Monthly Archives: August 2012

“I like watermelon knives.”

I met up with Christine L. today (it’s been a while!) just to catch up; I had a great time trying to stay awake after that in lecture (Physics 7A), in spite the engaging “shoot the monkey” demo. Professor Ramesh leaves us in a week to start an institute for sustainable energy in Singapore. Gosh.

English was actually a lot of fun except small-group discussion (I still think there’s a conspiracy of silence against me), when I was sorted into a group with two other guys and one girl. Nobody had a problem except that girl with me – she wouldn’t ever look me in the eye when she spoke, let alone when I tried to make a point.

Now that I think about it, that girl next to me in math lecture seemed like she hated me too. (“Is that the Math 53 textbook?” *reveals cover, grimaces, turns away* “Er. Okay.” Anni later commented: “You’re so unloveable!”) What is it? My deodorant? The fact that I don’t have deodorant? My sense of fashion? My want of sense of fashion, really? My face? …that’s just a low blow…

Other than that, I found English a surprisingly engaging class. Professor Acu leads well, and seems to know what he’s talking about (there’s rarely moments where he’s groping in the dark).

I’m BARELY starting to get used to Python. I know virtually nothing still. I’ll learn.

Finally got a chance to talk to the trio today after running into them at the rec room (“we’re spying on you”) – oodles of laughs and shenanigans with the watermelon knife in the common room. J. had fun playing Temple Run on my phone.

Today also marked the first time I was ever slapped by a girl (huehuehue). With a chopstick, no less (HUEHUEHUE). She popped back around the corner a few times just to menace me, and she finally whipped it at me but missed, hitting Saeam instead. My sentence, sans due process, was a slap across the face with the chopstick. I fell onto the couch and lay there, stunned.



Acne is the least of my worries

27 August 2012 (delayed posting since I didn’t  want to be clacking away at the keyboard late at night)

The usual blurbs:

I am so extremely lucky to be rooming with Michael. It’s hard to list out all the many things that he’s just so easygoing about; for the uptight me who happens to have a lot of bad habits, that’s a huge blessing.

I quite honestly don’t think that sleeping more will get rid of my acne, or that I even could sleep more than I do. Besides, getting rid of my acne probably won’t help on the social front – I’m PRETTY sure.

I listened into an in-depth lecture from Aneiss at dinner about the brilliance of Tolkien – not just the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but even more – I learned that he was a veteran and a linguist, for one! Aneiss also summarized the plot of an extremely depressing separate story by Tolkien; I agreed with him that it was one of the most saddening ever written.

I buzzed myself into Stern again and practiced some piano. (I’ve been playing “Le Cygne” a bit obsessively as of late; the madness hasn’t quite worn off.) I had just finished my arrangement for “My Neighbor Totoro” (piano part only, as recorded on the “Melodyphony” album with the LSO) when I heard someone clapping quietly from the couch. Turns out she saw my shirt from the back (AID Summer 2011 – the brilliant blue one) and come in just for that, since she had also been a participant in that year in Jia-yi. That was Anne, and she has yet to refresh her memory of “My Neighbor Totoro.”



In honor of our dearest RA Caroline, our suite held the first Banana-Groping Olympics today in the DC. Our judges: Natalie, Marco, and Alex. The contestants: Hoi, J39M. The spectators: Michael, Anita.

We devised a fifteen-point scoring scale: five points for time (the fastest finishes with five; every three extra seconds any other opponent takes is worth a one-point deduction), and ten points for form (averaged from the judges’ individual scores). The rules were to, upon signal, to grope and eject a half-banana (as chosen and agreed on by all contestants). Unfortunately, I finished behind Hoi and my banana was also a little rotten. My final score was 10 + 1/3; Hoi finished at somewhere around 13. We shook hands and she swung by my room later to give me some extra bananas she’d had (for practice). We related the events to Caroline afterwards and had a banana-snapping session (“HALL SPORTS!” we screamed).

