year; we have bedrooms that are just that: bedrooms. We can hang out there if we want, and sometimes we do, but we can also be in the living room, the kitchen, the front or back porch, or just sprawled out somewhere on the lawn. There are so many options.

Of course, living in a house with ten friends and seeing them so very often does have its downsides. We've got our fair bit of drama floating around, and it can get pretty nasty sometimes. Anybody who knows me at all knows how I feel about drama: I just won't do it. But it's still kind of odd hanging around the periphery of a lot of awkwardness and unpleasantry, and sometimes it gets upsetting. I think that's partially why I haven't blogged in awhile; I keep feeling like the biggest things on my mind are mean or gossipy issues, or things that aren't mine to tell. I mean really, there's not that much fascinating stuff to write about in the first month of school. But I've decided, as I always do, that I'm not going to let it get to me. As I said, none of these are really my issues, and insofar as they don't concern me directly, I'm not getting involved. I'd like to think that at least most of the people living in this house have the capability to handle themselves as mature adults and can manage to work out their issues enough to keep the peace.

Anyway, enough of that blather. It's a gorgeous afternoon; I've spent most of it reading peacefully in the quiet sunshine in my room. Now I'm hungry, and I'm going to dinner. Self-determination is a lovely thing.

Monday, October 1, 2007

OUCH!


↓THIS THING stabbed my foot. IN. MY. FOOT. Right through my shoe. See?→

Okay, so I'll back up a minute here. Sara and I went for a walk last night, because it was a lovely evening and we felt like taking a stroll around the 'burg. We went north on Seminary and ended up going rather farther than we'd expected (all the way to Fremont St., actually), and then we went back home via Academy. A grand total of 3.5 miles, according to Google Maps.

Anyway, during the eastbound portion of our trek, I managed to step on the monstrous bolt in the above picture, which punctured my flip-flop and the bottom of my left foot, necessitating a 15-block limp back to the house to fetch my wallet and then a 1:00 AM drive to the emergency room for a tetanus shot, during which I crushed the life out of Sara's hand.

And I ended up fifty dollars poorer, with a sore foot, achy arm, and unfinished journal entry for the class I ended up skipping today because I was too damn tired to go to it after being up so late last night. Oh, life.