14 Sept 03 - 9.15 pm

So, I'm still alive. Summer was interesting. I was put in charge of creating a new position, and it was a good challenge. I got to deal with lots of fun, incompetent-type people who, even though we made their lives a lot easier, didn't want to help. I worked at it for at least two full months, and finally, in the last week I was there, the whole thing fell into place. I think things will be good there. I also got to train my replacement. His biggest problem: falling asleep. Even when the boss was standing there talking to us. Oh, well. I think he'll be all right.

In any event, school has started up again, and I'm insanely glad to be back. The first two weeks have gone smoothly, and I'm liking most of my classes, though Geology is a bore.

29 May 03 - 11.30 pm

Huh. It's been awhile since I've written. Anyhow, finals didn't kill me. In fact, they were pretty decent. Though I'll know better after I get the results.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to say goodbye to her. Only watched the lunar eclipse with her and another friend, then said, "well, see you tomorrow." She said, "yep." Maybe not those exact words, but similar ones. She wasn't around when I moved out. Hasn't returned my I-didn't-get-to-say-goodbye-so-goodbye e-mail. I dreamed about her last night. Damn, I need a new addiction or something. I said goodbye to most of my friends, though. There was another one I missed - he's going to England to study next year.

I'm working now as a line leader at Valley Packaging Industries. That means that I'm given a job that lasts a week - production goals and whatnot. They give me around a dozen people to get the job done with. So it goes. I like the job. The "clients" - the handicapped people - are about the most fun people I could hope to work with. Other than maybe the rest of the people that work there. I have a Mexican lady on my line now who's a lot of fun. But I'm getting moved up. I'm actually responsible for helping to create the position. It should be good. They keep saying "yes, we'll start training you tomorrow." But some guy hasn't set up the computer I'm going to use yet. So it goes.

16 May 03 - 12.35 am

This evening was the lunar eclipse. Watching it with a few friends was a great way to spend my last night here.

14 May 03 - 12 am

Ah, finals week. So far, it has been quite good. I have a six-page paper due on Monday, along with a take-home final for the same class, so I was up all Sunday night. I love staying up all night and writing a really good paper and then in the morning feeling like I've really accomplished something. Best feeling in the world. Today's exam was in my much-loathed IR class. I think it went well - it better have, because otherwise my staying up most of the night doing the readings I'd neglected all semester would have been in vain. I know I understood the questions, it's just a matter of whether or not I explained myself well enough.

Also this week, I've watched a bunch of movies. A Beautiful Mind is brilliant, if you haven't seen it. Run, Lola, Run is a movie that could have been brilliant, but ended up being a huge disappointment. But the most interesting movie has been Happy Campers. In one part, the nerd character goes up to one of the female characters with a piece of paper that says this, and asks, "Have you seen this?" Then he flips the card over, and it says that, and he asks, "Have you seen that?" Well, a friend of mine and I were buying coffee products Sunday night, and he thought the girl behind the counter was hitting on me (because she knew my drink - Irish cream cappuccino, btw. Her knowing my drink has nothing to do with the fact that I'm there every bloody night.) Anyhow, he convinced me the next night to do the thing from Happy Campers. But Monday night was rather busy for them, so I didn't get a chance. And today, she's gone. Heh.

10 May 03 - 9.10 pm

We've just had a lovely little thunderstorm here, and now they sounded the sirens that signal a coming tornado. The TV is saying they haven't actually seen a tornado yet, but one showed up on radar. weeee. I'm not terribly worried - it isn't even raining any more, much less thundering.

8 May 03 - 1.45 am

Chillin' out reading Tony's blog, and listening to my "summer music" playlist - Will Smith's Summertime currently. That's cheesy. I don't care.

Word to the wise: people say The Barber of Seville is funny. It isn't. Neither are the "plot twists" terribly clever. Conclusion: don't ever go to it. Even if you like opera.

This is the last week of classes here. Then a week of finals, and then, at noon on next Friday, I'm done. Fin. No more school.

I went to the Union today for other reasons, but the person I was supposed to meet wasn't there, and then I ran into that girl (I think this sounds better than just saying her name, but you have to whisper it, and raise your eyebrows. That girl. Almost reverentially, but not quite.) and we ended up going to see "the best guitarist you've never heard of" (that's what his promo poster said). He was very good - possibly brilliant, even, but I'm not really in a position to say. Then we walked back home along the Lakeshore Path. ("Shesofflimits-shesofflimits-shesofflimits")

But today could be nothing but good, no matter what happens - Salam Pax is back! Best news I've had in a long time.

