Friday, September 30, 2011

Two-Hundred Dollar Thursday

I am all hyped up on milkshakes, "Mean Girls" and Teddy Grahams, and I don' think I am going to get any sleep tonight, but that's okay because I don't have any classes tomorrow. I am in that sugar-lull when you are no longer feeling the effects of the sugar and you feel melancholy and all you want to do is philosophize about life. I won't do that.

Today I went grocery shopping at A&P and I got a savings card, which makes me feel like an adult, but in the uncool, practical way. I bought bread, milk, cereal (Multi Grain Cheerios on sale!), and peanut butter. I have burned through most of the money I came here with, and I am really looking forward to getting my work study paycheck.

It rained today and our windows were open. When I came back to the room my laptop, my camera, and my books were all soaking wet. I cleaned it up with a towel and everything appears to be in working order.

Ohio came into the room and screamed. He kept all of his books by the window, and now they were all soaking wet.

"TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!" he screamed.

He borrowed a hair dryer and tried drying the pages of his books. One of them caught on fire.

"IT CAUGHT ON FIRE! OH MY GOD!" he screamed.

He put out the flames, and our room smelled like smoke. We opened the windows so the fire alarm wouldn't go off.

Now all of his books are on his desk, away from the window.

"If you blog about this Connor, I'll kill you." he said.

Tomorrow is my weekend. I will spend most of the morning doing homework, and spending the afternoon trying to make a costume for the "Spirit Animal Dance". I want to be a dolphin, but according to a kid from Connecticut, I look like a pelican.

And apparently according to Madison and her friends, I look like Kevin Gnapoor from "Mean Girls".

And according to my mom, I look "terrific".

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Kid Wiped Boogers On Me Today

A kid wiped boogers on me today.

If you work with children this is bound to happen sooner or later.

After that incident, I went to my Oral History class. Today was a "sharing day" where students read their written work to the class and everyone discusses what they think. I was one of the few people scheduled to read, and I was pretty excited about it.

And then my classmates read their pieces. And they were beautiful. One girl read a piece she wrote about her uncle, about how much she loved him and how she lost him. I almost cried. I tried commenting on her work, but I choked on the word "amazing."

"Why don't you go next, Connor?" said the professor.

I read my profile on the guy who does orgies.

The class liked it and they gave me some pointers, but I felt I had really killed the mood.

I ran out of socks today, so I did a load of laundry with Ohio and Madison. This was our second "Laundry Party", where sit in the hall doing homework on our laptops until our clothes are clean. This eventually leads to what Madison calls "Canoe Butt", when you lose feeling in your bottom from sitting so long.

"Like in canoes. It's a thing in Wisconsin. Because of the lakes."

In an effort to fight off any booger bacteria on my body, I ate four bowls of lentil soup for dinner. And vanilla ice cream. With a chocolate chip cookie.

The rest of my night I finished Spanish homework, which was to make a tourism pamphlet for a Latin American country. Here is the final result:


I love projects like these. 

I am hoping my Spanish teacher will be so impressed with my crayon skills that she will momentarily forget the thing I said in the last class about dolphins. Or delfines, en español. 

Tomorrow is Thursday, which is the new Friday. 

And I have socks for it. 

I'll keep you posted. 

P.S. "Put a picture on the blog. Text heavy blogs are deadly."  - My Oral History teacher

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Angst - Shirt Problems and More

This morning I decided to wear the white shirt Ohio convinced me to buy at H&M. It was sort of a last resort because most of my clothes were dirty. Plus, this t-shirt was new. Why not?

Our Early Childhood Development class took a tour of the library today. I kept in front of the group so I could hear the librarian more clearly as he explained the secrets of the Esther Raushenbush Library. Near the end of the tour, one of my classmates tapped me on the shoulder.

"You have a price tag on your shirt."

This means everyone saw it during the tour, and no one had the decency of saying anything until it no longer mattered. I ripped it off. $6.25. Thanks for looking out, fellow Sarah Lawrencians.

I was embarrassed and full of angst, so I went on a three mile run on the Broxville River Parkway trail. When I got back I did twenty push ups.

After that I had tennis class, which I royally sucked at. I couldn't get my serve down.

"Try hitting the balls over the net." suggested the instructor.

Then I went to Spanish tutoring. I get the sense my tutor has given up trying to converse with me, so instead of asking me about my day she lets the other guy in the tutoring session talk. When he forgets a word (e.g. how to say "garbage", as in "Connor's Spanish is garbage, isn't it?") she asks me to help him out. This way, I am focusing on single words instead of entire phrases, which I obviously can't handle (garbage = basura. El español de Connor es basura, no?).


Then I went to dinner and spilled gravy on my new white shirt. I tried hiding the stain with my backpack, but a girl from Georgia commented, "It looks like you're trying to hide a boner." 



 The damage.

The best part of my day, however, was being on top of my Oral History homework. There is a lot of writing due tomorrow, and I started it early, so my day was leisurely. My classmates, on the other hand, came up to me asking what exactly they were supposed to be doing. 

I had a conference with my Oral History teacher today. He had me read my work aloud to him, which was eye opening because I could every part that sucked. He gave me a lot of great advice that I hope to apply to the blog. And of course my future homework assignments. But mostly the blog. 

Early Childhood Center tomorrow. And my Oral History teacher wants me to read to the class my paper on the orgy-blogger.

I'll keep you posted. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cuba, Connections, and Connect Four

I went to a study abroad meeting today for students interested in studying in Cuba. I speak Spanish (sort of) and I think Cuba is exciting because of the whole Fidel Castro thing, so I went to find out more about the SLC Havana experience.

The upperclassmen talked about their experiences. I took some notes:

  • This is a great opportunity to go to Cuba, because it is usually illegal for Americans to visit. 
  • The University of Havana will cancel class often. You will have to walk two miles every day to get to the school, and sometimes no one will be there. 
  • Sarah Lawrence has the longest running study abroad program in Havana. Going on 10 years.
  • You will pay the equivalent of 50 cents to go see world-class concerts, shows, and ballet performances
  • Cubans have no concept of veganism. Even vegetarianism is a stretch for them. 
  • Food is bland. But apparently guavas are awesome. 
  • Internet is hard to come by. You can get it once every two weeks in specific locations, and you have to pay for it. 
  • You will not survive if you cannot dance salsa. 
  • Cuban rum is the best. 
So I am sold. I am planning to go junior year, when I have a couple years of Spanish under my belt and a firm grasp of Cuban history. 

Ohio is a very fast reader. "It's because my IQ is so high." he says. I gave him my novel* and he started and finished it today.

*Wrote a novel last year for National Novel Writing Month. I had to write 50,000 word novel in 30 days, so I spent late nights making up stuff and ended up with a book. 

"It's really good. Depressing as hell, but very good. You should try and get it published. I know someone. Do you want me to e-mail them?" 

I said sure. Ohio typed up the e-mail, which said something to the effect of "My roommate wrote a novel and I think it's good. I got him excited about the idea of publishing it. What should be his first steps?" 

