July 27, 2010

Despicable Me


Once the final papers were all in, it was movie night. The options: Salt and Despicable Me. Sucker that I am, I elected to go see the animated children's movie, a decision I do not regret--for realsies, that movie was soooo cute! (in the words of Kathrya, though she didn't see the movie).

We broke into two groups in the theater--the loud people (Keyuri, Astrid, and others) sat in the back, and I sat somewhere closer to the middle, between Bart and Ravi, who are both wonderful, kind, and popcorn sharing.

The movie was, as I said, basically totally adorable. I have such a weakness for animation (anyone else excited for Tangled? I know Bing is psyched about the hair super awesome hair), and small children, and adorable monster type things, and, well, basically I loved the movie. So...yeah. That's about all I have to say on that one.

I'm having vague recollections of the walk to the movie, now, where we misplaced Dominique, so Dill and one of the counselors waited for her, but she took a cab instead. It made me laugh. Also, I'm totally not sure if that actually happened, I just kind of vaguely think that it did.

After the movie, we split into a burger/pizza group (it was one of the two...) and a dim sum group, which was headed by Hannah, her random friend, and a bunch of other counselors. The only students were me and Remus, and Remus and I didn't really talk much, so basically I stared at my plate during most of the extremely delicious meal, which was lame. Then I talked to Hannah's random friend, who went to school with Maxwell, about Maxwell's issue with tucking in his shirts.

Then Remus and I talked about gossip. About me. Which was weird, because usually I gossip about other people. Then I went back to the dorm. I probably slept at that point, seeing as I had pulled an all-nighter the evening before, but I don't really remember. It all blurs together after a while. This may have been the time that Leila didn't make it back to our room until 5 am, but, again, I don't remember. I hate how little I can put in order, now.

I am sad.

July 26, 2010

Buddy Reading and Real All-Nighters

Immediately after the frisbee game ended, I went back to the dorm (oh, how much lovelier life would be if I possessed a bike) to get my paper, then went to W20 to meet my peer editing group. I was with Dill and Anwar, both bio people. We started off outside, shooting glares at Vanessa and Ash's group because they had stolen our idea to experience the great outdoors. Anwar read his out loud first, and I lay down and stared at the clouds and focused on staying awake, then offered a very short list of constructive comments (his paper was phenomenal; very clear, highly technical, about using stem cells to grow retinas or something like that). It's fun to listen to him talk, because he's Singaporean but speaks English with a very good English accent; basically, the cross between Asian and british is entertaining. Then I read mine, which they both gave criticisms on while acknowledging that they didn't really understand the subject matter, since, as I mentioned, they were both doing biology.

At that point, the hammock freed up, so we ran over there and then spent about five minutes arranging ourselves so that we could all fit. Dill and I were on the ends, and Anwar was in the middle, and he's heavy enough that he was basically sitting on the ground. I'm sure that we looked rather silly. Dill took forever to read, because he had a lot (and I mean a lot) of typos and grammatical errors that he hadn't noticed until he read it out loud, so every two sentences he had to go back and change things, and then he'd go back a couple more sentences and read them all again. I was ready to scream (I have an extremely low level of pickle tolerance), and even Anwar was getting annoyed, and I was getting hungry and didn't understand the paper anyways, so Anwar loaned me his meal card and I went to get a bagel, as I was sick, and still operating on a diet where the primary foods were oranges, orange juice, and toasted bagels.

I ran into Olive and Hassan at La Verdes, and Olive advised me to "be assertive!" when ordering sandwiches. I need to work on that assertiveness thing. I got my bagel and went back outside, where we sat while Dill read until it got so dark that we couldn't see, so we moved inside and began passing the papers around for grammar markups.

That evening, I made those changes and went to bed. The next morning, I assembled a draft of slides so that I could give a practice talk for my mentor. I used Beamer. It was epic. I gave said talk. It went badly, very badly. Then I realized that the final draft of my paper was due the next day, and I was not even close to being done.

At 3 pm, I went to Simmons, showered, and assembled my supplies. At 4, I sat down to work. I got up occasionally, but I did not truly stop work until 9:30 the next morning. It was torture. It was bliss. It was so much fucking work.


I started out sitting next to Sadie, but then Bashir came over and started talking to her and moaning about how his paper was being so difficult, when the issue was really his very limited grasp of English language mechanics. I found the talking so annoying that I got up and moved next to Grace, who, despite having finished her rough draft two weeks in advance of the due date, was working quite diligently.


The next few hours are lost in a swirl of very focused work as I made edit after edit, including massive structural changes to my introduction and diffusion sections. Some time around 2 am, when I finished said changes to part four, I noticed a major hole in my analysis: I'd never definitively proven that products would not diffuse, I'd merely illustrated that they'd diffuse less than they would out of a standard reactor. I looked panicked, so one of the very wonderful nobodies, Rocky (so christened because somewhere in the annals of livejournal, there are photos of him at seventeen, all dolled up for the midnight showing), came to help me. He worked magic with mathematica while I cracked open my can of caffeinated beverage, and some forty minutes later, the image, the oh-so-perfect graphical representation of an equation that I'd hastily derived in the margin of an old draft, was done.


It was beautiful, and it is 86% of the reason that I printed my paper in color. Not that I had anything in the way of a legend to explain what color went with what element. It was just so darned pretty.


Soon after that, I was approaching my non-functioning stage, so I drank some more caffeinated beverage and went to take a twenty minute power nap, moping about my cold, solitary loneliness. I eventually woke up and stumbled back to the lab, where I started working again. I soon got a number of zephyrs from Kaylee and Hannah, who were trying to get together a late-night (well, early morning) fake Chinese food order. I zephyred (is there some other word for this?) Hyumni, and she reluctantly pulled herself from braid theory (I would love to watch her tear down anyone who saw the whole 'braid' thing and went "look, when girls do math, all they do is talk about hair") to help pick out food.


I finished the work-through on the redesigned diffusion section and left to take another nap, passing by Didge, who for some reason enjoyed working on the couch, with piles of papers surrounding him. We agreed to proof each others papers later (not that we ever actually did so), and then I went to get some sleep (well, fifteen minutes of sleep, but they were lovely minutes nonetheless).

By the time I stumbled out, Hyunmi had already obtained and paid for our veggie/tofu noodles. We ate them, and they were delicious. Something about tofu drenched in soy sauce and salty pasta is just very, very delicious.


I went back to work, after that. People gradually trickled out. By morning, the ranks were thin. Hassan was still present, as were Jasmine and Comrade Vito. I needed to wake up enough to move, and to clear out the stuffy morning feeling from between my ears.

I don't remember who suggested it, but a bathrobe-clad Vito and I ended up running laps around the lab for at least a few minutes, until I felt prepared to proof my paper. I printed it, then went about trying to find people to read it; if I remember correctly, Tramar was agreeable, and I read his as well. It was without doubt one of few that was written so clearly that it really made sense, though it's frustrating how, too frequently, clarity is confused with a lack of difficulty.


I had a donut and a coffee for breakfast, printed a copy of my paper, emailed another copy to Kaylee, then went back to the dorm and slept for four hours. When I woke up, I showered, then proofed the entire document before heading out. I made my changes at the Simmons cluster before going to W20 and having a second breakfast. Around two, I finally got Kaylee to myself, and we spent the time I should have been at my last meeting with my mentor frantically making changes to my paper. I then went to mentorship, proofed it one more time, just myself, then emailed it to my mentor's phenomenal assistant for color printing.

At five, when others were panicking, I had been done for over an hour. Which was fortunate, because W20's printers were not being cooperative. Many, many people did not have printer success, but they were fortunately (and most likely due to sheer volume) not disqualified from the competitive paper analysis.

Huzzah!

I only later heard the story of those who did not work with the rest of us. Susan, for example, stayed holed up in her room, working to devise the optimal method for preventing high temperatures and wind-related paper organizational losses. Bing did the same, though his room was less breezy. He also later informed me that he did not move from his chair for the entirety of the night, not even to use the bathroom. I responded with a "TMI" look which he took for confusion, and began explaining that since he wasn't eating or drinking during the time period, it wasn't an issue. At the very least, he's logical.

July 25, 2010

RSI vs. PROMYS


This is one of those posts that probably would have been more fun to write before I developed this miserable dissatisfaction with a certain boy (note: not the one who went to RSI).

Anyways, on this particular morning, I slept until, if I remember correctly, 10:30, or something along those lines. We were having a counselor group breakfast, leaving at 11, because that was pretty much as early as you could possibly get all of us to be awake. (Didge? Tem? This is why your 9 am Breakfast Club Farewell was a failure. At least, I assume it was a failure. I wasn't there, since I was sleeping off my sleep deprivation).

