Sometimes, I post

11 07 2005

Okay so basically, this is going to be an infinitely long post (Part One)

Let’s begin where we left off. I took the SAT that fateful weekend and came to terms with my enemy. Four short weeks later, I had the results online:
800 – Math
800 – Reading
610 – Writing
I, to say the least, was floored. First of all, this isn’t what anyone predicted. Even me, because I (apparently alone in this idea) predicted differently; I had expected a better writing score, a worse reading score. I never expected to pull off more than one 800. Is it just me, or does anyone else find it convenient that MIT ignores the Writing score?

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand is officially the best book ever written. Though I don’t even compare to my girlfriend’s rapid reading pace (haha see now I’ve got you interested … anyways I will continue), I am reading it slow even for me. However, it is an exhilarating read. Howard Roark’s objectivist philosophy is difficult to argue against, especially by all means, it is a philosophy I was headed towards anyways. But, upon reading this novel, I question the validity of playing the game of life so individualistically, so powerfully, almost arrogantly. But not arrogantly. Part of the grand misconception of Ayn Rand is that many consider it to be arrogant to praise the ego, when in fact, it is because they cannot in any other way debase the grandeur of her philosophy. Is caring about oneself necessarily evil? No. Is man’s triumph created by the strong individuals? Yes. But we must keep in mind that Ayn Rand’s philosophy only holds if the masses do not adopt it. If all were to be objectivists, libertarian anarchy (anarchy in the true sense of the word – meaning “without government”) would ensue. Not to mention it is a great book on modern architecture. Strata Building here I come.

Got grades. Was happy. Found out via phone before mailed. Via Mr. Allen. Minimal net change to GPA. Hurt chances for valedictorian. Cannot make sentences.

SMESblog lives. Check out http://www.smesblog.com/

HARVARD.

As quickly as I just changed the course of this post, I changed the course of my summer. Within 24 hours I decided to make an effort to enroll in a summer program at college. My first choice, Brown, failed due to a technicality. They didn’t have the course I wanted (Intro to Computer Science Using Java). Therefore I looked to another option – one that I had long ruled out because of hyper-excessive costs, one that seemed to be extremely fun, but not work intensive, one that just happened to be in my favorite city.

Harvard. And, in less time than it takes to cram for a chemistry final, I had my application online (since the fax failed three times) and Mr. Cullinan and Mr. Allen were able to rush their recommendations in. So by 2:00 P.M. on Friday I was accepted and enrolled and booking a JetBlue flight across the country. Alone, that was the one word that couldn’t escape my mind before I left. I was going to spend the next few days disoriented and lost. But determined. So after saying my goodbyes at 11:30 PM at my grandparent’s house I drove back over to home and finished packing by 12:15 or so and then proceeded to NOT sleep for the allotted 4 hours; instead I spent my time talking to an interested Harvardite, Varly. After discussing the finer points of how Harvard looks like Hogwarts, my dad woke up at about 3:15 AM and, as I sat faking a morning waking stretch, my dad asks “why did you not sleep tonight?”

By 5:30 AM I was in Long Beach, ticket in hand, determined. Never before was I so ready to do something, to change things, to make something happen. In my head I had “California” by Phantom Planet which indeed is the theme song for the show the O.C. in my head:
“California, here we come,
Right back where we started from,
California…”
Ironically, California goodbye would have been much more appropriate.

The OC Misses You

In the fading darkness before dawn lets,
I heard it somewhere we prayed,
The sound that simply rolled away,
The story just turned a page,
And all I heard was the roaring of the jets,

Capistrano sands wash away,
Laguna shops again today,

Spectrum days take me home,
Guide the ships into the ports,
Take the drunken dreamers safe again,
Make them relive the lives again,
And again … and again,
But this time I looked away,
And all I heard was a broken alleluia.

Capistrano sands wash away,
Laguna shops again today.

So I flew to Boston, MA. Seated next to me was a seventh grader who also happened to be flying alone. Who happened to be from a school in Orange County. Which happened to be St. Margaret’s. I like really cool coincidences like that. Anyways after a relatively uneventful flight (okay if you must know I ate Oreos and drank Coke and slept and watched TV and listened to Postal Service), I proceeded to pick up my luggage and hail a taxi driver. I got in and I arrived quickly, but at a high price. $24.50 or something! Anyways I handed him a nice tip because I felt embarrassed for not being able to say more than “uh huh” and “yeah” because of an impossibly heavy Boston accent. I was there at 51 Brattle St by four in the afternoon. I had made it. There was no turning back. I was at Harvard. My life would not, could not be the same after I walked forward boldly pursuing my future, whatever that may be.