Sent. Awaiting reply. 

In other news, I went to The Black Squirrel, our school's milkshake bar, for an Alcohol/Drug Awareness meeting. We got free milkshakes and played "Trivia Pong" which was sort of like beer pong but instead of beer we were asked questions about alcohol safety. 

My free milkshake was Oreo flavor. 

Afterwards, I played Connect Four with a girl from Sacremento and won. 
I played Connect Four against Madison and won. 
And right when I was feeling pretty good about myself, our RA, Berkeley, a senior and pre-med student with enough swagger to fill an Olympic pool, challenged me to a game. 

What happened next was the most intense game of Connect Four I have ever played. People gathered around us with their milkshakes to watch us think and make moves. 

"Connect Four must be the new chess." Someone whispered. 

We almost filled the entire cage, and I eventually forced him into a corner that he couldn't escape from. 

"As a med-student, you are going to have to realize that there will be some patients you just can't save. And this - " I gestured to the game " - is one of them."

I won. And now I am the new RA of Westlands. I moved into his room and now he has to sleep outside. 

Yup. 

Things at Sarah Lawrence are pretty great. Maybe I should do some homework. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ohio's Recovery

Ohio spent most of the day in bed. He had a fever this morning, and he looked terrible.

"My don did this to me." he said. "He was coughing and he came to class and I got the flu from him."

He slept, ate ramen, and slept some more.

I spent most of my day in my room as well, doing homework and looking over my shoulder every so often to make sure Ohio didn't throw up or die.

For my oral history class, I have to write a profile based on a two-hour interview with Jay Swithers. This means  I have to listen to the interview and take notes. I have the audio file on my computer, and I have been tackling it in 15-minute chunks, with PB&J sandwich breaks to keep me energized. I finished notes successfully.

By the time I was done with homework and some laundry, Ohio was back on his feet, cracking jokes and telling everyone, "If you get the flu, don't worry, it'll only keep you down for 24-48 hours." This remains to be seen.

So today was mostly work. But I will entertain you with pictures of my living quarters. This collection of photos is called "Westlands: A Life in the East."

The room I live in. 

The hall I walk. 

The bathroom I utilize.

The doors are swelling shut because of the humidity, so we have to keep them open or else we'll be trapped in our rooms. 

I'll keep you posted. 



Missing Trains

Today I spent most of my morning transcribing bits of a two-hour long interview for my oral history class. It was tedious, and when I was done I needed adventure. I printed out a ticket* for the Museo del Barrio and set off to the train station with a floor-mate, Madison, to have an adventure.

*Ok, technically I e-mailed the ticket page to Madison and she printed it from her room. She was giving me flack, saying I was "lying" in my blog post. I was keeping it simple. The story is still true, even if I lie a little bit. 

MISSED 3:25pm TRAIN TO GRAND CENTRAL
Went to Slave To The Grind to kill time until next train. I got a Vanilla Chai Something (recommended by Madison) and I confused the Barista by giving him too many bills.

CAUGHT 3:55pm TRAIN TO GRAND CENTRAL

ARRIVED AT GRAND CENTRAL
Walked to Subway terminal. Swiped my Metro Card five times through the scanner before realizing I was swiping it the wrong way.

MISSED THE 6 TRAIN IN SUBWAY
Madison held open the door for two old, chubby women. They got in. We didn't.

CAUGHT THE 6 TRAIN IN SUBWAY
The car was packed with people. The human friction made me paranoid about being pick-pocketed. Had top give my wallet to Madison for safe-keeping.

MISSED OUR STOP AT 103rd STREET.
Conversation got a little too involved, and we forgot to get off the car.

DISEMBARKED 6 TRAIN AT 110th STREET.
Figured we'd walk extra blocks to get to the museum. Found ourselves in a neighborhood where people looked at us weird because we were white-ish. Tried using Madison's iPhone to find our way, but it was not smart enough. Took wrong turns often.

ARRIVED AT MUSEO DEL BARRIO
Arrived at 5:40pm, and the museum closed at 6:00. Spent twenty minutes interpreting as many pieces of art as possible. Highlights: Bedazzled rug with soda cans hanging from it, police car made of black napkins and tin foil.

CAUGHT SUBWAY BACK TO GRAND CENTRAL
Only mistake-free public transit ride of the day.

ARRIVED AT GRAND CENTRAL
Started walking in the right direction, doubted ourselves, walked in wrong direction, double-checked the iPhone, then headed in the correct direction.

Walked two miles in high spirits, or possibly denial. And saw a lot of brides and heard a lot of marriage bells. Is today "National Get Married Day?"

MET UP WITH A FRIEND OF MADISON'S
Madison's friends goes to NYU, so we met her outside her dorm at Washington Square Park. Saw the epic arch, not sure what it is called, but there was a guy playing guitar and singing. He was great, but he looked like an anorexic version of James Blunt. And he sounded a lot like Matt Costa.

DINNER
Ate at a place called "Caliente". I had an "El Dorado Quesadilla". We shared stories about roommates and floormates.

NYU VISIT
Went to the dorm of Madison's friend. Her roommate is named Connor, but she is a girl.

WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK
There was a flash mod kind of thing going on. There were hundreds of people in the park fighting with lightsabers. It made my day, except for the creepy guy with a red light saber and yellow contact lenses that wasn't fighting but walking around and smiling at people. Anorexic James Blunt was still around, and he was dancing while playing guitar now. It was impressive.

Met more NYU students. One guy, Broken Wrist, was incredibly witty and I wanted to be his friend but I was intimidated by his confidence and intelligence. I listened to him talk in awe. Every joke was amazing.

MILK BAR
Walked to MomoFuku Milk Bar in the East Village. I ordered Cereal Milk Soft Serve, which is basically ice cream made from milk infused with corn-flake residue. It was like someone made a bowl of corn flakes, sifted out the cornflakes, and made ice cream. It was delicious. Unlike anything I have ever eaten, but still strangely familiar.

NYU DINING HALL
Said goodbye to Madison's friend and the NYU kids. I sort of messed that up.
"It was nice meeting you." I told Madison's friend.
"It was VERY nice meeting you." I told Broken Wrist.
Everyone looked at me like oddly. Friendship chance with NYU kids just got smaller.

OUTSIDE
I tried hailing a cab because I have never done so before and thought it would be an incredibly masculine thing to do, but I didn't have to because one was already parked and ready to go. I need to hail a cab soon to prove I am a man. The taxi took us to Grand Central, where we planned to catch the 11:15pm train.

MISSED THE 11:15pm TRAIN TO BRONXVILLE

BOARDED THE 11:45pm TRAIN TO BRONXVILLE
Madison is has a First-Year-Study in Poetry, so she worked on some poems while I wrote the outline for today's blog.

When we got back to Westlands, Ohio was standing outside, looking disheveled and sweaty.

"Guys, I think I have the flu."

A great way to end the day. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday Life

Life feels like work and play interrupted by showers.

I spent most of my morning doing homework and using the restroom. I worked on my Piaget essay and my oral history transcript and my interview profile and my Spanish Conference project. 