30 April 03 - 12.05 am

So, I live in the International Learning Community. Every other week, we have a dinner, at which a faculty member gives a 20 minute talk. Today's speaker was the director of CREECA, and the topic was "What is empire?" He actually didn't give a good definition of what empire is, but said he believed it included some dimension of opposition or resistance, implying that that resistance should come from inside the "empire".

I have a real problem with this argument. It seems to me that there are many different forms, as well as different depths, of resistance. Certainly the militias in various states are not the same as Hungary in 1956. The theory of opposition seems untenable - where do we draw the line between militias and more intense forms of armed resistance. And even if we can make that distinction, how do we deal with countries currently involved in civil strife? Is Colombia an empire because the drug cartels are resisting its power? And what about groups protesting for things like greater human rights? Does their dissent make the nation in which they live an empire?

I believe the answer to empire lies more in culture than any other single area. The historic cases of empires such as Rome are quite clear-cut, and don't really need much in the way of explanation. But why is the Soviet Union categorizable as an empire, while America really shouldn't be? After all, the USSR didn't necessarily directly control the Warsaw Pact countries as much as install friendly dictatorships and back these dictatorships up militarily. The United States did the same thing during the Cold War. The greatest difference is that America didn't force cultural change. Compare this to the Soviet process of Russification through the kolkhoz (or collective farm) and other processes. This dominance in not only the political sphere, but also the cultural, is the key. This is also where much of the Left seems to get its ammunition to label America an imperialist nation - witness the McDonaldization of culture, they say. Witness the omnipresence of MTV, they say. Witness the cultural destruction the US is wreaking, they say. Clearly, the Left can't make the argument that America is directly ruling other nations, as, say, Britain did - rather, we are cultural imperialists bent on remaking the world in our own image.

Whether or not this is true, much less if it is good or bad, is another question completely. However, I am still recovering from the confusion of being encouraged via e-mail to increase the size of both my penis and my bust, and so I won't get into that for now.

26 April 03 - 10.45 pm

Miss Sepi, whose blog I've been reading and enjoying for quite some time now, put me on her blogroll. You have no idea how much this made my day.

A very strange thing also happened to me this evening. I went up to State Street, to the Espresso Royale cafe, for a (horridly overpriced) cappuccino. I had my headphones on, and was sitting down reading and drinking. There was an older couple next to me. When I sat down, the woman looked up at me as if she wanted to talk, or as if she at least took some interest in me, but then looked away. But then, after a few minutes, she struck up a conversation. Normally, I wouldn't mind having a nice conversation with someone in a cafe, but this struck me as rather odd and bordering on rude, seeing as I was keeping pretty decidedly to myself.

Anyhow, the conversation she struck up was about the art on the walls of the cafe. (I should note here that this cafe exhibits art - it once stirred up some controversy for showing pictures drawn by little Palestinian children. That's a whole different issue altogether.) At any rate, the art on the walls was decidedly mediocre - it showed technical skill, but was unable to convey any sense of spirituality in its subjects, which is my litmus test for "good" art. However, after introducing herself as the wife of the artist, she asked me not whether or not I liked the art, but which one was my favorite. That seemed like a loaded question, so I randomly picked one out. We continued to hold a rather stilted conversation - mostly about her - for a little while. But mostly I just wanted to read and listen to my music.

26 April 03 - 1.40 am

Zounds, what a day it's been. Today, I appreciated globalization. Usually, people say globalization is bad. "McDonald's is invading the world" they say. "Gaah - culture is a tourist attraction!" But for all its downsides - and I'll admit, there are some - there are some upsides, too.

Today I did the following:

-partook of a Shabbat dinner

-went to a gamelan concert

-learned to dance salsa.

If the world wasn't globalized, I couldn't have done most of those things. Definitely not the gamelan. Probably not the salsa. So I say, something that brings the beautiful aspects of far-away cultures to me can't be an entirely bad process.

And hey - salsa is a lot of fun. MadiSalsa played. They're awesome. If you are ever in Madison and have the opportunity, go see them play. They rock, really and truly. So, I've been dancing for the last three hours or so.