Well, that assumes that all of us were awake. I got up showered, got dressed, then proceeded to stand on one of the strange blocks that came with our room and jostle Leila enough for her to tell me that she'd get up in five minutes.

I went downstairs. Keyuri and a few others were there. Keyuri and I went on a search for the rest. Miles and Vito didn't answer the door, so we walked up a floor and checked for Miles in Ava's room. A tired looking Zorah answered the door, and informed us that nobody--not even Donny--was in her room. We went downstairs, banged on Vito and Miles's room a few more times, until eventually one of them emerged.

They'd had, for once, the good sense to hide Ava (I say 'they', but Vito was more passive about the whole situation, since she's Miles's girlfriend). On one particularly memorable occasion, Ava and Miles had only just woken up when Becton knocked on the door. Ava, who was closer, opened it before remembering that she was not supposed to be cohabitating with Miles and hiding behind it. Miles, who was then standing inexplicably six feet from the now-open door, waved at Becton, who said "wow, that's creepy," before getting on with his life. Anyways, on this day, they were much better behaved.

Then we went back up to my floor, and I dragged Leila out of bed, and Keyuri bothered Kareem, until, eventually, enough of us were assembled that we figured we could go to breakfast. I ate pancakes. They were extremely delicious.

We took a bus back to campus, and then rushed over to Killian Court, where PROMYS students and the rest of RSI had already arrived. By this point, I had a massive caffeine-withdrawal related headache (I hadn't had a coffee in about two days, and it was two days too many), but was fortunate in that PROMYS wasn't in the mood to play girls, so I could go in search of said coffee. Hyunmi came with me, and we berated Bart for hanging out in W20 instead of cheering before rushing back to the game.

When we got back, Keyuri was in full force, yelling very, very rude insults across the field. Most insults involved either the fact that PROMYS guys couldn't get girls, that they were too ugly to take their shirts off (our team was playing skins), and that the only reason that they were at PROMYS in the first place was because they couldn't get into RSI. While watching the game, I made a joking comment to Nicholas that the entire affair would be better if both teams were shirtless, and he proceeded to make fun of me for this for the remainder of RSI.

Eventually, when they were kicking our asses by a lot, we decided to play girls, in hopes that our girls were better than their girls (which I say they are. I think we scored more points than they did, anyways). We did a lot of running about, but it was eventually decided, when some of their girls didn't want to play, that we wouldn't make them match all of our girls, so they added in some guys and scored on us pretty quickly. Gopika and I stayed in for a little while after that, but we eventually ended up on the sidelines again.

At some point, Livny, who was playing with a shirt on his head to add to the intimidation factor of his extreme muscular definition, got into a fight (there was one slight violent incident followed by a lot of yelling/intimidation attempts) with someone on the other team. Rube continues to believe that Livny takes steroids. I also have vague recollections of some loud noisemaking device from their team, an invasion by our girls into their audience, and someone from their team petting Hyumni's hair.

Regardless, they eventually won, and then the counselors played. I left around the time that Rube did, but, reportedly, we lost that game too.

We continue to contend that we're so busy having lives and doing real research that we didn't have time to practice, and are therefore better than they are. We still haven't decided whether the research or the lives argument is more persuasive.

July 24, 2010

Blown All-nighters, Italians, and Proms


Every time I write one of these, the memories I'm writing about feel more and more distant.

I suppose this is what I get for writing up most of my RSI-related posts as backlogs.

The night before the first draft of the final paper was due, I prepared myself for a long haul. I stocked up on food (a giant bag of tostitos and a box of double-stuffed oreos. I am nothing if not classy), packed up my bag, and settled myself into the Starcraft section of W20 to get working.

Notably, even during this very tense night, Ash and Luke managed to play said computer game. This is because Ash is one of those people who believes he can't work when he's too tired (so, like me before RSI), but rather than sticking it out, he prefers to go to sleep, so he'd finished up his paper a day ago. Luke is just obsessed.

I settled down between Ash and Nicholas and took my now-sorted work (thank you for the file folders, Didge) and went through it, one folder at a time, compiling all of the information that I had into a cohesive whole.

I'm losing cohesive loosely, as there have been a lot of edits since to add to the cohesive nature, but regardless, I was pulling everything together. My big goal here was to make certain that I'd used all of the information that I had.

The first folder took me over an hour. I had twelve folders. I got through the second and third faster. Then I hit the fourth.

I needed a diagram.

I spent about half an hour wrestling unsuccessfully with Gimp before Nicholas took pity on me and helped. He, then, spent about an hour wrestling with Gimp for me, while I found an empty computer near Bashir and Sadie and worked my way through the extremely imposing "diffusion" folder.

When Nicholas had finished and I got the computer back, I blearily walked around the cluster, taking note of Olive sitting up on a computer divider, typing away on her laptop.

I kept writing. Some time after Ash had left, I sent some zephyrs back and forth with Bing, and soon after that he came over from the dorm and took over Ash's computer. I'd offered him oreos for the company via zephyr, but after his arrival, he declined.

About a half an hour after Bing arrived, I was done. I looked at the paper before me, completely shocked, but elected not to complain. I printed a copy, brought it to the dorm, and slept until nine thirty the next morning. Less than five hours, but better than nothing.

My alarm went off, Leila made groaning noises, then I showered and proofread the entirety of the paper before going downstairs to the Simmons cluster, making changes, freaking out that I couldn't find me key, realizing the key was next to the computer, going to W20 for breakfast, experiencing disappointment that W20 was not selling breakfast at this early hour, walking upstairs to the Athena cluster, finishing the changes, printing off another three copies of my paper, and handing it in.

I was, overall, quite pleased to have garnered a few hours of sleep, but still rather tired.

By this point, it was 5 pm. I know, a lot of hours going by really fast, but that's what happens when I'm working. Soon after that, we left for the Italian food trip.

When we got there, we were sent off on our own to find somewhere to eat. This was, of course, highly difficult. I was running around with Minette, Tal, Dexter, Donny, Zorah, Susan and Norman. At some point, Zorah and Donny slipped away to eat something that I'm certain was highly romantic, and then Susan and Norman got so sick of us looking for Italian places that they went and got Chinese food.

The four of use remaining eventually found a restaurant. We were led in, then to a set of stairs. We went down the stairs, through a room of diners, then turned left, passing through a second room of diners, its ceiling slightly lower than the first. We then passed through the kitchen and into a third room, with still lower ceilings, and, in place of windows, two TVs, one displaying a video of an aquarium and the other scenic portraits of the Italian countryside (and associated freeways).

It was, all in all, entirely bizarre. I'd meant, here, to talk about prom, but, well, it wasn't a particularly awesome experience.

I walked over with Susan and Carlisle, danced briefly, then spent a good percentage of the time sitting outside, talking to Carlisle and Ravi about our respective high schools, and with Bing about how terrible the music was. Then Nicholas and Joseph, completely covered in black, meshy clothing (yes, faces included) showed up, and proceeded to act weirdly.

By that time, I was feeling exhausted, so I left early and walked to W20, where are number of starcrafters had ensconced themselves. Even that, though, just seemed rather pointless, so I went back to the dorm, chattering with the gangstered up Jared and Gopika on the way.

So, fake proms, like real proms, are, all in all, not worth the effort.

July 23, 2010

Runnin' from the Po-po



I apologize for the Ke$ha related joke. I shouldn't have done it. I really shouldn't have.

Anyways, this post is dedicated to my bepatched pants, shown above. The word "bepatched" is lifted here from Heart of Darkness, which I still don't really like all that much, even though I am now almost, almost done with it.

Let us also note that the butt of these pants looks vaguely droopy, as, in the picture, I'm not wearing them. This should be taken as proof that I am a fabulously curvy individual, despite the fact that said pants are a size 4 long, and therefore, well, not all that curvy. However, since the buying (I use the word 'buying' loosely, as they were technically free) of said pants, I've gone up a pant size to an absolutely luscious 6 long, and a bra size as well.

I realize that the fact that I am now a B cup is probably one of those things that I shouldn't share. But I am very, very proud of my body for putting its weight in the right place, so I felt the need to express my great happiness.

I am such a teenager.

End Dedication.

Now, we come to the true post, which is "How My Pants Found Their Patches", more or less.

During many of my evenings while at RSI, I played frisbee. (I use the word "evening" loosely, as this was typically between 11pm and 1 am). Ultimate Frisbee is a truly awesome activity, one which I enjoy greatly, despite the fact that I am altogether terrible at it.

Well, that's not quite true. I can throw and catch the damn thing, more or less. I just get winded easily, and I'm terrible at changing directions, so I tend to end up running into whoever I'm supposed to be guarding, which usually results in me getting hurt, because somehow I do that.

