Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shameless plug for a local business

I just learned about this great, Eastern Shore based jewelry company known as Moonrise Jewelry. It started in Cheriton, VA, and has gained popularity nationwide. The cute, funky designs are not the only good thing about it. It's also all eco-friendly, and prides itself for its fair-trade practices! So I can endorse it on two levels: environmentally-friendliness and local pride! And believe me, rarely do I take a notice to jewelry of any kind. You go, Moonrise Jewelry!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

anticipation

I am waiting with bated breath until we are together again. It is less than two weeks now. The time in between will stretch out and twist and snap up and be gone in an instant. But that's just the way time works. It flows in big, full pools and then speeds through narrow canyons. I navigate it as I can. Images flash across my mind: holding your hand. Holding you in my arms, and pulling your lips to mine, and everything melting into one. I have stored your scent in my brain and I call it to mind when I am thinking of you. It is attached to many emotions.

I see your face in my mind so often, and it gives me butterflies. I watch a romantic movie and I just want to hold you so tight. This waiting, this anticipation... it will make the actual reunion so full of love and emotion and desire. I know, because it happened last time. I will be giddy with the renewed newness of us. I won't be able to believe that I have something so precious, that is already mine, and I will cherish it. I cannot wait to hold you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

some ideas/thoughts

Lately I've been thinking about the future... maybe what I want to do and such. I still have no career ideas; kind of hoping I'll fall into something. I would like to look more into journalism. I've been meeting a bunch of people who have done some cool things that I sort of want to replicate. I met a Dutch guy working at the Canyoning company in Queenstown who was traveling NZ with his girlfriend, moving from town to town and working in each place for a month or 2. That sounds really kind of cool for a just-out-of-college thing. It would allow you to travel, but not have to go into major debt, and fund traveling without really settling down. I'm definitely not interesting in 'settling down' right away. That is not a comment about my relationship at all; I'd love to travel and work with Jeff, just like that Dutch couple. It seems like it could happen since he wants to travel too, and has no idea what he wants to do. I am aware that it is not a given that our relationship will work out, but I really want it to. I am feeling not as dependent on him, like if, God forbid, it didn't work out, I could maybe eventually be okay. I personally see this as a good thing. It does not mean I love him less, or don't want to be with him for the rest of my life - I absolutely do. But I think this study abroad experience has fostered a new-found independence in me. I felt independent before but I sure as hell always wanted, or even needed a boyfriend. I think I may have been more codependent in the past than I ever admitted to myself. However, I think things will work out for the best, really I do. I hope that means Jeff and I will stay together.

Anyway, I've had this fantasy of living and working in London for a while. I don't know why. Maybe it was the cool Brits I met. And I have been there, and I really liked it. I mean, I want to do something like it somewhere, and London sounds pretty rocking. Or maybe Edinburgh. Or Dublin. I dunno. I guess I'll just see what happens!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

back then

together

Remember what it was like
when it was just a crush?
Every second with you
was tense and questioning.
Interpret every twitch,
pull inevitably closer,
step away at last.
Oh the awkward glances and sighs,
and the ‘does-he-like-me-too?’

Sometimes I wish we could step back to those days.
I love the closeness now,
but still I look back on the
almost-hug-pull-back-repeat
with fondness.

unwanted thoughts

rebirth

there in your brain
it starts to flower again
though you pulled it out
once and for all.
but it has spread like a tumor,
malignant, fast, and terminal,
and there's nothing you can do but succumb.
you try to burn it
but it grows back,
and you rip it to pieces
but it is suddenly whole.

like any weed,
you have to pull out the roots
to the very last fibre
before it will stay away for good.

Monday, September 29, 2008

cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater

Today in my Gender Studies class we talked about cybersex. Among other interesting aspects of this phenomenon, we discussed cheating in the context of internet sex. Is it cheating if you're having erotic chat-room conversations with a hottie from Spain in the middle of the night while your significant other slumbers in the other room, for instance? You're not, after all, having physical sex of any kind. The floor was opened for discussion and one of the extremely outspoken women contended that it wasn't cheating if there was no emotional connection. The discussion continued with people agreeing with a particular conception of cheating, and it began to alarm me. I had to make the point that there is not an objective definition of cheating. What's cheating to me might be totally innocent to you.

For instance, the outspoken women said prostitution wasn't cheating because there was nothing emotional in it. However, to me, sexual infidelity is just as heinous as emotional infidelity (and believe me, it's pretty heinous in my estimation). Cheating, whether sexual or emotional, is a total dealbreaker for me. But what do I consider cheating? Well, for me it all depends on the situation when you get down to contested areas. However, there are definite lines for me - sex with someone else is crossing that line, whether we're talking about vaginal intercourse, oral sex, or mutual masturbation. I have a pretty broad definition of sex. However, I recognise that some acts can be completely innocent. A kiss or a hug isn't a necessary red flag, if it's given in friendship, or, say, for a theatrical performance. I (and Jeff too) was okay with giving Amy a peck on the lips to help her complete her goal of kissing 21 people for her 21st birthday. But anything more than a peck - yes, regardless of gender - would be pushing it. However, this is just my conception of fidelity. Clearly, not everyone will agree with me. What's important is that you agree with your partner, or at least agree to respect their conception of cheating, so that your relationship can be one of trust.

So what's acceptable and not for you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

but how do I make a difference?

The more I stay in school, the more screwed up I realize the world is. But the level of things wrong with the world is so massive that it is hard to wrap your mind around. Just to name a few problems: poverty, social inequality, structural violence, AIDS, pollution, the reliance on oil, and the US government (ok, that last one is kind of unfair: there are problems with plenty of governments, but I pick on the US because I live there and it is quite powerful). Looking at everything, you feel totally helpless and useless in the face of it. After all, I'm only one person. I can't single-handedly change the world. But it is quite apparent that doing nothing is not the answer. There are certainly ways in which individuals can make a difference. However, it is clear that you must pick your causes carefully. You can't, after all, help everything. Time and financial resources are limited. But how can you choose a cause? What should you give priority to? Not only that, but how should you choose to help? Unfortunately, any action intended to help may produce unintended consequences. No solution is guaranteed to not actually make things worse. So what do you do, as you attempt to be a decent, moral human being? What is your obligation?

For instance, say I chose to give a portion of my (nonexistent) income to a charity (this is just theoretical). Let's say I gave to an organization that gives food aid to a starving nation. It is certain my input, however meager, will matter in someone's life. However, what about the consequences of food aid? It can put local farmers out of business, encouraging them to stop farming. Then, more food aid is required. This is not a good solution - we can only give so much. It can make the people who receive it economically worse off than they were before. One thing that can happen is that people with more power and who don't need it get the food and then sell it to the people who can't afford it in the first place. Clearly, this is quite problematic.

That's just the problems with one thing - but again, how do I rank what's most important? What is most pertinent to me, or what will help the most amount of people?

Should I become a vegetarian, helping to stop animal cruelty and reduce the harm I do to the environment? Should I give to a charity (I am least inclined to do something like this)? Should I sponsor a child in Africa? Should I help raise money for cancer research? Should I volunteer at the animal shelter? Should I become a teacher, helping to educate people and encourage them to make a difference as well?

The more I learn about the problems with the world, the harder it is to feel like a decent human being who is doing all she can to help. I am not entirely satisfied with my current contribution to society. Of course, I can write it off as "I'm a student, I can help later." Sure, I have done a lot of volunteering throughout the course of my 20 years. But is it enough? How hard should I be on myself? All these questions are on my mind at the moment.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My first motorcycle lesson

I decided to finally take my mom up on her offer for motorcycle lessons today. I was using the little Honda Rebel. I started by learning all the controls, how to turn it on, a few other essentials. I then put in first gear without giving it any throttle and let out the clutch a bit until I could walk slowly with it. I gradually let it go a bit faster but continued to keep my feet down. It was unexpectedly really fun and I thought, I wanna go fast. Ha, that shouldn't be a surprise, since the same thing happens to me when I get on a jet ski... in a car... etc. On a horse, too. Anyway, I liked it and I want to learn more.

a little rebel

Monday, June 9, 2008

An eerie scream in the night...

