a question

Halloween, 2001: gave out six pieces of candy. Typically we gave out two mixing bowls worth. Did anyone else have an experience similar to this back in 2001? Or was it just my neighborhood?

movin' on up

So, thanks in part to foursquare_ and ins0mnesiac and the pressing needs of the adult world (e.g. trimming the easily traceable internet footprint), i have a blog now. Mostly it'll be photos and work-safe thoughts, and it saves me the trouble of changin the name of this one again (i'm kind of tired of it). I'll still use good ol' LJ for the bile and piss that shouldn't be public knowledge.

This will be going friends-only once i return to Beef World.

In other news, the Karakoram trek is apparently off. The commissioner of tourism or something in Leh has a vendetta against researchers and will not grant us a 2-week permit for the Nubra to get to the Saser Kangri glacier. We'd need a $200 special permit from Delhi, and if we don't get it, they would kick us out of the country and prevent us from returning to India for one whole year.

The upside of this is that it makes the work in Ladakh much less tight. Therefore, i may yet get to Dharamsala post-monsoon.

Dorje is an awesome name. It means "Thunderbolt." You don't get that in English, unless you named your kid "The Mighty Thor."
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    Hey Mercedes

(no subject)

"I'm assuming you're okay with this. Because if we get caught, we're both going to prison."
-Jason, after we snuck onto an Army base to collect a rock sample
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    lata mangeshkar?

the waters, they are a rising

Okay, so. Lots of massive things going on lately.

But first: wanna throw up? read this. It's like...if you've ever wondered what that skeezy dude in high school grew up to do, it's this. As someone in the comments said, the metaphor is wrong. It isn't an open-source boob project, because the men can't contribute boobs. It's more like the public domain boob project, and that's exactly what's wrong with it.

Anyway. In order of chronology:

- At Smith over the weekend, Alison informed me that the cirque work i did for my thesis will be folded into a real, live paper that Alison is putting together with Jon and Sara Mitchell. They would like for me to do some additional work if i could, but either way, by Christmas 2008 i should be named in my first journal.

- I defend my Geology thesis on Monday, 4 PM. Yall are invited, if you're in to auditory torture. It'll be in Chamberlin 111. By this time i will hopefully have turned in my special project (horribly overdue) and will thus be completely finished with Creative Writing.

- I received a paper invitation to Honors Day, which i think means i'm getting honored somehow. Last year the only warning i got was a frantic and somewhat threatening email from Fran the day of. This whole deal confuses me, because I sure don't have the grades, and i didn't submit anything to the writing contests. It would be sweet if i got the geology award that gets you a free Brunton.

- Gradumatation. Mostly senior week, which i plan to spend exploring the Driftless Zone and Door County and maybe even the UP if i can get around to it. I still have to buy the cap & gown. I don't want to buy this shit.

- Immediately following graduation (as in, the next morning immediately) i fly to Las Vegas to drive around Nevada with the geo department. We're going to hit up Death Valley, Great Basin NP, Valley of Fire, Tahoe, and the motherfucking UFO highway. I am, uh, looking forward to this greatly.

- I'll be spending the majority of the summer in the Indian Himalaya. It's official now. I fly to Delhi on June 3 and will return around August 28. Jason and Kate from Cincinnati got all their grant money, which included funds to take one field assistant. They asked if i wanted to do it about two weeks ago. We're all doing field work in Lahul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, which is in the northwest of India, southeast of Kashmir. My field site will be the Chandra Valley, shown below:

What's more, i'll be doing vertical transects along the valley walls to collect samples for U-Th/He dating. So, immediately after Nevada, i'll be going to Cincy to receive training in technical mountain climbing. I get there a full day ahead of either Jason or Kate, which means i get to spend a night in Delhi with one of Lewis' old grad students. Apparently. Did i mention i'm getting paid for this?

Everything is coming at me very fast.

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    Balanescu Quartet - Computer Love


So apparently the Gallery ABBA opening tomorrow evening is also opening my photographs. Mia mentioned it to me in passing today. This is odd, primarily because i haven't heard anything from the folks at ABBA. Admittedly, i know jack shit about art opening etiquette, but it seems like they would, you know, say something by now. They didn't even ask me for an artists' statement, which is kind of ok, because i wasn't too keen on writing it anyway (i don't need to sound any more pretentious than i already do).

So yes. Come to my first ever art opening, "Manly Ways to Eat Fruit." 5-9 PM, Gallery ABBA. "Refreshments" will be served, so come down and lets get drunk on Yellowtail.

* * *

Raise your hand if old-school Weezer (blue album, maybe Pinkerton) was ever your favorite band. I have a theory that the defining trait of the sub-generation i grew up in was a universal respect for early Weezer, the Ataris, Jimmy Eat World et al.

