Sunday, September 30, 2001

i feel very reactive, like i'm not taking much initiative myself, a little like i'm drifting. it's not a depressive feeling exactly, but it's not too cheerful either. ...

the sclp meeting was pretty productive. once more everyone dressed alike (solid, noncontroversial colors). everyone super-nice and super-friendly. meeting over, i trudge home. barnmates elsewhere.
talked to phillyben earlier. turns out he was "jamal" and "jeffords." sign of how far we've drifted: once i would have known that immediately. prank phone calls, for god's sake. who else would it be? he's doing fine. i like talking to him, i get to be obscene and vulgar and loud. it's cathartic. he's reserved my next week's movie.
pennbecca and i have tentative plans for dinner thursday. maybe i'll just go to the city and stay there for awhile. actually that sounds really appealing.

shit i recognize this. this is the everything-feels-like-a-cumbersome-wooden-object feeling, either blocking yr path or lodged between your spine and your skin. this is the moving-slowed-thinking-tapered-off feeling. but why ... ?
i got up this morning for another meeting w/ the for colored girls ... folks. khadijah swiped me into sharples and i realized awhile after the meeting started that i was sitting at a table w/ 7 other people, no one other of whom was white, and it was very likely the first time in my life that had ever happened. but because i knew all of them it didn't feel like as big a deal as some part of my mind thought it should. interesting, though. andy wong, who's producing, made fun of me for eating a bagel w/ cream cheese. "that's brunch," i protested. everyone around me was eating sausages, bacon, eggs, grits.
after i chatted w/ our stage manager, a sweet freshman who thought i was a senior and chided me for not having a coat. "i'll bring you a scarf," she said decidely. she lives in the room directly above the one where i lived last year. ellen's room. she was really unhappy here -- i wonder how she's doing at barnard.

afterwards, i went over to ben and rob's rooms b/c ben and i had parted kind of rudely (i felt). the door of the dorm was locked so i went over to rob's windows and called his name. hoarsely, but i do at least have some voice to speak of now. he opened up the window. climb thru, he said. i considered: there's a trench b/w the grass and the building and the window's about eightfeet off the ground. but what the hell. he took a picture of me w/ his digital camera as i grinned from the sill.

back at the barn, ross's guest had left ("who knew that Kid A is such a good makeout album?") and joel returned. i'm writing my review of don't say a word (my title: "don't waste your time"), which marc jolly and i saw last nite after ross's dinner party. i spent most of yesterday listless and whispering and rereading the princess bride. theoretically it's dip of the month tonite but we'd have to be fools to go. i'm only just beginning to seriously recover.

Saturday, September 29, 2001

sickness. auditions (for which 2 people showed and we cajoled one of the crew folks to read.) whispering -- everyone whispering back, whether mocking or in sympathy, i don't know. a dietcoke to ward off headaches; a vitamin c droplet; ross saying my illness was ruining his weekend. it sure frightened rob yesterday. he came over to watch a movie but kept looking around nervously at my room as if he could see all the gleefully plotting germs; he bolted. renee, who always seems friendly but a little ill at ease w/ me tho i don't know why, jess and her boyfriend, ben ross and i watched high fidelity. ben laughed a lot but afterwards asked me what i get from it. lots of housecleaning/upkeep to be done. ross wants a dinner party tonite despite the fact that he's illin' too. joel disappeared. waking up to jazz and ben. lentil soup. ross telling me it's all about positive thinking. trying to convince himself, maybe. ben taking out our garbage, doing our dishes. we need more women of color to try for this piece. apparently they're intimidated (?) i guess it is scary. so far khadijah and i have been agreeing -- vision for each of the characters, etc. meeting tomorrow. she seems to respect my opinion.
it's cold outside. how did it get to be this cold? i won't have warm weather again for a long time ....

Friday, September 28, 2001

i fasted yesterday despite the fact that when i woke up that morning i'd felt the beginnings of a cold creeping in from all sides. good idea from a spiritual perspective; not so good from a health one. by nighttime i'd deteriorated into pressure, drippiness, general yuck. it didn't help that i came crashing down from my sugar high. i tried to get to sleep at 12; couldn't, really. around 1:30, the bunny materialized. "wow," he said, "your voice has dropped an octave." initially i expected to just curl up and go sleep, but we started talking -- partly bunnytalk, partly intelligent talk. i realized that i was feeling progressively better. v. often when i feel shitty, all i need to do is laugh. despite my well-publicized insistence that i can't think past tomorrow, we got onto the topic of what we'll be like when we're old, what our attitudes towards marriage are, general future stuff. it was a very honest conversation, punctuated by quotes (he from winnie the pooh, me from the pied piper). finally around 4 we fell asleep, and tho i woke up numerous times, and had a bizarre dream in which my parents decided i needed to leave this life and start a new parallel one on a cruise-ship, which included a boy who looked like but wasn't ben, i woke up refreshed. it's a trick; it won't last. i need to nap. but how can you not love a boy who stays next to you while you blow your nose and afterwards pulls you closer?

did stat w/ becca -- we decided our project is going to involve blindfolded vegan/nonvegan taste tests. then met khadijah for lunch. we talked about the play. i don't know what she was worried about, she seems to have a lot of ideas. we talked pretty frankly about race and why she wants it to be as close to an all-black cast as possible. "but, you know, this is swarthmore," she said, "-- so we'll make do."

Thursday, September 27, 2001

i'm rather hyper at the moment, having fasted all day and then glutted myself. after joel becca and i feasted ceremoniously at ruach, we came to kohlberg to top all that good jewish food off w/ chai. mm, chai. ...
the fast wasn't terribly difficult. we went to reconstructionist services until 1, returned home and watched two decent movies (ma vie en rose and suburbia, the first twice as good as the second but neither something i'd seek out to see again.) i slept briefly and woke, panicked, around 5. joel and ross walked in and gave me hugs and asked if i was all right; i calmed down. i had a horrifying sense that there was something very important i had to do Right Away.
i just pointed joe to ross's website. he'd never seen it before. oop, now joe wants to look at the onion, which is fucking funny this week. ("i can give you 40 seconds," says he. thanks joe. "did i mention that that's your cumulative worth to me? 40 seconds?" he's smiling; what a silly boy.) all right, i'm surrendering the computer. i should go twirl around outside. i have much too much energy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

ross is totally awesome, and not just because he writes about my "proclivities toward hedonism." he is referring to last year when all of my actions did not quite fall within some people's definition of honorable. i had been straight-edge throughout high skool; the last thing i wanted was to come to college and have a repeat of the frustration and disappointment that characterized my life there. i mean, going to a small jewish skool for thirteen years had its perks (my wonderful wonderful circle of friends; our senior year 4-month jaunt to israel; the fact that tonite at services becca voiced envy for my knowledge of hebrew). but it also had its weaknesses (a diversity of people rivaled only by certain amish communities; a guidance department run by doddering grandmothers in business suits; jewish mothers as teachers; NO PLAY and no potential for it).

i mean, sheesh, wouldn't you succumb to the attentions of, at various points, an attractive, determined lesbian, a drunk harvard boy, skirts over pants and queen mary? and, once you got to college, wouldn't you be swept off your feet by someone who swept you off your feet? or someone who sings Indigo Girls w/ you and compliments your voice? or someone who dances w/ you on a stage and says "swell"? or -- oh i have more to say, but becca is leaning demurely over my shoulder and indicating that she wants to go home. we rented movies and are going to be Good Jews by watching them; right, and fasting and praying and breast-beating and all the rest. that goes w/o saying. ('especially the breast-beating,' says becca, a glint in her eye.)

forgive me! o, what a year it's been.

-- okay, moments later, i'm back. on the cold walk to the barn, becca had an epiphany that i was a 14th century venetian courtesan in a past life. oop, my eye is twitching -- means i'm exhausted -- i'll make this quick.
becca's so cool. she has this 40s/50s glamour charm and a good heart for the sake of which we forgive her attractions to goyishe boys. we clean-slated earlier, took turns apologizing (me for snapping at her). she and joel and i went to services together; got there late; sat in the back row; and occasionally voided our prayers by whispering comments about those around us, like the tall athletic blond guy w/ the ski-jump nose (we contemplated pulling him aside and saying, 'all right, chip, the game is up. we're onto you ...) or making fun of reform congregations ('they're like, "praise jesus!",' said joel). but what's more jewish than that?
at one point, we three held hands. so adorable. we missed ross of course but there's actually a prayer you say for those who have forsaken their heritage during which we nodded soberly at each other.

film today was good; still, it felt like it went on forever. at least catharine gaffney sat next to me so i could a) talk to her and b) feel reassured that she is no longer excessively creeped out by me (yay!)
i am at peace. good yontif everyone, especially my jds friends if they're reading this.
congratulations go out to:

1) my father, who proudly informed me last nite that he'd Sent an Email ("5 years after everyone else," my mother added) and Revised a Document. more importantly perhaps he entered my name in a search index and visited This Page. this page! such a smart papa i have, i said. not all papas would be so smart -- certainly not ones who for the past 61 years have remained stubbornly computer-illiterate and reliant on the secretarial skills of incompetant women in denver and occasionally his daughter to get get by.