I was at Jeff's house last night, and just falling into sleep, when a noise put up the hackles on the back of my neck (well, I would have hackles if I was a cat or dog, anyway you get the point). It was like a fairly long scream, like that of a child, ending in what sounded like a cross between laughing and crying. My eyes snapped open wide at that. The screams continued a few more times, but were moving further away. My mind thought 'probably a fox' but that didn't stop my heart from hammering and my hand from shaking as I switched on the light. I slept with the bathroom light on the rest of the night... Today I did a quick search on Youtube for "red fox noises", and sure enough, I found a video that's fairly similar to the noise I heard. Wikipedia says red foxes' vocal range are very large, so it's quite likely it could've made such a bizarre noise. The point is, red foxes are creepy at night, but cute in the day.



Also, perhaps I shouldn't be so paranoid about noises in the night? They're usually animals or just the regular noises of houses (which I still jump at occasionally when they're particularly loud or weird).

Friday, May 16, 2008

A couple of quotes

From Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."

'"It was a horrible sight, Oskar: their arms in crude splints, straight in front of them like zombies! They couldn't feed themselves, because they couldn't get their hands to their mouths! So you know what they did!" "They starved?" "They fed each other! That's the difference between heaven and hell! In hell we starve! In heaven we feed each other!" "I don't believe in the afterlife." "Neither do I, but I believe in the story!"'

"Everything that's born has to die, which means our lives are like skyscrapers. The smoke rises at different speeds, but they're all on fire, and we're all trapped."

"I said, I want to tell you something. She said, You can tell me tomorrow. I had never told her how much I loved her. She was my sister. We slept in the same bed. There was never a right time to say it. It was always unnecessary. The books in my father's shed were sighing. The sheets were rising and falling around me with Anna's breathing. I thought about waking her. But it was unnecessary. There would be other nights. And how can you say I love you to someone you love? I rolled onto my side and fell asleep next to her. Here is the point of everything I have been trying to tell you, Oskar. It's always necessary."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On the Things I Cannot Say

The weather outside is absolutely beautiful. The sun is shining, it's warm on my face, the birds are singing, the breeze is lovely and fragrant and tickling the trees. But today is the day you left, and though you haven't been gone long your absence is a presence in my life already. I read my book to make the time past, at home and at the dentist's, and it is profound but it is also sad. It has a red handprint on the cover. It's of a left hand, like the one I use to write. I place my hand upon the shadow of a hand, but the red hand is too big. My mind traces the curves and lengths of your hands, and my measurements say this hand on the cover is about the same size as yours. It makes me want to hold your hand again, to trace its soft lines. Last night we were holding each other close and in your arms I almost said the things I cannot say. It's not that I don't want to tell you, in fact I have the feeling you already know, but I have never told you in so many words. I want you to know every part of me, even this part, but for some reason it is very hard for me. Part of me says it's because I don't know how you feel about it, that it might scare you that I feel this way, that maybe it's best if you don't know. But really it's that I am afraid and a bit superstitious. The words are the shape of the ways I've been damaged before. My fears are related to the way you would answer; or worse, the way you might not answer. I know that it is likely you feel the same: maybe you too are scared of this type of thinking. If you didn't answer it might not reflect how you feel, it must just be the way you can't say it either, even after I had, or that you were happy about it and just wanted to savor the moment and not mar it with words. But the problem is I wouldn't know. I'd want you to answer and maybe there is nothing to say. If you don't feel that way, I wouldn't want you to say you did, but it would hurt just the same that you don't. I am hoping you too, and all evidence points to that. But the anxiety to say it, this one little category of things I hide from you, is growing. Every time I think about it, I think, I'm going to say it, something, anything, to let him know, next time we're together. But then when we are together I just want to be in the moment. Should I even be worrying about the future when the present is so wonderful? But I know, too, that we are eventually going to have to talk about it. Is it an unspoken rule that we can't? Or just a boundary in my mind? I mentioned it's where I've been damaged before, and now I'll tell you why. I've said it before, planned for the future in the past, and it has never worked out the way I hoped, the way I longed. I felt like the fact that we'd said it made it all the worse to leave behind. I'm beginning to doubt whether it makes much of a difference in the end if it doesn't happen: I'll still have thought it, and you'll have never known how I felt. So even now I'm convincing myself it will be better to make it clear to you, and that I should just say it. But that doesn't stop the freezing of the words, the times when I push myself to say it and end up going further into myself and holding tighter to the words, and staying silent and you probably are wondering what I am thinking of, but you don't ask so perhaps you are thinking just as feverishly. Or is that it is just not in your nature to ask? Maybe that's okay. Maybe one day I'll be ready to breathe you in while we're embracing, and lift my head and look you in the eye, and draw in a breath and open my mouth and let loose the words: "I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer came to my college this past semester, and gave a speech on the purpose of laughter and its application in Jewish culture. He was everything you would expect from reading Everything Is Illuminated: intelligent, funny, Jewish. I wanted to meet him but couldn't think of any questions to ask, and didn't have any books to be signed, so I thought it would be too awkward. Instead, Ted and I just left and talked of books we liked, such as House of Leaves. Well, I am now reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and the writing style reminds me of House of Leaves. It's disjointed but insightful so far. I'm really enjoying it and hope it's as good as I expect it will be. This is the kind of writing that inspires me to write as well, so also hopefully some good creative material will come out of it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Jumping in the James

Yesterday some friends from my hall (Devin, Ted, Erica, and Huang) and I went to Jamestown Beach on the spur of the moment. Everyone was finished with exams, and we were ready to have some summer fun. We left five or ten minutes after we decided to go - no one had time to change or anything, it was very impromptu, which I often like. It was beautiful out: hot, sunny, free. We piled in Devin's Jeep and drove over. It had a digital readout: Distance To Empty. It read 19. So we had 19 miles worth of gas left - not much. Devin kept a nervous eye on the readout as it quickly flew down to 13, 10, 7... but at times it would jump back up. Jamestown Beach is not far, but the car kept recalculating how much gas it really had left. It was like we were in Speed... only we were trying to maximize fuel economy instead of go above 50 or whatever. We got to the beach: 3 miles to empty. Maybe we were going to have to walk home, but by god we were at the beach now and we were going to enjoy it. The beach was crowded with mostly college students, celebrating the relaxing summer status of us all. Most people had bathing suits, of course. Not us. We set down our towels, and Erica immediately jumped in the river: fully clothed, in fact, in a dress! Devin stripped down to his stylishly striped boxer-briefs and did a flip into the water. Huang laid out on a towel, and Ted and I skipped some stones and waded a bit. The water felt amazingly warm. I wanted to jump in but my cellphone was in my pocket... and I was wearing clothes... and I have a bit of a thing about going in water that's not the pool.
Jamestown beach
But it was beckoning so strongly that I put the stuff in my pockets on a towel, took off my glasses, and walked in. It felt as good as I expected. I played around with Devin and Erica in the water until Ted alerted me to the fact that a large group of people down the beach were calling my name. I was pretty blind at this point, so I walked toward them not knowing who they were. It turned out to be Carla, David, Cassondra, Matt, Audrey, Pete, and some other people I didn't know. They gave me half a bread end with some cheese spread. I was really glad to have seen Carla before I left. After a brief conversation, Devin told me he needed to take Ted back and that I could decide whether to go then or later. I was starving so I chose to go. I was completely soaked and nasty, but luckily I had brought a towel. Devin was not sure we'd make it back without running out of gas. As he drove up to the Spanish house, the DTE was 0. He wasn't sure whether he'd get to a gas station or not, and we wished him luck and departed. I took a shower and went to dinner, eating with Tim, Mike Vance, and Frances. It had been over an hour since I'd gotten back from the beach and Devin still wasn't back with Erica - we were afraid he hadn't made it to a gas station. But it turned out he had, and everything was good. Later we went to Cold Stone Creamery and watched some movies. It was an awesome last night with some amazing people. I'm going to miss them when I'm in New Zealand, and also this summer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lions can be cute too!