Example: that time I was guarding Stratton, a tall skinny fellow who is both taller and skinnier than me, and he stopped moving, and I kept moving, and his forehead hit me in the chin and I had this really annoying tender spot right where I'd started stroking when I was thinking (thank you, Dawson, for giving me your weird ticks), and it was rather uncomfortable.

On this particular evening, I was running late to frisbee. I don't quite recollect why; this could have been the night that I tried to explain tampons to Zsa and Grace, or I might have just been doing something less interesting, like talking on the phone to Rube. Regardless, I was late, so I went walking along the fence looking for a Way In, which I couldn't find.

I past Hyunmi (female, pronounced 'Hummy') and Maxwell walking the other way, and they told me the gate was locked, so I went to the far corner, where the dirt looked soft, and pulled myself up and over the fence, a feat which, while slightly annoying, was not altogether difficult, and I landed comfortably in the grass on the other side.

I jogged past Livny, Jasmine, Stratton, and others, who were playing soccer, and, presumably, enjoying themselves. I joined the frisbee game (I believe I was guarding Luke, who makes an effort despite his perpetual butterfingers). I played for all of two minutes before the soccer players began moving towards us at an alarmingly fast rate. Red lights flashed behind them.

"Should we run?" someone asked.

"No," responded Jasmine. "Just leave. Quickly."

The red lights were, naturally, a police car. Apparently we're not supposed to use the field when it's been locked up.

A small group of us reached the surrounding fence. Tem climbed over first. I swore in my head, but made an effort to scramble up. When my barefoot feet proved incapable, Dawson gave me a boost. I got on top. Looked down.

This time I swore out loud. The ground was very far away.

"I don't think I can get that far."

"I'll help," said Tem.

I looked at him, incredulous. "I highly doubt you'll be able to catch me."

"We'll do it like chicken. Have you played chicken?"

"Yes, okay, sure."

He stepped closer to the fence. I tried to get down, only to discover that I was stuck. I performed a very awkward (and trying, for someone with my minimal level of upper body strength) push-up maneuver, then sat myself Tem's shoulders.

"Okay," he said. "Now, get down."

"How?"

He paused, considering. He was, after all, over six feet tall, and I was, of course, quite clumsy. Dropping me backwards would be inadvisable, and his head was in the way of a forward leap.

"Okay," he said. "I lean forward, you hop off. Good?"

He started bending before I could respond. I dismounted, rather inelegantly, before falling into a still-more-inelegant heap on the ground. He helped me up.

During the time it'd taken me to unstick myself, Dawson had already vaulted over, and the three of us joined the rest of the group in walking back towards Simmons.

My pants felt...not quite warm enough. I checked my butt. All the fabric was still there, but there was a substantial tear on my left back pocket. If I remember correctly, I asked Kris or Jasmine (probably Jasmine, since she's female, but for some reason my memory says Kris) to check it, and he/she declared it "not that bad, and if you'd just stop fiddling with it no one would notice."

We made it back to the dorm, settled around in the lounge that usually contains the ginormous set of jenga blocks.

I sat on one of the couches, ripped pants and all. Livny extracted a deck or two of cards from his backpack. There was some debate about games--the Chinese kids (mostly Andy and Jared) wanted to play President, or Mao, or some other complicated game that they said would be too annoying to teach the rest of it. Livny, however, had the cards, so he won the battle.

He declared that we would be playing "Durak." He then spent about twenty minutes explaining it, then, whenever any of us had difficulty, which was virtually every time we played, he's say "no, really, it isn't that complicated," and his henchman, Stratton, would say "so simple we all get it, yeah?" or something along those lines.

We played for a while. The game, as it turns out, translates loosely to "Idiot." Jasmine may have been the idiot, but I don't really remember.

I was, though, one of the first to be declared "Not Idiot," which is something I'm rather proud of.

July 22, 2010

Astronauts


On this evening, an astronaut came to speak with us. This was almost as awesome as when D.E. Shaw gave us free t-shirts.

It was really neat, but she kind of kept going on and on and on, and then Teresa started asking her all of these questions about how you go to the bathroom in space, and Lady Astro gave really long answers, and I tried really really hard not to fall asleep, and this may have been the lecture where I sat next to Bing, and he would drift off (and by drift off, I mean his head would fall into his lap as he crumpled into sleep) and then I'd elbow him.

Anyways, that was that lecture. I feel like there's meant to be more detail than that, but, well, ehhhh.

Instead, I will use this post to discuss mentorship awesomeness.

Every so often, Bashir would actually show up in mentorship, as opposed to going to W20 and moaning about how he didn't have anything to do, or sleeping on the couch, or making his phone do this really annoying beeping thing which I disabled midway through my second mentorship week when he wasn't paying attention.

On one particular day, Bashir wanted to hear about New Jersey. I believe this was triggered by the time he spiked his hair up for the WTP dance and I said he shouldn't try to be DJ Ronnie D from Jersey Shore (I just googled the cast of characters to see which one had the spiky hair, I have never watched the show). I drew him a map of the East coast, then did a squiggly line and dropped California on the other side of the board, indicating all relevant portions of the U.S. When Bashir asked about everyone else, I drew Arizona and Colorado in, then dropped dots for Andy and Dawson indicating their respective Mid-Western states.

Bashir then took over and taught Didge and me a lesson on Lebanese history, geography and politics, which I promptly forgot almost all of, aside from that there is some major division between North and South Lebanon, and there are beaches on one side and mountains on the other, and whichever North/South side Bashir lives in thinks the fighting is stupid because it scares the tourists.

Didge said something about Australia, but I forget what. 'Twas quite fun.

On a different mentorship day, I was feeling rather stressed out. This is not that surprising, as my emotions tend to always be in either "really, really happy" or "completely and utterly freaked out," although I often manage to freak out and be happy at the same time, but that's completely irrelevant to this point.

I was in a state of panic over RSI-related work, college-related work, and Dawson-and-Rube-related issues (those boys have caused me way, way too much emotional stress). I also wasn't eating or sleeping properly, because I kept forgetting to and my mind was really busy, and Didge, who had spent the last week teaming up with Ash and refusing to leave lunch until I'd had cold-healing soup, was not pleased.

Our plan of action was for us to go get office supplies so that I could organize my research materials and feel better about that, and then come back to the Undergraduate Chateau and let me talk or sleep, depending on which would help more.

So, we took the art budget supplied by our mentor (twenty bucks) and walked ourselves down to the student union, which turned out to be mostly a really souped up Barne's and Noble's, including a random barbershop in the back.

I'm still not really sure what's up with that, but we went downstairs for school supplies and textbooks, passing on our way an absolutely ginormous bin of extremely fuzzy and fluffy pillows.

We each pulled out a large blue pillow (the blue ones are always the best), then spent twenty minutes walking around the store looking for file folders, which we eventually found in rainbow, and dry-erase markers, which were also rainbow.

We returned the pillows, and I made an impulse purchase of purple earbuds and a paperback copy of Tess of the D'ubervilles.

Then we went back to the Undergraduate Chateau, and I ranted for two hours, interrupted by him telling me really adorable stories about his girlfriend, and then I went back to the dorm and he went to W20 to work more.

Then we saw the astronaut.

I should probably put those in a more chronological order, but, meh.

Not happening.

July 21, 2010

Laundry and Lockouts


This post is going to be a compendium of a few different events, all of them utterly interesting.

Laundry, the first time:

The first week had ended, and the second was rapidly approaching. I discovered that I had run out of underwear and tanks, and my bras were starting to smell.

For a moment, I was confused about the path forward, but then it hit me: laundry. I loaded up my bin, then began the intrepid trek downstairs (by downstairs, I mean, literally, down one flight of stairs to the eighth floor, where I thought the laundry machine was, then down a second flight of stairs, to the seventh floor, where the laundry machine actually was.)

On my way down, I ran into (note: not literally) Arthur. Seizing upon the opportunity to socialize, I asked if he would come with me, as I frequently have issues with laundry.

He looked somewhat confused, but he soon consented. We entered the laundry room. The door shut. I had a moment of awkward realization that I was alone in a windowless room with a male of the species before I shrugged it off and began sorting my lights and brights.

All was well. I poured detergent into the first machine and figured out how to insert quarters. I went to put detergent into the second machine.

It was then that I discovered that my laundry detergent bottle was not, in fact, symmetrical. It was really rather asymmetrical, with only one side appropriate for pouring. I realized this belatedly, when a tide of Tide fell upon the machine, dripping down to my legs and non-pouring arm.

I began to laugh madly, and Arthur joined in. Through my somewhat hysterical giggles, I asked him to put quarters into the second machine, which he did, only to realize that he'd leaned into it and gotten detergent all over his shorts. We laughed again.