I used to not dance. I was self-conscious then. (Well, I still am, really...) See, the trick is to ignore the fact that you look silly, and especially to avoid looking into mirrors, and then just have fun. The other trick is to keep at it. A few times, I was dancing with a group, and the group kinda dissipated. The first time that happened, I gave up dancing and went back to being a wallflower. But then I went and danced again, and eventually a group materialized. And then it dissipated again, and then materialized again. But the thing was, I kept having fun. That's what mattered. And I think I'm finally really getting over Laura. She stopped by the concert after going to a different one, and then must've left after a few minutes. But it didn't even matter to me that she was there. Well, it didn't not matter, exactly, but it mattered in the same way that it mattered if other of my friends were there or not.

Now I am sweaty and nasty, and tired. So I will take a shower and then go to bed. Goodnight, dear reader, goodnight.

21 April 03 - 6.10 pm

One would think it would be easier to get over a girl, especially once she specifically said she wouldn't date you. I thought I'd pulled it off, but then I checked back in with my brain, and nope - I'm still thinkin' about her...

In other news, I've begun receiving e-mail briefings from an organization called EU Observer. This came about through a strange conflux of events. First, my IR TA was airing her belief that the EU would become simply a debating society, as "Europe hasn't been able to agree on anything in the last 150 years" (I'm withholding judgment). The other thing was that, having finished midterms two weeks ago and having nothing to do last week, I was playing research whore for a friend who was writing a paper about Germany's involvement with the EU. In any event, I finally found my first e-mail briefings in my mailbox today, one containing an editorial called In defence of 'old Europe'.

This is a topic near to my heart, as I love Europe, but am rather bemused by their politics at the moment. Mr Robinson makes two basic arguments in defence of the position taken by "old Europe" (Germany, France, and Russia) regarding the Iraq war. Firstly, he says that there have been no NBC (nuclear, biological, or chemical) materials found. I don't see this as being terribly important in itself - there were other justifications for war, and the best justification may not be seen for some years to come - when Iraq is a well-functioning, peaceful democracy.

Robinson's second argument is that the US (and allies, but mostly the US) has broken international law and killed "several thousands of people" (although he never makes clear whether they were soldiers - legitimate targets - or civilians) in its illegal war. Unfortunately, this is a terribly weak point. The burden was on Iraq to prove that they had ended their WMD program and no longer had any such weapons. In fact, they never did that, and so stood in breach of UN resolution 1441, regardless of whether or not they actually had these materials. Further, Robinson doesn't actually mention any international laws forbidding the US from going to war (virtually) unilaterally - nor, for that matter, has any of the liberal anti-war crowd that I've seen. The only restriction against going to war was a general idea that it would be nice to ask the UN's permission. So the idea that, simply because some countries didn't like it, it was against the law to attack Iraq doesn't really hold up.

Finally, Robinson makes the claim that the US is eyeing Syria as another target. This claim is pretty much bollocks to anyone who's been paying attention. The US has warned Syria that it had better close its borders to fleeing Iraqi leaders, but this is really no more than bluster. We're making sure the Syrians don't go easy in the Iraqi (former) leadership, as they shouldn't.

So, what does it come down to? Thomas Friedman of the New York Times said before the war began that it was a war of our choosing - not a necessary one, but one that could have a good outcome if done right. The reasons that Bush administration gave for going to war were terribly poor. But if the Bush admin. does a good job, and sets Iraq right - creates a peaceful, strong democracy in a region where there are precious few such governments - we'll have done a good thing. I'm going to wait for a few more years.

16 April 03 - 1 am

Today began beautifully. It's been sunny and warm all week. All the beautiful girls were out sunning themselves between classes, and I sat outside reading the newspaper and feeling sophisticated. I was able to tolerate my IR 103 professor today, even when he explained what he meant by "siege" for the second time (and no - it isn't a trick question. A siege is a siege, there's no special IR definition). I was on in Russian - and this is good, because Russian has been quite difficult this semester. So when things click, they click. When I got home, I hung out for a while on the Internet, and then went to dinner with a friend. Then I hung out with some other friends, including her. In fact, she lent me her TV, as mine is not working.