2) liz, who called me last nite, flighty and frenzied, to give me a precis of her eventful life. highlights: increased involvement w/ the trans movement (at smith) included special attention to two special souls. the first was brief; this second ongoing. "as terrible as i am w/ names, i'm really good at remembering pronouns," she says. she seems to be entirely, adorably smitten. the object of her affection reciprocates; & she's identifying as a female at the moment so it counts as a lesbian relationship.

3) speaking of lesbian relationships, apparently miss annie up at yale has gotten herself seduced by a 21 year old who's crazy for her.

oh mercy. heartfelt condolences to:
1) becca, who doesn't deserve such shabby treatment. idiot pennmen.

2) catharine gaffney, at whom i yelled by accident yesterday when she was knocking at the door of the barn. i added insult to injury by hugging her in apology -- i forgot that she's not a touchy-feely person. she more or less fled, and she's barely glanced in my direction since.

3) the other becca, to whom i was bitchy yesterday. i told ben sorrowfully last nite that sometimes i'm just mean -- i don't know why, really. i get resentful or hold grudges for offenses that people don't even realize they've committed. i ought to talk to her but i haven't seen her yet today. bah. tis the season to beg forgiveness anyway, i guess.

honestly, what's more interesting than people?
"n.b.: robert benchley. please come home. nothing is forgiven"
-- d. p.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

last nite khadijah approached me about codirecting for colored girls who have considered suicide.... she's never directed before but wants to do this for black history month. i won't be here then, i said. she still wants me to help: this semester, while i'm around. coaching the actors on lines, helping w/ characters. she'll handle the movement/dance aspect later after winter break. she seemed frazzled -- marc had just lectured her on the necessity of having a VISION before attempting to put on a play and gotten himself all worked up. he directed her in a show last year by the same author; i imagine he feels a little posessive.
i'd never read for colored girls ... so i promised that i'd think about it; told her to calm down and not let marc undermine her confidence in herself (standard advice); and went to ponder the question.
i wrote and directed a stupid little play in sixth grade that i was proud of at the time. last semester, becca and i co-directed a scene called "date w/ a stranger." we made it more complicated than it needed to be by taking the two characters and splicing them into two each -- i.e.: two men named clark, two women named paula, all sitting in a row. we played around w/ it a lot, and our actors contributed ideas and opinions, and we made it work. actually it rocked, and it was really funny, which you don't get too much of around here. (we like our drama dark and inscrutable, and usually either centuries old or so post-modern it was written five years from now.)
i also stage managed another of marc's plays, neil labute's "bash," during which process i was constantly plotting to wrest control away from him. i didn't want to be in charge of gathering chairs; i had insight. that was kindof frustrating, altho marc did listen to me sometimes and i got some interaction w/ the actors. marc warns that i will have a similarly frustrating experience doing this play b/c khadijah is as stubborn as he is.
i don't know if any of the above qualifies me. i do want to direct this semester but this certainly isn't what i had in mind: it's a seriously intense piece; if done well, i'm sure it's incredibly moving. the language is gorgeous, it's poetry, expressive without being pretentious or abstruse. but it is abstract, and expressionist, neither of which i have any experience w/, and it's about an anger i can't relate to first-hand. what the hell do i know about growing up under these circumstances? i'm fucking privileged, like almost anyone you'd run into on the internet: white, educated, upper-middle-class. never really denied anything by parents, by life.
on the other hand, this is an opportunity. i'll never be brave enuf to attempt something this ambitious on my own or even to work on something so foreign. this has the potential to make me very uncomfortable -- that can be invaluable.

in other news, after ragging on ben for the zoo that is his dorm (first ants, then a mouse) and declaring i'd never visit there again, we found a mouse ourselves in the barn. karma?
and some jackass keeps calling and asking for me, leaving his name as "jamal" or, shit, what was the other? something else that begins w/ a "j". joel, who is always the one who answers, is a credulous guy but he has his limits. i just think it's kindof dumb and counterproductive but done enuf dumb and counterproductive things in the name of humor that i can probably chalk this up to karma too.
ross rebecca ben and i are all in the library, alternately working and making nuisances of ourselves. much recent discussion of a) whether ross should hook up w/ someone while alyssa is faraway and otherwise engaged (spiritually); b) if a) yes, then w/ whom?; c) should becca as well and w/ whom?; d) and what should happen over fall break. we' ve had these plans to visit ross's mythical house in "wanakena" which is in the "adirondacks" (please note that thru the use of quotation marks, i am conveying that i'm not sure these "places" exist) for about as long as we've known each other. they've never worked out, always for lack of a car. i refuse to predict whether this will be Different. i live my life free of expectations -- it's less messy that way.

ester's rules of happiness: 1) want what you can have; 2) don't need what you want; 3) enjoy what you're good at.

much drama recently. an urgent-seeming guestbook message from ari. an intense one from jay. an unexpected (serendipitous?) invitation by an acquaintance to co-direct a play for black history month that i've never read and feel rather unqualified to helm. it could easily be an excellent, unique experience for me, or it could be awful and uncomfortable all the way thru. ilana's dorm struck by a fierce, site-specific tornado. ben frenzied. joel unintentionally creating a shortlived but frightening grease fire in our kitchen: he was more affected than the kitchen was and more ashamed than burnt.
me tired. damn my fellow barnies: when are we going home?

Monday, September 24, 2001

lana insinuated that i write differently, or have been writing differently, this past month. she didn't give specifics. i wonder whether, now that my audience has slimmed down, i'll abandon whatever new tactics i've put on. there are still strangers, people w/ whom i'll never have a conversation, reading what i write here. does it matter that it'll be closer to ten than a hundred per day? i wonder.
anyway, all writing is for an audience, even if you keep it theoretically chaste and tucked away in a real-space notebook. behind every diarist is the anne-frank-sylvia-plath-virginia-woolf-inspired knowledge that if you die before you're 40, there's always the possibility that someone out there wants to hear your voice, cut off as it was so cruely and so prematurely before your song was done. essentially writers are performers, performers egotists, and there you go. but what's the point in feeling bad about it? by that score, most of the world is indicted. certainly most of the worthwhile folks.

i really don't like to think of myself as an egotist. but it's more or less inevitable, isn't it? if you write -- or, more accurately, if you make an effort to publish -- you're assuming you have something interesting to say; you assume you're worth the paper you're printed on. you're saying, I think I'm good; probably even Better; possibly Best. what craziness.
last nite becca ross and i stayed up obscenely late corrolating appearances to personalities. could there be some connection b/w metabolisms and characters? ross has a thesis about a certain type of girl who invaribly looks a certain way. becca argues. we pore over the cygnet, debating, finding only one exception to ross's rule. it's 2:35 a.m., we shouldn't be up wasting time like this -- which is one of the reasons why, roughly six hours later, ross and i wake w/ a start and rush to class, trudging thru underbrush and heavy moist air. i feel like i'm in jurassic park b/c of the backpack and the general surreal spongy feeling of the day.
history is good, tho (if only i could manage to stop yawning), as is lunch w/ mariah later. she complains about a girl who talks too much in her class and i know exactly immediately who she must mean; the same girl is in my history class, only i'm more sympathetic to her; i concoct stories of a childhood that shaped her in a particular way; mariah remains skeptical. we encounter ben in sharples, equipped w/ headphones (wsrn started broadcasting today) and backpack; we all sit together and after listening to mariah and i chat for a while, he observes that women talk more about People (which he finds petty) and men more about Things (which we do.) both talk about Ideas. we discuss this thought intelligently for a while, then the danger/usefulness of Generalizations as a whole.

