Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Young Adult" Review and Acne

Whenever I read a book on writing or an article about a writer I am instantly interested and slightly biased to like what I read. Thus, it shouldn't be a surprise that I loved the movie "Young Adult" with Charlize Theron.

I went to go see the movie with my girlfriend's family, who are going through a movie marathon in preparation for the Academy Awards. And honestly, Young Adult needs to win something. But it never will because it's a dramatic comedy with little social significance. It focuses on the life of a woman who is stuck living life like it is still high school. She lives in Minneapolis and makes a living ghost writing for a young adult book series. She goes back to her hometown to try and win back the heart of her high-school boyfriend, which is where the movie begins. I will not spoil it for you, but I will tell you that I loved it and it inspired me to open my laptop and write while my girlfriend is out doing yoga.

I have been very busy this break, and I feel like I have a buildup of words that need to find somewhere to live. Which explains my super long previous post that I was reluctant to publish because it's really angsty and pointless, but I need to write something. I feel useless if I don't write. And today I just watched a movie about a failure of a woman who writes about high school for a living. I can TOTALLY be a writer, and it's time for me to hop back on the wagon as far as writing.

Don't get me wrong. I have still been writing observations and journal entries, but I haven't been able to sit down and organize it all. I am living my life day-to-day. "When are you going to be home?" My parents ask. "Not sure." I reply, and I am being totally honest. I am currently living on leftovers and Subway sandwiches, and spending most of my time out of the house.

I am also learning how to drive. Okay, I know how to drive, but I am doing a lot more of it. Gwenna lets me drive her around in her Prius, and she gives me helpful pointers on how to be a little more assertive on the road. My father always taught me to be a defensive driver, but with Gwenna I feel like I am learning the ways of the dark side... like speeding up to go through a stale green light before it turns yellow.

A note on my complexion: I don't think my complexion is bad, but I've had a couple monster zits over the past couple weeks. I have named them. First, there was Madeline, a huge, multi-bulbed, green pimple on the corner of my mouth. And as she died, Margot appeared half-a-centimeter away. And then there was Jasmine and Rosaline. I went to Peet's recently and I ran into my old biology/physiology teacher.

"Hey Connor... what's up with your complexion?" he squinted at my face. "Are you taking care of yourself? Getting exercise? Drinking water?"

I laughed it off and I told him that I loved college. I went home and my sister stopped me as I was going through the fridge.

"Auntie Carol stopped by. She dropped off some Proactive and told me to give it to you."
I couldn't believe  it. I can't believe it.

"Is it really that bad?" I asked my sister.
"Well... I've gotten used to it. So I don't think that it's that bad."

For your records, here is my face. You decide.

Click for an closer look at the war-zone. 

There are other random blemishes on my face that I don't even think are worth my attention. Honestly, I am not concerned with the zits on my face. Zits are natural.

"What is wrong with your face?" Asked my grandma. "You are eating to much fat. Or you are in love."

I will settle for the latter, which will make me feel a little bit better when I am washing my face.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

As Many Words as Possible at 5am on Boxing Day

Truman Capote wrote in his introduction to Music For Chameleons that he would sit down and write for five hours a day, so much writing that his friends would ask him why he was busy all the time.

In a PBS documentary on Woody Allen, he showed them his nightstand where he writes an observation every day on a slip of paper, and then puts it into a drawer. When he is ready to write, he pulls out one of the observations and begins with that idea and just goes with it.

For Christmas I got a couple notebooks, some rolls of duct tape, The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, a scarf, some money, The Best American Non-Required Reading of 2011, two sweaters, a vinyl LP of Charlie Rich's "Rollin' With The Flow", Band Aids, mistletoe, a wireless mouse and The Complete Poems of e.e. cummings.

I have a burn on my thumb that hasn't healed completely in the past couple of weeks. I've been doing a lot of "field work" (and by "field work" I mean having fun and hanging out with friends) and at night I try to write down ideas in my notebook but my thumb hurts too much to write with a pen.

I am taking this as a sign to start typing more and more every night. I am taking some pointers from Truman and Woody and going into a more intense writing regimen for the rest of the break. More blogging! More writing!

The sketch comedy show, 'Keets, was a success. We had a total of 15 people in my garage and they laughed a couple of times. My girlfriend's mom commented that she thought "it was like Saturday Night Live Junior." That night we had a lot of talented people inside our garage. We had Marcus who is a political science major and Mickey who designs clothing in LA. We had Alex who is extremely intelligent and is now applying for colleges, and Ysabel who is studying at Azusa. Everyone who was in our garage seemed to be on the road to glory. I have a theory that Pinole is the new Paris in the sense that all the great thinkers of tomorrow currently live in Pinole and that one day someone will read the newspaper and realize that a lot of influential people have their hometown in common.

But now it is five o'clock in the morning on Boxing Day, and I am up and wide awake worried out of my socks that I am not writing enough and I am seized by this urge to write a full length novel. I want to write four novels and a collection of short stories. I want to write a memoir, I want to write an investigative journalism article, I want to write a book on one subject, like on hip-hop, or a book on every single person who inspires me.

I am familiar with this feeling, the freak out feeling where I want to do everything. Where I scroll through all of my RSS feeds and I wonder "What the fuck am I doing with my life? I need to act now. I need to make something."

And it's tough to decide what I am going to make at 5:0o in the morning, but I cant go back to bed with my mind racing like this.

I went to my girlfriend's house today after celebrating Christmas with my family. I met her cousins, her aunt, and her uncle, and they proceeded to grill me with questions.

"What book are you currently reading?"
"What college do you go to?"
"What is your career path?"
For this question, I told them how much I want to write, how I want to write for The New Yorker or to report for This American Life. They nodded and then asked me about my classes at college.
"I'm taking Early Childhood Development." I said.
"Would you consider a career in that field?"
It was almost like they were unsatisfied with my life choice of being a writer, and instead were trying to groom me in another direction. No, I thought, I just told you what I want to do for a living.
"Yeah, I would consider it." I told them.
"What do you contribute to the relationship?"
"What are your intentions with our niece?"
"Boxers or briefs?"
They were half joking, half serious, and I had a good time trying to defend myself. In the end, they voted "yes" or "no" on whether they approved of me. The verdict: three yes, one undecided.

"Here's what I think," her uncle told me, "I like you. But I am not sure if I like you with my niece. But as long as she's happy, I am happy." I shook his hand. He and his family left.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat Pray Love", said in her TEDtalk that writing is a dangerous profession. Writers have a reputation for being manic depressives, and the death count is, in her words, "odious."

"...and what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each other's mental health in a way that other careers kind of don't do, you know? Like my dad, for example, was a chemical engineer and I don't recall once in his 40 years of chemical engineering anybody asking him if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer, you know? It didn't -- 'that chemical engineering block John, how's it going?' It just didn't come up like that, you know?
"

I think writing is as serious of a career choice as deciding to become an chemical engineer. I work hard at what I do and I intend to work hard for the rest of my life at becoming a writer. I write every single day with no exception. Whether it is observations in my journal or e-mails about my day, I write every day.

And for Christmas my parents gave me three notebooks, and I know I will fill all of them. I need to fill all of them. Or else I will wake up in panic at five o'clock in the morning like I am now.

I am really enjoying my Christmas break. I am having fun, I am hanging out with people I love and miss. And I am realizing that under no circumstances will I ever give up writing or creating or performing. I will never stop doing stand-up, I will never stop scribbling in my journal. I would, quite honestly, lose my mind if I did so.

So this super-long, distracted blog post should probably be called "Thanks to My Thumb", which has made writing in my notebooks very difficult. The words just sort of built up inside me and I needed to release them somehow in some way.

And now it's almost six o'clock and I still can't sleep. I still feel like I haven't done enough.

Maye this is a panic attack.

Maybe it is fear.

Or maybe it's just my body's way of telling me that it is physiologically impossible for me to ever stop writing.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Break Update

Christmas Break has been intensely filled with lots of friend-meets and personal projects, that it's almost like I am still in school but with a different cast of people. People keep on asking me if the weather is warmer here, and honestly, it isn't. I was out yesterday wearing three jackets and I was still cold, but that possibly could be attributed to the fact that I was wearing shorts.

