Archive for May, 2007

things and not-things; the last couple weeks

Thursday, May 31st, 2007 at about 12:00 pm

That last post is looking a little emo on the second go-round, but in the interest of abstaining from getting to self-referential I won’t go into it. It’s worth saying, though, that after a tumultuous week and a half most of the situation it described is no longer valid, because everything went back to basically the way it was. These days I spend time watching Firefly and sleeping at Phi Sig, or other such nonsense.

Nonsense such as splitting a bottle of champagne with Nicole in the courtyard last Thursday afternoon, which was perfectly lovely. We finished just in time to go sailing with Zach, an adventure in and of itself because we took out one of the sailing team’s FJ’s. “It’s rigged about the same as the 420 [the class of boat we usually sail],” the sailing coach said, “but it’s a little tippier.” She wasn’t kidding. We spent most of the afternoon rocking back and forth in the basin, twice came so close to capsizing during a tack there was water spilling over the side of the boat. It’s a very wet sail — we ended up with almost 4″ of water in the bottom of the boat and no bailer. But it was probably our best day yet (or, rather, most exciting).

Memorial day weekend was mostly parties and very long, since I don’t have class on Tuesdays. Sunday I went to the city with IHUM (of all things), we all went on a Cruise (Speed Levitch-style), then the SFMOMA, then Kevin and I went out to dinner with Dr. Barker. Everyone else bailed, taking early trains home. Which was just as well, the dinner was fun, we stopped by Virgin afterwards, and then continued on our merry way home via Caltrain. Kevin will live in Synergy next year; I am excited to have another person to visit there. I have significant reservations about Toyon, but at this point I’m just making the most.

Speaking of Toyon, in-house draw was last night: what a traumatic experience. It didn’t take as long as I thought, but definitely still stressful. And, amusingly enough (I try to look on the brighter side and laugh, rather than be angry) Jordan, Ron, and Zhi picked dead last. They technically didn’t pick at all, but rather got the only room left, which is a triple in the quiet hall next to the (potentially insufferable) RF’s. I suppose this means parties in my third floor single. Which I’m OK with, but this really isn’t what we had hoped for.
It’s now 11:33am on another Thursday. I’m about to go to Toyon then have another sunshine party in the Lag courtyard with Nicole, just as we did last week. I do not sense a productive day coming on, but luckily it doesn’t matter in the slightest. The year’s ending. I’m not so thrilled. But that’s the way these things go. I’m always afraid of change, although I’ve never figured out why. I think it’s the pessimist in me — what if things get worse? I’m trying, though, to just calm down and enjoy myself. Life is sufficient, and more than sufficiently good, why ask for more?
background noise: none, I’m sitting in the hallway on the laptop so as to not wake Jordan.

Posted in General
by j. android

august in may

Monday, May 7th, 2007 at about 9:40 pm

Today it’s hot. The temperature pushed above 90 degrees, but thankfully without the added burden of humidity. I woke in a bed that was not my own (for the last time for a while, it seems, for better or worse) in time to bike back home, grab my bag, and head to class. I cannot say that I am sorry for the lost sleep, but I’m tired enough and made sufficiently lethargic by the heat to fall asleep in one of Green’s big leather chairs reading after dinner. I’ve been trying all day to get out a poem (about last night, about this morning, about the last two weeks), but my scratchings in IHUM lecture, or between classes, or even in my head aren’t in any way sufficient. I’m distracted, completely and perennially, by the sheer volume of practicality that is driving my life. A CS mid-term (a fucking test, of all things, keeping me numb to the feeling: I’m appaled) on Wednesday, and I’ve yet to figure that out. I must, now. Otherwise I would spend the evening watching TV and writing and recovering in every sense of the word from sickness (or regrouping, really, since on all fronts [romantic, physical, intellectual] there are further attacks coming). We didn’t have poetry class today, which is probably good because I needed the time to just rest, but maybe bad because I couldn’t get my poetic fix. I checked out two books of poetry from the library, one for class and one on a recommendation (John Ashbery’s Selected Poems, just to re-find his beautiful “Illustration” which I discovered some years back in an 11th-grade English class, and Louise Gluck’s The Wild Iris, which my poetry professor recommended). I called Katie, who called me last night when I was in no state to answer the phone. I called Anita, whose voice I am missing, and who I still need to relate my crazy dream of last week to (I was fleeing zombies and Ryan North was there, among other people, and even in the dream I thought “Crazy! I need to tell Anita!” but when I got out my phone to text her it didn’t process right [probably because of the different side of the brain needed for writing, or something -- it's my best guess anyway]). Those parentheticals are getting ridiculous; I think it’s the effect of all the programming.

It’s springtime and we’re all getting predictably restless. For some that’s manifesting as fighting with roommates, for me it’s been a marked upswing in my love life / extra-dorm social life. All good things, except the infighting, but what can one do? Jordan and I have been avoiding it quite successfully; if anything I think we’re actually getting along better. This weekend we need another dorm party, I think, although they’re never quite what I think they will be. Maybe Austin’s birthday will do it.

