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Thursday, March 31, 2005

RIP Schiavo

Rest in peace, Terry Schiavo.

Peace being the key word.

Monday, March 28, 2005

My 9 to 5

Tried to wakeup
Gave myself a pep talk
Woke up
Called landlord
Did dishes
Threw out garbage
Showered
Worked on grad school application
Ate
Studied for Advanced Statistics
Went to Advanced Statistics
Worked
Deposited check in bank
Rode bike home at a leisurely pace

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Spring Break

My girlfriend Ivette and I spent our Spring Break in Daytona Beach, Florida. Luisana graciously gave me a ride to Willard Airport to pick up our rental car last Saturday and by 1pm my wingperson and I left the chilly climate of Champaign-Urbana for the 19hr and 33min drive southeast.


Our Yellow Chevy Cavalier

The Spring Breakers in Florida seemed to be clones of the same clannish greeksters that haunt campus bars here on a Saturday night. They were similar to the ones described in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article on the sex fiends that frequent Kam's:

"Some guys sport fashionable Abercrombie baseball jackets, too-tight T’s or a studied sartorial mess of wrinkles and untucked shirts. Young women wear lacy silk camisoles and sunglasses. Others model wide-necked sweaters slipped down around their shoulders, exposing bronze cleavage and bra straps."
The article was about the raging sexual appetites of college partiers, and it seemed to not only accurately portray the scene at so many bars close to home, but also of those thousands of miles away in Florida.

The guys in Daytona were like so many relentless mosquitos hovering over the girls, the juicy fruits jiggling across the sand to the hip-hop beats. Ivette was one of those Juicy Fruits. I was the Steady Waving Hand, the Fly Swatter, the calm & confident reminder of who's going home with whom.

Now don't get me wrong, i've been that raging mosquito plenty of times in the past - "don't hate the player," etc. etc. All i'm saying is that it would have been nice to have an ally there like Jon, or Jeff to hold down the fort while I went to refill on beer or pee - gentlemen that I know can trust amongst a group of horny strangers.

Maybe Daytona Beach isn't the place for couples to begin with. Whatever. I still had a great time laying out in the sun on the beach with my girl, listening to the ebb and flow of the Atlantic Ocean. At night along the shore there are bundles of sea foam that look like newborn seals or shored-up baby whales from afar. The waves of water tickle the tops of your feet before they retreat backwards like a blanket being gently pulled from a bed.

Speaking of bed, it's been a long ride - a 1,058 mile long ride.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Terrorism is Effective

Terrorism works.

It worked recently to pull Italian troops out of Iraq. Terrorists took an Italian journalist hostage and demanded a $1 million ransom. They got their money and increased anti-war sentiment amongst the Italian population enough for the politicians to decide to pull out their troops.

Terrorism went to work again less recently in Madrid, Spain last year. Terrorists co-ordinated a bombing attack on several packed commuter trains and killed hundreds of people. Anti-war sentiment amongst the Spanish population increased enough for the politicians to eventually decide to pull their troops out of Iraq.

Terrorism worked most memorably on the 11th day of September, 2001. Terrorists flew two jumbo jets into two tall towers and killed thousands of people. They also sent our stock market into a long downward spiral. Terrorists wanted a surefire way to get the world's attention and they got it.

Terrorism works.

Winnie the Pooh Bear Climbing a Tree on the Quad

"Sometimes all it takes is a wink or nod from an unexpected place to vary the tedium of a baffling existence."
-Bob Dylan, Chronicles

Winnie the Pooh was climbing a tree this afternoon on the Quad. I was soaring down the Quad on Ryan's bike a few minutes ago when I slowed down to get a better look at this dude wearing a Winnie the Pooh costume while climbing a tree. People flocked to him with their cell-phone cameras handy to capture the moment. I just told myself that I would blog about it later.

At first I thought the whole situation was absurd. Why the hell is this guy dressed in a Winnie the Pooh costume climbing a tree on the Quad? As I passed by and got a good look at his face he looked like he didn't have a care in the world. It was probably a publicity stunt for some student organization, i'm sure, but still, was this entire scenario really necessary?

I thought about writing essays for graduate school, the hours spent in the classroom learning, the dozens of pages of interviews waited to be coded, grueling statistics homework, the dirty dishes in the sink and the nearly empty underwear drawer back home.

And yes, Winnie the Pooh climbing the tree in a Quad is entirely necessary.

Rehab is for Quitters

Open Mic Night

Yesterday was open mic night at Espresso Royale Cafe on Goodwin in Urbana. I didn't know this when I went in for some hardcore XXX studying but when the "host" set up a microphone and amp directly behind my head on the table behind me, I got the hint.

Miffed, I migrated upstairs. Hector was up there studying the variance and mean of a simple random sample drawn from the population of people who take the ACT. After a few hours of correcting each other's mistakes and double-checking for errors we were done with our Stats homowork. I got a better sense of the "two minds are greater than one" idea.

Downstairs was open mic night and performers used guitars, violins, flutes, a bongo, and kazoo variously. As I was walking downstairs for water I heard a young woman bleating and strumming her way along to a Janis Joplin song. She had that same distinctively Janis crackle and grit in her voice.

But he wasn't a she. As I got downstairs I could see that she was really a tween boy with a thin frame and babyface that sounded remarkably like Janis Joplin. I wasn't his only audience. It seemed as if the majority of the cafe migrated over to him and we all remained in front of this tiny young man, captive. "Can I play one more?" he asked the host with a squeaky voice. Then he began the opening chords of the lullaby "We're Going to Be Friends," by White Stripes, the opening song of Napoleon Dynamite.

