succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, September 27, 2003

So I'm being stalked by an almost-90-year old. Ok, perhaps not really, but the story is much funnier that way. It goes like this: My Grandfather is a statistician, and went to UNC-Chapel Hill with this guy named Abbott Ferriss. Abbott is now an emeritus professor at Emory, so when Grandad found out that I was going to school here, he wrote to Abbott. A couple of weeks ago Abbott took me out to lunch, and he's really nice and it was cool to meet an old friend of my Grandfather's. About a week ago he invited me to a gallery opening, which would have been cool, but it was kind of far away and on a Friday night and I just didn't really feel like going. So I thanked him appropriately, made some excuse, and asked that he please think of me next time something like this came up. So last night I'm checking my e-mail and I have a message from him saying I should call and let him know if I can go to the dragon boat races with him the next morning. I'm thinking this would be cool, but I really need more than half a day's notice, and I'm planning on being out all night for Ryan's birthday and I'm sick and I was really just going to sleep all day Saturday...and I'm trying to figure out what to do when Abbott knocks on my door! He showed up at my house! So I agreed to go see the dragon boat races with him. Went to Ryan's birthday party, actually managed to not drink too too much, and came home around 2 am. Abbott said he'd pick me up at 8:30 am. So I'm a little drunk and moderately sick with this head cold, trying to get a few hours of sleep, went completely insane around 4:30 am, but managed to be human by the time Abbott arrived this morning. And in the end, it was a really nice morning, watching the races, hanging out with Abbott. But now I'm bone tired and pretty much worthless. And worrying that Abbott seems kind of lonely and if I become his new buddy to call every week, it's going to be a problem. Because our little outing this morning took about 6 hours, and the days when I'm going to have 6 free hours are becoming few and far between. So that's my story about the nice old man who's sort of stalking me. Now it's time to desperately force myself to do just an ounce more homework before my hot date with my favorite sweat pants, the couch, some cheesy movies, and lots and lots of tea and honey. I can't wait.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen.

It occurs to me that I've done a couple of at least vaguely interesting things in the past few days and have neglected to mention them in my little blog world. So this is me, sitting in front of the computer on a Friday evening, updating my blog. (hey, it beats trying to decide what to make for dinner) So Tuesday afternoon nobel laureate Seamus Heaney spoke on campus. He's an Irish poet, and apparently a friend of our retiring president. The reading was thoroughly enjoyable, even if Anna and I did arrive too late and had to stand through the whole thing. He read mostly his own stuff, but also this:

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When we sit at home and find
Entertainment for our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

Against the wall he sets his eye
Fierce and strong and sharp and sly;
Against the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve those doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night,
Turning darkness into light.

Which sounds oddly familiar to me, though I've no idea where I would have heard it before. It's an Irish poem written in the late eighth or early ninth century by a scribe in the margin of St. Paul's Epistles, translated by an English scholar named Robin Flower. Kind of makes me want to name my next cat Pangur Ban, though I guess then s/he would have to be white (Ban means white). There's a certain symmetry about owning one black and one white cat that's rather appealing.

Then on Wednesday was former President Carter's 22nd annual Town Hall Meeting. Much like watching old reruns of the West Wing, it made me sad to think about our current government. Granted, I know very little about Carter's actual administration, I only know that I admire the work he's done since and agreed with the majority of what had to say on Wednesday night. Much like the fictional president Martin Sheen portrays, Carter spoke about living by a strong set of principles, and making decisions based on said principles. Apparently when he was running for president he told people that he would always try to tell them the truth and that if he ever made a misleading statement, they shouldn't support him. Can you even imagine a candidate today telling people not to support him? It would be considered career suicide. Like I said, I really don't know much about Carter the president, so I don't know if he lived up to that statement. But the fact that he puts honesty so high in his list of priorities appeals to me. I sat there feeling much like I did last summer in DC, wandering around the Lincoln and Jefferson monuments, reading JFK's quotes at Arlington - whether or not the particular administration in power agrees with my specific beliefs is small matter. I can trust and support a government that truly seems to make decisions based on the betterment of the country. I can get behind a president who owns up to his mistakes, who says, yes, I made that decision and I committed that action for these reasons and I take responsibility for them and I stand by them because they were based on what I believed to be right.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

So, I feel like I should qualify my previous entry, or at least expand on it, or something. And I had this vaguely articulate entry worked out in my head....but then my brain stopped that'll have to be all for tonight.

"What do you say about a government that goes out of its way to protect even the citizens that try to destroy it?"
"God bless America."

Someone should remind Bush.

I just learned that JFK donated his entire presidential salary to charity (since he was already a millionaire). Since these days you have to be pretty wealthy to run for office, I'm wondering if any other politicians and/or presidents have done this?

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Wow. Much Buckhead craziness and fun tonight. Irish Car Bombs and Rum and Cokes. Dueling piano bar. Way more fun than people should have. Bed time.