Where are they now: I am now in my 19th year of school. Straight. Only summer breaks in between. Kindergaren. K-12. 4 years of college. 1 year of grad school. Now working on year two. Two of those years spent in Europe...not a vacation, but at least a break from the ordinary.
What happened to everybody? Randon question, but this is my page of random thoughts. Life goes on, and of the thousands—more than that—of people I have bumped shoulders with, of the people with whom I’ve shared classes, those that were friends, etc.: where are they now? Every day I deal with people in classes, in the office, in the halls, on the street. I talk to some, interact with them. Others I just pass on by. There are 6 billion people in the world, and you can hardly ever encounter a sizable fraction of them in a lifetime. Of those you do, most are just sloughed off like dead skin and left behind. With a few, you stay close. A select group has been in your—in my life, actually—for the whole ride, family generally. Sometimes even they are gone. You pick up new people along the way, forget the old ones, or least put them away like old clothes at the bottom of a dresser.
Pomona College. Population about 1500–1600 I think, with about 1400 of those being students. I keep in contact with about 4 people from that school. Add a fifth here and there for good measure. 5 is a nice, prime number, but I digress. Five of 1500 or so. Of the 1400 students, I knew a good percentage—lower than 50% though I would recognize at least 50% even if I didn’t know their names—, probably several hundred. Not bad. But my college experience has been distilled, and for better or for worse, only 4-5 people remain. The others are essentially lost.
What about Europe? Sure, Bernd could be an ass, but still, a nice enough guy. Andy and the other BCAers. Lars. Mike (or did he spell it Maik like most Germans?). The Brits. Christine, the Korean girl in my hall whom I ran into in Lausanne. Chris Moss and my other teachers and the other students. Even that dipp from Pennsylvania (Buggy or however he spelled his name), and let’s not forget Nathan, Roland, and the rest of their family. All gone. Perhaps it’s better so. Or, Shami in Budapest. Jenna in Salzburg, then in Budapest. The American bikers in Romania (later, Budapest); the Italians (Budapest); Elisa (Rome); the Romanians; the old Slovenian woman who only knew Slovenian and Hungarian (my longest—30+ minutes!—conversation in Hungarian); the American students with whom (and for whom) I took photos in Florence; the Brits and others in Romania; the Pakistani engineer in Albania; various Hungarians in Budapest (at the institute, such as Gabor and Orszy) and elsewhere; the tourists in Vienna; the other travelers in Salzburg; and the list goes on and on. That’s leaving out old friends in Germany such as the Horns, Jessica, Adrian, the Brandaus (Christoff, Frau and Doctor Brandau, Heidi, etc.), Herr Goehler, and others. Oh...and all the exchange students from my first year—Eric, Mike, Heidi, Natalie, Angela, Tony, Greg (fellow Idahoan), Dan, Anne, Jane, “Wood,” Dirk, Kate, and Chip, just to name a few.
High school is even worse—at least I kept in touch with Dan Vine for several years, and I saw the Horns, Brandaus, Jessica and Adrian (and the Gau) when I returned in ’95. I e-mailed Jennifer R. for several years, but we lost touch senior year of collge. Same with David, although our correspondence was less regular. Katie was up at Scripps, so I saw her a few times. Dayn: one e-mail from Dave’s account, and haven’t heard from him since. Is he still in the Air Force or whereever it was that he went? What about the other valedictorians? What are they doing? Being paid 6–figures? 5? Unemployed? Still in school, out of school, never went on, dropped out, married, have kids, alive? I have no clue. I assume Katie Jolly finished U of I, as did Stephanie Johnson, and maybe Janica too. Rader? His page is still up but doesn’t tell me much. David and Daniel: pages haven’t changed. Chris: page gone. Ericca Long? Lisa Lance, Lesah Mittleider, Nani, Kurt (I know the last two graduated from Albertson College), or Leif, Tami Steinbroner (long-term neighbor, never to be heard from again)? Then there are just people like Dustin Memmot—in jail yet? The cheerleaders? Or someone like Neva, ever to be remembered as Nancy in Oliver! or John Vance as Fagin. Dayn as Bill Sykes, David as Mr. Brownlowe. Jeff Pankratz: I guess he survived his cancer treatment. The underclassmen: some are done with college now. 2400 students in all, or more. I look through the yearbook and see faces. I recognize names; some are people I know (Jessica Shrug, Reida and Carissa spring to mind, as do Steven Harms and Raymond Wurst). Or those from French and German camps—Judy Hay for example, or the German students. Or Tessa from French camp, or even the rather strongly Christian couple running the camp (boys in this building, girls in that building, and no going in the wrong building). Walks along the still-frozen lake in early spring—absolutely gorgeous late-winter mornings in central Idaho. Or, on the darker side. Mr. Conroy once mentioned Lake Hazel Middle School (LHMS) was known not just for the number of National Merit Scholars it produced, but also for the number of people on Idaho’s death row who had gone there. We thought it a joke; maybe he was serious. But what about Ean Barnett, involved in a 1st degree murder, Christian cult/gang case? He was surely not the only one.
