Waltham Weekly 29
When It Rains...

15 February 2000


Well, we've been waiting for many long months in the absolutely freezing cold out here in Waltham. So, when yesterday it finally decided to precipitate, it was... rain. The Weather Channel website reported a constant 33 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which book paper becomes wet & soggy, rather than snow-covered. Perhaps the heavens need some good old-fashioned pouring to represent what, for many, is not exactly the cheeriest day of the year. Some of you refer to it as "Conspiracy Day", others as the anniversary of a massacre, but the first Valentine's Day of the millennium has come & gone & I find myself strangely unchanged. Funny that.

Regardless of which, my own local window into funny valentines is no longer speaking to me. That's right, Pelta-Heller & I are once again at that stellar stage in a roommate-ship when we spend copious amounts of time in the same airspace, battling for oxygen, refusing to utter a word. There were some nasty comments he made to mutual friends, some nastier approaches to our daily interaction, & neither of us seem to have anything to say. This one seems pretty permanent, though I've thought that before, I'm sure. Considering he has only 2 other people on campus that he really spends any time with at all, I figure there'll be another attempt to "broaden" his horizons. But the degree to which this can go on remains heavilly in question. In short, I'm extremely relieved that I applied for a single for my junior year housing.

But not all of late has been as such. I've spent the speaking minority (as opposed to Nixon's famed silent majority) of the past 2 weeks at debate tournaments (surprise, surprise). They've taken me to Kingston, Ontario, Canada, & New York City, New York, New--, er, USA, with fairly successful results & a good time for most involved. The former trip to Kingston consisted of a 12-hour bus ride through Montreal to the beautiful Queen's University. The debate, entitled the "North American Championships", is the only tourney to invite equal parties of Canadian & American teams, in an effort to determine the loudest & most convincing among the 2 nations. Besides dubbing Ben Brandzel (the closest I have to a new friend this year) & I the 17th team in North America, it offered us the opportunity to meet one of the rudest people in the world & be faced with potential expulsion from the tournament should we dare insult the Queen or the institution of the British monarchy. Ben spent the better part of the weekend bashing Canada in jest, but we actually got 6 good rounds of debate in & even got to debate Kate in our first round against each other ever. The trip home with 2 guys from Amherst offered one of the more interesting border crossings I've ever encountered, whereby we learned that it is the official policy of the US government that EVERYONE in our nation has smoked pot. Or maybe just everyone from Amherst (which is probably true), or from Berkeley (the town, not the school), or with long hair. Anyone still support the police policy of profiling?

The latter weekend (this one just past) was spent in NYC & offered more debating fun, plus frequent trips past Sullivan Street & the ubiquitous Wok-n-Roll at the corner of said street & Bleecker Street. Thus end the musical references. I'm beginning to be more amused than anything else by the general debate crowd & the nature of the mid-tourney parties which inevitably leave some quality debater still drunk & not yet hungover the following morning. But when such people get byes, it gives the rest of us an opportunity to retrace Holden Caulfield's youth in Central Park & see a bit much of the horse Teddy Roosevelt rode in on. Thus end the literary references. By the time we blundered home, our favorite burned-out (in perhaps multiple manners) senior debater was getting a fair dose of instant karma. Shucks, I couldn't keep the musical references out. Oh well. Suffice it to say that leaving early doesn't always get one home in a shorter amount of time. But it might just get one the largest chocolate milkshake in human history.

I think I've spent too much time in New York. I'm starting to understand the subway map. & John, if you think you don't like hip-hop, you should see the common room at Gris's new place. Full-size posters of the covers of the self-proclaimed journal of hip-hop, Blaze Magazine, adorn all of the walls, proclaiming the latest fad in anti-musical music. There's also two turntables, a microphone, & a hundred or so vinyl records, all presumably scratched within an inch of their life from endless spinning. It made me think fondly of my room here in the Castle, where even now, our next-door techno fiends are chugging away on the electric guitar. I almost didn't believe Ben (one said techno fiend) when he knocked on my door the other day to politely & sleepily ask that I turn the music down. Sure, it was 4 in the morning, but I figured he always liked loud music. & the distinction between 1 am & 4 am frequently escapes me. Maybe he just objected to it actually being music.

The efforts to infuse my life with routine are having mixed results. Poker night continues to be an on-campus highlight. To the tune of $25, last week, a record high. But even at break-even, it would be rather enjoyable. Basketball is fading quickly, considering that the intramurals deadline came & went & we had no team to enter. Zack is only partly responsible for said failure. I'm intermittenly subbing in on Eric Niver's radio show, which is from 2-6 in the morning once a week... a far more likely time for me to "get away with" than Zack's old morning show. & I keep going to an oddly large number of classes, which are just about like every other class in the world. There's so little new to say on this front that I think I'll stop saying it.

Fish, Jaque, & Kunx, how was the past weekend in sandy San-D? I just got some photos from Gris of a certain trip to said locale not so long ago & they're neat. Too many depictions of frisbees, though.

Jessica B., how's the new home working out? Are you adjusting well?

Jessica H., are you going to Dartmouth this coming weekend? Or did the trip to NYC take out the team budget for the remainder of the semester?

Kate, Gris, & Freez, what's the scoop on this coming weekend? I'll be at the Dartmouth tourney from midday Friday till about 24 hours after that, but otherwise I should be around the whole time. Let me know what your prospective schedules look like.

John, we might have company this weekend (see above). Send along your thoughts on the matter.

Lisha, good seeing you this past week. I'll see you next millennium, or perhaps even before...

Everybody, I hope you all are really doing well. Just knowing that you, my real friends, are out there makes getting through the day 'round here a lot easier. Not that I'm devoid of companionship here, but it's thinning. Always nice to know someone might understand, even though they're physically distant. That techno noise, meanwhile, is awfully physically near.

Peace, Love, Harmony (Please!),

Every Wednesday, my life is brightened by Philosophical Problems in Space & Time, thanks to Professor Eli Hirsch. If nothing else, it gives me a lot to quote, from Steve (the dorkiest kid in the world) to Zirkin (a debater friend of mine) to Niver (the radio guy) to the Prof himself...

"It would be very difficult to draw EVERYTHING." -Steve
"That's a good attempt." -Prof. Hirsch

"So your modal model's muddled." -Eric Niver

"That's the clearest way to put that." -Steve
"That's a problem." -Prof. Hirsch

"A rigid fact, like 2+2=5." -Adam Zirkin
"2+2=4, Adam." -Prof. Hirsch

"How are you defining reality, by the way?" -Steve


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

[Quotes thanks to Hootie]