I then apologized profusely for being such a klutz, and offered to wash the shorts. He agreed, stepped back, and was about a half a second away from de-shortsing himself before he realized that would probably be a bad idea.

He said he'd go upstairs, I said I could do with a towel, we got halfway down the hall when I realized I'd forgotten my wallet, so Arthur, being the less soapy of the two of us, went back and fished it out.

We went upstairs, I washed my legs in his sink, then realized that there were no towels in his bathroom, so I hopped, wet leg off the ground, over to his door, through which I called "Arthur? Towel? Please?"

Arthur, in clean cargo shorts identical to the previous pair, emerged with towel. I finished de-sudsing, then we went back down, threw in his shorts, started the machine, and returned to our respective rooms.

Later, we both went on the dinner trip to Fire and Ice but didn't talk to each other.

Laundry #2

Leila did the laundry. She came back and said, "You are not allowed to call me a bad roommate, I made you laundry!" It was so adorable I decided not to correct her.

Laundry #3

I combined loads with Astrid and Leila. Astrid helped me sort. I changed the clothes over, then eventually brought them back.

During the walk to the machine, Dawson and Arthur followed me part way, then left me in Astrid's capable hands.

Laundry #4

Dawson announced that he was doing laundry. I mentioned that I was running out of underwear and needed to do the whole laundry thing. I asked if I can throw a few pairs in with his clothes so that I could delay more effectively.

He, somewhat uncomfortably, agreed. I got my undies, he got his clothes and detergent, we both put in some quarters and some clothes and started the machines.

During the 45 interim minutes, I took a shower, then realized that it'd been 45 minutes, threw on my sundress (yes, and nothing else) and rushed down to meet him.

The clothes smelled suspiciously not clean.

I asked how much detergent he put in. He looked confused. I asked again. He said "I thought you put it in."

"No, you definitely did."

"I did not."

"Oh."

We paused, looked at the machines, prepared to reload.

He looked uncomfortable.

"What?" I asked.

"I can't get over the whole 'underwear' thing."

"Fine." I took them out, he added detergent, and we left.

"Do you want to go get dinner?" he asked.

I agreed, then realized that I wasn't hungry. "Wait, no."

"What?"

"I'm sorry, it's just, well, I'm not really supposed to agree to do things with you just because I want to be around you anymore."

"Oh. Right."

"Yeah."

We stood awkwardly. I went upstairs, then realized that my key was in my room.

I, notably, was not in said room.

Which brings us to Lockout #1

I was fortunate that I was in possession of many panties, and that my bathroom, with its small heap of dirty clothing was unlocked.

I was also fortunate in that I'd left my backpack full of work under Nicholas's care in the student center to return to at a later time.

I got downstairs, newly clad in tank and cargos, and flung myself upon the couch. Astrid, Minette, and Norman looked at my questioningly.

"I'm locked out. I have no shoes. I have no sweater. I'm going to W20 to work, because I have no money and can't eat."

Astrid loaned me her horribly undercharged meal card (I think Sweden has been overpaying her), and Norman brought me upstairs and loaned me a horribly expensive sweater.

I then went to W20 and worked until Leila got back with her key and let me in. This was a time period along the lines of 3 hours, as she'd gone on a movie trip.

Lockout #2

I was at least wearing clothes this time. I show up at bedcheck, go "Leila, I'm locked out again," she gives me her key, I return a moment or two later, pillow in hand.

Lockout #3

Repeat, verbatim, Lockout #2.


These events led me to two my superlatives: most likely to injure myself, and most likely to get locked out.

Yay, me.


July 20, 2010

Yum Yum Dim Sum


After the end of the Rocky Horror adventure, Kaylee, Hannah and I removed ourselves from the cab and I, at least, went to sleep. Whenever Leila got back, I was far enough out that I didn't wake up (although this may have been the night that she and Joseph fell asleep in one of the lounges and she just didn't return. Wait, no, this was the morning that she slept through her alarm and missed her oral presentation practice leave-time, so she woke me up at 12:00 and had me make phone calls for her, because English over the phone is too hard to understand).

I woke up, made her calls, took my pills, took a five-minute shower, then got downstairs at 12:30 for the dim sum trip.

I figured dim sum were as good a breakfast as anything, so I happily added myself to Hannah's group of travelers, then proceeded to sit down and doze until we actually left. I have vague recollections of Susan and Sarah being the only other student girls on the trip, and us discussing the fact that I just eat what everyone else gets because I don't speak Chinese or have much of an opinion. I then talked with Bing about the fact that dim sum are apparently kind of like breakfast, or more like breakfast than lunch, so I really wasn't being all that odd.

I know that once I got there I sat at a table separate from Hannah, Susan, and Sarah, and that I was between Bing and Bart, and Sid was also at our table, and that Bart showed me Saudi currency and demonstrated how to fold it so that when you tilted it, King Abdullah (at least, I think it was King Abdullah) would smile and then frown. I remember eating a lot and feeling quite full. I remember seeing an extremely adorable small child when I got up to use the bathroom.

I keep getting this one mixed up with the last dim sum trip, which I already recounted, as that one also had Susan (although it had the people from Bing's country other than Bing).

We got back when the Harvard tour left, though I didn't go on that. I thought Dawson had, but then I found out he was sick, so I alternated between working and asking Gabriel, Dawson's roommate, if Dawson wanted any medicine. I'm not sure if I made much in the way of meaningful progress on the work front, but I did my best. That night (I'm writing about the 18th still) was the talent show, during which my phone went off multiple times.

As far as the show goes, I missed a couple of acts, most notably Pensky's dancing. I did get to see Bing beatbox, which was cool, and hear Nicholas play violin (he really is remarkable, but I don't care what Jasmine says, it is nowhere near enough to make me think that he's sexy. He's just too...too......Nicholas.).

I walked back to W20 with Gopika and Didge, and Gopika put further efforts into getting Engle to take her to prom (she was unsuccessful). I walked from W20 back to Simmons with Susan and Sarah, who gave me very good guy advice which I took, even though, as I stand in September, it didn't exactly help.

Rube arrived about ten minutes after I got back. He left about forty minutes later. I spent bedcheck panicking to Leila, then a good while panicking to Maxwell, then a considerable quantity of time sitting around and just plain panicking.

I really am getting very good at that.

I eventually went to sleep, completely unprepared, as always, for the following day's mentorship.

July 19, 2010

Rocky Horror Picture Show


The shopping for this took place immediately following the 2nd Milestone presentations. I gave some cash to Sadie and had her shop for me, as I had to work.

Dawson gave his money to Arthur and sent him. He realized only later that this would likely end up in something a tad more scandalous than his original intent. Apparently, though, when it comes to Rocky Horror, scandalous is what you're going for.

I know I went on some trip on this day, because I clearly recall coming back and being really, really exhausted, and then having to change in about 10 minutes flat, and having nothing to wear, and ending up wearing this long shirt that was "totally not revealing" along with sneakers, because sneakers are comfy. I maintain that Arthur worse sneakers, so they were fine, but I've been told that the fact that Arthur was wearing pink tights and an extremely short miniskirt negates this.

I borrowed tall socks from Minette and a belt from Kaylee, loaned my not-even-that-short-but-at-least-belonging-to-someone-with-a-vagina shorts to Dawson (who got a really, really weird stain on them, actually), and had at least three guys try on my one pair of pathetically low heels, in hopes that they could find something that fit (those they fit declared them rather horrifically uncomfortable).

We headed out, I fought to stay awake. I was that behind on sleep. We walked all the way there with relatively few odd events, aside from me walking briskly in the front along with James and Hassan because we looked less scary to whoever we walked past than did Ululani and Arthur, who were leaning more in the "going all out" direction, and Arthur's skirt rather inconveniently blowing up and scaring the bejeezus out of an innocent passerby (although I really could have done with out the spandex demonstration).

We got to the theater. There weren't enough seats, so I sat in the aisle and alternated between leaning on Zsa and Teresa, both of whom thought the show was very, very weird. Morrison was the audience favorite and got to get married. I fell asleep about twenty minutes in, and when counselor Hannah and tutor Kaylee decided it would be just cruel to make me stay any longer when I was clearly very ill (read: wanted an excuse to take a cab back), we left.

Most of the Rickoids we walked past were out cold. Apparently movies about transvestites are not our favorite kind of entertainment.

We prefer Truth or Dare.

Oh, and before I forget: Hi, Bart.

July 18, 2010

Second Milestone Presentations


Milestones are far more work than they should be.

On this particular Milestone Morning, I was very tired. I was also rather annoyed, because A) only my group and one other group had presentations this morning, and B) our presentations were combined, meaning that I was going to have to sit through four hours of presentations.

