Wednesday, 30 April 2003

so… i’m — aahh — i had a poem in the stu­dent lit­er­ary mag­a­zine, The Juggler. does that make me a pub­lished poet? or does it have to count else­where? can i call my­self a poet now or is that still pre­ma­ture?

i was also in­ducted into the lambda al­pha beta chap­ter of the Anthropology Honor Society. I got a groovy card and a cer­tifi­cate. I don’t re­ally know what it means to be what­ever I am now. In fact, I think it is just a thing to say that you are and has no real mean­ing or im­pact. Kinda like Shriners. Or maybe not, cuz Shriners get to drive around in go-carts at pa­rades and they get to wear fezzes (sp? fezi?). More like a mem­ber of Congress. Yeah, def­i­nitely con­gress.

Freshman Year 1999 – 2001

Wednesday, 23 April 2003

This is sup­posed to be the tough­est year of col­lege, and in terms of in­tel­lec­tual growth that rings true. Although personal/​social growth would also top this list if not for my Junior year. That comes later how­ever.

I sup­pose I was a bit scared about go­ing to col­lege and liv­ing in an 8’ x 14’ room with some­one I had never met be­fore and shar­ing an­other room with two other peo­ple I had never met be­fore. Actually, per­haps I was quite scared, or even ter­ri­fied. Needless to say, my lifestyle was not suited to that of my room­mates. I did not have a fake ID, nor did I drink. at all. I also liked my sleep, 8 hours if I could get it. My room­mate Mike Lane and my other quad­mates John Antonucci and Paul Buser were all busi­ness ma­jors, whilst I was an Arts & Letters ma­jor. Business ma­jors have it eas­i­est here at Notre Dame in re­gard to class dif­fi­culty and course work (with the pos­si­ble ex­cep­tion of the Sociology Dept.) and they would of­ten throw im­promptu par­ties 2 or 3 times a week. On nights when they didn’t have par­ties they of­ten went to the Boat Club and stum­bled back usu­ally at 5 in the morn­ing. This hap­pened pretty much the whole year.

On top of this, my room­mate, who drank at least 5 times a week, and skipped most of his classes most of the time sleep­ing off the al­co­hol man­aged to swing a 4.0 his first sem­ster, while I strug­gled with chem­istry and cal­cu­lus and got a 2.7.

As for the other fresh­men in my sec­tion I was the only A&L ma­jor. 14 to­tal fresh­men, 3 pre-med, 1 en­gi­neer­ing, 1 A&L, and 9 busi­ness ma­jors. The up­per­class­men con­sisted to a great ma­jor­ity of sopho­mores who were nice but had their own things to do, some ju­niors who I never even talked to, and a group of se­niors who I owe quite a bit to.

The foot­ball games took a bit of get­ting used to, but here I knew what to do, hid­ing in plain sight cov­ered in blue and gold body paint with a bright blue wig. The seats were in the cor­ner as is usual for fresh­men, but we were also the heart from whence all spirit was pumped. Bob Davie was the un­for­tu­nate coach at this time. He sucks. The tail­gat­ing be­fore the games was not great fun how­ever, drink­ing drink­ing drink­ing every­where. Was there noth­ing else to do at ND?

I strug­gled with this, even to the point of con­sid­er­ing a trans­fer to a state school where it was eas­ier to get off cam­pus, where many off cam­pus places are geared to­ward the stu­dents and to where I wouldn’t feel as pres­sured to drink, and to where the gen­der re­la­tions would be some­thing ap­proach­ing nor­mal for col­lege stu­dents. Apparently, that didn’t hap­pen — al­though per­haps it did in an al­ter­nate uni­verse.

The se­niors Jes s Morales, Liam Thidemann, and AJ Boyd, and my RA Joe Hyder had a great deal to do with pulling me out of my shell. There was this nasty con­coc­tion that the DH would serve about once every two weeks called Toad-In-The-Hole. I will not de­scribe it suf­fice to say it was hor­ren­dous. Each time it was served I would smug­gle out one more than the last time and present them to my RA in cre­ative ways (ex: The Blair Toad Project). He had no idea who it was un­til some­one snitched. But it was all in good fun. The se­niors who deshelled me to some ex­tent did so when one day Jes s no­ticed that I had a Magic deck. He also played. and from there it was down­hill.

We started play­ing magic, which led to Starcraft, which led to me al­low­ing them to set me up for the Chariot Race dance. Which led to me meet­ing Brian Johnsen. Which led me to meet­ing Brian Stone, who when I ex­pressed an in­ter­est in learn­ing to fence agreed to teach me to do so, as he was the as­sis­tant coach of the fenc­ing team. So its a good thing I played Magic or I would be a to­tally dif­fer­ent per­son to­day.