Going back to Middle School: Heidi Korda and her at one-time pregnant younger sister Amber come to mind (Heidi had the locker just above mine, and always had her annoying friends gathered there—it was pain in the ass to get books for class). As to the teachers and such, and the mental cases, such as the one, unstable kid (one year older) who Mr. Harris (school pyschologist) had me keep an eye on for his (the kid’s) sake—all he wanted to talk about was Dungeons and Dragons, and the nearly impossible levels he’d created. Or, P.E. in the 8th grade: except for P.E., I loved all of middle and high school (I liked drama, just not the grade I got).
Moving now to elementary school. The Preeces—whatever became of them? So much potential in such a closed and hard family. The Jarvis’. Sancha Gilbert and basketball. Calling Mrs. Dodd a bitch in the 2nd grade. Tetherball championships and Mr. Anderson (may he forever rot in hell, though I’ve forgiven him by now). Mr. Keogh and GT (Anna Best, Clark Ricks, Nickie Smith, Dayn Slaathaug, Doug Martin, Nancy Marshall, even Louis Gilbert). Spelling bees and Chad Vauce and Anna Golightly. Stacy King, my 3rd grade nemesis (unless that would be Katie Jolley). Or Tina Crampton. Or Kristie who had Leukemia. Or the girl who was missing fingers. The Canton sisters, Rachel Hawthorne, Andrea (was the last name Jenkins?), the Smiths, and others. Even Greg Trosper and Joshua Scott—both of whom I’m sure have come to bad ends by now.
That’s not including my days before school, before my path to academia. Sheep and rabbits and cows. Cats and dogs. All gone: none from those early years are still around. Neighbors like Neil, who died of a brain tumor. Pat—of a heart attack years later. The Welches and the Welsches. Mike the next-door neighbor. The Rockwells who disappeared for years after moving (whatever became of Stephen and Andrea? Ericca showed up in my freshman Spanish class with Mr. Totorica). The Todds and yet another Heide. Or back in Pendleton, before moving to Idaho; I only knew two other kids there: Julie (neighbor) and the daughter of my sometimes-babysitter. And I can’t remember her name now, but I could just a few years ago. Her face and that of her mother is gone. As is Julie’s for the most part. But experiences: certain images burned into some sort of permanent record are still there. Other neighbors. 70s clothing. My first swimming lessons. The barber. Nice friends of the family. It’s a rich landscape, still perfectly described and waiting for me, but completely meaningless to anyone but me. Grandma Krause: I remember her old house in Nampa. The day Frosty died. McDonalds and K-Mart (both had been recently built at the time). Safeway. The first couple X-mases and birthdays. My first trip to the ocean at age two and running into the water, away from my parents, and being overpowered by a wave.
I’m not yet 24. I can’t remember it all; for some of it, I have pictures. They help to strengthen the memories, but they also corrupt. As for people, most are gone. The ones mentioned don’t even cover all the important ones—the ones I remember. Many more have simply faded away, sometimes without my knowing about it, sometimes I can feel the gap in my knowledge. Sometimes, like tonight/this morning, I go back to a picture, or a yearbook, and I start thinking yeah, I remember him/her.... I wonder if/when I’ll ever run into these people again. A reunion? What about online? Or even just around somewhere—coincidences happen, such as Christine in Lausanne (or Andy and Ashley in Paris, or me and Austin as neighbors). But such things are rare, and so I just have to continue applying white-out to the list of people I’ve known...filing them away when they leave my life, or when I leave theirs.
