Crossdressing Towards Bethlehem

Well it's once again been a long time since I've written in here. It seems like I spent a lot more time on LJ in high school. I don't know if that;s because I found my life so much more interesting, or just because my homies all had livejournals they updated pretty regularly back then. My life feels like so much more of a whirlwind now, and I don't usually pause to reflect in an organized way. I'm pretty happy right now. I've basically enjoyed my classes this semester and I haven't been as intensely lonely as last year. I don't get to see a lot of people but that's because of my work/school schedule, not for lack of interest. Finals are upon us again and I'm dreading them. I'm behind in readings and things, but I'm thankful that whenever it's time for finals or a major due date I tend to get this "oh well," fatalistic attitude. I still study but I don't tend to get anxious. They shouldn't be terrible. Computer Science is what it is, the Latin is just a matter of parking myself somewhere and reviewing, I'm very interested in the American History, and in American Studies I get to write a paper about crossdressing!

I am really looking forward to going home, though. I've been feeling kind of nostalgic for high school lately. I happened upon a short story Raffi wrote at Yale and it was so funny, and so Raffi. It had hilariously erudite references to things and the sentence "Chief Loicano is as corrupt as church Latin, and as much of an institution." Priceless. In general, though, I think a big part of it is that my friends feel more disparate than last year. That's mainly just a feeling, though. I see Grace regularly, and I saw Juliet, Johanna, and Lizzie pretty recently too. I guess it's because our new college lives are not so new anymore that it sometimes feels like I'm losing track of people. I just remind myself that it's more a matter of my own insecurity than anything else. These people are some of my best friends, and I trust that it will stay that way. 

Back to the present: I've written a couple more songs and played some more open mics since last semester. I had a fun if intimate gig at a pizza place in Allston (I ate free!). Base Trip Records is getting off the ground, although I think finals and holidays are slowing us down again. There is the prospect of recording in a real recording studio, and of a proper gig at a real venue, so both of those are exciting. Beyond that, I'm applying to be a Latin TA this summer and beginning to get study abroad plans in order. My goal is Rome next Fall and South Africa in the Spring of '09. 

Fingers crossed!

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Good Things in Small Packages

I haven't written in here all semester, but I happened to look at my page and I don't want to leave my livejournal hanging on such a sad note. A lot has happened and it feels like a million years have gone by since Mike died. It was a terrible thing and it really shook the Benchies for awhile, but I think it also brought everyone a little closer together and for the most part people are feeling better now. 

Since I last wrote, I got a job (at Campus Convenience), had a girlfriend (briefly), and finished a whole other semester. I still don't feel completely attached to BU or completely divorced from Hunter, but I think it's becoming easier and easier. When I left BU to come home, I felt good about my grades and my friends and my overall situation. 

Two weeks ago I went back to Hunter and played two periods of Arts Day. It was awesome! I sold a lot of CDs and got much praise and mainly it was just fun. I wasn't nervous at all and it was much smoother than most of my live performances. I also had a good chat with Ms. Kuberska, who told me a joke about East Berlin that had "fuck" in it. That alone was worth the whole visit.

As nice as it was, I certainly felt more distant from the place than I did at Homecoming, and frankly this whole year. It was kind of sad, but kind of comforting. It's really time to move on, and witnessing that change and feeling it in a definite way makes it easier to move forward and really dig into all the new things going on.

And there are a lot of new things going on. I am just overflowing with life plans right now. I'm doing a Classics/American Studies double major, I'm going to be a camp counselor this summer, I just finished my second CD, called "Good Things in Small Packages" (lovely cover art by Grace), and I have developing plans to go to Israel and to study abroad in South Africa. It'll be difficult, but I think I can make them happen. Some people think this much certainty and planning is a bad thing, and sometimes I think it is too, but right now I'm grateful for such a strong sense of direction and such intense discipline. I think if I didn't have these plans, I would really lose momentum and have trouble coming back to school or really doing much of anything.

It's really been a hard year, in completely different ways than I anticipated. I thought the social part would be easy, and being away from my parents and having to do my own laundry would be the tough part. In reality, finding friends was definitely the biggest challenge. But being away from BU has given me time to realize it has happened, and, even more importantly, that the friends I already had are just as important to me now as they've ever been.
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Please Note

I went to a party last night. It was a pretty typical party. Friends, friends of friends, smoking, drinking, some pot, some shrooms. Nikki, Devin, and I left around 12 and went back to Nikki's place, where they watched "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and I, as I do, fell asleep. Devin and I came back home around 4 a.m. 

