Waltham Weekly 19

30 April 1999

I'm tired of making excuses for the timing of this message. So I won't make any more.

Hi there Everyone,

I'm in a good mood now. This is something altogether unprecedented in the previous ten days, so I figure I'd better run with it. As this college year draws to a close, I am struck with the primary realization of exactly how little I've accomplished. Something about late April & early May drives one to reflect on the nine months leading up to that point, head in hands, looking around at the ruins of plans long gone. But such ought not be the focus of my energy today... it's a sunny day, the first really nice day since late September.

Everyone here is stressed outta their minds. Except me. Finals never seemed like all that big a deal & college finals certainly have shown themselves to be easier than high school. That 30-page paper due Tuesday should probably get started soon, though...

The debate year ended on a decent note... it's always difficult to close the year with the toughest tournament of the year, esp. when one's best debating of the year comes in the last (sixth) round & the decision is a little faulty. But faulty decisions never kept any of us debaters outta the fray, so Adam Zirkin (who evidently was a CONGRESS nats champ, not LD) & I accepted our 3-3 record with all the dignity we could muster for a freshman/sophomore team in a seniors' world. After winning the novice tourney at the beginning of the year & ending the year with my worst record of any tourney, it felt a little odd to receive the Brandeis team-voted "Most Improved Debater" award for the year, but I can't complain... though I was much happier to be announced the 3rd Novice of the Year in the nation. Nationals are nationals & that's all to be said. I also spent that weekend finding out far more about college-level politics than I ever wanted to know... while they don't affect the outcomes of the rounds TOO much, they seem to be an inherent part of the system & those are just the breaks. As I discussed with Jordan at one point, I've been disappointed with the way grades still matter in college & the value of learning is never upheld. It's still a game to be played. He turned & told me point-blank that this is a universal condition of life... that one is never judged by the quality of one's self-improvement, but rather by the perception of one's product. A potentially valid point, but disconcerting nonetheless.

Alright, I can't hold in my good news any longer. Zack & I got moved to the Castle for next year's housing!! Those of you who don't go here (okay, that's well nigh close to everyone) will be a little less able to grasp just how cool this news is. As you may or may not recall, Ariela, Anna, Zack, & I had our hearts set on a suite in the Castle & ended up being dispersed to North & East Quads. But two guys on our hall this year approached Zack & I requesting a switch, which places us in Tower B of the eccentric building, 2 doors down from Greg! We're also DIRECTLY above the Cholmondoley's (pronounced "Chumley's") Coffee House, which is excellent for accessing the shows, but less than excellent in case we ever want to have quiet in our room as opposed to a broadcast of the show coming through the floor. Regardless of which, it's a beautiful funky-shaped room with a great view & it's in the only really nice building on campus. I'm just a little pleased with this... just a bit. So, in the 24 hours since this announcement, Zack & I have been running about the hall yelling, screaming, & carrying on. Or something very much like it.

While I'm on the subject, Anna (whom some of you have met) IS coming back next year, contrary to all prior decisions. She was planning to take a semester or year off & stay around her home at Southern Oregon U., but evidently Brandeis won't give her any course credit for doing so & thus she's decided to return. It's a technincality, but while we're sad for her inability, most of us are glad she's going to be back. As it turns out, she'll be rooming with Stina in a matchup of 2 people who I consider friends & consider each other acquaintances & I fear they will kill each other as the year progresses. More interestingly, it will be my duty primarily to prevent such a disaster. Anna loves space. Stina loves to crowd people. Trouble brewin'. But things could always be worse. & we're livin' in the Castle next year!

Speaking of college transfers & all that, I think there's some transfer news I need to know from a couple of you. Shan & Jessica Hass, as I recall, you both are/were planning on transferring.... what's the scoop on all that? & where the hey are you going to college, Barrett? People never tell me anything.

What else has happened these couple weeks...? Seems like surprisingly little for the time it's taken to get through them. Ariela's a capella group, Spur of the Moment, had their final concert of the year, released their new CD, & made the Boston Globe. It was fun for the whole family & the CD is amazing. More or less, though, I've been sitting around watching my hair grow. Oh yeah, & seeing the first (of many) baseball games at Fenway this year. Evidently Fenway isn't getting torn down this year, a great relief to baseball fans everywhere. We might not be outta the woods yet, but at least there'll be another year of the park with the most character in the American League. Schneider & I were there last weekend, watching the great Pedro Martinez shut down the Cleveland Indians in a complete game win, 3-2. Superior baseball, well-played, good points all around, woohoo, applause, laughter, joy. Or something in that general direction.. You get the gist. Basically, it all comes down to the fact that we're living in the Castle next year.

Speaking of Fenway & all that, please do get me that extra ticket for the ballgame, Lisha, if that's at all possible. But does this mean I'll have to sit with a bunch of Ha'va'd snobs? Eww! Oh well, I'll live... anything to see my beloved Mariners! Oh, c'mon, you know I'm just kidding....

Look, I know I've been terrible about communicating with people & I've given laundry lists of excuses that no one wants to hear. Basically, summer should be a much better time to communicate, esp. with those of you who will be sharing time in Albuquerque with me over those 3-4 months. But even for those of you who never live in the same state as I do, I'll be better then. I promise. If I'm not, I give you permission to come to the Castle next year &, I dunno... admire the fact that we're living there! No, really, I'll think of something. But to this end, I'll need everyone's home e-mail addresses if they differ from college e-mail addresses & schtuff like that. I think I have most of this info, but if I don't, send it along. Unless you never want to hear from me again, in which case I'd better stop sending you this message or anything else, huh?

I myself will be home on or very close to the 25th day of May in this particular year. The week of the 6th through the 14th will be a joyous transitional time where I get to relax & move out, after finals & before getting kicked off campus. Then it'll be a weekend at Jake's on the midnight plane to Georgia, a week at Fish's down in Sandy San-D, then arrival in the land of green chile & roadrunners. On this subject, Jake, thanks for the tickets, but I still need help w/discovering availability & all the "inside scoop" which only you know how to access! Maybe I'll give you a call or actually go on ICQ for once!...

There are few guarantees in life & not even our residence next year in the Castle is a 100% sure bet. & when we find definition in the transient aspects of life, we realize how insubstantial the whole castle we build on the beach can be. & before I start sounding like an advertising brochure for those Buddhist mandalas (I think that's how you spell those words), I'll try to find a deeper purpose in something stable. My Philosophy of Religion class spent the whole morning discussing the possibility that time is a shared human illusion while God might understand the irrelevance of this simplifying concept, meanwhile understanding a universal simultaneous now. Stagnation is a powerful force, but one that inevitably inspires resistance to its cause whenever present in our universe. Basically, all this banter comes down to the fact that I will find a new inspiration, come science class or high water. I have faith, or at least a firm hunch.

Life goes on. Mine too. I exit now. Write me. I'll write back soon & even if I don't, I'll love hearing from you. I really will.

Take care, everyone. Life can be peaceful & loving, I'm sure.


"Some trains leave in the morning
some leave in the afternoon
some trains they leave you right on time
some they just leave too soon."
     -Spur of the Moment, "Ghost Train"
     (originally done by Marc Cohn)


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

[Quotes thanks to Hootie]