I am a busy young man. 

Eventually it got to me and I changed into my party pants, went to dinner, and went to Reisinger to watch Beau Sia. 

I've seen Beau Sia before on Def Poetry Jam. He is a famous slam poet. He walked in wearing purple tye-dye whitewash jeans and sun glasses. He wasn't smiling, and he didn't move much. 

Because here's the deal: He was in a car accident.

Beau Sia got severe whiplash from the whole ordeal that messed up his brain stem. He has to wear sunglasses because he was sensitive to light. And he wore earplugs because he was sensitive to sound. And he did not move very much. 

For those of you who know Beau, he is known for doing back-flips and other intense movement during his poems. But today, he performed a set of poems he wrote after the accident that did not require movement. 

And amazingly, he was still able to wow the crowd. My jaw dropped. He was astounding. 

He is now currently one of my favorite poets ever. 

After that, Friday night was sort of a downer (the Fall Equinox Dance sucked pretty badly) but I am looking forward to going to El Museo del Barrio and Momofuku Milk Bar tomorrow. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stressin'

Things are getting busy here at Sarah Lawrence.

Or maybe it just feels like it's getting busy. I've been feeling stressed and overwhelmed lately and all I want to do is go on a run, but my ankle still needs to heal. So to relieve stress, I have been doing push ups.

[Push up break]

Seventeen. Not bad.

Things I need:

  • Binders - I have a lot of loose papers floating around my desk. They need a home. 
  • Three-hole punch - See above.
  • Book shelf - just a small one, a place to put all of my notebooks and textbooks instead of my desk. 
  • Two functioning ankles - Ya know. 
I had a conference with my Spanish teacher today. I had to devise my conference project for that class. It looks like I will be doing something to the effect of "Hispanic Artists and the Definition of War". This means I will be studying a bunch of painters who speak/spoke Spanish and analyzing pieces of art that pertain to war, while providing my own definition of war. Oh, and it all has to be in Spanish. 

It's still in the fetal stages of becoming my conference project, but I'm going to start doing research now. 

Currently I am reading 36 Children by Herbert Kohl. It's for my Oral History class, but it strangely relates to my Early Childhood Development class. I love this book so far because I can see bits of Piaget in this guy's teaching methods. Also, I love when people, especially kids, get excited about writing. Every time I read a passage from this book I want to go out and learn things. 

We learned a theory in Childhood Development today that kids are born with a desire to learn. They smile when they learn something new (source: Piaget), and apparently the chemical release you get from learning is the equivalent of smoking crack cocaine (source: woman at The Moth who said she read that in the NY Times). 

Today was my first day shelving books at the library. I worked in our high school library last year, and I really enjoyed it. My favorite part was shelving the assigned classics: piles of Shakespeare, Catcher in the Rye, Atlas Shrugged, and more. The more I shelved, the more I wanted to read. 

The Sarah Lawrence Library is quite a step up from the Pinole Valley High Library. First of all, it isn't organized by the Dewey Decimal System. It is organized by the Library of Congress System, which is intimidating and exciting. I am in charge of shelving sections A - D. Today I spent an hour and a half shelving, which is about $11 worth of work. Going back in tomorrow to increase that number. 

I've been using Microsoft Outlook a lot. It is immensely helpful in organizing my life. I never thought I'd use it (I've tried in the past) but now I don't know what I would do without it. Here's what my week looks like: 

Notice all of the assignments in the lower portion of the photo. 

[Push up break]

Ten. Not bad. 

So I am going to sleep early so I can wake up and kick some homeworkin' ass so that I can enjoy my weekend and so I don't have to do all of these push ups. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Kids and Laundry - I Feel Like a Mom

Went to the Early Childhood Center again today. It's been a week since these kids started school, and now they are comfortable. And by comfortable I mean loud.

The kids don't really care if humans are disturbed by their noise, so the teacher tried getting them to be quiet by telling them that the classroom's pet turtle, "Sprinkles", didn't like the noise. I did not hear a noticeable improvement, but I still thought the approach was clever.

The kids played with blocks and did marble painting, and I realized that I really wanted to join them, but I couldn't because I would be "structuring" their play. I really miss playing with blocks, and I would make much cooler buildings than these kids, so I look forward to having children so that while they sleep I can build castles and cities out of Legos.

By the way, the Early Childhood Center has boycotted Legos.

"We try to avoid plastic and other unnatural toys.All of our playthings are made mostly out of wood." She literally has tree branches, sanded and cut into discs, for the children to stack. No one has played with them so far.

Afterwards I went to my Oral History class where we had a group interview with Jay Swithers, an Emergency Medical Technician, who was at the scene of 9/11. He told his story and we recorded it, and now for homework we need to make a radio show out of the recorded audio. Right up my alley? I think so.

Today was not a good laundry day. I ended up paying for a machine that didn't work, so I brought my laundry to another building and loaded all of my clothes into another machine, but then I realized it was a dryer, and all the other washers were taken so I brought my laundry to another building and I spilled the detergent and I was pretty upset for the rest of the day.

But after dinner with friends and cleaning up our dorm to Glenn Miller and Orchestra, I felt back in the loop. I am really thankful I have such awesome roommates and floormates.

I hope everything on the West Coast is going well. I am thinking about you guys.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Snack, Service, and Spanish

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, hash browns
Lunch: Chicken noodle soup with rice
Snack: Peanut Butter & Jelly Club (Three layer sandwich, way too much peanut butter and jelly, made me kind of sick)
Dinner: Bell pepper tofu, salad, oatmeal cookies

Now: Very hungry.

I don't know if I am growing or what, but I am in a constant state of hunger, no matter what I eat. I suspect I will run out of food money before I run out of anything else. After I finish this blog post, I am buying cereal at The Pub and eating it before I sleep.

I went to Health Services today so they could check out my foot. It was a slow day, so the nurse spent a lot of time doing things that had nothing to do with my ankle. She took my blood pressure, told me how to eat correctly, and asked me how many friends I had. She also said that I looked like an athlete, which is the first time anyone has said that to me in my life. Only at Sarah Lawrence.

The verdict: my foot is fine. Give it a week and it'll be back in working order.

At the Pub today, Massey asked "Hey, I heard you hurt your foot?"

"Are people still talking about that?" asked his friend who was smoking a cigarette.

My foot is passé. 


I went to go see my Spanish tutor again today, and I tried to tell her about the interview with the orgy-coordinator. 


TUTOR: "¿Qué es su trabajo?" What is his job? 


ME: Ah... un... blog.


TUTOR: ¿Qué es su blog sobre? What is his blog about? 

ME: Um... sexo.

TUTOR: ¿Cómo encontraste este blog? How did you find this blog?

ME: Um... ah....

TUTOR: ¿Te gusta los blogs sexual? Do you like sex blogs? 

I wasn't able to talk myself out of this one, so now my Spanish tutor thinks I am a dancer and a pervert. 