This morning, I saw Jayson and Lauren in the dining hall and Jayson informed me that Angel Mike, one of the bench folk, had jumped out a window and killed himself the night before. He had done shrooms and smoked pot and apparently had been drinking too. He and Sarah went back to his place to hang out, where he got in a fight with his roommate, said something about how he wasn't scared of him, turned, and jumped out his window. He cracked his skull open, lost a lot of blood, and died in the hospital. Sarah saw the whole thing. They're saying it will be on the news and in the paper.

I had only met Mike a few times before, although I was talking to him last night. He was a nice guy, very genial. Last night was his first time doing shrooms. 

Freakish occurrences like this tend to first leave you unable to believe they actually happened, then dazed, and then angry and wondering why they happened. I don't know why this happened. The aggravating truth of it is that there isn't any reason why it had to happen. Last night was the same kind of party tons of people have all the time. This was a stupid and very preventable thing. 

I know it would be pointless to tell anyone reading this not to drink or do drugs. You're big kids, you're in college, you're going to drink and do drugs, or even if you don't you won't be able to prevent people around you from doing them. I would just like to implore you to please take care of yourselves and your friends and your acquaintances. Mike shouldn't have mixed alcohol with the shrooms. When he tried to someone should have stopped him. But everyone just figured what the hell, or else we were too out of it to notice what was going on. Last night has driven home to me just how quickly a regular, festive night can turn into an unexpected tragedy.

Notes on a Vacation

Haven't written on here since the last vacation, which is surprising to me. I usually can't resist recording events and things, but the past month has gone by so fast and been so busy that it really hasn't occurred to me to do an entry until now. Things really picked up for me when I got back from Thanksgiving. It's not that I did so much more or suddenly had tons of friends, exactly, it's just that my outlook switched into a more relaxed and positive mode than before, so what I had began to look better. I go through such abrupt and strong periods of feeling bad or feeling good. But I've been riding this pleasant wave for the last month and I'm enjoying it. My finals all went pretty well, although I ended up with a B- in Stat again, which proves that I learned nothing this semester. Overall, I'm satisfied with my grades and looking forward to next semester, when I have class three days a week, and none of those classes are math or science.

I saw the lighting of the tree at Boston Common with Devin and Sarah B, which was fun. There were fireworks! Although the Boston tree is a mere 42 feet, which is pretty shrimpy compared to Rockefeller Center's 88 ft tree. Sarah D decorated our room in sparkles and christmas lights, which I was too lazy to do, although I enjoyed it. I spent some quality time with Devin, Nikki, and the Benchies, and ran into Kake at pretty much every meal for a week. I got to DJ a radio show by myself on Dad's birthday, which was SO MUCH FUN. Hopefully I'll be doing it again during finals week in May, for anyone who missed it, or heard and enjoyed the first one. 

Homecoming was really nice. It was good to see everyone again, although Ms. Kuberska wasn't there :-(. I miss Hunter and the atmosphere there, but I don't have this longing to be back there, as I thought I might. Especially since they redid the floors in a lot of the rooms in this "clown vomit" pattern that is truly blinding. Someone stole the clock we got Ms. Mazzola for the Latin room. We chatted with her for a while, but eventually she had to admit that she had a class to teach. We also saw Ms. Aboody, who talked with us about erections, and Ms. Sewell, who told me and Johanna not to be sluts. 

Christmas was good, despite the fact that everyone in my family except Dad has had some nasty stomach virus this week.  Yesterday I went on an awesome bowling excursion with the homies, Dan, Ami, and Ni. Rolling Thunder rolls on!

Diana and I went to see "Notes on a Scandal" today, which was suitably creepy. Although, as I suspected I would, I sympathized with Judi Dench, who was a creepy, obsessive, manipulative old lesbian. I'm feeling sort of disconnected right now, though not for any good reason. These things come and go.

I guess that's about it for now. More in the future...
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    nostalgic floaty

Homeward Bound

School's been good. Still pretty lonely but it has improved. I watched "Tom Jones" with Kake, and we both enjoyed it although we agreed it was pretty fucked up. I LOVE Albert Finney. I'm now President, Vice President, and Treasurer of Spectrum (aka Queen of the Queers, as Grace said). It's not bad but the club has some serious financial issues that I now have to work out. Any club that budgets $500 exclusively for DVDs of "Queer as Folk" has some finance problems. Still like my classes, and I'm still doing pretty good in all of them. It's a good thing Infectious Diseases is ending soon though, because the longer that goes on, the more I mess up and the more my grades drop. Lab is always fun in that class. I'm careless with fires and E.coli, and I spend most of my time scratching myself and playing with the striker. I don't think it's going to be me who discovers a cure for cancer.

