Archive for July, 2012
July 6th, 2012 Posted 1:52 pm
Okay… now I need to catch you guys up on the stuff that’s been happening.
First, a piece of advice. It seems like Mozilla Firefox is showing a whole bunch of in-line ads on my site and several others, but Safari showed up with my web site as normal. It seems that this is something Mozilla is doing, although I don’t know why. It’s really annoying and keeps redirecting me to some page on certain sites. Guess I’m using Safari and probably Chrome until that cools down or is fixed. (Nothing will force me to use IE… ever!)
Second, there’s the rest of the summer-college story to relate.
The first two days, Sunday and Monday, were pretty awesome. Sunday involved a scavenger hunt with some cool people on our team, and Monday was pretty nice, too. The food was great, and you had to walk around all the time, but the place is really pretty.
Except that on Sunday night, I didn’t get any sleep.
Or Monday night.
Or Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Dad finally brought over some blankets to pad the mattress, and more to actually cover me up. I was right next to the air conditioning vent, and I had underestimated the size of the blanket I’d brought, meaning I was cold as well as uncomfortable*… and by the time I’d given in to the fact that I was not going to get used to this, I was too brain-dead with lack of sleep to realize that the controller for the air conditioner was about three feet from the foot of my mattress. And that you could move the blades of the vent so it isn’t blowing on you. Man, I’m smart. -_-
By Tuesday, I was wishing for a broomstick or a dragon or a pet giant copper eagle** or a pair of wings or SOMETHING to shuttle me back and forth from classes and meals and the dorm. This walking thing was getting crazy. Walking, and lack of sleep, and an inability to wrench myself out of the air-conditioned dorm to go and walk more, in the heat, to whatever meal was happening at that moment.
In the first three days, I probably got about five hours of sleep, total, and missed several meals. And the temperature outside was up in the nineties. And I had been walking everywhere. Forget whether the classes were any good–survival was my main concern.
I was living in a sleep/blood sugar/heat haze, and was also starting to get depressed… I did not want to leave my dorm room, and I was living off of M&Ms. (For the next week, I would be off M&Ms but would still be craving them anyway. It’s a weird feeling to alternately really want something, and be kind of disgusted by it.) On top of that, their Wi-Fi didn’t work.
And then Dad showed up on Wednesday with blankets. I took a large fleece blanket and set that aside, choosing my too-small blanket, my bath towel, and the other blanket Dad had brought to pad the mattress, and then set my own sheet on top. It was actually pretty comfortable, but that might have been because I was comparing it to the floor-quality comfort I’d had earlier.
I actually slept that night.
Then we went on a boat trip in the Mississippi River. I didn’t bother to take notes, really… I was busy drawing what I saw, which was more useful than anything I could have written down. It was the coolest thing I have done in a long time.
Then on Thursday–after another night’s sleep!–my class went to an Indian restaurant. Most people stuck to the naan bread (flat bread) and the tandoori chicken (which is red and not very hot, spice-wise), but I grabbed some of just about everything. I love Indian food. The vegetarian girl in our group commented on how many different things there were available for her to eat.
We also went to Lagomarcino’s, which is the most fantastic chocolate shop… It could compete with Willy Wonka’s. They have gummy worms and Swedish Fish and that kind of stuff, but that’s for little kids who don’t know good candy. You can buy Swedish Fish at Walmart! They’re just three times more expensive at Lagomarcino’s!
No, what you really have to try are the truffles. Hand-made dark and milk chocolate truffles, with a ganache center… the cappucino ones are excellent. Personally, I prefer the dark chocolate. They’re eighty cents a pop, but totally worth it. I bought eight.
On Friday, my class went to Augustana’s pet coffee shop, Cool Beanz. It’s worth it. Our teacher paid for our drinks–I got a mango smoothie–and I paid for a bowl of chicken noodle soup, which was excellent. The only downside was that we had to walk there, and I was carrying a computer. Wah.