Tomorrow I watch kids in their natural environment again. I'll keep you posted. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Madness

There is a green, purple, black bruise the size of a jalapeño on my foot. It looks ugly, but it feels so much better than it did on Saturday. I can walk with a little less swagger, and I can go up stairs without wincing. I am pretty sure my foot is fine, but Ohio bullied me into going to health services anyway. 


"What do you want?" Asked the woman behind the glass. She seemed very New York, as in she went straight to the point and didn't waste time smiling or asking me where I was from. She wasn't rude, she was focused. 


"Well, um... I twisted my ankle on Friday and... ah, it hurt a lot at the time.... but now it feels better and I guess I - ah - want to make sure it's ok... and that I... didn't... break... anything." 


"We're closed. Do you want an appointment tomorrow?"


"Ah... no, I'm sure my foot is fine..."


"Noon tomorrow?" 

"Sure." 



So now I am getting my foot checked out tomorrow. I secretly hope that something more serious happens to me in the next 14 hours so that I don't look like a wimp when I come in with a foot that has completely healed. I am walking under trees hoping that one will fall on me. Then my appointment will be justified, and the New Yorkers won't judge me. 


Classy Work Study Moment of the Day: The office phone rang just as I took a bite of my sandwich for lunch. I looked at the phone in panic, then up at my supervisor, thinking I was going to be fired, but she saw my predicament and picked up the phone for me. I chewed, swallowed, and thanked her.


Classy Spanish Moment of the Day: We had to pair up and write a dialogue between a hypnotist and a patient talking about their first love in Spanish. My partner had a great idea.  "Let's write it so that the patient's love is... a dog." We wrote a dialogue about how the patient witnessed his love get hit by a car.


"Pero, no estoy llorando." 
But I am not crying.


"Porque tenemos nueve hijas."
Because the dog and I have nine daughters.


I have an Oral History assignment due on Wednesday. The goal: to conduct an hour-long interview with someone who has a job that fascinates you. 


I had the e-mail address of the writer/blogger/orgy-coordinator I met at The Moth last week, so I e-mailed him asked him if he would like to be interviewed. He said yes. And today, I called him, and I learned his life story. 


I spent an hour in my room talking to him on a borrowed phone, taking notes and shooing away my roommates when they came over to see what I was up to. I scribbled furiously. This man was a seasoned storyteller, and I had to focus on writing notes because I couldn't record the conversation. 


We started with the basics, his childhood, his family, and then we moved on to how he met a woman through his sex blog, and how they eventually fell in love. He told story after story and I struggled to keep up, trying to keep in mind tips my Oral History teacher gave me. 


"When you are asking for stories, start with 'Tell me about...' and let them take over." Said my teacher. 


"Tell me about your marriage." I asked.


"Well, on our first date we had a threesome." 


By far the best opening to a story I have heard in a while.


It was really eye opening, and I am hoping my professor will enjoy it. He told us that America needs the "locker room stories" and I think I have helped fulfill this need. 


I finished the interview and I felt mighty accomplished. I feel like my journey to become a writer is getting a very strong start. I am going to celebrate with some dinner. 


Tonight or tomorrow I will make sense of the notes I took and type up his profile. 


I'll keep you posted. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Swagger of a Cripple

Today Ohio took me into the city to buy some pants. Two girls, Minnesota and Sacremento came with us to ease the awkward to two guys going shopping together.

I limped around New York City with the crew as we hit up the following stores (not in this order):
  • Lush - an organic soap store that has all of their soap displayed like fine cheeses in wheels with samples you can smell. 
  • Sephora - Make-up store. I didn't buy anything. 
  • Urban Outfitters - Saw cameras, wanted to buy cameras but I need the money for food so I refrained. 
  • Trader Joes - The busiest Trader Joe's I have ever visited.
  • Macy's - The largest single department store in the world, according to Ohio. The escalators are made out of wood. And it has a floor 1&1/2. 
  • H&M -Where I bought my party pants. 
Today was the first time I have ever been inside and H&M, and I don't know if I liked it. The music was loud techno and all the walls were white and all the guys in the store had tight shirts and big pectorals. Ohio picked out a couple pairs of pants and I tried them on. I learned that I have a 27 waist, which is normal for someone with anorexia. We found one pair of pants with a 27 waist, and when I tried them on, Ohio said "Oh my god. Yes. You are buying those." 

So now I have a new pair of party pants. They are "Drain" cut jeans, which means they are very skinny on my legs and I have to do a dance around my room to get into them. But according to Ohio "It's an improvement on your current wardrobe." 

We ended up walking 100+ blocks. Everyone in our group was tired and were complaining about their feet, but I think it is safe to say that my ankle hurt the most. We took a cab back to Grand Central Station, and by the time we got back to Bronxville my foot was feeling as bad as it did yesterday. Thankfully, Health Services will be open tomorrow and I will be able to get my ankle checked. 

I am exhausted. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So Let Me Explain...

Today I spent most of my day in bed with a sprained ankle. Corey had to carry me to the bathroom a couple times. He made me food and went into Bronxville to buy me medical supplies. I really appreciated it. I truly have the best roommates ever.

Here is my foot. As you can see it is a little swollen. 

So here is what happened: My blog hit 3,000 views, which is the most views I have ever gotten on anything in my life, so I celebrated at a party down in Hill House. Everyone toasted to my blog views. One thing led to another, and I slipped on some gravel by Campbell Sports Center, twisting my ankle. I was on my back, and a crowd gathered and asked me if I was ok. I said yes, and someone took off my shoe and massaged my foot to see if it was broken. I don't know if it helped at all, but it definitely felt amazing. 

A couple friends hoisted me up and helped me get back to Westlands. I sat in the hallway as a pre-med student held a cold ginger ale next to my ankle. And then I went to sleep. 

I woke up this morning in pain. I tried walking around but that didn't work out too well. I needed crutches. I called Campus Health Services, but they were closed for the weekend. Corey walked down to CVS to see if they had crutches, but they didn't. I went on WikiHow.com to figure out if I could make a pair of crutches, but I didn't have any lumber or screws. So I just stayed in bed all day. This was what I looked at all day. 

My point of view.

Corey, ready to help. 

I finished all of my written homework sine I had nothing better to do. I have a couple of assignments that require walking (going to the library to read old newspapers, writing observations about the world, etc.) that I will tackle once I have fully healed. By 7 o'clock I was feeling a little better, and I was able to limp down to Bates Dining Hall for dinner.

"Do you need help?" asked Ohio. 

"No. I am a man." 

Ate dinner with great company. I had a Thanksgiving-style meal (I had a lot to be thankful for), with turkey, gravy, potatoes and cranberry sauce. One of my friends managed to steal some chocolate milk from the dining hall in an empty juice container.

This is how we roll.

So now I am in bed again with a borrowed ankle brace and hoping I feel better tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

ULTIMATE FRIDAY

Today, after a homework marathon, I went to the softball field for legitimate Ultimate Frisbee training. Lynwood Lewis is our coach, who has been playing Ultimate for 35 years. Which is impressive because Ultimate has existed since 1968 according to Wikipedia. We did drills and learned about "the force" and I learned how to be a better offensive and defensive player.