I registered for the spring semester and I'm really looking forward to it. I have no class on Wednesdays and Fridays, and I'm taking all classes I want to take: Latin poetry, American short stories, Amerian history 1968-now, and intro to American Studies. Those are all smaller classes except for the history one, and I'm hoping I'll be more able to meet people in them. I've found it hard to make friends at BU because it's so big.

It feels wonderful to be home again. I got home last night and I was giddy. I could have kissed the toothless guy on the E train who called me "mama". I walked around in Central Park before meeting the homies (minus Juliet) for lunch, and it felt so right to be back here. I like Boston, but it's so obvious that I belong here. The excitement of being home, seeing everyone again, and the holiday is making me feel like an excited little kid. I love it. 

So that's essentially all there  is. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    Ringo purring

An Argument for Evolution

I'm doing fine. I went to Salem yesterday with Devin, Nikki, and Devin's roommates. Salem's a cute town, full of witch stuff, which would make the Puritans who hanged them 300 years ago pretty pissed. They must be spinning in their graves, some of which we saw when we walked through a really old cemetary. We walked around the town, went to a store that sold top hats and hand-painted capes with pictures of owls on them for $500 (pretty but how practical?), walked down to a little lighthouse, and generally chilled. Then I came back and practiced my grooves for a while. 

Anyway, in the course of my research for a paper on Rome and Carthage, I found this paraphrase of a lost Carthaginian writing. It seems the Carthaginians were exploring Africa, looking for trade routes, when this happened:

"In this Gulf was an island like the one last mentioned, with a lake which contained another island. This was full of savages; by far the greater number were women with hairy bodies, called 'gorillas' by our interpreters. We gave chase to the men but could not catch any for they climbed up steep rocks and pelted us with stones. However we captured three women who bit and scratched their captors. We killed and flayed them and brought their skins back to Carthage. This was as far as we could sail owing to lack of provisions."

Silly Carthaginians...
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    Jack Johnson through the wall

Whatta Man

The last couple of days have been pretty good. On Monday, Jackie and I went to a lecture on the Messiah by Elie Wiesel. It was really interesting, although it was also very warm and we had just eaten so we both dozed off for awhile. The lecture prompted me to read "Night", which was excellent. I can't believe I didn't read it until now. I also discovered YouTube, which has old clips of "Doug", "Daria", "Clarissa Explains It All", as well as Jessica Tandy accepting a Tony Lifetime Achievement award, Mary Louise Parker in her underwear, lots of Audrey Hepburn, and Kathy Bates giving a speech about Stephen King. Where has this been all my life?

I volunteered at MassEquality Friday, and met some nice kids. I also conquered my fear of calling people on the phone, since I had to call 122 registered voters to find out if they were planning to vote for Allen McCarthy. On the way to MassEquality, I passed the Massachusetts State House, which has a "General Hooker Entrance", which tickled me to no end. I also passed the Boston Athenaeum, a majestic library with a little gallery, and it turned out that today (Saturday) was the last day of their exhibit, "Depictions of the Banjo"! I went this morning, and it was really cool. 

Then came the best part. I picked up Grace at Yawkey, and we had a long splendid day, with lots of walking, laughing, and Finding Nemo gummy snacks. We went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as recommended by Ms. Rich, and it was really cool. It's a three-story mansion with rooms full of art of various periods and regions. There weren't many information cards, so we were left to figure out what was what, which was fun. We also tried (often in vain) to translate the latin on a lot of the works. We giggled at Jesus as usual, and were amused to find two bunnies humping each other the bottom of a big intricate tapestry. Afterwards we walked around more, ate dinner, walked around, had hot chocolate (and a construction worker chatted with me), went back to the dorm, and then Grace returned home. I took a nice, although chilly, walk through Brookline, and here I am. It's nice that I had a good couple of days, because I have serious work to do this week. I have two papers, a bunch of club things, the radio show, and, most importantly, I have to practice my moves. Saturday the 28th I'm dancing in a hard hat to En Vogue's "Whatta Man" at BU's Masquerade Ball. Why? I couldn't say. 