I was also rather happy, because, as I told both Vanessa and Sadie that morning before class started, I'd had a very interesting midnight phone call the night before, and half of my mental processing power was devoted to "did he really say that?" and "whaaaaa?" but we shall ignore that for the purposes of this post.

Well, I tried to tell this to Vanessa and Sadie. My attempts were interfered with by my rather terrible laryngitis. The worse bit was that whenever I laughed, I would squeak all over the place, and then start laughing at myself laughing and make it worse. I am not good at resting my voice.

Sadie had her own interesting story as well, and hers centered around the RSI prom. I can't recall if, at that point, she had a date (though she ended up going with Aziz, and I think that she was one of the earlier askees). Anyways, she was talking to Ash about the prom, and was all "do you have a date yet? Who are you going to ask?" etc.

Ash, who had very limited interest in asking anybody, responded by saying "I'll go with this beef," gesturing at his lunch.

At this point in the retelling, Sadie started laughing, although I didn't quite get it.

Sadie apparently asked whether the beef was willing to go with him, and his response was "I'll ask" followed by "the beef said yes."

For some reason that I still don't quite comprehend, she thought that last line was basically the funniest thing ever, and proceeded to repeat the story whenever there was much in the way of funny story sharing.

I'll admit that, after a while, it did become rather funny.

Regardless, we went in, sat down, and prepared for presentations. I sat with my geographically convenient friends (Gopika and Sarah), and behind Ashley (remember...Ashley=Ash=guy with girly name) and Maxwell. This seating arrangement is irrelevant but for the fact that Gopika got to eat some of my cheetos (I see nothing wrong with bringing snacks to a four hour presentation block), and Ash had cool looking doodles.

I sat through a lot of talks, and got up to go to the bathroom rather frequently, so as to keep myself from displaying my boredom overmuch. The bathroom breaks caused me to miss both Ava's and Gaea's talks, which was probably fortunate, since they were both about (I think) colon cancer, and Ava apparently used very, very graphic images in hers, as she was blackballed for the next two days until she could get a cleaner copy of her presentation to her tutor.

Gopika, Sarah, and Vanessa all had super intense presentations. Maxwell's I don't remember (sorry dude!). Anwar's was also rather beastly. I would like to note that Anwar was in my peer editing group, so therefore some of his beastliness should be credited to me (note: this is a bold-faced lie, as Anwar is just naturally extremely good at giving presentations and writing papers and doing science in general).

As far as my own lab group goes, I am proud to say that I got through mine rather well. It was three hours in by that point, so my voice had recovered a teeny bit, so I squeaked my way through the basics of nuclear reactors and an outline of my project. I thought Didge's presentation was fine, but apparently it lacked basic effort, or something, so he got dumped on probation with Ava. Bashir used the photo of nuclear reactor towers with giant yellow smiley faces on them again.

Eventually, after 4+ hours, the presentations ended. We went back to W20 to eat, and Ash said that I sounded like a Southpark character, and he and Maxwell got annoyed with me for trying to talk, so I went and walked with people who had smaller "must take care of others" complexes.

July 17, 2010

New England, Rediscovered


By the time we'd finished our own cooking (while attempting to ensure that the midwesterners didn't give anybody food poisoning), we were twenty minutes late, so Chao, Maxwell, Gopika and I raced (well, walked quickly) to 6-120 for presentations.

Now, I'm going to walk you through a presentation on the Northeast.

\begin{frame}{Title Slide: The Northeast}
aka Winners of the Civil War
Clearly the best region of the US

RSI 2010.

\end{frame}

When this slide was first displayed, Vito counted down 3,2,1, and we all simultaneously popped our collars.

We stood, in this order: Chao, Sarah, me, Patrick, Gopika, Zorah, Stratton, Livny, James, Maxwell. If there was anyone else, they're cropped out of my picture. We looked, if I do say so myself, polo-tastic.

\begin{frame}{Some Geography}

\begin{figure}
Map of the U.S. with New England + Pennsylvania + New York + New Jersey highlighted
\end{figure}

\end{frame}

James talked through the above slide.

\begin{frame}

Some History
-1775: Revolutionary War -- started in the Northeast.
-1789: Capital of US was in NY, then PA
-1804: Northeast started abolishing slavery
-1848: Seneca Falls, NY convention first discusses women's suffrage
-1865: Civil War - won by the North(east)
-1865: Northeast forcibly abolished slavery in the South
-1920s: Jazz popularized in NY
-1945: United Nations established, headquartered in NY
-1969: Woodstock music festival in NY
-2010: RSI 2010 held in MA

\end{frame}

James discussed this slide as well. The southerners started booing when he read the line about jazz, though. Poor form on their part, if you ask me.

\{begin}{frame}{Some People You Might Know About}

-Benjamin Franklin
-John Adams
-John Hancock
-Paul Revere
-Mark Twain
-Alexander Hamilton
-Theodore Roosevelt
-Franklin Roosevelt
-John Kennedy
-Carl Sagan
-Hillary Clinton
-Joe Biden
-The cast of Jersey Shore

\end{frame}

Maxwell took this slide. He got through all of them up to Carl Sagan, who he didn't know. Jersey Shore was also mysterious to him, so he finished by saying that whoever they were, they couldn't be cooler than Patrick.

\begin{frame}{North and South}

N: 55 million people.
S: 55 million opossums (before Sunday dinner)
N: 8 of the 13 original colonies
S: 12 of the 12 Confederate States
N: John Kennedy
S: George W. Bush (although he was born in CT)
N: Snow
S: Hurricanes
N: White collars
S: Rednecks

\end{frame}

I discussed that slide, and I got to make a lot of jokes at the expense of southerners (eating roadkill, lowbrow politics, etc.). It was almost enough to make me think that I'm funny.

\begin{frame}{Politics}

Map of the U.S. with Obama and McCain voting states mapped out.
Large image of a colored donkey.

\end{frame}{Politics}

I think I made Patrick take over at this point. Or possibly Stratton.

\begin{frame}{GeoPolitics of the Northeast}

If we look at a series of nations, we begin to notice a disturbing conclusion about the Northeast of each one. Now let's generalize...North Vietnam? Rebellious. North Korea? We beat them hard and good way back when. Anarchist Catalonia? We all know what they're up to. Thus, it is only a matter of time before our Northeast, too, falls to the rebellion.

\end{frame}

That bit was Vito's baby. I still don't quite get it, but the Catalonians seemed to find it funny.

\begin{frame}

Colleges in the Northeast

\end{frame}

Chao went up and listed about a zillion schools. Then we all tried to talk about our individual states, and we got cut off for time-related reasons.

July 16, 2010

Cooking for America Night


I talked about International Night briefly, way back here. Now, we've moved on to something bigger, and better, and probably mostly just fatter and less diverse, but we'll ignore that statement.

For America Night, we divided into regions. I was, of course, with the Northeast, and my group included myself, Chao, Gopika, James and Patrick (male, IMO (as in math, not as in the chat abbreviation), OMG (as in the chat abbreviation), among others.

Chao decided we were making Indian pudding. Frank and I decided that we didn't know what that was, and therefore it would be gross, and James told us that Chao was at least putting in an effort, so we shouldn't complain, and we should instead start showing up for meetings.

I, naturally, got caught up in something that I'm sure was very important at the time (probably showering) and showed up rather late in the cooking process. Chao and Gopika were running around somewhat purposefully but with much haste.

The southerners had stolen our kitchen. Ash had, as ever, taken charge, and he decreed that their group was making roadkill burgers. Thus, the southerners co-opted all of the pots and pans and spent four hours of the afternoon broiling meat that, even when done, still looked plenty pink. They stuck it in bread with some condiments and called it a day, and then we Norther Easterneres, and Mid-Westerners, and the Out Westerners finally got a look at the kitchen.

I, of course, missed all this, and arrived when the east and the west were battling it out for stove space, with the east primarily winning, as even though Jared tries to be and occasionally manages to be intimidating, Chao, when she puts her game face on, can take on even him. Anyways, Chao and Gopika ordered me around, and I frantically tried to find things. Jared, a member of the midwestern crew, 'cooked corn.'

By that, I mean that he put water in a pan, stared at it for thirty seconds, said "okay, looks hot enough," ignored Chao and I disagreeing, and dumped about half the corn, since it didn't all fit, into the pot.

He left it in for approximately two minutes, then reached over Chao, who was stirring the chocolate for the Boston Cream Pie she'd finally decided on, grabbed some tongs, and pulled it out.

We objected that it wasn't cooked. Ravi (male) came over, looked at the plate of corn, and said "that is some raw ass-corn," as we'd all gotten into the habit of making the hyphen swap.