So my Christmas Update: I returned home on Saturday and that evening I went with friends to go see "Killing My Lobster" (http://www.killingmylobster.com/), a sketch comedy show in San Francisco. It was mediocre. There were some laughs, but most of all it was a little boring. I sort of sympathize with the cast, though, because they put on this show in three weeks. But nonetheless, it was disappointing, and I felt somewhat cheated out of $15.

On the bright side, there was live music performed by "The She's" (http://www.myspace.com/theshesmusic) . They're "sort of like the Beach Boys, but girls" and they were the highlight of the show. After the performance we went into the lobby to buy a CD. Lucas tried flirting with the bassist.

"Hey, it that a Gibson?" he asked.

"Yeah." she avoided eye contact.

"Cool. Well... keep at it! You guys are great."

"Is it wrong?" he asked me later. "That I was trying to flirt with her?"
I told him of course not.
"Even though they're still in high school? And I'm a sophomore in college?"
I told him not to worry, and that I am pretty sure there is a grace period that allows 19 year olds to flirt with 17 year olds.

In the car ride back, we speculated that we could write a comedy show that was ten times better than the one we just saw. "We're funnier, we have more energy, we could totally do it." We said in so many ways.

So, on Monday I met with Lucas and Arzhang at Peet's Coffee and we brainstormed a sketch comedy show. It is pretty much like Sarah Lawrence's "Midnight Cabaret". We write a show on Monday that we will perform on Friday. Except now we are performing it in Pinole in my garage instead of in a lecture hall on a college campus. As a result, there are a couple problems.

Our audience consists of my relatives, my neighbors, and my girlfriend's family. The family doesn't really know me too well. They see me sometimes in their house and my brain turns off when I try to talk to them, and I am worried that I appear to be socially retarded (a perfectly acceptable condition at Sarah Lawrence!). And now they are coming to see me in a comedy show where I will be pretending to masturbate onstage. Great.

My garage looks great, though. We turned it into a stage. My mom bought sheets from Thrift Town and we hung them on the walls to hide all of our junk. I borrowed shop lights from Pinole Community Television and chairs from my Grandma and a birdcage from my aunt. My sister made programs and popcorn. Today I am going to have to clean out the rest of my garage, and then we will be ready to go.

The show is called:"Keets: A Sketch-tacular Extravaganza of Avian Proportions". We wrote ten sketches, all having to do something with parakeets. We open tonight at 10pm.

So until then, I will attempt to make conversation with my girlfriend's parents, who are going about their business in their home, as I type awkwardly at their dining table watching an electrician install lights. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homeward Bound

Went to bed after a long night of partying. It wasn't really a long night, it was just that I was really early and spent about two hours blowing up balloons and arguing whether Eminem is alive or not (look it up, there's an overwhelming case for the latter). I fell asleep at around 3:30am and I woke up at 9:30 to start packing.

I had my last conference with my don. "It's very interesting. You seem to have two paths cut out for you, Connor. You have this serious, studious writer side, and then you have this comedic side... not that comedy isn't serious. It's just... interesting." I told her my plans for the break (lots of reading, lots of performing) and then I grabbed my luggage and left.

Lugging a suitcase full of a month's worth of clothing and books through New York City is... difficult. I was not the most popular person on the trains and the Subway (lots of dirty looks), but under the circumstances, I handled myself very well. The hardest part was going through the turnstiles in Grand Central Station. I had to push the luggage through and then squeeze along with it. In retrospect, I could've lost a leg pretty easily, but luckily I made it to Penn Station completely intact.

I sat next to a fat guy on the train who was talking about his high school girlfriends and how he "really respected them because they were good people."

"I tried getting in contact with Sally, but she never called me back, but that's ok because she was really a good person. Like I respected her, you know? And like, she would do my homeworks and I will always be thankful for that. And she would talk like a valley girl, but in reality, she was smarter than all of us. She's a lawyer now, but she still hangs out with the likes of us. Because she's a good person, you know?"

I got off at Bayside and met up with Aunt Sue. We ate dinner at "Taco King", which is, as far as I can tell, a Mexican restaurant run by very friendly Asian people. We brought burritos back to my aunt's place to eat, and now I am showered and changed and ready to fly.

One of my friends said that I should stay awake as long as possible so that I just fall asleep on the plane. He's from Paris, so I think he knows what he's talking about (that felt really weird to say).

So now I am finishing up Music for Chameleons and writing and watching TED talks until my flight tomorrow at 7:20am.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Presentations

One of the questions we're supposed to ask someone when we interview them is "If your life was a movie, tell us what you think would be one of the most important scenes."

Tonight I had two presentations, one in Early Childhood Development and one at the Oral History Exhibit. The one in my Early Childhood class went relatively well. I used construction paper cut-outs of children to illustrate how kids overcome shyness, and the class seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards, I made posters for The Best Day Ever, cleaned up my room a little, touched up my Spanish Play, took a nap, and then went to Spanish tutoring.

I learned that next semester I would be the only guy in my Spanish class . All of the other males (all three of them) are dropping the class, but I'm staying. I'm excited for next semester though. I will organize study groups and practice more, because honestly Spanish is something I really like doing and I think will be a kick-ass tool that will help me get hired when I graduate with a liberal arts degree.

I talked to my Spanish tutor about Christmas and tried to explain my family history, but she seemed distracted and kind of bored, which is understandable, because over break she's going to Colombia. I asked her for a favor.

"Si tu ves Shakira, la dices que yo di 'hola'." If you see Shakira, tell her I say hello.

After that I ate a quick dinner and went to Stories With Benefits, our Oral History Exhibit in Slonim Living Room. Everyone had their posters and their laptops and food. I set up my poster in the corner with my laptop and some quotes that I propped up with construction paper. I talked for almost thirty minutes straight, explaining my project again and again to people who stopped by to look at it. They laughed, so I think they liked it.

Then we started the program. I went second, after Brazil read an amazing piece about her uncle. I read my piece, a piece I wrote for the prompt "A Story I Thought I Would Never Tell Anyone." I didn't look up at all when I read it. I just said what I wrote and paused to let the audience laugh a couple of times. My friends were there, sitting on the stairs, and a lot of people I didn't know were there, sitting on the couches, and my Oral History teacher was there, and so was Penny Arcade, Penny Arcade who called me out on my Occupy Wall Street article a couple months ago, telling me that it was "cute". And they were all there listening my story, and when I finished it was silent for a moment, and then they all clapped and I felt like they really meant it.

The rest of the program was fantastic. People read their own stories about doing hash, having sex, and pooping on the floor. Penny Arcade did a couple performance pieces and when it was over I played music from my laptop while we cleaned everything up.

Penny Arcade came up to me while I was putting my laptop cords into a box. "I told your story in Alaska. The one about Occupy Wall Street. Everyone really liked it. I just thought I should tell you. Also, I was telling Gerry, I could see you writing for the New Yorker. You're a good writer. Good job."

I thanked her and told her that I loved her performance, but my mind was racing. I packed up my project and walked as fast as I could to Westlands so I could sit down and write about tonight.

In the preface of Truman Capote's "Music For Chameleons", he talks about how he started writing when he was eight, and then one day discovered that there was a difference between good writing, and bad writing, and how from that moment on he worked hard every night, spending hours reading and writing and honing his craft, constantly pushing himself to be the best.

In Early Childhood Development we read an article about motivation, and how the people who succeed in what they do are the ones who are intrinsically motivated to dance or to play piano or write; the ones who love the process of dancing rather than being the best dancer, like Fred Astaire, who claimed that he was not the best dancer in his classes, but simply the one who kept at it.

Today getting a compliment from Penny Arcade was one of the proudest moments of my life. She didn't gush, she didn't tell me that I was hilarious or that I was going to be famous. She told me as-a-matter-of-fact-ly that I was a "good writer." Not a great writer or a bad writer. A good one. With room for growth. Growth that will hopefully help me write for the New Yorker. Heck, growth that will help me write for a living. But that's a given: I'll always be writing for a living.

