December 7, 2001

prickly deja vu

Response has generally been in favor of the Porcupine article from this week’s Statesman. Those of you faithful to Cromlech will note a sense of deja vu in reading it. It’s my first move to an efficient and rewarding lifestyle. If I’m gonna write crap, I might as well get the crap in a public forum, neh? That is the ultimate goal here, yes? Cromlech can’t survive on bread alone.

DuNord is this weekend. I’m gonna go warm up my faithful steed.

December 6, 2001

magic time

I’m sick of the Internet, and that means it’s just about time for the semester to be over; for me to go home to my tear-jerkingly slow dialup connection. High speed Internet is nice, but it’s too easy to just sit here and do an unenjoyable nothing.

With that, I’m going to leave my computer for the moment. I’ll come crawling back in five minutes or so.

five seconds later:

Yesterday I fell asleep studying in the Magic Study Room in the library. I was suddenly jarred awake, and ran to check out a clock. Crap. Jazz starts in five minutes. I threw all my junk in my backpack and speed-walked to Humanities to grab my horn. Just for fun I checked a clock there, to see how late I was.

I had an hour until jazz starts.

Ya see, the Sexy Library of UMD has these artsy clocks that don’t have numbers. They’re these neat polished wood things with 360 degrees of ambiguity. The stubby hour hand always points to a general space with no point of reference. The clocks don’t tell you what time it is, but rather give a suggestion of possible hours it could be. It’s like tomorrow’s weather forecast. Minutes appear to be :32-:36, with potential hours ranging from 3 to 4.

This form before function thing kind of irritates me. I had to spend the rest of my nap in the A.B. Anderson lounge, surrounded by bitchy art majors and permeated with Metallica’s S&M being played really fargin’ loud.

December 5, 2001

chancellor battle royale

Made a pretty good fool of myself today at the Chancellor’s news conference. Near the end of the session she casually asked us for any advice on improving student life at UMD. Everyone was silent, so I finally raised the dry campus issue. My question/statement was clumsy and amounted to a grade school “it’s not fair” argument. “How come even students over the age of 21 cannot drink on campus?” “Well,” smoothly replied the Chancellor, “95% of students living on campus are underage, so we laid it out in the interest of that majority. If it was closer to 50/50, we may have done something different.”

She won this round… and since I didn’t put my question in any context it sounded like a sorry-ass reporter’s attempt at trolling the speaker. “Oh look, lets drag the old cat out of the bag and beat it to death again!”

My point, which I figured out after the conference, was this. Yes, the majority of the 2,000 students living on campus are not of legal drinking age, most of them freshman. A UMD education seems to take students about five years, and three of those years are spent over the age of 21 (one’s junior, senior and super-senior years). By this, it can be reasoned that the majority of students at UMD are of legal drinking age.

The Bullpub on campus used to be just what its name suggests; a pub that served alcohol, perish the thought. Since UMD became dry that changed, of course. The renovations of the Kirby Student Center include a coffee shop. A noble proposal, yes, but not exactly practical with a college demographic. From my working experience at a coffee shop, the customers are usually high schoolers or professional old gits, those with disposable income. If poor college kids are going to pay three bucks a glass for something, we want a little buzz included in the deal.

So, it is with a coffee shop that they intend to introduce a social atmosphere to UMD. Currently there is no hep place to hang out on campus, and thus the school goes completely dead on weekends as students trek over to sleazy bars in Superior. Those that don’t make the trek (as research from fellow journalist Leah Berg suggests) end up sitting in their room moaning about being bored. There is no on-campus culture, because there is nothing to do/nowhere to go on campus. We have a sexy library, but that’s about all.

UMD needs a bar or pub or tavern or inn or anything on campus. It will attract students during nonacademic hours by serving the college drink of choice: Turpentine. This will not bring about widespread destruction of learning and teaching, but will hopefully draw students into a more intimate relationship with their school. Instead of only associating UMD with the drudgery of classes, students may begin to see that the school has other things to offer them. By spending some of their free-time on campus, they may see the school as a key element in their lives, not just their academics.

UMD cries over why donations from alumni are so low when compared to other schools. Perhaps because the school has no identity in their mind. Students go here, the school wrings as much as possible out of them, and afterwards they are more than happy to leave.

There is a dichotomy between academics and life, here. The school gives us what we need, but our wants go unfulfilled. Under a dry campus the fun must occur somewhere besides UMD, even though the fun is what I remember from college. UMD sits forgotten by the wayside.

It flopped the first time I tried to say it. I don’t know if I did any better with the second.

So yeah. Maybe we need to loosen the dry campus policy, get some booze and whores in here.

December 4, 2001

idiot’s guide to vitamins

Today I discovered that 1000 mg vitamin C tablets require immediate action. You do not put it one your mouth and find a glass of water to swallow when convenient, because the moment the thing goes in your mouth its bitter coating starts melting… when that coat is gone your mouth fills with 1000 mg of burning and you stumble through the apartment to the nearest sink for a desperate handful of water.