Jared said "it's FINE. Okay?" in his standard, overly punctuated speaking pattern.

We were going to object further, but then we noticed the hotdogs that a few other midwesterners (Luke and possibly Carlisle (though of Carlisle wasn't actually there, he will accuse me of discriminating for his asian-ness, like he did every time anyone caught him sleeping in lecture ("I have asian eyes it's not my fault")).

The hotdogs were virtually raw, and they declared them done.

Please don't blame me for not eating them.

July 15, 2010

The Beach


I discovered today that Caleb's profile picture is now of him surfing.

On that note, I'm going to recount beach day.

On this day, we had to awaken early. Possibly before seven. So, like, really early, not just early by RSI standards. Leila and I awoke. I quickly brushed my teeth and washed my face, by which time she'd managed to get herself awake.

I made a half-hearted attempt at packing a beach bag, then ran to W20 in hopes of getting a few minutes to eat breakfast. It is likely that I ran into Chao along the way, since she and I are frequently breakfast buddies, but I have a vague recollection of rushing along with Gabriel, Leila's little spanish friend, on this particular morning.

I inhaled my breakfast while standing around with my counselor group, waiting for Kareem, who was late as usual, and Leila, whose hair was being difficult.

We then walked to the t-stop. In order for me to give you all a complete impression of how long this takes, I'm going to give mini-bios of a few more members of my counselor group, since that was who I was walking with. We covered a few people here, and now we'll discuss a few more.

Leila and Gabriel: Leila is my roommate, and Gabriel is the roommate of my friend on the eighth floor of my tower (hint: the one who doesn't have a single). They both love skype, although they kicked their addiction somewhat the last couple of weeks. They are from Cataloonya, which is where Barcelona is, and is not actually spelled like that. Leila is so short that her head fits under my chin when we hug. I'm not really sure how tall Gabriel is.

Kareem: Kareem is from Saudi Arabia, and he lives on my floor. He isn't really bothered with rules, so he does things like sneak off campus and buy really expensive laptops when he's supposed to be at mentorship, which our counselor, Keyuri, never yells at him for, because she thinks that all Saudis have connections to the Taliban and she doesn't want to make the wrong people angry.

Veer: Veer has a girlfriend (and she doesn't live in Canada. I said hi to her on skype once. It was fun). He actually rarely talks about her, so it's silly to introduce him as such, but whatever. Veer is Indian and occasionally accuses other Indians of acting white. I didn't really talk to him that much, to be perfectly honest, so I can't give you much better than that.

That's good enough for a wait, I think.

I most likely talked to Arthur and Dawson during the walk, because I tend to do that, but regardless, we eventually arrived, and met the other counselor groups, then took the tube to...

A BOAT!!! WE GOT TO RIDE A BOAT!!!!

It's really remarkable that I still get excited about these sorts of things, considering the number of boats I've been on in my life.

I stood between Dawson and Bing (Bing is a guy) for the ride over, and I have vague recollections of talking about Arkansas, then learning that, contrary to my previously held belief, Singapore is an island. Who knew?

We got off of the ferry, and, soon thereafter, Ashley (male), James (male), and Chao (female) gathered together a Contact-playing group, and we got so intent on our game that we missed the first ferry.

When the second ferry came, a "particularly smart" group of us decided to wait in the shade until the last possible second to get on the ferry. Naturally, it was full, and the five of us got stuck on the island.

We wandered off to a grassy area and, of course, played more contact. I also got my first semi-explanation of what Starcraft is from James while Ash was looking for some sticks to turn into sandcastle building tools. I also got to lead my first round of contact; I used magnolia as my word, screwing over my science-geek friends who couldn't get magnets out of their heads, although Bing eventually figured me out.

An hour later, we boarded the ferry and went to island number two. Here, at last, was the beach.

I swam, first with Nicholas and Gopika, who spent the entire time attacking each other, because Nicholas derives some great enjoyment from stealing her stuff, then with Bing, who declared the water to be rather chilly, and then with Kareem, Nicholas and a few others who were trying to play beach volleyball in chest high water with a soccer ball.

Then, of course, it came time for frisbee. It was still warm out, so I figured I'd just play in a swimsuit--it wasn't until I'd walked all the way up the great big hill and started playing that I realized that Nicholas and Livny were the only other ones in just swimsuits.

Gopika and I, naturally, took a moment to discuss Livny's shirtless state.

Gopika: Livny has bigger boobs then I do.

Tea: Me, too. Although, yours are bigger than mine, so I suppose that's just a logical continuation.

Gopika: I'm not sure they are, I think it's just the combination of the swimsuit and the dress.

Tea: You're still plenty sexy and curvaceous.

At the last line, Luther (big Chinese guy) turned around and gave us the absolute dirtiest look, so we dissolved into hysterics.

We played frisbee for a bit more, and I borrowed Dawson's spare shirt so I felt a little more comfortable, then uncomfortably returned it with some various interesting wet spots left by my bathing suit.

When walking back down to the beach with Gopika, I ran into Arthur, and I recounted our little tale and Luther's shocked reaction. Gopika said I'd probably gone into too much detail, and Arthur said it was funny, but still awkward.

Then he promptly forgot the entire event, and a while later, when he heard mention of some awkwardness that had occurred involving Gopika and I at the beach, he bombarded me with instant messages asking what the hell it was, and insisting that I hadn't told him anything at all.

Anyways, back to the beach: it rained copiously, so we hid in the main building and played more Contact, which is, as I've said, the best game ever. Then, rain and all, we went on the ferry and rode back to shore.

Gaea tried to talk me into coming on some dinner trip with her, then changed her mind at the last minute because she was apparently avoiding someone on said trip.

Instead, we went back to W20, and I stood around with her, Maxwell and Abe and tried to decide what to order for dinner. Then Abe hug-attacked me, and then Gaea licked me, so I freaked out and went to eat with other people. No pizza for Tea.

July 14, 2010

Capture the Flag (Ninja style)

I'm not entirely certain that this is the day that we played (in fact, I'm almost entirely certain that it wasn't), but it was, nonetheless, an event worth recording.

Bedcheck occurs every night at 10:30. My initial thought upon discovering this was that I'd have trouble staying up that late. This did not turn out to be true, but it did mean that late night activities were, really and truly, very late at night.

On this particular evening, the activity was capture the flag. We were told to meet downstairs at 11:30, wearing either a white or black t-shirt and carrying one of the opposite color.

For this event, in case you were wondering, I actually wore my athletic sneakers, proving that I did actually wear them, so they so totally were worth bringing.

We will ignore the fact that my time spent actually running was very, very limited.

The sorted us out based on which shirt we came down wearing, but the numbers weren't quite even, so a few people were asked to swap. This inculded guys, who just changed shirts where they were, and Ava and I, who slipped away to the girls' bathroom. We then trooped down to Lobby 7 and a variety of other locations as the various bases were described.

It was dark, the buildings weren't what I was used to, and I was very, very confused, and, besides, I was horribly out of shape, so running really didn't strike me as the best idea. As a result, Gopika (who is female) and I elected to play defense. We were assigned one of the hallways that went into our base, and we performed preliminary investigations. Gopika wanted to pace up and down and look threatening, and I wanted to sit in the bottleneck portion and be efficient, so we ended up doing that, chattering about nothing for a considerable time before we heard a noise.

Abandoning our bottleneck, we rushed up the stairs and caught a glimpse of James's flaming red hair. Gopika raced after him, and I returned to my initial location, determined not to leave it unguarded for long.

She came back after a bit, entirely unsuccessful, and we resumed out wait.

We heard more noise a time later. She opened the door to the stairs and screamed. Donny, a member of the opposing team, was standing there, reading a newspaper. He yelled back. She yelled again. He dropped the paper and she chased after him.

I didn't find out that was what had happened until later. I had, as before, been left to guard the door.

Gopika eventually got back, unsuccessful once again, and, soon after, due to complete and utter exhaustion, I left, informing Miles (who was, more or less, directing our entire team) of my departure and pulling the flag from the pants of a possibly-captured-but-maybe-lying Anders for good measure.

I was able to do this because Anders, unlike Dawson and Tramar (I'm uncertain if it was those two--either one may have actually been Nicholas), hung his flag from the side of his pants. The others, of course, had hung theirs from the front, so as to deter people from grabbing at them, as girls, at the very least, would be worried about grabbing other things.

I never did find out if they found that strategy effective.

July 13, 2010

It really is remarkable

Just how much work work manages to be. I remember next to nothing from these days, just a cloud of sleeping off sickness, infecting others (Dawson, I'm sorry), and reading paper after paper after endless paper.