—September 30, 1998
Rolling, rolling, rolling: Keeps those doggies rolling, rawhide. Actually, I wanted to do something with “Bowling, bowling, bowling...” but I couldn’t put together a good rhyme. In any case, today’s random thought is dedicated to bowling.
I love bowling. I like a good sweaty game of soccer more, mind you. Or an afternoon of volleyball. Especially when/if I’m in shape (oh the lost days of my youth), but I’m digressing again, as usual. First a negative comment or two about bowling, however. I’m mostly left-handed, and I bowl left-handed. However, there are very few left-handed balls availabe at bowling alleys, and those available never fit my hand. Neither do the right-handed ones, but they are better. My ball is back home in Idaho and needs to be re-drilled. The result: I always go home with extreme pain in my fingers after a night of bowling, plus, it is nearly impossible for me to get a good ’release’ when bowling due to the poor fit. Answer to my problem: I need to get a new ball. Also, since I bowl so rarely, my left arm usually ends up rather sore by the end of the night. Nonetheless, I love bowling—bowling with others, the ‘team spirit,’ the feeling of a well-released ball, the sound of pins flying.
Got picked up after 8:30. Got there before 9. We newcomers got another lane, added Meredith (4 total) and began bowling. Not a great game. Just a warm-up, though. Bowled 89 and had a chance to break a hundred, but couldn’t knock down any strikes or spares in the late frames. I also just missed making the 7-6 split: got the 6 (came from the left, and hit it on the right), and bounced it across to the 7, just touching it, but not knocking it down. So close, yet so far. High point of the game came from Meredith, however, who is not an experienced bowler. She brought back her arm (with the ball), and dropped the ball: she sort of flung it behind her, actually, but due to its spin, it gained forward momentum, and found the gutter rather quickly. Jürgen showed up, and for the next game(s), we realigned our teams.
Jürgen, too, is not an experinced bowler. His (at times effective) method/style is to walk up, stand there, and swing his arm, gaining momentum, finally releasing the ball. He has the greatest back-swing I’ve seen ... ever, and occasionally it had grand results, such as a few gorgeous strikes. Other times, the ball found the gutter, and a few times, Jürgen found the floor. My own second game was my best of the night, and my best game in several years. 147. It started slowly, a few marks here and there (spares, mostly). By the 8th frame, I was over 100, the first time in a long time, and although I had no marks in the 10th frame, I still pulled out the high score of the night. I was a rather happy camper by that time. I’m sure the Corona helped (the idiocy of the people working at the bowling alley, and their lack of knowledge regarding what beers they were carrying, is another topic all together). A further fun point was with regard to one of my better balls: hard and down the middle. Took down 8, hit the head-pin head on, and left the 5 and 8 standing. I also bounced a pin off the back and brought it several feet out onto the lane, and had to go get a guy to manually clear the lane.
Joe and Meredith left, and Kristin decided not to bowl, so the remaining 8 of us started a new game. I started rather well: spare, a strike, another spare. However, things quickly went downhill. Open frame after open frame. What sucked was that I kept getting 8 or 9 pins and was stuck with tough spares... and a few easy spares, such as the 7, which I just can’t hit. Mike started slowly, but came from behind to end with 102. Diana was steady, and as I started to miss spares, she started marking, and also finished with 102. I marked in the 9th, but not the tenth, to get a 107.
Kristin and Mark (or is it Marc?) left, so we were down to 7 bowlers. It started out really badly. Got one pin on my first ball. Had six total for the frame. 10 by the 2nd. 15 by the 3rd. Looking pretty bad. Strike, and then 8 in the 5th. Got me back into it, although I was still behind Mike and Diana (Mike had the best game that round). I was tired, and the ball was a bit slick. I couldn’t get a good hold on it for my backswing, and ended up forcing a number of balls, sending a few into the gutters. Missed all my spares. Left sleepers standing. Elizabeth ended with around 100, I think. Mike got 145. Diana pulled out an even 100. Finally, I started marking in the final frames. I calmed down and just follewed through, shaking hands with the pins. Marked in the 9th (spare), going into the 10th with 71 back in the 8th. I needed to mark in the 10th to make/break 100 (9 would get me 99). Strike. Strike. 8. Almost got the turkey (but would have only added 2 pins), and ended with 119. I wish I’d struck out in the 10th, but I’ll live with it.