Today I also walked into Bates Dining Hall, and no one was guarding the entrance, which means I got a free meal! I had two waffles and two bowls of fruit. And they were both delicious.

Ohio today spent more time than usual getting dressed.

"How do I look?" he asked several times. "Do I look like a Tommy Hilfinger ad?"

"Why are you dressing like that?" I ask.

"Because some days I just need to look better than everyone else. And today is one of those days. I look so much better than you Connor. You look like trash. But we'll fix that."

Ohio also talked about his IQ today.

"I have a really high IQ. Like, 0.05 percent of the population has an IQ as high as me. An average IQ is 100. And I am much higher than that."

"110?" I ask.

"Higher."

"150?"

"Only a select few people have an IQ of 150. And my IQ is higher than that."

"175?"

"Slightly lower."

"166?"

"Yes."

I Googled it, and apparently Ohio has "Very Superior Intelligence."

"I have the same IQ as Obama." he noted.

I will close with a text Gwenna sent me:

"Every time I see a Toyota Sienna, I think of you."

Tomorrow is Saturday. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Standing Up at SLC

We are learning about Piaget (PEE-uh-shjay) in my Early Childhood Development class. Piaget was this scientist who had two kids and studied them. He watched them crawl around and suck on toys and be babies, and he would write down everything he saw. His conclusion: babies learn more than we think through play.

He gave birth to the idea that kids should learn what they are interested in, because kids are eager to learn by nature, and by letting them pursue their own interests independently, they will get a more solid and longer-lasting understanding of whatever they choose to learn.

Hence the Sarah Lawrence model. Small classes, student-driven learning, and seminar-based classes. I love it here and I am learning tons, probably because I am interested in all my classes and I am encouraged to demonstrate what I learned in my own way. For Oral History, I have to conduct an interview with someone who has a job I am intrigued by. For Early Childhood Development, we have to write an evaluation of our own  experiences in education and discuss whether they live up to Piaget's standards or not. And for Spanish, we discuss whatever we want in Spanish as long as we are using grammar and vocabulary from the current chapter.

Why wasn't high school like this? I am planning to do my final conference project on this questions, so you will hear back from me.

Today I received two packages! I ran them up to my room and opened them as quickly as I could. One was from The Gwenna and the other was from my family:

Gwenna sent me a box filled with popcorn...

...and chocolate chip cookies!

My parents sent me this package...

... that took me an hour to open.

A letter, a shower tote, A New Yorker Magazine, and some Odwala Bars.

After enjoying all of my gifts and a game of Ultimate Frisbee, I went to The Black Squirrel, an on-campus milkshake bar. Tonight was "Open Mic Night" and I signed up to perform original stand-up comedy. There were more people in the building than I suspected, so I was very nervous. I have done stand-up twice before, and one of those times I was suspended from high school for five days because of what I said. But fortunately, today's set was a success. I say the "F" word once, but it's college, so give me a break. 


My camera ran out of memory so the less successful jokes aren't part of the video. But still, I was proud of myself for doing this. The Black Squirrel has "Open Mic Night" every other Wednesday, and I plan to do it again soon to exercise my stand-up skills. 

But now I need to write new jokes. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Childhood Development

Today I woke up early to go to the Early Childhood Development Center. It's basically a daycare on campus. Parents drop off their kids for several hours to play while we study them. Two other college students were observing with me today, a girl with a nose ring and a loud guy that sounds like a the son of a New York City cop. The kids came in at about 9 o'clock ad they left at 11. That is all I can really say about them, because I signed an agreement saying I would not talk about the children on social networking sites or blogs. So that is that.

What I can tell you is that I had no idea what to do. I had trouble interacting with the kids. It's sounds strange, but I think I was over-thinking playtime. There is an Early Childhood Center Manual that I had to read that gave advice like "When praising children, try to avoid vague phrases like 'Good job!' or 'That's nice!' Instead, be specific."

Here are some examples they gave:

  • "There are so many different shaped blocks in your building!"
  • "You've lined up all the puzzle pieces. It's easier to see them that way, isn't it?" 
  • "I love the bright colors in your painting. It makes me cheerful." 
A girl was coloring with markers. Actually, she was scribbling without purpose. I tried praising. 

"Nice... yellow." 

And because of my contract, I can't tell you what she said back. But I can tell you that she thought I was an idiot. Yup, four-year-olds are looking down on me. Figure that one out. 

Afterwards I went to my Oral History class. I love my Oral History class. I cling onto every word in my Oral History class. And today this is what my professor said.

"Grace Paley was my professor when I went here, and she was a genius. Let me read you this essay she wrote on writing." 

I was excited. I love writing tips almost as much as I love peanut butter. 

"Do not write personal journals for a year. 
People who write about themselves aren't interesting. 
People who listen to other's stories are interesting."

I was crushed. I blog about myself every single day. I've kept a journal since junior year of high school. And my professor's professor, a supposed genius, is basically saying I am not interesting. 

I was planning to delete the blog right then and there. Or at least stop talking about myself and start talking about other people. But that presents some problems. 

My parents follow the blog to make sure I am alive. My friends read the blog too, so they would be left hanging. And I recently submitted an application to monetize my blog. And I need the money. So the blog stays. 

But Grace Paley has a point. I am a horrible listener, and the reason I write so much about myself is because I am not very good at listening to other people. But I hope my Oral History class will change this. We'll be doing a lot of interviews, so hopefully that will teach me to stop living in my head so much.

But I would like to quote the great poet Derrick Brown in response to Grace Paley. He says in his Speech to the Graduating Class:

"Get a journal. You should document this era 'cause the upcoming changes are shocking. Punks will become political activists in suits. Hippies will become business people for environmental agencies. Skaters will become graphic designers. Football starts will become glow-in-the-dark pastor, band kids will become ninjas. Cheerleaders will become employees for Cold Stone Creamery. Maybe journal it all because you will forget. The future will seem so different. Teens in the future are going to listen to carnival music and you'll say '...aw, back in my day.'"

I journal it all because someone has to.

I journal it all because I have a fanbase that cares. 

And I journal it all because I will get 30 cents every time someone clicks on the ads that will be in my sidebar. 

Tomorrow I plan to do stand up at a milkshake bar. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Second Puberty

So it turns out last night I was lost in the South Bronx, which is apparently a dangerous area to be in at around 11 p.m. Everyone I told about my adventure last night was shocked that I was alive, so I feel pretty cool.

"That's a tough neighborhood," said Massey, "It's like... where hip hop was born."

Green: Where I needed to be. Red: Where I ended up. 

Today I had Spanish tutoring, which is basically talking to a native Spanish speaker for an hour. We talk to her in twos, and my partner was a tall blonde guy from New Jersey. He was much better at speaking Spanish than me, so he and the tutor had extensive conversations about his family and his trips to Canada, and when it was my turn, she asked me what classes I was taking and then returned to Jersey.