later, film class: i arrive half an hour early by mistake but luckily Ayja (sp?) does too and we talk til beloved prof Sunka arrives. once back at barn, scribble some reflections. ben appears. i smile at him. "guess what i'm writing about," i say. "me?" he asks. "no," i say. "People."
in no particular order: free love? hair as a defining characteristic. jamal who asked for me by name. convincing joel, who took the call, that i've never known anyone named jamal in my life. awful lyrics. hilarious website. hundreds of pages of history reading; 12 federalist papers. ("do you have to seem sentimental to be sentimental?") chub. a left-over tray of sushi. a meeting of my sclp group, amusing for 12 girls, 11 of whom are white, 6 of whom are jewish, 4(?) of whom are queer; all of whom are good, sensitive liberals who speak in carefully tactful questions, and invariably wear solid colored shirts of red, blue, purple, or white. vegan chocolate-chip bread. stefanie suddenly faint, revived by my fetching water and general fussing. memories of last nite's red-eyed garret: "i don't even know who jesus is!"

passing two bowls around the table at paces, our student-run (this year, jolly-run) cafe -- one filled w/ squash soup, the other not. dropping the bowl instinctively in front of elena, ruby's quasi-bunny, when targeted by the paces staff for smoking ("hey!" she protests.)(she went home this weekend to see her quasi-bunny. i asked ruby if he cared or if anything was declared. "what the fuck do i care?" grinned he.) 20 oz of diet coke, not obtained at paces b/c they're out of sodas, not to mention spoons, milkshakes, mocha, and champagne, half of which they spilled all over the floor. talk of a jaunt to iceland over fall break. when is fall break, anyway? adirondacks first. sure...

Sunday, September 23, 2001

ben's talking to his mom on the phone behind me. that's always a funny thing. does she know i'm here? should i leave? ('don't leave,' he whispers, cupping his hand over the receiver.) i chat w/ rob, who was crazy last nite and this morning is occupied w/ his belle&sebastian and the ants crawling all over his bookcase. i wander back in here, sit at the computer. ahh, computer.
last nite was a lot of fun. ben and ross threw another party, this time situtated it in this beautiful walled in courtyard. adjunct to it was another party, one w/ alcohol and which had been well-publicized; but ben and ross had better music and the novelty of an outside, lovely location, not to mention $200 worth of sushi, so they wooed about 200 people over and then kept them. at 2, which was when the thing was slated to end, there were still folks pleading for them to keep playing. it was incredible. all evening long, people approached me and told me how great it was and how much they enjoyed it. becca was wearing the tight three-quarters dress that dips up the front that we bought at mustard seed; she was dancing her heart out and loving it.

shit. the phone conversation has shifted from smalltalk to wartalk ('i didn't say do nothing -- drop some food on them!') how about televisions? oh, he just mentioned that: little screens showing international leaders denouncing the taliban. i don't know if that would work; that might just get people riled up. altho it would be wonderfully ironic if osama was killed by a stray Panasonic set to Fox.
and there are ants everywhere.

focus, focus. yesterday marc and i went into philly. we met jolly, jeff (who goes to skool w/ us and went to high skool w/ joc) and their mutual pennfriend ina, whose first exposure to marc was walking in on him in a compromising position. we went to a mediocre dinner and then split up: marc and i to see bread and tulips, which was charming, and jolly jeff and ina to see some band from iceland in concert.
later, matt rubin and joel, who went to the same concert, proclaimed it the best they'd ever been to -- they looked like they'd been shooting up, they were dazed and dazzled. joc seemed less affected but she liked it too. everyone regrouped at the party.

it was quite an active day. to make the post-movie train, marc and i had to run nine blocks. earlier, becca and i lugged all our laundry to the ville, altho we got out of having to lug it all back by smiling pretty at a man who was doing his at the same time and asking for a ride.
forget it, i can't concentrate. he's pacing behind me, getting louder and more upset. i should go home: i have to eat, i have work to do. "we're treading a fine line here b/w war w/ islam and coalition w/ islam." oh, he's backed off -- he's apologizing -- "i love you too mom" -- and, oh man, oh man, "oh, happy birthday. i totally forgot." jesus. :-) ("it was a week ago," he adds.) anyway.

officially off blogger's page now, by the way. oh well. my 15 minutes are up.

Friday, September 21, 2001

i apologize for the melodramatic nature of the past post. i think i just needed to get myself so worked up that i'd go drop in on the bunny and have it out. so i did, and felt better w/in 20 minutes, and spent the subsequent hours w/ him much calmer and more cheerful. thanks for bearing w/ me.

i returned to the barn finally to eat dinner while he went to a wsrn meeting (he's program director of our radio station.) and hey, as long as i'm plugging swat publications, here's the link to our paper the phoenix for which i write my philm reviews. this week we put out the philly guide which is pretty funny, if you feel like taking a look.

so becca and i were going to meet ben and the train, hopefully simultaneously, and subsequently ross in the city. but we watched septa come and go and ben did not appear. we foresook the train for the bunny, who eventually showed up. we sat on the platform for a while, the three of us, chatting w/ those who passed by, bickering playfully, and generally enjoying the nite (which is beautiful.) pointless to city, we decided, and we left again: becca to cs hw, ben to photo, me to ... well, what do i do w/ my free time? read the sot-weed factor, which ross gets upset to see me w/ b/c technically he's reading it as well and he's sure i'll finish it before he does. it's really funny. or perhaps listen to the past didn't go anywhere, the utah philips cd i just got in the mail today, which i purchased from half. i remember listening to it on the way back from falconridge. oh fun.

later, a movie. but which?
i feel bitter and tired, despite having just had a white-chocolate-chip-dark-chocolate cookie. i'm in the same place i was at this time last week which also usually tickles me. didn't get to sleep last nite til 4:45 despite needing very much to replenish said supply. of course, then i didn't wake up til 11:30: phone ringing, becca wondering where i was, stat 2 hw to do (due at 2). i dashed to mccabe.
we worked, we delivered (a minute after 2), we ate. now we're at kohlberg, the coffee bar, and i'm brooding.

i don't like making demands on people. i don't like having to ask for things. and i hate not being able to express myself. i cried last nite in bed, feeling full of the kind of pressure that's sometimes relieved by crying.
jealous: he could speak, i couldn't; upset: he was upset, i couldn't help; passive: not being able to vocalize what i need. this goddamned stupid war-which-isn't-even-a-war-yet. has it already made him crazy or do i just fear it will? can i see it happening so clearly that in my mind, it already has? how can i just go on w/ my petty life, he said. he's under pressure too: to do all he can, to effect change. this environment only adds stress as everyone is becoming obsessed; how can he avoid that? i quoted kipling at one point, "if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs," and he turned over in fury (4:35 a.m.) and went to sleep. he still held one of my arms; i covered my eyes w/ the other, thinking about explosions and whether or not i wanted him to wake up; fifteen minutes later i made myself lie back and sleep. when i woke up (11:35 a.m.), he was gone.

self-fulfilling prophecy? i don't want to conduct all our conversations at 2 a.m. i want to feel as free to talk as i have this year and as i did over the summer; i don't want constriction and, what, shyness? i want this to be less dramatic. sir bush, much of this depends on you. please don't let me down. i heard you speak last nite (oy, lack of a concrete opinion on this subject is stressing me out considerably as well ...) -- you didn't declare war, you seemed to make more sense than usual. i was almost proud of you.
how many days is it til october 31? should i be counting down? uch, god.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

my friend yoni who goes to nyu freelances for the washington post, and two of his pictures are on their website right now: it's numbers 16 and 17 in the gallery. he said he used skills attained in gadna (israeli military training that we all went thru for a week while we were on our skool's post-graduation four-month program there.) i wasn't surprised to hear that -- after all, he won the award for best male soldier. i, on the other hand, contracted a bacterial infection while there and was put on codeine; my memory of the week is kind of a blur. one evening, we were gathered up late, unexpectedly, for a simulated covert operation. we had to creep around in the bushes and try to get the jump on another group. our leader gave us the order to lie in wait and prepare to pounce, and i promptly fell asleep face down in the brambles. needless to say, i didn't win any awards.

oh, israel stories. i have plenty. like when we went snorkeling in eilat, and i jumped in, pretending to be as brave as my friends, only to remember, once helpless among the waves, that i hadn't gone swimming in years. the water was cold, the mask rubbery and constricting -- worse, the other pier was leagues away but the current flowed singlemindedly in that direction ... i grabbed the rope that you weren't supposed to touch and clung to it, trying to keep from panicking and putting my feet down on the coral (altho i have to admit, that was not my first concern). as folks passed by me, i waved and smiled like a politician. finally it dawned on some of them that i am a colossal doof and they alerted a lifeguard -- Gabe, a co'nellian -- to rescue me. i apologized the whole way as he swam, w/ me under his arm like a package marked Return to Sender, back to the pier from which i'd so blithely jumped.
it had always been a fantasy of mine to be rescued from insane circumstances by someone i'd fall in love w/. the summer i was at cty, i was always looking for the opportunity to be plowed down by an arty skateboarder. never happened. this could be it, i thought excitely -- but gabe was gay, i was soon informed, so even that was a bust. ah well.