So today was a good day. I love Sarah Lawrence College, I love everything I have learned in my classes, and I am really really excited for next semester.

***

Huge shout out to England, Massey, Seattle, Ray (sorry, I don't know where you're from so you have a name), Ohio, Connecticut, and my don for coming to the event. I really appreciated you guys coming out to support me. If I forgot to mention someone, let me know.

The Best Part of Conference Week Is...

CBS's "hit show" titled "Unforgettable" was filming on campus today. They had huge lights and film crews and while I worked in the office I could hear them yelling "Rolling!" and "Action!" I also saw the red headed star, who I am so uninterested in that I can't even muster the motivation to google her name. I also saw her stunt double, who was less attractive but was able to do things like run and jump.
I got a text from a friend while I was working, who told me that the crew was actually asking for students to be extras in the episode. I was working, so I texted Seattle, who wants to be an actor, and he send me a heartbroken text message back saying that he had class. Twas a shame.

Another fun fact: Red-headed TV star's "alone-time room" was in The Black Squirrel.

"Don't they have trailers?" asked my supervisor.
"Yeah, but they couldn't find anywhere to park hers."

Massey actually bumped into Red-headed TV star. The way he tells it, the bump turned into several rounds of passionate intercourse. His friends tell me that she simply bumped him and touched his shoulder. "Sorry."

"- and then she took off her clothes." says Massey.

After work I went to Spanish class, where we discussed our hometowns. I spoke with a guy from Paris, and we compared it to Pinole.

"Que haces en Pinole con tu tiempo libre?" What do you do in Pinole with your free time? 
"Yo camino y monto mi bicicleta. Que haces en Paris?" I walk and ride my bike. What do you do in Paris?
"Ah... um... video juegos." Ah... um... video games. 

I also spent along time trying to explain Chalk Hill in Spanish. My teacher was very confused, and thought I was describing an enormous chalk-board.

After class, I talked to Senora Panama about dropping Spanish, and she said that she liked meas a student, that I was doing well, and that I should stay. I knew she was serious, because she even told me this in English. I spoke English back to her, but if felt very wrong. I didn't like it. But I do like speaking Spanish, so I am going to stay in the class, and create a study group to make homework and grammar lessons more bearable.

After dinner, I went to the Hour Children performance. Remember those interviews I did a ways back? The ones with the incarcerated women? Well, we gave the verbatim transcripts to  actresses and tonight they performed them for SLC students AND the women they were portraying. It was really interesting. A lot of the times the audience laughed where I don't think they should have (like when one woman was talking about how her husband fed her food constantly to keep her fat so she couldn't leave), but other than that it was a relative success.

ALSO tonight was Midnight Breakfast in Bates! Free food and music in the dining hall to take the edge off of conference work. I talked to some of my friends and they saw girls crying in the library because of the stress. I am sure guys were crying to, but in the privacy of their own rooms. It's a stressful time here at Sarah Lawrence (by the way, I recently read an article that said that our school is "colloquially" called "Scarry Larry". It's not. At all.)

I am currently hanging out with Massey and England in Hill House, who are engaging in "uber-man sleep" in order to get conference work done. This means they are taking twenty minute naps every four hours.

"It makes you feel so amped!"
"I feel so productive!"
"They say it can really fuck up your system!"
"Yeah, but we're idiots!"
"Germans invented it, right? So we shouldn't do it."
"No, I think the 'uber' is just in there."

I, however, will not be engaging in uber-man sleep. Tomorrow is a big day: I have a presentation in my Early Childhood Development class, and then an exhibit and a reading for Oral History. Time to get uber-Connor sleep.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soldiers and Spanish and Semesters

Walked to CVS and bought poster board, construction paper, and craft glue. The result, the beginnings of my Oral History Exhibit!

They're army men! Glues to poster board!

Other than that, there isn't too much to report. I am tired and I am ready to go home. I am in the process of figuring out how I am going to get to the airport on Saturday, which involves going to New York City the day before. I initially thought that I was going to sleep in the airport for 15 hours, but my dad said that it probably wasn't a good idea and my roommate called me an idiot. So I am probably going to stay with my aunt the night before and then get a cab at four in the morning. WOO! Love it.

So a fun college fact: One of my friends sends out a mass text message twice a day telling everyone in our "friend group" to go to Bates to eat together. It's a great bonding experience and it guarantees that I'll have someone to sit with during dinner, which is better than wandering around with a plate and a cup trying to find people you know. However, today I received no texts, so I ate lunch with Truman Capote, which was enjoyable, and I ate dinner with Vermont and Daly City. Good stuff.

Also, I am planning to drop Spanish. I love the language, but the class is steadily getting more and more difficult and less enjoyable, and I think if I stay I am setting myself up for failure. So I am getting my Spanish forms signed and looking through the course catalog to find something to fill the void. I am considering something science-y or math-y. Or maybe public policy. I'll use the break to figure it out.

Also, just letting ya'll know I am 300 views away from hitting 10,000, so maybe I should do something ridiculous and/or exciting to bring in more viewers. Sitting in the airport for 15 hours would've been good, but now I have to somehow make my own magic.

FOR THOSE WHO GO TO SARAH LAWRENCE: I am reading a story I wrote ("The Story I Thought I'd Never Tell") at "Stories With Benefits", which is our Oral History exhibit/performance. 7:00pm in Slonim Living Room. BE THERE! It will be amazing. I need to bring at least two people, but if I bring more, my teacher wil like me more and maybe he can hook me up with a publisher.

Six more days until home!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Stand-Up TWO

Tonight I did stand-up again at the Black Squirrel. I did an ok job, but I am realizing that I really need to memorize my jokes. However, with conference work looming overhead, this isn't really a possibility. However, when I return to the Bay Area, I plan to memorize a set and possibly go to some venues and perform for the experience. According to Mike Birbiglia (a hero of mine) some places actually pay you to do stand-up, even if you are terrible. It is my goal to find these places and to make enough money to buy excellent Christmas gifts for my family. And to buy groceries.

Conference work is going well. I get distracted very easily, partly because I don't know if I am ahead of the game or grossly behind. I am making headway on my papers though. And tomorrow I am going on an expedition to Michael's for my Oral History project. So I think I am ok.

The play that I am writing for my Spanish class, however, is horrid. It's not bad as in I am doing a bad job writing it, it's just that the plot is making me cringe and the dialogue is really corny, and it's hard to control because I don't know a lot of Spanish. If my play is ever performed, it will be performed for kindergarteners in Cuba, and they will look at each other and say "Esta obra de teatro es mierda."

 Things I Notice About My Life At Sarah Lawrence:
I don't get out much. I stay on campus most of the time, and my time is pretty much divided between Bates, The Pub, Westlands, and the classes I have during the week. I would like to go out walking more, and I think I would enjoy it if I had a designated time to walk and a designated time to study. My life is pretty much up in the air every day, and to have some solid work schedule with a set time for play would be incredibly useful.

One of the saddest things that has happened to me is my crippling addiction to Facebook, which I open whenever I am bored. This was a thing I dealt with in high school, but in college it is tough to regulate myself. I need to start implementing the strategy I used senior year: whenever I getthe urge to go on Facebook, do something productive instead. Redirect the Facebook impulse into something useful.

Food is scarce. I have a lot of junk food in my room that I have tried to avoid, but late in the night I open my care packages and try to pick out what seems the healthiest and I eat it. The "healthiest" so far has been macaroni and cheese, Cheez-Its with peanut butter, and Kashi Brand cookies. The next time I go grocery shopping, I will be on the look out for cheap, healthy snack foods.

Also, going to the gym is pretty difficult. I go consistently once a week, but I am told I should be going five times a week. I have seen no noticeable weight gain (I just weighed myself to make sure), but I still need to use some calories, because I am restless in class, and I feel like a loser when I sit inside my dorm room all day.