I also made a friend from out east named Abby. I met her through AIM and she came out to visit me on her spring break and I rec­i­p­ro­cated once the school year ended. I last spoke with her dur­ing this last sum­mer but per­haps she still reads this.

Other no­table things that hap­pened my fresh­man year: I saw the Smashing Pumpkins for the first time at Purdue University where I vis­ited my friends Brian Rose, David Ledman, and Bo Ledman and met his soon to be wife Kerri. I lost my vir­gin­ity. I learned what a glo­ri­ous thing Stolichnaya vodka can be. I made friends with Meagan Call. I down­loaded my first mp3 us­ing Napster. I de­cided to be room­mates in a dou­ble (glo­ri­ous! more room!) with the lone en­gi­neer in the sec­tion, Mike Castorano. I suc­cess­fully walked on to the Notre Dame Fencing Team. I ate at both Bibler’s Pancake House and CJ’s Pub in the same day.

National Champions

Tuesday, 25 March 2003

last tues­day i left for Colorado Springs, CO to sup­port my team­mates at the NCAA fenc­ing cham­pi­onships. it was quite the trip. Those who drove were 4: Steve, Mad Dog, Matty, and my­self. the first 18 hours of our drive out there were fine; un­til we ar­rived in Colorado amid the af­ter­math of one of their worst bliz­zards in years. I-70 was closed 12 miles into Colorado de­spite the fact that there was nary a snowflake on the ground. we de­toured to CO-25 which was also closed. we de­toured to CO-40, closed. we ended up go­ing all the way to Pueblo and then drove north till we ar­rived in Colorado Springs. 8 miles south of Colorado Springs we fi­nally saw some snow, by the next day most of it had melted.

we beat the team out there de­spite leav­ing af­ter they did. they’re flight was laid over at St. Louis and the next day they had a con­nec­tion in Houston be­fore fi­nally get­ting into Colorado. the tour­na­ment was sup­posed to start on Thursday and con­clude on Sunday but since none of the teams could make it out on time they resched­uled and had a com­bined tour­na­ment last­ing all day sat­ur­day and all day sun­day. tough stuff with the al­ti­tude.

that left us with two full days to kill. since the Super 8 we were stay­ing at was lit­er­ally 30 feet from the Drury Inn where the rest of the team was, most of our time was spent over there goof­ing around, uti­liz­ing the hot tub, etc. Janusz was glad we were out there so we didn’t have to pay for our meals for most of the trip. we went to a bar one night, saw Chicago as a team and ate and ate and ate. the night be­fore the tour­na­ment we had a team meet­ing and every­one got their goals.

the first day of com­pe­ti­tion was in­tense. our fencers dropped a few bouts here and there, and the di­rect­ing was a bit try­ing at times, but by the end of the day we had a nice cush­ion in 1st place, al­though we still knew it was go­ing to be quite close. the 2nd and fi­nal day was a roller­coaster of emo­tion the en­tire day. we were only up by one bout in the fi­nal round with Penn State right on our heels. we needed any com­bi­na­tion of 3 ND wins or 3 PSU losses to se­cure the vic­tory. we won. there was pan­de­mo­nium. all of those clich s about win­ning and be­ing a champion…are true when you re­ally are one.

our AD Bernard took us to Carrabba’s an ber-nice Italian place in cel­e­bra­tion. once we got back to the hotel a few folks went on an al­co­hol run and a bunch of us went to the bars. i like tequila shots. we played a few games of pool, just re­laxed with our team and a few peo­ple from the other mid­west teams. then we went back to the hotel, par­tied a bit more and hit the road home. (Mad Dog drove first, he hadn’t par­taken be­cause he is on an­tibi­otics). 20 hours later we ar­rived in South Bend. ex­hausted but vic­to­ri­ous.

i can­not speak, my voice is shot from yelling. i shot plenty of footage to make a swee­t­ass video and took a ton of pic­tures. we are cham­pi­ons! i am a cham­pion! w00t!