what a tagent. :-) anyway. the peace rally this morning went off fine. people spoke and other people listened, withstanding rain and intermittent republican viewpoints. everyone wore a white armband that looked like a bandage. i contemplated getting one myself and decided i didn't want to til i could figure out exactly what it stood for.
no one particular speech swayed me; i'm still not too sure what i think. ben has made it clear that he's not a pacifist. i'm pretty sure i'm not -- i'm against violence but i don't think it's always wrong.

i just saw on blogger's main page that babblebook has
fallen to the last spot on the Of Note list. i knew this day would come but it saddens me nonetheless. so to the thousands of strangers who have streamed by here in the past few weeks (and i know you have from sitemeter even tho you don't leave comments) i just wanted to say thanks for looking. it's been damn cool.
feel free to stop by again when, in a week or so, i'm back to writing to entertain my loyal six-person fanbase.
ani in anticipation:
"'cuz you've been gone exactly two weeks
two weeks and three days
and let's just say that things look different now
different in so many ways

i used to be a superhero
no one could touch me
not even myself
you are like a phone booth
that i somehow stumbled into
and now look at me
i am just like everbody else

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

so here i am, back in the fuzzy protective arms of swarthmore pa. before i left this afternoon, my family all gave me advice. "don't take this so seriously," my father counseled. his position is that there is going to be a war of sorts -- when i arrived home, he was poring over his ancient german atlas w/ a magnifying glass and pointing out where troops'll be stationed for maximum effect. he's almost cheerful about it: he thinks we'll march in, stern-faced and flag-waving and restructure the governments of the countries, "force them to enter the 21st century."
"take this as seriously as you want," my grandfather counseled. remember vietnam: students brought down a president ("yeah, but then they got nixon," my father points out. grandpa ignores him and goes on.) students can change things if they care enuf, if they fight hard. his position is that we're going to start a strategic, subtle campaign of assasinations. there won't be much media coverage but we will carefully take out the world terrorist leaders. he opposed the gulf war, and he and my father still argue over whether we should have gotten involved.
"don't lose your sense of humor," my mother counseled.
"and don't forget to be happy," said my grandmother.
hopefully, i will, i will, i will, and i won't. respectively.

i went to sleep last nite feeling a little ill. woke up feeling better but declined again, enuf so to leave services, drive home, and go back to bed. headaches and nausea, nothing too serious, and w/ me, always as much psychological as physical. arguing drains me, indecision drains me, and for some reason dry cereal and water (my breakfasts) have begun to make me sick. my father explained my absence at the post-services lunch: "her boyfriend's a pacifist. he's a nice russian boy, he's 20, he doesn't want to get shot. i don't blame him; if i were his age, i wouldn't want war either. she's worried." that made me laugh and when i laughed, i felt better and i went downstairs to rejoin the company and defend myself.
i am worried, tho. i'm worried that everyone's going to be aggressively leftist here and i'm going to be alienated. i don't have a strong view on the subject yet. guess i need to, huh? hmm ...

last nite i watched quiz show, which is about how people lost faith in tv. all these movies, like the insider and all the president's men, where people lose faith in tobacco companies or the american government and it's such a tragedy, don't move me as much as they probably should. i find it amusing in a detached sort of way that people ever had faith in those institutions to begin w/.

it was good to be home, rejuvenating to see my friends. avi -- the guy who wrote me the email i posted up here -- called me from Michigan and apologized. he's been really stressed out and took out his ire on me since he couldn't at his campus as a whole. he might restate his position a little more carefully and email it, in which case i'll post it. i have no problem w/ discussion, and i told him i definitely sympathize w/ his stress. when he's done w/ college, he goes straight into the army (he's in ROTC.) if anyone has cause to be stressed out, he does.
it's kind of bizarre -- as soon as i'm off campus, i feel my oh-so-impressionable brain changing shape to conform to its new surroundings. i expected to fight w/ my brother adam on the drive down yesterday but we didn't fight. well, at little, at first, instinctively: college students are too damn anti-patriotic! no they're not they're just getting their first exposure to intelligent arguments as to why this country isn't as great as they thought! stupid stuff.
after that, we found common ground rather quickly in the idea that america should form a global anti-terrorism alliance. he told me about how america bodily reformed japan's government post-WWII: we left gen. mcarthur in charge of the country, gave them a copy of our constitution, and
japan changed. i'd never realized it happened that way but the country did evolve -- who would have expected fifty years ago that it would occupy the place on the international stage now that
it does?
i have to go to shul again now. more later. i'll be back on campus this evening. happy new year and i hope wherever you are, you don't have sesame street blaring behind you (my little brother has it on.)

Monday, September 17, 2001

i also wanted to mention: 1) today = 7 months. not bad, not bad. 2) rosh hashanah begins tonite. for those of you who don't know, that's the jewish new year. last year right around this time the second grand-scale palestinian uprising began. i'm beginning to think that september is a damn dangerous month. maybe we should just do away with it altogether.

in the spirit of religion, new beginnings, new moons, and other cleansing things, i just wanted to wish everyone a little bit of calm. it's a crazy time, i know. but perspective can work wonders. whether you're a patriot or not, whether you're mourning or mad at the arabs or at our government, i hope you'll take a moment or two to breathe. remember that life exists outside of and beyond this issue. that maybe there isn't only one right answer.

shana tova ou metuka -- a good year and a sweet one. everybody.
a friend of mine from high skool just emailed me this:
"I seriously hope that one day you find the guts to poke your head out of the little sheltered world you've been in for so long and look around some.� Aside from the facts you and your friends got wrong about EU influence and the "booming" Asian economy, you've also completely failed to grasp the relevance of these attacks to US and to the world at large.� While I must admit that this last bit is probably the least important thing on the grand scale of the world, you managed to minimize and mock� everything that me, and many of my friends have dedicated our lives to. I thought better of you."
i put it up here not to deride what he's saying but to honestly ask, is this what people think i am, and have been, doing? b/c it was not my intention at all. if i'm sometimes lighthearted here w/ respect to certain issues, it's b/c writing is entertaining, at least in part. i never meant to insult anyone who believes something different than i do.
the author of the email is the kind of person who would sacrifice for this country, who is already involved in the military and has planned to be so for years. my brother is not. when i mentioned him before, re: his declaration to enlist, i got angry first b/c i'd be worried about him, but also primarily b/c he's never expressed any like interest before and is probably just blowing off testosterone. i would never suggest that the u.s. armed forces are all bluster or that their giving their lives for america isn't admirable and humbling.
but i still say that i hope it isn't necessary. no, i'm not equating what america would do to what the terrorists did. i've heard folks here make that argument and i don't agree. i also don't believe that we should bomb the hell out of a country to blow off our national testosterone. i don't want people's lives destroyed. not muslims targeted on the streets, not innocent veiled women in afganistan, not more of our best-and-brightest either in the army or in our economic and commercial centers. murder just sparks more murder and w/ the weapons available to everyone today, war is too dangerous an enterprise to flirt w/.

feel free to email me if you disagree but also feel free to say so in the comments (just click on "thoughts?" and add your own.) if you email me, tell me if you don't want to be quoted -- i won't put your name -- on the site. but discussion is almost-always productive.
speaking of which, last nite's barn discussion was re: threeways. very indepth, very interesting, not really what you'd expect. we had among the four of us only one enthusiast (purely in theory; none of us had attempted it in practice.) but i need more sleep than these amorous/discoursive nights afford me. it'll be good to get home, even for a day.

