Sunday, January 30, 2005

Nice kitty. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice kitty.

I think there's a valuable lesson to be learned here.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Care Packages & Book Recommendations

Dearest Readership, as I write this post I'm sipping Hershey's chocolate milk and eating seasalt and vinegar potato chips. "Why," you might ask, "but why would you buy chocolate milk and seasalt and vinegar chips?"

And I would answer you: "I wouldn't. I would find them in a care package."

After my desk shift tonight I walked into my room to a ringing phone. The girl on the phone asked if I was Paul. I said I was. She said she was calling from King Street Market (a cafe offshoot of our cafeteria), and that I had a care package. I assured her that although there are people who care deeply about me, they're generally not the care package type. Was she sure she had the right Paul? Yup, she said. I'll be right over, I said.

It turns out there's an organization called the National Residence Hall Honorary, and they care deeply about RAs who get straight A's. Or at least, they care enough to send those RAs care packages.

So I have a giant cookie, a Hershey's candy bar, a box of Sugar Babies, another bag of chips, a Sobe drink, and a Dole juice... all for being an RA with a 4.0.

Well, shit! Thanks, NRHH!


In other news, I've read two novels lately which I strongly recommend. Although they're both technically Young Adult Literature, I'm pretty impressed with each. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is about a high school freshman who struggles with some nasty repercussions for her actions at a party, in addition to the typical high school crap. Very, very funny. The ending sucks, but still a well written story. Feed, by M.T. Anderson (no relation as far as I know), is technically Science Fiction but could more accurately be described as commentary. It's about a young man in the future, and I'll leave it at that. Great stuff.

Rules for Open Mics

Just as the Name Game has its own immutable laws, so too do open mics. While the rules guiding available behavior are a little vague, there are certain things which one must not do when performing at an open mic.

1. Covering Neil Young results in instant disqualification. I love Neil Young. I listen to a lot of Neil Young. I cover his songs in the privacy of my own home, but have also heard way too many Neil Young covers at open mics. The sonic waves of Neil Young covers vibrating through the universe probably have, by this point, created their own gravitational field. Enough is enough.

2. Same thing goes for Dave Matthews.

3. If you're playing your own original songs, those songs must not suck. Ideally you should play your originals for unsuspecting and ignorant strangers on the street, and get their approval, before playing your originals at an open mic.

4. Your guitar should be in tune.

5. Emo-core, especially emo-core with scream-therapy-inspired choruses, has no place at an open mic. Not even open mics in coffeehouses populated by pretentious hipsters. Just don't do it.

The Open Mic

The Foucault presentation was okay. Haven't heard about the grade yet; I'm not planning on an A, but then again, I rarely do.

The open mic was a different story. I went early to get a drink, since my nerves were shot from several cups of coffee earlier that day (that's another story). Out of nowhere, four of my fellow RA's surprised me by showing up, which was very, very cool. Time was, I had a hard time playing in front of friends or family; it was simply easier to play in front of complete strangers.

That's changed, though, and when S, A, C, and J showed up I was honestly thrilled. Two of them were on HR, meaning that they had to handle whatever Orr Hall chaos arose, should it have occurred. As the rule is written, RA's on call carry The Cell Phone and must be within 5 minutes of the hall. Since The Library (the bar, not the place with all the books) is right across the street, the RA's were technically well within the rules.

A drummer set up his kit before the event kicked off, and I volunteered to go first just to get it out of the way. The MC was a woman who clearly didn't know squat about sound systems and was somehow involved with the drummer. As I played, the drums hissed behind me, I couldn't hear my guitar's upper range, and I forgot a line or two. During the second song, "Goodhearted Woman," some yokel started clapping and stomping his feet, and singing along in that really drunk kind of way.

It should be noted here that J is a new addition to the staff. He was an RA last year, went off to basic training in the Army, and returned just in time to take over for K who quit at semester break. J is the ultimate strong-but-silent type. I couldn't really see what was going on out in the crowd, but when the yokel abruptly shut up, I suspected (correctly) that J had something to do with it.