Not great scores by any means. The 147 was the best I’d seen since August of 1993, when I bowled a 177 in Orange County. Since then, I’ve gone downhill (worst being 24, 45, 118 in December of ’96 when I had the flu. Lesson learned: don’t bowl when you have the flu, or else Steve Miller will take a heinous photo of you), and since being in Madison, things haven’t really improved much. In Ohio I bowled like shit. Most nights here I bowl either one decent above-100 game, or have several good stretches (either approaching a turkey or double turkey, for example) among several games, but still score only in the 100 range. Except for a mediocre first game, some empty stretches in the others, and the bad beginning to the last game (which was mostly due to my arm being tired and the ball being slick), I managed to control things pretty well tonight. When I didn’t force the ball—trying to guide it—I threw mostly straight and on-target (preferably just to the side of the head pin), and sometimes I even got enough backswing and power to send the pins flying. If I can continue this way, I may even eventually get my average back up.
—October 3, 1998
We’re all one big happy family here, no?: So said the person fulfilling my order at McDonalds in response to a dialog between two co-workers. By no means the world’s greatest social watering-hole, McDonalds nonetheless offers an interesting opportunity for people-watching—definitely one of the world’s oldest spectator sports. Bums and academics, students, normal workers, kids, and retired people all walk in, buy fast “food,” and walk out again. Blonde teens with long hair, braces, and too much make-up. German tourists (with hairy legs). People with Downe’s Syndrome. Busniess people in for a quick lunch. I look at peoples’ shoes sometimes. Are the laces tied? Boots? Women who look about 2–3 inches taller than they actually are due to huge pumps. Homeless people, such as the one today who showed me an ID card, stated it was his birthday, and asked for some money.
Italian cities are some of the best places to just watch people. Watch them walk by. Watch them interact. Florence, for example: just sitting on the steps of a church is a good option. Venice, too, provides similar opportunities, and its tiny, narrow streets, grand monuments, and decadent atmosphere merely adds to the pleasure of observing one’s fellow (wo)man. Paris was a wonderful place to watch others. Museums, of course, are prime territory, as are other monuments and gathering places.
I am also fond of simply staking out a position and relaxing. For example: Trieste. In the upper part of the town (near the old Basilica di San Giusto) I found a cat. It avoided me at first, and I went on to visit the Basilica, where I managed to find around 10 more cats. The church itself was closed, as were some other areas (it was February, and restoration work was being done). I decided to return to town, and in front of another church, near some steps, I was again distracted by that damn cat. Over a matter of minutes, that cat warmed to me, and I ended up spending the next hour petting the cat. Very relaxing activity. Several people walked by, saw me with the cat, paused, and smiled. Similarly, in both Transylvania and Budapest, I found it nice to just find an outdoor restaurant or cafe, sit around, and watch the world go by. The castle district in Budapest was particularly good for this, expecially on the eastern edge, overlooking the Danube. Or, going up with friends and a guitar on an autumn evening. The view could be wonderful, and the environment was simply fun. Budapest had a definite sense of “place” (however that should be described).
—October 6, 1998
It’s a wonderful...: Indeed, it has been a very good past 24-hours. It probably started yesterday evening when I returned home from classes. Not that yesterday wasn’t a good day. It was fine. However, things got better (of course, that doesn’t mean much, except to me). I decided to clean my apartment. No mean feat. Since moving in back on August 1st, I haven’t actually cleaned my little room. Worse than that, I never got around to completely unpacking and organizing things. For example, my books are still stacked up, rather than lined up nicely on shelves. I had blankets just sitting around on the floor. And so on. Near the window I had stacked up computer books, documentation, and software, as well as random papers and such from school. A complete mess.
So I started by putting away my clean clothes, washing the bathroom sink, cleaning the fridge and microwave and by finally unpacking a few miscellaneous objects. Next came my cassettes, CDs, and junk on the floor. Finally, I reorganized a few things and cleaned off a few shelves (where books will eventually go). Not much to be proud of, but a satisfying and relaxing enterprise, all told.