I entered 51 Brattle Street, paid and left. No eyebrows were raised too high about my late entry. I was relieved for the moment, willing to believe that everything would be processed cleanly.

Next stop was the Gutman Conference Center where I spent two hours processing my application, applying for housing, going through the ID card registration issues, talking with Ms. Pandey (who by the way is the sweetest, most kindred soul ever to be found on the crimson campus), and in general wading through the muddy waters of paperwork and bureaucracy. Inside, upon getting my computer information papers, I met a girl named Maddy. This will absolutely confuse the readers, but let me clarify as much as possible now. This is a different Maddy than the one I am going out with. Okay I’ve said it. Anyways, this Maddy and I chatted (she’s from LA) and we discussed stuff like ID card issues and weather and the like and traded cell numbers, etc. I then bumbled my way over past Church St. and into my dorm Straus.

I quickly dumped my luggage off and rushed over to Annenberg Hall for dinner. Wow. In case you haven’t been to Annenberg, you have to first consider that it houses the largest secular collection of stained glass windows in the world. It is cathedral style, but with a castle-esque air of grandeur. Annenberg is simply stunning in the way that it just paints Harry Potter out in front of your eyes. I picked up some nice food including a Salisbury steak and a starchy baked potato and quickly made the false assumption that the food here is tremendous, when in fact, that night has been the exception to a justly held diametrically opposite law of cafeteria food.

Soon I met Francesca from Honduras who takes IB classes and seems extremely motivated not to mention completely fluent in both English and Spanish. She came to Harvard to study Putin and the developments of post-Cold War Russia. Focused.

I went with Francesca at the Science Center to see Legally Blonde, which of course is thematically Harvard and therefore justified to be the feature film of the evening. Later we met up again to see Good Will Hunting. This time however, we added two new friends to the group whose names have been changed for their protection: Emily and Adriano. After leaving the movie early (at about the part where Robin Williams is assigned to Matt Damon), we ended up going for a walk. Apparently Emily and Francesca know their way around. Eventually I found out that they had both gone here at Harvard last year as summer school students. After getting some ice cream and shopping a little, we went to a park to sit and talk. Or smoke. Adriano, being Italian, was allowed to smoke and drink since he was like 13 or something. So Emily and Adriano promptly light up and Francesca and I stay addiction / bad breath free. Next, we walked the two miles back to and across the Harvard campus to Emily’s dorm. After a half-hearted attempt to play spin-the-bottle, Francesca and I left (Adriano and Emily lived in the same dorm complex). As we walked back I discussed my Harvard philosophy: Don’t drink. Don’t do drugs. Don’t have sex. I realized that even among some of the brighter students out there, under the strictest rules (being caught with a drunk person and not necessarily being intoxicated yourself is grounds for expulsion), people like Emily will go clubbing, as she had last year, and most likely will this year. I may not be able to stop it, but I can promise to myself I won’t get into that kind of stuff.

It was a long, long first day.

Okay you missed out on the last two weeks.

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Can you tell that I don’t like my classmates in Philosophy? Mmm … at least we have an excellent teacher and interesting guest lecturers.

On Philosophy
/* wrote this while irritated by annoying comments */

Maybe we’re all conscious,
Wouldn’t it be nice?
Maybe each mind is priceless,
But just tell me if the price is right.

So if the Truman Show can ‘blow your mind’,
Is your mind alright?
Or are we all just zombies,
Looking to see the light.


Those obviously aren’t real beer bottles. The large one was an empty one from when we went to John Harvard’s Brewery for lunch one afternoon and the two Corona bottles (which are, in fact, salt and pepper shakers) are from a smaller bar (Charlie’s Kitchen) which is famous for its uber-satisfying double cheeseburgers.

I’m good friends with everyone in my dorm and many people that I have met know my name (just sometimes I forget theirs). I mean come on if the one girls dorm room in our section of the dorm considers me to be the 5th roommate, am I not a good friend to all?

Being on my own isn’t that new of a feeling anymore. I was fairly comfortable with the proposition and now that I’m here I realized that I am indeed fine with it. I relish in the triumph of moderation in the face of absolute freedom.