Sunday, September 16, 2001

"this whole email is a secret.� i know you'll tell ben, becca, mark,
ross, jamie, tamar, liz, and ilana, but i would appreciate if that was
it.� NO matt rubin" says becca. she's hilarious. she entertained ruby and i, who trained into the city to see her and her close friend emily who's also ruby's close friend (they grew up in scarsdale together.) the four of us, plus emily's bunny josh, partied on her roof after wandering around the city through the "there's no place like penn" festival at which persons dished out free junk food and studiously ignored some jam band on a makeshift stage. the original plan had been to eat someplace decent but we couldn't agree and just ended up in a small ghetto-y pizza parlor. a tv was on in the front of the place and becca stood with her back to it, determined to be cheerful and wacky regardless. we were all rather cheerful and wacky; that was the charm of the nite.
ruby and i made it back to campus in time to see memento. after, i met up w/ ben and he and i went back to his room, in the process crossing thru rob's Den of Iniquity. the scene as i saw it was: marc splayed out on the futon, wasted and melancholy; jocelyn, all glammed up in a magenta wig, tight black clothes, platforms, and blue glitter galaxies around her eyes, pulling the letters out of a keyboard and placing them in a bowl; and rob, whose pupils were dilated to the size of teacups, e-baying.

this morning i returned to the barn to a scolding from ross, which i deserved, for departing suddenly and disrupting plans. then (swat)becca and joel and i chilled in the common room, alternately singing "the fox went out on a chilly nite" and talking sex. there has been much of that recently. the title of this last conversation, we decided, would be, "would you go down on jesus?" i'm sorry you missed it. really.
also a less pleasant conversation w/ my brother adam who declared that if america goes to war, he will enlist. he's picking me up tomorrow on his way home from co'nell for the holidays; i imagine we'll fight the whole way.
it reminded me of a discussion i had recently w/ ross: "what would you die/kill for?" ourselves, we decided; our friends and family. but a country? i hope it doesn't come to that. for anyone.

Saturday, September 15, 2001

i expected to do something last nite: first memento was showing on campus, then i was supposed to hang out w/ rob and marc, and then hopefully sleep. but while ross and i trooped off to meet ben at the showing, we were greeted w/ the news that there had been a mistake. no memento, only animal house. from the mass exodus out of the theater, you'd think there'd been a bomb threat. again, only at swat.

ben ross and i went in search of other amusement, ended up in the performance arts building where they gave me an impromptu concert on two steinways, amazingly (to me) able to coordinate their improvisations. their desire to make music finally satiated, we moved on to mccabe library where we argued over which one (1) movie to rent. ben was the only one w/ a card and he refused to get out more than one at a time. amazingly (to me) b/c over the summer i rented either 7 or 5 at a time, depending on which movie store i frequented. we settled on vertigo and took it back to the barn, but as it turned out, ben got depressed talking to his mother about the situation and went home; and rebecca, who had gotten herself depressed following the media, needed to be comforted. so we read two vonnegut stories out loud instead and watched the BBC version of six characters in search of an author, which put me to sleep.

not too exciting a nite. there was supposed to be a party at the lodges but that just got canceled. we're going into the city, maybe to the fringe festival. maybe morrocan (sp?) food. i've been hearing that people need to pump money into this economy of ours. guess we should do our part.

alyssa, ross's girlfriend who's abroad for the semester meditating w/ buddhist monks in japan, begs that we sign petitions, mail the president, attend rallies, generally do everything we can to prevent war. i've yet to be told about a single rally or be offered a petition to sign. my mother, who i talked to this morning, says no one in the "real world" thinks we shouldn't retaliate in some way, if only by just bombing taliban headquarters. it's not as complicated as war vs. peace, she says. she gets scared just walking down k street, where she works in dc -- there are armed national guardsmen on every corner. people need to feel safe.
it is complicated. are strategic attacks the answer? can we possibly kill only those directly responsible? will there be no repercussions even for that?
we have to go to ikea to buy a couch. ross and i decided this morning that we should go collect those responsible, bring them back to america in chains and force them to rebuild the trade center. that, we decided, was a more constructive, more human solution. yes, we decided, (mr. president, are you listening?) we should run the world.

Friday, September 14, 2001

oh man. oh man oh man oh man, little kohlberg iMac, i could kiss you, i could. oh happiness. oh eternal, blue-sky-supportive-friends-loving-family-warm-bunny-bubbly-college-type joy. i fixed it. yesterday this blog was fucked, today it's fine. i fixed it. oh yum.
last nite we had a dinner party at the barn. we've averaging one a week, which is fine tho a little stressful -- or maybe i feel the stress more when i don't really have a friend at the table. last nite's guests consisted of becca's friend from high skool and her friend, a friend of ross's from the class above ours, and a friend of joel's who's new here. technically the boy has junior status b/c he spent the last 2 years at deep springs. we're not allowed to mention that, tho. he irked me, just something about him; becca too. there was something odd in his manner when he related to the females in the room. first joel defended the guy, then after some consideration said that he didn't mean to have been insensitive to our emotions and reactions. we're allowed our opinions and he respects that; only, he asks us, please keep an open mind.
becca and i sequestered ourselves and watched chinatown -- jack nicholson always calms me down.
ross and i spent three hours talking. ben materialized at 3 a.m., slightly drunk and adorable. now becca and i are on campus and we're supposed to be doing stat work. i am at peace. if only america can stay the same, i'll be happy. the odds are way slimmer than i am, but i will continue to hope.
all the ex-hippies will come tripping out of the woodwork w/ flowers in their hair. they should be running the country now. what's wrong w/ them? don't they remember their rhetoric? love, man, not war. love. and lots of pot.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

okay, something's fucked up w/ the template -- sorry, guys -- i can't seem to fix it, so bear w/ me for a little bit til i can
i have been alerted that my links for nori and justin were off so here they are again: nori and justin. sometimes i type too fast.

i have to meet ross in a second to go shopping. yesterday at some point i kicked off my shoes and walked into our blue bathroom in the barn, humming to some music ross had playing, and i was suddenly filled w/ feeling -- as tho someone had hooked up an iv -- of how happy i was to be oncampus and simultaneously off of it, to be w/ my friends, to be safe. it was rather jumbled and fleeting but enuf to make me leave and spontaneously hug rebecca. i do that often so it didn't surprise her too much. she hugged back. later in the evening she asked me anxiously if she has long legs and if she's an evil person for writing a story in which kids, even while coping w/ tragedy, have selfish thoughts pop into their heads like, "is this going to ruin the year?" yes and no, i answered respectively. she seemed relieved after my explanations and thanked me. we all fulfill different functions for each other.
last nite it was joel who made me feel stupid. i sat at the table, quietly furious, until i left for campus. i kept biting back retaliatory remarks; in the end i was glad i did. house harmony, house harmony.
being w/ people is an intricate thing. at any moment, i am -- or run the risk of being -- a bad girlfriend/student/barnmate/person/friend. what can i do? last nite i dreamt that i was back in high skool conducting an affair w/ a spanish teacher who looked more scandinavian than meditteranean. i literally came up to his bicep. it was absolutely ridiculous. in the dream, we were at a party and dancing and he kept reassuring me everything was okay.
i need fabio to tell me everything's okay? maybe i'm losing it.

there's a poem rattling around in my head, something about jesus and oil paintings, or about marc, or about toys -- i can't really tell yet. i haven't written a poem in over a month. wow. to a degree, the whole writing process is akin to getting my period. it occurs to me at some point that an interval has passed and that's usually the signal that the cycle's about to start again. of course, i write poems w/ much greater frequency but it still seems very organic and while it's occurring, very distracting. i can't concentrate on much else w/o flashing back to either.
was that too weird? did i just turn off 76% of my readership? do i have a readership, or will i, once blogger takes me off the main page?
when i went home this afternoon i made a collage of some photographs that i hadn't put up on my walls. it's adorable. i don't know why i did it. ross was making carrot cake; i think i felt a need to be functional.
when people say they're scared of me, or act like it, what do they mean? sometimes i feel like the least intimidating person on the planet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

dude, i was totally kidding about nostradamus but here's a prophecy after all. (via
of all the headlines i've seen so far, my favorite is this: "the bastards!" from yesterday's village voice. (link via peter.)
in film & media this afternoon, my prof did the best possible thing. she turned the 3-hour lesson -- which was supposed to focus on citizen kane, only last nite's showing was canceled -- into an in-depth examination of the footage and the coverage. we incorporated things we'd learned so far and actually used it as a tool to learn more. the tone was just right: respectful, reasonable and intellectual. she didn't try to get us to feel anything, tho it was all right if people did, which i found a relief.
classfolk pointed out that the media, following george II's and powell's leads, are trying to incite us to rage. be angry! they cry. want to strike back! let emotions blind you then lead you stumbling after us.
i'm not angry, i pointed out to the girl next to me, who replied that she was (she's from new york). even so, retaliation is the last thing on her mind.

