Waltham Weekly 12
A New Semester

24 January 1999

Hey Everybody...

Wow... I've been here all of one week & it already feels like eternity with some time to spare. So much happens in college @ such an intense rate that, during the rest of one's (more normal?) existence, one forgets the vast extent of the events which take place in college life. Already, debate, Model UN, & a variety of activities (like classes, too, come to think of it) have presented themselves to occupy my time & preoccupy my life.

Hope everyone had a good break... mine was great. Seeing all my friends back at home was a great experience... while there've been shifts & changes in all of our lives, no distance of time or space can get in the way of one's closest friends. & that's pretty spiffy. Very reassuring & all that. As Fish warned of upon his return to UCSD, everyone greeted everyone back here like long-lost siblings with whom one had shared 30 years, rather than the scant 4 months of common experience. Feeling like a long-lost sibling & wondering why I didn't feel that I had just found any of my own long-lost siblings, but rather left them for their own schools or home, was a bit disconcerting. But the rhythm of school has returned almost seamlessly; I feel somehow mid-semester already.

PeltaHeller (the only thing I call Zach these days... it's his last name) & I walked into Waltham a couple days back, only to discover that across the Charles River, in the middle of town, Waltham becomes something almost resembling a real town! It's crazy! There's buildings with multiple stories & streets with more than one lane... it was very surreal to discover that a decent-sized suburb was just across the river. So, we hung out there for a while, promptly discovered that Waltham, despite it's newly discovered size, is still a land of shady characters, & hauled off to our initial purpose of buying ping-pong balls for the new semester. Upon arrival at "The Compleat Gamester" in downtown Waltham, we discovered a Risk set & bought it between us, bringing it back to a Scheffres 2nd deprived of sufficient early-semester entertainment. To make a long story short, Risk has swept the floor like a janitor who gets paid for efficiency. There's been nothing but attacks, defense, strategy & turning in of cards for many a day now. The popularity is almost universal, as the constant visitors from the all-girls hall upstairs have taken to the came as well as a good two-thirds of the 2nd floor, so the game is in constant demand. Work & sleep (my 2 least invoked activities 'round here) have been thwarted in many a person of late.

It took all of 3 or 4 days of being back in snowy (then rainy, washing all the snow away) Massachusetts before I realized how little time I have on the weekends... case in point being that after being back for that number of days, I was already shipping off to a debate tourney. Amherst, Massachusetts is honestly one of the most picturesque locations I've ever seen in my life... a great place to plop a college, despite its isolation. This weekend I had the opportunity to debate with the President of Brandeis' debate team... a contender for top speaker of the year this year. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of pressure involved in this & I think I held up okay... the intrigues of the partner-debating system never fail to offer difficulties. We (Jordan [the president] & I) broke to quarterfinals with a 4-1 record, then hit a Columbia team with a strong reputation. Both of us being vegetarians, Jordan & I ran a rather unconventional case with the basic message of: "resolved, you should become a vegetarian". It was a good round & a really fun round, but we lost & had to settle for 8th place. I got top novice speaker despite this, but it was disappointing to waste the opportunity to debate with probably the best partner I can this year on an 8th place finish. But it was finally a break into non-novice elim rounds, so that was nice.

Amherst itself though, as previously mentioned, is gorgeous. The weather there seems to be always snowy & foggy; in every manner embodying the typical New England village image. I almost found myself asking why I didn't apply there until making 2 great realizations... first, that it's a good 2 hours away from any real city (oh, the isolation!) & second, that the drug-n-alcohol consumption on campus is immense. Esp. marijuana. So, I left the dorm where I was staying for a while & the great smokeout taking place there to traverse the cold-but-on-the-verge-of-dumping-snow-so-it-doesn't-feel-so-cold campus & see all the beautiful brick buildings & such. A great place to visit, but I'd lose my mind living there.

I returned from the tourney last night to finish setting up my computer & [drumroll please] link myself to the world through the beauty of ethernet cords & the Brandeis "UNet". Can you believe it? Immediately upon setup, I downloaded both ICQ & AOLIM, so now I have a burdensome excess of potential communication devices. But 'tsallgood. For those interested my ICQ number is 29346456. My AOLIM screenname is DuckGreen. I imagine that both of these, combined with the fact that my e-mail account is now fully on my computer, will allow me to communicate more when I'm around than last semester. But the debate & MUN trips will probably increase too. I also have to decide between the 8 (count 'em, eight) classes I've been taking this week (that'd be 32 credit hours, plus PE) & narrow it down to 5 or 6, a menial 20-24 credit hours. If they'd let me take all 8, I just might keep 'em, cuz they're all great classes. But as of now, I know only that I'm definitely keeping Philosophy of Religion & The Causes & Prevention of War... potentially the 2 most inspiring classes I've ever heard of. The profs are amazing & everyone in these classes seems highly motivated. It should be a very good semester.

I hope everyone had a great & restful break & is returning to wherever it is they go with newfound vigor. I must admit that I've never felt better about being here at Brandeis or even being enrolled at a college than I do right now. It's an unbelievably empowering feeling. Take care, everyone, & write & send at will... the new computer is open for discussion! Have a great week....

Peace & Love,

~A taste of philosophy from Scheffres 2nd~
~Why Brandeis still isn't a perfect intellectual haven~...

"You can still direct battle with a mast in the abdomen."
     -Andy Becker

"There's nothing wrong with color-coordination in the closet."
     -Todd Gonzales


the Past has come and gone
the Future's far away
but Now only lasts for one second

[Quotes thanks to Hootie]