BBC has this clip of brand new lion cubs at the Shizuoka Zoo in Japan.

Pandas are adorable.



Do I need to add anything? I found this via Cute Overload.
Panda therapy for when you're down.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Helen (story)

My parents loved the classics. I don’t mean Gone With the Wind here – I mean the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. I suppose that’s why my middle name is Menelaus – but I’ve never felt much like a king. I don’t share their passion for Greek dramas, but I know enough to find it funny that I fell in love with a Helen, quite literally.

My Helen, too, betrayed me. Years ago, my best friend brought me proof that Helen was cheating on me. She was everything to me, and I was devastated. Before even confronting her, I followed my rage and grief and suicidal wishes all the way to the army recruiter. I was in perfect condition to go straight into boot camp, and I was shipped over to Iraq not long after. I wasn’t afraid of death; I just wanted to punish myself. I destroyed any and all letters from Helen, as part of my punishment. I ignored the slow shattering of my heart and just pushed myself harder.

After five years duty in Iraq, I finally got the pain I’d been hoping for. Many of my friends died in that blast, but for some reason I survived with all but the lower part of my left leg intact. My injuries earned me a medal and a plane ride home. But here’s where things went a little off course. The plane never made it to Seattle that day; she went down in a field just outside of Atlanta. I remember thinking this is it, the end that I’ve been wanting, as the oxygen masks came down. But something wanted me alive that day, too, and I landed in an Atlanta hospital with some minor internal bleeding and a concussion.

I woke up to the smells of disinfectant and death, and everything looked quite hazy. A blonde head came into focus at the bedside on the left. A sharp pain coursed through me, but it had nothing to do with my physical injuries. She was as beautiful as my dreams had kept her. I had been trying to forget her, but everything came flooding back at the sound of her voice.

“Joseph Menelaus Carter,” Helen said. My name on her lips sent shivers through me, and brought on feelings I thought I’d gotten past. “I saw your name on the ER admissions list. I’m a nurse here.”

I groaned and turned away. My mouth was dry and I didn’t trust myself to speak. She just sat calmly and continued.

“Aren’t you going to ask me how I’ve been?”

I turned to her and physical and emotional pain made my vision go black at the edges. “H- how…” I tried to speak, but it turned out that between my pain and my grogginess, my voice wouldn’t obey me.

A look of concern washed over her face. “You don’t look so good yourself. I’m going to let you rest and we can chat later.”

I don’t know what happened next, because everything faded to darkness. I woke up to a doctor doing something at the bedside.

“Ah, hello, Joe. Glad to see you awake,” he said, his middle-aged faced lined with wrinkles, the kind you get from smiling. “How are you feeling today?”

“Much better,” I said, surprised at the amount of control I now had over my voice. “Say, do you know a nurse named Helen Thompson?” He nodded. “Could you get her to come see me?” I tried not to let my emotions creep into my voice, but I don’t know that I was so successful. The doctor looked a bit concerned, perhaps hearing the edge of anger in my question, but he agreed to get her.

I couldn’t tell how much time had passed when she strolled back up to my bedside. She sat down in the chair, and I was filled with a rush of nostalgia as her scent traveled through me. “Hi,” I said, suddenly feeling sort of shy. “How have you been?”

“Well, Joe,” she said. “I’ve been decent. How about yourself?”

I gave a little laugh at that. “I’ve been better. What are you doing in Atlanta?”

“I moved out here back to my mother’s after…” she paused awkwardly and cleared her throat. What about you?”

“Um… well, my plane decided to do a detour here, I guess.”

She smiled a bit at that, and then took on a serious gaze. “You know, part of me just wanted to see you hurt. Like, maybe it would help. Heal me a little, you know? Finish the job time tried to start. It turns out, though, that seeing you rips my heart back open. It hurts. I still don’t understand – it’s been over five years and I still can’t figure it out.”

At this I began to feel a righteous indignation. “Can’t figure it out?” Now the old venom was coursing back through my veins. “Can’t figure out how you slept with another man? And that Connor got pictures of you with some banker from Detroit? For god’s sake, Helen, you thought you could get away with it?”

Surprise and annoyance etched her pretty features into an unattractive frown. “Joe, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I mean, I have always, always been faithful to you. I’ve been such a fool that I’ve held onto hope that there was some good reason you left for five years. Do you know what that’s done to me? No, don’t answer that. I can’t believe you.” And with that, she stormed off.

My initial anger was turning quickly to confusion. Helen was not the type to lie; I couldn’t help but want to believe her. It felt like the world was about to crash down on me, but there were still some things I couldn’t understand. At that moment, the phone at my bedside rang shrilly. I reached over, feeling the soreness deep in my muscles.

“Hello,” I croaked, my voice nearly unrecognizable.

“Joe.” It was Connor. “Helen told me you were in the hospital and that… you… I… can we talk? I’m actually in Atlanta right now. Could I come by?”

“Yeah, I think that would be good.” I hung up. I had the sinking feeling that Connor would be able to answer all my questions… but it was more foreboding than anything.

After a few hours or so, Connor strolled in wearing a typically stylish outfit. He put on his trademark half-smile and pushed back his hair. “You look like hell, my friend.” He pulled the bedside chair closer and sat down. “But at least you’re alive, right?”

I snorted. He didn’t sound terribly concerned, but it was alright. I hadn’t considered him my best friend, or even a friend at all really, since the Helen incident. In my mind, he was inextricably linked to all that pain, and it didn’t exactly leave me with warm fuzzy feelings for him.

“So. Iraq?” he inquired.

I sighed. “Look, Connor. Let’s be honest. We could just make awkward small talk until one of us finally brings up the more serious issues, or we could have it out right now. Which way do you want to play it?”

“God, Joe, you never were one to beat around the bush. Sure, there were things in the past I’ve done and I’m not proud of, but can’t we move past that?”

“What if I told you I had no idea what you’re talking about?”

“I’d call bullshit,” he asserted. “Helen said you told her why you went, and I know you would always believe her first.”

“What did you do, Connor?”

“It’s called Photoshop. They were really pictures of you with her, but I changed your features just enough so it looked like someone else. It’s not that hard, really.”

“Why? And why are you telling me now?” I couldn’t hide my disbelief and exasperation.

“I knew it would get out one way or another, and I preferred you to hear it first hand. And as for why, I think with some soul searching you can figure that out, too.”

“You ruined my life, Connor. Five years…” I paused and took a deep breath, trying to calm myself down. “You were my best friend.”

“Joe, I’m going to be honest here. I was close to you to be closer to her. And there’s no way I could have known you would react like that. I’m being honest now because it’s not like it got me anything. You’re a decent guy, Joe. I’m almost sorry for what I did.”

I had never suspected Connor before. But now that I thought about it, there had been some odd behavior… I must have just looked through it. He walked out, and I didn’t really care if I ever saw him again.

The next day a nurse came to check my blood pressure. I asked her about Helen.

“She ain’t workin’ today, hon,” the older woman drawled. “I’ll tell her you asked for her when she comes in tomorrow.”

It seemed like an eternity had passed when I saw Helen walking down the hall.

She sat. “So, Joe,” she said a bit too forcefully, with sarcasm seeping through. “I hear you wanted me.”