one of the most fascinating repercussions i've seen has been in the blogging world. people are writing and sharing their personal impressions/reactions as this drama unfolds.
that's nearly unprecedented. it's like a book is being written in serial form and you can read it page by page as it develops, get different perspectives (nori was in austria when she heard; tinman was in manhattan,) see how everyone makes sense of it in their own way. someday these will all be primary source documents. the future will want to know what we were thinking.

rebecca's mom was on cbs news this morning -- i saw her interviewed briefly in a clip our film prof showed us. today's coverage has become much more polished and accordingly colder; i'm less interested in watching news at all. as ross says, what more can they tell us? they can just show off their kitchy computerized graphics and replay the footage one more time.

meanwhile, in matters not related to this, becca called me Brechtian b/c i interrupt life's scenes sometimes to call attention to certain choices people make or specific words they say. having not read brecht, i can't have much of a reaction. my impression was that he was a cold guy; she says no. *shrug* ross and i squabbled over bananas this morning. who knew they would be such a controversial issue. marc is back from the hospital -- he had a cyst removed. i guess that's about it, news-wise.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

this [link deleted] made me shudder. ben came up behind me a minute ago while i was reading thru posts at and i had misted over. i've gone back and forth all day. when i first saw the video footage, i nearly cried; at other points, i've made caustic comments or tried to be funny, as has justin. i listened to bush's uninspiring, uninspired preachiness. i listened to npr alternate b/w straightforward reports and sorta melodramatic somber string music. i discussed w/ my barnmates the future of america: will, as joel believes, george II's videogame inclinations get the better of the little of his good judgement there is and he starts bombing countries the way frustrated teenagers break windows? he thinks this is the beginning of the end of america's position of superiority in the world. rebecca concurs: the eu is getting stronger, america's been in decline (ross chimes in: asian economies are booming) -- we're going to swing our arms too wildly, desperate to strike an invisible/mutable foe, and we're going to lose our balance and fall. hard.
my barnies are pessimists. i have a good feeling about america, maybe just because i'm in it. maybe we won't be an isolated First in the world -- so what? it'll be good for us. i don't think we'll meet so drastic a fate. most of the people i've heard speak so far have been too rational. everyone is cautioning against immediately blaming the arabs; advising restraint; etc. so far we don't sound like a country that's going to get so wrapped up in our own objectless fury that we shoot ourselves off the map.

ross drew pink "tears" down my cheek that won't scrub off. they've faded some but people keep asking me what they are. ben just hugged me again and told me to do something else. i have plenty of history reading; it's just hard to concentrate. a guy is circling asking for a spare copy of moby dick. only at swat.
life continues tomorrow. slowly and painfully for some, less so for others. yet to be determined how for me, but rest assured, you will be kept informed.
this just in: arafat shocked. makes me think of that famous claude raines scene from casablanca.
so apparently the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who claimed responsibility for the attacks at 10:30, have now backed away from that. their leader has expressed condolences. the above article has details -- and it made me want to vomit, especially the part where the woman said she's looking forward to the next similar action in israel:
"Demonstrators distributed candy in a traditional gesture of celebration. Several Palestinian gunmen shot in the air, while other marchers carried Palestinian flags. Nawal Abdel Fatah, 48, wearing a long, black dress, threw sweets in the air, saying she was happy because ``America is the head of the snake, America always stands by Israel in its war against us.''

Her daughter Maysoon, 22, said she hoped the next attack would be launched against Tel Aviv."

please, please, no.

'Queen Elizabeth II sent a message of condolence expressing her "disbelief and total shock."' according to this article from doesn't that make you feel better?
my god.
everyone in europe is expressing condolences. israel is pulling out everyone from their embassies around the world. i wonder if they know something we don't or if they're just being safe.
the skyline will look entirely different now. what year did the british burn down the white house? 18-something, right? we rebuilt it. i wonder whether we'll do the same or whether, out of morbid stubbornness or plain nostalgia, we leave the rubble. or, better, erect a monument?
did nostradamus say anything about this? that's what i want to know.

my mother called me early this morning while becca and i were listening to the radio. we were still laughing about it b/c it seemed so freakish and unbelievable. i told her to take grandpa and grandma and go to rockville. my dad's safe in albuquerque. it's like independence day, becca and i squealed to each other. george II got on the radio to stammer about how this "would not stand." we rolled our eyes and said, shut UP. that man is a moron.
we brought a walkman to class, for which we were late, and b/w that class and the next someone told me that the towers had actually collapsed. i didn't believe him at first but another person confirmed it. in my next class, polisci, my prof came in wearing a makeshift black armband, looken shaken and near-epileptic. he said we were free to go (only about 10 of us were there anyway) but if we wanted to stay and talk about it, we could. i lingered a few minutes, then walked out in search of a computer. i ran into alison in kohlberg and the two of us went to LPAC, where someone had hooked up a huge screen and people were scattered throughout the theater. we watched peter jennings ramble on about wars and terrorism while behind him, on the monitor, the twin towers exploded and fell, smoke rose in thick rings around the neighboring buildings, and people scattered, holding shirts over their noses, over and over again on a loop.

eventually we went to lunch. everyone was just as shaken there. who doesn't have family in either ny or dc? almost all of philly has been closed down as well: the train service into the city, the principal train station in the city. oh, and disney land has just been closed. i guess america's covering all its bases. as long as the liberty bell and disney land are safe, we're okay.
how much longer will this go on? will they rebuild the twin towers? will they reopen the airports? i'm sorry, i know i'm just reitering the same questions everyone's asking. but christ. people are calling this the worst terrorist attack and most serious threat to america since pearl harbor. and then we knew who our enemies were AND had a strong, reassuring president.
i think i'm going to go home and hook up the tv. and call my mom again.
i hope everyone's safe.

Monday, September 10, 2001

dude, i'm supposed to be reading e-reserves. for those of you unfamiliar w/ the notion, e-reserves are an unnatural phenomenon which occurs when professors decide that legibility makes reading too easy and scan printed material online. the assumption, i gather, is that everything here should be challenging; otherwise we students will tire and transfer to princeton (#1, and one has to ask, Why?). but having billions of polisci pages to read is worse than knowing you have to read them on a computer screen, on adobe acrobat no less, squinting as you pull down w/ that doofy little hand. yuck.

i was thinking today about how passive-agressive i can be. i say incendiary things to people, hoping they'll start a fight so that i can then say what i really want to. i could start the fight myself, dammit -- why don't i? haven't quite figured that part out. besides, the majority of the time, the person whom i'm trying to instigate into instigating a confrontation usually doesn't get it and my ire shrugs, yawns, and wanders in another direction.
also today, i discovered that the same nite i dreamt liz asked me to come over b/c she was upset and i told her i'd be right over (only naturally i couldn't be), she actually was upset. talk about psychic links.

fust wuvdinner tonite was funny and fun. i luv my barnies. and lana, who called, and ben, who called but didn't leave his cellphone number (not ben-the-bunny; other ben, ben my oldest guyfriend. oh hell, here's a picture: ) and i luv ben I, the bunny -- i took a beyond-words picture of him and it's now hanging up on my computer in my room. every time i look at it, i smile like a fool. i am a fool.
according to this link from chris's page, i am most like a handful of webloggers i've never heard of. if anyone wants to check them out and get back to me, i'd be interested as always in another opinion. i'll do it myself too later today when i have more time.

as always, getting to the city yesterday relaxed me. in part it's just boarding a train, i think: there's something very soothing about that action. it reminds you that escape is easy, available, and quick. meeting newly-dyed becca whose sortapurple hair has apparently caused quite a stir on penn's rather conservatively dressed campus. we laughed at the differences b/w her skool and mine: where i go, you'd have to stick your head up your ass and walk around like that to get any reaction from people at all.
we went to pod, another of steven starr's asian fusian places in the area. the atmosphere is a trip, all bathroom white and 2001-like, with neon lights flashing in various corners and bizarre music that fades in and out of coherence. waitstaff (white shirts, blue pants) ask if it's your first time and explain the rituals as if you've crossed a border, and busboys (white shirts, orange pants) come by every few minutes, replace your plate and silverware, and wipe your table. becca and i lived it up, ordering (to share) an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. the waiter didn't think that would be enuf and gave us a salad too. it was all good, but put us back $30 each, so it's not something we were sure we'd do again. at least not w/o a parent.

now i have to meet marc for lunch. tonite stefanie's coming for dinner after african dance. i finished master and margarita which i heartily recommend. i wonder if i'll have time for anymore (much more) frivolous reading this semester ... so far i've been keeping myself in a state of denial and that can't last