Thing is, I realized tonight that it isn't going to work out. In fact, after this year, I probably (maybe) won't be seeing her again. The thing that sucks isn't so much that it isn't going to work out, but that I still have to talk to her about this (it hasn't been made explicit, after all). I played the ass and prevaricated when I should have talked to her, told her how I felt, let her know what was going on. But I didn't. And now she might be leaving, and I feel like I'm losing a good friend. I feel like I didn't spend enough time with her. I'm sure I'm not a very close friend of hers, and don't terribly expect to be missed when (if, I have to keep saying that, because nothing's certain, even when it is), but I know I'll miss her, and think about her, and probably write her annoying e-mails just for the sake of keeping in touch. And I guess that's all I can do now.

I was walking tonight, and the wind was blowing in hard off the lake, and I felt like things had finally come to an end. And in a way, that's a good thing. There's a certain release. We'll be friends - maybe not even close friends, but friends - and that is good enough.

So, this is the way the story ends, I guess. There's a moral, as with any story: when you like a really nice, smart, pretty girl, tell her so right away. Will I learn that lesson? Maybe... we'll see.

And hey, look on the bright side. I've got over a thousand hits now. Probably all from one person, but hey, that's OK too. Thanks for reading.

6 April 03 - 11.35 pm

I know I haven't written for a while, but there hasn't been much to say. No news on the female front yet, which is frustrating. And now she's out of town for a week. I think I'm going to go crazy.

Seeing as I haven't written on the war, and have no particular plans to unless something really drastic happens, here's a list of excellent websites to peruse:


Command Post

Intel Dump

And of course, Metafilter is always good, and Salam Pax's site has been down since 24 March. If you have a minute to spare, hope/pray that he's made it through this...

Oh, also: I've taken the link to my e-mail address down. We'll see if that helps with the reduction of spam at all. But if you're clever, you'll still be able to figure it out.

23 March 03 - 11.10 pm

So, after some totally unnecessary controversy over whether or not it should happen, the Oscars aired tonight. Some people won shiny little men, others didn't. The winners made speeches. The rest of them clapped. Highlights for me:

--Michael Moore made an ass of himself and the entire anti-war movement. For the love of God, man, have some decency. (For what it's worth, you should see Bowling for Columbine, knowing that it really is hugely overhyped, and really not very good at all.)

--Adrien Brody gave a excellent speech. He was gracious and well-spoken, which is unusual for celebrities today. Thank you, Mr. Brody.

19 March 03 - 11.25 AM

Well, it's begun. I'd been listening to NPR since 7 - when the time ran out - but most people were saying that it looked like the attacks wouldn't begin tonight - dust storms, too much moonlight, not enough night left anyway - so I headed to the Blue Moon cafe. The radio was going for a while - everybody was nervous, but I think the feeling was that it wouldn't be tonight, anyway. After a while, the woman behind the bar turned on some They Might be Giants. Around 9.45 or so, someone came in, and I heard him say that the bombing had started. (I was reading about the Second Afghan War - I don't know if that's irony or not.) Of course, the radio went back on. I stepped out to call Mom to see if she knew more of what was going on, and she pretty much explained, although she was a bit hazy too. I got back inside just as the President's speech, but really, there wasn't much to say. The crowd at the Moon tonight was all liberal, except for me, I think. The woman behind the bar cussed intermittently. Others laughed condescendingly at various things Bush said. They especially liked: "We have no ambition in Iraq..."

Oh, here - the first planes are launching just now - an F-18 Superhornet.

And the Iraqi Information Minister is speaking. They keep saying Saddam is going to speak, but he hasn't yet.

In any event, it was a pretty tense atmosphere during and just after Bush's speech. A couple with green-dyed hair sat in the corner - his arm around her - reading a newspaper. A few guys sat silently at the table next to me. The woman working at the Moon was the most tense, going outside for a smoke, cussing at the radio occasionally. It was very silent.

I left soon after the speech. I couldn't concentrate on the book I was reading any more. Brint was on the Internet when I got home, so I had to wait a while to check the Iraqi blog that I read every day. Salam posted at 6.40 am Iraq time. So he's still OK. I'm glad I sent him a quick note today, before his access to the Internet is cut off for a while during the war.

The Iraqis are speaking again, but no sign of Hussein yet. I think this is all I can do tonight.