In the process I found some objects from my last trip to Europe. Furthermore, I got to take a look at my passport—I can finally read the Croatian text on my Croatian visa. On the otherhand I can’t read the Hungarian texts very well anymore. I really need to get back to working on my Hungarian, Spanish and French skills—they’ve all gone down-hill. I also found the two silver rings I bought in Albania (for around $.50 total or so, I think). I found it interesting to come across them because we’d been talking about similar objects and such in Croatian a day before.
Finally, I found Eric’s essay “Is Literature Self-Referential?” (or something like that) and read it again. It just made my day—after a week of post-modernism/structuralism, it’s nice to read a logically concise, stylisticaly effective and clear, and simply intelligent article. The article puts things back in perspective and lifted my spirits. On top of that, I put on the Bach keyboard concertos CD and my Bach violin concertos CD before heading off to bed—the d minor concertos (keyboard and violin) served to cement my good mood. I find both to be intellectually as well as emotionally stimulating pieces.
Today went well, too. In particular I got a—temporary—high score on Tetris (no longer the South Park version, with new high scores being established on the new version of Tetris Max). Plus Diana cleared the screen—nice 10,000 point bonus. There was still Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte left over from yesterday, and I managed a piece ... okay, two. I found out that Sara Young had been a Rotary exchangee in Celle—rather cool news. In addition I got to listen to the 1st Brahms piano concerto (d minor) for a while—The Kempff performance is astounding, not for the technical superiority of the recording (it’s in mono) or for the perfect balance of orchestra and piano (it’s okay, but sometimes the piano seems to be struggling against an overwhelming orchestral force), but instead it’s Kempff’s introduction of the piano (about 3 and 1/2 mintues in) that does it for me. His approach is controlled but not tense. The notes fly by as if on butterfly wings, and he manages to produce great sound without “striking” the keys at all—definitely a performance I would have actually loved to watch. Kempff is also among my favorite interpreters of Beethoven’s sonatas—he makes listening to Beethoven an infinitely intimate experience. All in all, a good 24 hours.
—October 9, 1998
ICQ: It’s not often that I get ICQ chat requests like the following:
With all due respect to “Donna” ... No. I have nothing against busty, pasty, older Brits. Honest. Some of my best friends are Brits (okay, they aren’t my “best friends” ... but still). It’s just that, well, I have no interest in cybering with women almost old enough to be my mother. Furthermore, I sincerely doubt the sincerity of many people I meet online (with regard to age, gender, name, location, etc.). ICQ attracts its share of “1u2erZ”.
I have met my share of less-than-exciting people online. Foremost among them is Ted. I don’t know much about Ted except that Ted, supposedly and most likely male, is in Peru and is completely unable to carry on a conversation. He sent a message. Okay. I responded. Another—lame questions, one-word responses, etc. I “hung up” on Ted. It was a completely pointless exchange. I enjoy meeting new people online—if I didn’t, I doubt I would have gotten ICQ in the first place. Or opened myself up for Random Chats, etc. Still, you would assume (I did) that the people online contacting you would have something to say.
Indeed, I have had some interesting conversations. There was the guy in England who needed help with his screen-savers. Turned out he worked for the London Underground on the new Jubilee Line—interesting conversation. Or, the somewhat dissatisfied British model-turned-nanny who liked vacationing in Spain. Or Jazmine from Australia (college student, model, outspoken person on ICQ...). p.w. from Taiwan doesn’t qualify as highly interesting. Ditto for Jenny from Alberta, Canada. Mélanie from Montreal is an enjoyable chat partner. A French speaker—so there seemed to be a few language hurdles, but fine overall. Curiously, I end up chatting with quite a few Brits and Canadians online. The girl from Israel with whom I chatted yesterday was interesting; she, however, had little time for chatting, as she was leaving on a trip to Poland in the morning (Warsaw and Krakov)—school trip. Susan Carter asked if I was interested in trying a new screen-saver she’d made. My thoughts—not bloody likely!—given the number of Trojan horses and such online. I practice safe disk-swapping and downloading. “danae,” from Ohio, while not terribly interesting, was at least able to carry on a conversation. However, we had little in common—poor, unemployed older women and grad students on fellowship aren’t necessarily natural conversation partners. Mikki from New York had the following response to finding out I’m a grad student: “wow!!!! I actually found an intelligent man on here!!! hehehehe [...]” Evidently she is/was dissatisfied with the general level of ICQ chats (and/or the level of the chatters). Little did she know that ‘intelligence’ and being a grad student have little in common. Luís from Brazil is an illustrator for school books—again, interesting. Likes calling me “my Friend.”