The teacher was a little wonky, but pretty cool. She has excellent taste in restaurants and chocolate, but doesn’t understand the meaning of “no icebreakers!”–some good advice given by her daughter. She *tried* to follow this advice… supposedly. Instead, she did something worse. She gave us Play-Doh and asked us to “sculpt” something that “represented us.” I’m sitting there thinking, “How shallow do you have to be, to be able to represent yourself with a lump of Play-Doh you shaped in two minutes?” Barf.
But the crazy didn’t end there. I mean, she *does* teach at a liberal arts school, but… really? One of the last suggestions on what to write was an “experimental essay” idea she’d taken from the back of a book and “modified.”
I’ll type up the instructions. Here…
1. Get four oversized notecards or four pieces of paper.
2. On the first card, describe a smell from your pas. Don’t worry whether or not it is a significant or important smell; all that matters is that it is in your memory. Describe the smell in detail–the qualities of the odor. Was it sour or sweet, smoky or clean, sharp or dull? Does it remind you of something? Write four or five sentences on the card.
3. On the second card, describe an aspect of someone you love, but only ONE aspect. Stick to something physical like your little brother’s grin, or your mother’s hair, or your dad’s giant feet or your grandmother’s hands. Describe the texture of her skin, the shape of her fingers, the look of her nails. No more than six sentences.
4. On the third card, pick a quotation from your past, something you heard all the time when you were younger. It can be significant–parent saying to be patient or not so rude; or insignificant like a dumb family joke. The only requirement is that it is something you heard often and so you remember it. Do not explain it, just write down the quote: “Don’t rush so much; patience is a virtue.”
5. On the fourth card, create a list of thirty words, mostly nouns, or modified nouns. Each word or phrase should describe a memory from your past. For example, “Crayons. Blizzard. Daisies. Russian olive tree. Stafne’s doughnuts.” You do not need to add lots of information. Just make the list. No phrase should be more than four words long. Only thirty words. (It works to write more words, like 45 words, and then cross some out.)
6. Now shuffle the cards into a random order.
7. At the top of the cards, write a number–1 through 4.
8. On the first card, add this title: “Why I Am Who I Am.”
9. You have now written an experimental essay, in collage form. Read it out loud, including the title, and the numbers at the top of each card. Notice the unexpected connections and odd logic.
10. You can keep the essay as it is, or revise and polish it to see where these new connections lead.
Yep. That was it. The “literary” form of modern art, painting an entire canvas black and selling it for a neat couple hundred. Taking squirt guns full of paint and aiming them at paper, claiming it’s inspiration. Idiots. I typed this up almost exactly, keeping punctuation errors and all. Not kidding you.
Sorry, liberal arts dudes. I’m not an artiste. I write stuff that people might actually want to read of their own free will. It tends to go over better that way.
My birthday has passed! And now I’m 15. I did not get a call from Geoffery the Giraffe of Toys R Us like I sometimes used to get, though. I was spared the pain. “I’m so glad to hear that you’re [gruffer voice] FIFTEEN [chirpy voice] today!” You know. The thing about those mascots is that they make you smile… when they go away. I was always the one to hug the Chuck E Cheese mouse for the tickets he gave out and then make my leave ASAP. Those things are creepy, man.
Anyway, my mom and brothers and I went to Lagomarcino’s, where we obtained and ate more truffles… also chocolate covered cherries (better there than anywhere else) and chocolate covered espresso beans. Even the sugar-coated jelly fruit slices they have are addicting. We also saw Brave, and it was really good.
Speaking of bow-wielding gals, I’m planning to take a couple friends out to the archery range and teach them to shoot. They all have crushes on different Avengers heroes, and Christina’s is Hawkeye, so I think she’ll appreciate learning to shoot the bow herself. But I don’t think she’ll be shooting arrows off of the top of tall buildings without even looking where she’s shooting. Not at the moment, anyway.
But hey. I’m going to Walmart in a few, so I need to actually get dressed and that kind of thing. This is the captain, signing off.
*Dorm mattresses are pretty much the same as sleeping on the floor
**If you understand which movie I’m referencing, you have just won some Brownie Points. Congratulations. (Aw, crap, now I want brownies…)
Posted in My Stuff, of course