Politricks and Fencing Championships

Tuesday, 18 March 2003

at 6 this evening i’m dri­ving out to Colorado Springs, CO and the USAFA for the NCAA fenc­ing cham­pi­onships. It is about a 19 hour drive and at the end of it i still might not be able to watch my team com­pete for the cham­pi­onship. i had to sub­mit my so­cial se­cu­rity num­ber, driver’s li­cense num­ber, etc. in or­der to get se­cu­rity clear­ance to get on the base. at all times i must have two forms of pic­ture ID. but once the war starts not even that will get me on the base. i’m still go­ing out dammit.

what a stu­pid ul­ti­ma­tum from Dubya. yeah like that is EVER go­ing to hap­pen. might as well re­quire the im­pos­si­ble so we can start bomb­ing on sched­ule. any­thing for the war. even if the ulty did work i’d still be creeped out be­cause the US would be able to co­erce a coun­try into es­sen­tially giv­ing up its sov­er­eignty. jee­bus.

what the in­ter­net needs is a bes­tiary of myth­i­cal beasts. and a good one at that. the only ones i’ve found have been crap. maybe i could start my own if i had some time. mea­gan will you draw the crit­ters and creepy crawlies?

Trogdor the Arcade Game!

I’ll be back some­time next mon­day un­less NORAD and the USAFA get nuked by Iraqis.

St. Patrick’s Day at Notre Dame

Monday, 17 March 2003

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! w00t! This is the only St. Patrick’s day that I’ve had the plea­sure of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing at Notre Dame. For some un­be­knownst rea­son, ND usu­ally arranges it so that March 17 is dur­ing Spring Break. Hypocritical that the pre­mier Irish-Catholic uni­ver­sity avoids cel­e­brat­ing said day? of course, ’tis to be ex­pected. We can’t have the stu­dents of the Fighting Irish drink­ing and carous­ing now can we. Yes, i know the Irish (i.e. peo­ple in Ireland) don’t ac­tu­ally cel­e­brate St. Patrick’s Day by cov­er­ing them­selves in green plaid and drink­ing green beer, but isn’t in keep­ing with American cul­ture to bas­tardize other cul­tures to our own ends? Notre Dame was founded by the French but is now Irish… and we have even twisted the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of our Lady. what­ever. its 65 out­side, sunny, i ain’t got shit to do till next week and i’m a se­nior. things canna get much bet­ter. i’m gonna go find a bit o whiskey.

No More Notre Dame Fencing

Sunday, 2 March 2003

the great­est thing in my col­lege life is now fin­ished. i’m no longer a var­sity ath­lete. i’m now a var­sity alum­nus.

to pref­ace: there is this guy on our team, a pretty good ep eist, who could be so much bet­ter if he ap­plied him­self. un­for­tu­nately, he feels no need to come to prac­tice or act as a team­mate in any way since he is a schol­ar­ship re­cruit. ap­par­ently he told my cap­tain that he is tired of fenc­ing and that our coach can­not do any­thing about it if he chooses not to work hard. this team mem­ber also chooses not to stay with the team dur­ing com­pe­ti­tions he is al­ways off alone sleep­ing some­where when the rest of us are fenc­ing. the worst, how­ever, is how he treats our op­po­nents. he hu­mil­i­ates them by show­ing his com­plete and ut­ter con­tempt in the form of grand­stand­ing, bla­tantly ob­vi­ous and in­ten­tional. he’ll squat on strip and stay there, or re­main in a lunge, or af­ter an easy touch against an op­po­nent will yell ‘woo-hoo’ in a ‘you mean noth­ing to me’ kind of way.

so in the in­di­vid­ual tour­na­ment i end up hav­ing to fence this guy in the di­rect elim­i­na­tion rounds. every­one wanted me to beat him, even our own team­mates. es­pe­cially since he doesn’t even re­spect us. i did my best, but lost 13 – 15. what is in­fu­ri­at­ing about that is, he is still good enough to beat me de­spite all the ef­fort i put forth to fence well and the neg­li­gi­ble amount he ex­erts. so en­deth my col­le­giate fenc­ing ca­reer. i was pissed i wanted to win so badly, and im­me­di­ately af­ter the bout i re­al­ized that it was all over. i’m sure it had been float­ing around sub­con­sciously in my head but af­ter it was done i had to hit the show­ers as quickly as pos­si­ble to do a bit of cry­ing. i can still do my bit to help the team, but any true tan­gi­ble ef­fect re­sult­ing from my ac­tual fenc­ing will never be again.

it was great while it lasted. and i hope the mem­o­ries last much longer.

Last Team Bout

Saturday, 1 March 2003

The Midwest Championships were to­day and un­for­tu­nately ND came in 2nd. Alot of us fenced poorly. I only had one bout, but I won it. my last con­tri­bu­tion to the team was a vic­tory. I’m glad of that. Tomorrow is the Individuals, so I must fence for my­self, which ba­si­cally mean I won’t do as well, I’m not com­pet­i­tive in that way. it has been good while it has lasted. i’ve got much home­work to do, I’d bet­ter get on it.