Her words cut through me. “That’s not fair, Helen. How was I supposed to know that Connor was such a lying prick? Or that he just wanted you?”

“Well, I’ll give you that, but you certainly were goddamn quick to believe him. You couldn’t have even confronted me about it?”

“I’ll admit I was impulsive. But the pictures… they looked so real. They cut deep, straight to my insecurities. I had been worried you would want someone else. Don’t ask me why, since you were… you are… the most trustworthy person I know. Connor knew just how to hurt me in the worst possible way.” I shook my head to try to fend off the oncoming tears.

A look of concern flashed over her face, and her eyes clouded as though she might cry. “God, Joe, I loved you so much.” She held her face in her hands as the first tears ran down her soft cheeks. “Oh, who am I kidding?” She looked up at me, sadly, and whispered: “I still love you just the same.”

At that moment I wanted nothing more than to gather her in my arms and tell her it was okay to cry, and we could sob together, but I wasn’t sure if she was ready to forgive me just yet. She reached out, tentatively, and brushed a tear from my eye. Our eyes met, and soon after our lips followed. I knew then something I had denied for years. I was still very much in love with Helen. Despite all the pain we’d caused each other, something inside me felt that maybe it could still work out. But she suddenly pulled away.

“Joe, I’m engaged,” she said quietly, her eyes downcast like she was ashamed of what she was saying.

“What?” I couldn’t believe it. “But what about all you said about being faithful…”

“I wouldn’t lie to you. This is my mother’s doing. There’s this man… he’s quite wealthy, and apparently he’s smitten with me. He talked to my mother, who promised him she would make me see the light. By this point I was losing hope and I agreed. But we haven’t even really dated… it’s almost like an arranged marriage.”

“Well… can’t you explain things to him?” I asked, annoyed at this unforeseen obstacle.

“It’s… not really that simple. He’s a very powerful man, and he could use it to ruin us.”

“Well, we’ll just have to think of something. Your intelligence was one thing I always loved you. I want us to have another shot at making this work.” I was beginning to feel a little desperate.

“I’ll see what I can do. But first we need to get you well.” She kissed me on the cheek, and began to leave. “I’ll be looking in on you.”

It took five more days before the doctors were willing to discharge me. Helen carefully deposited me at her mother’s house while she went to set things straight with her rich fiancĂ©, Theodore Wells.

After some overly polite conversation with her mother, I heard Helen pull into the driveway. She ran in, breathless.

“I’ve told him a relative in Texas died and that I need to go to the funeral. I booked us a flight to Seattle that leaves in three hours. We better get going.”

We gathered up what little I had and Helen’s necessities and rushed to the airport. On the flight, I asked Helen what we were going to do about Theodore once he figured out that she had lied. She explained that his sister, Theresa, was a friend of hers and had promised to make everything alright.

“Theodore thinks the world of her, and will pretty much listen to anything she says. I think everything’s going to be okay,” she said, smiling.

I put my arms around her and breathed in her elegant fragrance. It looked like everything would turn out all right after all.

A few weeks later I took Helen to visit my parents in Los Angeles. My mother took me aside to talk to me in private after we told them our story.

“You know, Joseph, fate’s a funny thing. If you knew more about mythology, I think you would be quite amused.”

“But Mom, the Greek Helen really did run away with Paris. Didn’t she?”

“Well, honey, it all depends on what version you read. Someday you should really pick up Euripides’ tragedy called Helen.”

“Oh, great, a tragedy,” I said sarcastically.

“I think you’ll find that if you had known that story, you might not have been so worried about things working out.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

my love affair with kayaking

Well, I decided to take the Kayaking class through the Kinesiology department this semester. It was a White Water Kayaking class. It met once a week for two hours and was worth 1 credit. It might have costed sixty extra bucks or so. We started off in the Adair pool learning how to do Eskimo rescue, some turning techniques, and braces. At first, I would panic as soon as I got underwater, and couldn't master the Eskimo rescue. I went in for extra help and still wasn't getting it. We started going out on Lake Matoaka in late February, and started to learn how to go straight. It's not as easy as you think in kayaks made for white water. They are incredibly responsive, which is great for rapids, but not so great for the lake. I felt good about being out on the water, I mean, I've had quite a bit of kayaking experience. In late March we had one class in the pool to do Eskimo rolls. I went through a lot of the Eskimo rolling progression but then asked Randy (my instructor) to help me with Eskimo rescues instead. I knew I needed to get them down. And it finally clicked for me that day, and I felt really good about it. Last Friday, April 11, was the white water trip I went on. I was really scared the day before, but on that day I was mostly excited and just a bit nervous. It was a beautiful day: sunny, warm, a bit of a breeze. The water was cold but it felt refreshing. We were running the Appomattox River in Petersburg, VA. It has a canal that follows it for awhile, and we paddled up the canal until just below the old mill (where it stops). We took our kayaks over to the river side, and did some scouting. Randy showed us the best way to get through the first Class I rapids, and then we were to stop in a big eddy. I was nervous but after running those rapids I was just feeling good about it. After stopping we practiced ferrying across the river, and eddy turns and peel outs. We then went onto the first Class II rapid, called Z. My back end hit the rocks but that was okay... no harm done. We kept going along until the next Class II, called Picnic. On Picnic Randy said 'head left towards that flat rock, then cut right and stay in the middle and there's a surprise at the end.' When I went down, I got in the right place and found the surprise! Huge standing waves at the end! And it was a fast rapid. Lots of fun! We stopped at the island and sat on the rocks that made up the rapid and ate lunch. Then we kept going. There was one other cool Class II rapid called Snake Drop. It was basically just a steep drop, and the island where you stop is often covered in sunning snakes. It wasn't that day. Both Picnic and Snake Drop drenched me in water. It was so much fun. We had to carry our boats a quarter mile across an island at the end, but it was all good. Today there was an extra, optional rolling session. I went, and successfully did several Eskimo rolls! Sweet! Several people have commented on how graceful and natural I seem in a kayak. I attribute it to my riding experience. And I love it.

here I make a graceful entrance

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

painting with light


your love lights my darkness, originally uploaded by marichica88.

So my mom gave me a pen which has a laser pointer on it. Naturally, I use it to take long exposure shots to write things. You can call it "painting with light." It's fun, and looks cool.

A word about vandalism.

Hilarious.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hooray for Mariela Castro

New Cuban leader Raul Castro's daughter Mariela is the head of the National Centre for Sex Education, and is trying to get new liberal sexuality laws passed in the country. "The proposed legislation would recognise same-sex unions, along with inheritance rights. It would also give transsexuals the right to free sex-change operations and allow them to switch the gender on their ID cards, with or without surgery," a BBC article said. If Cuba passes the legislation, it will be a great day for LGBT activists, and for personal freedom in general.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bats are neither rich nor beautiful. Discuss.

And yet, Alan Hicks, a government conservationist, said:

"I don't want my grandkids saying, gosh, what was it like to have bats flying around? I want them to enjoy all the wealth and beauty that we have."

I'm sorry the bats are dying. But at least they won't get in my room anymore.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Election Coverage

This particular post is not going to be too political, I just want to highlight some of the media's coverage of the election, especially that of the Democratic race.

First up: Clinton's 'mistake.' Last week, she apparently talked of her terrifying experience entering Bosnia under sniper fire. But, oops, that never actually happened! Not only that, there is a VIDEO SHOWING HER ENTERING BOSNIA. Of course, she says it "proves [she's] human." We all make mistakes. They just don't usually involve completely making up something that never happened.

And then this. This is just pointless really. But people care about it, apparently.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What Sarah said

How I got to this: Flickr>jadydangel's blog>this

Instructions: Put the iPod on "Shuffle" For each question, forward to the next song and write it down IN THAT ORDER. No Cheatin'.