Oh, and writing. That second milestone was a fair bit of work, I suppose, although I think a better chunk of the 13th was spent pretending to read S. Mckee's thesis on nuclear energy, which I never did get all the way through (although I did manage to forget to cite her half-life data. Whoops).

I'm going to say that this was the day that I walked to dinner with Jared and Bashir, because it will make for a more interesting post.

Bashir is the crazy Lebanese guy who works in my lab. He is, as I've said, crazy, but you will probably get more on that later.

Jared is Bashir's roommate. Jared is a big Asian guy from a big city (and I say big in a relatively loose sense of the word, because, while tall and muscle-y, he is still extremely skinny) who wears baggy t-shirts and long shorts and waves his arms and gesticulates in a manner suggesting a comfortable existence in a ghetto.

On this particular day, I walked out of the dorm with the pair of them.

"Why," asked Bashir, "are there no black people in RSI?"

Jared and I looked at him.

"There are not! I look, and I see black people, and they are all MITES. There are none here. Why are there no black people."

Jared looked pained.

"Why!" demanded Bashir.

"Well, there was supposed to be one, but his visa fell though, and he was, like, actually from Africa," I said.

"No, look, see," said Jared. "You can't just ask this shit."

"I just did. You say I cannot ask this, but then look! I do!"

"I think what Jared means is that it's not the sort of thing that one generally talks about. It's a sensitive subject."

"Yes! That's it. We don't talk about it. You just pretend that it doesn't exist."

"Why would I pretend that it doesn't exist when it so clearly does?"

"Because that's what you do," responded Jared. "You pretend, and then it just, I dunno, goes away."

"I'm not exactly certain that it--" I started.

"It will not go away. Look at your movies."

"What?" said both Jared and I.

"All the black people in the movies--they are stupid. Stupid. So stupid. They cannot talk, they cannot live, they cannot make money. They are poor and stupid. What am I supposed to think about black people here when all I see is 'blacks are dumb'?"

"SHUT UP! Bashir, don't let anybody hear you!" Jared looked worried.

"Well, what do black people do?" asked Bashir.

"I dunno, they play basketball," said Jared.

"I'm not sure that's the sort of thing you would think that you should be saying," I said.

"Shut up."

"Jared, I thought that you played basketball."

"I used to."

"Why'd you stop?" I asked.

"Were the black people better than you? Did they make your asian-boy look stupid?" asked Bashir, before beginning to laugh.

"Bashir, someone is going to hear you, and they are going to beat you up."

"No, they will not. The only one who will beat me up is you, and you won't, because you love me."

"I do not love you."

"You are my roommate. Of course you love me."

"You are so fucking crazy."

Bashir just laughed.

July 12, 2010

The Twelfth, the twelfth

What happened the twelfth? I'm trying to remember.

I took a nap in the morning, during mentorship, just like I almost always do, because the couch in the undergraduate chateau is so phenomenally comfortable. I did some more reading, because I spend most of my time doing reading, then I lay around for a bit feeling sorry for myself because I still felt sick.

Dawson called after he had mentorship because he hadn't eaten yet, and he kept weird hours, so there was no one in W20, so he came and at lunch in the 'lab' while Didge and I worked.

At some point, we all went back to Simmons. The lecture was informal, but for some reason I decided to shower beforehand, so I ended up wearing Mom's old halter dress and being cold. I have no idea if this is relevant at all.

I'm leaning towards no.

Noam Elkies gave a lecture on mathematics, physics, and music, which was basically physics I've already done + music I've already done + a teeny tiny bit of Euclidean geometry I hadn't heard of --> a slightly boring lecture. Then he did this ridiculously awesome piano improvisation thing at the end, and I was all "dude, just kidding about the boringness, you are freaking awesome" except only in my head.

Because, if I'd said it out loud, I would have actually sworn.

July 11, 2010

The Degree of Neglect

That you have been experiencing is pathetically large. Much of it stems from the fact that I got rather ill on the 11th (the day we're pretending it is right now), and the rest stems from a lot of interesting occasions related to the opposite gender that I will not transcribe here because my RSI blogs are not precisely anonymous.

Regardless, I apologize, and I will try to make it up to you as soon as I can.

On July 11th, I slept until noon. I was up late as well, and I suppose I could relate that in my account, but there wasn't much to relate, aside from the fact that Rube and two of his friends had visited the evening before to play frisbee, and that they'd wanted more people than just me, so I'd called Dawson, who was with Gabriel, and we spent like ten minutes about a hundred yards apart, waving at each other without the other one seeing, on the phone going "I'm doing jumping jacks." "I can't see you" "Seriously, I'm right here!" while Rube and friends looked confused.

We eventually rounded up a larger group of people, but then those PROMYS jerks proceeded to kick our butts, which was somewhat bad. Apparently Rube's whole long distance running and good hand-eye coordination thing makes him good at frisbee. How very frustrating.

Anyways, back to the 11th. I got up at noon, and then my wonderful family came to visit about an hour later. My sisters (Shelby in particular) were very appreciative of the ball pit, which is understandable, considering that it is completely and utterly awesome. Eventually the family left, and I went to W20 with a backpack full of papers and settled down to read.

About a half an hour later, I felt like complete crap, so I walked back to Simmons to recuperate. I was so hot after the walk that I lay down on the couch on the first floor and refused to move. My tylenol, however, was upstairs. It was an extremely unfortunate situation.

At some point, Teresa came over and asked if I wanted her to buy me some medicine. I said that I had some upstairs, I just hurt too much to move, so I gave her my key and she went up to get them.

However, Teresa is an international student, and she didn't know the names of pills, so she brought down my entire bag. Unfortunately, the entire bag consisted of a giant pink plastic Victoria's Secret monstrosity, because it was the only thing my mother could find in the house that was opaque and large enough to put food in as well. Larry, who was on the couch opposite me, took one look at the bag and began to laugh. Teresa left, I rolled over and ignored Larry, and then I thought about how to get the bag upstairs without either moving or letting too many people see it.

A few minutes later, someone shoved their hands over my eyes. They felt squishy, warm, and biggish, and there is a limited number of people who would do such a thing to me, so I growled "Nicholas" in an angry voice. The hands immediately went away.

It wasn't Nicholas.

"Oh my god, I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else," said the boy, who was, I think, one of the MITES.

"Yeah, I figured."

"Sorry."

I shrugged.

"This is really awkward."

"Yeah."

"Like, really awkward."

"Yeah." Suddenly, I had an idea. "Hey, do you want to redeem your awkwardness?"

"Depends what I have to do."

"Can you bring this bag to my room for me?"

"Okay."

So, I gave him the bag and my key, and away he went.

Larry rolled over to look at me. "Did you seriously just give him your room key?"

"Yes?"

"You trust him?"

I shrugged. "I guess so."

"Why?"

"Why not?"

"You don't know him!"

"I dunno, I just trust people. Maybe it's stupid, but I do."

"Oh."

Larry and I looked at each other, then turned to look at the elevator, then we both began to laugh somewhat hysterically.

We were still laughing when, fifteen minutes later, the boy returned, my key in his hand, apologizing for how long the elevator took.

I continued to lie on the couch and moan for quite some time. At some point, I called Dawson to beg for food, who called Ululani and got him to bring me a bagel. I got first Nell, then Bing to sit on my legs and keep them warm, and when Dawson showed up I got use of his towel as a blanket, and Maxwell brought my my ipod, and the moral of the story is that if one moans about how crappy they feel for long enough, people will do nice things.

Yay!

July 10, 2010

Things I Love

Zsa claims (probably rightly) that she could very easily make a list of 1,000 things that make me happy.

One of these things is the adorable french exchange student (graduate, I think) in my lab, who speaks with a heavy accent and is confused by English keyboards, but is still willing to run a computer program to find various Gibbs energies for me, and then spend at least a minute typing "good luck!" into the email he sends me.

I love science.

July 9, 2010

Me? Tired? Nooooo

Cast of characters:

Dill, a crazy libertarian who thinks very highly of himself.

Livny, who we all know and love (or not, depending).

Stratton, who is secretly in love with Livny and only pretending to be straight (note: most guys here are in love with Livny. It is among the funniest things in the world).

Harold, who is a counselor.

Setting:

First floor lounge, some time after one in the morning.

Dill: I can bench.

Livny: Really? You can bench. *laughs at Dill's inferiority*

Dill: I do! I'm good.

Stratton: Hey, everybody, look at Dill.

Dill: I bench 160.

Livny: Oooh, 160.

Stratton: Check out Dill, he's totally jacked.

Dill: Hey!

Stratton: Look at those muscles. Ohhhh, man.

Dill: 160 is a lot.