Sunday, September 09, 2001

blah. reblogger, the service that runs the comments section of this page, just changed servers. that's why that's been down for a couple days. i just updated to his new version; unfortunately, the side effect was that all the comments that had been here are lost. sorry, guys. feel free to add new ones ... and/or solace.
i'm alone in a computer lab. marc scolded me a few minutes ago. among other things, he said that he and rachel block both love me, sure, but they find it hard to be around me since it seems like i have no problems, do no work, and have nothing to stress about. bull-shit. that got me angry: i do, i said; i just don't bitch about it. but from there he launched into a speech about how i don't see him enuf. finally we arranged a lunch date. he kissed on top of the head, lingering there for a moment or two, and left me, defeated and sapped.
again, blah. what right does anyone have to tell someone else they don't have problems?
i don't have time for this; i have reading to do. but i hate simply being told things. there are times when i take orders well -- like just being able to Do as Told. then there are times where i snap back, hard. diet coke is one sore spot; there are others. last nite i dreamt of looking for parking spaces but finding them all marked Handicapped. also of talking to liz, who was upset about something. i promised her i'd come right over, only to wake up and find that i couldn't.
evening in philly w/ (penn)becca. i'm beginning to get stressed. so much reading this week ....

Saturday, September 08, 2001

top 5 movies about dead people. go.
writing in willets, man ... yeahhh ... that's the stuff. i'm so glad i don't live in this building. it's all white cinderblock and vomit-absorbing carpets, which the athletes, who represent the majority of inhabitors here, make good use of. the smell is the worse part. but these are the only computers open to us poor barnies at 8-something on a saturday nite, so there it is.

last nite, ross and ben djed their dance party. people came, which was exciting; more freshman than folks we knew, which was not so much, but at least the froshes could dance. and did. it was impressive, really. people got very into it. i was a little enhanced, so to speak, which was appropriate, or at least traditional. last year at this time, mariah and i recollected as we did shots together, she and i got smashed in willets. this time, in addition to the alky, we met up w/ rob and his bowl. a bad combination, i know, i know. but i didn't feel like thinking. the boys would expect me to dance, and i find it difficult to dance when unenhanced. it's a confidence thing. alcohol is a great substitute for confidence, grace, lack of attraction, the need to be coherent ... little wonder it's retained its popularity over the years. especially at college. :-)

we've just met up w/ a freshman famous, or infamous, for being listed in the cygnet as "rogg". as he just explained to us, we may also know him for having given himself a concussion on day 1 and straining his groin playing ultimate frisbee. "i thought i had a hernia," he explains. "i had to reveal myself to the nurse at 12 o'clock at night and consequently the doctor the next morning. p.s.: they had cold hands." he's used the word "nevertheless" twice so far and he moves a lot when he speaks. the freshman class seems full of interesting characters. last nite there was no lack of people interpretative dancing, for one thing. i'm eternally impressed by people who do shit like that naturally.

eventually my mixture of substances knocked me out -- i fell asleep in a large chair in trotter, the building behind which ben and ross were feverishly conducting their party. rob woke up me and we stumbled over to his and ben's room, where he collapsed in his bed and i in ben's, still skirted and shirted and all that jazz. this morning i felt disgusting and left ben, who had joined me at some point during the night, to return to the barn. i spent the rest of the day lounging in pajamas, reading master and margarita, chillin w/ the barnies, and talking w/ various people (among them pennbecca who has gone and acquired herself another bunny. good fun, i say. and she seems happy. tomorrow we meet to watch her new bunny perform in some show and then go to pod.) tonite is going to be as calm as today was. i can only do craziness in small doses. dork? yes. and speaking of which, here is the working link to my review of ghost world. let me know if you agree.

Friday, September 07, 2001

i can't believe the difference a day makes. apparently blogger made me a Blog o' Note around 8/3. before that, i was averaging fewer than 20 visitors a day. immediately thereafter, the number jumped, and it's been escalating since: yesterday, the number was 340. over a thousand for the week. nuts! but exciting --

yesterday, my skool day ended at 12:35 and my weekend began. ross and i went back to the barn and made sandwiches to music and looked over pictures. i was near-giddy: it felt so good to leave campus, go to a house, pace through a kitchen, eat what you want, and sing, loudly. the glories of off-campus life.
the downside, of course, is that there are fewer social interactions. i decided to take some initiative to remedy that. i went back on campus and stayed there til 10:30, finding people to talk to and talking to them. jolly and kenny, a friend of ours from last year, bought me dinner in sharples, our dining hall, which strengthened my bond to our kitchen in the barn. god that place is a mess. i was always intimidated by the crowds and the noise. guess i'm such a bashful country girl at heart.
ruby's reading this as we speak -- he's next to me in the library. i scrolled down and showed him the descriptions of folk and he got so excited that he was in the cast of characters that his face turned salmon and he giggled. silly ruby.
i haven't seen too much of him this semester so far. between macking on the new freshman class and his 2-credit history seminar, i think he's been swamped. but we've run into each other and he always seems happy to see me, which i appreciate. i think b/c the barn-folk are so similar in a lot of ways, it's good for me to visit folk of a very different stripe. ruby is one; stefanie, who i got to chill w/ last nite, is another. she shares my birthday, i discovered. that's a first for me. i always thought the only such were edgar degas, lizzie borden, and george mcgovern. i was quite excited.
but apart from that, she's sweet and earnest and down-to-earth, which are some of the characteristics i admire so much in ben. a complete lack of pretense. last nite, when i returned from my long-ass stint on campus,
i capped off my Day of Communication w/ a stopin to see mariah and finally got back to the barn. ross and becca were playing Boggle, except w/ a 5-by-5 board. i hadn't played since i was 9 but jumped in anyway. i got trounced, of course. becca was raised in an intensely-competitive game playing family and ross is naturally excellent at them. i got upset after we finished. the competitiveness bothered me, as did losing, as did just generally not being good. but most of all the attitude. i tend to feel, whenever i play games w/ them, that they think i'm stupid. maybe it's projection. i think it's part-and-parcel of the whole them calling me the child of the family thing. i don't know. it made me very glad to have ben and it made me miss home.
but i slept over there (at ben's) and this morning, joe came to the barn. i remembered how much i like him: he's such a good guy. that's all i need to do, keep finding different people. keep my mind off of missing my friends at home, with whom i don't have to prove anything or even really try. in general, it's not hard to be happy. i am happy. and now i have to go shopping.

Thursday, September 06, 2001

i'm writing this from jolly's new room in willets. marc is stretched out on the bed, jeff is sitting awkwardly in laura's, jolly's new roommate, shark chair. jolly's drunk (holding up a glass full of something frothy and magenta: "it's orange juuuuuuice! it's orange juuuuuuuuuice!" and then, to jeff, who's itching to leave, "wait! i'm coming w/ you, i'm just bringing my drink ....") sorta like old times, sorta not at all.

the phoenix came out today, complete w/ my review of ghost world. i scanned it and was content to see that it was more or less untouched. i had been nervous -- suzanne wu, my new editor, is one of the intimidating cool folk, who always seem, however casually they talk to you, like they could at any moment get a glint in their eye and go for your throat in some devastating, brilliant way from which you'll never recover.
but -- all is well. ... so far ...
apparently we're having morgan over at the barn for dinner tonite. after, or after my phoenix meeting thereafter (or should i do spike?), i'm seeing stefanie, who's sweet and who i haven't seen much of yet. mariah and i had plans to meet but she never showed. the only bad thing about living off campus, besides the lack an internet connection, is that you don't randomly run into people. fewer chance encounters w/ intimidatingly cool folk = fewer chances of dying a brutal, cleverly executed death but also fewer adrenaline rushes. well, luckily, r. block is in the barn; she, if not i.c.f., requires particular attention in conversation.

ross is so cool. his entry made me laugh and laugh today in mccabe, the library, but as part of its charm exists b/c he feels relatively certain he's safe from the campus (no one knows it exists --> no one reads it --> he can be honest), i'm hesitant to do what my instinct is, i.e.: herd any and all readers over to his page right now. my advice is, find it for yourself -- it's incredibly easy and very worth it.
marc is ringing jolly's cowbell to get my attention so i'll go now. here begins Weekend I ....