Somehow I got lost in translation and my Spanish tutor now thinks that I am a dancer, so most of the questions she asked me had to do with what kind of dance I like to do and if I am going to study dance at the college and  who my favorite dancers are. I lack the vocabulary to explain to her that I am not a dancer, so for now I am just going with it. As far as she is concerned, I dance salsa, but I am fond of hip-hop, and Rahm Emanuel is my favorite dancer.

I think I am going through a second puberty. I think it has to do with all of this new-found independence, and my body is now just ready to grow. I am getting zits the size of young children on my face daily, my beard/mustache is growing faster than it ever has, and I now have chest hair. I weigh 110.8 pounds and I am 5' 6". It must've been that bagel sandwich from New York City.

Played tennis and watched a documentary about AIDS. Tomorrow I am watching four-year-olds for a couple hours and taking notes. There is a lot of learning going on.

Due to today's brief post, I will include a bonus section. Over the past two weeks, I have been writing down Ohio's addictions in my notebook. I only write these down when he says "I am addicted to..." or  "Write that down, it's an addiction." Here is the list so far:
  • Twitter
  • His iPad
  • Burt's Bees
  • Looking the best
  • Sarcasm
  • The little bits of wisdom on Dr. Bronner's magic soap
  • Argyle socks
  • The Huffington Post
  • Robert Preston's "The Music Man"
  • Glee
  • Sue Slyvester (from Glee)
  • Sparkling water/club soda ("If you're rich, it's sparkling water. If you're cheap, it's club soda")
Got to get back to homework. Yep, homework, not dorm work. My dorm is feeling more and more like home, even with everyone singing Weird Al songs down the hall. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Work, Play, and Getting Lost

Started work study today. I am basically a receptionist. I answer phones when they ring, and when they don't, I do homework. It's pretty easy. I finished all my homework this weekend, so I spent my down time writing jokes for Open Mic night on Thursday. Oh yeah. It's gonna be fun.

Afterwards I went to Spanish class. I realize that in Spanish I am a participatory learner, and I just space out when I am not being spoken directly to. So in an effort to engage myself, I take notes on things that don't seem very important, and I attempt to include myself in every conversation in class. I usually mess up, but then I learn. I am starting to like the Sarah Lawrence method of teaching. I feel like my teacher really cares about whether I learn Spanish or not, and I hope my language skills improve as a result.

After Spanish, I took a train into the city to go see The Moth. This is a huge deal for me. For those of you who don't know, The Moth is a storytelling venue where people come and tell true stories about their lives. I love it and it is my favorite podcast and I listen to it as often as I can and today I was able to see it live. This is like a pilgrimage to Mecca.

It took place in a bookstore in New York City. The cool thing about this bookstore though was that they had great music blasting on huge speakers and a full-blown bar where you could get beers, drinks, and quiche. Definitely one of the coolest bookstores I have ever been in. They set up a makeshift stage in the center. The place was packed. I was there an hour and a half early and there was still a line outside the store. And I was one of the lucky people to get seats. Other people had to sit on the stairs or one the floor or stand in the back of the bookstore. People in the audience put their names in a hat and then ten names are picked to tell stories. Here was the line up, with my rating of the story out of 10, 10 being the best:

  • A guy's story about growing up in New Jersey with dyslexia. 9
  • A guy promoting his documentary about AIDS. 5
  • A guy recalls the day his mom came in to substitute his class. 8
  • A woman tries to buy a Finding Nemo doll for her brother's girlfriend. 6
  • In Paris, a woman watches as a man chases after the bus she's in. 8
  • A girl gets bullied in primary school. In Paris. 4
  • A woman talks about how she planned her wedding. 6
  • "Jefferson", a guy I was talking to in line (and he ended up e-mailing me a bunch of storytelling venues to check out in NYC), told a story about how he learned he was bisexual and loved orgies and how it affected his life. And marriage. 8
  • A black guy talks about learning Spanish in Community College. 10
  • French/Israeli Neuroscientist talks about how he almost married Heather Graham. 7
It was a great night. They were all excellent speakers. Next week, I am going to put my name in the hat. 

I was so inspired by the event, I tried writing on the subway. I got so involved that when I looked up, I was in the Bronx. Except I didn't know I was in the Bronx. I was lost. 

My first thought was to call Ohio for help, but I had no phone reception. I felt naked. I got off past Cypress, and at the station there were men yelling at women in the terminal and security guards just shaking their heads and watching. I had to exit the terminal and cross the street, my heart beating and my bladder tightening, to get to the other side where the subway would bring me back to Grand Central. It took forever, but I made it home by 12:30am. 

Alive. 

So today was a success. Kind of. I have homework to do. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Finished all my homework in the morning, ate lunch, then went on an adventure. I packed a notebook and a book of poems and I started walking with no destination.

I ended up walking 4.4 miles round trip. Below is my journey. This took almost and hour to figure out.

The route.

I have to write down present observations for my Oral History class, so here is what I put in my notebook.

"OBSERVATIONS:
  • A man in an orange shirt, looking angry but skipping rocks on the water. 
  • A man slouching on his lawn chair in his front yard in a position that looked terribly uncomfortable as he slowly tried to light his cigarette. 
  • A father pitching baseballs to his son (maybe 8-10) who swings an aluminum bat that looks too heavy for him, but he manages to hit every ball his father throws, and his brother, blonde and slightly smaller, watches from behind as he fumbles with his baseball glove.
  • Rust stains where the fence meets the concrete.
  • Painted green bleachers.
  • The slightly rotten smell of the river. 
  • A man with a tight shirt and a faux-hawk looking around accusingly, trying to look cool as a short woman with large breasts tells him to hurry up.
  • Bottle caps, empty matchbooks, candy wrappers, and cigarette butts in the grass around the baseball field."

And for those of you who are wondering, the poem of the day is "Come Alive" by Derrick Brown. 


"We're gonna fly kites in reverse
with the sail planted firmly in the soil
and our bodies rising on a string
sculpting clouds into the faces of people we miss."
I read that on a bench in the park before walking back.

Other than that, today was a lazy Sunday. I went to the Pillow Room in the Esther Raushenbush Library back at the campus, and I read a chapter of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. After that, I ate dinner at The Pub with friendly strangers, and now I am snacking on yogurt and cereal, setting my alarm clock for eight o'clock in the morning, since my work study starts tomorrow. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Heaven to Hill

After a long morning of homework, Mr. Ohio invited me to come into the city with him and a couple friends to worship God. I needed writing material, so I said yes.

His friends were Georgia, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts, who will henceforth be referred to as "Massey". Massey is tall and looks really cool when he is waiting for the train when he tucks his thumb into his belt buckle.  I tried to copy him but it didn't work. We talked on the train, and I learned that he has a passionate obsession with Tucker Max, a writer/blogger/party boy that you can look up on Wikipedia here.

"Tonight, we are going to party like Tucker Max" said Massey. "Our RA is gone for the weekend in Hill House, so the floor is pretty much free for partying. It's going to be crazy."

And then the train came, and we left for church.