All told, ICQ is a fine environment. As I’ve gathered, I should just be happy about not being female (generally, younger) and on ICQ, considering the number of rather obnoxious men who find their way online. On the other hand, the flipside is that although I get very few annoying messages, I also get very few messages in general.
—October 11, 1998
Books, books, books: I moved into this apartment August 1, 1998. Over two months ago. And yet, until last week, I had not really organized things in my apartment. That is, there were bags of clothes on the floor, piles of papers near the window, and boxes all over the place. A complete and utter mess. Then, one evening—while avoiding work—I cleaned my apartment. The recovered floor-space was amazing and extensive. I could have almost hosted a party in this place, so much space was there. And yet, I had not—at that point—gotten around to organizing my books.
I decided to stack my books on the shelves this afternoon/evening. I had already dedicated one shelf to the books I have checked out from Memorial Library—about 38 books at this time. Above those, I put my speakers (moving them down a shelf) and my sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks. Then, on the top shelf I placed my math books, history books, and numerous miscellaneous texts. Then, above my desk I also organized two of the shelves. The first is reserved for my comuter speakers, CD-ROMS, and reference books. Above that I’ve placed some computer texts and my miscellaneous English-language fiction. The top shelf is still sort of a mess - music sheet-music, old notes, my phone book, etc.
Finally I turned my attention to my German texts (and other foreign language materials). My count: 77 little Reclam volumes. That’s a lot of tiny yellow books. Around 15 books from Fischer, as well as that many from Suhrkamp and quite a few from dtv. Then that many again from miscellaneous publishers, including some German literature in English translation.
Further comments on ICQ. Conversations have been improving recently. Newly added to my contact list are people from Switzleand (plast), LA, Maryland, Mankato, and Australia, as well as Tom. Luís found me again . I’m up to 13 people on my contact list. I’m still amazed at the number of Canadians on ICQ. I almost have had enough questions from people that I can perhaps change my RAQ to a FAQ.
On another note, while writing this little passage, I was suddenly reminded of a few of my favorite stores in the greater Boise area. One is—was—Scientific Wizardry. Microscopes, rockets, Capsela, Legos, and those semi-flimsy little wooden models of dinosaurs. Oh what fun. Located on Fairview Ave., they later moved down the road a mile or so. I remember spending time in there on Saturdays with my dad, ooh-ing and awe-ing over everything. So taken was I by the things there, that my dad got me a microscope from there for my 10th birthday. I still have that microscope some where at home in Idaho. I do not remember the name of other store (I’m sure I’ll remember it later), but I liked it just as much if not more. Back in the 80s the 8th Street Marketplace was still going strong. Its later demise (late 80s, 90s) had not yet approached, and every so often our family drove downtown to have dinner there and shop a bit. This was back before the Connector, Boise Towne Square, and the widening of I-84. Café Ole had a dark and mysterious restaurant and cantina on the bottome level, and just down the hall from it was that special little store. It stocked puzzles and toys, models and books, Rubix cubes and the sort, arts and crafts for kids, gyroscopes, etc. It wasn’t a large store by any means, but the store, and the whole 8th Street Marketplace in general, had a cozy and yet classy atmosphere. I like Boise Towne Square. I enjoy Karcher Mall. But some smaller, more intimate, less mass-market, shopping-center is highly appealing to me, and was then. In Meridian, where El Zocalos is located, there is something similar, but smaller—really just a psychologist (maybe not anymore, but that is where Mr. Sikes had his office), some lawyers (Allen Lance had his office there before he became Attorney General in Idaho), and a restaurant. Nampa, too has something similar to the 8th Street Marketplace—in the old down-town district—yet we always went there when the stores were closed (we went merely for dinner), so window-shopping was all we were allowed, and it all appeared decadent and in decay to me, even though the building had been newly renovated.
And: happy happy, joy joy. Wisconsin won again. 7–0 so far this season, and Dayne had 190 yards and three touchdowns. The Badger offense is still a bit one-dimensional, but they’re playing well so far. Something that can’t be said of the Packers...
—October 17, 1998