Oh, Saddam is speaking. Honestly, I haven't enjoyed any of what Bush has said lately, but Iraqi propaganda is far, far worse. Good God, who does he think he's kidding? And the Zionist rhetoric has been tired for the last 20 years or more.

17 March 03 - 12.05 AM

I'll get around to posting something sometime. The thing is, I came home Friday for spring break, and so things are different. (The biggest thing is that I have a crappy AOL connection, and so going online is just a big hassle anyway.) So maybe I'll post something this week, maybe I'll post multiple things, but it seems rather likely that I really won't post much of anything. Sorry to disappoint.

14 March 03 - 1.45 am

You are reading the blog of a very happy man. I finally talked the the girl I like (Laura - yes, she has a name) about how I feel for her. The story is a long one, though, so here it is (I apologise for the details, but when I'm really happy, I get wordy). Skim if you want, or skip altogether. I promise an entry about something intelligent tomorrow - I've got a good idea, but need to find some good links.

After history class, I went to talk with the professor, and so I didn’t get home till relatively late – probably about 4.30 or so. I spent half an hour psyching myself up to go talk to her. Finally at 5, I did. We ended up talking for an hour or so, but not about what I really wanted. Then Mike came by, and we played The Amazing Labyrinth. (She ended up coming from behind to win.) So, that took another hour. Then she went to take a shower, and I moped for a while. But after a while, I got up enough nerve to go talk to her again... and finally got around to saying what I’ve wanted to say for months now. I had a big speech planned out, about all the feelings I have for her, because I was expecting a rather stunned/annoyed silence to follow the initial "I really like you." Instead, she gave me one of her quizzical looks, and said, "Huh. We share a wall." To which I responded, "Yeah, I’d really like to date you." And that’s what happened.

The thing is, I don’t have any real answer yet. She isn’t sure where she’ll be living after break. There are three options: 1) staying in the dorms, 2) renting an apartment somewhere on campus, or 3) going to a hospital out East to finally have tests done that figure out exactly why she gets sick (she says it started when she got Lyme’s disease years ago). She has a lot to think about right now, so she really didn’t tell me anything. So that was my day up until 8.

The rest of the night was just rather bizarre. I went over to see if Joe was home – wanted to see him once more before break – but he wasn’t around. So I decided I wanted to get a burger from the Union, and walked up the Lakeshore path. Unfortunately, the Union cafeteria was closed, so I ended up at McDonald’s. Coming back, I ducked into the Catacombs, which was, strangely, packed. After being weirded out by the bowl of free condoms on the counter, I became observant, and realized there was a "gay dinner" going on – I had just caught the end of it. So I got my cappuccino and was going to sit down, when I ran into Rose. She came and chatted for a second, and introduced me to a bunch of people sitting nearby. I didn’t hear her clearly at first, but it turned out they were a SLAC meeting. So just as we sat down again, Rose left. I hadn’t finished my cappuccino yet, so I had to hang out with that group for a while, which wasn’t actually so bad. One of the guys was an LTE – which was why he was at the meeting – but also the head of the group that puts on The Rocky Horror Picture Show (no link - I'm an anti-fan) every Saturday. So he knew Nick from down the hall. Ironic.

PS - I'd like to thank a very good friend for an e-mail telling me to stop dithering and talk to her. You know who you are. Thanks.

8 March 03 - 1.25 am

I have trouble figuring myself out sometimes. I've realized that the things which I most enjoy, I usually pass by. For example - if a song comes on the radio which I really enjoy, I immediately switch the channel to see if anything better is on. Also, I really like the Lakeshore Path and the lake next to my dorm, and often walk along it, especially at night. But I almost never actually look out at the lake, even though, in conversation, I'd tell you that the lake at night is really beautiful. And I turn on the songs I most enjoy right before I fall asleep. So I can't help but wonder: Is this why I can't ask a girl out? Do I insist on again passing by what I most want?

Also, my great friend Joe is going to be spending next year at Warwick, in England. I'm really excited for him.

7 March 03 - 12.25 am

Heh, I was writing this entry for the last 20 minutes or more, then clicked a button accidentally, and lost it all. So, here we go again.

This week has been reasonably interesting. We had a few inches of snow fall on Tuesday. I was less than enthusiastic, though - I'm ready for spring now, please.