The humor here is great. The people I talk to generally have a really biting, politically incorrect sense of humor which I love. The delivery is very dry, and for a couple weeks I thought a couple of my friends hated me, but they were actually joking. Right? Yeah. Totally joking.

My sleep cycle is completely out of whack, which I am sure my parents will LOVE when I comeback home for Christmas.

"A house? What's a house?" says Sebastopol.

I am going to sleep now (I just wrote about a page of dialogue for my Spanish play [HATE THIS THING]). Posting at midnight... so there is basically eight days until I come home.

***

LATE NIGHT UPDATE: I figured out the solution to my scheduling problem! I am now organizing my day on Outook and designating specific times for work and specific times for free time, so that the two do not bleed into each other. YEEEAAAH BOI. Like a boss. Taking charge of MY LIFE. Next I need to learn how to use Excel so I can budget my money, so I don't spend a ridiculous $3 a day on breakfast.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Conference Week Update

I am freaking out less about conference work. Right now it's just a matter of DOING, and I have been doing tons. I am on my ninth page of writing for my Childhood Development Case Study, I am on the seventh page of my Spanish Play, and I am on the 13th slide of my PowerPoint presentation for Oral History. I have some reading and rereading to do, but I am not worried. All is well in Westlands.

I have to go to Michael's this week to get materials for my Oral History Exhibit. The problem is, the closest Michael's is an hour's walk away, so I am trying to find friends to travel with so that I will not get a lost alone. I am told I should ride the bus, but I do not know the bus routes here in Westchester (A quick Google search just solved this problem. High-five for being proactive).

I've also been asked to DJ the dance that is supposed to happen after our Oral History exhibit. I've been putting together a playlist of crankin' jams. My Oral History teacher had only one guideline. "I heard a song that they were playing outside on the North Lawn. The people were dancing, it was almost tribal. I don't know what the song is called, but I know the lyrics. Look it up. It's 'OH my gosh' or something."

IThe class laughed pretty hard. And it's on the playlist.

I am still managing to have fun. I am doing stand-up at the Black Squirrel this week, which I am pretty excited for. I ran all my jokes by my roommate from Sebastopol, and he says "Yeah, it's funny," so I am pretty positive I'm going to do well.

I also went to a couple parties this weekend and I ran into LA who told me that she reads my blog. "I stalk your life, man."

This sort of inspired me to post again.

Lastly, I am pretty excited to go home for Christmas. I sent my parents my Christmas list of things that I would like, and Mom, Dad, if you are reading this, please write in that I'd like a copy of "In Cold Blood". You can put that right below where I wrote "knitting supplies."

Also, Bertha, I got five post-cards from you. I read them all to my classmates before my Early Childhood Development class. They were a hit, and I will definitely use them to prove that I live here so I can get a New York City Library Card.

*sigh* Back to work. Around campus everyone is working hard or at least pretending to be. One of my friends was in Westlands staring intently at a computer screen.

"Conference work?" I asked.
"No, I was trying to watch TV in the library but everyone is using the internet. So I have to watch it here. It's so annoying that everyone is studying."

10 more days and I am home. Four more days until I have to have all this work done. And one more day until I do stand-up. Yee.

Friday, December 2, 2011

WHOA! A BLOG POST?!

It's conference week at our school, which is sort of like finals week anywhere else. The library is now open 24/7, and a handful of my friends have taken to buying Red Bulls at midnight to give them a second wind to work on their conference papers.

I have had a couple freak-out moments my self, but thanks to my don and my extremely supportive friends, I am now cranking out the conference work. I wrote the preface and the first page of my Spanish play inspired by Jose Marti. I wrote the first several pages for my case study on the two children from the Early Childhood Center. And my PowerPoint for Oral History is going swell.

My don (who teaches my child-psych class) is a crafty woman. For the end of the semester, she assigned us reading on self-efficacy, which is basically the belief that you can do something. The basic theory behind the concept suggests that if you believe you can do something, you most likely can (Albert Bandura explains why this works in great detail, but... we'll talk about that later). This is extremely helpful in these stressful times. I believe I can do it. And thus, according to Bandura, I shall.

Along with some letters (one had a frog postcard in it [shout out to Bertha!]) I got a package today from Gwenna that truly rocked my socks. Here are some photos:



"A lot of people are jealous that you get so many packages." says Connecticut, who lives down the hall from me. I shared the cookies with them to ease the pain.

This week I participated in Midnight Cabaret ("Really? During conference week?" are most people's reactions).  I needed something fun to do to alleviate stress, so I went to the meeting on Monday to put together a show on Friday (today! in a couple hours!). We wrote scripts, edited, casted, and blocked the show in five days, and tonight we will be performing "Meth is a Four Letter Word For Family". It's a collection of sketches. I wrote four out of the fifteen we will be performing. It wil be interesting, if not good. Audiences for MidCab tend to be intoxicated, so if we bomb, nobody will really remember.

I love this school. Like, really though. I am learning so much and I have a group of friends that I have dinner with every night and everyone is really excited about what they are studying and my teachers are geniuses.

But even so, Christmas break is going to be fantastic. My life needs some Pinole, some Ellerhorst, some Fernandez Park, some Berkeley, some San Francisco, some PVHS, some Pinole Community Playhouse, some Pinole TV, some Pinole Valley Road, some Pinole Shores, some Chalk Hill...

Two more weeks. Until then, keep cheering me on.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving with White People

Today I visited my Grandfather for Thanksgiving. It was great to see him in such great health. Afterwards, we drove up to eat dinner with relatives from my dad's side of the family. I am used to celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. It usually goes something like this: Everyone brings a dish, we say grace around the table, and we all grab food and eat over the course of six hours in various parts of my grandmother's house. There is turkey, but there is a lot of Filipino food as well.

The Thanksgiving I attended today was quite different. I haven't seen much of this side of my family because they live on the East Coast, but not I was getting to know them relatively quickly. We all sat down at the dinner table, said grace, and ate for about an hour. Then we took a walk and returned for desert. And it was truly fantastic. The food was great (mashed turnips, brussel sprouts, stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc.) andthe conversation was fantastic. My dad warned me that our family had a tradition of humor and wit, and today I witnessed it first hand. I laughed hard the entire evening.

I managed to make one of my cousins laugh once. We were eating pies, and there was a chocolate and caramel pie with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

"That's called Turtle Pie." my aunt pointed out. My cousin cut himself a piece and examined it.
"This pie is out of control." he said.
"Just like a turtle." I commented.
He laughed and added, "Yeah, when I see a turtle, all I can say is CALM DOWN!"

This was a pivotal bonding moment for me.

So now I am full and ready to sleep, and I am thankful to have such great family in all parts of the country.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pre-Thanks

My sister flew in from California yesterday. We got to Sarah Lawrence at ten o'clock, ate food, and explored the campus. She destroyed me in a game of Connect Four, and then we returned to my room to sleep. Ohio was gone for the holidays, so she slept in his bed and reported the next morning that both Sebastopol and I snore.

We took a train into New York City and then walked from Grand Central to Penn Station, with many adventures in between. We got lost for a moment so we stopped into a Starbucks for eggnog lattes and wifi, and we found our bearings and headed in the right direction.

 Brunch: $14.95 Time with a person who is just as weird as you: Priceless.

On our way to Penn Station we stopped at the New York Public Library. I mentioned to Erin that I wanted to get a library card. "I have one from Pinole, from Berkeley, from San Francisco, it's be cool to have one from New York."

"Then why don't you just get one." said Erin.

Awkward pause.

"Ok." I said.

I went up to the courtesy desk and asked to apply for a library card.

"Do you have an ID with your current address?" she asked.
I gave her my drivers license and my Sarah Lawrence ID.
"... I need proof that you go to this college. Do you have a piece of mail with your name on it?"

I didn't. So I left library cardless. I met Erin outside, who was reading a book with our luggage. I told her what happened, she shrugged, and we continued to Penn Station.

 DENIED

We took the train and met my aunt in Bayside. We dropped off our stuff inside her apartment, rested for a couple minutes, then headed back out into the city.