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
"Cave" - Muse

2. WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
"Buildings" - Regina Spektor [doesn't really fit, but great song]

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
"Lightness" - Death Cab for Cutie [yep, you better be shallow and only want me for my body]

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
"A Certain Romance" - Arctic Monkeys [why, I am feeling a certain romance today. after all, I am wearing the shirt Jeff got me in Japan]

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
"In the Springtime of His Voodoo" - Tori Amos ["honey we're recovering Christians", "I know she's not that foxy, boys", "you gotta owe something sometimes"]

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
"37 MM" - AFI ["press me to your lips and I will suck the poison out", "fall into me"]

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
"I Think We're on to Something Here" - The Evening Raid [so... what does that mean about what they think of me?]

8. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
"I'm Sorry" - Flyleaf [wow... umm... no, it's not like that, unless I'm sorry I have such cool parents]

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
"Dark Light" - Him

10. WHAT IS 2+2?
"The Green Fields of France" - Dropkick Murphys

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
"Black Sweat" - Prince [this would totally work if Jeff was black... "I don't wanna take nobody on unless it's you", "I'm hot and I don't care who knows it"]

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
"High Fidelity" - Regina Spektor [that's true]

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
"The Heinrich Maneuver" - Interpol ["you know it's a lonely ride"... how depressing]

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
"Worth the Wait" - We Are Scientists [something that will take a long time to figure out but be amazing? seems reasonable]

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
"And It Rained All Night" - Thom Yorke [what's with this thing?]

16. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
"Kiss Me Like You Mean It" - Magnetic Fields [it's giving me the wrong answers for things...]

17. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
"The Hound (Of Blood and Rank)" - Coheed & Cambria ["come on, you've gotta give it to me" I guess that line works, but then "oh you've been a bad, bad boy" alludes to some wedding night S&M... woah]

18. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
"Devil in New Jersey" - Coheed & Cambria ["when sound asleep they'll find you", well that would be better than many things]

19. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
"Custom Concern" - Modest Mouse

20. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
"Apocalypse Please" - Muse [apparently I want the world to end. not even I knew that.]

21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
"I Caught Fire" - The Used [you can interpret this in a few ways. going by the title, perhaps they like to set me on fire. by the lyrics, well then I'm just passionately in love with them all, "we could... stay in bed, just make love that's all" OH YES]

22. WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
"What Sarah Said" - Death Cab for Cutie [an absolutely beautiful but sad and haunting song]

Saturday, March 22, 2008

scent


tree flowers, originally uploaded by marichica88.

I breathe the scent of a spring night,
freshly cleansed with rain,
the air is fine and clear and sweet.
Is that honeysuckle on its lips?
This I delight in until -
woe of most misfortune -
I pass cigarette smoke
and my lungs reject it.
Finally that dreadful second
is gone -
and my nose drinks in
the sweet spring smell again.
It happily remembers
other times I've smelled this -
and then all of a sudden
my mind brings up your scent again.
I'm struck by the fact that it has not left me.
I can conjure it at will.
And then a smile steals my features
and I want to bury myself in you yet again.

Some thoughts, a link.

First of all, head on over to dooce to get a nice, healthy dose of crazy. Heather Armstrong is a wonderfully amusing writer, and makes the most mundane occasions hilarious. Would that I had such talent.

Next of all, my roommate went home this weekend. Great, right? But last night I slept in Tal's room, because we had been telling ghost stories and I was a little creeped out. We ended up staying up til 5 in the morning talking. Sleepovers are good like that. We talked about lots of things, including ethics.

I got a voicemail from my grandmother after dinner yesterday that my package from Jeff had arrived. Apparently Japan is not kidding when it sends things. That was really fast - he sent it Monday, it got here Friday. I went over to pick it up and met her friends Chuck and Judy who were quite cool. They told me this horrific story: "A US woman on a boat off the Florida Keys has died after a stingray leapt up and struck her in the face." Officials called this a "bizarre incident", apparently. Really? Bizarre? No way! It's like that Dane Cook joke, only real. And therefore terrible.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ah yes, foolish opinions.

This guy spoke at W&M today. While his speech didn't even approach the sensationalism and radicalism that he apparently embraces (seriously, read the Wikipedia article). He talked about how diversity is not a good thing; how diverse nations rate lower in studies on happiness; how historically integration hasn't worked; how it's natural to want to be with people of your own race. He clearly stated that he's anti-immigration (well, if those immigrants aren't white, that is). He had a couple of half-intelligent points based on shoddy, problematic arguments. He said race is biological (not true). He completely dismissed studies that have shown diversity to be positive. He ignored the fact that concepts of race and the reactions to it are directly linked to how we are socialized to see it, and the fact that there is evidence that those views can be changed. The overwhelming reaction was disgust and outrage. There were a few legitimate, respectful questions: he responded by repeating himself and respected no one else's opinion. It was really interesting that he was there at all. It was interesting to see a radically different viewpoint than my own at work. But his defense was not appropriate; his main argument was that he was right and that's all there is to it. Ah, the things people believe. Plus he founded and edits this lovely publication.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

More look-alike nonsense

I did Jeff on that thing. It says he looks most like Adam Sandler.

snazzy Jeff

Adam Sandler (via Flickr)

What do you think?

Friday, March 7, 2008

America beckons

patriotic

come back to me,
America says.
I have missed you.
I can't wait to feed you full of fat again -
if you get the runs,
it will be all the more endearing.
when the sun sets here,
she cries,
I wish you could see it.
marvel at my beautiful curves,
never mind that I grew several sizes
since you left.
I keep everyone safe.
Not literally -
only in the sense that they feel it.
I love you, I really do,
but at the same time -
I could care less.
So come back or don't.
Just don't leave me waiting.
I'm very impatient.

light up the sky with our fire

sunset seagulls

music videos, movies,
drilling the idea in my head:
I want to draw you into my arms
and kiss you like forever.
I don't need to draw a breath
if I can just breathe you.
In my mind,
let this never stop.
We will spread our love,
a blanket on the ground.
Laying on that blanket under the stars,
we will identify the constellations
and light up the sky with our fire.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Yay, some links!

Some places you should go.

The Story of Stuff - This has a 20 minute video about our consumer culture. It's really enlightening. Watch it!

Mental Floss - My favorite magazine's website is chock full of even more cool facts! Check out the blog, lists, and quizzes.

Conventional Stupidity - The blog of a Mental Floss writer. It is really hilarious.

The Best 19 Movies You Didn't See in 2007 - I'm using this as a what-to-see-next guide!

Eternally Cool - This blog often has references to classics! It's mostly about Rome... and other cool things.

Overheard in New York - Always funny, this site posts random things overheard in New York City. Also links to an 'everywhere' and 'at the beach' version.

iSketch - online pictionary!

Threadless - Great t-shirts.

Cute Overload - Yes. Go here.