Wednesday was protest day. Although I'm not, by nature, one who joins this kind of thing (I have an aversion for populist politics and the actions of the masses in general), I went out. The rally officially started at 11, with music and speakers and whatnot, and the march on the capital was scheduled for noon. I got there just before noon, as I attended Russian class (although this was officially a "student strike", I really don't go in for that). In any event, there were still people speaking when I got there, so I don't think I missed much. I think rallies would be far more interesting if far-left-wing liberals were able to put together a cogent, well-informed speech that didn't rely purely on knee-jerk emotional responses, but maybe that's just me. Also, although I ran into some friends for the march proper, I didn't feel like I was really part of "the group". Isn't there supposed to be some kind of bonding process when people walk around shouting slogans? Oh, well.

Also, this week was the 50th anniversary of Joseph Stalin's death. A forthcoming book claims that someone close to him killed him with warfarin, a common rat poison (ironic, no?). If so, my school had a hand in it - we developed warfarin. Hooray for Madison activism! So, to celebrate this occasion, the Russian department showed Repentance, which is actually a Georgian movie. It was an incredible movie, and I would recommend it to anyone. It also gave me a new favorite quote: What good is a road if it doesn't lead to a church? This replaces my last favorite quote, which was, ironically: Jesus helps me trick people.

4 March 03 - 2.10 pm

I'm sorry for the lack of anything new here for a while. My life has been thoroughly mundane recently.

Yesterday was quite the day - or at least, I felt like I was really busy, but looking back, I wasn't so much. Maybe it's just because I'm still dragging from a cold I developed late last week. The weird thing is, I haven't been sick in maybe three years. Why now, all of a sudden? Okay, enough kvetching.

So, Mondays are always relatively busy, on account of my having a bunch of discussion section meetings that day. When I got home, Mike lived up to his reputation of keeping me away from any homework I might have to do by sending me the first three episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. A truly gorgeous show, for those who haven't seen it.

In any event, after three episodes of Evangelion, I went with Rose to dinner at (I think) the only Thai restaurant in Madison. I'd never had Thai before, and was looking forward to the experience. Not only was the food excellent, but it was also good to reconnect (which strikes me as a silly word, but I can't think of a better one at the moment) with Rose - we haven't seen each other in a while.

Then I went to bug Will again at the Daily Cardinal. He said that he'd finally talked to the editors, and it looks like I defintely might get to blog for them. He introduced me to another editor, and we had a really good, constructive talk about the focus and structure of any potential blog.

So after a few hours, I got home again and did my Russian homework and the Intro to IR paper that was due this morning, and all was good.

P.S. - I've been enjoying Phantom Planet recently. I heard of them because their drummer was in movie once... anyway, nothing brilliant, but good music all the same.

18 Feb 03 - 8.35 PM

A few different posts on Metafilter have encouraged me to think about reputation. First is this article by Paul Graham (MeFi discussion here). I'd been quite the nerd in high school (and probably still am - someone told me recently, "Steve, you'll never escape the nerds."), but never really gave much thought to the process. Graham's indictment of the American school system is particularly apt, but I think he misses to point in his suggestion that closer family ties are the answer. Perhaps that's a part, but frankly, it would be so difficult to implement as to become a moot point. The European system, however, is a good model for comparison. In the European system, education is built around the intense exams required for university entrance. Further, it is far easier for American students to attend university or college, as there are far more such institutions in the States - competition is much greater in Europe. Thus, where Graham argues that American students have no motivating factors in their school lives, European students (especially in high school) are motivated to do well in school, regardless of the real-world applicability of the information learned. Thus, European teens build a heirarchy around academic prowess, rather than appearance or popularity. This was certainly the case in Hungary.

This analysis of what it means to be a nerd in high school in the real world leads into another side of reputatin (perhaps especially for nerds) - online reputation. How much should this count? Can we be two different people - one on the Internet and one in "real life"? That answer is a definite "probably". Whereas I couldn't talk to people very much in real life high school, I was at least somewhat more open when I got into a chat room. The same is true with message boards, etc. But what about companies? Can they create a different Internet "persona"? I'm not really sure.

And then somebody on MeFi posted this link. And I'm not sure I have a comment any more.