I mean, shit. I know this is really lame, but the best concert i've ever attended was at Wings Stadium in Kzoo: the extended Midget Tour with Jimmy Eat World, Tenacious D, and Weezer. It was a Tuesday night, sophomore year: i wore my Charlie Brown shirt, my first Newsie hat, and a pair of red All Stars. I nearly broke my back crowdsurfing to Tired of Sex, Chris' sister got kicked out of the concert, my glasses got bashed in for the first time, i thought i was high. They unveiled the flaming =w=, sent shimmering gum wrappers sailing down through hazy strobes, and fucking tore apart the interlude of Only In Dreams. The next day, it still hadn't worn off. I'd never smiled so much in 1st hour in my life.

Also for the Po-tage folks: There is a Weezer's Grill in Battle Creek! HOLY FUCK.
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    only in dreams on youtube

the west, the east

Hi Scott,
Thanks again for taking the time to visit on Monday.
The faculty held a meeting this afternoon regarding our graduate applicants.
Congrats! You will be receiving a Graduate Assistant offer -- this means full tuition plus a 9-month stipend (the exact amount of which I don't know -- but this will be described in your letter).
Lewis and I are very excited about the prospects of you joining our research team in India. I am confident that we can find a project to your liking. If you have any questions regarding any aspect of our offer or our program, of course, please don't hesitate to ask me.
Truly looking forward to hearing from you,

from the University of Cincinnati. Woot! I visited on Monday and found out i'd be doing work in the Lahul Himalaya, in the north of Himachal Pradesh. The Himalaya as a whole are particularly cool because virtually no detailed geologic work has been done there, so much of my own research would likely be field reconnaissance (which i love). Thing is, field work will be at 18,000 feet amsl...so getting in shape will be a priority for the next several months.

In any case, returned from the megatrip on Sunday. latenightapathy has been kind enough to compile the statistics: 5,640 miles in 10 days.

Washington Column and Half Dome.

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    This Will Destroy You - I Believe In Your Victory

the good ol' deuce deuce

By far my favorite birthday message was from my friend Nate from Home:

happy 22 man! now you have joined the rest of us 22 and up people and all we have to look forward to (other then at 25 being able to rent a car without an extra fee) is just getting old and dieing. i think the best way to do so is to live a very pleasant life until its hard to take care of yourself. then just pick a day to take a hike in the woods/ mountains and find a nice tree and curl up next to it. during the night your old body will shut down in the cold and you will move on. this way you dont have to spend the last remaining years of your life in a nursing home.

well thats how i want to go, or i want to go down wrestling a bear of some sort.

hopefully this message is more informative/ comical then depressing.

It speaks volumes to how much more fucking perspective my Michigan folks have about things than i have here in Wisconsin. It also says a lot about what living in the UP will do to your outlook on life.

Second place was probably Andrea's birfday message, which read

happy birthday, you sexy piece of stud candy!!!

It's good too to know that some friends never change.

For future reference, 13 rolls of sushi in one sitting is too much, but only by two rolls.

This was all brought on by Forrest Griffin talking about how healthy sushi was. God dammit, UFC.
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    M. Ward - Chinese Translation

and now for something completely different

To equilibrate my dudeness while slogging through The Picture of Dorian Gray, i've been watching UFC in between chapters. I also came, rather unfortunately, upon this: Chuck Liddell falling asleep on air.

In Chuck's defense, he was working off an apparently massive dose of NyQuil. Which i can respect. I'm not a morning person, either. He really doesn't talk like this normally (see Entourage, season 3). He's usually coherent.

I'm still all about Forrest Griffin, even though he does kind of talk like this normally.

In other news, the tectonics prof at Cincinnati invited me to visit--sweet. Especially considering all their research seems focused in the Himalaya, in Lahul and Ladakh. I also have a diarrhea of pictures to upload. Unfortunately my eclipse pictures turned out rather poorly--it's damn hard to focus in the middle of a totally dark cornfield at ten below.

Anyway. Back to the New Hedonism.
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    Lanterna - Brightness

One last thing, and then i'm done.

Barack Obama is coming to Beloit tomorrow. So's Chelsea Clinton. Clinton will speak first at 2PM in Pearsons, and Obama will have a 'rally' at 10PM in the Flood Arena. Come if you will.

Now, the unpleasant part.

* * *

Dear Mr. Obama: Michigan sez, "Thanks for caring"
How the DNC's arbitrary bullshit lost them one vote, and maybe more

I'm sure yall with at least a finger in the political pie know at least a bit about the situation with the Democratic delegates from Michigan (and Florida). For those who've wised up and stayed away from the news this semester, here's the scoop: in mid-2007, the Michigan state legislature moved our D/R primaries up to January 15. Florida moved theirs up to January 29; however, i'm no expert on the details. This contravened DNC rules, which state that no state aside from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may hold a primary before February 5. Accordingly, the DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of all their delegates, and the Democratic candidates agreed to not campaign in either state.