That's all for now!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Celebrity Look-alike

So my friends on Facebook have been putting up this myheritage.com celebrity look-alikes thing. I tested it out, it said I look most like Cameron Diaz. Agree? Disagree? See for yourself.


new haircut Me
Cameron Diaz (courtesy of Wire Image)

A Saga of Woe and Triumph: Applying to Study Abroad

Just a little story for you.
Once upon a time, a girl dreamed she would go to New Zealand to study abroad in the fall. She studied and researched and thought and thought and finally decided that the University of Otago was her destination of choice. She had a few options now: go through a program or directly enroll? She thought that going through a program would be much less stressful, and make it easier to meet people. So she looked at the programs. The top two were through a company called AustraLearn and through Arcadia University. The AustraLearn program appeared to be a bit cheaper, so she picked that one. She applied ridiculously early - the deadline was in April but she applied in January! It took a while for AustraLearn to tell her they got her materials, but she thought that was probably okay. Finally on January 31, and e-mail arrived! They had gotten all her materials and would let her know if she got accepted in two weeks! This seemed like a long time, but she spent it being excited and later, getting impatient. Especially when more than two weeks passed. At exactly 3 weeks later, a new e-mail arrived. But this e-mail was confusing, and was accompanied by a voicemail message. It said that AustraLearn had not received any of her application materials! This was indeed upsetting and frustrating. The woman at the office said the previous e-mail had been a mistake. This was unbelievable! The girl called her mom. Her mom said she could not go through AustraLearn anymore. The girl cried, and then doubted that she wanted to go to New Zealand after all. But then she thought some more. Then she realized she really did still want to go. And she applied to the Arcadia program. Shortly afterwards, a woman from the Arcadia office called her just to see if she had questions! This was a pleasant change. The application was due March 15 - about two weeks away. But she got everything in before the end of February, and her professor understood and wrote her a new recommendation quickly. Now she is simply waiting to hear from Arcadia, and is feeling much better about going to New Zealand.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

sapling

she danced all night, and became a tree

fourteen months ago today...
an awkward kiss,
establishing contact,
my mind is running a thousand miles an hour -
what do I do now? can I touch him?
is he mine?
click online and ask.
are we? is this?

yes.
we planted a tree that day.



Happy 14 month anniversary!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wrengate

Here is a site chronicling EVERYTHING surrounding Gene Nichol's resignation.

love

Today I would like to share with you about a little thing I call love. I am in love. With Jeff Bergemann. He is a wonderful man. Here's something I told him on the subject:

Hey lovely. The first thing to say to you: Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!!!!!! It is a day to celebrate love - and I am in my own way celebrating our love (just by thinking about how wonderful it is). I went on a long walk with Tal (which is why I wasn't on when you were) and we talked a lot about relationships (mostly hers, she is having issues :( ) and the weather was absolutely miserable, the rain became freezing rain on the way back. Anyway, the point I am getting to is that I started saying things about our relationship and how happy it makes me and I thought I would share my thoughts with you. It's just that this relationship has moved at its own pace - and while, at least right before we were going out it was a bit slow, it has worked out excellently well. I feel like things happened as they needed to, as they were meant to if you want to put it that way, that it has felt incredibly natural. No, it's not perfect all the time - I am not always happy and that even means I am not always happy with you, but I have never been dissatisfied with our relationship, and it is almost always simply amazing. Tal mentioned that we just seem right together - and I agree. We are kindred spirits, I think, and the fact that we found each other never ceases to amaze me. I am always certain that your love for me is as strong as my love for you - and I know that sometimes you are not as eloquent about it as I am, but we can't all be poets. Neither of us are perfect - but I truly believe that none of our respective flaws is so great or annoying to the other that it makes our relationship any less strong. I can know this, because of the way we can spend whole days, weeks even, together all the time and not get annoyed with each other. We've been dating for nearly 14 months and we're not sick of each other. Perhaps it is not my place to speak for you in such a way - but I honestly believe I know you well enough to do so. Basically I'm just saying that this relationship is right. It's good, it's excellent, it's the best anyone could ever hope for - just look at the fact that many people do specifically hope for it. I couldn't ask for more than just to be with you - and yes, I am with you right now. Physical togetherness is not the important part at the moment. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading my shouting of your praises and of our praises - I am sure you do, since I know that were I saying this to you in person you would be very quiet but you would have a big smile on your face. And you would exude your happiness and we would kiss and caress and all that beautiful excellence. So that's some Valentine-y stuff for you. I would love to celebrate it with you - but as it is we can be celebrating together in spirit, and celebrate together in not-too-terribly-long.

A poem which accompanied that message:

despite what I said

we are both poets.
but where I use words and fancy phrases,
you simply glance my way,
and your eyes write it out on my heart.
my commas are your kisses,
my periods your touch.
you hold me,
it is equal to a thousand stanzas.
I could write a book of verse
but it would never equal
the poetry in your body.

His response to said message and poem:

Wow, nothing brightens my day like getting an amazing message from an amazing person. I read the poem that goes hand in hand with and I must say, I'm going to have to do some pretty amazing things with my body since I can't express in words how wonderful it feels to have so much love and caring radiating great distances to reach me. Every time I read one of your poems I just block everything else out and it's just this intensely private wonderful moment. I love you, I love you so much if only I didn't need to rely on this inexact tool of words to express myself; oh the things you would feel.

There is much more to say about this subject. However, for now I will leave you with an image.

kiss

Friday, February 15, 2008

una actualizacion en espanol!

Necesito practicar mi espanol mas. Este escritura no tiene acentos pero pienso que puedes comprender. Fui a la hora del te en la casa esta tarde. Escuchaba a los personas que hablaban en espanol y no comprendaba todo, pero comprendaba mucho.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Statement From President Nichol

This was sent out at about 10 this morning. It made me cry a little. Damn you, Board of Visitors! Go Gene Nichol!

Dear Members of the William & Mary Community:

I was informed by the Rector on Sunday, after our Charter Day celebrations, that my contract will not be renewed in July. Appropriately, serving the College in the wake of such a decision is beyond my imagining. Accordingly, I have advised the Rector, and announce today, effective immediately, my resignation as president of the College of William & Mary. I return to the faculty of the school of law to resume teaching and writing.

I have made four decisions, or sets of decisions, during my tenure that have stirred ample controversy.

First, as is widely known, I altered the way a Christian cross was displayed in a public facility, on a public university campus, in a chapel used regularly for secular College events -- both voluntary and mandatory -- in order to help Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and other religious minorities feel more meaningfully included as members of our broad community. The decision was likely required by any effective notion of separation of church and state. And it was certainly motivated by the desire to extend the College’s welcome more generously to all. We are charged, as state actors, to respect and accommodate all religions, and to endorse none. The decision did no more.

Second, I have refused, now on two occasions, to ban from the campus a program funded by our student-fee-based, and student-governed, speaker series. To stop the production because I found it offensive, or unappealing, would have violated both the First Amendment and the traditions of openness and inquiry that sustain great universities. It would have been a knowing, intentional denial of the constitutional rights of our students. It is perhaps worth recalling that my very first act as president of the College was to swear on oath not to do so.

Third, in my early months here, recognizing that we likely had fewer poor, or Pell eligible, students than any public university in America, and that our record was getting worse, I introduced an aggressive Gateway scholarship program for Virginians demonstrating the strongest financial need. Under its terms, resident students from families earning $40,000 a year or less have 100% of their need met, without loans. Gateway has increased our Pell eligible students by 20% in the past two years.

Fourth, from the outset of my presidency, I have made it clear that if the College is to reach its aspirations of leadership, it is essential that it become a more diverse, less homogeneous institution. In the past two and half years we have proceeded, with surprising success, to assure that is so. Our last two entering classes have been, by good measure, the most diverse in the College’s history. We have, in the past two and a half years, more than doubled our number of faculty members of color. And we have more effectively integrated the administrative leadership of William & Mary. It is no longer the case, as it was when I arrived, that we could host a leadership retreat inviting the 35 senior administrators of the College and see, around the table, no persons of color.

As the result of these decisions, the last sixteen months have been challenging ones for me and my family. A committed, relentless, frequently untruthful and vicious campaign -- on the internet and in the press -- has been waged against me, my wife and my daughters. It has been joined, occasionally, by members of the Virginia House of Delegates -- including last week’s steps by the Privileges and Elections Committee to effectively threaten Board appointees if I were not fired over decisions concerning the Wren Cross and the Sex Workers’ Art Show. That campaign has now been rendered successful. And those same voices will no doubt claim victory today.

It is fair to say that, over the course of the past year, I have, more than once, considered either resigning my post or abandoning the positions I have taken on these matters -- which I believe crucial to the College’s future. But as I did so, I thought of other persons as well.

I thought of those students, staff, faculty, and alumni, not of the religious majority, who have told me of the power of even small steps, like the decision over display of the Wren Cross, to recognize that they, too, are full members of this inspiring community.