Anyway, I finished the set with "The Sun Keeps Rising," my own (and best, in my opinion) song. The owner of the bar came over and said she really liked my set, and offered to buy me another beer.

The drummer came next, and he was joined by a guitarist. Their set consisted of tight but seriously overwrought metal. They even had a groupie who stood directly in front of the drummer, headbanging along. Whoa.

The other RAs took off shortly after the metal set started, and the open mic essentially alternated between folkies and sets of metal from the same duo. The lowlight of the evening came when the MC joined the drummer and guitarist and covered Cheryl Crow's "Steve McQueen." The music was more or less tight; the singing was, shall we say, a nice effort.

From there, the night kind of got away from me. I remember an employee asking if I wanted to play with him later that night, and we tried to remember how to play "Polly" by Nirvana in the adjacent (and empty, by this point) restaurant. The alcohol prevailed, though, and after the fifth try we gave up. I went back to the bar, where I noticed a bunch of exchange students playing foosball. I knew they were exchange students because exchange students at the University of Wyoming tend to stick out.

"You're German," I said to one of the young women.

"Yes! How did you know?"

"I've heard you talking," I said. "I have a brother in Dusseldorf," I said. That statement is mostly true; he's near Dusseldorf, and he's my stepbrother, but I really didn't feel like trying to communicate those subtleties across a language barrier.

She made a mock frown and dismissive waves with her hands, the way Germans do.

"Dusseldorf, no good," she said.

"Berlin?" I asked. Same frown and dismissive wave.

"Munchen," she said. She promptly turned her attention to the foosball table, where one of the French guys had just scored. Riiiight. Note to self: German exchange students aren't impressed with drunk Americans.

After that I talked to my friend D, a regular at The Library, and then staggered back to the hall. Not a bad night, all told.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

From the One-of-the-Funniest-Goddam-Things-I've-Ever-Heard Department

Michael Berube writes:

College basketball has never been my strong suit. I almost won one of those March Madness betting pools fifteen years ago, but that was the year I determined all my picks after the Sweet Sixteen by coin toss. (True! I was the only person in the pool who picked UNLV that year, but I finished fourth nonetheless.) But I do have something of a connection to the Illini. When I arrived in Champaign for my campus visit, sixteen years ago this month, I was informed by two basketball fans on the English Department faculty that they were foregoing the Illinois-Michigan game in order to have dinner with me that evening. “Is Illinois-Michigan a big game, then?” I asked. Deadpan, one of them replied, “Well, when the number two team in the country plays the number six team, yes, many people would consider that a big game.” “No kidding,” I gushed, “you’re number six?” There was a three-second silence. “No,” he replied, “we’re number two.”

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Stump the Paul


I've decided to play an open mic this coming Thursday night, provided I live through my Foucault presentation on Wednesday night. So far my setlist is limited to the two standards that I've played every single time I've played an open mic, with the exception of one in Denver where there was mixed company and it would have been entirely inappropriate to play my original, for which this blog is named.

So, the playlist:

1. So You Want to Be a Rock 'n Roll Star - The Byrds
2. The Sun Keeps Rising - Me
3. [a suggestion from the Dearest Readership]

Lay it on me, people. I only have four days to learn it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Confession

Alright. I feel silly admitting this, but: I had registered on I use the pluperfect here because tonight I closed my account. It's not that it wasn't finding any matches; I had a three page list going, one of whom wanted to communicate with me (which is part of their trick... registering is free; communicating with others requires paid membership).

I guess the problem was that I just didn't trust the damn thing. My own profile painted me as a little more sensitive and touchy-feely than I really am. And then in the section where you're supposed to share a little about yourself, I just never could quite get the right words to adequately and fairly describe me to an absolute stranger.

The thing is, I'm still interested in finding someone, of course, it's just that eHarmony seemed too damn awkward and they sent way too many emails. And at the core of it all, I don't want to be matched up with someone that similar to me.

Part of me is reacting personally to a few rejections, too. On eHarmony you're given a list of possible matches and you can basically select who you want to keep as an option... and when you look at your matches and you see someone has decided they didn't want to keep you as an option, well, it stings. As dumb as it sounds, it stings.