Simply put, Michigan fucked up, so they take the fall, right?

Guess again.

Primarily, the same penalty dealt to Michigan should have also been dealt to Iowa, et al. Section 11.A of the Democratic National Committee's Delegate Selection Rules outlines the basics: only IA, NH, SC, and NV can hold primaries/caucuses before February 5. The tricky part is that these states are still bound by party rules on time. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina violated these rules by moving their primary events further forward. According to the DNC's self-prescribed rules, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina all committed the same sin as Michigan.

But there is an obvious discrepancy between the DNC's rules and the DNC's actions. Section 20.C.1.a sets the punishment for states that violate scheduling rules as a loss of 50% of said state's pledged delegates and all of the state's superdelegates. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina got away scot-free, while Michigan was inflicted double the mandated penalty.

The Unholy Trinity claimed that they were 'forced' to adjust their primaries to maintain the proper order of primaries, justifying the unequal treatment. However, each state conveniently waited until after the DNC gave the good ol' Roman Thumbs Down to Michigan and Florida to reschedule their primaries. Now is this serendipity or blatant self-interest buoyed by electoral conservativism on the part of the DNC?

You'll never get a straight answer from the party leads, but the reason behind this egregious double standard is pretty damn clear. Their decision was made solely to preserve our current antiquated, flawed, unrepresentative and unfair system of primaries. Our punishment was meant to put us back in our place, with "place" defined for us by an apparently "Progressive" political machine.

And dare i mention that Iowa is 91.0% white and New Hampshire, 93.8%? Dare i suggest that delegates from Michigan and Florida (77.7% and 61.3% white, respectively) were stripped to prop up the traditionally earlier and whiter states? Dare i insinuate that minority voters are not valued as much as a stable, homogeneous, thoroughly white voting body? Dare i say that running a minority candidate does not absolve a political party of racism?

So don't bitch and moan about how "Michigan broke the rules" - Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina did, too. You want a square deal, you get all that comes with it.

* * *

Now Clinton wants to reinstate the phantom delegates from Michigan and Florida. This is where things get complicated.

Clinton can only gain from such a move. She took the majority vote in both states, so gaining the lost delegates would be a huge boost to her convention standing. Clinton's particularly rotten self-interest is particularly evident in the case of Michigan, where she was the only major candidate on the ticket. To then say that this was the 'legitimate' vote is underhanded, dishonorable, and just plain wrong.

But Obama has his own motives for maintaining the status quo. Even if another caucus was held in our state, Obama could not win Michigan. Obama's stance on fuel efficiency et cetera, while something i personally agree with, is certainly something that would work against him in the Detroit area. His criticism of HRC's position on free trade will also be hard to explain, in light of their shared support of an expansion of NAFTA into Peru. Retrospectively, it's no wonder we haven't heard a peep from the Obama campaign pertaining to Michigan or Florida.

That is to say, Barack Obama wants Michigan to be excluded. Barack Obama does not want another caucus. Barack Obama does not want my vote, so he sure as hell won't get it.

* * *

The biggest shame of this is that it's not the Michigan state legislature, but rather the Democratic Party, that screwed the citizens of my home state. In doing so, the Democrats have ultimately screwed themselves for the national election.

I mean, are you kidding me, DNC!? You chose to alienate swing states--the 1st and 4th largest--and for what? And most importantly, what possibly convinced you that screwing Florida & Michigan could be done without repercussions? I cannot speak for Florida, but this is only the latest fuckup in Michigan that's been attributed--falsely or no--to the Democratic Party. There was the budget crisis, the stubbornness of our unemployment rate, and certainly yalls across the lake have noticed your tuition increasing by leaps and bounds. We set the primary forward because the Democratic Party wasn't paying attention, and got the snub of a lifetime.

I am a disenfranchised voter. The stale argument that "Michigan knew what was coming" falls flat before the facts of the situation. The DNC acted beyond reasonable bounds in stripping Michigan's delegates, and did not extend their arbitrary judgment to other offending states. Fuck. That. Shit.

It's for this reason why i did not vote in the Michigan Primary, and it's why i will not vote in Wisconsin two days from now. Call me a whiner (there would definitely be legitimacy behind that argument), but hell--this could happen to you. I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a party that willingly gave me and my neighbors a thorough political ass pounding. I cannot vote for a party that values adherence to the Party Line above that singular American ideal, that everyone deserves a fair deal. That they would betray voters--that they would put the Party above the people it represents--sickens me.

I will not tell you not to vote. But if you do, you have to know that THIS is what you are voting for. You have to know that your name will join a political party that, while largely made up of wonderful and honest folks, is nevertheless headed by fuckwits who, in so many ways, couldn't deviate further from the basic principles of this country.
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