We went to go see the Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon inflating. It was very crowded but very exciting and slightly magical. There were lots of kids with fun winter hats sitting on their father's shoulders, and lots of beautiful mothers. Erin and I followed one in particular with short blonde hair and a beige and purple bag. Erin dared me to compliment her, but I was too shy and slightly afraid of a man that looked like he was her husband. We eventually lost sight of her.

Seeing the balloons was like seeing celebrities. They were all held down with nets, and we tried figuring out who was who. There was Spongebob and the Kool-Aid Man and The Pillsbury Doughboy, but my absolute favorite was Buzz Lightyear. I had a long discussion with my sister about why Buzz Lightyear is simply the best character out of all the balloon. [As I write this, Erin is in her pajamas, in her sleeping bag, reading a book. "What was your favorite balloon?" I ask. "Sonic. Duh."]
A wild Doughboy successfully caught!

OHHHHHH YEEEEAHHHH

Me: Explaining why Buzz Lightyear is awesome. Erin: Not caring.

BUZZ! OH MY GOD IT'S BUZZ! [my only problem, the bottom of his foot doesn't say "Andy".]

Sonic. Ok, he's kind of cool. For a hedgehog. And a balloon.

Afterwards we went to a birthday party on Central Park West. It was kind of awkward because we didn't know the birthday girl/woman, but eventually we got into talking to her friends and once we established that we were friendly we felt safe enough to eat the food.

We spent a long time talking to a man who grew up in Brooklyn. He talked about games he played as a child (playing with bottle caps and chalk, flipping bugs out of the gutter, kick the can) then we talked about school for a while (he was very interested in the idea of Sarah Lawrence. "It makes me want to learn again.") and we had a long, in depth discussion about the color of the walls of the apartment we were in.

"The color sort of reminds me of... facial cream."

Later we headed back to Penn Station, where we ran into a crowd of young men in jeans and button up shirts and women in tight dresses and high heels. They were loud and slightly intoxicated, and the crowd kept on growing and growing and growing. The crowd got so big and loud that at one point I thought a riot was going to break out, but we boarded our train before we could participate.

And now we're back and we're getting as much sleep as we can before we wake up tomorrow to peel potatoes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

West Point Mixer

So Sarah Lawrence College had sign ups for a West Point Mixer, and the list filled up within the first hour it was up. 39 women and me. When I told my friends that I was going to the Mixer, they guys asked "Why?" and they girls asked the same question but cried while doing it, and I told them that I needed writing material.

To sign up, we had to pay three dollars and read through the rules of the dance, which basically said "Do not get overly intoxicated, and do not fight with the cadets. DO NOT FIGHT WITH THE CADETS."

Fun Facts about West Point and Sarah Lawrence:

  • SLC - 70% female, 30% male. 
  • West Point - 17% female, 83% male 

  • SLC - most expensive college in the country 
  • West Point - Free 

  • SLC - Liberal Arts College 
  • West Point - Military Academy

  • SLC - Distribution requirements 
  • West Point - Core curriculum 
A match made in heaven. 

Friday night I dressed in my finest. I didn't have a tuxedo, but I did have a suit, which I wore with my roommate's black bow tie. I was going to wear a rain jacket, but my other roommate let me borrow his trench coat, and since I just got a haircut, he let me borrow his winter hat as well. 

Class.

Even more class.

SO MUCH CLASS! MOSCOW SWAG!

We loaded into three vans and left for West Point, which was an hour long car ride away. Our driver got lost and turned into a street on the side of the road and got stuck in a ditch. 

Yes. The wheels got stuck in the mud, and we were stuck on the side of the road. 

So, dressed in our finest, 13 girls and I piled out of the van into the cold and the mud and we pushed the van out of the hole. It took three tries, but we did it, and we felt more than ready to talk to the West Point cadets, since we now had something in common: physical exertion, heavy machinery, and victory. 

We made it to West Point and unloaded into the ballroom. There was a live jazz band, the West Point Jazz Band, uniformed and on-point. I talked to a couple of cadets and attempted to "mix". A bunch of the West Point students were wearing grey uniforms, but others were wearing dress shirts and slacks. After some brief introductions, a guy who looked remarkably like Andy Garcia took the microphone and told everyone to line up, girls on one side and guys on the other. 

We did, and once everyone was in position he gave us a crash course in ballroom dancing. We learned the basic move, which includes rocking twice and then doing two quick steps, which he had us memorize with the words "step... step.... quick-quick step... step.... quick quick step..." We practiced for a couple minutes, then he told us to find a partner and try it out. 

I danced with a SLC girl who is actually in my Oral History class. We weren't bad, but over her shoulder I could see a girl from our school in a red dress doing crazy spins and other moves with a cadet. I was bumping knees and steeping the wrong way sometimes, and I was constantly looking at my feet muttering "step... step... quick quick step...".

Eventually we left the dance floor and I entered a circle of cadets and started talking to them. I met Georgia, a stocky blonde girl in a grey uniform. She explained to me that all the first-years have to wear the grey uniforms. 

"I'm really disappointed in my friends. A lot of the guys are chickening out and not asking girls to dance, which doesn't make sense to me." 

"I guess you could tell them to man up." I said. " Or, maybe that isn't the best thing to say to a cadet." 

"Probably not." She said, looking over my shoulder. "Oh look! Rob's dancing with a civilian." 

"Civilian?" I asked. 

"Yup. You're all civilians." she smiled. "Ah, that guy. Good for him. I can still bench more than him though." 

This was my favorite phrase of the evening. 

I asked her to dance, so we went to the dance floor and Andy Garcia taught us and all of the other dancers how to salsa. This is very different from the basic step. Instead of "Step... step... quick quick step..." the pattern is "quick-quick step.... quick-quick step..." 

I placed my right hand on Georgia's waist and held her hand with my left. It was very calloused. 

We danced awkwardly and I asked her about school. 

"I'm taking six core classes," she said, "American Politics, English, Calculus, Engineering, Combatives..." 

"Combatives?"

"Yeah, we learn how to fight. Right now they're teaching us how to choke people out with our legs."

This was another favorite phrase of my evening. 

"What about you?" she asked. 

"Well, um....I'm taking three classes." 

"Three?!" She stopped dancing. "What? What three classes? 

"Um... Child Psychology, Oral History and... Spanish... Intermediate.... Spanish...."

She shook her head and left the dance floor. I sat down at a table with some Sarah Lawrence girls. 

"How did it go?! We saw you dancing!" 

"It went great." I said. "I'm going to the bathroom."

I walked out of the ballroom and across the lobby to the bathroom. Inside were the stranges urinals I have ever seen in my life. For those of you who have had many experiences with urinals, these jutted out of the wall and looked like toilet bowls shaped like tear-drops. A cadet was urinating one-handedly into one of the urinals, and I knew I would make a fool of my self if I even tried, so I locked myself into a stall and did my business there in privacy. 

When I was done, I left the stall and the man was washing his hands. I couldn't help notice how thick his neck was. I washed my hands as well, and I watched in the mirror how in one fluid motion, the cadet turned off the water and swept his hand over the motion sensor on the paper towel dispenser. He dried his hands and left. I waved my hand in front of the paper towel dispenser several times and nothing happened. On the fourth try it finally worked, and I felt very weak and small, like I wasn't bulky enough for the West Point paper towel dispenser to recognize me. 

I couldn;t find any more female cadets to dance with, so I danced with a couple more SLC girls until the dance ended. There was a dance contest and some girls I knew won "Call of Duty" the first-person war video game. 

The band closed with "Army Blue", a slow song, which I shared with an SLC student, and then we left for our vans. 

The mixer was apparently a success. A girl I talked to in the van said she met a guy who asked for her phone number, and that they were going to meet in the city the next day. 

"I don't know if he's a novice to dating or what though." she said. "He texted me twice already, and I haven't even responded yet."

We got back to Sarah Lawrence and I returned my roommates' clothes and changed into my pajamas. I pushed a van out of a ditch, I learned how to ballroom dance, and I salsa'd with a cadet from Georgia.  

Mission accomplished. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PACKAGE!