I dunno. Maybe having a bad week has something to do with it too; maybe I'm taking my frustrations with Linguistics and Foucault and Quantitative Reasoning busywork and an enormous workload in Young Adult Lit and finances and weird vibes at the gym out on eHarmony.

Lord knows I've had better weeks. I guess I just needed to cut some of the static out of my life, and eHarmony seemed as good a place to start as any.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Note About Wyoming Basketball

In a previous post I'd mentioned that we suck really, really, REALLY bad. At the time that statement was true: this is the team that went 10 minutes before scoring a single solitary point against Utah. The score was 18 - 0. At home. On the day we celebrated 100 years of Wyoming basketball. Thanks a bundle, guys.

That said, we beat BYU in the battle for who-can-stay-unvictorious-in-the-Mountain-West-Conference the other night. Hell, we were even on TV.

I've joined the "Sixth Man Club," which is basically the student section that all wears the same T-shirt (and if you watched the game on ESPN the other night, wearing cowboy hats). I was in the second row and could've been on ESPN if I'd tried, but didn't really feel like mugging for the camera. If you saw the line of seven guys that spelled "WYOMING" on their chests, I was right behind the "I." So that was fun. Attendance wasn't quite what I'm used to, though, having been to a few Illinois home games.

Finally, it should be noted that the Sixth Man Club members who stood outside for hours before the game (of whom I was one) were absolutely reamed - in advance - for swearing at BYU. Basically a guy came out of the ticket office and yelled, "AND THERE WILL BE NO LET ME REPEAT NO PROFANITY TONIGHT OR WE'RE KICKING YOU OUT!" So we didn't celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday by screaming profanity at Mormons, which I still think would have been appropriate since they were the racist assholes who once refused to play Wyoming because we had black players on our team.

Signify This, Professor!

Mystery solved. During one of the darker periods of my life, I slung lattes in a Scottsdale, Arizona, cafe tucked into a strip mall at the intersection of Hayden Road and McDonald Drive (I think. I know it was Hayden and something). I was the assistant manager and worked the morning rush, during which our regulars would expect the right drink, the right way, and right now. Mostly our customers were pretty nice people, actually, and fantastically rich.

One of our regulars, however, freaked the employees out. He looked normal, but there was something very odd about how he talked: when asking for a chocolate croissant, for example, he'd ask for a "chocky chock." When we'd ask him "for here or to go," he'd reply, "I'm a go-go today."

Now, I'm a relatively tactful guy but I just never could figure out a polite way to ask, "Dude, what the hell's wrong with you?" And I'd meant to ask my parents (both of whom are Experienced Medical Professionals and are generally great at answering what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-them kinds of questions), but just never got around to it. Every now and then I've thought about that guy, and I've always been curious to know what, exactly, the hell was going on.

Well, it turns out college is useful after all. In my Fundamentals of Linguistics class today we learned about various forms of aphasia, including Wernicke's Aphasia, which occurs only when a very specific spot in the brain's left hemisphere is damaged or otherwise impaired. My expert diagnosis: if our regular didn't have Wernicke's, then it was most definitely some form of "jargon aphasia." Pretty sure it wasn't Broca's, though.

So that was one moment in my Linguistics class that went well. Then we got our quizzes back.

It was only a 25 pointer and I managed to obtain a whopping 18 points. I mixed up the definitions of "phonetics" and "phonology," for one thing, but what hurt the most was that I lost a point for my written definition of "the arbitrary nature of signs."

Personally, I thought my explanation of the word RED not having anything to do with the color (unless it's written in red ink) was astonishingly lucid. Moreover, I just slogged through an essay by Saussure in which the difference between sign, signifier, and signified was discussed at great length. I'll be touching on this topic next week when I present some of Foucault's theory to my Senior Seminar class. I almost read The Signifying Monkey once. All due respect, professor, but I know a thing or two about the arbitrary nature of signs. It's not my fault that you don't understand my genius.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


No school tomorrow, so tonight I'm wasting time and waiting to get tired enough to go to bed. Last semester I crashed out at 9:30 or 10, and woke up at 6: 30. I've always been an early riser, so that schedule worked out fine except on nights when I had to do rounds. This semester, though, I'm staying up and also rising later. It's okay, but I'm more or less useless in my afternoon classes, and my night classes are all tolerable only if I get a nap in beforehand.