I never knew musical involvement could be so useful for networking: I’ve met so many people thanks to piano shenanigans – Derrick (sp?), who plays high-precision ragtime at breakneck speed; Kunal, who could get a job at a piano bar (or any place that takes musicians, for that matter); Annie, who plays a mean, mean Chopin (my first impression of her was Etude op. 10 no. 4 in c-sharp minor. For the non-Chopin-inclined, it’s analogous to meeting a girl dressed in full-on dominatrix gear); Andrea, whose take on “La Campanella” takes my breath away (yes, she trumps even the great Jason H.); Allison, who really hates reading chords but is picking up a Brahms intermezzo full of them.

Michael just showed me maybe five different renditions of the “Family Mart Welcome” jingle and it’s now stuck firmly in my head.


Quick Guide to My Nonsense

It is easy to confuse similes, metaphors, and symbols in my writing with pure imagery. I have a naturally flowery writing style that (urk) brings out a lot of unnecessary elements of writing. My biggest fear is constraint – meaning that I lack conciseness.

For example, the last sentence of post 008 (which, by the way, is a projected allegory of my future) is not at all symbolic (though Ray W., for example, could be encouraged to read heavily into it). It simply implies that I wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered in a peaceful, slow-changing place. The diction is a bad habit; nothing more. A iron-fisted reign by silence is just my screwy brain trying to be original.

This is not limited to my posts categorized “nonsense” here, but also previous short stories I may have written in the past. The line between symbolism and simplicity is almost invisible.




He was not responsible for great things to the public. He, instead, fathered three adopted children. He gave them choices and opportunities – two of the most valuable things that parents can pass to their children. He gave them love, too; but he could not give them a mother.

No masses were written for his death. His funeral was small, thinly attended. His three children all gave speeches; they were some of the few saddened by his death – and the rest came for the cold food.

All that remained was a handsome picture of him, in a fake suit put on his front, posing for a high school graduation. His children, too, were part of what he left behind.

A poorly constructed vessel is broken easily. He put himself up to be passed and thrown around; they dropped him from time to time. Eventually he learned not to put himself up; but one day, in his old age, the cracks and webs caught up to him, and he broke.

His ashes were scattered atop a quiet hill that silence held in a steel fist.



Monday stalks closer

I still have problems. A few of them.

Open mic night today; we closed the show (besides the two RA’s singing “A Whole New World” a capella) with our amazing dance for an excerpt from “Gangnam Style.” Our RA loaned Marco and me both glittery, sequin-laden clothes (Marco a golden v-neck, and me a black jacket); I swapped my shades for Alex’s safety goggles, and so our strange menagerie got onstage down in Stern. Reception was greatly positive.

Our suite (with the exception of a few) then had a sort of musical soiree in the rec room with our dinky piano; we sang “My Heart Will Go On” and “When You Wish Upon a Star,” to name two. Michael did an amazing bass rendition of the latter. There was epic ping-pong afterwards.

Then we hung around inside the TV lounge until about three o’clock (we were joined by a security guard, a sophomore in nuclear engineering whose daily worries tend to include anxious students losing friends in frat houses) swapping stories, jokes, and playing hangman.

At one point, I went to get water from my room and returned to find that Marco and Michael had disappeared. The girls told me that they had gone to the bathroom; I checked sarcastically behind the nearest couch to make sure they weren’t hiding there, and they laughed nervously. Then Anita suggested that I hide Marco’s flip-flops, directing me to put them behind a certain cart in the room.

We continued hangman and I lounged leisurely on the couch, facing the chalkboard. I did not notice Hoi giggling every so often. But when it suddenly occurred to me to me to turn around, I fell off the couch – a truck piled high with plastic objects had suddenly come extremely close to me. I took a few moments to process that something inanimate had creepily approached me before I realized that the game was up; Michael poked his head out from behind a couch and Marco appeared from behind the cart. Anita was surprised that I hadn’t noticed that Marco went to the bathroom without his shoes. Marco was surprised that I didn’t hear him moving around.

I met the quartet briefly this morning and reflected on how I ought to be more honest with myself.

Oh God. Now I’m worried all over again. I’ll sleep on it and try again later.

Stay loose. Stay loose. Stay loose.