I got a package today from my Pinole Community Players family! Things are really getting stressful as the due dates of my conference projects get closer, but this package really boosted my morale. Some updates:
  • I am sick. My other roommate, Sebastapool, is sick too, and he moans in his sleep, but he's getting better now. I have a sore throat and I bought some DayQuil today, which is really some fantastic stuff. 
  • Radio show today was AWESOME. I was so prepared, and it showed. Tune in next week to hear an even better show!
  • West Point Dance tomorrow. I sort of learned how to tie a bow tie today, but Ohio is going to help me tie it legitimately before I leave tomorrow. 
That's about it! I must sleep.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update

So today I went to a Mealoaf Party in Kober. My radio friend DC decided she wanted to make meatloaf so she invited us all over for dinner. It was very homey and it felt like a family meal. Sort of.

I am climbing back on top of my work and having tons of fun while doing so. Yesterday I went into the city to interview a piano player who plays piano in Washington Square Park every weekend at night. He was a really cool guy, and I am hopefully meeting up with him again to talk some more. I want to learn piano so I can one day be as cool as this guy.

But other than that I am learning how to budget my time and money. This week I am saving $20 because I bought my own cereal and bananas instead of buying it from the Pub. Tomorrow I am getting a $3 haircut from a friend.

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving, and even more to Christmas break. It will be great to see my Pinole homies who know where I come from. Literally.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Work

I am slightly behind on school work so I am putting the blog on a short hiatus. I will be back as soon as possible. Holla.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Scrabble

I won Scrabble in Spanish tutoring again today! The winning word was "caliente" which included all of my letters, which gave me 50 bonus points.

I am so tired, still. I spent most of my transcribing the interview from last week, and tomorrow we're field-tripping back to Long Island City to do some follow-up questions.

Must go to sleep early to be ready for the children at 8:30am.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Weekend in Photos


Wish tree.

Fall Formal

Group photo

Central Park


My Weekend

I had the best weekend, as you can probably gather from the lack of blog posts. I am alive, though tired, and I will catch ya'll up once I get some food and sleep in me. Right now I am at work and I've been stamping posters and answering phones for three hours now. All I want to do is go downstairs and eat a cheeseburger. Or maybe something from the vegan section.

In the meantime, send me e-mails. I want to hear from my readers.

Truly,
Connor

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Three More Points


  •  Met Ohio's parents and I think they're charming. 
  • We now have a rug for our dorm room.
  • Went to the city with Gwenna (Shake Shack, Eggnog Lattes, Washington Square Park, Milk Bar, High Line Park)
I am having a fantastic weekend. Is this blog point disappointing? You know what? You will get SO much more blogging when there is not as much happiness to experience. But until then, I'm pretty busy having a great time. So don't judge. 

Three Points

  • Today was Fall Formal
  • Gwenna was my date
  • I wore my favorite tie, a dress shirt, my suit jacket, and PARTY PANTS.
That is all. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Best Day Ever

I woke up at 5:45am this morning, got dressed, and took the train from Bronxville to Grand Central Station to meet up with Gwenna. I got there early, so I walked around the building for a while. Eventually I settled into a corner near the 42nd Street Main entrance and waited.

After 45 minutes I texted her to find out where she was, but I when I looked up from my phone I saw her and my stomach flipped and we kissed right there.

The first thing I noticed was our mutual eye contact, which was impossible via Skype. The second thing I noticed was that it was 8:00am and I needed to get back to Bronxville for class.

Gwenna's flight was uneventful, probably because she was in sensory deprivation (ear plugs, sleeping mask) but she did note that there were a lot of babies on board. "One had pink pajamas. ADORABLE."

I got to school on time, dropped off Gwenna in my dorm, and went to class. It was long and agonizing, not just because of Gwenna but because I was hungry too. But on the bright side, I was the only one who did the optional homework reading, so I scored extra points with my don.

I said "Hi!" to more people than I have ever said "Hi!" to since I've arrived here at Sarah Lawrence. I was in a fantastic mood, and it carried throughout the day. As a wise woman once said, "Nothing like a girl in your dorm room to make you happy."

After Spanish, Gwenna joined DC, Massey and I on our radio show, "The Best Day Ever". The theme was "The Letter B" so we talked about anything that started with the letter B. It was one of our best hours on air, but unfortunately the school's website was having technical difficulties so a lot of people didn't hear it. But at least we did. Gwenna read Urban Dictionary definitions and won our "B-Battle". Massey was consistently hilarious, and DC ran the soundboard today, and she did a much better job than me. It all went so smoothly. It truly was the best day ever.

Later in the afternoon we went to Karaoke Night at the Black Squirrel. We both got milkshakes: I got a "Parent Trap" which was peanut butter and oreos mixed with vanilla ice cream. Gwenna got chocolate ice cream with peppermint. Empowered by Gwenna's presence, I sang "Bad Romance" with Hawaii and managed to slip in a Christopher Walken accent for the spoken parts. "I'm a free... bitch. Baby."

And now it's the weekend, and I am really excited to make the most of it.

Interview

Today I interviewed a woman who recently got out of jail. I have to type up three pages of transcript from the interview. First field trip of the year! To Long Island City.

So tired. But I need to wake up early tomorrow to get to Grand Central.

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scrabble

I played Scrabble in Spanish today. But it was the Spanish version so it had "Ñ"s and "RR"s.


SPANISH TUTOR: "Jueagas Scrabble? Eres bien?" Do you play scrabble? Are you good? 


ME: "Si. Soy el mejor." Yes. I am the best. 


The three of us (my tutor, my classmate and I) pulled letters from the bag and started the game. Our Spanish tutor put on Shakira music videos on her computer for ambiance, which was very distracting, especially when Shakira was rubbing black paint all over herself. But I got a double word score with "Perro" and a triple letter score on "bañe", and I ended up winning the game by ten points. 


"Yo se dijo. Soy el mejor." I told you guys. I am the best. 


Still noveling, hence the short blog post. Mr. Vineyards and I will type and read passages aloud to each other, which is really fun and helpful. I need more character development. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Strangers and NaNoWriMo

Tonight I went walking to prepare myself for the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month. Nietzsche said something to the effect of "All great ideas come from walking" and I totally agree. However, after walking around campus twice I ran into one of my classmates who actually lives in Yonkers. We explored the town for a little bit and eventually one of his friends picked us up. She drove us to her house and I met her parents and the three of us hung out in her basement gossiping about people I didn't know.

Afterwards, she dropped us off back at SLC, and I went back to my room. Vineyards is doing NaNoWriMo with me, so he set up a cot in my room and we're typing side by side for our first 2,000 words.

I am exhausted from all the typing, so this will be the extent of my blog post today. Happy November! Wrote 2,015 words tonight. Only 47,985 to go.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Popular

Most of the power was out throughout campus. People who live in the "new dorms" were without heat and electricity and internet. Lucky for us Westlands folk, we have our own generator so we did not have such problems. People have been flooding in to charge their phones and laptops and such.

This made my room a popular hangout for people today. At brunch when I mentioned that I lived in Westlands, ears perked up and soon I had a room full of friends. They brought gifts (hot cocoa, a pumpkin) and did homework on my floor.

For once I was able to see how other people studied. I never really studied in high school, and I am learning how to do it in college. It's really interesting. People actually sit down and read and take notes. I thought only the really annoying kids at my high school did that. But it turns out its a thing, and I am getting the hang of it.

This happened more or less throughout they day, but unfortunately I think the power just came back on, and now my room is empty. Friends = gone.

On the bright side I finished all my homework VERY early, so a night of Netflix movies and TED talks are on the horizon. And reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I am trying to get inspired for NaNoWriMo. ONE MORE DAY!!!

I ate two chocolate chip cookies and I am feeling kind of gross, so I am going to walk around campus first.

Ciao.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Snow

So this morning I woke up at around 10:30am and there were little flakes falling from the sky and I thought "Ok, this is snow." And then I took a shower and looked outside again and saw that more flakes were falling from the sky so I said "No wait, THIS is snow." And then I ate brunch and went outside again and there was even more snow. And then it snowed so much that the Met Van was canceled and I wasn't able to go into the city to find myself, as planned.