I think mostly I'm writing tonight out of boredom. Because really, I doubt that any of you really care about my sleep habits.

On a brighter note, a resident told me to kiss his ass the other night during a round. That was fun. Even more fun was filling out the report which will lead to said resident having a chat with my boss, who's super cool and puts up with precisely zero shit out of cocky freshmen.

Wyoming hosts BYU in basketball tomorrow night, and that means we'll be celebrating Martin Luther King's legacy of civilized discourse by screaming obscenities at Mormons. The game will be televised on ESPN and you might want to watch, if not for the sport (we suck really, really, REALLY bad) then for the spectacle of a Wyoming crowd at a BYU game. Look for me – I'll be the guy in the brown shirt next to another guy in a brown shirt.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


My financial aid arrived today, so I celebrated by dropping 50 bucks at Wal*Mart on an area rug for my room, some throw rugs, and some 20 lb. dumbells (because I want to work on my arms, but not have to walk all the way to the gym to do it).

Speaking of walking. It's cold. It's really goddam cold. It's about 15 degrees without the wind, and on my way to Hoyt Hall today the intersection of 15th and Ivinson was a wind tunnel. I don't know what the official temperature was supposed to be, but I can promise that whatever the weather officials say it is, it's actually colder. It's cold.

I went to Happy Hour tonight at Altitude, Laramie's best (and only) brewpub. I'm not a huge fan of their beer or of their sushi, but I had both as a sort of last rite before the semester really kicks in. My friend from UW's Center for Volunteer Service invited me to Altitude to join her and her friends from the American Studies program... they're all very, very smart and hilarious to boot.

More as I get it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

And So it Begins

At first glance my class schedule seems easier than last semester's. Instead of 15 hours, I'm taking 12. No class starts earlier than 1. One of my instructors is my advisor and one is a professor from last semester's Scottish Lit class. That said, this semester may very well be harder than last. Way harder.

As is tradition, I list my classes in order of GPA-lowering potential.

ENGL 4990 – Senior Seminar in English. Wednesday evenings, 4:30 to 7:30. A significant amount of writing is the least of my worries here. No, I'm more concerned about being required to comment intelligently on sentences like "If the problematic 'closure' of textuality questions the 'totalization' of national culture, then its positive value lies in displaying the wide dissemination through which we construct the field of meanings and symbols associated with national life" (Bhabha, Nation and Narration, 3). At least the instructor is one of my favorite profs from last semester and I'm familiar with her expectations. Which are high.

EDCI 4120 - Literature for Young Adults. Tuesday evenings, 4:10 – 7:00. My advisor is a very cool woman. Judging by the assigned workload in this class, she's also a sadist.

ENGL 4750 – Fundamentals of Linguistics. MWF 1:10 – 2:00. I generally like languages and I've always been curious about linguistics, so I'm looking forward to this class. I'm especially interested in understanding how prescriptive linguists and their supporters (i.e., every fascist grammarian you've ever known) use language as a means of oppression, intentionally or otherwise. In other words, how is language manipulated to further agendas in politics, the media, and public schools? Unfortunately, we probably will eschew those issues in favor of, say, identifying transitive and intransitive verbs. Wheeeeee.

EDST 3500 – Quantitative Reasoning. MWF 2:10 – 3:00. A better title would be "Assessment Methods," which is actually pretty close to the class's new title next semester if I understand things correctly. It looks like we'll be examining ways of creating assessments, and the pros and cons of various ways of assessing. Um, okay. Just promise me there's not a whole lot of math.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

That's really a lot of snow. Posted by Hello

Those Downey punks sure think they're clever. Posted by Hello

Oh, it's ON!

Dearest Readership, I've been accused of a heinous crime: burying my boss's Chevy Blazer in snow. Now, to his credit, my boss is accusing only those of us that were involved in last night's 10:30pm snowball fight during which B, my boss, found himself returning from Wal*Mart at a very inopportune time. Which is to say we absolutely pelted him when he pulled into his parking spot.