I have thought of those students, faculty, and staff who, in the past three years, have joined us with explicit hopes and assurances that the College could become more effectively opened to those of different races, backgrounds, and economic circumstances -- and I have thought of my own unwillingness to voluntarily abandon their efforts, and their prospects, in mid-stream.

I have thought of faculty and staff members here who have, for decades, believed that the College has, unlike many of its competitors, failed to place the challenge of becoming an effectively diverse institution center stage -- and who, as a result, have been strongly encouraged by the progress of the last two years.

I have thought of the students who define and personify the College’s belief in community, in service, in openness, in idealism -- those who make William & Mary a unique repository of the American promise. And I have believed it unworthy, regardless of burden, to break our bonds of partnership.

And I have thought, perhaps most acutely, of my wife and three remarkable daughters. I’ve believed it vital to understand, with them, that though defeat may at times come, it is crucial not to surrender to the loud and the vitriolic and the angry -- just because they are loud and vitriolic and angry. Recalling the old Methodist hymn that commands us “not to be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,” nor “afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.” So I have sought not to yield. The Board’s decision, of course, changes that.

To my faculty colleagues, who have here created a distinctive culture of engaged, student-centered teaching and research, I will remember your strong and steadfast support until the end of my days.

To those staff members and alumni of this accomplished and heartening community, who have struggled to make the William & Mary of the future worthy of its distinctive past, I regret that I will no longer be part of that uplifting cause. But I have little doubt where the course of history lies.

And, finally, to the life-changing and soul-inspiring students of the College, the largest surprise of my professional life, those who have created in me a surpassing faith not only in an institution, but in a generation, I have not words to touch my affections. My belief in your promise has been the central and defining focus of my presidency. The too-quick ending of our work together is among the most profound and wrenching disappointments in my life. Your support, particularly of the past few weeks and days, will remain the strongest balm I’ve known. I am confident of the triumphs and contributions the future holds for women and men of such power and commitment.

I add only that, on Sunday, the Board of Visitors offered both my wife and me substantial economic incentives if we would agree “not to characterize [the non-renewal decision] as based on ideological grounds” or make any other statement about my departure without their approval. Some members may have intended this as a gesture of generosity to ease my transition. But the stipulation of censorship made it seem like something else entirely. We, of course, rejected the offer. It would have required that I make statements I believe to be untrue and that I believe most would find non-credible. I’ve said before that the values of the College are not for sale. Neither are ours.

Mine, to be sure, has not been a perfect presidency. I have sometimes moved too swiftly, and perhaps paid insufficient attention to the processes and practices of a strong and complex university. A wiser leader would likely have done otherwise. But I have believed, and attempted to explain, from even before my arrival on the campus, that an emboldened future for the College of William & Mary requires wider horizons, more fully opened doors, a broader membership, and a more engaging clash of perspectives than the sometimes narrowed gauges of the past have allowed. I step down today believing it still.

I have also hoped that this noble College might one day claim not only Thomas Jefferson’s pedigree, but his political philosophy as well. It was Jefferson who argued for a “wall of separation between church and state” -- putting all religious sects “on an equal footing.” He expressly rejected the claim that speech should be suppressed because “it might influence others to do evil,” insisting instead that “we have nothing to fear from the demoralizing reasonings of some if others are left free to demonstrate their errors.” And he averred powerfully that “worth and genius” should “be sought from every condition” of society.

The College of William & Mary is a singular place of invention, rigor, commitment, character, and heart. I have been proud that even in a short term we have engaged a marvelous new Chancellor, successfully concluded a hugely-promising capital campaign, secured surprising support for a cutting-edge school of education and other essential physical facilities, seen the most vibrant applicant pools in our history, fostered path-breaking achievements in undergraduate research, more potently internationalized our programs and opportunities, led the nation in an explosion of civic engagement, invigorated the fruitful marriage of athletics and academics, lifted the salaries of our lowest-paid employees, and even hosted a queen. None of this compares, though, to the magic and the inspiration of the people -- young and older -- who Glenn and I have come to know here. You will remain always and forever at the center of our hearts.

Go Tribe. And hark upon the gale.

Gene Nichol

Sunday, February 10, 2008

melt

king size

I know I'd melt under the touch of your fingers too.
you wouldn't have too pierce the slight crunch
of the outer shell to the smooth center
to get me to yield to you.
in the mouth or in the hand -
I will melt so quickly,
because your mouth and your hands
heat me up so well.

my whole body and soul
ache to see you,
as the dawn aches to
meet the day.

I am running low on water,
dehydrating,
my desert thirsts for rain.

rain your love down on me.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

honey

honey bear

you are sweet as the honey
that your home-stay mother loves.
I will bathe in the rich gold viscosity,
and perhaps you will be tempted to lick it off,
inch by inch,
until you have bathed my body fully
and tasted every part.
then maybe you'll hold my body,
soaking wet,
until you're just as moist.
then you will breathe me in
and I will be in your lungs,
like so much of the rest of me is in your heart.

Friday, January 25, 2008

something interesting to ponder

"I don't know if you're beautiful, because I love you too much." - The Magnetic Fields

Something about that strikes me as true. I guess you could never know if someone is objectively beautiful if you really loved them, because they would be beautiful no matter what in your eyes. Then again, if you look at it in another light, there is no objectivity to things such as beauty. You know the saying... and it's true. Often the people we are drawn to (especially romantically) are beautiful to our own standards right away. I know there are exceptions to that... some people fall in love first, then become attracted. Though that seems odd and backwards to me. Oh well.

Love is a funny thing. And oh, so powerful.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

and now, for an amusing interlude

There have only been 3 lectures of Roman Civ, but that doesn't stop me from putting up Chesley quotes already!

[goes on about Roman porn, then] "It's just getting awkward and I'm going to move on."

"Latin... will make you a better person."
^true story.

[about some cashew shells on the podium] "The econ department tends to leave tokens of its presence everywhere it goes..."

"Rarely do classics professors show up with a [air quotes] 'posse'."

[rapidly flips between powerpoint slides] "Take notes now, suckers!"

[talks about how wearing W&M gear is like saying you're superior to others] "Suck on that, Mr. Sonic!"

Don't worry, there will be more :D

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

we are as one

"everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings." - Rainer Maria Rilke

together

we are as one,
with one voice we call out to each other in the darkness,
speaking of how we miss the other.
perhaps in this time of absence we are slightly lost,
without the other there by our side.
we both hold the same feelings in our hearts, you and I,
for each other, and for so many things.
te quiero y me quieres,
como uno sentimiento.

I don't wanna roommate!

Really, that's all this is about. I am really enjoying living alone and not looking forward to accommodating someone else's schedule and likes/dislikes. Ah well, the perils of college dormitories. I am going to savor these last alone days for all they're worth.

this is still a half-empty room

I want to whine and be like, please no roommate! Can't I have a single! Rarrrr.

But anyway, I finished adorning my walls with Jeff (for now, more will probably be added later). Now I just need to create a creepy little shrine and start meditating over it or praying to it or something.

Monday, January 21, 2008

a break in reading

'If I could speak words of water,
You would drown when I said
"I love you."' - Spike Milligan

I talked to Jeff last night - it was excellent. I am disappointed in myself a bit because I let his talk of plans after college depress me a bit. However, for the rest of it, it was great. He is so thoughtful. I went through a bit of a time afterwards worried that maybe we were slowly falling apart... but then I realized it was just my stupid mind and that despite him not being quite as eloquent about his feelings as I feel he would be, he loves me just as much as I love him. I know that. Perhaps it comes across better when he is physically here. But I must remember that. I fully trust him and believe that our love and commitment will pull us through anything.