Last Saturday Natasha and I went to Sunsplash. It was crowded and loud, but we made the best of it: looking sharp, dancing when we felt like it, getting Miguel to let us into the VIP area. We left fairly early, took the long way home via Toyon’s open kitchen that we’re so invested in these days, and even discovered a place in Lag that we’d never seen before. It was all in all a pleasant evening. If I could live this weekend over and over again for a while, I wouldn’t mind. It wasn’t bliss, but it was good things. It was nights I wished wouldn’t end.

This is especially true of last night, which I spend living old songs: Eve 6’s “Inside Out”, Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight”, even the forgotten Everclear song “Wonderful” and some Laura Love songs I was only just introduced to in context. We pushed the conversation until it lasted for hours, broken here and there by our other favorite things. The whole night was closure that didn’t feel like closure, it was a conversation about endings that felt like a conversation about beginnings because nothing was tired: we were still beginning, but had to bring it all to an end. And that was in the nature of the thing; I cannot claim any bitterness or surprise. I am happy for it, whatever it was. But I can’t say in truth that I don’t wish slightly things were different. I woke up and it was hot. The air felt like summer on the bike ride home.

I have little time to waste, unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, on things like wishing: I have the rare commodity of reality and action sufficient to keep me fully occupied. So now I will stop writing this, go do my CS problem set, and pray it all works out.

background noise: lots of early mountain goats, what else? The last three songs on the zopilote machine are killing me as always.

And, as the necessary postscript, a stupid poem (stupid because it’s trying to be more than it is) that I wrote on our whiteboard in 10 minutes about the heat, which has no title as of yet:

We woke to August in May,
the warmth in the bike seat
and cowering in armpits,
or the spaces between toes.
The air the consistency
of that which contains
freshly baked bread
(an oven, an opened mouth,
breathing, as we are,
that air the same)
we eat, work, and
daydream of sleep.

Posted in General
by j. android

the pace, the distance, the terrible velocity

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 at about 2:17 am

Life’s a little breakneck. I am constructing breathing room like a man in an avalanche; I work for an hour here and an hour there on my marathon CS assignments, but interrupt them with the festering busyness of a social life and facebooking the blackout-drunk girls I met on the train home from the Giants game. I cannot complain of boredom; I cannot complain at all, in fact. I go for beautiful sails on the bay, stay up much too late working on things that utterly fascinate (and occasionally frustrate me), spend my weekends trying to find ways to fit in all the things I can and want to do (a refreshing change for the uniformity of fall quarter and it’s bitterness). I am feeding the neurosis, which isn’t curing it but at least it’s leaving me alone. At least I can say I did. This is the creed. Last Thursday we had a small party, as we have fallen into the habit of doing. Friday was Lag formal, of all things. Went out for Chinese with Hollis; went to the dance. Slept interrupted-ly, wandering into the courtyard at 10am wondering, wondering, about quite a few things. Saturday had another party, after a brief event at Columbae. Was up, as usual, far too late, but to much effect: it was one of those “oh no they’re on the roof nights,” along with Club Uj (of all things?), walks into the exceedingly warm late-April air, and a power hour (pour hour? language, language) which neither Jordan or I actually participated in. Sunday woke to general disaster, but feeling quite fit; fit enough to go play IM soccer and lose to Larkin. I’ve become quite good at not getting too invested in sporting events I do not, exactly, see the purpose of, which is why losing is no calamity and I am simply happy I’m not too sore. I have all of the right problems and none of the wrong ones, except perhaps the beginnings of a cold. But then, one can’t have everything.

background noise: various counting crows and sufjan stevens

On an unrelated note, last night’s revision of a poem hastily drafted one day in class (likely pending further revision, if I ever find some actual distance from the thing. It’s all regrettably true):

the april fire

I used to be afraid that
my house would burn down, killing
my family, destroying
my possessions, my materiality, enforcing
the great sensation of loss
that terrified me
until the night my mother ran around the house banging
on the doors screaming “fire”
and I jumped out of bed
more ready than I have ever been
for anything.
There is something about the reality of an event
that makes it easier to cope with;
I thought, “it must be in the kitchen, someone
must have left a pan on”
I did not think about loss, or endings, I
just looked for the flame, ran
down the stairs to find the
orange glow of the window shades
lit from the outside:
the blossoming of realization,
the most awful realigning of perspectives
as I realized it was not our house my
mother meant, but the neighbors’; the
flush of relief and confusion diluting
the clarifying terror of
disaster is intoxicating.
There is a certain sickness
in the slow shift, the creep
up the spine and into the
conscious, the aftermath-blooming
of a doubt-seed planted in the chaos of calamity
that begs the question I couldn’t shake
for months: standing on the lawn watching
a house so quickly turned from home to
ashen wreck not 25 feet from my own,
wondering at God and his wisdom, wondering
at that wisdom’s precision, and if He, out of
wisdom, or carelessness, or ambivalence,

Posted in General
by j. android