Instead, I had a Snow Saturday at Sarah Lawrence.

I go into snowball fights and made a snowman. I drank hot apple cider and ate pumpkin pie in the Garrison dorms. Then I went outside and got into more snowball fights until I couldn't feel my hands.

I went back to my room and did some homework for the rest of the afternoon, taking breaks to watch snow fall and to listen to tree branches breaking. It was beautiful outside.

And then the sun went down and it stopped snowing and started slushing. I walked down to Bates for dinner, taking slow steps in half-melted snow down the steepest hill on campus, then wading through an ice-cold puddle to get to the front door.

I ate corned-beef and cabbage for dinner, talked with friends, then walked up the hill back to my dorms.

I need snow boots. My socks were cold and wet.

Another fun bit about the snow was how it took out the school's power and SOMEHOW the school's internet. Thankfully, Westlands has a generator so we still had heat and light, but no internet meant no fun. I did a lot of assigned reading and writing. I think because the internet was down, I had one of the most productive days I have ever had at Sarah Lawrence.

Now it's nighttime and the internet is back, but not the power in most of the school. Administration sent out an e-mail telling the ENTIRE campus that Westlands has power, so there was a massive pilgrimage to our building and it is now full of people. There is a girl sleeping on the floor in front of me who is waiting for her iPod to charge. There is a group of seniors in my RA's room, which is probably making him feel pretty popular right now. And outside there are a bunch of girls having dinner that they ordered from a local restaurant.

So it kind of feels like that movie with Denis Quaid, "The Day After Tomorrow." And I am enjoying very moment of it.

A lot of people are cursing the snow and complaining, but since this is my first day I really don't mind all of the trouble it caused. I had fun in and out of the snow, ad it makes everything inside our building feel ten times cozier.

Now that I have internet, I can watch movies on Netflix once I finish my homework. And then maximum coziness will be achieved.

Cheers to the first snow day at Sarah Lawrence College.

Snow This Morning

California kids looking out the window at Bates. 



Westlands!

"I think I took a wrong turn on the way to the beach." - Hawaii

View from inside Westlands. 


LOOK! IT IS REALLY SNOW!

Photo credit: Redwood City 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rippin' and Reppin

So today's going to be a short blog post because I want to sleep. NOW. I am in my pajamas, I am very comfortable, and my bed is calling out to me.

So.

Today I implemented my money-saving breakfast. I brought my box of cereal to the Pub, poured milk (intended for coffee) into one of the paper oatmeal bowls, cut up a banana that I saved from Bates the day before, and had breakfast for $0.

At lunch today I had a HUNGER ATTACK, so I went down to Bates to swipe for lunch, and I saw that I had 14 meals for the rest of the week. FOURTEEN?! MY new meal plan is in effect, and now that I have 14 meals for the rest of the week, I can have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. Whenever I want. However I want. VICTORY.

I am starting to log all of the food that I eat in a yellow notebook, just because I am curious why I get these intense hunger attacks. They come out of nowhere. I ate two cheeseburgers and soup for lunch today. I thought I was possibly diabetic, but I did some online research and if I was, I'd be peeing all the time. So I am also logging my urination and bowel movements just to be safe. So far, it looks like I'm fine. Just hungry. I am hoping this means I am going through a growth spurt.

I had Spanish Conference today and my Spanish Teacher is no longer upset with me because I now have an idea of what I am going to do for my conference project. I am writing a play inspired by Jose Marti. In Spanish. For my first semester final. How cool is Sarah Lawrence? Too cool.

Time to sleep.

Oh, and today I went through the entire day without noticing that I was wearing the jeans with the giant hole in the ass (it's grown since I've last taken a picture of it). I was walking after dinner and I thought my but was wet, but it turns out it was just cold because it was fully exposed to the elements. Go me for advertising my semi-hairy right butt cheek to the whole campus.

And the radio show today was a disaster. We weren't prepared, and we sort of putz-ed through it. However, we had great company ad played relatively good music, so all was not lost. It wasn't really the "Best" Day Ever, but more of a "OK Day"... ever.

But tomorrow is Friday, and it will be the best.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Essentially Me

Bottled water costs $1.69 at the Pub. I've been partaking in this bullshit for two months, but today I went to the grocery store and bought a 24 pack of THE SAME bottled water for $6.99 ($0.30 a bottle).

That's my baby right there.
After I drink all 24 water bottles (most likely over the course of a month) I will have saved $33. That's two trips to the city. Fifteen loads of laundry. Or a pant leg.

I also bought nasal decongestant medicine, dandruff shampoo, and A&P brand cereal called "Essentially You". And since I used my A&P membership card, I saved $6 on groceries! Go me!

Oral History today was brutal. We had a discussion about George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language".There was a lull in the conversation, and in an effort to impress the teacher (who I hold in very high regards) I tried saying something general but in a fancy way.

"I think the essay is sort of about how communication stops becoming communication when the goal is no longer to communicate."

No reaction, so I continued.

"And it sort of steers away from political correctness, which sort of reminds me about Penny Arcade from last week."

"That's why I assigned it." said the teacher, but it translated to "duh." I felt my cheeks get hot and I shut up for the rest of class.

Afterwards I had conference with him. We discussed my conference project and we both agreed that it was going nowhere.

"This is good. This is where some people choose to change their conference projects. You're not the only one in the class who has this problem. Who are you going to interview next?"

"Er... uh... well maybe um... people?"


"How about this: What are you interested in?"

"Ah... well I uh... hm."

"You know what, go into the city this weekend. Go to Times Square and poke around. You'll find something.  You need to step outside your comfort zone a little. You need to be willing to adventure. Search for yourself. And search for a story."

So it's settled. This weekend I am borrowing a recorder from AV and going into the city to find myself and my conference project theme.

***

Dinner: Bow-tie pasta and bean salad.
Dessert: Oatmeal raisin cookie crumbled over rum-raisin ice cream.
Midnight snack: Mashed potatoes, steak and broccoli.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Day of Discoveries


Cool things I learned today:

In Early Childhood Development, we learned that religion can help nervous parents raise their kids correctly. Apparently, American parents have trouble raising their kids because they are worried that they aren't doing it right. The parents don't have confidence  in themselves, and as a result the kids don't have the sense of security that they should have. The solution: faith. In God or some sort of higher power, will help parents calm down and believe that things will turn out all right.

NEXT: Children who trust their mothers are more likely to explore the world with confidence and enthusiasm. When a child goes outside and then comes back to find his/her mother exactly where she was when they left, they realize that their mother is always going to be there for them. A reliable mother breeds confidence. However, if the child does not find their mother reliable, and had experienced where the mother is inconsistently available, the child will doubt whether her parent will be there when he/she returns from exploring. This means that the child will fear venturing into new situations.

So as you can probably tell, today was a day of learning.

After tennis today, our coach told us that if we want to play on the Quidditch team, practice was going to be at 4:00pm. I couldn't go because of Spanish Tutoring, but coach told us all about it.

"We have brooms, a Quaffle... there's going to be a game this weekend. Bring a cape.You guys gotta come. It gets crazy. We have a student who actually was able to play in the World Cup."

"There's a World Cup for Quidditch?"

"I swear. Google it. This year its in New York."

Here it is: http://www.worldcupquidditch.com/program.php

It's legit.

Bates Dining Hal Highlight: Apple Pie flavored ice cream topped with shredded coconut and a crumbled ice cream cone.

After dinner I ran into with Chilmark (MA) who was doing Russian homework downstairs with Redwood City. We were talking about Redwood's fiction writing class, and then the topic turned to National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.

"THAT SOUNDS AMAZING!" said Chilmark. "Let's do it!"

We shook hands. I signed up and I am ready to go. 50,000 words in 30 days, starting Novermber 1st. What am I going to write about? No idea.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hunger Pains

Mom and Dad, do not worry, I am getting enough food.

The problem is the intensity of my food cravings.