Anyway, I should get back to reading. I am very happy that I got to hear from Jeff. He took lots of pictures of horses just for me!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

espero

esperar (v) - to wait; to hope

I wait and hope. Espero.

My heart longs for you to be here - it aches from your absence and especially because I haven't heard from you since on Thursday. I am not upset - I knew it would be this way, but it makes me long for you, for your presence, for at least your voice or even just your written word.

So, until we talk again, I wait and hope.

Just like these four months is basically waiting and hoping - there's a lot of living in between but I am waiting for you to return and hoping that we can make it work. I am very optimistic about that.

Yo espero.

Friday, January 18, 2008

some things I found that are true

"you are seventeen million miles away, you know.
i calculated it - one mile for everytime i missed you." - same ghost

And that's an understatement.

" Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival." - Pablo Neruda

My kisses float over the sea towards you. Towards the sunrise you see first.

And this last one... I found it in my heart.

The perfect picture to accentuate the following poem (written by me) is this.

My love can still reach you. You are never too far for that.

My kisses float over the sea towards you,
towards the sunrise you see first,
and the exotic land with which
you grace your presence.

Here I love you
with the strength of a thousand men
and I know it will pull you back eventually.
Here my heart still pounds
when they mention your name.
Here my dreams take me there,
to where you are awake,
because we are nearly in opposite time zones.

And the miles seem so far,
and I have only seen the Pacific Ocean
much further south than where
I would have to swim to reach you.

Boats can do it.
I cannot.
But my love can reach you,
taking no time at all.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

first couple days


clubs, originally uploaded by marichica88.

So I'm back at W&M and all is okay. At first (as you may know from that poem) the missing Jeff was worse because everything, EVERYTHING, makes me think of him. Eating lunch with Rachel A, Marc, Zach, and Carolyn there were mushrooms. The mushrooms reminded me of him (so did MWF lunch in general...). I just put up the Japanese car poster he and Steve made... it's good stuff. I need to print out some photos to put all over my walls. I have just recently moved into the Spanish house, which I believe will be fun and helpful. I am glad actually that everything reminds me of Jeff, because it is almost like he is in everything I do. And I know it is the same way for him... he saw the poem and said that he was thinking of writing the same thing. So we are keeping each other in our hearts. And everything else! And we talk fairly frequently at the moment, and message each other every day at least. So we are very much in touch and it's nearly like we're still together... I was a bit lonely last night, so I was like woo juggling club! But then it turned out juggling club made me think "oh, but it's not the same without Jeff" and I got all emotional and broke down a bit... Then it was fun after I pulled myself together. However, after coming home from juggling club, I was a bit apart again. I think that will only go on for the first little bit... I am already feeling happier and more optimistic.

So anyway, I should really be reading for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

everything


dark tree against sky, originally uploaded by marichica88.

everything - that is what reminds me of you.
coming back to school, I thought friends would be a comfort,
but at least at first it rings of emptiness - there is no you,
and there is everything to make me think of you.
the friends we have in common,
the place we live,
my bed,
my juggling balls,
a particular situation I think would amuse you,
a movie,
nearly every song,
every inch of this campus,
things that you made me,
things we made or won together,
some juice you gave me,
even the sprinkling of snow today.
it is these things - and more -
that make me think of you.
you are constantly on my mind and -
everything teases of your presence,
but the only place it really is, is inside.
or everywhere. depending on how you look at it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

today in the life of me


Roseland, originally uploaded by marichica88.

I got up at 9 to see if Jeff was on... he wasn't, and by 10, after I had been reading Narbonic I was tired so I went back to bed until noon, then was lazy and didn't finish eating lunch until 2. I checked the mail and had to go back to the post office for 5 more packages (I'm up to 15 books now). Then I decided since it was nice out I would go walk in Onancock and take some pictures. Then I laid around reading til Mom got home and we had dinner. Not long after that Jeff was on and we talked on Skype for about an hour. Good times! Jeff Black and Corbin are over so I guess there will be some Rock Band later. Tomorrow mom and I are going to Salisbury and then there's going to be a birthday dinner for me at home, then Sunday on my actual birthday we're going to the Mexican place, also for my birthday. :) I am probably going back to W&M on Monday. Looks like I don't have a job at the Grind... I guess I'll see about the rock wall. I am really in love with Jeff. That's about it. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

dealing with it

Well, it's already been kind of hard with Jeff gone. I know though that I will adjust, but I went through a bit of a freaking-out and immaturely-overreacting thing. I've decided that what I need to do is just decide to be happy for Jeff that he's in Japan and be happy with any news he can bring me. I think that should do it.

I went to BVA yesterday for an alumni luncheon. There were only like 8 alumni there... pretty lame. 3 of us were from W&M! Anyway, it was fun to see the few teachers I know who are still there. Also I got to meet the new Latin teacher who seems cool. It felt weird being back... but good too.

I haven't been doing much that's exciting, today I've mostly read and played video games, though I got to talk to Jeff this morning on AIM for a bit. It's really overcast but I went out and took pictures in the yard. Here's an interesting one:


on the line

That's all I had to say really.

Monday, January 7, 2008

horses


Louie in the sunlight, originally uploaded by marichica88.

Today mom and I went to the barn so I could take some pictures. It was an absolutely beautiful day... about 65 or more degrees, and the light was amazing. I got some excellent pictures and got to visit my wonderful boy, who is just as sweet as ever. Awww... I love Louie :)

Ocean City


fading in the distance, originally uploaded by marichica88.

My parents and I walked around in Ocean city yesterday. It was fun, but tiring, and I took lots of pictures.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

you are somewhere in the air


trails, originally uploaded by marichica88.

Like these trails I see all the time over here, you're up there making trails, over the Pacific most likely. I am thinking of you though. I have been all day. I hope your flight is going well. Everything reminds me of you. I want you to have a good time. As my mom said, this amount of time is just about the same as a summer vacation. So it's not that bad. I'm going to adjust, you're going to adjust. And you're going to make trails across the sky, until you come back to me.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

a short prayer


amen, originally uploaded by marichica88.

Please let Jeff get to Japan safely.

Amen.

have a safe flight

thinking of you-
you're probably sitting in your seat right now,
I can see it in my mind.
you're settling in.
you're excited but a little nervous and little awed.
you look around the plane.
no one is equal to you.
I can see that without looking.
you're going to be flying away,
the plane will carry you far from me.
you're adjusting the air to blast you
so you can stay awake and alert.
people are filing in left and right.
you nod to the guy on your left.
this is all in my imagination,
but still you shine like a star there.
nothing is equal to you.
my world will be duller when that plane takes off.

A Week of Jeff

Oh, and what a good week it was. I of course enjoy Jeff's company immensely, and also that of his friends. Some highlights: we went to the zoo with Tim, Alex, and Stan; went to Tim's New Year's Eve party; watched Juno with Alex and Vogel and Senya; ate delicious food; etc. Good times. I was really glad to see him before he left for Japan for four months. He will be flying out of Dulles in about 30 minutes. I will miss the hell out of him. Yet I'm really happy for him. He's going to have a great time. Yesterday when I got home I cried a lot, but I composed myself later and now I'm okay. Both my brother (who has long-distance relationship experience) and my mom (whose advice is always good) say it will take a couple weeks but once I get used to it, it'll be okay, and he'll be back before I know it. I am confident that our relationship will thrive even in such trying circumstances. Anyway, I'm gonna go be a lead singer for Rock Band. Hehe.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fun Fact to Know and Tell!

Last night, Jeff and I sampled a persimmon for the first time. It tasted very good but we were very off-put by the smell, which to be honest smelled exactly like human semen. So we tried to figure out why. It turns out that persimmons contain pyrroline, a compound also found in semen and which gives it its distinctive smell. Some people claim that neither semen nor persimmons smell like much of anything - that is because one in six people cannot smell pyrroline! I thought this was really interesting.