Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So Hurricane Katrina--no longer a hurricane, thankfully--is headed towards Ithaca. Torrential rains expected, says, and possibly tornadoes.
And. possibly. tornadoes.
I can't really describe the twitchiness that sentence imparted to me. As a person born and raised in the middle of Tornado Alley, the "t-word" is not something I like to see thrown around carelessly. "Showers and tornadoes possible" seems terribly nonchalant to someone accustomed to the sight of F4 tornadoes raging across neighboring counties, sucking up cows and barns and in some cases roads. That's right; a strong tornado can pick up an asphalt road. No Oz jokes, please. Tornado warning were common enough in my youth; I, being a nervous child, would gather my things in a duffel bag and wait at the top of the basement stairs for the sirens or television to recommend descent. My parents, on the other hand, never wanted to go into the basement. They wanted, it seemed, to wait until the tornado came skipping down our very street and knocked on our door. Even when the sirens went off, my parents' motto remained: if we can't see it or hear it, it's not close enough to worry about. To which I responded, though not in these words, that by the time one can see and/or hear a tornado, it's probably too late to be "worried" and it might be more apropos to spend that time "running for the basement" or "wetting oneself."
Apparently East Coast tornadoes are not the mile-wide monsters I know, capable of picking up houses and tearing buildings off their foundations. These tornadoes are milder, even vaguely friendly, as I've heard them described. Like ponies. We'll see. Well, I won't see; I'll be in the basement.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Little time for a long treatise; I promise there will be more later, and of a more philosophical and poetic nature. But.

This is hilarious.

This is what I will feel like at the beginning of November, after I've spent 12 hours locked in my room drinking diet Coke, studying for finals and writing essays in multiple languages.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ever wiped your nose with a kitten? Wanna try?

It's that weird time of morning when, if you don't have a class or an appointment, it feels strange to be in bed but also strange to be doing anything else. It's positively cool outside, and that combined with the advent of classes makes me feel like someone sneaked up behind Summer and knifed it in the back. It's gone. And yet, it's still August.

The end of the summer used to be so exciting; notebooks and crayons had to be purchased, as well as glue and markers and the protractor that you lost by the middle of October but never needed to use anyway. The smell of a fresh sheet of notebook paper or a brand new crayon takes me right back to elementary school. Now, the end of summer (or, in fact, the middle of July) means Back-to-School displays that make you feel that same flutter of excitement for a few moments. Then those butterflies are mercilessly crushed by your conscious brain's reminder that you. are. an. adult. Or at least a college student who has to shell out 300 dollars for books that the college won't be using anymore when you try to sell them back (Did I intend to keep Organic Laboratory Techniques, 3rd Edition for the rest of my life? No, no I did not).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Classes start tomorrow; two German Studies classes for me, ja? Ja. Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be my big fat German days. The MWF, incongrously enough, will be days of Organic Chemistry and Essay Writing. Maybe I'll write an essay about aldehyde synthesis. Or maybe I'll just shoot someone instead of running the risk of boring them to death slowly and painfully, much like this blog is probably doing now (did I tell you about how I thought I would never be the type of person to write in a blog and bore other people with the mundane minutiae of my life, especially considering the fact that more than 50% of the world's population has never even made a PHONE CALL, and I should be using my incredibly large portion of the planet's material and monetary resources much less profligately? Guilt.)

I went for a run this afternoon and thought about how the law of conservation of mass is really shorthand for the law of conservation of energy, and how the universe is a closed system. Everything in you--every carbon atom, every nitrogen, everything--was at one point a component of something else. And when you breathe, or pee, or die, or just stand around (considering the rate at which we're all shedding skin cells), part of you becomes part of the rest of the world--a tree, or a high-rise apartment complex, or ME. So you could look at it as "whatever is gained somewhere is lost somewhere else," which is true; for plants to gain the nitrogen they need, animals and other plants have to perish and decay--OR, you could look at it not as a matter of gaining or losing, but of a Oneness sustaining itself, and lose yourself in the messy but precise order of the Universe.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I thought this might make my mother happy; look, Mom, there's a chance you may have grandchildren from the old-fashioned union of man and woman! Alas, the picture was posed, and so my parents' hopes of further progeny without benefit of artificial insemination and/or adoption are chucked unceremoniously into the dumpster behind Cy and me.
Don't we look like members of the Bolshoi?
Classes start in two weeks. Less, in fact; in thirteen days.

In a week's time I will be somewhere in Indiana (or Ohio, if we're lucky, but let's not get hasty) as my mother and I drive the crapmobile from Large Midwestern City to Small But Charming Eastern College Town. At least we won't be driving with my father, whose primary purpose in life is Making Good Time. If he weren't afraid of getting picked up by the cops, I'm confident he'd drive 90 on the highway in the interest of making good time; as it is, he can only deny bathroom breaks and mutter curses at other drivers who fail to understand that one drives to get from point A to point B, not to enjoy scenery or music or company. If he could teleport he would.

It's interesting; as one drives from the Plains States out to the Eastern Seaboard, the names of the towns become classier in small but definite increments. From Kingdom City and Grain Valley, right outside my hometown (names that clearly state you include snake-handling in your religious ceremonies) to Worchester and Staffordshire (which are I-can-trace-my-heritage-back-to-the-Mayflower names); from red to blue, one might also say.

Anyhow, there are some things I'm looking forward to as I return to school: The late-night comraderie, the beautiful campus, the friends, the local Apple Festival and farmer's market... There are other parts of the experience that I'm approaching with trepidation, namely the fact that within a month's time I will be so busy that I'll have to schedule bathroom breaks, and the possibility that I'll start smoking again (I quit almost three months ago, and while the cravings have died down, I'd be lying if I said the desire for a smooth, refreshing cigarette never comes over me).
As for linkage,
Visit, a recent discovery that's sure to distract me from my organic chemistry periodically this semester(not that aldehyde synthesis isn't fun, but...)