Waltham Weekly 28
Another Month

Every now & then, life's cosmic joke just cracks me up. It's absolutely hilarious. Sometimes, I'm overcome by the humor inherent in the universe & its workings & everything fades into a dull laugh.

31 January 2000

Yo All....

Well, as I look at that date high above (but not quite atop) this e-mail, I realize a very freaky thing. I'll be twenty in less than a month. Not only is this a thinly veiled reference to my upcoming birthday, but more importantly stands as a reminder of how little I've accomplished in two long decades on this planet. There were times that I had visions of where I'd be in 2000, the year I'd turn twenty, if it ever managed to come around. Somehow they all seemed a bit loftier than where I am now. Maybe the next 20 days just have to be AMAZING & everything'll work out fine....

At the current rate, though, that's a lot of work to do. Unlike my return from Montreal a year ago at this time, my trip from said locale this year leaves me saying "enh" a lot. That's a very articulate phrase, when you think about it. People were disappointing. The conference was below par (or, as MUN president at Brandeis & my co-delegate this weekend, Jake Axel, likes to say, "above par"... after all, in golf, a higher score is worse... remember this incident on a miniature golf course, Fish & Kunx? ah, if only I'd known earlier... or something... perhaps I should close these parens). In a nutshell, Montreal was not exactly a waste of time (esp. when weighed against the rest of everything), but was still nothing spiffy. We took a chartered bus up that took 3 hours to find Brandeis on the way up & almost didn't come back since an ice storm was supposedly incoming. Said storm made last year's "hurricane" look like devastation... it basically didn't happen. So we got to come home at the allotted time.

One nice improvement from last year's Montreal MUN conference (besides being Germany instead of Peru) was that it was a good bit warmer. So I probably won't be deathly ill in a week. But I realized that the people of Montreal don't exactly eat much.... it seemed that any meal more than a croissant & a coffee ran for about $10 (Canadian, which is still about $8.50 American) & even those had minimal portions. But, Jake, I don't know how you'd fare in such a society... they have coins that are actually WORTH something (both the $1 "loonie" & $2 "twonie" [I'm not making these nicknames up!] are common), so I doubt you'd be able to do too well there.

The other famous aspect of Montreal is a drinking age of 18. Boy, did most of our delegation appreciate that! In fact, I begin to wonder how many people who came were even terribly interested in international affairs. Speaking of affairs, there was also a club party on Saturday night, sponsored by the McGill team who hosted the MUN conference itself. They bought out an entire club for a night, giving everyone the opportunity to drink & dance through the night. I danced for a while, but was surrounded by no end of what Jake might refer to as "sinning". I was also confronted by an interesting situation with a not very interesting girl, as it turns out, & in the end, all was naught. So it goes.

Hmmm. Don't want to dwell on that too long.

Shortly before leaving town, I'd been elected Vice President of the debate team at "the 'Deis". So now I'm VP of both debatish organizations I'm a part of 'round here. Eventually I'll have to run them both, I guess, which is an inspiring prospect for debate (the team continues to be fun, successful, & one of my few useful endeavors) & not so much that as not that for MUN (running a cheap shuttle for 18-20 year olds to drink isn't exactly my idea of a good time). But there seems to be a good bit of future for the debate team, as Zirkin (my partner for next year) was elected president & our administration looks to expand the team's presence at home & abroad. I'm also taking over the debate team's languishing web page, so that should be fun. I may have dropped Cosi, but the team ain't exactly laden with programming gurus.

The home front is more of the same. Pelta-Heller & I have the same old interesting relationship... now he wants me to get along better with his punk girlfriend Anna, though. Basically, he has 3 people in the world he hangs out with: me, Anna, & Amanda (Anna's roommate). & he says he doesn't like having to choose between the 2 of them & me all the time... he'd like to consolidate everyone into one constant group. So he'd like Anna, who has had about as much interest in getting along with me as the Iraqis have interest in friendship with the Kurds, & I, who finds Anna to be solitary, nasty, brutish, & short, to become best friends. Or at least hold long conversations. So this poses an interesting dilemma for us all. So far, progress has been minimal. When we went sledding the other day, after a recent dumping of snow (this would be the one that shut down most of the east coast), I think she nodded at me & I grunted something in her general direction. I'm afraid ol' Zacky will have to deal with having 2 groups to spend time with for the time being...

I'm actually going to classes this semester. Since 3 of my 5 classes are 1-shot 3-hour blocks, I feel like trouble would ensue for me skipping too many times. In fact, all 3 of my profs for said classes have specifically told me that perfect attendance is virtually mandatory. So suddenly class is a part of my day again. Even my 90-minuters are picking up some of the slack, since I'm going to all my other classes. It's doggone crazy. Haven't bought any books yet (let's not get carried away!!), but my professors are interesting enough to make my day less boring than an average day last year. Still sleeping way too much though, comparable to about 8th grade or something silly.

What's on the horizon? More of the same, stretching out into a vastness I can't fathom, let alone describe. Fortunately the same has become something I'm more resigned to & almost comfortable with than before. I have a little more routine & a lot more physical activity, which are helping jar me back into some sense of feeling. But I'm expecting to feel a lot less than I used to expect & maybe that's healthy about now. Still looking backwards fondly upon highschool as being preferable, though, & that somehow strikes me as sick. As far as a more literal interp of the answer to that question... I'm going to Canada for a debate this coming weekend, then NYU the following, & probably Dartmouth the weekend after. My spring break (#1 of 2 this semester!) is about a month away & I still have no idea what I'm doing then, except almost certainly debating on either side of it (at Rhode Island College & possibly Stanford or maybe Wellesley). Noticing any patterns? I swear, if I didn't have my sense of humor....

I can hear that! Many of you just said "what sense of humor?"! I hope most of you weren't sincere....

Shan, how was the CC concert? That was tonight, right? Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the one in November.

Fish, how are things? I still have one thing I was going to tell you on the phone the other night, but didn't. I should send you an e-mail about that or something. Hmmm.

Freez, you never wrote back about my suggestions! I think they were really well thought-out. Oh well.

Schneider, we should hang out sometime soon. I might be gone this coming Thursday, but if I'm not (I'll let you know), you want to come over for some poker night? It's every Thurs. at 9pm; you might have to take the late train back - I don't know what your Friday schedule looks like, but it's always a possibility. Maybe it'll snow again & you can come join us for sledding.

Kate, Jessica H., & Barrett, what tourneys are you all going to this semester? As I've said before, I'll probably be at one every weekend till Nats, so let me know....

Well, that's all for now. There's really very little left to say. But that won't keep me from saying it one week later....

Take care, everyone. Hope you're all well, happy, & at least nominally interested.

Peace & Love,

"So I'll continue to continue
to pretend
my life
will never end
& flowers never bend
with the rainfall"
     -Simon & Garfunkel, "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall"

"Now you know more about Vietnam's history than everyone in the American government put together did in 1960. And if that doesn't scare you, nothing will."
     -Professor John Schrecker, at the conclusion of today's 2-hour lecture on Vietnam's history from 200 BC - 1950 AD.

     -my concluding thought for the evening


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

[Quotes thanks to Hootie]