17 Feb 03 - 9.05 PM

I've been badgering the Daily Cardinal to give me a weblog on their site, on which I would 'blog about news, culture, and generally student life in Madison. So I gave them my site address today, in the hope that they might stop by. And so:

Hello, Daily Cardinal editors. Welcome. I really hope you enjoy this little site I've created. I know, I know - I'm not as cool as Moby. But I read your paper every day, as well as that other paper. And I'm constantly poking about metafilter and fark. And I really don't have that much else to do, except cruise the Internet looking for interesting stuff. So I think that makes me pretty qualified for this job. That, and I know what a weblog is.

10 Feb 03 - 3.55 AM

Well, as it turns out, putting off studying for one's Russian test because one has a power lecture cancelled in the morning is only a moderately bad idea. It further turns out that the (unwitting) object of my affection was pretty sick, and really still is.

I went to see Badger hockey game. As much as I'm really not into sports at all, I enjoyed it. A business connection of Dad's had rented a box, so that's where we sat (this happened last year, too). Then the brothers slept over in my dorm room. I hope they had fun. At any rate, we went to lunch as a family, along with my aunt, uncle, one of my cousins, and my grandma. It was crazy busy when we got there, and ironically, they forgot my order. But it came eventually. I also got a sweet DVD player, which I have already hooked up. Yeah for gifts!

Another thing. Recently a friend of a friend came down hard on the recently-banned in Britain TATU video, calling it something to the effect of the world becoming one big male fantasy. I think she is very wrong. To wit:

I actually came across the video last semester - well before the controversy broke. In searching Kazaa for the song, I first came across a live performance of the song. When the two young ladies came out, they were holding hands. I thought, "Well, Europeans are like that - big into physical contact and whatnot..." Then they made out on stage. This was surprising, to say the least. I then dug up their website, and read a bit about them, and watched the original video. The video itself itself is very stark - not only because it was shot in muted color, but also because of the scenery and background. The kiss itself is far more "real" than most scenes you'll see in a standard MTV video. Further, it is just as much a rebellion against those on the "outside" - both literally and figuratively in the video. In fact, the entire video really creates a strong statement about the treatment of gays/lesbians in modern culture. The last intriguing bit is that this really doesn't seem to simply be an act or publicity stunt of any kind. The album has a number of songs dealing with the same topic - aimed at both men and women.

4 February 03 - 1.45 AM

What do you do when it's your birthday and you're really falling for a wonderful girl but afraid to mention this to her (because you're really just a wuss anyway)? You call an old friend and go to an Afghan restaurant for dinner, then come home and play Warcraft III, then watch some TV (The Daily Show and then Adult Swim on Cartoon Network), then work on your website. You do not, repeat, do not worry about your Russian test tomorrow. Anyway, you have your 9.30 power lecture cancelled, so you can wake up early and study for the 11 o'clock test. You also wish you could talk to the girl, who is also a good friend, because she hasn't been around lately, and you're wondering what she's up to.

But it snowed in the late evening, so everything is OK.

4 Feb. 03 - 1.55 AM

Oh, you also read Tony Pierce, Sarah Hepola, and Maggy Berry. And listen to Flickerstick.

31 Jan 03 - 1.15 AM

I feel like a line out of a bad novel – “His heart was heavy...” It is snowing right now. Very lightly, large, soft snowflakes are falling. It is beautiful. I wish I had a girlfriend. I’ve been feeling like that a lot recently, but just now it really hit. I want someone whose hand I can hold while we walk through the night, in the gently falling snow. I know it’s a cliché, but it hurts.

The wonderful and strange thing about maintaining this is that I write believing that nobody reads this at all. Which is probably true. At the same time, though, what's the point of keeping a website if one doesn't expect to be seen by someone, at least. The disconnect between any possible readership and myself makes this experience interesting. I have to write believing nobody reads this, or I would censor myself far too much to go beyond the day's weather. At the same time, I have to really believe that someone out there cares enough to stop by every once in a while. I don't really know why I say this now - it has probably been better analyzed elsewhere - but I find it interesting, and so I thought I'd mention it.

22 Jan 02 - 10.05 PM

Yes, I am back. Vacation was, well, not actually a vacation so much as an interlude. But more on that in a bit.