On the ride there, Oklahoma and Ohio gave us the lowdown on communion. Palms up, cup you left hand over your right hand. Receive the wafer, put the wafer in your mouth with your right hand, then turn around and make a cross with your right hand, from your forehead to your chest, from your left shoulder to your right shoulder.

Were we confused? Yes. Daunted? No.

From left to right, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Ohio.

We got off the train at Grand Central and walked a couple blocks to St. Patrick Cathedral. It is a beautiful building, and when we walked inside I really felt closer to God.

"F**k yo' ass." said Massey to Oklahoma when we were sitting in the pew. The family sitting in front of us shot him a dirty look and muttered "This is a Catholic Church..." before moving to a different seat.

The organs sounded and everyone in the church stood up. Oklahoma leaned in and asked, "Connor, how's your Latin?"

"Er... I... speak Spanish...?"

The service was long but interesting. The priest or the archbishop or whoever was talking up in front told a story about a servant who had an enormous debt to pay to his master, but his master forgave him. So the servant left and met up with another servant who owed him money. Servant One started choking servant Two saying "Give me my money!" and the master saw and said, "Wait, I forgave you, but you won't forgive him?"

"And so the servant was sent to the torturers until he was able to pay off his debt." said the priest.

Chuckles in our pew.

Then time came for communion. I offered my cupped hands to a bored-looking man wearing a green cloth over a white robe. "The body of Christ?"

"Amen." I responded. Right hand, wafer in mouth. Sign of the cross. Return to seat. Success.

Really don't know how to describe this.

After church we took the subway into Greenwich Village for dinner. We ate at an Indian place called "Karahi". The food was great and the company was even better. Massey suggested a bunch of comedians and sit-coms to check out, and we all shared garlic naan and rice.

It was getting late, so we wandered around the Village looking for a coffee shop. We passed by a lot of restaurants with gorgeous people eating outside under umbrellas by candlelight, and I am pretty sure I saw at least two hookers. Or maybe they were just single women who got dressed up to hang out on street corners. Without pants. Who knows?

We took the subway and the train back to Bronxville. The subway gets progressively weirder at the night progresses. A man creepily smiled at me and tried to pick my pocket, and across from me another man was giving a woman a massage as she smelled a bundle of small flowers that looked like they had grown from between cracks in the concrete. New York, New York.

Back at the college, I changed into my party pants but put my foot in a hole in the knee, thus ripping and ruining the pants. Luckily, I had a second pair of party pants, which I threw on and jogged over to Hill House with the crew.

"This is what we went to church for," said Ohio, "To repent for all of the sins we're about to commit."

By the time we got to Hill House, the party was dying. The alcohol was gone, security was shooing people away, and everyone looked really pissed off.

"I walked in and kids were trying to scrape the bottom of the punch bowl." said Massey, "It was stupid."

We wandered around looking for other parties, but to no avail, so I returned to Westlands where everyone was playing circle games.

I truly love our building. It's like home.

All in all, an eventful day that was fun even without the party.

Tomorrow I have only one more bit of homework and then the rest of the day is free.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This Is Friday

Everyone is crowding around the window on our floor.
"Oh yeah, she's toasted."
"Yeah, she blew her cookies."
"How do you know?"
"I saw the cops cleaning it off of themselves."
"Connor, good thing you got that cramp."
"Look, they're loading her on a stretcher!"
"Wait, what about the other girl?"
"They arrested her or something."

That is what is going on right now. More on that later.

Last night dropped the cap to my toothpaste into the toilet. I had to fish it out with one of our precious plastic cups. I threw it away, and now my toothpaste doesn't have a cap, but I am going to have to deal with it.

This sort of set the mood for my entire day today: Nonchalantly making mistakes and having to live with them.

I went to the gym today. I have to climb three flights of stairs to get to my room and I am usually out of breath when I reach the top, so a trip to the gym seemed like a good idea.

I checked in and walked over to a treadmill. I have never seriously used a treadmill before. My treadmill experience is limited to playing on one in my grandma's garage and then getting yelled at later because it was dangerous. The gym was very different.

I stepped onto the treadmill. There were very fit blonde women jogging on either side of me. I tried to look like I knew what I was doing and I punched in my information.

"Age - 35?"

I clicked no.

"Age - 35?"

I clicked yes. Why not.

"Weight - 165?"

Yup.

The treadmill started moving, very slowly, and I tried running but it was too slow, so I started walking and frantically tried to figure out how to make the machine go faster. I found the "increase speed" button and clicked it up very slowly. I have heard too many stories about people falling on treadmills. I did not want the blonde women to have another one to tell people. "Yeah, I saw the sign language kid fall on a treadmill. It was pretty hilarious."

I jogged at 3 miles an hour for about ten minutes. When I felt comfortable enough, I pumped it up to 5 miles and hour. And then I amped it up to 8 miles an hour. This is about half the average  human running speed, but I tried making it look like I was running faster. After 20 minutes of running very slowly, I turned off the machine and left the gym. When I said goodbye to the woman at the front desk, I pretended to be out of breath.

"(gasp) Thanks, that was... (phew!) a workout."

Afterwards I went to the library to interview for a shelving position. I shelved three books as the head librarian watched.

"You're hired. Come to start on Sunday."

Now I have two work study jobs. 11 hours a week at $7.25 an hour? $80 a week? Yes.

Which brings us to now, with ambulances and POlice outside of our building, and drunk kids being carted away to the hospital.

Tonight was the "All-White Dance" which sounds really bad when taken out of context. It actually had nothing to do with race. The idea is that you aren't supposed to wear white after Labor Day, but Sarah Lawrence is all about being rebellious, so they threw a dance where the dress code is all-white clothes. I had no white pants. Ohio offered to let me borrow his shorts, but they were huge and it looked like I was wearing a skirt.

Ohio's shorts. 

Even though men wearing skirts is generally accepted on campus, I decided to shy away from cross-dressing and I went to the dance dressed normally.

The dance was fun, the music was good, but about an hour in I got a cramp and had to leave. I was back in Westlands when the ambulances rolled up.

Apparently someone had passed out and a couple others had alcohol poisoning. We saw a girl being pulled away on a stretcher, and another girl being held up by her friend and a cop. The dance ended. Everyone scattered. Here was the view from our building:

Got them shiny lights, you know it's going down. 

So all in all, an eventful day of awkward situations. Enough for everyone, really. But to ease the awkward, I am pleased to offer you a BONUS BLOG POST!

Gwenna was kind enough to write about her experiences with Sarah Lawrence College, even though she is 2,891 miles away. Want to know who she is? Want to hear about her Skyping skills? Want to hear what she thinks about all of the girls at Sarah Lawrence? Check it out at http://connor-miller.blogspot.com/p/bonus-camera-life-at-slc.html.

That is all. Tomorrow is the weekend. I'll keep you posted. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lessons Learned

Don't make dead baby jokes in a Childhood Development class. The room will suddenly go quiet and the teacher will look at you with disgust and no one will laugh. No one will laugh. 

Just sayin'. 