So now he thinks that just because we threw snowballs at him, RAs' windows, and random passers by, that we were also the ones who strategically placed a very large quantity of snow around his car. We're talking many, many large molded bricks (it looks like they might have used large rubbermaid totes) stacked up against his doors, all over the hood and roof, and blocking him in the back too. It must have happened sometime around 1am or so, because whoever did it also created an anonymous email account and sent digital pictures to a mailing list containing everyone involved in residence life at the university (and the email was time-stamped at around 1am). All this adds up to yours truly getting a phone call this morning from another RA working the lobby desk:

J: Hey Paul, B wants you to come down and dig out his truck.

Paul: I don't know what you're talking about.

J: B says he knows you were involved and to get your ass down here right now.

Paul: Tell B that I'll dig out his car only because I'm such a nice guy.

J: Whatever.

So when I got to the desk, J's sitting there smirking and B has that look that's somewhere between pissed off and impressed.

B: Paul, did you do it?

Paul: I don't know what you're talking about.

B: Paul.

Paul: What? Jeez.

B: Paul!

Paul: I'll dig out your car only because I'm a very nice guy. And I might know a few other very nice guys who might want to help.

B: Paul!

Paul: I can neither confirm nor deny that I had anything to do with it.

Which, technically, is true. I suppose when I started cracking up, though, that pretty much sealed it. The thing is, I was laughing because it was funny, not because I had anything to do with it. Mostly it was fun to see B try to come up with answers before his meeting with other hall directors and his boss, all of whom are on the aforementioned mailing list. See, the perpetrators also spray painted "Downey Rules" and "Orr Sucks" on some of the snow stacks (Downey being one of the other halls, Orr being ours). So obviously it was those punks over in Downey.

We've assured B that we'll get revenge for him. For some reason he's still not convinced that Downey did it.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Yet Another Mix CD

Because I've been a little bored the past few days, I made a mix CD for my fellow RA's. I didn't include the following comments in the email I sent to them because that would be a little too indulgent. Besides, self-indulgence is what blogs are for. Without further ado, the playlist from Paul's RA Mix CD, Vol. 1:

1. We're Going to be Friends - The White Stripes. I fell in love with this song well over a year ago, but the entire staff is on a Napoleon Dynamite kick right now (we can't make it through a conversation – any conversation at all – without quoting the film). Given the song's theme and pop culture saturation, it seemed like an obvious starter.

2. Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho - Medeski, Martin, and Wood. Boogey music.

3. Lemon Grove Avenue - Mason Jennings. Willie introduced me to this song. It's been stuck in my head, in a good way, ever since.

4. Walk of Life - Dire Straits. It's hard to not be cheered up by this song.

5. Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground. A little inside joke for anyone who's ever had to do a round in Orr Hall.

6. Pink Moon - Nick Drake. I'll be the first one to admit that I only learned about Nick Drake because of the Volkswagen commercial a few years ago. And thank God for that.

7. Nobody Told Me - John Lennon. This one came out in '83, I think, because I remember hearing it a lot in Rochester when I was in 6th grade. Still one of my favorites.

8. Magic Bus - The Who. A little nod to a fellow RA with whom I went to Ft. Collins on a bus loaded with, well, the loaded.

9. Mary Jane's Last Dance - Tom Petty. Not sure why it's here. Maybe because it has one of the greatest lines in rock 'n roll – "Oh my my, oh hell yes/You got to put on that party dress."
10. Longhaired Redneck - David Allen Coe. A tribute to my RA partner, a Copenhagen chewin', Bush-votin' Nebraska redneck (albeit a short-haired one) and a great guy.

11. Here Comes My Baby - Cat Stevens. Here for a reason.

12. Back on the Chain Gang – Pretenders. A love song, but given The Pretenders' stature in 80's lore, I thought it deserved a spot. Besides, my boss (who's two years younger than me) will definitely like it.