… a sampling of my friends from Straus B …

– David – From Hershey, PA. That one city with you guessed it … the Hershey’s chocolate factory. So, as we draw ever closer to the unveiling of the new Willy Wonka, the question becomes when will we start making jokes at him?
– Luis – Peruvian from Alabama where apparently everyone can quote Forrest Gump at will. Hilarious guy who can quote The Emperor’s New Groove as well as yours truly. Very intelligent Philosophy class remarks.
– Neehar – Indian from Indiana goes to Catholic school + is funny, sarcastic, and liberal (!)
– Charly – From Santa Barbara and is very, very cool; just a nice guy – very free spirited (as seen by the Backstreet Boys interpretive dancing on the videos). On a question about Neverland Ranch, Charly jokingly walked away stamping his feet faking a cry about how he didn’t want to remember that. Glad I don’t live near Santa Barbara or else I would be sharing in the Michael Jackson jokes.
– Lauren – Charly’s interpretive dance partner. Very funny and very cool. Always blatantly herself as her screen name tends to imply. Began the entire frenzy of using the phrase “bitch, please” (said like “as if”)
– Lisa Dutton – Ohio; very sweet and funny. Likes to punch me hard; though initially I didn’t hit back, she asked so I did (don’t worry I still held back a little … I used my left arm even). Odd affinity for classic films like Chinatown and other strange old movies.
– Hannah – Sports. If there’s one word to describe her it is competitive sports. From her salad eating habits to her everyday jogs, she is an athlete.
– Hollen Slaughter (actual roommate)- Interesting guy 800, 800, 710 SAT (R,M,W) and 5’s on all APs except for Spanish (4). Very studious when he needs to be and parties the rest of the time but with Straus A (not B). Straus A was labeled Slytherin (the evil dorm in Harry Potter series) by, unfortunately, me.
– Rusty (other actual roommate) also spends 95 % of his time at Straus A. Attempting to merge both sides into a group. Overall very funny but a little over the top. Interesting reading selections and interesting questioning style. Example conversation with my friend Varly:
*I whisper to Rusty as I pass my cell phone to be careful because she is fairly religious*
– immediately –
Rusty: “Would you be offended if I wore a shirt that said “I screwed the Virgin Mary and have the word virgin with a line through it?”
– later –
R: “What is your favorite thing about California?”
Varly: “the beach”
R: “So if you could put the beach anywhere, where would you put it?”
V: “In California”
R: “Okay excluding California”
V: “I don’t know. … Tennessee?”
– later still –
R: Have you ever become intoxicated to the extent that which you never mind … Have you ever been drunk?
– immediately following –
R: “Have you done narcotics?”

I swear it was the most hilarious one-sided interrogation I’ve listened to in a while.

* By the way after I got my prescription filled I returned to the Philosophy class where Luis and a few other kids were having a small private discussion with the professor and the guest lecturer Eli. Infinitely better conversation.

Assorted Poetry:

Saving Love

Juliet, this is a confusing play,
Art of charcoal and not of clay,
Torn paper hearts,
Life without central code,
Love has no Rosetta stone,
Two days ago we walked alone,
Two nights ago you drove me home,
I saw the shape of my soul,
Incandescent charm from coal,
And as we burn,
And as we light on,
And as we live,
Others die alone.

Delayed Departure

I live so far away,
Never to be seen again,
Floating spirit from the past,
Wondering where I need to be,
Raining city of brick,
Wearing down all of this,
And I can see the jet taking off …
But everything isn’t, isn’t lost …
And I am …
Kissing her now,
Seeing her now,
With her now,

And they can take me home,
But that’s never where I’ll be,
They can make me run, run,
From my mirror image me,
Goodbye Garden girl,
Kiss me so I can see.

The dreams I have,
Make the Golden state shine,
Photographs take me back,
Paint the prelude to sadness,
Wondering where I should be,
In this cold, starless city,
And I can remember the jet landing,
I still remember how I cried,
But it’s barely starting,
And I am …
Holding her close,
Keeping her hope,
Departing for snow.

And they can take me home,
But that’s never where I’ll be,
They can make me run, run,
From my mirror image me,
Goodbye Garden girl,
Kiss me so I can see.

Goodbye Garden girl,
Kiss me now, set me free.

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