I always felt that there was something adolescent about that song with the lyric "Teacher marks our height against the wall." Now it all came together. This song was made for adolescents and now here was one playing it. He made a few errors and kept on playing, defiant of the cynicism and smirks of his elders and peers surrounding him. His performance was courageous and unobviously fragile and as I clapped my hands with true applause afterwards I felt that we had something in common.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Florida Dreaming

It's hard not to find myself daydreaming off to the sunny shores of Daytona Beach, FL every now and then. That's where I'll be this time next week, probably on the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean and sipping on a tropical drink with a tiny straw hat in it. It's harder not to talk to my friends about it - I know that some of them aren't going anywhere and I don't want to rub in the fact that soon I will be much, much warmer than they are.

Nah, I think imagining myself in Daytona Beach is just a mental mechanism to displace the stresses of the daily grind - a way to pretend that things aren't as difficult as they really are because soon I will be digging my naked toes into thousands of grains of warm, coastal sand. The deadlines and meetings and assignments of today surrender completely to the ceaseless undulating caress of the Ocean of tomorrow.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Facebooking

Facebooking is a pretty common addiction among many students here at the U of I. Feeding my own, I was browsing through the "friends of my friends" list when I came across this comely stud of a man:



David Ng is an electral engineering major interested in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, World Domination, Astronaut Corp, Radio Controlled toys, and Machining. Befriend him at facebook.com

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Porn Movie Parodies

Today Flesbot.com pointed to this website that catalogues porn movies whose names are parodies of other "legit" movies and TV series. Here's a few of the titles:

Analyze These
Beverly Hills 9021-Ho!
Boldfinger
Breast In Show
Cheeks & Thongs: Up In Stroke
Frisky Business
Honey, I Blew Everybody
Leave It To Cleavage
Missionary Position: Impossible
Muffy The Vampire Layer
NYDP Blue
Rebel Without A Condom
Snatch Adams
Waiting To XXXhale


There are no K, U, or Z titles yet.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Right now i'm downloading Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for $9.99 at iTunes.com. Being the unabashed critic whore that I am, it's only fitting that I do so, especially considering the consistently stellar reviews it has received when it was released three years ago. Here's proof.

Hell, even Wil Wheaton (the guy from Stand By Me and Ensign on Star Trek) likes it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Temporarily Paralyzed

So I woke up from a nap to find my left arm paralyzed from the elbow down. I looked down at it with groggy eyes and said, "Move" but it wouldn't. I checked to see if I was dreaming real quick - nope, half-awake. I tried again to move it, but still nothing.

Now I knew that my arm wasn't "asleep" because I had it laying on my side - I wasn't laying on top of it so there should have been no reason why the blood circulation was cut off. I shrugged my left shoulder over towards the other side of my body and my left arm flopped over after it. As it laid there lifelessly across my belly I began to wonder if this was one of those freak occurences that happen to like 1 in 10,000 people. Temporary paralysis of the arm.

I thought of playing the guitar, clapping hands, knitting, anything that involved the use of two hands. I did some deep breathing exercises and checked again to see if I was dreaming - nope, still fully-awake, still somewhat paralyzed. Wtf! This shit just doesn't happen out of nowhere!

Eventually the numbness subsided and one by one I began to wiggle my fingers. As I laid in bed, I recalled laughing at Ryan that one time when he told me the story about how half of his face was paralyzed for nearly a week in junior high.

Maybe it was all karmic retribution.

Friday, March 4, 2005

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day is an annual holiday unique to the UIUC. Since the official holiday customarily entails superfluous amounts of binge drinking but only arbitrarily falls on a weekend, some brilliant mind (probably a group of bar owners) conceived of the idea of celebrating it the Friday before... starting at 8am.

As I left the apartment this noon for a meeting I made sure to bring my camera with me in an effort to document the campuswide shenanigans. By the time I was half way to my destination I noticed this guy in a full-blown leprechaun suit walking down Green St. He was holding one green balloon in his hand. Meanwhile revelers were leaning over the balconies of the apartments behind Legends, which itself was packed with people. When I got near C.O. Danels there was a queue of several dozen green t-shirts, skirts, pants, hair, hats and teeth extending down the sidewalk, the same as bars all over campus. The high noon sun shined on a girl selling chocolate vaginas-on-a-stick outside C.O.s. They were for some student organization.

After the meeting I went for a Philly cheese steak at Silver Mine, a submarine joint sandwiched between Kam's and C.O.s, and made sure to get a window seat looking out at the action. An Indian girl wearing a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" t-shirt hobbled past to get in line at Kam's. She was on crutches but wore this steely look of determination on her face as if to say, "Goddamnit I will get fucked up by 2pm this afternoon."

I sat reminiscing on my faded glory of years past. Unofficial for me was like the U of I Beer Olympics with awards in the Farthest Cookie Toss, Best Recovery After Falling on Your Ass, and Fastest To Get Wasted categories. Now I sit on the sidelines proud to watch my future alumni (hopefully most of them graduate) cavort and canoodle their way to intestinal oblivion. As I see the sparkle in their eyes, the stutter in their step, the chanting, the chugging, the bottle-breaking - the all-out disregard for society's policy of polite behavior on a weekday, a tiny explosion of warmth and tenderness fills the inside of my chest cavity until I can no longer hold it inside.

Or wait. Maybe it's just the Philly.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Spring

I'm taking my woman to Daytona Beach for Spring Break. I thought it was a good pick, especially since Askmen.com says it's the number one place to go for the break. At first this line in the article almost gave me reservations:

"Daytona has so much to offer its visitors, and is in an experience unlike any other: a sure-fire way to break up any couple."

Regardless we decided to make our own with the hotel room. I'll just have to make sure to wear a pair of very opaque sunglasses on the beach.