13. Punk Rock Girl - The Dead Milkmen. I just love this song.

14. Suitwalk - John Swihart. Another Napoleon Dynamite reference.

15. Get Up Offa That Thing - James Brown. Most of my mix CD's contain a James Brown song.

16. Umbabarauma - Jorge Ben. Brazilian. One of the funkiest pieces of music I've ever heard. Plus, it's about a goaltender.

17. Franklin's Tower - Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead are making more and more appearances on my mix CD's.

18. Message in a Bottle – Police. Another 80's reference that deserves a spot.

19. Wasted on the Way - Crosby, Stills, and Nash. There's something really cool about this song.

20. Long May You Run - Neil Young. And this one, too. I especially like the sentiment here – you know, we've been through some shit together and I wish you peace, etc.

21. Back to My Wyoming Home - Gerald and Dixon. An old, old cowboy tune. "I'll jump in my saddle and away I will ride / Over the hills and across the divide / Back to my Wyoming home."

Friday, January 07, 2005

Like You Really Wanted to Know This

Because I'm bored and because I don't have much to write about, tonight I'd like to share with you as many New Year's Eves as I can remember. As an aside, for two years now I've had rather lame New Year's; I've decided already that there will not be a third consecutive lame New Year's, so get ready to par-tay in just under a year.

04/05 – Laramie. In bed with a back injury. Vaguely remember watching the ball drop.

03/04 – Edwardsville. Fell asleep around 10. Woke up at 2 in the morning. Happy New Year!

02/03 – Lexington. Went to a coworker's party with Mary Ann. Was an asshole to her for whatever reason, most likely because I was in the throes of a painful and prolonged departure from Amazon.

01/02 – Louisville. Some Amazon friends invited me to Louisville to meet their friend. Got lost on our way to a party. We were standing on the porch, peering into windows trying to see if it was the right party, when they all yelled "Happy New Year!"

00/01 – Lexington. I threw a party at my first apartment there (the first floor of a house built around the time of the Civil War – no shit). Some Amazon coworkers showed up because mostly we were all new in town and only knew each other. Played "2001: A Space Odyssey" DVD in the background because I'm that fucking clever.

99/00 – Tucson. Hung out with my friend Matt (the author of the recent essay) in downtown Tucson. Stumbled into a dive where the band played Johnny Cash's "Jackson" as bubbles rained down on us from a balcony. In the balcony Matt and I met two young women, one of whom looked like Clara Bow and was the culprit behind the bubbles. I made out with her (I've always had a thing for brunettes with short hair. And glasses are a major plus.) while Matt made out with her friend. After the New Year turned we staggered down towards a gated block party where the women ditched us as Matt fired off an impromptu radical diatribe to a local TV station's camera crew. Never saw the women again. Spent what remained of the night curled fetal on a very uncomfortable couch in Matt's apartment.

98/99 – Seattle. Hung out with friends from Amazon's customer service department, and then crashed a party on a pier thrown by some way-high-up Amazon execs. Made out with a young woman from work underneath the Space Needle as fireworks ushered in the New Year. We wound up dating.

97/98 – Portland, OR. Friends from Phoenix had recently moved to Seattle and wanted to spend the New Year in Portland, for whatever reason. We rented a seriously crappy hotel room near downtown. The four of us split up, and somehow I made out with a woman I met in a cool Irish bar. Never got her name, and she said she didn't want to know mine. After the New Year turned she and I split up and I went back to the hotel room and slept on the floor.

96/97 – Tempe. Hung out with Matt (the same one). Got ripped at various bars and counted down the New Year in the middle of a street party.

95/96 – Champaign. I think I spent this one at Murphy's.

94/95 – Champaign. Hung out with the Onion staffers at Matt's (different Matt, but that one was there too) apartment. Inwardly marveled at the fact that I was hanging out with Onion staffers.

93/94 – And here it gets fuzzy. I would have been in Champaign or maybe visiting my dad in Edwardsville for this one.

92/93 – From here on back I have no idea. Or at least, only vague memories. I know I spent one in the early 90's in Ukiah... perhaps certain members of the Dearest Readership can enlighten me with that one.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Essay Isn't Here

If you happened to receive an email from me about a great essay a friend of mine wrote, you might have had trouble, say, receiving the essay. That might be because I forgot to, say, attach the essay to the email.