You see, before vacation could arrive, there were finals. This was the most interesting set of finals I've had yet. First I forgot where my Russian final was, 2 days before the exam... but thinking quickly, I e-mailed my TA and got the address. She replied in time. Then, I stayed awake all night, pretending to study for my Anthro exam, but made the mistake of taking a nap just before the 7.45 AM exam time. When I woke up, I had 5 minutes to get to the test. Luckily, I ran (which I don't do often), and got there just in time. Then I had a few hours until my International Relations test. Another guy from the class called me up to invite me to a pre-test study session. Because of that, I just barely got to my IR exam on time. But I remembered to set out for my 7.45 AM Philosophy exam on time. Only, I went to the wrong room. I got to the correct room just barely in time. Yeah.

But the exams actually all went very well. I was satisfied. So then I went home, and signed up with a temp agency. The gentleman running it seemed to not know what was going on at all, really. I did some interesting things, though. I disassembled a Santa's Workshop in the mall. I did a 12-hr. shift making shrink wrap in a place that would certainly not have stood up to any kind of government inspection. But I mostly worked in a factory doing things with the games you see on various food products. You know the kind - "Peel and WIN!" Eight hours of monotony reconciled only by the fact that I was being monetarily compensated for my time.

And now I am back at school. I will write more things later.

10 Dec 02 - 12.25 AM

I am currently trying to memorize this:

Last Toast

Anna Akhmatova

I drink to the ravaged house,

To my evil life,

To the loneliness of us two,

And to you I drink,-

To the deceitfulness of that which betrayed me,

To the coldness of dead eyes,

To the world which is cruel and harsh,

To the God who did not save.

Only in Russian. I sounds much prettier in Russian. I like that language.

20 Nov 02, 5 AM

One of the girls on my floor was going around asking people to fill out questionnaires for one of her classes. It had a really interesting question: "If the budget of the State of Earth were $1,000,000,000, how much do you want to use to solve... environmental issues?"

I have no idea. There are so many things a government spends money on. Many of them are, contrary to what many in Madison might tell you, quite legitimate, and even important. I think we have to put a lot more money toward, say, easing world poverty, or education, or health care, or AIDs prevention. So what part should go to environmental issues? I really don't know.

18 Nov 02, 11.30 PM

I love Madison. Although some of my super-liberal friends claim otherwise, Madison really is an island of liberalism surrounded by reality. This leads to numerous amusing events. To wit:

Last weekend, some friends and I went driving, and ended up heading to the mall. One of them - I'll call her Jane - needed clothes. "Jane" is a sign-waving, Israel-disliking, take-to-the-streets-for-protest liberal, who thinks Madison is not a liberal town. In any event, she ended up shopping not only at the Gap, which she had been picketing just hours before, but also at far more soulless stores like Abercrombie and Fitch. She really seemed to have no qualms about this, except for the fact that the rest of us were sworn to secrecy about the entire escapade, and I had to smuggle her clothes into her room for her when we got back, so no one would see her carrying clothes from the "evil" stores.

I'd really like to use this anecdote as a jumping-off point for an anti-liberal rant, but that can wait for another day.

18 Nov 02, 6.10 AM

Foreign Affairs is one of my new favorite intelligent sites.

14 Nov 02, 9.45 PM

I feel like I should say something, seeing as I've decided to start updating frequently. But I'm really at a loss. Nothing interesting has happened in a while, and I'm not up to thinking about anything intelligent right now.

Well, maybe I take that back. One of my classes this semester is a one-credit deal where the people of my dorm get together every week and talk about something. This past week we met for dinner, and out table's conversation turned to communism. I hate talking to Madison people about communism, because people here tend to be rather on the "nutty liberal" side of the political spectrum. So one of the girls was saying that communism was good. I think she went so far as to claim that communist systems provide for their people. She also made the claim that "the Vietnamese women, who ran the war against the Americans, chose communism because the communists gave them bread" (mind, that's a bit paraphrased, but not much).

I hate it when people say things like this. I can't answer for the Vietnamese women of the 1960's and 70's, but I'm quite sure that there is very little bread in Vietnam now. Communism has quite a number of deep flaws funtamental to it. A professor of mine last year said, "Democracy lets you cry out when you're being gored by a bull." And that is completely true. The people of the USSR didn't love communism, except for the opportunists who took advantage of the system for personal gain. The rest of them had it beaten into them, and were sent to Siberia if they complained. The nuts here in Madison who think communism holds any answers are wrong.