Still pretty lonely, but I'm doing my best, and surely I'll attract lots of people with this drag dance on Saturday. Who could resist that?
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The last two weeks have been a mix, but my lows never last that long and I'm feelin pretty good right now. Class is good. I like them all except for Statistics, which really cannot be made interesting. It's been a month and already half the class doesn't show up, and the other half falls asleep (myself included). I'm really enjoying interning at the radio station WTBU (the Beat of Boston University!). Our show is "Over Yonder", two hours of folk and bluegrass on Tuesday nights. You can listen online if you go to http:/// I recommend checking it out. I may be talking on it soon, and at the very least you'll hear quality music. I've been reviewing CDs for the office, and I've heard a lot of weird stuff, including a punk rock cover of the "Sailor Moon" theme song and a collection of uptempo latin songs with dirty lyrics. I've been made secretary of Spectrum, the gay club. They're a nice bunch, although we seem to have trouble attracting people to our meetings. On Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. I helped Habitat for Humanity raise money by cleaning Agganis Arena. It was gross. There was beer, and popcorn, and beer-soaked popcorn. But I did find $1.60 on the floor, and it's all mine!

I've been hanging out with the bench kids: Jonah, Amber, Devin, Nicky, and sometimes other people. We sit under Jonah's army blanket, they chain smoke, and we have pleasant conversations and watch the world go by. It's fun. And they're great connections. Devin knows everything that goes on in Boston, and Amber makes a really good calzone. If anyone comes to visit, we're getting a calzone from her. 

Also, I've acquired a taste for smooth, swinger jazz from the '60s, especially Henry Mancini, who did the music for "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "The Pink Panther", and that song "Baby Elephant Walk", among other things. If you want a mix, don't hesitate to ask :-). My own music isn't really going anywhere. I've been practicing, but less often. I'm trying to write a song about Boston, but I'm short on words at the moment. We'll see how it develops.

I guess that's it for now. One thing that has been surprising is how much homework there is. I always have a ton of homework to do. Like now, for instance. So off I go, back to the realm of ogives and empirical rules

A parting quote, from my reading about Archimedes, when he discovered the displacement of water and uttered the famous "Eureka!": "Those observing a naked man flying past them in the street certainly must have wondered if he had lost more than he had found!"
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    Peter Gunn- Henry Mancini


I've sat down to write an entry about school a few times since I got here, but I've had trouble organizing my thoughts. I think this is because I have very mixed emotions about the place. I've been pleasantly surprised with some things. My room is clean, and a good size, the showers work well, the food is good (there's so much tofu!), and I like my classes. I also like my roommate a lot. We're very different people, but we respect each others' space and get along well. 

For all that, though, it's been tough for me socially. BU feels like the high school I never went to. There are some people who just won't talk to you. Although to be fair, I've also been surprisingly shy. I have a lot of trouble approaching people.

But it's not all lonely and sad. Most of the time, I like it here. The campus is nice, and it's nice to be right on the river. I also like Brookline, which is the next town over. I've hung out with some people. Last night, four of us went to this park at night and it was really nice, and one of the girls, Amber, bought my CD! 

There's a also a good deal of stuff going on here. I went to meetings for the radio station, Habitat for Humanity, and Spectrum, the gay club, this week, and I liked all of them. They're screening "Fried Green Tomatoes" on Thursday, which I think is a good sign. I'm going to see Paul Simon in October and African acoustic music in November.

I didn't feel homesick til this weekend. I think it's started to sink in that I'm going to be here for a LONG time. It's not that here is so bad, but I think I was unusally lucky at home. I got along with my family, school was good, I had great friends. I don't particularly want to reinvent myself in college.

Things may pick up this week. I was very fevery all of last week, and that tends to darken your outlook. 

I guess we'll see...


First Trousers, Now This!

It's now my last week home. August was a good month, although it went by surprisingly fast. I spent most of it playing guitar and watching movies. I counted up all the change and singles and I made $280 from playing in the park and CD sales. Not bad, but I think I better go to college anyway. Over the last few weeks I've become totally into Audrey Hepburn, and I've seen a LOT of her movies, along with some other, non-Audrey ones. I only just realized what a good selection of movies the Mid-Manhattan library has, although they're mostly on VHS. 

I've been very lucky to have been able to get together with various combinations of the homies on various occasions. But pretty much everyone's gone now, with the exception of the UChicago people. Luckily, I have a lot of minutiae to think about this week, so I haven't been able to be real lonely yet. 

It's been rainy the last couple of days, but I didn't mind much because it was cooler and reminded me of Fall. I love fall. Every year I get excited when it gets a little cooler and school starts. I'm excited for BU. I've met some people on facebook, and my roommate seems really nice. Also, Jackie will be there, and she promised we'd stick together because 1) It's sad to eat dinner alone and 2) She needs my graphing calculator. I am going to miss Hunter though. 

For anyone who's in college now and sees this, or for people who are still hanging around, good luck. I watched a silent movie called "The Plastic Age", about the debauchery that goes on at college, and one of the title cards said "Second only to the thrill of the first pair of long trousers-College!", and that's pretty much how I feel.
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    Another Brick in the Wall- Pink Floyd