Livny: Yeah, 160 is decent, I suppose. *looks at Dill, sizing him up* A bit of a stretch, but still in the range of plausibility.

Tea: 160...that's like me and two babies.

Livny, Stratton ignore Tea completely, Harold laughs, and Dill jumps.

Dill: Oh my god!

Tea: What?

Dill: I had no idea you were there!

Tea: Oh. Hi?

Dill: Yeah...

July 6, 2010

Food-Related Adventures

I'm going to continue with my description of the July 4th fun, since the vast majority of what I did this week was rather boring.

I woke up at 6:30, approximately 3 minutes after the majority of those remaining had gone for a breakfast run. I sat up and began talking to one of the many nobodies here, after which I brushed my hair (because it looked damn bad) and finally gathered enough wakefulness to make note of those around me.

Ava and Miles were cuddled up very, very close together. Zsa had taken my blanket and wrapped herself up like a pupae in a cocoon. Chao was sitting by herself, so I went, still bleary eyed, over to her, and we chattered a bit and swapped back rubs, which, overall, makes me really dislike Veer for saying mean things about her, because Chao is, in her way, completely awesome.

Eventually, a breakfast run was formed, and I will give no further details about that, because it is one of those events that would be spoiled if a future Rickoid knew of it, and this is, after all, a public forum. Suffice to say that I eventually arrived back and occupied my morning by playing GHOST. I went on a dim sum trip for a late lunch, which was fun in its way.

I walked with Sarah on the way there, and it was nice to get to talk to her when she wasn't worried about not being good enough at academics, because she's so much better than me that when she gets started I begin to get twitchy. Behind us, Ululani and Gopika argued about whether his sexual actions towards Keyuri qualified as purposeful destruction of their relationship, which was entertaining due to the fact that Ululani has a girlfriend back home and his relationship with Gopika consists solely of arguing over whether said relationship has been invalidated.

During the meal itself, everyone at my table asked for foods in Chinese while Miles and I awkwardly twiddled our thumbs. Then we all walked back, and I got excited every time I saw ice cream, but everyone just kept moving, so I didn't get any. Thus, when we finally returned, I found Zsa and dragged her over to a truck that was serving soft serve and bought us both cones.

Unfortunately, I greatly overestimated Zsa's ability to eat ice cream. Apparently, in China, they have dairy very rarely, and, when they do, they eat it with a spoon. Thus, Zsa ate her ice cream by repeatedly biting at it using only her lips, and it was extremely ineffective. She ended up covered in melt, so we went over to the edge of the Esplanade, and I held back her hair until she surrendured and threw out the remains, and we got all cleaned up before returning to the group. 'Twas extremely fun.

July 5, 2010

Independence Day

Fireworks are truly amazing. And the ones here? Definitely worth the 20 hour wait.

Saturday night, at one in the morning, I took my quilt and a soft blanket, a backpack full of study materials I didn't touch, and a change of clothes for the morning, and walked to the Esplanade. I think probably thirty or forty of the Rickoids walked down at that time, which is a pretty decent percentage. I walked with Dawson, who I've befriended, Donny, who was, for once, not surgically attached to his girlfriend, and Hassan, whose girlfriend I have stalked.

Donny continued with his forced Indian accent, Hassan encouraged me to pursue my patent because it just sounds really cool, and I made fun of Dawson for being from hicksville and having helicopter parents. At some point, Anders popped out of nowhere, which he does rather frequently. Although he'd told me, when I asked, that he was planning on going back to the dorm and sleeping, and he looked damn exhausted, he had apparently changed his mind.

Fortunately, he put up with me when I got sleepy and started singing You! Me! Dancing! to myself, and if he made fun of me when I tripped up the stairs, I can't remember it, so that's all good. When we arrived, the silly people who didn't travel with their own blankets taped down their tarps, and I settled down comfortably between Anders and Dawson.

Anders left an hour or so later, but Teresa took his spot so I was still somewhat warm, and the few hours after that was spent playing truth or dare (I had to slap Ululani's ass, and then I later got my cheek kissed (it was VERY ROMANTIC), but, for the most part, the game was pretty tame. Example, brought to you by Norman and Iditri: "Truth" "Describe a sexual fantasy." "I've never had one." "That's lame." "I haven't!" (guess which is which!)), which is kind of weird to do with that many people.

At some point, as it was beginning to get light again, Dawson went back, but left me his sweatshirt so I'd have a pillow, and I got Zsa to come over and keep me warm, so she and I bundled up and went to sleep.

I was, at that point, approximately 3:30 am. I woke up at 6:30. It was not good.

July 3, 2010

Milestones

First week of mentorship was over, so I had to have an introductory milestone paper and presentation. That would have made more sense if I'd had longer than 24 hours since receiving said mentorship.

I may possibly have psyched myself and completely flubbed the presentation, but I will not admit to that here or anywhere, because I would prefer that it be forgotten (but, really, I forgot the difference between atoms and molecules. It was bad. Like, really, really bad).

Saturday was also a counselor group competition day, which consisted of the various counselor groups breaking off, and the members of each group engaging in a myriad of fun activities, including really, really awkward ones like sticking a toothpick in your mouth and using it to pass a lifesaver on to the next person's toothpick (Arthur? I realize that you may be proud of the three facial hairs that you are in possession of, but I feel no need to get that close to them again. Please remove them).

Anyways, I will refrain from discussing the rest of the activities, so that any future Rickoid that reads this will not be at risk of spoilage, and instead use this opportunity to introduce my counselor group.

Dawson: Dawson is a math person, but I like him anyways because when I am lazy, he'll find the area of a hexagon for me, like he did yesterday. He is dissatisfied with his project because it involves a lot of case work, which is apparently boring. He is also one of the ten-thousand-bajillion tall asian guys here (note: there are not quite that many, I am just so confused by the fact that tall Asian guys exist in such a large quantity that I occasionally exaggerate (I'm not sure whether Rube counts as a counterrargument that they exist elsewhere)).

Arthur: Arthur is another math person, and I like him as well because he once spent over an hour trying to explain his project to me, and when I am doing anything by myself and I run into him, he is perfectly willing to be dragged along. For instance, this happened last week when I tried to do my laundry. I was confused by the asymmetry of the laundry detergent bottle and spilled detergent all over myself and the machine; fortunately, I had brought Arthur to the laundry room with me to help. However, as he was inserting quarters, he leaned on the machine and got detergent on his shorts. I said I'd throw them in with my wash, and he was approximately thisclose to just taking them off before he decided that, considering the fact that we were already chillling out alone in a windowless room, he'd be better off going upstairs. I hopped up after him so I could de-soap myself a bit, but realized I'd forgotten my purse, so he went back and got it, we went up the stairs (performing difficult door-holding maneuvers so I could get through without touching anything or anyone), and I cleaned my legs and arms off before realizing that, lo and behold, there were no towels in his bathroom. 'Twas fun.

Miles: Miles is Australia. Miles is awesome. Miles is dating Ava and they are the most cute-tastic couple ever. Miles also finds it entertaining when I repeat everything he says while trying to mimic his accent, and he sat around with me whenever I felt the need to bitch about my old mentorship. Miles also loves sailing, particularly catamarans, to which I said we should go get Nyx to take us in one of her wonderful free rentals, but then we realized that the fact that we're not allowed off campus may get in the way of that sort of thing.

That just about sums up the group of us that sits on the top of the spare bed in our counselor's room during bedcheck while Keyuri, the counselor in question, reads off anouncements. I will go through everyone else at a later time.

July 2, 2010

It has been eight days since I last posted

Whoops.

I suppose I could post retroactively, since blogger enables me to.

I went back to the last day that we had, and I can't remember much at all. I know that we had a speaker who'd gone to RSI, and I could share gossip about him, but, in the scheme of things, that's somewhat identifiable, which would be, overall, not good.

Ah, wait, it's beginning to come back to me. Last Thursday, the day before the day which I am going to put this post on, I got moved to a new mentorship, which is really, really unusual, and I'm not going to talk about it anymore for fear of stepping on virtual toes, which, to be perfectly honest, I've done quite a lot of already.

Anyways, I got moved over to nuclear engineering. Yes, that's right, nuclear engineering. Because, you know, electrical didn't sound quite imposing enough. Now, some of you might be aware of the fact that I know very little about nuclear energy. As in, most of what I learned about it I learned from a single information packet that I got during summer chemistry, long, long ago. Thus, I have spent a large percentage of the last few days (and all of both Thursday and 'today') reading an introductory textbook to nuclear energy.

While nuclear engineering is rather riveting, textbook reading is rather exhausting, so I didn't write very much, if at all, during that textbook period.

Weirdly, the spellcheck on this computer refuses to believe that didn't is a word. I am very, very confused.