So a little crash course on Sarah Lawrence teaching philosophy. My college does not like lecture-style teaching, with the teacher teaching in front of an audience of students. SLC is all about seminars, sitting at a round table and calling your teacher by their first name and learning through free discussion, gently guided by the teacher. It's very organic.

But when you are learning a language, like Spanish, organic discussion can be confusing. Our teacher talked about everything, family, Coca-Cola, the definition of moving (moving yourself versus moving away) all in Spanish, and we were expected to contribute to the conversation in Spanish. This is a little new to me, but I hope that this seminar style course will improve my Spanish in ways a beautifully structured one didn't. 

One of my assignments for my Oral History course is to read through newspapers from the 60s and 70s. The idea is that you will get an idea of what was going on during the childhoods of people you interview. "Look for ideas for oral history projects." 

I went into the library and learned how to use the microfiche machine, something I always saw in movies like 1408 and always wanted to use. And today I used it! I browsed through The Washington Post. Thursday, November 14, 1974. Here's some front page news: 
  • Woman Dies for Faith: Jehovah's Witness Refuses Transfusion - This is hilarious for several reasons. First of all, whoever wrote "Refuses Transfusion" got a pay raise. And also, I read the article and it turns out her husband refused to give his wife the transfusion. She was giving birth, and she bled to death. The husband didn't want to give the baby any blood either, but the Supreme Court stepped in and saved the child. 
  • Prosecutor Arrested on Drug Counts - An assistant US attorney was arrested for possessing one ounce of marijuana that police found in his Northwest Washington apartment where they were investigating a reported burglary of a neighboring apartment. Can't help but feel bad for the guy. 
  • Cancer Talks Spur Water Sales - "Sales of bottled water have increased substantially in the past few days following reports that some substances in the public water supply may be causing cancer". The whole article is about how happy the water bottle companies are. "We've seen a 20-25% increase in sales!" says a manager. I didn't read the whole article, but there seemed to be little concern  over the cancer in the water system. '
So I am definitely going to do this more often. Fun stuff. 

Afterwards, dinner, and then Camp Crafts in the North Room at 7pm. 

I have been looking forward to this event all week. Camp Crafts? Tie dye and spin art? Origami? I AM SO THERE. I wrote it down in planner IN PEN. On Monday. 

And then it was Thursday. And I wandered around looking for the North Room and I couldn't find it. I looked and looked and looked and then returned to my dorm defeated. 

But then other people on my floor came to my room and we had our own Craft Night, and we made origami animals. 

(Left to right: Mr. Giraffe, Ms. Crane, and Sir Fish, Esq.)

A successful day of learning, of what not to do, of how to do, and who are my new friends.

No classes tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Slave To The Grind

Woke up early to go grocery shopping with Ohio. We bought about $40 worth of snack foods and quick dinners. And club soda. "I like the fizz." said Ohio.

Our foods (club soda not pictured, since it is stashed under Ohio's bed)

Back at the campus, I had my highly anticipated "Multimedia Uses of Oral History" class.

It was nothing short of amazing. We read through good and bad interviews, and then conducted our own interviews with a partner. I was on fire. I conducted an entertaining interview with a girl who thought she was pretty close to her cousins but then realized she was actually very cruel as she told me stories about how she would terrorize them.

My professor gave the class five writing assignments for the week which I am REALLY excited about, but it makes me worry if I can keep up with the course load and still be able to blog. But I live in the moment, and as long as I stay on top of my workload, I think I can pull it off.

After finishing some homework, I rewarded myself with a trip into Bronxville to visit "Slave to the Grind", Sarah Lawrence's favorite coffee shop. I ordered a 12oz mocha. It was delicious. I spent the next hour doing homework and feeling very productive until I crashed and now I am in a terrible mood and I am tired and I never want to drink coffee again.

I went to The Pub (Sarah Lawrence's 24 Hour food provider) and ordered a crispy chicken sandwich, which ended up being a slab of crispy chicken on a bun. Nothing else. I ate it, still in my post coffee funk, feeling miserable.

I returned to homework, made a considerable dent, and unfortunately missed the free campus screening of "Super 8" which I really wanted to see.

It's time for me to start making choices. I need to decide what I should be spending my time on in order to have a healthy balance of work and play. But thankfully I am excited about all of my classes, so sometimes the lines between the two are blurred.

BUT ON THE MAJOR BRIGHT SIDE, I GOT A PACKAGE FROM LUCAS!!!

The gifts

He sent me a book of new Derrick Brown poems (YES YES YES I LOVE THIS) and some Altoids. 

"Altoids are great, Connor. If you eat one, you don't need to shower for about a week." he once told me.

Lucas, I thank you. 

I have great friends. 

Tomorrow is my last day of classes for the week. I'll keep you posted. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gettin' Busy With It


Here is my schedule:

  • Monday
    • 9:00am - 1:30pm Work Study at the College Events Office. $7.25 an hour, which is the equivalent of $30 a Monday.
    • 2:00pm - 3:30pm Spanish Class
  • Tuesday
    • 9:30am - 11am Early Childhood Development (Class)
    • 1:30pm - 3:30pm Beginning Tennis (PE)
  • Wednesday 
    • 8:30am - 12:30pm Early Childhood Center (I watch kids play for a couple hours)
    • 1:00pm - 3:00pm Multimedia Uses of Oral History (Class)
  • Thursday
    • 9:30am - 11:00am Early Childhood Development (Class)
    • 2:00pm - 3:30pm Spanish Class
  • Friday
    • FREE DAY
  • Saturday
    • FREE DAY
  • Sunday
    • 10:00am - 12:00pm Church 
Currently enjoying a zit the size of a New York bagel on my face (Ohio: "Connor, it's oozing."), which has made the friend-making process interesting but not impossible. I ate lunch with some of my new friends and I am sure the blemish could have been mistaken for food. Thus, I was seen as friendly and, if anything else, a sloppy eater. 

I got mail today! I got a letter and two packages (I was supposed to have four packages, but the mail room people said that they couldn't find the other two and that I should check in later). One was a textbook, the other bits were from Gwenna. 

 The packages

The letter

After enjoying my mail, I hunkered down and did two hours of homework, which I rewarded myself with a snack and a well-deserved nap. This is what my desk looked like:

College life

Sometimes when I am walking around campus I am so happy that I am in college I almost cry. The independence and the freedom and the self-reliance is the best thing I could possibly ask for. And the proximity to New York, and the classes I am taking, and the dorm I am living... it all makes me want to drop down to my knees and weep with joy. But I don't. Because I need to make more friends. 

Tonight we had a community standards meeting on our floor, in which we talked about what was expected in the Westlands community. Most of the issues were bathroom related (pubic hair problems, the smell of feces, unidentified food items in the sink) and we got cookies afterwards to help us forget about these problems. College. 

I was told I was dressed very "college" today. It was after my nap, and I was wearing my Black History Month t-shirt, sweats, socks and flip-flops. "I didn't know people actually did that," said one of the girls on my floor. 

College. 

I truly belong here.