Wednesday, September 05, 2001

dude! i'm a blog of note on blogger's front page. kickass. i didn't figure it out at first -- i just kept getting new entries in the guestbook congratulating me. what can i say? i'm slow.

i finished lot 49 this afternoon, which was crazy in that functional wish-more-books-were-like-that way. lots of arguments about film and literature recently, stemming from the film and media class joel and i are taking and the english class joel ross and ben are taking. becca says film is sexier; that's the only reason analysis of it seems more attractive. i say pretentious film people are bad, but there's nothing worse than an intelligent person gone snobby about books, to the point where he deconstructs them past recognition and/or the author's intent and cannot simply enjoy reading. i would adore english -- i would take nothing but classes on books -- if all we did was read and discuss, bounce ideas back and forth and bask in the glow of a beneficient, wise professor's insight.
unfortunately, English isn't about that. the important part of English as a Subject now is to write essays.
-- aww, shit, man, i don't feel like getting into this again. :-) basically, the beginning of the end for me came when, in eleventh grade honors english, we had to write on Great Expectations. being in the throes of a blinding, disemboding passion for the Subject, i composed, against all sense and or logic, a
well-reasoned, carefully thought-through piece on how Miss Havisham needs to rape Pip in order to free her from the spell of frozen time set in place when she was jilted on her wedding nite.
ridiculous? oh, i know.
but my reward was an A, and in my skool, that was nothing to sneeze at. that teacher ended up writing me a rec.that perhaps lubed my way into college. i'm grateful; but i can't forget that to obtain that elusive, precious acknowledgement of effort and intelligence, that "A", i had to write a pretty bullshit essay that has colored the novel for me ever since. not that it was ever one of my favorites; still. .

goddamn, what am i babbling about? i have to go to film again in a second. (penn)becca is supposed to come over this afternoon -- should be exciting. i need to pick my 4th class. my life is good. this place is like a jello mold and we're all chunks of fruit, dropped in and so thoroughly enclosed that we forget anything else ever existed. ... well, not quite. i miss my folks. maybe i just need to pretend i don't.

Tuesday, September 04, 2001

have i mentioned how bizarre it is to live w/o a working watch or a mirror? we have little shoulders-up mirrors but no full length ones, nothing that gives you a sense of how you look. just wandering around the barn becomes easier, then -- you don't have to worry about running into a reminder that you're sloppy or tired or half-dressed. but before one ventures to the outside world, it helps to be reassured that you're decent. all i have are people's impressions, and even the most honest folks surely can't be counted on to be that objective ... *sigh* this just stems from the fact that i'm wearing a shirt becca bought me and i'm feeling self-conscious.

last nite joel, a friend of his, and i made a wonderful makeshift dinner. since we're nearly out of groceries and our fuses are still faulty, we did a lot of improvising (borrowing yogurt, substituting soymilk to make half the dish vegan, baking in the toaster) but it was fun and it came out well. so far i've only been to sharples, the dining hall, once. i suppose once i'm outfitted w/ points that number will rise -- being moneyless limits my options. but making actual food, like last nite's tandoori and curry and spinach and stuff, kicks ass.

two more classes this morning, stat and american politics, both of which seem all right. politics actually seems like it'll rock; prof has a very dry sense of humor and a clear liberal bent. good mix. i have quakerism in a minute, then after my only substantial break today (2 hours), a meeting w/ the foreign study office guy and then film from 7 - 10. christ. on the non-scholastic side of things, i'm halfway thru Crying of Lot 49 so that i'll have some pynchon under my belt. and i wrote my first film review of the semester last nite, on ghost world. i fussed more than i usually do b/c it's number one both for su wu, my new editor, and for this new semester.
i should just walk around wearing pup tents, never look up, and never try anything. i am way too ridiculously afraid of being judged.

Monday, September 03, 2001

just finished attending my very first class here (Murder!) the prof is a sweet guy who's probably gay and who you can tell really enjoys the material. he gets this cute half-concealed sadistic smile anytime he talks about how hard the course is. the composition of the class is as interesting as the stuff itself. there are a bunch of people who i know superficially who i'd like to know better, and sometimes the best way to do that is by hearing them discuss. and there's one brave frosh who seems cool -- ross and i chatted her up. so, yeah, so: 1 for 1, i think.

in an hour, i'm going to go try a religion class called Religious Literature: from the Song of Songs to something about Hindu saints. i have three religion classes that i'm considering, and/or stat w/ becca. theoretically i could take 5 classes but it might be a serious pain in the ass, especially since no one is particularly lightweight. we'll see. it would be fun to take religion and stat is necessary at some point to fulfill my last math/science requirement (whahoo!)
last nite our power in half the apartment went out. luckily i was one of the fortunate ones; unluckily, our fridge was not.
before that, i showed joel and becca my bday presents. we blew up the blowup doll, dressed him in a slip and took turns posing and taking compromising photographs; tried to find batteries for the sea-green contraption; and read thru the kama sutra like the mature, experienced adults we are. then we went to see the graduate on campus, which is a tradition, mostly for freshmen and seniors, who cheer and clap everytime benjamin says he has no direction or anne bancroft looks sexy (in other words, often.) i've never seen a better movie about alienation.

Sunday, September 02, 2001

"gravity is nothing to me, moving at the speed of sound -- i'm just gonna get my feet wet until i drown ..." -- miss ani. who, tho lovely, is nothing like miss annie, who it sounds like is not perfectly spacklelessly happy yet so let's all wish her the truest of true loves for her place, shall we?
that goes for all my summer chiclets, scattered as they are far and wide across the northeastern corner. from those farthest south (UMD i guess: hallo folks!) to, uh, NYU? no, northhampton!
which reminds me: ross and i were talking about which classes to take this morning and he decided to audit one of mine, Murder in a Mill Town. it's social history of America b/w the rev. war and the civil war. he wrote it down on his little piece of paper as "Murder!" and i commented that that word just doesn't look the same w/o the exclamation point.

i'm writing this now from ben's new room. there's a huge red framed picture of marx, engels, and lenin above the bed; it's funny and creepy at the same time. for now tho i'm facing the white-noncinderblock wall and the window that looks out on the nicest quad on campus. ahh, to be a junior w/ a good lottery number. not that the barn is anything to sneeze at, especially since we've painted it peach medley and lavendar and cleaned and swept and scoured and entertained! (dinner party last nite: what a trip) and hung up posters and pictures and started work on the hallway's knickknack (wow too many k's in that word) shelf.
for those of you who are confused, maybe i should compose a cast of characters: the new folk of whom i'll be writing for next interval. So We Have:
ben. the bunny. one year older, a bio/english(?) major, living in a 2-room double w/ rob, who has a throaty chuckle and malcolm x glasses and boatloads of asian art and books around. last year rob roomed w/ ruby, aka matt rubin, who's my year and a character: everyone on campus has at least heard of him, possibly resents him for one thing and has forgiven him for something else, but that's what happens when you're not only one of a very small number of republicans on campus and vocal about it to boot. last year, ruby went to italy over break w/ my roommate jocelyn aka jolly, who's charming and stylish in a chattering way and has more STUFF than anyone i know. this year, jolly's living in willets, the ghetto dorm, near marc, who was originally supposed to live w/ ruby last year but that plan miscarried, thank god -- marc ended up alone in a double. but he has enuf energy and flamboyance for two, especially once the alcohol starts flowing or someone turns on the madonna. also occasionally fueled by likker is mariah, who last year lived across the hall from joc and me and who this year will essentially be living w/ kent, her boyfriend, in another apartment in the barn. she's driven, political, very put together, often loud and more often laughing.
then there are the barnies: ross also possibly an english major -- certainly a unique individual -- loves music, loves to dance; rebecca, tall, dramatic, 1940's beauty type, who likes projects and unconventional color combinations; and joel, who i know least well: he's unselfconscious and sweet in an boyish way. but smart. they're all smart.
that'll do for now. there are others, of course, but i'll identify them as they come onto the scene.

the last few days have been lovely. family time in the barn, lots of bonding, including Dip of the Month -- a traditional skinny dip at the midnite when the month changes in the creek in the Crum, our campus forest. we swam under a full moon and emerged to dry ourselves around a bonfire left burning dimly from a freshman activity. then becca and i returned home still in towels; the boys, dressed, walked ahead.
and we have phone service! finally. goddamned verizon took forever to come thru. i'll email y'all the number as soon as i get it. now i should figure out what movie i'm going to see to review or whether i should do an old one, apocalypse now redux or ghost world. having su wu as my editor makes me nervous.
damn this is long. i guess i've been influenced: this morning, the barnies, ben, and i were sitting around reading rilke poetry and Moby Dick. oh man. welcome to swat.