So I'm sitting down doing homework and everything is fine and then all of the sudden BAM I am starving. It's a screaming hunger that comes out of nowhere and I need to drop whatever I am doing to go get food. Thank god I had leftovers in the fridge for the first hunger attack. I ate and then took a nap and then when  I woke up it was there again.

Hawaii says that there is probably an alien living inside of me. Or I'm pregnant. Or both.

I don't really know what to do about this, but I am taking precautionary measures. I have a banana that I am keeping close just in case I wake up in the middle of the night and go beserk looking for food.

What I ate today:

  • Egg on a roll with bacon and tater tots 
  • Cheeseburger and salad (they balance out, right?)
  • FiberOne bar 
  • Leftover Spanish rice
  • Peanut butter jelly sandwich, sour milk, and yogurt. 
And I plan to eat more. I hope that all of this food is being put to good use. I better be six foot six by the time this is over. 

But other than that, I had a productive day at work today and I did a lot of homework. I deserve food. 

Study Highlight of the Day: I was reading a newspaper from 1966. Here's the headline:

STUDENT DENIES ATTEMPTING TO KILL SELF IN THE CAPITAL

Apparently a kid from Boston University drenched himself in gasoline in front of the White House to protest the use of napalm in Vietnam. He was arrested. 

There are pudding cups in the Pub. I will dream of these. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Work Work Work

Today I slept in until noon. I ate breakfast at about one and from two to six thirty I more or less worked with minor, but much needed interruptions. I finished my essay for Early Childhood Development, I transcribed part of the interview with my aunt, and I wrote an experience about a time I felt someone else's pain for my Oral History class.

That was basically my day. I wanted to go grocery shopping, but I spent all of my time working. And I still have a bunch of stuff to do.

Which makes me wonder why I am in St. Louis's dorm right now. He invited me over for study time, and I came here without any work, and even if I did come with work I am not sure if I would be able to do any work. Right now it's relatively chill. St. Louis is playing some techno on his laptop but everyone else is reading. So I take it back. This is a pretty productive work environment. It's a new thing for me, to study in groups, because my previous experience was that it simply doesn't work. But these people are sophomores, so they've probably figured out the code of socializing and getting work done at the same time.

Another problem right now is that I have bad gas. I probably shouldn't blog about this because they'll figure out later that it was me, but for dinner I had a lot of macaroni and cheese and it's causing problems. I am getting minor acid reflux and I am holding in a lot of flatulence that I let loose when I pretend to go to the bathroom, which should happen pretty soon.

Doing so now.

***

So I just went to the bathroom and tried my hardest to fart and I couldn't do it, so I came back to the study party and sat down and let a silent one loose. Of course.

So I apologize for the lack of literary merit of today's blog post. Today just wasn't very exciting because of how productive it was. I am planning to make my life interesting very soon. I am assembling my Halloween costume which should be very appropriate.

ANOTHER THING! Apparently it is Harry Potter Week at Sarah Lawrence. We have a "free expression" wall where students can paint whatever they want ,and someone today wrote in red paint "The chamber of secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware!"

I definitely go to the best school ever.

So, I am going back to half-studying and holding in gas. Ciao!

Visited Aunt Sue

Today I woke up and went to brunch. I was out of meal swipes for the week, so I tried paying for brunch with my OneCard cash, but the woman behind the counter was feeling generous and she let me in for free. French toast, sausages, and two servings of fresh fruit? You betcha.

Took the Met Van to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, then took the subway and a train to visit my Aunt Sue (pictured right). We went out to lunch and then did an interview for my Oral History homework.

Afterwards I took the subway back home and fell asleep.

I have been trying to sleep for three hours now, but I keep on running into people who want to talk or play Apples to Apples or party. If I could, I would do all of these things. But All I want to do right now is sleep.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Holden It Down

Last night I went to dinner and sat with some kids I had never met before. One of them was from Sebastopol, and he told me that e worked in the music building from 8 o'clock to 2 in the morning. "You should come visit me." And thus the adventure began.

After dinner I freestyled with some girls in front of the Pub, then I changed into my party pants and walked over to Hill House to meet up with some friends. They weren't there, so I texted them and learned that they were at the Pub, so I walked back and ran into St. Louis. We went to his dorm and he told his suite-mate and me about his girl problems. I left and went to the Pub to meet up with Massey, who were planing to "nerd out". I sat with them for a little bit but then St. Louis and his suite-mate, Virginia, walked in.I sat with then and met Orange (yes, it's a city) and Philadelphia. We went back to St. Louis's place and they changed into party clothes. We walked down to the "Sweet 16" dance at the Blue Room and danced for about 30 minutes. It ended at one o'clock, so I walked down to the Marshall Field Music Building to meet up with Sebastopol.

My night felt like it was being read from Catcher In The Rye.

So that's what went down. I checked out a microphone from the Audio/Visual Department and I am going into the city today to interview my aunt. Then it will REALLY feel like Catcher In The Rye.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exploring Boundaries

After my Early Childhood Development class in the morning, I went to the gym. Instead of going to just play with the machines, today I went with the intent to get healthy and to gain muscle.

I asked my roommate, Sebastopol (Sebas), how to use the elliptical.

"I think you just start peddling." he said.

He was right.

I spent 15 minutes on the elliptical, trying to find a setting that felt natural. The people next to me were jogging and watching TV, but I spent the entire time holding on to the railing and staring at myself in the mirror. Apparently I traveled 1.67 miles, but it felt like I was just stomping grapes for a quarter hour.

Next I lifted weights next to a really tall kid I am kind of familiar with. I went through my usual routine and then I tried to do some pull ups, but I was so worn out that I just hung there. The tall guy watched me, waiting for me to do a pull up, but I didn't. I packed my things and left.

I was pretty weak for the rest of the day. I dropped my phone a couple times because my muscles didn't want to do anything.

After a shower and a relatively successful Spanish class (one of my classmates totally misread our homework so we all laughed at her instead of at me), DC and I did our radio show, The Best Day Ever, which you can listen to every Thursday at 5:00 EST (http://pages.slc.edu/~wslc/Home.html click this, download the .pls file and listen via iTunes). This week's theme was "Guy/Girl Problems", so we all talked about our relationship horror stories and played relevant songs. Highlight of the show: Playing "A Bitch Iz a Bitch" by NWA and realizing halfway through the song that it was WAY too offensive for Sarah Lawrence Radio. We shut it down.

Afterwards I went to dinner and saw that saw some workers inflating an enormous structure that turned out to be a "haunted house", the kind you walk through and people jump out to scare you. The last time I was in a haunted house was in fourth grade. Long story short I kicked my best friend in the face and literally ran out of my shoes. I almost cried, and I decided that being scared wasn't my thing.

I didn't want to go into the haunted house at all, but I knew it would be great to blog about, so I went with Redwood City and Salem.

When I used to go to counseling during Senior year of high school, my therapist used to say that I turn my fear in to anger as a defense mechanism.

Fact: I was very afraid.
Fact: When I am angry, I am very sarcastic and snide.

This is what I sounded like while walking through the haunted house.

"OK. THANK YOU. REALLY? WOW! OK. THANK YOU. THAT'S NICE. MHM. GREAT."

That "WOW!" is when a guy with a plastic chainsaw popped out from behind a false wall. There were lost of strobe lights and masks and people crawling on the floor. One woman with no legs held out a plastic baby and asked me to take it. "REALLY? WOW."

There were a bunch of life size dummies blocking the exit that you had to punch to get out. I weaved through them because, even though they were fake, I didn't want to hurt them. "EXCUSE ME. OK. THANK YOU."

Now I am riding an adrenaline rush. It was a well spent 5 minutes.

Tonight I learned that Sarah Lawrence is having a Ballroom Dance/Mixer with West Point Military Academy. This is hilarious to me, and I am signing up to attend. Ohio is helping me find a bow tie.

***

A SIDE NOTE: I have started a Twitter account for things that Ohio says. He is aware of this and has told me he's fine with it. You can see his most recent quotes in the sidebar to the right, but if you would like to follow him, here is the link (http://twitter.com/#!/ohiosays).