But then you choose the wrong sink, for you have two bathrooms because you live in a crazy funhouse apartment with a spiral staircase and fun mirrors and false walls that a head can go through. In your panic you accidentally go to the sink of fire! As you dance and pat out the flames you wonder, Dammit, why did we ever request to have fire on tap?

December 3, 2001

interdisciplinary poptart

Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash! Finally, the day of reckoning is upon.

I was talking to Rockstar today about my writing major. I told him I was thinking of shuffling around my classes a bit, try to get some more creativity in the mix. My brain is feeling stale without my music classes and such.

To which Rockstar said, “Poptarts.”

What a great idea! Next semester, I’ll sign up for the upper-division, 3 credit Poptart. The only materials needed for the class are one (1) Poptart. Buy a pack and share the extra with a friend. The class doesn’t actually meet, there’s no work involved, no projects, no papers, just a Poptart. But it’s a Poptart for which you get college credit.

Tomorrow I’ll walk into my advisor’s office and say, “Upper division Poptart. No questions, just make it happen.”


12:49 a.m.: I’m as giddy as a school girl on Prom night with a varsity chess player in his sexy toboggan being dragged behind a scooter. My rough draft of Thoreau is a Jerk (working title) is finally finished. Now all I need to do is reboot the computer so the printer works and fire that sucker over the USB.

This calls for a celebration. Advil, 1000 mg vitamin C, melatonin 3, Kahlua.

December 2, 2001

hume-fueled hunker

My Hume essay is getting written, fueled by a box of Wheat Thins. And Dorthy’s Isle of Pines Root Beer. And Shostakovich. Bob Dylan. Stravinsky. Tower of Power. Tchiakovsky. Michael Brecker. Oops, Michael Brecker is making really bad noises in the cd player, so scratch that one [tossed in trash]. Jamiroquai. String Cheese (the food, you dolt). The Champagne of Beers. And one very pine-scented candle.

This was a hunker down day. I haven’t left the apartment except to get the newspaper, which I did quickly and indecently clad in woman’s sleep wear and slippers and curlers in my hair. I picked up the paper and shook it menacingly at the kids across the street.

“You damn hoodlums! You stop stealin’ mah sports section or Mama Pasty gon’ have you in a world a pain and Craftsman vise grips!”

“Sure thing, Mammy! [snicker, snicker]”

“Why you! I oughta… you go right inside now and tell yer Papaw to give yah good strikin’ with his belt… buckle first!”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Good ol’ Southern kids. Always listen to their elders and do ‘zactly what their told. ‘course, there’s always the time when they don’t do and they come home huffin’ gasoline or throwing cats or making babies or something, but when they get to that age we gotta cut them some slack. Not easy growing up on the plantation. Too much goin’ on when the tabaccy fields start curin’.”

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah. I gotta clean my room.

December 1, 2001

reckless growth

December just snuck up and kicked me in the back of the head.

Yesterday some of us Wooch!ers went sledding out at Lester in the posted NO SLEDDING zone. Prior to headin’ out I bought a Black Ho (a specific type of sled, balanced for performance and affordability) on sale at ShopKo and a bottle of Secret Weapon. We took the noble Tracer to the hill, flew out of her with our sleds ablazin’ ready to conquer the world…

…and discovered the Lester River wasn’t frozen over yet. We forged through the woods trying to find a shallower crossing, or possibly large casks of liquid nitrogen to alter the water’s dastardly wetness. Nothing of the sort was found, but Luke jumped across on some icy rocks. We followed him. I fell in up to my knees.

Sledding conditions were questionable, but we managed to get some fun runs in and even built a nice jump. The Secret Weapon was amazingly effective, and will become a standard item in the Wooch! Extreme Sledding Toolbox. Once everyone was sufficiently frozen we trod back to the car, sloshing right through the cold river. No one was in the mood to deal with slippery stones in the dark.

I took a sauna after returning to campus, and struck up a conversation with a grizzled, bearded fellow amidst the humidity. Our words wandered around the town of Tyler, Danes, ethnicity, humor, Seattle traffic patterns, traveling, Wooch!, Sparky, the outdoors, John Krakauer and loitered on hot springs for a length. We finally got on the subject of driving to Alaska, and I picked his brain on the details of taking such a trip. I know everything now. Cool.

Today Dan came up to play in Duluth. With his girlfriend Amy in tow, we went over to the Nerd House and played Taboo with Beth. I threw a tantrum and threw the game. Dan and I fed off our pile of inside jokes and kept recalling the venomous box, hair eel, SonyGRRRRM and knee grow. Afterwards we picked up Jason and headed off to Old Chicago, where we drank beer and played their in-house electronic trivia game… for nearly three hours.

Then we drove down Park Point and I got in my December swim in The Lake. By pure chance Josh Jacobson and gang were down there, just finishing up their dip. I tossed off my clothes and dove right in. My lack of hesitance in the matter surprised me.

I’m growing reckless, no doubt.