Sorry 'bout that.

As soon as I figure out precisely who I sent that email to (it was a fair number of folks), I'll be resending the attachment.

Pain, Redux

We went cross country skiing yesterday as a staff. I'd done it several years ago and seemed to recall liking it very much. Yesterday, though, on rented equipment and bad snow, it felt more like walking and less like gliding.

I also fell, often.

Remember how I hurt my back sledding a week ago? I had probably ten wipeouts yesterday, four of which resulted in landing precisely on the spot that was already injured. It didn't hurt too badly yesterday, but that's because it was below zero with the wind chill so I was more or less numb. Today, though, my back hurts. A lot. And just tonight I'm starting to get really sore from the skiing itself (I've noticed that it takes longer for muscle soreness to set in as I get older – I used to be sore the morning after an activity, but now the soreness peaks 24 hours, or more, later. Weird.).

So, I'm in pain.

Other than that, we're getting ready for the hall to open back up to residents tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about it, honestly, because although I did pull down the 4.0 GPA last semester, I could have done a better job as an RA. The good news is that I know precisely what areas need improvement, so it's not like I was a clueless lame RA, just a preoccupied lame RA.

Speaking of RA duties, my fellow RA and I finished decorating tonight, with Wyoming sports schedules on one bulletin board, a testicular cancer info board (complete with graphic illustrations of self-checks because otherwise they probably wouldn't read it), and a general info board. The highlight, though, is the "Yeah Buddy" section of the lobby's wall: we cut out large letters spelling out "Yeah Buddy," photocopied a thumbs-up sign, and now guys can post their friends'/mortal enemies' adventures in a very public and thus humiliating fashion. And really, that's the beauty of the "Yeah Buddy" wall: it's as doe-eyed sincere or as nasty and mean-spirited as they want it to be.

More as I get it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I Was To Understand There Would Be Snow

"... And if you're in the intermountain West, look out," quoth a meteorologist on the Weather Channel. "Winter storm warning," they said. "Possibility of up to two feet," they said.

This morning I rolled out of bed and peeked out the Venetian blinds like a kid. Nothing. Not one flake, airborne or otherwise. I checked's weather section and it claimed it was snowing in Laramie. Um, no.

There are big plans around here for snow: as part of an official staff bonding thing, we're going cross-country skiing tomorrow. As part of an unofficial staff bonding thing, we're going sledding tomorrow night (the attorneys really hate it when we go sledding... yet another argument against ever becoming an attorney). Now, obviously, there is plenty of snow in the mountains west of and the foothills east of Laramie. Here in town, though, it looks more or less like a scene out of Lawrence of Arabia, but colder and with fewer trees.

And besides, my back still hurts from last week's sledding accident. I've got a small bruise just underneath the ribcage, but interestingly no discoloring anywhere else that it hurts, which is about an 8" by 8" area on my back, side, and butt. So while I look forward to hanging out in the snow, I'm not sure how much physical activity I'll be able to tolerate.

More as I get it.

Monday, January 03, 2005


I'm back in Orr Hall, the holiday break being abbreviated for RA's. For some unknown reason they're making us go through an entire week of training. Worse, we have to decorate each floor's lobby and individual doors, again. Wheeee.

As a semi-serious resolution I've decided to try writing each and every night. There for a while back in 2001 I wrote a page of fiction every night, but I'm not feeling ambitious enough to set that goal this time. So far I've written a total of four paragraphs. Incidentally, I won't be posting or otherwise sharing that stuff. More than anything it's just practice, a way of getting my brain back in shape, and therefore it's mostly personal and, I promise, pretty boring.

On that note, a reader has suggested that I post some sort of serial installments on the blog. As exciting as that might be for you, it would be painful and burdensome for me, especially on nights like this, when writing is the last thing I want to be doing. Good suggestion. Won't happen anytime soon.

The back is still sore but getting better. We're supposed to get lots of snow tomorrow. I'll try to post something entertaining as soon as something entertaining happens. More as I get it.